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Travel Politics / Politics Travel / Japan Travel / China Travel / Israel Travel / Egypt Travel / Australia Travel / Japan / China / Israel / Egypt / Australia / ANA / Japan Airlines / El Al / Qantas / Emirates / → All Tags
It's an unfortunate fact of life that sometimes politics impacts travel. It's an even more unfortunate fact of life that sometimes politics impacts travel so much that we have to write about it on a Friday afternoon instead of easing you into the weekend with baby animal pictures. And yet here we are, with flights being emptied or cancelled across three continents because of a variety of geopolitical flare-ups.
The most dramatic bit of travel politics comes out of Japan, where no less than 40,000 seat reservations to China have been canceled. China has been on a bit of a tear recently, claiming a bunch of islands that by and large aren't straightforwardly quite theirs. The campaign has put them on a collision course with various other countries in the region (obviously) and one of those countries is Japan. There have been anti-Japan protests in China and, apparently, lots of Japanese people are sufficiently pissed off to cancel vacations to China.
Isn't it just the worst when you've taken a chunk out of your day and money out of the ATM to head on over to the Chinese consulate to get your Chinese Visa paperwork submitted, and then find out you've filled out the wrong form? #worldtravelerproblems
Even if this hasn't happened to you, it most likely will at some point because scoring that necessary visa for travel to China is only getting more convoluted with the addition of extra documentation.
Up until recently, Americans with China travel on the horizon needed only to complete a form, turn in their passport (valid for at least another 6 months), turn in a 2x2" passport photo and $140, then make it over to China within 90 days of the issuing of the Tourist Visa to keep it valid for the year. On August 1, new requirements came into effect and now you'll not only have to be ready with all of the above, but also provide the following:
We wouldn’t really consider ourselves easy to impress when it comes to the world of travel, but we are definitely suckers when it comes to airports, airplanes, and a little sprinkle of time-lapse videography.
Things move too quickly for us to identify each and every airport, but there’s plenty of American Airlines, lots of airports, and some snazzy shots of China. Puffy clouds and clear blue skies have us dreaming of escaping to the airport this afternoon, but in the interim we’ll keep watching and daydreaming.
We’ll be sure to keep our eyes out for more options from coolvid679 in the future, but if you’ve got the travel time-lapse thing down to a science be sure to share!
Political Travel / United / EWR / PEK / China Travel / Politics Travel / Business Class Travel / → All Tags
United Airlines Flight 88 is a direct, 12.5 hour Beijing-PEK to Newark-EWR flight flown by a Boeing 777-200. Seatguru says that United's particular 777-200 configuration has 8 First Class Suites, 40 new Business class flatbed seats, and a 3-3-3 configuration in economy. So far it just sounds like your average trans-Pacific flight, right? There's comfy accommodations in first and business class, and an economy cabin where people wake up 8 hours into the trip, realize they've still got 1/3 of the flight to go, and want to kill themselves.
But last Saturday this very route became a focus of international attention. It was boarded just before takeoff by blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng (in a wheelchair), plus his wife and their two children. The family had been driven across the tarmac by Chinese officials and deposited into an elevator, which took them up to the skywalk and onto the plane.
The mini-drama marked the beginning of the end of a standoff between American and Chinese diplomats, stretching back to last month when Chen escaped the Chinese guards who were keeping him under house arrestas China likes to do with "dissidents"and fled to the U.S. embassy.
A380 / China Southern / Airbus / Airplanes / Travel Ads / China Travel / → All Tags
SPOTTED! Perhaps the best advertising for an airline's Airbus A380 service...so far.
The A380 is a double-decker airplane. This is a double-decker tram. We bet China Southern considered doing up the ad to make the tram look like an airplane, but that would take a little too much imagination from people who maybe catch a glimpse of the thing as it rolls through their peripheral vision.
China Southern has been flying the superjumbos since October 2011, and their inaugural routes were Beijing-Shanghai and Beijing-Guangzhou. The latter, you see, is just over the border from Hong Kong. Hong Kong is where we spotted this ad-bedecked tram, running the rails near the Sheung Wan MTR stop. Other trams were sporting ads for Dior and Shanghai Tang, but this one stood out for its blue cloud swirls. Roll on, A380 tram. Roll on.
Tax Refund Vacations / China Travel / Beijing Travel / PEK / Shanghai Travel / PVG / Food Travel / → All Tags
Tax day has arrived, and your happy not because you may have stand in line at the post office, but because you're probably getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on it's way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" trip.
