A Friend in the Avatar Forest


Looking over the peaks at Zhangjiajia National Forest Park. You may recognize it from the movie Avatar.

I returned from hiking Zhangjiajie with swollen knees and all I wanted was some ibuprofen and a cold beer. I settled into the one foot tall chair on the hotel patio; which overlooked a rice paddy and centered among the towering peaks. A Chinese family with a young woman, her parents and uncle sat down at the table beside me. I quickly learned the young woman spoke some English and I used my broken Chinese for conversation.
Ironically, she was a teacher like me and was also 30. She taught in a fishing village a thousand miles away in Eastern China. She radiated a quiet, confident glow that I knew I wanted to photograph.
After a meal of spicy pork, bamboo chutes, and roasted potatoes, she posed in the doorway and I made this photo. As she and her family left, she told me “hou hui you qi” which means maybe we will meet again in the future.

 


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