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Jia Pingwa's new novel, Ji Hua, tells the story of a woman who is freed after three years after being kidnapped. The author, who won the Mao Dun Literature Prize, China's top literary award, for his earlier novel Qin Qiang (Qinqiang Opera), has named his latest book after an imaginary flower, which has later found to be the Chinese caterpillar fungus. Ji Hua is the tale of Hu Die, a girl from a poor rural family who accompanies her single mother to the city. Jia is among China's most influential contemporary writers, and his books have been translated into many languages, including English, French, German, Russian, Japanese and Korean.
Ji Hua was written based on a real-life story that Jia had heard from a resident of Xi'an, in Northwest China's Shaanxi province, a decade ago. Jia, who also comes from a rural family, then began to focus on population thinning in rural areas of China. Several years ago, in many remote villages in Shaanxi, the number of residents fell so much that the villages were merged into one. Many women who go to the cities with their husbands either divorce or abandon them, fearing the prospect of returning to the poor villages. The situation reminded Jia of the story about the abducted girl, and resulted in the new novel of around 200 pages - his shortest - using a concept he borrowed from Chinese ink painting, an art form in which he also excels.
Instead of depicting pure good and evil, his book creates an organic image of a remote village in his home province, where challenging living conditions present many complexities.
Chinese author Liang Hong, who is known for her works about the Chinese countryside, says for her, Ji Hua isn't about an abducted woman, but more about how to communicate with the land. According to Chen Xiaoming, a professor of Chinese literature at Peking University, Jia's writing is both about wronged women of rural China and the living conditions there. The author writes about the villages that have been deserted for the cities - villages with history, beauty and vitality. The novel is a mix of realism, magical realism and many other avant-garde writing techniques. Since the novel was first published, it has set a record as a contemporary literary work, with about 2 million copies sold in China, according to People's Literature Publishing House. In 2010, the novel was adapted into a film of the same name directed by Wang Quan'an and starring Zhang Fengyi, Zhang Yuqi and Duan Yihong.
Feng Jicai, another highly accomplished writer, says in a message of condolence: "Chen scaled the highest peak of Chinese contemporary literature. Chang Zhenjia, 72, an editor at People's Literature Publishing House for more than 30 years, read the first edition of White Deer Plain and published the first review of the novel.
Karl Schlecht, the 83-year-old sponsor of the China Center at Germany's Tubingen University.
Wide-eyed students flocked around Karl Schlecht as he prepared to tuck into spring rolls and steamed buns after speaking at the opening of Tubingen University's China Center in Germany.
The food went untouched until the 83-year-old had finished chatting and posing for pictures with his wellwishers. Sporting a bright-red tie, white shirt and double-breasted navy-blue suit, and wearing thin-rimmed glasses, he looked and sounded more like the students' favorite grandpa than a benefactor who once ruled a construction machinery empire that helped build the world's tallest skyscrapers.
Born in a small Swabian town near Stuttgart in 1932, Schlecht learned to mix and lay mortar and concrete from his father, a master plasterer. While studying at the Technical University of Stuttgart in the late 1950s, the young Schlecht answered his father by designing an automated mortar machine, which he assembled in his garage.
Before graduating college, Schlecht started a company that would help change the face of civil engineering, riding on the crest of Europe's post-war construction boom. In 2012, Schlecht astonished the world by selling the empire he had built single-handedly to a Chinese rival, Sany Heavy Industries, for a reported 560 million euros ($643 million).
Schlecht insists it was the right deal, and all the proceeds went to his charitable foundation. In addition to his charitable causes, Schlecht now serves as an adviser to Sany's chairman, once China's richest man. One of the first tips the German offered to Putzmeister's new owner came from an unexpected source: Confucius. According to the German businessman, Confucius underlines essential elements of true entrepreneurship: trust, honesty, tolerance, love and responsibility.
After the takeover, Schlecht persuaded Liang to become a joint patron of the World Ethics Institute at Peking University. He now devotes most of his time to his charitable foundation, KSG, which has a long list of projects, including clean energy research and good leadership.
Schlecht says the China Center at Tubingen, which is 30 minutes' drive from where he assembled his first mortar machine, was founded with an ideal: to make students aware of each other's history and of the forces that propelled China to become the world's second-largest economy within a generation.
A voracious reader, he goes to bed to re-read Erich Fromm's The Art of Love or maybe a John Rockefeller biography. The 29-year-old, who moved to the UK at age 15 to pursue his snooker dream, narrowly missed out on unseating Mark Selby from his world No 1 spot in a gripping final of the World Championship at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre. It was another landmark in a career in which Ding has served as China's standard-bearer in a sport that has undergone a rapid growth of interest and participation.
Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, says snooker was already huge in China. In addition to Ding, players such as Zhou Yuelong, Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong are likely to become a lot more familiar over the next decade, as will others competing in a sport that attracts 100 million TV viewers at home.
During this year's final it was announced that the World Snooker Championship will stay in Sheffield until at least 2027. Ding, whose record at the World Championship was poor before this year, says: "Five years ago I reached the semifinals, and this year I made it one step further. Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry applauded Ding, saying he is at a different level from most others. Nowhere else in the world has one single humble bean given rise to such a large range of different foods, from juices, pickles, preserves, seasonings, custard to cakes of different textures, and finally, fertilizer. According to legend, it was indeed alchemy that led to the discovery of bean curd, more commonly known as tofu.
Throughout Chinese history, those who ruled often were afraid of death, losing all they had gathered, or of having to leave all that power and glory. In their attempts, they drew water from the region's natural springs and cooked ground up soybeans to create a base for that elusive pill. That was more than 2,000 years ago, and in the interim, bean curd has become one of the most important ingredients China has contributed to the world. As the Chinese ventured out, they brought the culture of bean curd with them, so much so that it took on a life of its own, adapting to the cuisines of various countries from Japan and Korea in the north to the Malay and Indonesian archipelagos to the south.
Various forms of bean curd and its derivatives, too, have become the backbone of vegetarian cuisine in the global meatless movement. Soybean products are a good source of vegetable protein, and after being processed, most no longer have that embarrassing side effect that made the bean itself so unpopular - flatulence. One of the best breakfasts you can have in China is a piping hot bowl of soft bean curd, called doufunao in the north and doufuhua in the south. The northerners prefer a savory version, dousing their soft bean curd with a brown sauce often laced with strips of mushrooms and a few dried daylily buds.
No one cooks tofu better than the chefs who specialize in Huainan cuisine, right from the region where it was first invented.
Here, tender blocks of tofu challenge the knife skills of chefs who float strands as thin as hair in rich chicken stock.
Soft blocks of tofu are also steamed to retain their original bean flavor, and may be drizzled with soy sauce or oyster sauce and garnished with a sprinkle of chopped spring onions. Cubes of a harder version may be deep-fried into puffs and then stuffed with a fish paste to create a dish popular with the Hakka community - niangdoufu. Or the curds may be aged and fermented to create that notorious snack that has the uninitiated holding their noses. In the Jiangsu-Zhejiang region, stinky tofu is legendary, having made it into literary classics such as native son Lu Xun's works.
Across the Straits, Taiwan's famous night markets must have at least one or two stinky tofu stalls. Back in my Yunnan, slightly fermented tofu is sold at breakfast stalls, sprinkled with chopped peanuts, chili sauce and cilantro.
Tender tofu and soft fish paste in custard translate to a dish suitable for both grandparents and grandchildren.
This is a dish that contrasts the simple texture of the silken tofu with the stronger flavors of the spicy mince.
Spread mince and sauce mix evenly over block of tofu and steam for 15 minutes on high heat.
They are white, chubby and have sprigs on their heads - and Chinese social media can't get enough of them.
Roughly half the population has conveyed some kind of emotion with a Budding Pop emoji on WeChat, the instant-messaging app, making them one of the most popular in the world. Many of them hope this fame will lead to financial rewards, too, as it means they can potentially produce books for fans to buy as well as sell the rights for their characters to companies for marketing purposes. He says the way his team works is similar to the Japanese cartoon industry: artists design an original image and others contribute ideas to update the series.
Zhong Wei in the northeast city of Shenyang has been drawing cartoons since 2014 and has published two picture books. Zhong has released three collections of the emoji via the instant-messaging app since August last year.
China's emoji craze is rooted in Japan's kawaii (cute) and otaku (outsider) movements, he explains. Shi Donglin, 23, creator of the Freezing Gal emoji, believes the ultra-short animations can also help bring light relief at tense or embarrassing moments.
Freezing Gal, which has dark skin and a ponytail, is based on her experiences in college and is popular among students. Unlike traditional cartoonists, who generally created characters before selling stories to magazines or publishing houses, Shi launched her career via social media.
She says she will continue to make emojis and has now started on a series of picture books featuring Freezing Gal. Cashing in while a character is hot is important, according to Xu Han, the artist behind Ali the red fox, another popular character.
Wang at 12 Buildings agrees that it is hard to guarantee longevity, but he believes the internet provides opportunities for budding Chinese illustrators to work with major brands that would previously have opted for foreign talent. Budding Pop is now featured in promotions by Procter & Gamble, the multinational consumer goods company, while smartphone maker Xiaomi is using Freezing Gal to reach new buyers. Xu is a good model for any modern Chinese illustrator: first came the character, then picture books and emojis, and then online shops selling merchandise. Ali originally appeared online and in magazines in 2006, but only after making his debut on instant-messaging app WeChat last year did the character gain mass appeal.
The fourth installment, Carrousel Garden, published in March, sees Ali encounter characters from Western fairy tales, such as the Little Prince, Pinocchio and the Ugly Duckling. Even if Chinese artists can gain exposure through the internet and social media, he says building a brand is not easy. During his six years in the job, he says there has been a noticeable increase in men in kindergarten classrooms, but there are still hurdles to attracting more. Chen Yilang and a student strike a kung fu pose at the China Welfare Institute Kindergarten in Shanghai.
So are education officials, who have moved to act in recent years in the fear that Chinese schools are producing effeminate boys. Despite relaxing the college admission requirements for men seeking to study preschool education, as well as offering scholarships that come with a guarantee of full-time employment, the number of men entering the field has remained low.
