I have titled this web site, “China Rising from the Past”. There is good reason for this title. Never have I seen so much new construction underway, new buildings, new cities, highways and bridges, high-tech amenities, beautiful hotels! I recently read that the new part of Shanghai was not there just 20 years ago. Everywhere we went there was construction. It was truly amazing.
As our friends and family know that Mieko and I have spent a lot of time in Asia and in the Pacific Ocean area. We, of course, lived in Japan and spent the lengthiest time there. Seven years for me and naturally longer for her since that was her birth place. We lived in Thailand and then Guam. I spent a year in Vietnam. We traveled to Taiwan and Korea and caught some badly needed sleep one afternoon in the Philippines in a hotel near Clark Air Force Base. A few days in Hong Kong while still under British rule but not China proper, but neither of us had ever gone to mainland China..
Viking River Cruises had given us a subscription to Conté Nast Traveler and the very first issue we received had a rating of cruises that included river cruises. The Viking cruise in China was rated number one. Then last spring, year 2007, we received a notice from Viking that just could not be turned down. The price was so good mainly because they were listing roundtrip airfare for less than $500. We had been thinking about such a trip in year 2008 but then remembered that the Beijing Olympics will be in August and could make traveling more expensive almost throughout the year. We decided to go, the time was right and the price was right.
Having traveled with Viking River Cruises in Russia, we were familiar with the way they package everything into a one price deal. There are no costly extras for excursions at the various places visited. The same guide stays with the same group of people throughout the entire time. If there are enough sights to see, the entire day will be spent off the boat. Lunch will be furnished by Viking or paid for by Viking in prearranged locations to eat. In other words, they take good care of everyone.
The Viking boat in Russia was pretty austere. The Viking Century Sun in China was only two years old and was as nice as any of the Princess Cruises ships we have sailed. In Russia the food was as austere as the boat. In China the food was outstanding. Food is not available 24 hours a day as on the big cruise ships but we didn't need that since we were onshore much of the day. The trip was a full sixteen days. We enjoyed it all very much.
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