Archives For travel

In Beijing, there are many options for transportation even if you don’t own your own car. Obviously, you can walk or take a bike, but many other options exist too. For those who want to avoid some of the street level traffic, you can utilize the subway system. The streets also offer many different types of taxis. You have your traditional cars, smaller bicycle-powered chariots, and motorcycles that are converted into small carts with a cabin mounted on the motorcycle. As with most major cities around the world, Beijing offers an extensive bus system as well.

Today I wanted us to focus on the trolley type of buses used in Beijing. They have long arms extending from the body of the bus to the cables running along the roads above the streets, and they can hold more people than you would think!

Transportation Options in Beijing

Honestly, with all of the cables and wires above the streets, I have no idea of how these keep from getting tangled with other cables, but they don’t. As you can see in the photograph below, the bodies of the trolleys are shaped very similar to a bus.

Transportation Options in Beijing

From someone who once lived in Beijing in the summer, take it from me: when the buses are crowded on a hot day, they can be stifling inside! You can see what I mean in the picture below! I did feel sorry for the lady by the window, as she looked quite cramped and in need of a fresh gulp of air.

Transportation Options in Beijing

One very interesting thing I have seen on buses in Beijing is what I call “slinky” buses. By that, I mean they are extremely long buses, like two buses connected by a flexible middle section. Not only is that impressive, but some of these buses actually have old hardwood floors! I have never seen that on a bus before!

If you use common sense, you should feel safe on the public transportation in Beijing.  I have never had a problem traveling there, and hopefully you won’t either!

Enjoy the trip!

 

The city where I taught at a university in China is full of old charm and culture. Although the population is nearing two million people, it still has some unique and treasured relics and culture. I know this very well about one of my favorite cities in the world — but would you like to see one of the recent surprises it showed me?

The Workhorse of the Skies

I can’t imagine how old this plane is! Can you see the two sets of wings? Maybe that helps date it. The diameter of the engine of this plane is huge, so I believe it must have a lot of power. I apologize for the quality of this photograph, but it was raining and I had to take the picture through tinted glass.

This area is an agricultural area, so the farmers need rain. I know that China practices cloud-seeding to produce rain, so perhaps this old workhorse of a plane is used for that. It looks like the cloud-seeding had worked very well this day!

For those of us that enjoy aviation, this was a very cool plane to see. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to travel who can, because you never know what interesting things you may see or do!

What’s the most interesting place you’ve traveled to recently?

 

 

If you have read many of my blogs, you know that I love the people of China, their culture, and their food.  Sometimes when I am with Chinese friends and we are eating, I will let them order, but I won’t ask what something is that I don’t recognize. After I taste it, then I will ask what it is, because I want to be open minded about the new food item.

Here is a picture of one items that I didn’t recognize, but enjoyed eating. Do you recognize this item?

What Do Dragons Have To Do With Food?

If you are like me and don’t know what this food is, it is called Dragon Fruit. To prepare Dragon Fruit for eating, you must remove the colorful exterior and then you will find a very interesting looking and delicious fruit. Do you want to know what this fruit looks like?

What Do Dragons Have To Do With Food?

The fruit is pretty firm and delicious. I assume the black flecks are seeds, but I could be wrong about that. Regardless, this is a very interesting looking fruit both on the inside and outside, and it is yummy!

I want to encourage everyone to sample different foods from different cultures. You never know when you will come across something as interesting and delicious as Dragon Fruit!

What’s the most unusual foreign food you’ve ever tried?

What do you do after flying across 12 time zones and you have to wait on a connecting flight as you try to stay awake? I like to walk around the airport and look for interesting sights. Something that I can consistently find at the Beijing Capital Airport is unique paint jobs on the aircraft taxing around the buildings!

Interesting Paint Jobs at the Beijing Airport - Air China

Often I can find new designs or bold colors, like the aircraft above. Then again, I may find some interesting logo or flags.

Interesting Paint Jobs at the Beijing Airport

I have seen planes painted to look like a dragon, and I have seen another painted canary yellow, which really caught my eye.

Interesting Paint Jobs at the Beijing Airport

Yes, I can find some interesting paint jobs! And I apologize for the quality of the photos — they are taken through a window, and the air quality in Beijing can be an issue at times.

As I watch the planes take off and land, I think about how many pounds of thrust the engines must produce to get that much weight going fast enough for the required lift to take place to get the plane off the ground. Fascinating to me, but some travelers never want to think about that aspect of their flight’s safety.

What do you find most interesting about air travel today?

There are sights to see almost everywhere we look, even at an airport in a country where you have visited many times. If you have followed my blog posts, you will know that I not only encourage people to travel, but to have a camera ready when they do travel.

So, there I was standing in the security line at the airport when I noticed the most unique backpack I think I have ever seen being carried by an adult! It truly caught me by surprise, and since I am a dog lover, I liked it very much! Check it out below!

unexpected-sights-backpack

Another image that caught my eye not long after getting through the security line at the Beijing Capital Airport was for marketing. I think most of us know who Michael Phelps is, and apparently so do the people in China. After the scandal that rocked the Olympic Swimming Team, it is good to see that some are rewarded for not “messing things up!”

unexpected-sights-marketing-sign

Don’t forget, travel when and where you can, and have your camera ready.

I regret not capturing some of the sights I have seen, because I didn’t have a camera with me and ready to use. There have been many other mistakes I have made, so keep reading my blog posts and you can learn from my mistakes!

What’s the most interesting sight you’ve seen — that you missed a chance to get a picture of, because you didn’t have your camera ready?