In Shanghai, for example, just 200 of the more than 53,000 teachers at 2,000 kindergartens were men in 2014, according to the city's education commission. Industry insiders say the biggest hurdles are the general perception that teaching preschool is for women and the relatively low salaries that are offered to educators. Chen Yilang, who works at the same kindergarten as Gao, says most people in his job earn about 55,000 yuan ($8,400; 7,500 euros) a year, which is roughly 10,000 yuan lower than the city average in 2014. Education experts believe the gender imbalance at preschools could have a serious social impact, as this stage of education can be critical to the forming of a young person's character. Feng Wei, the principal of the China Welfare Institute Kindergarten, argues that the shortage of male teachers has led to an increase in boys who are shy and timid. The typical family environment in China has also played a role, she says, as mothers are expected to raise the children while fathers bring home the bacon. To address the problem, authorities need to focus on promoting respect, says Shi Bin, director of the Fundamental Education Development Center at Shanghai Normal University.
Parents are noticing, too, and some are already taking action to "toughen up" their sons by enrolling them in team sports and activities. China Welfare Institute Kindergarten has been recruiting male teachers since the late 1990s.
The distinct teaching methods employed by the male and female teachers "are a perfect complement" and help to provide children with a holistic learning experience, according to Feng. Gao, for example, says he tries to reinforce "masculine qualities" through physical activities such as making students climb orange trees to pick the fruit.
Wang Jiaming, another male teacher at the school, agrees that it is important to have a mix of male and female educators involved in a child's education. Chen adds that male teachers prefer to let children obtain physical knowledge and abilities through frequent sporting activities.
Strange as it may seem, carving fruit pits - or drupes, pips, seeds, and nuts if you prefer - goes back centuries. Crafting peach and apricot pits walnut shells, and even olive seeds into Buddha figurines, jewelry and landscapes has been practiced at least since the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). Yun's most famous pieces express a sense of active realism, often are praised for the sense of life he gives to his subjects, which sometimes are celebrities. Located in the heart of the city and well known for its labyrinth of alleys, Tianzifang was built where abandoned factories from the 1940s and historical Shikumen residential buildings from the 1920s once stood.
Yu Hai, a professor of sociology at Fudan University who has studied Tianzifang since its inception nearly 20 years ago, says it is a shame that the true charm of the area has been lost in the modernization process. This used to be a place where people can savor the essence of old Shanghai, and one that was slated to become a community for people from the creative industries. Zheng Rongfa, the former administrative head of the Dapuqiao area which Taikang Road is under, recalls how Tianzifang used to be a vibrant place filled with the sounds and smells coming from the homes of Shanghainese families.
In 1998, Zheng kicked off the project to turn the area into a hub for the cultural industry. In 1999, Chen Yifei, a world-renowned Chinese painter, and several other artists set up studios in the old factories on Lane 210 along Taikang Road, creating a cluster of more than 200 culture and art venues. One year later, the sub-district government leased the remaining spaces to a sole proprietor named Wu Meisheng. Fortunately, thanks to the intervention of Zheng and a group of his supporters, Tianzifang emerged unscathed. According to statistics provided by Yu, 100 million square meters of old buildings in Shanghai were torn down between the early 1990s and 2008 to make way for modern ones. However, the Shanghai government has also been striving to preserve traditional architecture, turning many old estates into zones for creative industries. According to statistics from the municipal government, there were 87 zones hosting creative industries and 52 parks for cultural industries at the end of 2013. Following this incident, Zheng realized that the residents from neighboring lanes needed to band together to help expand the size of Tianzifang in order to boost the significance of the area.
However, he says that he had done so only because the 3,500 yuan ($540) he charged for rent would go a long way in helping with his living expenses - he was only getting 300 yuan every month from his retirement pension. In the past decade, more than 500 households have followed in Zhou's footsteps to convert their houses to non-residential units.
While the interiors of many of the buildings have since been renovated and given a new coat of paint, the old brick facades from which Tianzifang gets its charm, are still very much intact. Laundry would hang from balconies as new-age music spilled through windows of boutique shops on the ground floor. In 2008, the government took over Tianzifang and shifted the focus from developing the place into an art and culture hub to commercialization, security and property management. As one of the first shop owners to arrive on Lane 274 in 2007, Yan Hongliang, who sells ceramic art designed and produced in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, has witnessed the tremendous changes that have taken place since. Having already struggled to break even in the first few years of his business, the exorbitant rent now has made doing business in Tianzifang unrealistic. Unsurprisingly, Yu's survey reveals that many shop owners have cited the rising rent - it has increased at least ten-fold in 20 years - as the primary reason for relocating. Fabienne Wallenwein, a German PhD student who is enrolled in a one-year exchange program at Fudan University, shares the same sentiment. In the meantime, Zheng Rongfa, the former administrative head, says he can only hope that the government thinks the same way about the future direction of Tianzifang's development. They range from cotton drawers worn by the mother of Queen Victoria (the V&A museum is named for the 19th-century monarch and her husband), to a Swarovski crystal-studded bra and thong. But there are men's unmentionables, too, including 18th-century shirts, which were considered underwear because they were worn next to the skin - only the collars and cuffs could decently be shown.
Curators of the show have emphasized the contribution of female designers and innovators such as Roxey Ann Caplin, whose "health corset" - designed to shape the body without crushing the internal organs - won a medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851.
Waist-constricting corsets run through the exhibition, in versions that range from functional to fetishistic.
Edwina Ehrman, the exhibition's curator, says Lycra was "a fabulous breakthrough" - and a reminder that the evolution of underwear is a story of technology as well as creativity. The exhibition reveals that the line between underwear and outerwear has long been blurred.
Recent years have seen the line blur even further, as tracksuits, onesies and other loungewear moved from the living room onto the streets. But French lingerie designer Fifi Chachnil - whose signature Babyloo playsuit is on display in the exhibition - thinks we will always want to show off our skivvies.
A full scale replica of Dumont's legendary airplane called "14 Bis" sits outside the museum, which is the centerpiece of a revamping of the Rio port area ahead of the Olympic Games starting in 100 days. The Flying Poet is a big exhibit, the first of its kind dedicated to a man who while weighing a mere 50 kilograms was a giant of aviation.
Although perhaps less well known than the Wright brothers in the United States, Dumont is celebrated in Brazil as no less than the true first pilot.
Although this was three years after the Wright brothers' historic flight in North Carolina, his fans argue that only his exploit met the definition of a certified, independently powered flight. It's a polemic rich with nationalism, but what's sure is that Dumont, who has Rio's domestic airport named after him, remains a fascinating figure.
The Franco-Brazilian Dumont, who lived from 1873 to 1932, had a reputation for eccentricity and imagination.
Before his feat in the "14 Bis" he was already famed for flights in balloons and dirigibles, including one he used to moor outside his house in Paris and used to fly to join friends across town. He can also claim to having been one of the first to wear a wrist watch, having asked his friend - none other than the even more famous Louis Cartier - to make him something more practical for telling the time in the air than the traditional pocket watch. The pop-up drone cafe will be serving up all weekend as part of celebrations for the "Dream and Dare" festival marking the 60th anniversary of the Eindhoven University of Technology. The 20 students behind the project, who spent nine months developing and building the autonomous drone, aim to show how such small inside craft could become an essential part of modern daily life.
The drone, nicknamed Blue Jay, which resembles a small white flying saucer with a luminescent strip for eyes, flies to a table and hovers as it takes a client's order, who points to the list to signal what they would like.
The drinks are picked up and carried by a set of pinchers underneath the drone, in a bid to show that these aerial machines could be used to carry out delicate missions such as delivering medicines or even helping to track down burglars.
Each drone has cost about 2,000 euros ($2,293) to build, in a project funded by the university which the students say aims "to give a glimpse of the future". Thanks to sensors and a long battery life they can fly inside buildings and navigate crowded interiors, unlike other drones, which rely on a GPS system.
They believe the drone's applications could be endless: as extinguishers to put out fires, alarm systems to warn of intruders or mini-servants which would respond to commands such as "fetch me an apple". The skimmer is lowered from the rear of the icebreaker, its weight pushing massive pieces of ice under the water and forcing the spilt oil up to the surface, where the sticky black goo can be sucked up. Luckily, this is just a test: as the world's superpowers eye the lucrative Arctic region with growing interest, unprecedented oil spill clean-up tests in icy Finnish conditions reveal just how hazardous and challenging an accident in the Arctic's pristine sea ice could be.
Emergency crews could face total darkness, extreme storms and shifting pack ice, racing against time as the oil puts endangered polar bears, seals and other wildlife at risk. With countries and companies increasingly venturing into the polar region - the melting ice caused by global warming has opened up new shipping routes and potential oil, gas and mineral deposits - the risk of an environmental catastrophe has skyrocketed, worrying ecologists and authorities. Fearing an oil spill in its own heavily-trafficked, ice-covered Baltic Sea, Finnish authorities are racing against the clock to develop an efficient response to an oil spill in icy conditions.
On any other day, Antti Rajaniemi, the 37-year-old captain of Finnish icebreaker "Ahto", would be clearing the way in the country's northern ports, where even the largest vessels can get trapped within hours. A thick layer of solid ice groans and crunches before giving in and breaking into pieces, as the bow of the small but forceful icebreaker forges a path.
Finland's state-owned icebreaking operator Arctia has set itself the goal of being able to recover oil in the harshest of conditions: when a lid of thick ice covers the sea. The shallow waters here provide unique conditions for the tests, with brackish water and thick ice, Arctia said.
