Friday, 30 March 2012

Day 209: Leshan Steak Culture

I'm just back from an overnight stay in the small city of Leshan, best known for this:


It was very nice. However, a bonus highlight of the trip, courtesy of Houcaller Steak, was this:


In 18th century, steaks drenched in Vienna art earned elegance.
In 19th century, streaks listened to the Mozart's "Forest" owned romance.
In 20th century, steaks inherited the Beethoven's "Ode of Joy" pursued happiness.
A steak with artistic soul and beautiful life would be much more precious.

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Day 207: Escape From Beijing (For A Week)

I'd expected this entry to be a downbeat one. For five weeks, Burness and I have been held prisoner in Beijing by his eye condition. Every week the news was "one more week", and every week our stalled travels looked more and more broken down. But yet, we kept hope. Burness's improvement from his return from North Korea has been huge, but for obvious reasons until the doctor gave him the go ahead to travel again, we couldn't go anywhere. Health is more important that visiting World Wonders (so some would argue, at any rate) so the doctor's orders were paramount. Our hopes remained... until now. Five weeks delayed, we realised we'd reached a point where any further delays would make these travels pointless. There's only one month left until we're due to return home, so why spend that month in Beijing doing nothing? We agreed before yesterday's visit to the doctor that with any further delays, that would be it. Burness would fly home and I... what would I do? I didn't know.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

20. Wonder: The Terracotta Army

(For the Terracotta Army preview, please click here.)


Days 196 to 198: Xian

It has been over three weeks now in Beijing, watching Burness being slowly nursed back to health. A degree of cabin fever has set in, it would be true to say, but our years working offshore have prepared us fully for dealing with this. Plus, for me, I've been able to have numerous expeditions to the Great Wall to occupy me.

Although the "ok" from the doctor to recommence travelling is still pending, with the general improvement we decided to have a weekend break in the nearby city of Xian. I say nearby, it's a 12-hour train journey away, but this is pretty close by Chinese standards. The trains in China are modern, speedy, and punctual, and so we arrived in Xian at 8am on Saturday exactly as planned (if this has been India, the cost would have been about a tenth, but we'd have arrived about 8pm).

Friday, 16 March 2012

Day 195: Weekend With The Warriors

As faithful readers will no doubt have ascertained, lately not a great deal has been happening. Due to Burness being incapacitated with a particularly nasty eye infection, we've been stuck in Beijing since we returned from North Korea, three weeks ago. I've managed to do a fair bit of sightseeing around Beijing and have had various day-trips to parts of the Great Wall, but Burness has generally been no further than the nearby hospital, for injections, check-ups, eye-drops, and electro-shock treatment (maybe).

However, progress is being made. Although he's not quite had the all-clear to leave Beijing and continue with the travels, we're hoping that will come by next week. If it does, then we might be able to squeeze in our remaining Chinese Wonders, barring the Thousand Buddha Caves which will have to wait for future travels.

For this to be possible, a weekend trip is thus planned, to grab the Terracotta Warriors at Xian, an overnight train journey away. With great excitement, our train there has been booked - our escape from Beijing (for a weekend) will commence later today.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

19. Wonder: The Great Wall of China

(For the Great Wall of China preview, please click here. Click here for accounts of Badaling and Hushan, here for accounts of Mutianyu and Huanghua, and here for Juyongguan and Jiankou.)


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Days 190 and 192: Some Walls: Juyongguan and Jiankou (to Mutianyu)

Another day, another wall. In this case, the days were Sunday and Tuesday, and the walls, the Juyongguan and Jiankou sections of the Great Wall of China.


Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Days 180 and 185: Some Walls: Mutianyu and Huanghua

Mutya Buena (born 21 May 1985) is an English recording artist who rose to fame as a member of girl group the Sugababes. With the Sugababes, Buena had four UK number one singles, an additional six top-ten hits and three multi-platinum albums. After leaving the group in December 2005, she released her debut solo album, Real Girl, in June 2007. In October 2010, Buena released a compilation album dedicated to British singers, titled Sound Of Camden: Mutya Buena.

Mutya Buena should not be confused with the Mutianyu section (built 1569) of the Great Wall of China, which is, of course, an entirely different thing.


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Danielle Corner: The Taj Mahal

During January, my girlfriend Danielle joined me for a couple of weeks in India. As part of this, she got to see four candidate Wonders: the Lotus Temple, Akshardham, the Taj Mahal, and Agra Fort. Under only a little duress, she wrote a little about each, and answered a few questions. In this last of four "Danielle Corners", she writes about the Taj Mahal.

Note: As a lawyer, Danielle is occasionally partial to a bit of "legalese". Also, she erroneously calls me "Niall" for some reason...

The Taj Mahal


For those who don't know me, Concise is certainly not an adjective that has ever been used to describe me or anything that I do or write, however there's always a first.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Danielle Corner: Agra Fort

During January, my girlfriend Danielle joined me for a couple of weeks in India. As part of this, she got to see four candidate Wonders: the Lotus Temple, Akshardham, the Taj Mahal, and Agra Fort. Under only a little duress, she wrote a little about each, and answered a few questions. In this third of four "Danielle Corners", she writes about Agra Fort.

Note: As a lawyer, Danielle is occasionally partial to a bit of "legalese". Also, she erroneously calls me "Niall" for some reason...


Agra Fort


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Danielle Corner: Akshardham

During January, my girlfriend Danielle joined me for a couple of weeks in India. As part of this, she got to see four candidate Wonders: the Lotus Temple, Akshardham, the Taj Mahal, and Agra Fort. Under only a little duress, she wrote a little about each, and answered a few questions. In this second of four "Danielle Corners", she writes about Akshardham in Delhi.

Note: As a lawyer, Danielle is occasionally partial to a bit of "legalese". Also, she erroneously calls me "Niall" for some reason...

Akshardham
(photo pending)

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Danielle Corner: The Lotus Temple

During January, my girlfriend Danielle joined me for a couple of weeks in India. As part of this, she got to see four candidate Wonders: the Lotus Temple, Akshardham, the Taj Mahal, and Agra Fort. Under only a little duress, she wrote a little about each, and answered a few questions. In this first of four "Danielle Corners", she writes about the Lotus Temple in Delhi.

Note: As a lawyer, Danielle is occasionally partial to a bit of "legalese". Also, she erroneously calls me "Niall" for some reason...

Before she gets into the full scrutiny that makes up Wonder-analysis, she has a few general words to say on Delhi itself.