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The best China travel stories from around the net | Bamboo Compass

The best China travel stories from around the net

by James Weir
Posted: March 12th, 2012 | Updated: March 12th, 2012 | Comments
China travel features_china travel news_china travel blogs_china travel stories Music scene in China 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. >>> There are few things more satisfying than stumbling across spontaneous musical happenings. Whether it be tinny sounds leaking from a local bar or melodies wafting across a sun-glossed grassy hillside, following your ear rarely leads you astray. As a music lover whose listening habits often drift between diligent fan and obsessed lunatic, I have been repeatedly disappointed by the quality and frequency of the music I hear living in Shanghai. Of course, my opinion is incredibly Western-biased and I have almost no experience with classical Chinese music. But as to the merit of China's mainstream music and rock and roll, I maintain that the quality found on the radio, television and in stores around China is most often offensively low. (Though undoubtedly millions upon millions of Chinese folks would disagree strongly but in fairness you won't find me defending Western pop music of the last twenty years any time soon.) The popular music of contemporary China seems all too often to be poor imitations of the worst of Western pop: generic four on the floor beats; a wide-range of shrill synthesizers that create a wall of emotionless sound; vapid lyrics and ear-aching auto-tuning; and finally, infuriatingly catchy melodies that sound like a million other songs of equally lousy provenance. But for the Western listener in China the music scene is getting better by the day, and more and more music festivals in China are popping up, showcasing bands with Eastern and Western roots alike; the frequency and quality of music in China is no doubt increasing at a steady rate, and unique additions to the Chinese musical catalog are added daily. I was excited to find this article on Sichuan... More after the jump.>>>
  • Kunming is sunny, laid back and likely has a higher density of dreadlocks than anywhere else in China. This week I also learned that the city boasts a Kunming to at least a baker's dozen.
  • Speaking of reasons to head south this chilly winter, I stumbled upon this gem while perusing the China Travel Blog archives: a tale of hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan. Beginning in 2004, rumors swirled and plans were drawn up for a damming project in the region, but word on the street is that the plans have been shelved for now.
  • To round out the southern trifecta that I've got here, take a look at Chengdu Living's recent Shenzhen and the Seattle area, his roots and family are in Chengdu. It must be something in the food that's producing all this music and art...
  • Nary a week goes by without a relic of ancient China being discovered. This week in unusual finds we see the People's Daily reporting on a strange 131 year old stone tablet found in northern Shanghai. Apparently, it was used to mark a plot of land, but some of the inscriptions on the stone have yet to be deciphered, which has led to "local historians (inviting) local people, especially expats in the city, to provide some clues". Dan Brown, isn't it about time you wrote a book about China, anyway?
  • So you've been traveling in China and you're craving a doughnut. I get it—I've been there. If you're not in a major city center, you're probably not going to find a Krispy Kreme or a Dunkin', but if you're in Guangzhou or the surrounding regions, you may be in luck. Isidor's Fugue reports on the status of the Chinese doughnut.

Until we meet again next week, happy travels!

 Photo courtesy of Robert Lio  
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