While Finland is not an oil producing country, it fears a leaking oil tanker could cause irreparable damage to the Baltic Sea's fragile ecosystem. There are around 350,000 ship crossings a year in the Baltic, even though 45 percent of its surface is covered by ice an average winter. A typical oil spill in water is usually skimmed, dispersed with chemicals, contained with booms or even burnt off. Similar methods could be used in frozen waters, but recovering the oil is severely complicated by the black goo floating under the ice - hidden from sight - which risks mixing with the crushed ice around an icebreaker trying to locate it. As he speaks, engineers brave the mercury at minus 15 C to descend onto the ice, drilling holes to inject harmless red test liquid to mimic oil. Hogstrom says the skimmer deployed from the rear of the vessel was capable of separating oil from ice, but more tests were needed to figure out how to use the icebreaker's propeller flows to suction the oil toward the skimmer. Finland has been developing this technology for 20 years, and a 2015 study by the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers found the method being tested now to be one of the most suitable methods for mechanical recovery. Other technologies being developed elsewhere involve different types of skimmers to collect the oil. In the US and Canada, research has focused on burning off the oil in open water, but that can be difficult in densely packed ice. Environmental organizations like Greenpeace have expressed concerns about the elevated risks of Arctic ventures. Anglo-Dutch oil group Shell abandoned its test drills in Alaska last September and Russia's Rosneft has put its own project in the Kara Sea on hold due to the plunging oil price, but Russian Gazprom Neft and Lukoil continue to drill in Russia's Arctic regions. The research comes amid debate over whether some of the birds flew across the border into Texas and should be listed under the Endangered Species Act. Parrots in US urban areas are just starting to draw attention from scientists because of their intelligence, resourcefulness and ability to adapt. Parrots are thriving today in cities from Los Angeles to Brownsville, Texas, while in the tropics and subtropics, a third of all parrot species are at risk of going extinct because of habitat loss and the pet trade. Most are believed to have escaped from importers or smugglers over the past half-century, when tens of thousands of parrots were brought into the United States from Latin America.
After doing most of his research in places like Peru, Donald Brightsmith is concentrating on the squawking birds nesting in Washingtonian palms lining avenues and roosting in the oak trees in front lawns in South Texas. Brightsmith has received a two-year grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to get an official count on the state's red-crowned parrot population and determine whether threats against them are increasing.
The loud, raucous birds have been shot at by angry homeowners and their young poached from nests. In San Diego, a $5,000 reward is being offered for information on the killings of about a half-dozen parrots found shot this year. The research could help drive ways to maintain the population that prefers the cities and suburbs.
Researchers want to someday study the gene pool to determine whether there are still genetically pure red-crowned parrots that could replenish the flocks in their native habitat. Biologists estimate the population at close to 1,000 birds in Texas and more than 2,500 in California, where they are the most common of more than a dozen parrot species. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 2011 listed it as an indigenous species because it is thought the parrots flew north across the border as lowland areas in Mexico were cleared in the 1980s for ranching and agriculture, though ornithologists debate that. The US Fish and Wildlife Service that same year announced that the red-crowned parrot warranted federal protection because of habitat loss and poaching for the pet trade. Some in the pet trade fear that a listing under the Endangered Species Act could prevent them from breeding the birds and moving them across state lines. Conservationists question whether any of the birds are native to Texas and should be listed when there are so many species in need of protection in the United States.
Recently at her sprawling home-turned-sanctuary, dozens of birds were being nursed for broken bones and pellet gun wounds. Animal cruelty laws offer about the only protection for the birds in California, because they are not native to the state or migratory. Is that dot of a country called Uruguay in the process of becoming a media darling or what? There is the fact too, that Uruguay, the second-smallest country in South America, and with just 3.3 million people, happens to be one of its richest.
As for wine, many in the industry in the country would no doubt argue that its best days lie ahead, and that was exemplified no better than by the opening of Bodega Garzon in March, a state-of-the-art winery owned by Argentina's richest man, Alejandro Bulgheroni, who also owns wineries and vineyards in his own country, Australia, France, Italy and the United States.
It is not hard to understand why, when you stand in the winery casting your eyes over the lush, rolling countryside planted with grapes that stretch long into the distance.
Not far from the winery is Punta del Este, a stylish resort with top-name shops, restaurants, and a seaport dotted with yachts.
Even though Uruguay has become the fourth-largest winemaking country in South America behind Chile, Argentina and Brazil and ranks among the top 10 wine consuming countries in the world, its presence in China is negligible. With the country's beautiful beaches, the vineyards have become a tourist draw for Westerners, who can also marvel at the country's vast ranches and the hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep which, apparently, outnumber humans five to one. The country's vinicultural claim to fame is its tannat grape, which produces wines characterized by elegant, soft tannins, and the industry that produces those wines has a century-old tradition rooted in immigrants from Europe, mainly of Basque and Italian origin. Present at Bodega Garzon's opening were the cream of South American society, who could not have been other than impressed with the gorgeous setting, the spanking new winemaking facilities and, of course, the premium wines produced in them. There are 5.24 square kilometers of vineyards divided into more than 1,150 individual blocks, following the vineyard's topography with its distinctive terroir of varying altitudes and exposures.
In the property's north stands an elegant granite-based concrete building of 7,000 square meters, which visually blends in with the vineyard and houses, the wine-making facilities, storage and a restaurant and a club.
The man behind it all is the internationally renowned wine consultant Alberto Antonin, who has been involved with the project since 2008. Antonin, who has worked with some of the most prestigious wine companies in Australia, Europe and Latin American, enthuses about the geological and climatic aspects of the area that shape the character of its wines. These include the granite soil that has a special structure and composition that is good for natural drainage, the rolling hills and the exposure they provide, the biodiversity and the fact that the vineyard is just 18 kilometers from the ocean, bringing cool and clean breezes, he says.
Because of all of this and the commitment of Bulgheroni and his family to Bodega Garzon, he says, he is confident that it will give the world wines that will be of the highest quality. Although focusing on the tannat varietal, the plan is for the winery to work with many other varietals and clones, including, albarino, which is rare in the region. As the vineyard endeavors to deliver the quality wines it is promising, it is also burnishing its environmental credentials, aiming to be what it says will be the first vineyard in the world to have top certification from the United States Green Building Council, taking into account design, construction, operation, and maintenance. The vineyard's managers say they are committed to sustainable agriculture and green farming, and aim being to achieve energy savings of about 40 percent compared with other similar facilities, and to produce 40 percent of its energy needs through mills and photovoltaic panels.
State-of-the-art technologies are being used throughout the entire winemaking process, including an optical berry sorter that selects only grapes best suited to be fermented.
The winery also uses concrete tanks instead of stainless steel, and ages wine predominantly in large casks rather than smaller barrels, as concrete favors the development and conservation of the native microbiology and microorganism, whereas wood enables the wine to breath. The winery can produce 2 million liters of wine a year, and Brazil and the United States are, for the moment, its biggest markets. The good news for Chinese wine drinkers is that the winery has begun distributing in the Chinese mainland, using the same importer it has used in Hong Kong, and will start with Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen, Guangdong province, since mid-2016. The world's first Discovery Adventures Park has opened in a valley in Zhejiang's mountainous region, offering outdoor enthusiasts a comprehensive selection of survival and adventure skills programs as well as the chance to scale China's largest rock climbing wall. Located in the Moganshan mountains in Deqing county, the park covers about 130,000 square meters and is the largest tourism complex in the area which is already a hotspot among local travelers thanks to a number of high-end designer boutique hostels. The county government is hoping this new park will become another famous landmark with which it can use to boost tourism, said Luo Guojian, director of the Standing Committee of Deqing County People's Congress, during the park's opening ceremony on April 26. The park's developer APAX Group is cooperating with Discovery Communications to provide an array of outdoor survival skills training programs such as wall climbing, zip-lining, all-terrain vehicle tours, mountain bike courses, hiking routes and obstacle challenges.
Members of the international coaching team, engaged by the park and Discovery Communications together, hail from countries including China, the United States, Europe and Singapore. Chu says the market for outdoor adventure activities in China is still in a nascent stage, though potential is huge seeing as to how the country has a slew of exciting and scenic sites in second and third-tier cities that have yet to be developed. In 2015, the income generated by China's tourism industry grew about 12 percent and there were 4 billion people traveling within the country, according to a report released by the China Tourism Academy in Beijing earlier this year. Furthermore, investments in China's tourism industry have grown 42 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year. The second and third phases of the Moganshan park will cover about 1 million square meters in total and will feature more hotel rooms and facilities. Leading fashion designer Ma Yanli, also known as Mary Ma, says Chinese designers have no need to flaunt their Chinese origins in the clothes they produce. The 41-year-old former supermodel and actress says they should aim instead to be as individualistic as Western designers. Ma, once described as China's answer to American model Cindy Crawford, was speaking at the Kerry Hotel in Beijing, ahead of the launch of her new clothing range that combines the simple look of a white blouse with blue jeans.
There, as we watched the surf crash on the shore, we dined on spinach salads, curried shrimp and Mary, the breast of chicken. We passed by the Pacific Naval Command Center and then on into the small park and visitor center that houses the entrance to the Arizona Memorial.
As I looked to the North, at the mountains not far away, I could imagine the first wave of 187 dive-bombers and then the second wave of torpedo planes appearing like an evil apparition over the nearby crests.
These thoughts careened through my head as I looked at the raised nameplates of the mighty battle ships nearby.
From the Arizona memorial, we boarded our buses and rode up into the hills to another peaceful military cemetery called the a€?Punchbowl.a€? Here, amidst the bucolic rows of trees, shrubs and neatly trimmed grass, lie 39,000 military men and women who saw service in the pacific theaters, in various wars of our history.
As we drove through Honolulu, the bus passed by several old churches and then by the Queen Iolani Palace. We were tiring with the long and active day so we retreated to our cabin, We opened the balcony door and sat for a time in the fresh sea air admiring the moonshine of the ocean beneath us. On the journey down the mountain, we could espy Nihau, the a€?forbidden islanda€? about 11 miles from Kauai.


We walked down to deck five and boarded the motorized tender for the short ride to the Lahaina docks.
The small basin between them is shallow and became an ideal breeding ground for the sperm whales from time immemorial. It was misting lightly as we stood outside the center and looked across the Caldera, or Volcanoa€™s mouth. It was only 12 years ago that an enormous lava flow had slid down the mountain and destroyed 189 homes and virtually the entire town of Kalapena. We traversed the volcano on a ring road watching the lunar landscape created by the sulphur and old lava flows. From the Volcano house, we rode a brief way to the a€?Akatsuka Orchid Gardensa€? to admire the many gorgeous varieties of colorful orchids that the island produces.
