My supervisor leaves today for one of his periodic trips to China. This time he’s going through the northwest, stopping in Urumqi and other points in Xinjiang. He’s also going up to Lhasa, and to get there he’s taking the crazy new Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Politically, culturally, it is as he put it “what it is”. As a train ride, it’s gotta be the coolest most train-fetishistic thing you can do these days.