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How does one describe a country like China? Facts and figures do not adequately measure the immensity of the world’s most populous nation, its third largest by size, and one of its most ancient. Grandiose statistics do not do China justice. China is perhaps best described as “China.” The name itself conjures images of the Great Wall, megapolises, Zodiac calendars and complicated characters, sumptuous cuisine, exotic scenery, manufacturing might, exquisite artisanship, and many more. From the Middle Kingdom to a People’s Republic, China is a dragon both awe-inspiring and fire-breathing that has reawakened from its slumber and is now stretching its wings to reassert itself in the world. Like the 21,196-kilometer (13,171 mile) Great Wall stretching from the Yellow Sea in the east to the far western interior, the breadth of this land is difficult for anyone to fathom. An ever-growing number of foreign tourists flock to popular destinations like Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an, or Guilin to immerse themselves in the Far East – or so they think – but they have only begun to discover what is truly China. Few ever will, for this dynamic land is always on the move, heading into the future and out of reach of full comprehension.

More About China

The Great Wall

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Pudong District, Shanghai

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Forbidden City, Beijing

2002_03_30 China Beijing DSC00223-1

Terracotta Warrior, Xi’an

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Celebrating New Year of the Dragon in China!

My wife Jing, son, and I spent the 2012 Chinese New Year with Jing’s family in Shanghai, China. It was a special New Year’s for us, not only because it ushered in the auspicious Year of the Dragon but also because it marked a first for our family—the first time we had been together with Jing’s family in China for the holiday. My wife had not spent New Year’s with her family in almost two decades, and it would be the first time my son and I joined them. The happy hearts and big smiles of my in-laws when we arrived January 21 foretold a joyous reunion.

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Click here to read the original article on MG Edwards. Visit MG Edwards for more great travelogues, photos, and videos from around the world.

Exploring Bang Phlap, Thailand by Bicycle

I enjoy riding bicycle in rural Thailand. I occasionally ride with a great group of people who leave the close confines of suburban Bangkok and cycle to the rural areas of greater Bangkok. Some of the better places to ride are on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River that cuts the city of Bangkok in two. Bang Phlap District in northern Bangkok is one such place.

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2012_02_11 Bicycle Ride (9)

2012_02_11 Bicycle Ride (14)

Once you cross the river by ferry, you are free to explore a beautiful part of the city. Weaving through the narrow streets and alleys while avoiding traffic and aggressive soi (street) dogs is an adventure.

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2012_02_11 Bicycle Ride (3)

The back streets of Bang Phlap offer a feast for the eyes as it skirts Koh Kred Island along the Chao Phraya waterfront. Some alleys no wider than walkways pass just above canals and swamps. It takes some skill to stay on your bicycle as you dodge dogs, mopeds and speed bumps without falling into the murky water. The scenic photo opportunities reward you for your effort.

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As you ride, you may pass some beautiful Buddhist temples along the way. The most memorable one is Wat Bangchak, home to a giant gold Buddha sitting cross-legged facing the Chao Phraya River. The beautiful Buddha meditates serenely at the river’s edge. At least five other temples are located around Bang Phlap.

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2012_02_11 Bicycle Ride (20)

A bicycle ride in Bang Phlap takes you through neighborhoods where homes sit on stilts above the water line, small businesses are painted in bright, cheery colors, and children chant their lessons at school so loudly that their voices echo in the street. It’s a lot of fun to explore this beautiful and interesting part of Thailand by bicycle.

Bang Phlap District, Bangkok, Thailand. February 2012.


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