"So," said Cesca loudly and clearly, just as I was drinking from a water bottle, "What's all this about China [...]
Everyone loves Pandas and at the Panda Conservation Centre near Chengdu, China is probably the best place to see them [...]
"You have to imagine," said the man in broken English, "that this..." he gestured his hands at the view in front of us, "big lake... flood wide and deep... great water!" He broke into a wide toothy smile.
At one point in our journey I actually advocated to Cesca that we skip China. That she didn’t listen, and talked me round, proves clearly that I don’t know everything and Cesca has some great ideas herself. Oh, boy were my eyes going to be opened! Entering the country via a large bus with lay down seats was fun. It rattled through the night towards the modern city of Guilin and the Li River. […]
Certain cities in the world are instantly recognisable from hundreds of classic movies that have been set there. No one could mistake Paris, New York or London on film, but for me the most recognisable city of them all is the great bay of Hong Kong. I grew up on a strict diet of Hong Kong movies: from Jackie Chan cop thrillers to John Woo gangster flicks. The Hong Kong cinema actor Chow Yun Fat was considered by my friends and I as the coolest guy in the universe, bar none, thanks to his incredible performances as Ken Gor and The God of Gamblers. With these memories, I felt like I knew the city off by heart even before I visited there. I had a mental map already in my head that included combinations of scenes from Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon and the, unintentionally, hilarious Jean Claude Van Dam 90’s action fest Double Impact. It was no doubt the sort of distorted mental map that everyone has when they have watched too many movies: all warped distances and colours. Larger than life could ever be. I knew, of course, that reality would bring me down with a bump. Surely, no city could be exactly as it is portrayed in the movies? I prepared to be disappointed. […]