India. The word evokes many images. A land of more than one billion people reaching from the vast Indian Ocean to the stunning Himalayas, India is awash in unparalleled color and beauty. Few locales in the world match its stimulating effect on the five senses — the exotic sights, a cacophony of sound, and exotic smells, tastes, and sensations of a vibrant place. The essence of “India” goes far beyond its exotic, and at times mystical, reputation. Its reality is far more complex that its ecologically diverse geography with dry deserts, towering peaks, and subtropical lowlands; ancient history spanning centuries of kingdoms and modern incarnation; and cultural and spiritual enclaves offer the casual eye at first glance. India is a country in the midst of change that honors its rich heritage as it establishes itself as one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing economies in the world. Millions of tourists journey to India each year to see it for themselves, drawn by the lure of Taj Mahal in Agra, the Golden Triangle, the Land of Kings, Rajasthan, Kerala, and elsewhere. Most soon discover that India is so much more than that. It is a home to countless languages, religions, and traditions — even gods. It’s impossible to absorb it all in just one visit. One must take a pilgrimage or a life-changing experience to begin to understand what India personally means.
World Adventurers hit a major milestone today — 1,000 published posts! A thousand articles and updates later, this blog is still going strong.
I started World Adventurers in December 2004, as a way to update family and friends about life overseas. It has evolved in ways I never imagined when I wrote my first “Hello, World” post. Since then I’ve written about my books, writing, news and politics, humor, sports, finance, culture, thoughts and sayings, updates from around the world, and other topics. My travelogues have been by far this site’s most popular feature.
The early blog hosted by the now-defunct MSN Spaces Live had more than 350,000 hits and was featured regularly by Microsoft on its “What’s Your Story” page. At a time when blogging was far less ubiquitous, World Adventurers was — and remains — on the frontiers of digital media.
Readership declined when Spaces Live folded and I took a breather from blogging in 2008-09. World Adventurers moved to WordPress in late 2010, and made a roaring comeback since then with another 300,000 hits. Earlier this year the site moved to its new and permanent home on my website, www.mgedwards.com, and was rebranded as World Adventurers Magazine. This site hosted by WordPress and featured on Freshly Pressed has remained so popular that I haven’t shut it down; it’s still going strong and complements the new e-zine. All told, World Adventurers has had about 700,000 unique hits and tens of thousands of visitors since its inception.
Here are the 20 most popular and memorable posts published on World Adventurers:
- Top Ten Things to Do in Korea (with Photos)
- I Am No Longer A Foreign Service Officer
- Top Ten Things to See in Zambia (with Photos)
- Top Ten Things to Savor in Macau
- Palio Khao Yai, the Italy of Thailand
- The Plant Life of Kilimanjaro
- What is a Foreign Service officer?
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Thailand
- The Kilimanjaro Sign–Old and New
- Iguazu Falls vs. Victoria Falls (with Photos)
- “The House of Dancing Water” Show in Macau
- 100-day Birthday Celebration
- Bangkok Flooding Update with Photos
- I Survived Eating Pufferfish
- Kayan Lahwi, the “Long-Neck” People
- Top Ten Things to See in Zambia
- Night Market in Hua Hin, Thailand
- The Hallyu Effect
- Filadelfia, Paraguay
- Farm Chokchai – The Old West in Thailand
Thanks for visiting World Adventurers. Here’s to 1,000 posts and many more!
The Philippines is a land of contrasts. An archipelago of more than 7,100 islands with almost 100 million inhabitants, it is the most Hispanic nation in Asia but a place all its own. From shades of Spanish culture, Roman Catholicism and Islam, American-style malls and fast food, and its very name in honor of King Philip II of Spain, the country has long been shaped by foreign influences. Combined with its indigenous heritage, the Philippines has become a nation diverse and unique. From the millions of Filipinos who work hard around the world to provide for their families back home to the tragedy of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) that devastated the central part of the country in November 2013, the Philippines is a land filled with resilience and hope. Poverty and an increasing sense that life is getting better for most. Beauty and bad traffic. Gorgeous volcanoes that wipe out cities and villages. Delicious food cheap and fattening. Warm and friendly people who live life and make the best of what may come, for better or for worse. If you have the chance to visit the Philippines, take it. But don’t simply head to a beach resort for scuba diving and a tan. Hop in a Jeepney and go off the beaten path. You’ll never know what you’ll find in this incredible archipelago.
