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THE ORIENT EXPRESSED: SHANGHAI– DISCOVERING THE OTHER CHINA

Travel Dates: July 16 through 18, 2011  Shanghai is part sprawling, Jetsons style uber-metropolis and part retro-chic former European outpost. It is about as un-China as one can get, and still be in mainland China. Our tour-sponsored hotel for the first two nights, The Crowne Plaza Fudan, is in the Pudong section, the sleeker, more […]

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THE ORIENT EXPRESSED: KRISTY KEEPS IT REAL

Travel Dates: July 15-16, 2011 We are back on dry land after our three nights aboard the Victoria Selina. That little excursion was very pleasant in retrospect. In spite of aforementioned feeding-frenzies and BS shore excursions, it reminded me a little of old Hollywood movies about the Orient Express. Our cabin, which wasn’t large, was […]

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THE ORIENT EXPRESSED: Chongqing and Sailing the Victoria Selina

 Travel Dates: July 13-14, 2011   Well, it turns out you CAN get Wi-Fi on the boat for 150 yuan (about 30 bucks US), so here we are. Thursday was the first full day on our ship, the Victoria Selina, which we boarded in Chongqing.  Chongqing is a municipality of about 32 million people, all of […]

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THE ORIENT EXPRESSED: Xi’an and the Terra-Cotta Warriors

 Travel Date: July 11, 2011  Our guide for the Xi’an leg of the journey is named JC. His English is good, but not as good as Gary’s.   As a former teacher of Ancient Chinese History, he’s quite the scholar and insists on regaling us with everything he knows during the hour long bus ride to the […]

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THE ORIENT EXPRESSED: BEIJING DAY 2

   July 10, 2011  This morning begins with a long ride to the Olympic sites, preceded by what feels like a government “recommended” tourist stop at one of Beijing’s latest development projects which rests on the former site of what used to be an actual (and fairly ancient) traditional neighborhood.  The place is practically deserted […]

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THE ORIENT EXPRESSED: BEIJING BOUND

Our 2011 Chinese odyssey consisted of five cities: Beijing, Xi’an,Chonqing,Yichang, and Shanghai. In two weeks, we flew six times, cruised the Yangtze River, and just for fun, rode the world’s fastest train. July 7 & 8, 2011 As I write, we’re three and a half hours into a 13.5 hr. plane ride to Beijing. T’s […]

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Scaling the Great Wall

In 2011, I found out what happens when you try to access FB in China, which is nothing–blank screen–super, duper firewall. This prompted me to keep in touch w/family members via diary entries I sent through numerous emails, before it ever occurred to me to start this blog. I’m busy compiling these and hope to […]

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What I Learned From This Sojourn: Paris Layover Edition

1. When I was 20 years old, I climbed the 422 steps to the bell tower of the Notre Dame and was drafted by our eccentric elderly guide to “ring”the biggest bell. He had me stand under the massive dome, placed the clapper in my hand, and guided me in gently rubbing it along the […]

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Tales of Beheaded Bishops and Despondent Divas in Montmartre

Montmartre is probably best known for its magnificent Sacre Coeur Basilica, and for good reason. It’s gorgeous inside and out, and it affords pilgrims worldwide an absolutely breathtaking view of the city. What I found out today, though is that Montmartrois (residents of Montmartre) really can’t stand the place. Long story, but suffice it to […]

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Bonjour, Paris!

After the exhilarating intensity of India, Paris welcomed us for our four-day layover with serenity and seventy-degree weather. Everything was easy, from the overnight nine-hour plane ride, to the train from Charles de Gaulle, to the faithful Hotel St. Andre-des-Arts, to which I’ve returned after a 26 year absence. Of course, with the building having […]

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