Travel with Jan Weekly Digest

Travel with Jan Weekly Digest

Pianma: The Flying Tigers


Yunnan Province


June 9, 2014 

At the height of the Japanese military power during World War II, their armed forces occupied large areas of China, blockaded the ports, and closed almost all of the roads.  “The Burma Road”  -the one open route that snaked through the mountains from India, through Burma to western China - was bombed by Japanese fighter planes.   Eventually, trucks ceased to transport goods to the Chinese Nationalist Army fighting the Japanese.

“The Hump” became the vital lifeline. 

Dali: Goddess of Mercy Temple and Erhai Lake


Yunnan Province


Elevation 2007m – 6585 ft

Population 652,000

June 1, 2013

Dear Friends,

Dali is attacked - The enemy is at the gates!  Will Dali survive?

At the entrance to the Goddess of Mercy Temple just south of Dali Old Town, a stone-carved mural depicts the potential battle.  

Ilian provides the details of the legend.

Ilian is a big man.  A very big man.  Illian’s grandfather was a tailor, a farmer and a wrestler.  Apparently, Illian inherited his grandfather’s skills, his traditional values and his physique.

Dali: The Old Town

                              Dali – “Can I Go Home Now?” 


Yunnan Province


May 30, 2014

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Traveling in China can be so frustrating!   I think I’ll go home.

After a four and a half hour bus ride from Kunming to Dali New Town, and after a taxi driver refused to take me to my hotel near the Old City,  and  after a thirty minute bone-shaking, jaw-jarring, teeth-shattering ride in the Chinese answer to the Thai Tuk Tuk,

and after waiting more than half an hour for someone from the hotel to pick me up because the Tuk Tuk driver dropped me off at the wrong gate of the city, and after taking a taxi from the South Gate of the Old City to the West Gate,

and  after checking in at the Jade Emu Guest House that looked like a good hotel on the Internet but was just a notch above a youth hostel, and after all of the above being transacted with a variety of people with whom Icannot communicate,

I ask you, “Can I go home now?” 

Shilin: The Stone Forest


Yunnan Province


May 28, 2014

Dear Friends and lovers of poetry,

“Something there is that truly loves a stair.”    

With apologies to Robert Frost, I adhere to my “stair” formula wherever I travel.   See a stair? Climb!  Explore.  Discover.  “Good stairs make good adventures.” *

Except today, I got in trouble.

About 120k Southeast of Kunming, in the Shilin area, the picturesque and level grounds of the Stone Forest invite tourists young and old to admire the unique, bizarre and photogenic karst  geology formations.

Kunming: A Vow to Renew?


Yunnan Province


May 27, 2014

Dear Friends,

Every time I visit a public park in Asia, I make a vow … that I rarely keep.

From Harbin to Hong Kong, from Beijing to Bangkok, from Shanghai to Seremban, the parks are heaving with babysitters minding infant children, teenagers stealing an embrace, and adults of all ages slimming down!

Japan: Train Spotting and the Perfect Brew

On the two-hour ferry ride from Yakushima Island back to Kagoshima City, my new friend Haruka asleep in the seat next to me, I paused to begin to consider this, my first trip to Japan.   

Japan has been called the “Galápagos of Countries.”   Indeed the Galápagos syndrome (ガラパゴス化 Garapagosu-ka) is a term of Japanese origin, which refers to an isolated development of a globally available product.   The cell phone is a prime example.  The Japanese cell phone is so complex that it cannot function abroad.