Happy New Year! It’s 2017.
Dear friends, ex-colleagues,
Can you imagine that? Barely one year ago, we started this blog. And we also begun to place our quarterly newsletter here instead of sending the PDF file out to you. What was the original intent? Well to be terribly honest, it was to drive some readership traffic to this blog in its infancy. LOL.
So what’s up?
Finally did a road trip in Thailand (driving that is). Now that was a real milestone, which means…we’ll do this all over the rest of the country as well! And a new corner of Korea has been touched – Busan! We can almost compare the two cities (Seoul & Busan) to Tokyo vs Osaka. Perhaps not a fair comparison to some, but that’s our 2 cents! And rushing out this post today, we have just returned from the biting cold of Harbin 3 days ago! Fingers still twitching…
Read our latest newsletter here: The Long Journey Q1-2017.
It’s time to make some travel resolutions for 2017. What will yours be? For us, we intend to:
- Touch Petra, Jordan
- Walk arond Havana, Cuba
- Do a drive around Hua Hin
Wish us luck (please?). For now this will do, as we cannot commit too much since these are already ambitious touch points. We are looking forward to a travel filled 2017! Hope you will too!
Sing with us – “We are one, marching on…towards the gate that leads us to the jet plane, flying out across the sea, radiant with energy, plant our flag on the land far beyond…”
It’s finally here. We are at the airport firing off this post before getting disconnected for almost 8 days. Going where we are headed, it’s highly likely that we cannot obtain access to free wifi (we are too cheap to buy). At least spotty wifi anyway…we’d be lucky to check in on our instagram account to see if we are still clocking more followers! LOL.
Harbin. The last frontier. eh no? nah. let’s not start that way.
Harbin. Frontier lands of nomads and herdsmen you’d think. Not true.
Take three. And action!
Harbin. Part of the super region historically named Manchuria, its meaning in Manchurian is “a place for drying fishing nets” if you look up Wikipedia. Hmmm…one word with two syllables translates into that much? Really? Anyway, this city grew from a small village (what’s new) because of the railway. In the 19th century, the rapidly declining Ching dynasty of China had been steadily losing influence to the Russians here, who brought the “metal road 铁路” to northeastern China.
That should explain why in the coming days we shall see quite some remnants of Russian culture and architectural influence while in the city. But our aim is not to buy Chinese made matryoshka dolls (we bought already in Russia), but to see the fabulous sculptures at the annual Ice festival! Mel will be lining his camera bag with heat pads to keep the camera and power banks at a reasonably toasty 10-15°C, so that battery life does not drain off quick. In the open, -20°C or lower can be expected! Hope to be able to update you while we are on the road.
Well, Mel sprouted a large red pimple on his nose just yesterday and Santa has asked him to guide the Air China sleigh tonight!
Cheers! Auf wiedersehen! Sayonara! Ciao! Tot ziens! 再见!
PS: okay, you need to start the singing at the beginning of the post with the gusto and rhyme like here. Mel recalled this was rehearsed so many times before he got commissioned waaaaay back!
And now, back to your regular programme of scheduled posts.
The ice festival in Harbin is an annual event. Normally held from early January till end of February, it started from 1963. From a supposed traditional ice lantern show, it has grown to be a spectacular sculpturing from international participants.
Yet another bucket list item to check off.
Unfortunately taking this trip will coincide in terms of timing with the Aurora Borealis adventure we seek. Cannot be at two places at the same time without running out of annual leave or budget!
If we were to go, it will have to be at least 3-4 days specifically at the festival grounds to give sufficient time to enjoy the beautiful spectacle in all of its splendour. While skiing may not be the intention (we last skied in Innsbruck in 2004), it will be certainly interesting to check out the city that had so much Russian influence during the late 19th century and 1900s.
Hmm, we can also tag in a couple of days in Beijing to view the traditional sights (Forbidden palace, Temple of heaven, Ming Great wall) in snow covered conditions! Just hope that smog does not smother the experience!