Sunday, June 29, 2008


Our trip to China had us arriving at the new airport in Beijing that has just recently opened. It is referred to as Terminal 3. The new Terminal 2 is in Shanghai (we flew into that as well). Terminal 1 is in China's largest city, Chongquing, the one we used to know as Chung King.
These airports are part of the country's program of building 108 new airports between 2004 and 2009. Wisconsin has only one city approaching a million in population. China has 100 cities in excess of 1 million.
Terminal 3 in Beijing is equipped to handle 43 million passengers annually in it's present form. They intend to continue to expand it to be able to hand 55 million annually by 2015. One thing we noticed is that despite it's size, the airport is designed to keep passenger's walking distances to a minimum. An old dude such as myself appreciates the design.


I thought I'd post a picture of my wife and I as we enjoyed a bicycle-driven rickshaw ride through a HuTong in old Beijing. A HuTong is the old style of city living structure where a family or group of families live within an enclosed courtyard. Many of these areas are being torn down to make way for high-rise apartment buildings, the new image of Beijing. Much of the character of the city is being lost.
You can see we are enjoying the trip. No one in our group came down with The Emperor's Revenge, or what ever they call the Chinese equivilant of the common Mexican malady.
Yvonne Cook Photograph


Ni Hao!
I happened to come across a professionally done Power-Power Presentation of a couple's trip to Beijing. They saw many sights that our group did not have time to go to during our brief visit. They also had much, much more blue skies than we encountered. However, it is a great presentation amd makes me long to go back and see all the things I missed.
Note: You may have to download some software to view the presentation. I did it with no problems and no side effects.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


ZHENG JIE of China, ranked 133 in the world, staged a fantastic upset Friday on the fifth day of the Wimbledon tennis tournament as she upset the number one ranked player in the world, Ana Ivanovic of Serbia.
She resisted the normal inclination to jump for joy, pump her fist, or whatever, and simply cracked a slight smile.
Zheng had missed most of last year's competition because of a broken ankle, but has been at the forefront of her nation's emergence as a factor in tennis. She needed a wild card to get into this year's Wimbledon competition, and is making the most of it, winning in straight sets over Ivanovic.


Last year I read an old Sommerset Maugham novel called THE PAINTED VEIL. Although Maugham is no longer in great favor like he once was in this country, I regarded it as an excellent work.
I became aware of the story having been made into a movie, featuring Naomi Watts and Edward Norton. I purchased it and my wife and I absolutely loved it.
The story centers on life in the English Commission area of Shanghai in the 1920's .... marital problems .... and the life of a medical missionary "upriver" away from the artifical environment of English colonial society.
I recommend it highly!


The Chinese have many variations of methods to get from Point A to Point B. In Beijing, there are a reported 3.7 million cars, trucks & busses, 9 million bicycles, and an untold number of motorbikes, motorscooters, & motorcycles.
There are many variations of conversions of motorbikes into vehicles that can carry extra passengers and a wide variety of cargo. The attached photo is of one of the better ones we saw. Some are just a frame with canvas sides, some are cobbled together with metal, and some are professionally done in metal or fiberglass, like this one. With today's gas prices in the USA this approach would seem to be very practical. I'd love to have one!
Yvonne Cook Photo


This photo is of "Will Wei" our ACIS tour guide in China. The shot was taken in Tianamen Square. He was a very knowledgeable young man with a great sense of humor. He acted like a Mother-Hen keeping his group together. Will learned very early that my wife had a tendancy to take off on her own. Each time before he moved to us to a new spot he would say "Where is Mary?"
Mr Wei particularly enjoyed the nuances in dialect between English speakers from different countries. He repeatedly referred to Australians who would say "Where are we going today?", but it would sound like "Where ah we goin to die?"
Yvonne Cook Photo


My wife was initially not totally enthused about going to China. As she had approached her retirement, she began getting increasingly involved in birding and photography. Most of our travels the last few years have been birding opportunities. She had heard and believed that birding opportunities were going to be very limited in major metropolitan areas in China.
Even though the range of species was not great, she was pleasantly surprised to find many birds, wherever we went. This photograph is one of her focusing in on swallows that were everywhere during our visit to the Imperial City.
Yvonne Cook Photo


In the fall 2007 I became very upset with my cable TV provider. Not only had I been experiencing repeated service outages, some during Green Bay Packer games, they refused to carry the new NFL network. This resulted in my missing some Packer games completely. That was the last straw!
I made the switch to a satellite company and not only got my Packer games, I was also pleasantly surprised by some of the specialty channels that were provided. Among these was CCTV-9 , the English language channel broadcast from China. Their news broadcasts gave me a new perspective on world events. Their cultural and travel programs were a great preparation for my trip to China as well as a tool for better understanding of China, the Chinese history & culture, and the new perspectives in the country with the relaxing and elimination of most controls imposed by the Cultural Revolution. I watch it frequently, and now with an enhanced understanding since my trip.
You can access the stations website at
(Note: You have to click on the CCTV image in the center of the screen, and then click on "ENGLISH" in the upper left hand corner to get the English version of their website).
Live broadcasts are available on the web at


NPR has a current article about how current Chinese writers are using the Internet to share some of their work. Mao's Cultural Revolution had suppressed freedom of expression. Although there are still some forms of suppression of thought ( is currently blocked in China, at least through the Olympic time frame) the Internet is an outlet for many.


Ni Hao!

I recently took a trip to China with my wife. We were part of a group of 14 Wisconsinites and 13 Floridians who enjoyed fantastic experiences in the world's most populous country.

It is my intent to use this blog to record various articles, videos, and photographs I encounter on the Web regarding China. I will also share photographs my wife and my fellow travelers took during our trip.

Our trip was a once-in-a lifetime type of experience. This blog may help me retain the "buzz" the trip gave me. I welcome input in the form of comments and photos of my readers.