During my last trip to China, the traffic was horrible as we came back from the area where the Great Wall is. Our driver was doing his best to dodge the busy intersections, so we took some streets I had never seen before. Below you can see one of the surprises I saw on that trip!

Have Your Camera Ready!

Can you imagine my surprise when I saw this military jet mounted outside this cluster of buildings? Thankfully I had my camera out and ready, and I was able to quickly take this photograph as we passed the jet.

Honestly, I have no idea why the jet was displayed in this area. It didn’t seem like we were near any military bases, and I know we weren’t close to the airport, so I was baffled. Additionally, the streets seemed very normal with ordinary street scenes as we passed.

I consider myself fortunate to have gotten this picture, even though it isn’t very clear. It isn’t every day that I get to see an aircraft like this! It would be my encouragement to everyone traveling to keep their cameras ready — because, like me, you never know what you might see!

During my last visit to China, I was in a rush going to my gate at the airport. However, something caught my eye. The walls of the long corridors leading to the gates had some huge and beautiful murals on them. I wished I had some time to stop and admire them, but I didn’t. (Well, actually as it turns out I did, but I didn’t know it at the time. This is a story for another day!)

Some of these murals were of typical sights in China and others were from very recognizable locations. I apologize for the quality of the photos but, like I said, I was in a hurry to get to my gate.

Hopefully you will enjoy these photos as much as I did. This was a pleasant surprise in the airport. I hope you can recognize the Great Wall of China!

Airport Murals 1

Airport Murals 2

Airport Murals 3

Airport Murals 4

Airport Murals 5

To read more stories about the airports in China – click here.

 

One of the things that I try to avoid when I am traveling is being in a hurry to get to a flight. On a recent trip through China, I was unable to give myself the additional time before a flight because security took much longer than anticipated. As we approached our gate, we got their only to learn we would have a slight delay in boarding. As I looked around, there were many families also waiting to board. I can only imagine how horrible those words must sound to people traveling with children. I wondered how you can entertain children at an airport? There is limited space, no toys and a lot of impatient people all around.

TravelChildren1Soon I found two young boys that seemed happy about our delay. I thought that it was a great idea for the parents to give them airplanes to play with. If the children had any hesitation about flying, I am sure having planes to play with helped. Also, having the lights with multiple colors illuminating the planes truly caught the children’s eyes. The boys chose an open area to play, and they didn’t disturb any of the other passengers.

TravelChildren2Once we boarded the plane, I introduced myself to my aisle mate. She didn’t seem too happy about having a foreigner sitting so close to her, but I think she eventually accepted my bald head, blue eyes, and big nose. After using a weird looking guy like me for entertainment, her grandmother found another way to occupy the little girl’s attention. Sometimes you don’t need a toy or anything else to hold the attention of a child and keep them quiet.

As you can see in the picture below, sometimes all you need is a window! I am sure a young mind can find many interesting and new things to see at an airport, just ask my new little friend!TravelChildren3

Surprised by Linyi!

February 2, 2016 — Leave a comment

Recently I went through Terminal 2 at the Beijing Airport, and I couldn’t believe what I saw. Once I made it through security, there was a hall that led you to your gate. The wall on the far side of the hall had this picture on it!

surprised

I Couldn’t Believe My Eyes

There aren’t many places on the earth that are as special to me as Linyi, China. When I first went there in 2002, the population was probably around 500,000, and it wasn’t considered a major city by any means. In fact, many people would probably think of it as more of an agricultural area than an important city.

The next year I was teaching at the University in Linyi, and I grew to love the city and its citizens. It would be hard for me to think of someone I met that wasn’t nice, kind, and helpful. Believe me, when you don’t speak the language, those are the people you want around you!

My sleepy little Linyi has blossomed and grown into a city of well over a million people, and I am happy for their success. I must give the leadership of Linyi credit, because they have done a fantastic job of developing the city. Where fish camps and trash dumps once were, now you have beautiful parks lining the river, so the progress is very impressive! Here is a picture of the same river you see in the picture above taken a few years earlier.

fc1

I am very proud to say I have lived in Linyi, and it is one of the main reasons I consider China my second home. Congratulations to Linyi and all of the kind hearted and hardworking people living there for getting some well-deserved recognition. I still couldn’t believe the massive sign when I saw it!

On my last trip to China, I had two friends with me, and they have both been to China multiple times. They are both truly world travelers, one is even a flight attendant. All of that is to say that even if you think you know “the system” for packing, you can be surprised.

As we checked in at the airline’s counter at Terminal 2 in Beijing, we were stopped. Apparently something in our luggage had caused a problem, and we had to wait for a person with more authority to come and tell us what was wrong. When you have a connecting flight to catch, have already had to go through customs, get your luggage, exchange money, take a shuttle to another terminal, and get checked in for your flight, you don’t want any problems. Oh and did I mention the 14 hour flight we had already taken just to get to Beijing? So, you might say my state of mind wasn’t the best it could be, and now we had to wait for the security guy to approve their luggage.

The issue was the battery charging sticks in their checked luggage. They are frowned upon by the security people in China. Here is a picture of my friends going through their luggage at the check in counter trying to find what was causing the problem within their luggage.

BatteryChargers

We were told that the battery charging sticks should not be in the checked luggage. It was necessary for them to be in our carry on luggage. So, on the return trip home at the airport, my friends had their battery charging sticks in their carry on luggage, and they were stopped again! This time we almost missed our flight because it took so long to get through all of the issues the security personnel had in relation to the battery charging sticks. My advice is don’t travel with any battery charging sticks if you are traveling within China!