From the Mona Loa Nut factory, Derek drove us to the ocean shore, at the afore-mentioned site of the unfortunate town of Kalapena.
After our late morning siestas, we stopped by the deck 14 trough to ingest the appropriate caloric overload.
The waiters served up the usual five star extravaganzas as we sipped a nice bottle of Mondavi Merlot and got acquainted with this charming couple. We were now some 800 miles South of Hilo and still had another 400 miles before we reached that small speck in the Pacific labeled Christmas Island.
An art auction was taking place in the wheel house lounge, so we sat through that for a time enjoying the banter of the auctioneer and the lively patter about artists a€?not yet dead.a€? Then, we watched the delightful comedy a€?Analyze That,a€? with Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro. Breakfast found us in the deck 14 Horizons court and then we sunned on the aft section of deck 12 for an hour or so before retreating to a€?Octogenarians row,a€? on covered deck 7, to read our books and enjoy the lazy motions of the ship. Even turtles get sunburned , so we packed it in and walked three miles (12 laps around deck 7) enjoying the vigor and the sweat that the walk produced. It was another a€?formal nighta€? for dinner, so we repaired to our cabin to dress in our a€?Cinderella Clothesa€? and venture forth once again down the grand promenade on deck 7. In the dining room, Kevin and Laura shared a good Cabernet, sent by their travel agent, which we helped them enjoy. The Princess Lounge provided another interesting song and dance routine titled a€?Rhythms of the City.a€? We watched and appreciated the talent and energy these kids put forth. Just off the bow of the ship a jagged and erose peak, with a phallic shape, rose needle-nosed into the surrounding sky.
The driver pulled along the side of the road and bade us look at the ubiquitous holes all along the roadside. Near the end of the tour, the guide stopped by the most famous eatery on the island, a€?Bloody Marya€™s.a€? It is a grass roofed, sand- floored and quietly elegant restaurant made famous by James Michener and others. We were up early to watch the Dawn Princess sail into Opunohu Bay on the North Coast of Moorea, some 130 miles Southeast of Bora Bora.
We assembled in the deck 7 Vista Lounge and then walked school fashion, through the ship, to the gangway on deck 3 for boarding the shipa€™s tenders.
The pier area is a simple jetty with a stone rest room and a nearby municipal building for the gendarmes.
Along the sides of the road, our guide pointed out thin Mahogany trees, acacia, tulip, a€?lipsticka€? trees, guava, banana, teak, lice and Chinese chestnut trees along the roadside. Along the coast road, we could see the island of Tahiti rising up from the ocean, some 11 miles away. The Moorea Sheraton again has those delightful grass-hutted rondevals, with glass bottomed floors, sitting on piers looking into the bay. We descended to deck 7, saw and talked with Laura and Kevin Hanley for a bit, before returning to the cabin to read and relax before surrendering to the welcome arrival of the sand man.
We had arrived in Tahiti, a€?The Gathering Place.a€? Just the sound of the name brings up worldwide images of soft breezes, exotic women and an escape from the harsh realities of the Old World. Most of us carry visions of Tahiti in our head from the various versions of a€?Mutiny on The Bounty.a€? The film, made from a James Norman Hall novel detailing a mutiny aboard Her Majestya€™s ship a€?Bounty,a€? captained by the now famous Captain Bligh and his first mate Fletcher Christian. Whalers, merchantmen and adventurers arrived in waves bringing new world gifts like STD and the moral standards of seamen who had been afloat for a year and away from leavening strictures of women and polite society. During the 1840a€™s, France consolidated its control of five of these small island chains into what we now call French Polynesia.
Tahiti, one of the larger islands in the group, is actually comprised of two extinct volcano mounts and the slopes surrounding them.
After breakfast on deck 14, a wooden a€?Le Truka€? shuttled us into the Centre De Ville, on the waterfront. Next, we came upon the two-story version of the central marketplace in Tahiti, a€?Le Marche,a€? or the market. It was nearing noon, so we decided to stop by one of the many portable a€?Les Roulettesa€? for a snack.
We continued walking the small streets, enjoying the feel of a culture and language not our own. We sunned for an hour, on deck 12, had a refreshing dip in the smaller spa pool and then retreated to our cabin to consider the logistics of packing for the trip home. We packed our clothes, kept some necessary toiletries and clothes for a carry on bag, and then put the bags outside the cabin for pickup. Swiss Otel The Bosphorus Istanbul Macka ,Swissotel The Bosphorus, Istanbul is the "Meeting Point" within the Istanbul society. The hotel located in the center of the European side of the city within a secluded residential quarter close to the business districts.
The hotel rooms feature remote control interactive TV sets with satellite broadcasting, mini-bars, voice mails, direct dial phones with dataport, safe box and fire alarm detectors and sprinkler to insure safety. FOOD & BEVERAGE OUTLETS,Ten diverse restaurants, bars, and lounges provide the guests a choice of international fine cuisines. RECREATIONAL FACILITIES ,The sumptuous The Bosphorus Wellness Center has been designed for guests to relax and unwind or a challenging workout. With newly renovated and upgraded 26 superb function rooms including 3 ballrooms, including a Swissoffice business center, the hotel is well capable to cater to the most lavish banquet to meetings and conferences for up to 1600 persons. Business Center ,indoor parking , beauty salon ,shopping arcade , dry cleaning and laundry . But her urban dreams are soon shattered as she is abducted by a group of people, taken to a village and sold to a family. She returns to the same village to reunite with her baby boy, whose biological father is her former captor. Through the abducted woman's perspective, readers not only see the problems of the rural areas, but also the different aspects of village life. So all the characters in the novel are part of the village, and each person has his or her position on issues," says Liang. They try to find ways to communicate with the outside world such as by doing business, and even with Hu Die to reach a reconciliation," she says. He started writing prose in 1965, and in 1992, he completed White Deer Plain, a novel based on the county annals of his hometown, Bailuyuan in Shaanxi. Half a century later, Putzmeister has become not only a global leader in concrete pump makers, but also the embodiment of the mittelstadt - Germany's small or medium-sized family-owned businesses with time-honored traditions, values and management practices (think Bosch and Trumpf).
The German businessman was lambasted for "selling the German soul to the Chinese", while Sany was mocked as "a snake that swallowed an elephant".
It would have been unreasonable for Putzmeister, which had been China's market leader since 1979, to compete with a new dominant force in the world's biggest market, he says. They saw eye to eye on a key issue - trust - and he empathizes with the humble roots of Liang Wengen, the founder of Sany, a backyard soldering stick maker turned billionaire entrepreneur. When you are successful at home, you want to go abroad to grow your businesses," Schlecht says, punching the air with his fist. Years before the Sany deal, Schlecht, a self-taught philosopher, became fascinated with Confucianism, especially the notion of "Confucian entrepreneurship", which calls for applying ancient Chinese wisdom to business practice. These are values he describes as the nuts and bolts of a global ethic for success, which he has championed. If old friends visit, he puts down his gardening tools to collect them at the airport in his black Mercedes. He has inspired a new wave of young players who aim to match his career haul of 11 ranking titles.
From Emperor Qinshihuang of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) onward, they have tried to uncover the recipe for immortality.
In that beautiful land full of springs, streams and picturesque mountains, Liu An gathered the best Taoist masters - eight of them - and started his search. They didn't succeed, but what was left in the tripod was a pure, white jelly-like substance. Doufunao literally means tofu brains while doufuhua is definitely more lyrical, translating as tofu flowers.
In the south, the tender jelly is sweetened with syrups made from plain or brown sugar and flavored with ginger juice. Or they deep-fry bean curd so that its texture changes and then braise the entire block in a gravy made with soy sauce and sweet spices. It's deep-fried, served with pickled cabbage and sweet chili sauce, boldly advertising its presence through its lovely pungency. She is now a second-year art student in Shanxi province and works part time for 12 Buildings, a studio in Beijing.
Among the 32-year-old's creations is a white cat, which he has since turned into a popular emoji. To express various levels of anguish, for example, WeChat users can share an animation of the white cat crying while laughing, sobbing in a pool of tears, or wailing while clapping its hands. In just a short while, she was producing work for instant-messaging tools like QQ and WeChat.
The fox, which Xu created in high school, was among the first emojis made available on the QQ messenger in 2012.
During the Chinese New Year holiday in February, he topped the emoji charts as users rushed to send friends and relatives seasonal greetings.
However, he says China's animation industry lags behind those in the West and Japan, which have worldwide appeal.
They hope a more masculine presence can have an effect, but it appears there is still some way to go. Plus, because of the one-child policy, many children have grown up without siblings and tend to lead sheltered lives. A post-80s generation artist, Yun graduated from the art department of Shenyang University, majoring in murals and frescoes, woodcarving and clay sculpture. Yun can lay claim to creating the split-carving technique, which allows him to compose a piece at scale while keeping the realistic details intact. He feels proud of what he has done but says it is far from enough, with hopes that such a precious cultural relic will be recognized and loved by more and more people. Now home to the iconic Tianzifang, the area is filled with numerous retail outlets, small snack shops, bars and cafes, most of which are occupied by tourists from other Chinese cities and abroad. Today, it is just another tourist attraction, albeit a very famous one, that only has a faint glimpse of its artistic core. Those who are in the area now are also planning to move out," says Yu, who recently led a team of students from Fudan University and Tongji University to conduct an in-depth survey on the current situation of Tianzifang, which is quickly losing its artistic soul to commercialization. Many men would smoke cigarettes and play poker on tables in the courtyard in the afternoon," says Zheng, who is widely regarded as "the father of Tianzifang". He leased out the 10,000-square-meter space occupied by the idle factories on a 20-year contract and moved the street market indoors.