More About the Philippines
A View of Taal Lake and Volcano Island in Tagaytay
Sunset over Manila Bay
Entrance Gate of Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila
Kilometer Marker 21 of the Bataan Death March and Mt. Samet on the Bataan Peninsula
Tanzania invites visitors to explore its scenic beauty. From the freestanding Afromontane peaks that rise to the summit of one of Africa’s most iconic landmarks, Mount Kilimanjaro, to the wild safari adventures in Ngorongoro Crater and on the Serengeti, strolls on the white sand beaches of Zanzibar, the shores of Lake Tanganyika, and everything in between — Tanzania is a wonderland. It is easy to see why it is one of the Africa’s most popular travel destinations. Formed in 1964 from the union of the newly independent republics of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, Tanzania is a stable, developing country that embodies the best of Africa and its challenges. Its colorful history reflects the influence of indigenous tribes as well as rule by Germany, Great Britain. and an Arab sultanate with historic ties to Oman. This mix of cultures has given Tanzania a diverse character all its own. The Bantu language Swahili (Kiswahili) filled with Arabic phrases, mountaineers who come from around the world to climb Kilimanjaro with the help of local guides and porters, and German bakeries found in the unlikeliest of places will remind you that Tanzania is a place like none other. Not even a mere “hello” will suffice. Your Swahili greeting “jambo” may very well be a “hujambo” or “sijambo” depending on whether you’re coming or going.
More About Tanzania
- The Snows of Kilimanjaro
- The Glaciers of Kilimanjaro
- Kilimanjaro Sign – Old and New
- The Porters of Kilimanjaro
- The Plant Life of Kilimanjaro
- The Majesty of Kilimanjaro
- The Routes of Kilimanjaro
- Outtake Photos from Kilimanjaro
- Other articles
Aerial View of Dar Es Salaam
The Indian Ocean from Zanzibar
A View of Stone Town on Zanzibar
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
- Happy Chinese New Year
- Celebrating New Year of the Dragon in China!
- Zhujiajiao, the Venice of China
- Temple of the Town God in Shanghai, China
- Fireworks in Shanghai, China – Happy Year of the Dragon!
- Happy Year of the Golden Fire on Water Pig
- Another Fish Head on the Table?
- Greetings from Shanghai
- Xin Nian Kuai Le!
- Change of Scenery
- Other articles
The Great Wall
Pudong District, Shanghai
Forbidden City, Beijing
Terracotta Warrior, Xi’an
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.
During my 2014 trip to the Philippines, I retraced the route of the infamous Bataan Death March on the Bataan Peninsula on Luzon Island north of Manila. It was fortuitous that I followed the route on the 72nd anniversary of the March.
After the surrender of the U.S.-Filipino Bataan Defense Force during World War II to the Japanese on April 9, 1942, thousands of American and Filipino prisoners were force marched 102 kilometers from Mariveles and Bagac on the Bataan Peninsula to San Fernando in Pampanga. An estimated 60,000-80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war endured the seven-day Bataan Death March. Those who made it to San Fernando on April 17, 1942, were loaded onto train cars by the hundreds and transferred by rail to the concentration camp at Camp O’Donell. Approximately 2,500-10,000 Filipino and 100-650 American prisoners of war died from execution, exhaustion, injury, thirst, malaria, and other causes along the way. Survivors were held prisoner until Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II in September 1945.
This video footage shows what the route of the Bataan Death March looks like today.
No longer a dirt trail, much of it is now the Bataan Provincial Expressway. It begins at Zero Kilometer Death March Marker (Km 00) Memorial in Mariveles. A second route from Bagac, a district in the interior of Bataan Peninsula where thousands more prisoners were forced marched, merges with the Mariveles branch at Kilometer 23. The highway continues north to San Fernando with dozens of markers and memorials along the way.
The video begins at Zero Kilometer and follows the Bataan Death March route from kilometer 4 to 13. The shaky cam from an air-conditioned vehicle doesn’t convey what prisoners of war endured during the March, but it will give you a sense of the challenges they faced en route.