The visitor to China may be interested to be forewarned China has a lot of people. Cities of millions boggle the mind, as each city may be perceived as a world unto itself. The teeming masses find their place in the city as the traveller their hotel and may only guess what the rest of the world looks like.

Descending on the city and countryside alike is a pall of pollution from China's economic miracle. Whether it is coal burning power plants or millions of vehicles, the degradation of the air we all breathe is extreme. My dark glasses were fogged with pollutants from merely going for a short walk to a river, back to the hotel, and bussing to the airport in Chengdu.

The Chinese live together because they have no choice. They immigrate to Tibet to make money my Tibetan guide told me, which disabused me of the notion of forced migration, but I imagine the wide open spaces and less density in Tibet is also an attraction.

It is a daunting step for the traveller to leap into this soup of people and pollution. I risked it once. I might risk it again to explore more fully the sacred mountains: five Taoist, four Buddhist. That is what attracts me now. Then, there are the minorities in the west who also are attractive. All of it still a prelude to mother India.