This was also the time when Huang Yongyu, another well-known painter, named the area "Tianzifang" as a tribute to an ancient Chinese painter of the same name. Galleries, cafes and boutiques have since opened like clockwork alongside old Shanghai homes, imbuing the area with a unique charm not seen before in the city. Calls were made for the place to be torn down to make way for high-rise shopping malls that were part of a real estate project by Taiwan's ASE Group. Formerly a slaughterhouse, the place is now home to several creative agencies and design studios. But as time passed, I began to realize the importance of protecting the origins of the place," says Zhou. Middle-aged housewives carrying bags of vegetables would squeeze past expats sipping cappuccino at outdoor cafes.
Between 2004 and 2008, as many as 6,000 people would walk along Taikang Road's crowded lanes on weekends. He is now paying 40,000 yuan and said that the rent will exceed 60,000 yuan after his current contract expires in two years. The place is now filled with more tourism-related items instead of original art works," says Yan, adding that he plans to move out of Tianzifang after fulfilling his rental contract despite his attachment to the area.
It's no surprise that many talented artists are leaving the area," says Zhou Xinliang, the resident of Tianzifang. Over the past five years, retail outlets have steadily replaced the art studios and galleries, which now account for just 2 percent of the shops in Tianzifang. Though he said he does not think that this will lead to the demise of the place, he is concerned that it will eventually result in a change of appearance and the loss of its iconic architecture. This is getting lost in the process of commercialization," she says, adding that she is very impressed with how the buildings in Tianzifang are preserved. London's Victoria and Albert Museum has peeled back fashion's layers to expose everything from long johns to lingerie in Undressed, an exhibition tracing the hidden history of underwear.
For centuries, people have worn undergarments for practical reasons of protection, hygiene and comfort - but there has always been an element of sexuality and drama as well. The show, which features more than 200 items made between 1750 and the present day, is dominated by women's undergarments: corsets and crinolines, stockings and shifts, chemises and stays. More recent items include David Beckham boxer shorts and crotch-enhancing Aussiebum briefs. There are 19th-century models with whalebone stays, a modern-day red and black rubber corset by House of Harlot, and one worn by burlesque artist Dita Von Teese with a wince-inducing 18-inch waist. The exhibition traces the history of brassieres, from their development as "bust supporters" in the 1860s through their wide adoption in the early 20th century to the introduction of Lycra in the late 1950s. Ehrman says people have been revealing their undergarments since at least the 16th century.
In this exhibit, 110 years after the flight of '14 Bis', we want to show the young that using the imagination is a way of promoting discoveries," Gringo Caria, the curator of the exhibit, says.
The world's first cafe using the tiny domestic unmanned aircraft as servers has opened in a Dutch university.
There is also a growing realization that the city dwellers may offer a population that could help save certain species from extinction.
The last study in 1994 estimated the population at 3,000 to 6,500 birds, declining from more than 100,000 in the 1950s because of deforestation and raids on the nesting young to feed the pet trade.
Durham runs a parrot rescue center called SoCal Parrot in the town of Jamul, east of San Diego, and treats up to 100 birds a year. Recently The New York Times listed one of its wineries as one of 52 must-visit places in the world this year, and a couple of years ago The Economist magazine bestowed on it the title of Country of the Year. The British magazine reasoned that if other countries cared to emulate some of Uruguay's accomplishments - it cited gay marriage and the legalization of the sale and consumption of cannabis - the world might be a better place. While Uruguay has much to boast about to its much larger South American cousins, there are at least two fields in which it struggles to come up to muster: football and wine.
It is that winery that had The New York Times gushing as it drew up its top-places-to-visit list.
The winery is located in Garzon, a small town near the southeastern coast about 180 kilometers from the capital, Montevideo, where about half the country's population live.
This is all part of Agroland, a sustainable agriculture business of 100 square kilometers where cattle are reared and almonds, honey, pecans and extra-virgin olive oil are produced. The glue that holds all that together, apart from the superb scenery, is modern architecture such as transparent glass walls from ceiling to floor with plush, stylish fittings and furniture.
Now we want to do something new like survival training, to give people some unique challenge experience," says Nicolas Bonard, senior VP of Discovery Global Enterprises. The businesses that cater to outdoor activities, such as garments, shoes and bags, are booming, but many people just don't know how to use them correctly. This data will also be vital in better understanding people's interests and safety standards, especially for the Chinese market," Chu says. Of course, designers reflect their personal influences and some of these may involve Chinese characteristics, but this is not what it should be about," she says. A Hawaiian woman gave us two flowered leis and then asked for $10 contributions for the local boy and Girl Scout troops. We walked along the world famous Waikiki beach, gazing down the beach to a€?Diamond Head.a€? The massive granite outcropping had been so named by Captain Cook, an early explorer who saw the crystallized volcanic material glinting in the noonday sun and thought the peak encrusted in diamonds.
We stopped for some decent Kona coffee in the Outrigger and watched the moving tableau around us.
We managed that well enough and then had coffee and croissants in the lobby area of the Tapa tower. We were headed for the holiest of military shrines in the state, the Arizona memorial, commemorating the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941. He told us about the a€?Hawaiian Home Program.a€? Residents of Hawaiian descent are eligible to purchase homes and receive the land for $1. A large group of high school kids were passing the time like all kids, singing, joking and clowning around.
A graceful white arch of stone, with a series of open side vents and open roof area, house two smaller enclosed marble rooms at either end.
They had launched from the Akagi, Kiryu and two other carriers sailing a short 220-mile to the Northeast. We had a nice Fiume Blanc for openers, then a shrimp appetizer, crA?me of mushroom soup, pastry filled with shrimp calamari and other seafood, in a lobster sauce. Instead of molten rock, I could see the flow of electric lava as it slid down the mountains in the dark.
We read for a time and then surrendered the hypnotic sway of the ship as we drifted off into the land of the great beyond.
Our immediate impression of the islands is that it is lush and tropical, with a much smaller population (56,000) than the other isles in the chain. The driver told us humorously that in the early 1960a€™s whole families would bring picnic food and camp out nearby to watch the light change colors.
The growers, ironically, found that a€?burning the fieldsa€? lowered the molasses content in the plants and increased the sugar yield from the cane. There is a moral here someplace about pretending who you are not and the consequences of that action. In many ways, the Hawaiians resemble Native Americans with their preoccupation with superstition, mythology and colorful sagas transmitted orally throughout the generations. We ascended, in a series of gradual switchbacks, 2,800 feet to the top of the islanda€™s extinct Wai ali ali volcano. The Sinclairs, a family of Slave traders from Massachusetts, had purchased the island from King Kamehameha in the 1830a€™s. We boarded the vessel and had a nice lunch of fish, fruit and vegetables in the deck 14 buffet. After dinner, I was still reeling from a bad head cold, so we retreated to the room to read and retire.
These a€?tendersa€? are wholly enclosed lifeboats that are capable of ocean sailing in an emergency. They spawn here from December through April and then in May, begin their swim up to the Aleutian Island chain. We walked the paved ocean path, along the beach, enjoying the swaying palms, the flowering hibiscus, the neatly manicured lawns of the huge hotels and the general aura of opulence. We met and talked with Marty and Tom Bleckstein, who live on Maui and were aboard for the cruise to Tahiti. Jon was our waiter again this evening and we exchanged a a€?Magandang Gabia€? (good evening) and a€?Mabuti, salamata€? (I am fine, Thanks) in Tagalog.
It was cloudy and warm, with the promise of rain, something that happens often on this side of the island.
Great white swaths of dried calcium and super heated sulphur remained from the flows of heated magma.(magma below ground, lava above) As the mist and rain seeped into the ground, steam rose as the water hit heated rock below. The fiery lava seeped into the ocean and created super heated mists that explodes the rocks and created the black sand beaches that we were to see in a few hours. We were stopping at the a€?Thurston Lava Tube.a€? The 360 yard, ten foot high tunnel had been carved out by heated lava. In a few hundred years, this newest portion of Hawaii will be a tropical beach and palm grove. We had a glass of the Merlot in the cabin as I wrote up my notes and we settled in to relax for a bit.
As we watched the big island settle into the Horizon, we met and talked again with Tom Bleckstein. The sky was studded with gray clouds, the air was warm and a brisk trade wind was quartering us from the northeast. Proper dress was required, so we cleaned up some and venture in to this now familiar place of gustatory titillation.
It is every bit as funny as a€?Analyze this.a€? The really is a wealth of things to do shipboard if you seek them out. This was the a€?island tour.a€? We never did find Captain Cooka€™s Hotel or any other commercial establishment for that matter. We enjoyed Lobster appetizers, pea and onion crA?me soup, filet of Halibut in peppercorn sauce and Macadamia nut ice cream, all accompanied by a Mondavi Merlot and good coffee.
These kids might not be on Broadway, but they gave 150% in energy and we enjoyed their performances. We enjoyed the film and then made our way to deck 12 for Hagendaaz ice cream floats topside. It was a€?Italian Nighta€? in the Florentine room and we were looking forward to the gustatory experience.
This introduced crab and melon ball appetizers, a Greek Salad, Norwegian trout for me, all followed by an Austrian Sacher Torte and good coffee. The Palm trees and the vegetation here are lush and green, a result of the 74 inches of annual rainfall. It is a collection of those lovely, small grass-roofed huts that sit out on piers right over the ocean. The crabs are apparently nocturnal creatures and come forth at night o feed on the fallen fruit of the many trees I had noticed. These were provided by the government, at a cost of $2,000, to any of the islanders whose homes are destroyed by the various hurricanes that sweep over the island.
A large wooden gargoyle sits in front of the restaurant, near a wooden sign carved with the names of all of the a€?famousa€? people who had dined here.
Shrimp cocktails, lentil soup, Alaskan crab legs and a wonderful black forest cake made for an elegant and relaxing repast. Several tents had been put up by local vendors hawking jewelry and Moorean arts and crafts. The deep blue of the far ocean, azure sky, studded with white puffy clouds, all accented the deep emerald of the lush vegetation on the island. These are limestone temple sites where yearly the islanders had sacrificed humans in a ritual to please the great god Oro. The 4-masted Windjammer and the Paul Gauguin were sitting at anchor in turquoise Opunohu bay, the palm trees were swaying in the breeze, against the brilliant backdrop of multi hued sapphire sea, azure sky and emerald hills. A large car ferry and a smaller and swifter catamaran ferry made regular, daily trips to nearby Tahiti.
