05 Apr 2016
It’s easy for us misinformed Westerners, even knowing China is huge, to think in terms of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong as big cities and a bunch of farmers in the hinterland.
China has 22 cities bigger than L.A., our second biggest city.
As much as I could live in Hong Kong and love Shanghai, Beijing doesn’t do much for me.
Given that it is the capital of China and is the third largest city in the world with 3,000 years of history, it certainly is important though.
Since we have been here three times previously and have visited the usual – Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Olympic Venue, and even their cheap markets, we opted to check out how some of the regular folks live.
We took a fun Rickshaw tour.
There are old scrap bikes all over the place, chained for theft protection apparently.
We walked along some famous pedestrian streets that are loaded with thriving middle class Chinese. Nothing topped Nanluoguxiang, (South Luogu Lane), an 800-meter, 800-year old alley. It is wall-to-wall cafes, bars, and shops all designed in classical Chinese 'hutong' style. Notice how young everybody is (present company excluded).
We ducked out of the hordes for a relaxing lunch with Joan and Charlie.
We stayed at the Grand Hyatt.
Dinner was at Capital M, known for great service, ambiance, view, and food. Nothing let us down there; highly recommended. That is Tiananmen Square in the background.
01 Apr 2016
My buddies from Guatemala asked for poker lessons. So we invited them up, and ordered in some champagne, caviar and other tidbits in order to tackle the task at hand.
We have sightseed (sawed?) Shanghai so many times and we only had two days this year. To us it seemed like we had no choice but just to shop and snag a massage.
At dinner the next night we're having dinner with some delightful new friends and Allyn says "I love your Hermes bracelet and ring. I bought several for $5 each to wear and give for gifts".
The husband says "These are real. I bought them in Australia."
26 Mar 2016
Today we visited Sky 100, an observation deck on the 100th floor of the International Commerce Center.
It is located two floors BELOW the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong Hotel.
Here you can really feel the magnitude of the incredible Hong Kong architecture.
24 Mar 2016
Three of us chartered a boat to relax and enjoy the amazing Ha Long Bay in North Vietnam. This is one of our most cherished stops in Southeast Asia. It has an amazing unique beauty to it with over 1,600 islands rising sharply from the sea.
Since 1994 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The islands are made from limestone and many are hollow, creating interesting caves.
Historical research surveys have shown the presence of prehistorical human beings in this area tens of thousands years ago.
In 2012, New 7 Wonders Foundation officially named Halong Bay as one of New Seven Natural Wonders of the world.
23 Mar 2016
Hoi An is a beautiful city just south of Da Nang. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.