This issue - China
This week we take our second look at China. Some of our newer subscribers have asked about back-issues of this newsletter, and a list of previously covered countries is included this week also. But first, the latest news from Thai Airways International:
First Class passengers traveling with Thai Airways International between 11 - 13 August, 2002 can look forward to a delicious range of special on-board menu served in celebration of HM Queen Sirikitís birthday, said Kanok Abhiradee, THAIís President.
Ostrich Keaw Wan (green curry) with roti, coconut rice with papaya salad (som tam), Royal Project crispy green salad and Mae Fah Luang coffee cream cake, will be served on board all THAI international flights ex-Bangkok.
THAI selected locally produced raw materials for this special meal preparation to further promote Thai agricultural products and those from Royal Projects to the world.
Don't forget you can easily find cheap air fares from any starting point to any destination, using the Travel Select Fare Finder. And even better if your journey happens to start from, or pass through, the UK because there are special offers for flights originating in the UK. For accommodation, you can find real bargains in good hotels if you book with Precision Reservations.
So now, on with our review of the web sites we have reviewed for this issue:
Save China's Tigers is the first charity in the world dedicated exclusively to the conservation and protection of tigers and other big cats in China.
Very few people know that tigers are believed to have originated in China about two million years ago. China is the only country that hosts -- though few in numbers -- four of the five remaining subspecies of wild tigers.
The site includes contributions by popular authors and distunguished members of the scientific and naturalist community. There is also a section on "Tiger Culture" with interesting items on the role of the Tiger in Chinese life. For example, the Tiger is the third sign of the Chinese Zodiac, and is thought of as Ruler of the beasts on Earth. A person born in the year of the Tiger is courageous, optimistic, tolerant and generous. They can expect a long life, and were born to command, not to obey. In Chinese folklore, Tigers are believed to be such powerful creatures that they are endowed with the ability to ward off the three main household disasters -- fire, thieves and evil spirits.
To find out more about this wonderful animal and its place in Chinese society, see:
Save China's Tigers
China, an Inner Realm is a site where one can explore fascinating facts pertaining to the land, culture, and language of this vast and diverse nation. Because China is so immense, its boundaries enclose some of the world's driest deserts, highest mountains, and richest farmland. Its culture and language are rich, dating all the way back to 1700BC. China is so diverse and rich in its interior that it is a world within a world.
The site is superbly designed and easy to use. It was designed by students as part of the ThinkQuest Library, but professional web designers would do well to study it. The site is divided into three main sections:
There is a wealth of well illustrated and well written material in this site, which is at:
China, an Inner Realm
This is the first part of an article on a bicycle trip from Guangzhou to Wuzhou to Guilin in southern China and a tour of the North by a diverse group from Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Ages range from 31 to 68 with most in their 40's and 50's.
The style is at times a little laboured but there are some interesting observations ("We see live chickens, fish, possums and animals usually found in pet shops. With little or no refrigeration, people shop every day. If it is alive, it is obviously fresh") and some insights into modern Chinese life ("Even in remote villages like this, medical care is available. Throughout the trip, we don't see any unattended medical problems. Some of the older people have a lot of teeth missing, but middle aged and younger people have bridges and other evidence of dental care")
It's a pity this account has no illustrations or photographs and I wouldn't normally recommend a text-only description. But this account gives such a good insight into modern China that I think it is worth the effort of ploughing through the text. Perhaps their closing comments apply equally to their web pages - "A trip to China requires a spirt of adventure and a willingness to do something different. Those who have that spirit are rewarded with a brief insight into an ancient and different culture that is changing rapidly."
The acoount can be found on:
Bicycling Southern China
I hesitated about putting history sites in a travel newsletter, but China has such an old and rich culture that I decided to include this site for its interest and coverage. This site is by the University of Southern California and is breathtaking in its coverage. It will take you some time to explore everything this site has to offer and you may find yourself being led along side tracks which open up new ideas nothing to do with China. But it is well worth it and is part of the rich heritage that Chinese thought has bequeathed to humanity of the 21st century.
There are translations of major works of literature, containing many things worthy of reflection in our busy 21st century world, such as "The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the kingdom, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons."
Pictures of Kublai Khan, Buddhist cave art of the Tang dynasty, parallels between the Battles of the Kunlun Pass (China, 1054) and Hastings (England, 1066), and an article on Teilhard de Chardin in China are just a few of the things you will find at:
China History (to Qing Dynasty)
This phenomenally useful site contains everything you need to know when travelling to China. Produced by the China National Tourist Office, Toronto, Canada, it seems to include just about everything you ever thought of asking.
Clear, concise and to the point, what more could you ask of a travel guide? And it's free on:
CHINA - Travel Tips
For useful books on China, you will find a comprehensive listing with prices and reviews on my books page (with links to buy direct from Amazon.com) on:
Hotel accommodation in China is plentiful and using a reputable agent can secure you substantial discounts. Precision Reservations can usually find you a good deal and you can check their availability here:
Back issues of this newsletter are available. You can find them on:
The countries covered in other issues are:
Far East Air Fare deals from Travel Select
For flights originating anywhere in the world use this Travel Select link
And if your flight originates in the UK there are some special deals on this special UK page
Other Useful Links
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