Shankers & Honkers

I’m sorry for the slow updates to this blog. It’s quite difficult when you get into bed at 10 at night to sign up the energy to write a blog post. I’m currently in Shanghai, ready to face the last day of the tour tomorrow when we have a guided tour. I’m just going to …

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Panda day today. This is always the day that as a Tour Manager I am the most nervous. I’m always worried that I will wake everybody up early, drag them to the Panda Park and then discover that the bloody things have decided that today is the day for a lie-in indoors! Fortunately, my furry …

Foot Massage

I just went for a foot massage. It’s a uniquely Chinese experience. Foot massage is my secret guilty pleasure on tours to China. I genuinely believe that it helps you to sleep. It was a habit I picked up when I was flying to Hong Kong regularly with Air New Zealand. So what’s different about …

China Life

Today we had a day in Chengdu for a city tour. I wanted to give our clients a taste of how a typical day might look for Chinese people of their age i.e. for those who don’t have to spend all day slaving away at work. We started with a visit to a flower market. …

My favourite Jade Buddha

Another travel day today, but we got to do some fun stuff as well as the train journey. The day started with a visit to a jade carving factory and showroom. We learned about the importance of Jade in Chinese culture and also how to spot what is good Jade, and what is the cheap …

Warriors

Today was our day for visiting the terracotta warriors in Xi'An. Constructed by the Emperor as his defence against pretty much everything after death, they were long forgotten and buried. And then one day some random Chinese Farmer decided to dig a well on his property, and dug up rather more than he was expecting! …

The Hutong and a train

Today we woke up and made a short Excursion to the old quarter of Beijing known as the Hutong. We travelled there by tricycle rickshaw. I always love walking through old Beijing with its courtyard houses and the morning activity as people wake up and begin the day. We noticed some rather exciting doggies out …

Wall Day

Today was one of our big-ticket items. A visit to the Great Wall of China, at Mutianyu. We stopped on the way for a demonstration of what is no one here as Cloisonné. (Think Ming vases and you're in the right place). I've been admiring these two rather splendid dragon lion things for some time. …

Beijing Day

So, we've arrived. We spent the first day recovering from the flight and I got through the welcome meeting without falling asleep and talking rubbish, always a good start I feel; or possibly not. Maybe I dreamedthe whole thing! Yesterday we visited the primary Beijing sites. It doesn't matter how much I try to explain …

Turning Chinese Again

For the final time this year I'm off to China on tour. I quite like doing this complicated tour repeatedly. I don't have to worry so much about the logistics since I know how to make the tour work; that means I can concentrate more on the people. I've phoned ahead to make sure that …

National Day in China

On 01st October 1949, Seventy years ago today, Chairman Mao Zedong announced the birth of the PRC after the Communist Party of China defeated the ruling Kuomintang. https://youtu.be/UvgLUGRhuwU The last Tour that I took was to China (just got back on Thursday, so still a tiny bit jet-lagged) and the rehearsals and preparations for the …

Shanghai and Home

I've been busy again. We had a rapid Tour of Shanghai and then the flight home, from where I'm writing this! (Tired but conscious) We started the day in Shanghai with a visit to the Jade Buddha Temple. I love this place because it contrasts the old and new Shanghai, while being a small lake …

16 Sons

I'm sorry to be so slow getting things out. Connectivity is a real issue on a ship in a river gorge and since we have finished our cruise we have been on the move continuously. As I write, I'm sitting in a Shanghai hotel room with not much time before I meet the clients, so …

Random China Things

So much has happened during the last couple of days that I thought I would just throw up some photos as we go along and explain them one by one. I'm now on a ship on the Yangtze River, cruising from Chonqing to Yichang so bandwidth is rather limited for uploading Blog Posts. I thought …

A Day In Chengdu

Thought I'd put up some random photos to give an idea of day-to-day life in a Chinese city. Let's start with road traffic, which can best be described as anarchic. Stop lights are purely advisory and traffic can travel in both directions on the same side of the road. There are an awful lot of …

A Pagoda, A Train & A New City

We left Xi'An this afternoon, but first we visited the Small Goose Pagoda for a gentle stroll and a chance to search for inner peace and tranquility (Couldn't find it unfortunately - think I left mine on the bus). While we were there our Local Guide Jason ran some of our group through some basic …

Xi’An

Okay, another busy day today. The header picture for this page shows our local guide Jason and I taking five minutes relaxation together. Not something that happens that often.To start with we visited the terracotta army. Pictures below.The best is an amazing thing, which is that we got to watch a warrior being dug up …

Travel Day

Today was a travel day, from Bei Jing to Xi'An. Getting 44 people on and off trains and managing bags and hotel transfers is a fairly exhausting process so tonight I'm a little bit shattered. Today we made an early visit to a Bei Jing Hutong, a residential area in the oldest part fo the …

The Great Wall and Beijing is getting a bit weird

We made an early start today to drive out to see The Great Wall of China, one of the modern Wonders of the World. A cable car took us up to the top where the clients enjoyed a couple of hours of free time to explore before descending for lunch. God did us a favour …

Beijing

We arrived in Beijing yesterday. The group originated from many different places, with some flying with me from London, others coming in from the UK on different regional flights and of course we are joined by some Travel Marvel clients from Australia & New Zealand. I set up a Welcome Meeting in our hotel last …