After entering main land China by way of Shenzen, we took the train into Guangzhou, which is the capital of the Guangdong Province. As the train brought us into the city, we could see how large and populated this city is. Guangzhou is a very congested city, and has many of the problems that come along with the urban sprawl. Pollution is prevalent throughout the city. Smog is heavy and thick, creating a layer of haze, and perhaps it was my imagination, but I would swear you could feel the “thick” air entering your lungs. A large part of the smog is generated by the still popular use of coal. Putting trash in a receptacle seems to be an inconvenience → Continue Reading
Granada is a city I could visualize myself living in, though I would find it difficult to be so far away from the beach. Central Granada has the usual combination of old and new buildings. Gran Via de Colon and Calle Reyes Catolicos are main streets that have restaurants and other businesses lined along them. We found the Plaza Nueva area a good place to find a room and keep us nearby to our main interest, the Alhambra. The plaza has many hotels or hostals close by, and in the evening the restaurants in the plaza offer some decent meals while the local musicians come out to add to the atmosphere. One night we were fortunate enough to strike → Continue Reading
With the political turmoil settling down in Bangkok, there are sure to be some good deals available. The week long shut down of the two main airports is estimated to have cost over 3 billion dollars, and it is estimated about 2 million tourists may cancel their flights to the country. The anti-government demonstrations are said to have had a worse economic impact than the Tsunami that hit the resort areas back in 2004. Fortunately, there were no reported tourist injuries, and violence and vandalism was virtually nonexistent.
Now that the dust has cleared the tourism industry is trying to get their business back on track. The Tourism Authority of Thailand announced a plan for a promotional campaigns to get the ball rolling. Additionally, many hotels are offering free rooms and special fares → Continue Reading
We stayed at the Explorama Lodge in May, so we avoided the crowds that can arrive during June, July and August. It was just three of us, and our guide Segundo, so we didn’t have to wait for anybody else. Our days included going on hikes through the jungle and jumping on a small boat to cruise around the Amazon River. Everywhere we went we saw some amazing, diverse vegetation, animals and insects.
The mosquitoes were not as bad as I thought they would be. Wearing a long sleeve shirt, long pants and a hat are a good idea, and using clothing made of quick-dry type of materials is an advantage. Our hikes around the jungle were hot and → Continue Reading
We entered the Amazon through Iquitos, Peru. The city is a gateway to many Amazonian lodges and riverboat trips. I discovered the Explorama Lodge through recommendations on the web and their own web site. I was impressed with their prompt responses to my emails and their informative web site. There were a few other lodges that caught my eye, but Explorama had the options I was looking for and date flexibility I needed.
Our Explorama guide picked us up in the morning at our hostel in Iquitos. Being our first time heading to the Amazon, we were a bit apprehensive to give the guide our return plane tickets and passports. Having learned earlier that Explorama was considered to be → Continue Reading