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storefront, open to the street in Hong Kong, with large steam baskets holding a variety of dim sum.

Hong Kong Impressions

My less-than-a-week in Hong Kong was a stimulating, perhaps over-stimulating, series of strong impressions. Here are some of the strongest ones: Housing in Hong Kong I booked an Airbnb room for my trip to Hong Kong, so I stayed in a residential neighborhood of Kowloon: the section of the city across the bay from central…

The hanging monastery looks like it's glued to the side of a sheer cliff.

Sadness of the Hanging Monastery

The hanging monastery outside of Datong, China, a UNESCO world heritage site, is breathtakingly beautiful, yet also, in a way sad. Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you click on one and spend money, I will get a small cut of what you spend. It will not affect your price. The monastery was built…

Carpe diem … with a disclaimer

Seize the day. Live in the moment. Live each day as if it’s your last. This is the kind of advice you see all over the internet, and especially among travel tweeters, bloggers, etc. Don’t put off whatever it is you most want to do; do it while you can. Quit your job, take that…

Fatalism

As we left Yangshuo (fantastical landforms, bamboo rafts on rivers, lovely ecolodge, Chinese cooking class) on our way to Guilin to catch the night train for Guangzhou so we could catch the ferry the next day to Hong Kong, I realized that China has, at least temporarily, affected my general tolerance for risk. This occurred…

Chinese Business Opportunities

Here are three hot business opportunities for anyone entrepreneurial enough to take them. I’m not taking them because I’m an idea person, not an entrepreneur. Beds: More and more Western tourists are traveling to China, yet the hotels still use Chinese style (i.e. very hard) beds. Many Western hotel chains are already here; I’ve seen a…

Random Notes from China

Accommodations: We pre-booked all of the transportation, transfers and hotels before we left. I just didn’t want the stress of having to figure out train or bus schedules or go from hotel to hotel looking for a room, like we did in our younger days. Especially not with two teenagers in tow. The hotels have…

Chinese Tourists

Everywhere we’ve gone so far, there have been very few foreign tourists like us. Most of the tourists — and in some places all of the tourists — are Chinese. Sometimes they’re in pairs or families, sometimes in groups. When they’re in a group, even if it’s just 5 or 6 people, they hire a…

Cleanliness and Filth

I’m puzzled by Chinese attitudes toward cleanliness. The cities we’ve seen so far: Beijing, Chengde, Datong, Pingyao and where we are now, Hancheng, are dirty, loud, crowded places. People spit loudly and copiously on the street. There’s litter. Everyone smokes, everywhere. Look at the short film I’ve added here and you’ll see what I mean:…

Intercultural Understanding and Chinese Beds

When I started teaching a class in intercultural communication this past year at the teacher training college, I didn’t actually know anything about it. Or rather, I didn’t know any of the theory, but I’d had a whole lot of practice. I had plenty of anecdotes to share, for example, about differences in expectations and…

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