Archive for SOUTH CHINA



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After three weeks in Yunnan, I was taken to a special restaurant the day before heading back home. After a three weeks of mostly vegetables, this restaurant was going to completely erase any good my lean diet had on my body! And I am all the more wise for it!

A bowl of pork bellies in Dongguan. It is well worth returning to China just to eat these bits of heaven!

Mao Jia Fan Dian (Mao’s Family Restaurant) is a chain started in 1987 by Mao’s distant niece. It is typical Hunnan style food with lots of heat. From snake to eggplant to tongue-numbing chilies, there is plenty to choose from. But the signature dish here is what I was craving.

Walking up the stairs and out of the searing heat of the street, you are met by a huge bust of Chairman Mao as you enter the restaurant. It is large, tasteful decorated with polished wood floors and furniture. It is bright with large windows and the staff welcoming and polite.

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Early morning sun and Sea Cloud in Duoyishu



In Duoyishu the early morning air is deathly still, scented with vegetation and slightly thin at 1,700 metres. The sun is not yet up, but over the ridges of the valley, the sky is a deep mauve. Today will be a warm & sunny day – like every other day that bathes this region in crystal clear sunlight.

The walk from the tidy, family-run hotel to the viewing area overlooking these famous rice terraces is 7 minutes along the quiet, paved road. Quiet now. But in an hour, will be transformed into the vital artery that it is, supplying villages with goods, ferrying people about and the only route to move water buffaloes from one valley to the next. This road connects the villages, families and cultures and is about the only way to get around in this vast rice terraced region of Yuanyang. Read More→

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A photo & video montage showing the beauty of the land & people of southern Yunnan Province

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One of the Smile-O-Meters you might encounter at the Immigration desk

Okay, I’ll put it out there… Nothing in my life raises such a nervous sweat than going through immigration at an airport. And that goes for driving across international boarders too. I am the obvious victim of watching too many cheesy TV shows and Hollywood movies! I can’t help it, when I approach an immigration kiosk or gate, my skin becomes clammy and I begin to rehearse what I will say if questioned, hauled over and stripped searched!

So, you may ask, what does this have to do with your entry into China? Good question. I have entered China from two locations, Beijing and Hong Kong/Shenzhen Customs. Both are the same in their very quaint and ridiculously cute way.

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I will soon be in Kunming, Yunnan Province where I will then head south to Yuanyang to film in the rice terraces. This part of Yunnan has always been a destination I have dreamed about visiting. In doing trip research I came discovered the musician, Liu Fang. She is a brilliantly talented pipa player (like a lute). Fang was born and grew up in Kunming. And to my surprise, lives in Montreal, Canada.


Liu Fang en concert au TFF Rudolstadt festival / Liu Fang in concert at TFF Rudolstadt festival from MBAM on Vimeo.

Watch this video and pay close attention at the fingering Fang masters at about 0:36 into the video. This is simply outstanding.

If you have a chance to hear her play, you must make a point of doing so. Here is a link to her upcoming concert dates.


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For a long time, I have wanted to visit Yunnan and explore the breathtaking rice terraces. A friend of mine was there not long ago and after seeing the photos, I knew I had to visit too. I will go to areas which are quite remote and not on the typical tour routes. But this is how I like to travel.

Thanks to Ning Zhang for the use of this beautiful photo of the water-filled rice terraces

I will fly into Hong Kong, then overnight in Shenzhen before flying to Kunming. From Kunming, I head south to the Yuanyang rice terraces.

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