The best China travel stories from around the net

by James Weir
Posted: March 5th, 2012 | Updated: March 5th, 2012 | Comments
China travel features_china travel news_china travel blogs_china travel stories Beijing street food 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. >>> Does the thought of a snake writhing and twisting in a bowl of soup make your stomach grumble and your mouth water? How about a cup of liquor with a recently decapitated snake-head in it—does that make you thirsty? Fried snake on a skewer? No, not at all? Sheesh. Stay in your comfort zone, why don't you. It's no surprise that many members of the animal kingdom enjoy a scarce presence on the dining room tables of much of the world. There are innumerable reasons not to eat any given animal (spiky, slimy, smelly, strange, etc.) when you have the luxury to pick and choose, and it's interesting to think of the ways that cultures elect and decline to consume certain species. While snakes are no doubt devoured all over the world (with varying degrees of eagerness), they are not commonly found on the average table in the Western world. So it is often with a sense of exoticism that foreigners embark on a meal of snake in China. It is in this spirit that Shanghaiist has profiled one correspondents experience dining on snake in Shanghai. While the story contains the to-be-expected sense of wonder (snake?!? crazy!), it also includes quite a bit about Chinese history and why the snake continues to be such an expensive delicacy in China today. When coupled with vivid descriptions of the snake (a cobra that was paraded around the dining room before its execution in the kitchen), it is this extra information that makes for a well-rounded, satisfying read. Whether or not it makes for a satisfying meal is certainly a more individualistic question, though. Read on for more China travel links....
  •  Dealing with food allergies in China can be a daunting task, particularly for the short-term visitor who's grasp of the language is minimal or non-existent. Explaining that you need a gluten-free meal in your native tongue can be more complicated than you might think, and next to impossible with gestures and poorly pronounced Mandarin. That's why it's extra helpful that there is now this bilingual card for Celiac travelers that explains the severity of the situation and exactly what gluten-free is in Mandarin. Eat without anxiety!
  • There are few things in this world that are grander than a fleet of aircraft carriers. The sheer scale is magnificent, awe-inspiring and menacing. If you've never visited a decommissioned aircraft carrier before, I would urge you to do so at your earliest convenience. And if you're near Tianjin, I would further recommend that you spend an evening aboard the Soviet-era Kiev, which now boasts a hotel on the aircraft carrier. As an added bonus, the rooms feature round beds, futuristic lighting fixtures and gaudy cow-print rugs. In a word: awesome.
  • With most of the world fascinated by China's vault into a future of skyrocketing skyscrapers and glamorous consumer culture, it's refreshing to remember some of the more quaint, antiquated monuments of old. Time Out Beijing has pounded the pavement and revealed some of their favorite things to do in Old Bejing.
  • The state of the Internet in China isn't the world's freest or the fastest, but it does hold the title of being the world's largest Internet community. So it was with great enthusiasm and speculation last week that netizens across China realized that Great Firewall seems to have been a mistake, or a glitch, or something otherwise explainable in non-policy terms, as the sites were shortly inaccessible again (Google+ lasted about a week; the other three less than a day). Whatever the cause, it prompted much discussion about the freedom (or lack thereof) of the Internet in China, and was further reminder to get yourself a proxy or VPN.

Until we meet again next week, happy travels!

Photo courtesy of Toby Simkin    
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