The heat and humidity were intense, so we decided to hop the tender for the air-conditioned comfort of the Dawn Princess, sitting placidly at anchor in the bay. Even a dip in the small pool couldna€™t revive us, so we headed to the cabin for a 2-hour nap.
English Captain James Cook and French explorer Captain Louis Bouganville had first discovered these a€?Society Islandsa€? in the 1760a€™s.
The backdrop images in the film are mostly taken from the lovely islands of Moorea and Bora Bora. The Protestant missionaries had come in the early 1800a€™s and banished most native cultural practices, including ritual sacrifice of humans.
Mount Orohena, at 6,700 feet, dominates the larger chunk of the island (Tahiti Nui) Mount Aurai, at 6,200 feet sits on most of the smaller portion of Tahiti (Tahiti a€“Iti).
A small tourist pavilion, adjacent to a newly constructed town square, dominates the waterfront here.
The offer of $120 for a cab ride, with a driver who knew little English, didna€™t seem too enticing to us. The traffic is heavy and runs in twin ribbons of moving steel separating the town and the ocean.
The first floor of this open-air barn is filled with food vendors selling everything from fruits to fish and any number of sundries. We dodged the speedy traffic and visited another elegant Joualerie where we found a beautiful set of black pearl earrings to match the necklace pearl we had just purchased.
A small bronze bust of Louis Bouganville commemorates this eminent French explorer after whom had been named the colorful tropical flower a€?Bouganvillea.a€? We sat for a time in the shade and enjoyed the lush tropical foliage, the colorful flowers and the heat of a tropical isle and each othera€™s company. The next chore was to find a€?le box postal.a€? It isna€™t like our cities, where you can find a blue, US mailbox on every corner. We walked back to the waterfront and caught a shuttle for the 15-minute ride to the commercial end of the port and the welcome air-conditioned bubble of the Dawn Princess. The hotel, as a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, is one of the premier hotels in Istanbul. Situated on a wooded hilltop, the hotel commands fantastic panoramic views of the Bosphorus, Asian coast, and old city of Istanbul. 600 guest rooms and suites offer guests a wide range of luxurious accommodation, from the comfort of a standard room to the grace of a Presidential Suite.
The Swiss Executive Floor rooms offer private butler service, espresso machine, fax, scanner, printer, copier, trouser press, iron and ironing board, tea and coffee making facilities, and also ISDN and modem connections. Cafe Swiss serves international cuisine (breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet) while Alpine mountain cuisine can be sampled at the restaurant Chalet. Facilities include: outdoor pool with a separate children's section, heated indoor pool, Jacuzzi, gym with cardiovascular equipment, sauna, solarium, traditional Turkish bath and massage.
While enjoying your visit to the hotel you may also take pleasure in an exciting shopping experience without leaving the hotel.
Extensive banqueting and outside catering facilities provide a diverse range of culinary style, expertly prepared by renowned chefs. Raped by Hei Liang, a member of that family, she lives through her troubles until her mother rescues her with the help of police and a reporter. It tells of changes to the land over 50 years from the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Evenings find him helping his wife, Brigitte, make his favorite Swabian noodles or pizza before he retreats to his home office to "fantasize" about new projects. From behind the wheel, the silver-haired Swabian then doubles as an animated tour guide to the picturesque Neckar Valley, his childhood home.
Barry Hearn, the chairman of World Snooker, says the Chinese government is pouring investment into sport, which will help the country dominate not only snooker, but also other sports within 10 to 15 years. In the face of increasing globalization, food is also one of the last strong visages of community and culture.
A fresh collection of 16 Budding Pop emojis released on March 12 was downloaded 4 million times within 24 hours. In 2005, Yun started his fruit pit carving career, and in 2007 he founded his workshop, Yiren Hequ, attracting many young artists to pit carving. As an artist, you need to devote your feelings, explore your innovative techniques, and commit, he says.
Yun has done his part: creating the next generation of fruit pit carvers with the same dream.
You choose and you program it like you want," student and project leader Tessie Hartjes says. The magazine also referred to the country's laid-back president, who, it seems, lives in a very simple house and drives a VW Beetle. In the case of the former, the country's best days seem to be behind it, its having won the World Cup decades ago, but struggling to match it with the best these days. The Northwest and later, the Pacific Ocean were clouded from view as a massive front roared beneath us. Tiring, we headed back to the room to read, make some notes and surrender to the Hawaiian night. The a€?Don Hoa€? style preacher had everyone singing God Bless America and other group songs.
A list of the sailors and marines lost that day, in raise metal etchings, adorns one wall, with a plaque and several American and military flags.
The sight of an entire fleet of attacking planes, on a warm Sunday morning, must have been surreal as the angry wasps spit fire and lead into the row of battleships at anchor. In the words of a prescient Japanese Admiral, with their surprise attack, they a€?had awoken a sleeping giant and filled it with a terrible resolve.a€? The conflict wasna€™t to end for four long years.
The bus took us to a virtual a€?sea of luggagea€? and calmly suggested we a€?identify oursa€? for processing.
Diamond Head, Waikiki beach and the other recognizable features of Oahu blended into the Ocean dark. The informative bus driver gave us a running narration of the fauna and flora of the island as well as a cultural overlay that we found interesting. I dona€™t know how true the story is, but it gave insight into the islanders endearing trait of not taking themselves too seriously. The stone foundations of a a€?Russian Forta€? gave rise to another tale of Colonial treachery and Hawaiian retribution, swift and sudden. It was a beautiful day and we decided to walk from the port area to the nearby Sheraton hotel and beach area.
We sipped some passable Cabernet as the erose skyline of Nawiliwili harbor and Kauai faded into the setting sun. They can seat almost 90 people and are a bit removed from the old a€?lifeboatsa€? that ships used to carry. One can only speculate at all of the events, legal and foul, that must have transpired under its shelter. Whale blubber and whale oil fueled the lamps of Europe and America during the 1800a€™s, until the advent of mass production of electricity. We had enjoyed this low-key, unhurried look at Maui, without the hustle and commotion of a guided tour.


His grasp of plate tectonics, the mechanics of volcanic eruption and a score of other disciplines, involving agriculture, local flora and fauna and marine biology were not just superficially acquired.
The actual volcano mouth was surrounded by succeedingly larger depressions that extended out further. The lava had the consistency of brittle tar that had frozen in wildly flowing waves of super heated rock.
When the surface of a lava flow starts to cool, the molten lava often is still flowing beneath the surface.
We had a leisurely breakfast on the balcony, watching the white caps of the blue sea swell and flow around the big shipa€™s wake. We had brought our books with us and sat outside, on lounge chairs on the covered promenade deck.
Four photographers were busy taking pictures of passengers in their tuxedos and evening wear.
We breakfasted in the deck 14 Horizons Court and then sunned on the aft fantail of deck 12, enjoying the leisurely time to read, try a cooling dip in the small pool and generally laze about the deck. After the movie, I sent some e-mails into cyber space enjoying the novelty of transmitting from the middle of the ocean via satellite, something that would have been near impossible only a few years before. The performance was blocked some by clouds, but we watched it eagerly enjoying the light play of sun on water and sky as the day turned into night at sea in its daily magical performance. We smiled at the co-incidence and enjoyed another meal with these charming young people from London. Even better, across the bay at a now abandoned similar anchorage, the area had been named Paris. After the show, Mary and I wandered topside to look at the full array of celestial beacons that adorned the heavens. Even the name conjured up visions of Polynesians in outrigger war canoes with the sound of drums resonating in the humid air.
I dona€™t usually like lounge singers, but this engaging performer gave convincing renditions of Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka, Elvis Presley and a bevy of others, in a toe-tapping medley that left you smiling.
W returned to our cabin to read (a€?Backspina€? Harlan Coben ), write up my notes and retire. The bay in which we were anchored, and most of the visible island, once were ensconced firmly in the center on an ancient caldera of a volcano that had risen some 13,000 feet into the Polynesian sky.
The sturdy vehicles were clean and comfortable with seat pads, not anywhere near as Spartan as the guides had warned us. We drove by and admired Papaya, Banana, coconut and the famous breadfruit trees for which the HMS Bounty had come to the Society Island looking in the 1800a€™s.
The tab was a respectable $500-$800 a night for those fortunate enough to be able to stay there. Tongue in cheek, the guide explained that, like most social programs the program has those who used it unfairly. French is spoken on the island exclusively and French Polynesian Francs the currency of choice.. Rotui was already peaking out from the gray wisps of cloudy garlands capping its erose peak. The 53 square mile island, shaped like a butterfly, is a popular destination for upscale tourism. It had rained heavily a few hours before and the small rain puddles made the walk through the open field interesting. The a€?lipsticka€? tree had small fuzzy buds that when rubbed on lips or fingers had the same effect as rouge. Small bushes, with thin and wiry leaves, are carefully tended by laborers and then harvested for their sweet fruit. All high school students have to commute daily to Tahiti as well as many workers who commute daily.
Then, Lobsters tails and a light parfait, all washed down with a Mondavi Merlot and decent coffee completed this wonderful dinner. We could watch half a dozen freighters lading cargo, the men and forklifts scurrying here and there, noisy and busy at work. The accounts they brought back electrified Europe enticing artists like Gauguin and adventurers of every type.
The missionarya€™s razed the several Marae (sacrificial altars) and brought the European version of a straight-laced version of an unforgiving deity.
A few hundred yards over sits the huge Ferry dock for the daily shuttles to Moorea, visible on the horizon, just 11 miles Northeast of Tahiti.
The Tahitians are religious about stopping for pedestrians crossing the street, but it is still proved to be an adventure. We then walked down the main gallery of deck 7 and had some coffee in the small lounge outside of the restaurants. Neon signs from the honk tonk clubs a€?Broadway,a€? a€?Manhattana€? and others vied for the club trade.
