NEW 5-PART SERIES STARTS MONDAY!

Sorry for the all caps. I’m just so excited about this series. You’ve been hearing me mention it all week. So what is it? The series is a the complete history of China (abridged).

What?!? You say. China has been around in some form for thousands of years. How can you cover everything in a 5-part series? You are correct, which is why it’s the abridged version of China’s History.

Why do a series on history at all?!? To better understand China and her people. I’m not naive enough to think that you can learn everything there is to know about China from a 5 part series. This is true. That’s why it’s abridged! It covers the important stuff.

Ok, but that’s a lot of info to cover; how are you going to break it down?!? Good question. Ancient China, Imperial China 1, 2, and 3 and Modern China. It’ll make more sense next week.

Enjoy the weekend and come back on Monday ready to learn!

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Overcoming Olympic Obstacles

As I said yesterday, there are lots of people going to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and one needs to be prepared for it. I listed several discouraging facts about the Games next year. Here is a quick recap:

  • 2008 Beijing Olympics will be the most highly attended in history! Good for the Olympics, bad for me.
  • Several hotels (including at least one that isn’t built yet) are already completely booked during August next year. And those that have space are jacking up their prices four times the usual amount.
  • There are 286,000 hotel rooms in the area but 2 to 3 million visitors coming. Not sure where they are all going to stay (myself included).
  • Flights to Beijing are rising in price tenfold. There just aren’t enough seats to fill the needs of travelers.
  • Tickets to the Games are hard to come by. The first phase of ticket sales has already passed. I missed it by a few weeks!

And here are my thoughts…

1. Yes, the Games might be the highest attendance ever, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Look forward to meeting a lot of interesting people from different places around the world and collectively being part of something that happens only once every four years.
2 and 3. It’s true there are so many hotel rooms. But who says you have to stay in a hotel!?!? There’s hostels, couchsurfing.com, friend’s apartments and friend’s of friend’s apartments and for who truly know no one in Beijing, there’s www.homestaybeijing2008.com. A truly ambitious local from Beijing organizes renting someone’s house/apartment/space room next August. If you must stay in a hotel, work right now with a Travel Agent to find the best deal.
4. Flights are going to be expensive. You’ll just have to budget for that. But there are ways around it. Try flying to another city other than Beijing. Then training, boating, flying to the Games. You’ll not only get to the Games cheaper, you’ll see some of China’s beautiful country side.
5. The first phase has passed, but the 2nd phase of ticket sales begin in October so be ready! In the US, tickets are sold through CoSport.com.

Hopefully, I’ve put you back on track to getting to the Games next summer. I feel like each of those bullets could be expanded into a post on their own. Keep checking here at Crouching China for some more in depth info on those topics. That’s all for now.

Bigwhiteguy.com

bwg.pngToday I’m going to focus on a blog of someone that is living in or near China. It’ll hopefully give me (and you) a taste for what it’s like over there. BigWhieGuy.com is a blog written by “The Foreign Devil” also known as Randall. He’s a straight shooting 41 year old from Canada.

BigWhiteGuy is a writer and photographer. He takes great photos, but his true talent comes in relating what it’s like living in Hong Kong as a foreigner, especially, one who is 6’2″. His Tales of the BWG are priceless and a must read for anyone interested in Hong Kong. These are a collection of his observations and essays on living in HK, it’s culture and his transition from a someone “fresh off the boat” to a local.

In addition to writing and photography, he has several other services including a friend finder service, job postings, and air/water purification. BWG is definitely someone you want to look up if you ever find yourself in Hong Kong.

Quick Weather Update

It’s raining and 73 degrees in Beijing today. Humidity is at 94%!!! Keep in mind its only 7:30am over there, and the high today should be 93 degrees! Wow, that’s a bit toasty.

I’m not the only one going to Beijing?!?

As I was reading an article in the WSJ last week describing the Olympics and all of the attention it is getting, I came to the disheartening conclusion that I’m not the only going to see the Olympics.  I realize that that is an obvious statement.  Here are some sobering facts from the article:

  •  2008 Beijing Olympics will be the most highly attended in history! Good for the Olympics, bad for me.
  • Several hotels (including at least one that isn’t built yet) are already completely booked during August next year. And those that have space are jacking up their prices four times the usual amount.
  •  There are 286,000 hotel rooms in the area but 2 to 3 million visitors coming. Not sure where they are all going to stay (myself included).
  • Flights to Beijing are rising in price tenfold. There just aren’t enough seats to fill the needs of travelers.
  • Tickets to the Games are hard to come by.  The first phase of ticket sales has already passed. I missed it by a few weeks!

Hopefully, I haven’t dissuaded you from going to the Olympics yet. But one does needs to have plan. Tomorrow I’ll post some ways to overcome these discouraging facts.

Unusual Hotels from around the World

Though this blog focuses on China, I came across this article last week and couldn’t pass up posting on it. Miss Cellania from Mentalfloss.com lists 8 hotels that are unique, amazing and just plain strange. Check out the article for pictures of each hotel.

The Ice Hotel – Found in Sweden, it offers a completely bone chilling experience; even the beds are made from ice! This hotel is rebuilt (or should I say carved!?) every year.

Cabañas Copal Hotel Tulum – This bare bones escape in the Caribbean is a must for anyone who can do without electricity, gas, water, telephones and air conditioning. From the beautiful picture, I think I could suffer through it.

Wild Canopy Reserve -Straight out of a Swiss Family Robinson story, this tree house hotel has running water and a working toilet. And it’s 41 feet above the ground! It’s in India.

Jules’ Undersea Lodge – A truly unique experience, the only way to get to this undersea lodge in Florida is to scuba dive. It has 2 bedrooms, a common room (kitchen), and a full bathroom. Too bad I don’t scuba dive.

Dromoland Castle – A luxurious castle, originally an Irish stronghold in the 11th century, there is over a 1000 years of history in the surrounding area. And there is even a golf course!

Das Park Hotel -The complete opposite of a castle is this drainpipe you can rent for the night in Austria. This ultimate simple residence gives you a once in a lifetime opportunity. The best part? You pay ‘what you wish’.

Gamirasu Cave Hotel – This Turkish former monastery has several rooms built underground. Most of the rooms are of the above ground variety.

Propeller Island City Lodge – Perhaps the strangest hotel on the list, this Berlin establishment has a different theme for each room. Not too strange until you see the picture below of the Coffin Themed room.

coffin.jpg

That’s it for unusual Hotels from around the world. Tomorrow I promise I’ll post something China related. Have a great day!

Mandarin of the week

Starting today, each MondayI will post a word or phrase in Mandarin that you should know. Let’s start off with an easy phrase, and it’s only one word!

How to say “hello” in mandarin

It’s spelled like this—–> Ni hao

It sounds like this ——> “Nee Haow”

And is looks like this –>mandarin-hello.gif

That’s it for today’s ‘Mandarin of the Week’. Please let me know if I mis-spell/mis-translate anything or if you would like to suggest a word or phrase of the week. Thanks.