Indiana and moving East

This month I rewatched the original three Indiana Jones movies — which was a blast, as even today these movies are timeless thrills.

I do vaguely remember seeing these movies as a kid, as the holy grail face-melting & eating from monkey skulls left deep imprints in my memory. Archeology was a fascination. Not just Indiana, but also Egyptian LEGO sets, the first two Tomb Raider games, Eyewitness books, and Discovery Channel documentaries.


But if archeology kindled my curiosity, then ‘De Bosatlas’ — a book-bound bundle of maps — instilled a geological conscience. Nights I spend browsing maps: population density, weather, transport, geological, natural resources, economic activity, vegetation, tectonics plates, etcetera.

De Bosatlas
Two maps out of ‘De Bosatlas’


Just now, watching Indiana Jones decades later — I wonder if these movies made me lean more toward the East rather than the West.

Because moving West from Europe would have been way more logical though. I did watch a lot of American movies & TV series as well. Mulder & Scully solving mysteries from Washington, and Elliot & Jake being chased by police cars in Chicago — Top Gun in San Diego. All these place names sound so familiar to me, despite never having been to the US.

But New York was the safe base for Indiana: the adventures took part elsewhere, including Nepal, Jordan, India, Turkey — and Shanghai even stars in The Temple of Doom. The same for Lara Croft — England her home, but treasures were found in Cambodia. I tried to find an internship in Mumbai in 2011, and finally got my move abroad to Shanghai in 2018.

Maybe because of these childhood impressions, going East equaled curiosity. Adventure. And while the temples I’ve encountered in China aren’t as thrilling as those in Indiana Jones (no traps or snake pits), it’s been quite the exploration — not just physical but also cultural, and even inwards towards myself.

A tiny temple in Luziyu (鲁子峪), rural Shandong. The locals opened it for us to have a look inside.
A tiny temple in Luziyu (鲁子峪), rural Shandong. The locals opened it for us to have a look inside.