It stands in the former gardens of the Dolmabahce Palace, once the residence of the Ottoman Sultans.
Swiss Business Advantage Rooms provide top-of-the-line technology and infrastructure for today’s business travelers without compromising comfort and design. Besides the complimentary breakfast served in Swiss Executive Lounge, all day appetizers buffet, refreshments and evening drinks are also offered. For guests who desire Modern Global cuisine Roof Garden provides an excellent spread with a fabulous view of the Bosphorus. There are also activity classes, Macka Tennis Club with three open and covered tennis courts, Darphin beauty center and 500m jogging track in our unique Sultan’s Park area.
Besides Vakko, and Piril Bazaar boutiques there are Bvlgari, Sponza and Urart jewellery, Mehmet & Huseyin hairdresser, Finansbank, Etistar Photography, Drugstore, Dunya Bookstore and Zihni Travel Agency for a memoriable Istanbul visit. It declined in the mid-19th century, but the art is back in force in places like Suzhou, Weifang, Guangdong and Liaoning. Nieman Marcus, Nordstroma€™s, Macya€™s and many other toney shopping meccas lined the streets of the main boulevard. We also found out later that the sand had been imported from Australia due to a lack of white sand locally.
You always think it will evaporate like some ephemeral bubble that will just go a€?popa€? and disappear. A small park area looked out across the channel to Ford Island, where the graceful white arch of the monument sat atop the sunken remains of the Battleship USS Arizona. The rugged green mountains that split the island were just to the North of us, with gray garlands of fluffy clouds drifting across them. The channel from Ford Island to Oahu is narrow and an entire fleet of ships was berthed here. It was like an Arabian bazaar trying to search for our two black bags amidst a sea of hundreds of others. Ozzie Nelson was paging me and we returned to the stateroom for a long afternoon nap, my favorite activity in the tropics. It was to be the first of twelve such meals that would impress us greatly and expand us measurably. The bus passed through Poi Pu, with its alley of mahogany and Eucalyptus trees that met overhead.
Some small shops and restaurants are clustered nearby, but the real attraction if the golden beach and the bright blue ocean.
We had enjoyed our visit to the island, though we thought that a goodly supply of books would be needed for an extended stay here. Radiating outward are collections of small commercial shops, hawking the usual tourist wares, and several streets of small, neat homes. It is a modern, tri-level shopping court of high priced shops like Versace, Ferragamo, Tiffany and Gucci.
The Marriott, Sheraton, Hyatt and Maui Ocean Shores are beautiful in their landscaped elegance.
It gave us a softer look at a place that deserves to be further explored on another occasion.
It is these incidental meetings shipboard, either at dinner or casually, that much enhance the entire experience.
When you think of lava exploding all the way up through 31,000 feet of mountain, that makes for a degree of physical force that is hard for me to grasp. It was fascinating for me to look at this cone and realize that enough volcanic material had erupted from this aperture to create 4,000 sq. Off to the Southeast, visitors were warned from walking because the sulphur fumes could be toxic. The top layer of the flow had that crystalline diamond effect as the molten surface rock cooled and crystallized. Our fellow park bears were munching at the sample a€?buffet linea€? like people who hadna€™t just consumed 1200 calories at the Volcano House. It was geriatrics row, god bless them for the gumption to be still traveling at an advanced age. Tonight was the first a€?formal dinnera€? in the Florentine room and we wanted to be alert and enjoy the affair.
It is a life speed gear that I am not much familiar with, but would like to experience more of it. It was a€?French Night.a€? I had escargot, French Onion Soup, Orange roughie and an apple tart with ice cream for desert. We returned to our cabin to shower and prep for dinner, much appreciating the splendor of our surroundings in juxtaposition to those available on Christmas Island. The Mondavi Merlot led us into squid and shrimp appetizers, Zuppa minestrone, swordfish griglia and then finally a delicate Tiremisu with good coffee.
It had been a long day in which we had witnessed the span of events from first light to twinkling evening.
We met Kevin and Laura Hanley in the deck 5 lounge, had coffee and got better acquainted, before entering the Florentine Room for another wonderful experience. The erose, emerald remains of an ancient volcano rose up in front of us, cloud shrouded, mysterious and tolkienesque in the early morning sun. I had recognized the craggy skyline from a modern painting by an Italian artist named Freshcetti, I think.
When Brigitte Bardot, the French actress, had visited the islands, she took up their cause. Almost instantly, a small army of these crabs crawled forth from their burrows and began dragging the fruit and peels back into their holes. The Bora Borans called these homes, the French equivalent of a€?re-election homesa€? for the propensity of mayors to award these homes to certain favored islanders during re-election years. We cooled off from the sun and then decided to walk the roads for a bit to see what local culture we could absorb.
For reasons, unknown to me, the sun sets earlier here, by some 45 minutes, than in the Northern climes. We walked topside to once again admire the stars emblazoned across the inky night of these former Society Island in French Polynesia, glad that we were here and together.
A dozen or so of the huge, air-conditioned land cruisers were waiting their aging cargos for the daya€™s tours. Many of the island women wore it in place of costlier lipstick, hence the name of the tree.
These sacrifices are laced through the Hawaiian legends as part of the reason the ancient Hawaiians had fled the harsher culture of Bora Bora and Moorea.
This island is the most beautiful in the chain and the one we would most like to return to. That was something we will long remember during the cold and snowy Winters of our home in the frosty northern climes. Then, we stood nearby eating our sandwiches under the protective shade of a large Monkey pod tree.
Colorful cotton sarongs, flowered garlands and other bright pastels adorned these handsome people. We had agreed to have dinner with Jazz and Janice, from London, this evening and met them in the lounge. The river of cars left a trail of red taillights flashing in the dark, as they rounded the bend towards the air port. It has been five times awarded "Best Place to stay in the World" by the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005; and listed on the 45th place on the “Top 75 European Hotels 2004” list.
Today, the hotel upholds its regal ancestry with a standard of service that is legendary in its own right.
Swiss Executive Floor rooms offer an exceptional service and Executive Lounge with upgraded continental breakfast. Miyako Japanese Restaurant is for guests who would like to explore the natural simplicity of true Japanese tradition. We checked in at Continental Airlines and then went through the security screens to gate #22 to await our flight eastward, to Newark airport in New Jersey. Over 1,200 men were still entombed in the sunken wreck and the site was treated respectfully as a burial ground.
Missouri, a€?Mighty Mo.a€? She and the submarine a€?Blowfina€? are anchored just around a bend in the lagoon and are available for boarding and viewing to the public. The driver noted several times the 1893 takeover of the Hawaiian republic by British and American military. Nihau still lies in the hands of Mrs.a€™ Sinclaira€™s grandsons, the Gay and Robinson Company, who also own about one third of Kauai. We sat for a time under a shade tree and watched the ocean crash against the shore on a golden day in Kauai. When the waves are choppy, the boat can rise and sink several feel, in an instant, making getting on and off interesting, especially for the older folks on board. We browsed some shops for a bit and then hopped a cab to nearby a€?Whalera€™s Villagea€? on Ka'anapali beach. We stopped at the Marriott for coffee on the ocean and watched the comings and goings of the many vacationers.
It looked like Dantea€™s version of the nether regions and it held us spell bound at the raw power and energy contained in the process. The super heated gases, just above the molten rock, further molded and carved the area until a fairly smooth rock tunnel is created through which the lava can flow like tooth paste through a tube. We enjoyed the sea, sky and harsh lava for a time and then set off back across the fractured flow for our bus. We wished them a good evening and returned to our cabin to read and finish yet another lazy and enjoyable day at sea.
I wondered at the ancient mariners who had sailed these lonely seas for thousands of years using these same beacons as their maps.
Dawn Princess had crossed the equator several hours before, so we were watching our first sunrise on the Pacific Ocean and in the Southern Hemisphere. We were even treated to the fabled a€?green flasha€? as the sun sank beneath the waves and hissed as it hit the cool waters. I can die happily now, I have had everything wonderful that I ever wanted to eat on this cruise.
We had enjoyed the day and each other to the fullest, in the South Pacific, enroute to Bora Bora and Tahiti. We had breakfast on the balcony and enjoyed the sea air, the azure blue sky and the rolling, royal blue waves around us, We were steaming south at 19 knots and fast approaching Polynesia. In the old days I think they used to throw first time crossers over board for the novelty of the rite. We would pay for these extravaganzas with a few zillion hours in the health club for the next few months. From the high deck of the Dawn Princess, it looked like we were entering one of those mysterious isles that you see in King Kong or Jurassic Park.
This particular erose formation had probably fed the imagination of a thousand painters and artists over the centuries. Bora Bora has several large and very posh hotels that cater to the carriage trade form all over.
The women vendors gave demonstrations of how they dyed the colorful garments in a process similar to a€?Batika€? in the Caribbean.. The homes looked prosperous enough, with their stucco walls and tin roofs, used to catch the rainwater. Then we retired to our cabin to read for a time and fall into the arms of Morpheus at sea off Bora Bora. The temple area had fallen into disrepair, but a small grass-roofed hut and some printed information boards filled in the blanks. We had just last year seen a Gauguin collection at New Yorka€™s Metropolitan Museum and yet another small collection at the Art Gallery of Toronto.
The second floor is filled with scores of small vendors peddling what we lovingly called a€?Le Jonk.a€? Sarongs, bead necklaces, carved figures of marine life, Tahitian gods and all manner of jewelry, tee shirts and other sundries, that gladden a shoppera€™s heart, are on display. They share that warm and gracious charm that we had experienced and enjoyed from their Hawaiian cousins. It is a custom we had much enjoyed in Paris and Firenze, walking about a crowded square with a sandwich and bottle of water, enjoying your busy surroundings.
We watched for a time, admiring the pomp of the ceremony, whatever it was.a€? a€?Department de Francea€? shined out from a brass plaque on the lanai wall.
We watched the huge car ferry and the smaller catamaran from Moorea glide by our ship for their mooring across the bay.
