Live! From Beijing

It seems to us that if everyone in the world just had the chance to visit one another’s countries, we would all understand one simple fact: we are all more alike than we are different. That has certainly been the case in China ( and in the past in Turkey, Chile etc.)

The more we see in this astonishing country, the more we wish our respective leaders could look into the eyes of the children and others on the streets and see the smiles…and smile back. We’ve been here in China through a long weekend where folks from the countryside flock to the cities to see their own tourist attractions, and these are people who have seen few Westerners. We have provided endless amusement, and have been asked on numerous occasions to pose with the kids and the older family members for selfies! We always agree to their delight.

In the past few days we’ve strolled Tiannamen Square, explored The Forbidden City, and climbed the Great Wall which was made even more outstanding as a result of our Silversea overland experience. We had the good fortune to have a tour guide who took us to the northern entrance to the Great Wall area and we climbed the wall in almost utter seclusion, far from the crowds we could see in the distance. Oh, and overnight in Beijing? The Four Seasons was beyond divine.

We are now on our way to Japan but will forever be grateful we visited surprising China.


(Almost) Live from Hong Kong

Among the vagaries of using cruise ships as transportation is the fact that satellite internet is notoriously fickle. We left Hong Kong several days ago and published a brief post about our wonderful private tour with a Tours-by-Locals guide. Unfortunately it never did get posted and the draft went missing. However, although we’ll tell a more in depth story when we regroup at home later in May, it needs to be said now that there is no better way to see a city than with a private guide.

We taxied up to Victoria Peak, traveled down by funicular, rode the subway to Kowloon, explored traditional markets on foot, enjoyed the local bus system in the pouring rain, rode the Star Ferry back to Hong Kong Island, and ate dim sum for lunch with the local population. All of this was because we had Jacky to lead the way.

The city of Hong Kong was so much more than we could even have imagined…and all in a good way! So much more to tell…

Live from Shanghai: The City of Light?

They say that Paris is “The City Of Light” but last evening we could have sworn that moniker belongs to Shanghai!

Yesterday began the Chinese three-day Labour Day holiday celebrations and he river was full of evening tour boats packed with families and revellers in the city to celebrate on May 1. Of course that meant that Yu Garden, the Old City and the Jade Buddha Temple were massively crowded, it we didn’t care. It was exhilarating to be there among the crowds.

The wonderful thing about traveling by ship is that after each busy couple of days, there’s a day or two to relax and prepare for the next one. As we write this, we’re 45 miles off the coast of China headed north toward Tianjin. We’ll leave the ship for an overnight in Beijing and then it’s on to the Great Wall. We’ll rejoin our floating hotel the next day.

Live from Hong Kong: The Adventure Begins

Jet lag? What jet lag? Even a fifteen hour flight non-stop from Toronto couldn’t hold us back from a private tour of Hong Kong on our first day in Asia that saw us walk eleven kilometres, ride the funicular down from Victoria Peak, take the cross-town bus, ride the subway with the local commuters, hop a mini-bus, enjoy the Star ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island and take a San-pan from southern horizons island to the south reaches of HKI.

A cosmopolitan city of contrasts between the super-modern financial district and the local markets Hong Kong does live up to its press. When our son told us that we HAD to visit Hong Kong it was clear he knows us well… we would not have missed this for anything.

We have a bit more to see today before we board the Silver Shadow this afternoon to set sail for Shanghai. Time to put those Wellington shoes on again!