We read a lot about travel over the course of one week and, after much sifting and sorting, we've rounded up a few of our favorites. From news and reviews to great blog posts, unusual destinations and travel stories, read on for our picks. >>>
To keep up with this weeks unofficial topic (see Sascha's piece on the Tibetan minority, our photo of the week, and my post on traveling to Shigatse), the first pair of links I'm going to drop on ya'll are Tibet related. Everybody's got questions about traveling to Tibet; chances are, if you asked and were answered more than a few months ago, you need check back up on travel regulations and permits before you do anything drastic (like plan your vacation). In addition to this incredibly thorough and clear list of frequently asked questions about Tibet, the entire site is full of fantastic pictures, reliable information on the entire Tibetan plateau and advice about routes through Tibet. And for those of you who don't appreciate the Chinese government regulating your vacation and think you can skirt the authorities and travel without all the baby sitting of a tour guide and the various associated permits, he provides this convincing argument against traveling illegally in Tibet.
Back in Chengdu, things are looking particularly gangster, as usual (and I don't mean gangster like, look-out-that-gangster-has-a-gun, but gangster like, that-was-so-gangster-give-me-some-dap-my-ninja). Our friends over at Chengdu Living posted this fantastic photo-essay on the Wall Lords Graffiti Event from earlier this month, proving yet again that art is alive in China, and (hopefully) growing stronger every day.
Hong Kong is mostly associated with bright lights on the harbor, tall buildings, piles of money and terrifying traffic, but this article on the Kowloon peninsula/Hong Kong Island cultural divide is illuminating and a great reminder that there is often more to cities than the infamous skylines and glamorous avenues. There are also excellent pictures, if reading isn't your thing.
And for a fun, lighthearted look into the struggles of studying Chinese and being just plain foreign in general, head on over to Tales from Hebei, an expat blog that's well written and straddles a delicate line between easy and fun and thoughtful and thought-provoking.
And in stories of semi-crazy adolescents doing semi-crazy things, this week I stumbled across a story from last winter that had a Nanjing Normal University senior hitch-hiking from Nanjing to Urumqi, for kicks. I imagine his mother wants to punch Jack Kerouac right in the mouth.
If you're bored on the subway, perhaps you should consider moving to Nanjing, where there is a Kun Opera revival taking place. Subway riders were greeted last week, both on the train and on stages set up at one station, with performers dressed in traditional garb and wearing face paint. It was such a success that the Nanjing Metro is planning more cultural performances like it.
And finally, for those of you hankering for some Chinese culture but find yourself stuck on the European continent, it's time to head down to the Louvre and check out their Forbidden City exhibition that opened last week. From jade to porcelain to bronze, the Louvre has it all.