In 2004, Institutional Investor Magazine in New York listed the hotel on the 71st place in “The World’s Best Hotels 2004 List” and on 31st place in “Best European Hotels 2004” list.
It is just 10 minutes walk from the exclusive shopping district of Nisantasi, a short taxi ride away from the city's principal tourists attractions and thirty minutes from Ataturk International Airport.
In Swissotel Residence, there are also 74 one and two bedroom residential suites, which are perfectly suited for families, relocating business travelers and for office-rental. In Naz Restaurant, guests can enjoy the most delicious dishes of the traditional Turkish cuisine.
The surreal experience ended gradually as the tender ferried us back to the reception center. The natives, in relating the destruction of the monarchy have that mildly pissed off attitude that you hear when native Americans talk about how their lands were stolen from them. Then we walked them through a line to run them through a huge x-ray scanner for transport to the ship.
The hunger monster was calling so we ventured forth to the buffet lunch on deck 14, The Horizon court. It freed you from the fear of being stuck with morons and cretins for dinner during the entire cruise, an experience we had already suffered thorough on an earlier cruise. It was to be a medley of nationalities that had me speaking Polish, Tagalog, Spanish, French, Italian and mumbling bits of Rumanian and Hungarian. Here, the wave erosion had formed several a€?blow holesa€? where the seawater exploded from fissures in the rocks as each wave crashed upon them.
Hard drinking, hard living and men who had been at sea for a year had their effect on the local populace both in terms of quality of life and gene pool additions.
We browsed the shops for a time and then discovered a small whaling museum on the second level. Inside are displays explaining measurement of earthquakes, pre volcanic expansion and scores of other details relating to volcanoes. Grasses and scrub trees had already started to cover the rock, attesting to its rich mineral content. We walked the damp tunnel and were mindful of the heat and energy that had created this natural wonder.
The lunch was middling to poor, a€?slop the hogsa€? variety, and the place was crowded to the gunnels with tourists from everywhere. We didna€™t want to waste the lethargy so we repaired to our cabin for a delicious one-hour conversation with Mr. A humorous Hungarian waiter gave a knowledgeable and entertaining lesson on appreciating and purchasing Pinot Grigio, Fiume Blanc, Shiraz, a Mondavi coastal Merlot and Korbel champagne. We put aside our glass slippers and magical robes and surrendered to the sandman, happy to be here and with each other, someplace at sea in the vast pacific. The Dawn Princess proceeded South at a brisk 19 knot pace and we could espy nothing around us except for sky, wind and wave.
The dining experience was delicious and consistent with the other elegant repasts we had enjoyed aboard the Dawn Princess. They must have gazed in wonder, even as we now did, at the full array of twinkling beauty that we now admired. We saw and talked to Kevin and Laura Hanley, a couple from Maywood New Jersey, whom we had met on the ship. I would never have thought of myself on a cruise like this, growing up in a working class section of Buffalo, New York.
But, it is worth it three-fold for the pleasure that we experienced in this 5 star dining emporium.
The scent, on the ocean breeze, was pregnant with the healthy rot of tropical jungle just tweaking our nostrils.
The Southern Hemisphere star show rose on the horizon and we looked up at these strange constellations for a time before heading back to our cabin to shower and prepare for dinner. English seems to be spoken by workers in the tourist industry, but is neither known nor spoken by most of the populace. We were confirmed admirera€™s of this artista€™s brilliantly colored renditions of Tahiti and her people. We browsed the shops, bought some bead necklaces for a few of the kids at home and enjoyed the color and commerce of a real market place. On the grounds of L'hotel de ville sits a large open-aired hut with a brown grass roof upon the large structure.
The hotel has also received the prestigious "Five Star Diamond Award" in 2000, 2001 and 2002 from the American Academy of Hospitality Science as well as “The Institution that gives the Best Training in Tourism Industry” award from Skalite 2003 Quality in Tourism Awards in Turkey. Not only that, the hotel houses a wide variety of F&B outlets, to cater to the most discerned diners: Les Ambassadeurs Bar in the Lobby, Sky Bar overlooking the Bosphorus, Jacuzzi Bar with light dishes in Wellness Center, Swiss Gourmet Shop and Oasis which serves poolside barbeque and snacks during Summer only. You can still see the large circular bases of the massive gun turrets rising just above the surface. The Arizona, the West Virginia, the Oklahoma and the California all were caught in the initial barrage and either exploded or sunk. But the memories have followed me home from that haunting place in the beautiful Hawaiian sun. Maybe they too will discover the notion of gambling casinos and how they can fleece their lands back from us someday. We had a nice medley of shrimp, salmon and fruit for lunch as we took stock of our surroundings. First though, we headed for the Vista Lounge on deck 7 with our large orange life jackets for the mandatory lifeboat drill. If you were topside, you were at the furthest end of the pendulum and felt the full range of the sway.
This particular formation was called the a€?spouting horna€? for the noise and spray that exploded from it.
Harpoons, scrimshaw (carved whale bone) abounded in small exhibits that told you everything you would ever want to know about whale blubber, whaling and the industry that surrounded it. Golf courses, shopping, trendy restaurants and the finest white sand, that California could supply, make Ka€™anapali beach a comfortable and elegant escape from the everyday grind. Kilauea about 11 miles from and below us, but it was too difficult to get us safely near enough to view the phenomenon.
At the other end of the tunnel, we ascended a few sets of stairs and the hiked through the dense tropical rain forest to our bus, admiring the many varieties of plants and flowers everywhere around us. We finished quickly, browsed the cheap souvenir shops and then did a a€?Chevy Chasea€? outside looking at the scenery, before boarding the land cruiser to continue the tour.
We chatted with Marty Bleckstein, the photographer from Maui, as we watched this spectacle and enjoyed her company. We read for a bit before drifting off to the roll of the ship-plowing forward, ever forward, to our exotic destination. It apparently has great medicinal effects but had a malodorous side effect that wrinkles the nose. The traffic was both swift and steady as we walked the roads with their too narrow shoulders. Reportedly, the islander who owns the land you walk across to get there, charges a $2 levy on anyone crossing his land, capitalism in the tropics. Moorea is a gorgeous arboretum and botanical gardens that is a pleasure just to ride through and enjoy. We had also hoped to see the spectacular black sand beach and lighthouse at Point Venus, the Vaima Pearl Center and a few of the waterfalls cascading from Mt. Most of the rest of the ship is an indefinite mass that lies below, a sepulcher to those who went down with her.
Lastly, we walked through yet another line to pick up our cruise credentials and be scanned and have our carry ons searched yet again before walking up the gangway to the ship.
This ship was to be at sea for twelve days in stretches of the Pacific where even the birds didna€™t fly. We watched for a time as the frothy turquoise sea crashed upon the eroded black lava formation. I sent some e-mails into cyber space from the 12th floor business center and Mary did some laundry in a small area near our room.
The surfers, divers and swimmers enjoyed their recreation while the sunbathers reveled in the warm hot Hawaiian sun. The fissure here were more brittle, like shattered pottery in a huge black piles of hardened tar. We all posed for various pictures and decided to join each other for dinner in the Florentine room. We then sunned on the aft section of deck 11, enjoying the steaming morning sun on our bodies. The natives say that as a reminder, the soldiers had left behind 100 children of mixed parentage. The guide pointed out that all islanders who pass on are buried under small, roofed tombs in their front yards. Small clumps of people would stand and talk animatedly under the shade of a tree or that of a buildinga€™s awning. A filet of salmon and baked Alaska for desert was all washed down with some decent cabernet. Concerning price, quality and value relationships, Travel + Leisure magazine’s readers have rated the best hotels around the world for value and Swissotel The Bosphorus, Istanbul is among the “Top 10 Hotels For Value Overall”. An armor-piercing bomb, from a Japanese dive-bomber, had pierced her forward magazine.The ship virtually exploded and sank in minutes on that fiery Sunday morning 62 years ago. We all paid attention to the crews explanation in the proper use of the jackets and tenders should an emergency arise. We were tongue in cheek cautioned about removing lava samples, because Pele would bring us bad luck.
Luckily for us, the rains had stopped for a few minutes to allow us this walk through the lava. It is these chance encounters with people from everywhere that make the cruise experience so enjoyable. I can now empathize with turtles and crocodiles for the languid pleasure of basking in the warm sun. They were an improbable pair that had been married for 26 years and they got along famously. It was nearing the end of the steamy summer season here (Dec.-April) The Spring season is reportedly much cooler.
They waved shyly back at us and returned our greeting with a soft a€?bonjoura€? before scurrying away.
Recently the hotel has been named to the T+L 500, Travel + Leisure’s annual list of the 500 greatest hotels and resorts in the world, featured in January 2006 issue. It had a walker, with a red line though it, apparently warning people from walking across lava that had not yet cooled and risk being burned alive. A refreshing dip in the small pool, in the health spa, felt wonderfully cooling after the 88-degree heat.
We enjoyed chatting with the London kids this last time and were pleased that we had met them. Burning oil, smoke, noise and confusion reigned for several hours that day until the attack ended. I was enduring a bad head cold or I would have tried to mitigate the caloric onslaught as well.
This light wine immediately took on a much fruitier and fuller taste to some chemical transfer or other. We didna€™t think it odd to see the well-tended graves in the front yards of the prosperous looking homes. The local school had let out for lunch and the kids were walking the roads like kids everywhere. They had an early flight out tomorrow morning and a lay over in Los Angeles, before the long flight back to Heathrow in London. We had shared the experience with Lynn and her father Peter from London and two Torontonians, Judy and Paul. We also neither saw nor encountered beggars or pan handlers of any kind during our stay on the island. Inside, several bars and galleries led to the central three story, open well that extends from deck 5 to deck 8. A huge waterfall, far in the distance, gave testimony to the force of the winds this high up.
The shipa€™s two formal restaurants, several boutiques, the casino and other small cafes all opened off of this central court. It is resplendent in gleaming glass and shining brass with marble staircases and open glass elevators. We did our a€?Chevy Chasea€? and appreciated the beauty of the a€?Grand Canyon of the Pacifica€? as Mark Twain had once called it.



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