The Cost of Admission Used to be Death

The Forbidden City is a place I’ve wanted to go ever since I was a kid.  The day finally arrived and it did not disappoint. We were blessed with good weather. In Beijing that means all the pollution is blown somewhere else (like California). It also means the sky was blue. Go figure. We woke up at 4:30 am to make our way to see the 6:00 am flag raising ceremony. There was goose-stepping under the huge portrait of Mao. Satisfied, we sought... Read More

Now That’s a Big Buddha

You should have seen the toe nail clippers. We have seen a lot of Buddhas on our trip. It isn’t uncommon to find 10,000 Buddhas in a single shrine or museum. We see them in stores, hotels and at the countless shrines we’ve passed or visited. It wouldn’t surprise me if we’ve seen upwards 100,000 on the trip so far. But yesterday, we saw a Buddha that stands out from the crowd. It’s official name is the Leshan Giant Buddha,... Read More

The Coolest National Park I’d Never Heard Of

I owe James Cameron an apology. Following our visit to Ha Long Bay, I may have implied that he needed to use more of the Earth’s natural beauty in his movies rather than relying on computer graphics. It turns out he was at least two steps ahead of me. Step 1 – Knowing Zhangjiajie National Park existed I hadn’t heard of it before we entered China. I still don’t know how to pronounce it. Step 2 – Using the natural beauty of Zhangjiajie... Read More

Ha Long Bay in Pictures

My expectations for Ha Long Bay had been growing for weeks after hearing the impressions of other travelers and reading online. If anything, Ha Long Bay exceeded those expectations. It’s as if the floating Hallelujah mountains from Avatar fell from the sky into a green ocean. Karsts, limestone protrusions that tower thousands of feet in the air, dot the near and distant horizon in just about every shape physics will tolerate. There are over... Read More

Hoi An: “Buy something?”

I was supposed to hate Hoi An. This tiny city on the coast of Vietnam is infested with tourists, has little to see and it’s biggest attraction is shopping or tailoring to be more precise. Sasha had big plans for clothing she wanted to make and begrudgingly I started to look forward to getting my first suit that was made to order and tailored. Four days, three suits and seven shirts later my impression of Hoi An is quite different. The entire... Read More