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Arthurian tour for Chinese visitors

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Planning an Arthurian tour for Chinese visitors to the UK is my task for autumn 2017 – today the final day of August I am making a start. Sites associated with tales of King Arthur proliferate in that area of southwest England known as Wessex. One of these locations is where Merlin commissioned the smith […]

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Called to a shooting

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  Called to a film shoot in the far south-west corner of China close to Burma, my acting pedigree had landed me a role as General Merril the leader of a special forces group operating behind Japanese lines in Burma in World War Two.   My character was subordinate to Field Marshall Stillwell played by […]

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Chinese teaching tips in Moravia

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Three days of lectures about teaching Chinese, curtesy of Chinet, had me travel to Palacky university in Olomouc eastern Czech. My interest had been especially aroused when I learned that most of the presentations were to be given by staff from the university in Taiwan at which I studied twenty years ago.   The first […]

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Little & Mini Three Gorges cruise

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Departing from Wushan, the ‘Little Three Gorges’ cruise is an enjoyable day-long excursion up a tributary of the Yangste river. It includes such curiosities as suspended ‘iron coffins’, and holes in the sheer cliff-face bearing witness to an ancient plank walkway. Rock formations include ‘Fairy Maiden Cave’ and ‘Fairy Throwing a Silk Ball’. Whilst the […]

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Canyon is the new mountain

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Enshi Grand Canyon Bit of a cockup on the naming front regarding this mountain crest in central China. There is a canyon, but it is narrow, hardly ‘grand’. Close to the cablecar’s lower station, a path leads down into this fissure, but it is a paultry affair compared with the splendour awaiting at the top. […]

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Around Lugu Lake

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Nestling in the mountains that straddle the border of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, Lugu Lake is somewhat off the beaten track. Consequently, it wasn’t until my fifth visit to southwest China that I finally made my way there. According to Wikipedia, following an illicit meeting between a promiscuous goddess and a god,

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Red Cultural Working Team encounter

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In mid autumn the overnight train from Urumchi disgorges passengers at its penultimate stop around dawn. A fleet of buses trundles us onward the few miles into an urban centre. We have arrived at Bole the principal town of Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. There is a nip in the air, […]

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River Yili locked by land

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  Having yet to bathe in a river that never makes it to the sea, I could not resist a visit to the one river that flows out of China yet fails to reach the ocean.       So I get to Xinjiang province in China’s far west, and take a bus from Yining […]

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Break on the steppe at Barkul

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Testing the waters to ascertain how easy or difficult it is as a foreigner to make my way round China on public transport, I’d succeeded in traveling way out west to Yining where the waters drain westward out of China’s Xinjiang province, and into Kazhakstan. Now three days into the trail back eastward I had arrived in […]

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Gejiu: like Geneva, but in China

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Southeastern Yunnan’s Honghe prefecture borders Vietnam, and is bisected by the Red river, from which the area gets its name HONG meaning ‘red’, and HE ‘river’. Aside from the narrow Red river valley, which is generally hot and tropical, this part of Yunnan has a comfortable climate and much very pleasant scenery – a place […]

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