By now, you will probably know what type of refund you will getting back from Uncle Sam. This post is devoted to those refunds that are on the larger side. If you want to completely splurge and use your entire check to see more parts of the world, China is your destination.
You can find the footlong mecca at the entrance to the impressive 2.5-kilometer stretch of the Great Wall in Mutianyu. From here you can walk in, out and around several of the 22 watchtowers that were built during the early Ming dynasty.
Some of the steps are steep and tiny and, as to be expected, you need to watch where you're going.There are no handrails and very few informational signs. It's just you, the wall and silence (well, when the other tourists aren't chattering that is. We managed to grab a quick little video on our iPhone of the Mutianyu section. Enjoy!
What Not To Do In / Travel Tips / Tourism / China Travel / The Forbidden City / Beijing Travel / → All Tags
We told you the other month how powerful it was arriving at Tiananmen Squarewhich sits across from the Forbidden Citybut today we're telling you what NOT TO DO when you actually step inside the imperial walls. As always, these are just our tips so by all means, please add your own!
So without further ado, here is the Jaunted guide of What Not To Do In The Forbidden City: The Top 5 Tourist Mistakes.
5. Don't pay for your tickets with a credit card
Both locals and tourists mostly pay cash in the city, and the admission booths only had one window that accepted credit cards. Since we don't read or speak Mandarin or any other Asian language, there was a bit of back and forth with the cashiers about which one had the credit card machine. Save yourself the trouble and bring 40 RMB ($6.35) with you, per person.
Airline Security / China Eastern Airlines / Martial Arts / Flight Attendants / Airline News / China Travel / → All Tags
Last April, we told you about Hong Kong Airlines training their cabin crew to ward off terrorists and unruly passengers by using kung fu. Now, the martial art safe for onboard combat is being offered to flight attendants on China Eastern Airlines.
The Shanghai-based carrier announced that the first group of 20 cabin crew recently finished their courses. In all, 2,600-plus flight attendants will be trained for self-defense by using the ancient fighting technique. Airlines executives think that flight attendants could be seen as an easy target for would-be baddies.
Travel Snapshot / Wish You Were Here / China Travel / Beijing Travel / The Forbidden City / → All Tags
One of the most surreal moments we've had yet while traveling has to be our arrival the other day at The Forbidden City in Beijing.
Once the home for emperors from the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Imperial Palace today is now pretty much an outdoor museum for tourists (mostly Chinese) to walk through since many of the actual halls and rooms of the palace are off limits. You can peek into these various halls and take photos; however, be prepared for a mob of people attempting to do the very same thing.
But what actually moved us most about arriving at the Forbidden City was standing in Tiananmen Square, where we snapped this photo. We were young when the 1989 protests and subsequent killings happened but we do remember hearing about the uprising and even watching some of the news clips. We just never imagined in a million years we would actually go there one day. But that's the beauty of travel isn't it?
Airline News / LCCs / Asia Travel / Hong Kong Travel / China Travel / Hong Kong Airlines / → All Tags
Asia seems to be the breeding ground for LCCs with announcements about Peach, Scoot, and Jetstar Japan. Last week the chief at Hong Kong Airlines announced that they'd be doing a regional subsidiary as well. Hong Kong Express will be re-branded and operate as a low-cost carrier to compete with the slew of budget airlines popping up all over the region.
The full transition will take place middle of 2012 and flights will serve mainland China, South Korea, Japan and southeast Asia. Airbus A320s will hit the skies, but what the livery will look like (or even the airline's name), we can't yet be sure.
Restaurant Week deals aren't just for major cities in the United States, nosireebob. Believe it or not, Shanghai and their multitude of fancy-pants eateries have been getting in on the discounted 3-course meal act for several years now, and the deals are again good from September 5-11.
Alack and alas, the majority of the 70 restaurants on the bill either specialize in western cuisine or call the 4-and 5-star hotels of the city home. This is not a deterrent! Hotel restaurants in Shanghai are not the hotel restaurants you're thinking of; they offer some of the most diverse menus, dramatic views and dressed-up evenings you can find in the Pearl of the Orient, and with a three-course dinner costing 248 RMB, or about $38 or a three-course lunch at 118 RMB, or $17, it's only good news.
The city is a bit like our photo aboveit's completely traditional and affordable in some areas, but those parts are almost immediately followed by the high-gloss modern neighborhoods with their famous-chef restaurants and gold gilt bathroom faucets. You've just got to learn to love both, and getting the latter fancy food for cheap helps.
Reservations opened TODAY! Go here to get them.
[Photo: Cynthia Drescher]