Archive for the ‘Monthly Journal’ Category
On February 3 the Chinese lunar calendar will celebrate the New Year, the year of the Iron Rabbit. The Rabbit is the fourth animal in the Chinese 12 year/animal zodiac cycle. Each new year is celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice, creating a different date every year. Chinese New year, or Chun Jie, is the most important holiday of the year in China. Families will travel great distances to get together and feast on fish and dumplings. Young children traditionally receive hong bao, red envelopes filled with money.
People born in the year of the Rabbit are considered lucky, considerate, kind , calm, and gracious but can also be cautious, stubborn and moody. Famous rabbits include Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Lewis Carroll and George Orwell.
Although the unique ecosystem of Jiuzhaigou has been a UNESCO World Heritage site protected landscape since 1992, few people outside of China are familiar with this area of sublime alpine beauty. The name means “nine village valley” and it is in the lush mountains of northern Sichuan province, near the Gansu border inhabited by Tibetan and Qiang peoples.
Many natural enthusiast consider the waterfalls, crystal clear aquamarine alpine lakes and towering snow covered jagged peaks to rival the beauty of Yosemite or Banff National parks.
Despite receiving large numbers of annual visitors Jiuzhaigou keeps the park pristine by barring vehicles except for park buses and utilizing elevated wooden walking paths that do not damage the environment.
Easy access to the region is provided by the modern mountaintop Huanglong Airport, which at 3,450 meters (11,315 feet) altitude is one of the highest in the world. There are numerous 40 minute flights to the provincial capital of Chengdu each day.
Our Heaven Earth Tour vistits Jiuzhaigou and other areas of supreme natural beauty.
In 2009 Beijing’s Capital airport surpassed Chicago O’Hare to become the third busiest in the world, serving 65.3 million international and domestic passengers. The airport, which uses the international code PEK, served only 700,000 passengers fewer than London Heathrow, the world’s second busiest airport. With a 16% increase in traffic from 2008 ton 2009, it is projected that PEK will become the world’s 2nd busiest in 2010, but it is unlikely the 88 million passengers Atlanta Hartsfield airport serves will be surpassed anytime soon.
Beijing Capital airport completed a dramatic expansion in time for 2008 Olympics, the vast Terminal 3. Over a half mile long, this terminal is filled with modern retail and eating amenities as well as traditional Chinese decorative elements. Despite the huge volume of traffic, security and baggage service at the airport run swiftly and efficiently. A convenient and inexpensive high speed train connects the suburban airport with the center city.
Access China’s tours make extensive use of the excellent facilities at PEK
Huang Shan, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Of China’s dozens of scenic and sacred mountains, Huangshan (“the Yellow Mountain”) is perhaps the most picturesque and aesthetically pleasing. It has been designated UNESCO World heritage site since 1990. Located in the Yellow Mountain range of Eastern China’s Anhui province, Huang Shan receives over a million tourists and pilgrims every year. They come to climb the summit and to appreciate the unique natural beauty of this mountain of misty rocky summits and gnarled pine trees.
The rocks and trees have been the focus of poets and artists for millennia, by end of the Qing Dynasty over 20,000 poems survive describing the natural beauty. The Taoist poet Li Bai wrote some of the most famous odes to Huang Shan around 740 AD.
Although only 1,864 meters (6,115 feet) tall, the mountain contains three distinct climatic and vegetation zones giving the visitor diverse topography to savor. One can climb the thousands of steps to the summit or use the cable cars.
The humid lower elevations are ideal for tea plant production and are the home to several troops of macaque monkeys.
A highlight on a visit to the Yellow Mountain is to spend the night at one of the summit hotels and view the sunrise over the “sea of clouds” that form each morning below the summit.
Access China Tours offers trips to Huang Shan and the nearby timeless villages of Anhui Province.
One of the signature items of Chinese restaurants, the beloved fortune cookie, did not originate in China. In fact, the cookies and paper fortunes are almost completely unknown in mainland China.
The iconic crunchy cookie with words of wisdom inside actually originated in the United States in the early 20th century. Japanese cookies made of sesame and wasabi wrapped in paper fortunes are thought to be the inspiration of the vanilla and sugar flavored hollow “Chinese” fortune cookies with the fortune inside. The modified fortune cookies were being made by hand in San Francisco and Los Angeles bakeries in the early 20th century. The cookies took off in popularity after World War 2 when the automatic cookie making machine was perfected in Oakland, dramatically dropping the production price and allowing Chinese restaurants to offer them as a complimentary desert novelty.
Today, over 3 billion fortune cookies are produced annually, the vast majority of which are consumed in the United States.
Access China Tours provides clients with delicious Chinese cuisine, just don’t expect any fortune cookies.
While many are celebrating Valentine’s day, on February 14 over a billion Chinese people worldwide will celebrate the Lunar New Year. Chun Jie, or Spring Festival is a weeklong celebration where families get together to celebrate with feasts, fireworks and marathon games of mahjong.
Chinese New year falls on the second new moon after the Winter Solstice, which can vary from late January to late February.
2010 is the year of the iron tiger, people born in these years are considered to be courageous, passionate, impulsive and generous. Famous Tigers include Karl Marx, Ho Chi Minh, Agatha Christie and Queen Elizabeth II.