Its 5.45am an pitch black when we step out the door. As out eyes accustom to the light, shapes emerge from the shadows – thousands of them. Dressed in in Army winter coats, they march through the dark streets on Taishan’s mountain top. The sunrise we came to see, becomes marginalized by the spectacle of 人山 (People Mountain) that unfolds before us.
We have climbed the over 6.000 steps of Taishan (Mount Tai). The climb is said to reward not only with a beautiful sunrise but also a life of onehundred years. Lets see.
But most importantly, the climb of Taishan is the essence of China itself: Beautiful nature, tranquil temples, and people, people, people. Continue reading “人山人海 on Taishan – the quintesential China”
At sunrise we find a large pile fresh dung, only 5m from our tents. While we pack, we keep an eye out. Then we see it; a Kamchatka brown bear on the opposite river bank. The bear starts to fish, at the spot where we caught two trouts last night. As if we are not there, the bear crosses to our camp’s shore. As we enter our rafts, the curious bear is less the 5 meters from our camp. Continue reading “Bears and Volcanos of Kamchatka”
At 6m depth, I turn around and see her. Michi is drifing on the bottom, not breathing. Three strong kicks, I am with her, grab her and bring her up to the surface. Mask off, regulator off and start rescue breathing.
Luckily, this is just a scenario in the Rescue Diver course and Michi is fine (exept for some bruises and some water in the lungs from my not yet perfect rescue attempts).
We are back at Malapascue for an intense dive training session with Thresher Shark Divers.
Here is the full story.
Continue reading “PADI Rescue Diver at Malapascua”
The familiar silhouette of the Eiffel Tower is clearly visible against the gray sky. Streets are lines by typical Paris architecture. Only the Seine is about 9,000km away. We are in Skycity in Tianducheng, a suburb of the City of Hangzhou.
The Chinese Eiffel Tower yeas built 9 years before world leaders came to Hangzhou for the G20 summit. For what reason? None apparent, other than for Chinese couples to take wedding pictures. Continue reading “One Day in Paris – Tianducheng”
Zhangjiajie – world famous as the Pandora Mountains from the movie Avatar – is a stone forest with needles of quartz sandstone which reach up to over 1.000m. Despite all warnings, we decided that it is the place to go over the May holidays and we – the brave – were rewarded by small crowds, magnificent views and thigh pains worse than almost anything we have ever experienced.
Continue reading “Zhangjiajie – A visit to the Avatar Mountains”
The Manta Ray glides above us, then circles around. We can almost touch it as it gently lifts its wing and drifts into the void of the Andaman Sea. Its our third sighting in two dives. These waters are teeming with life, from the giant Manta Rays to small boxer shrimps and sea horses. All this has been made possible by a diving accident that dispelled Michi to the deck of the Somboon 4.
Continue reading “Diving with Manta Rays in Thailand”
After an interesting week in Beijing (met Bill Gates in the revolving door of our hotel, Westin Financial Street), we took the chance to visit Yvonne and Miguel and spend a day with them biking around the city. Sunday afternoon was rainy but good enough to visit the Summer Palace without the large crowds. Continue reading “Mobiking in Beijing”
Its time again for a trip to the suburbs. This time, we can kill two birds with one stone and visit Zhoujiajiao water town and add Thames Town to our list of Shanghai replica cities.
Continue reading “Canals and Colonies – Zhoujiajiao and Thames Town”
Our sled glides over enless snow-covered rivers underneath the wide Mongolian sky. The only sound is the panting of our 12 sled dogs. The high sun lets the thermometer climb to -20°C. Suddenly, with a bang, the ice gives away and our sled tumbling into the river below. We get back on our feet in the shallow riverbed and quickly climb out of the water. Within seconds, our drenched clothes freeze solid. Luck for us, as not only is the ice a good insulator but also the next Ger with a warm fire is an hour ride by dogsled and Russian army jeep away. Finally, we reach the Ger and painfully defrost our toes. Continue reading “Winter in Mongolia – a dog sledding adventure”
5.35am, at 28m under water. Two dark shadows are circling overhead. Sharks! Thresher Sharks. They drift by gracefully with their long tail fin (also they have a slightly retarded look in their face). The water temperature is 27°C, even at this depth. Continue reading “Under the Sea – Diving in Malapascua”