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May 26, 2006

Korla Documentary Preview

I'm hanging out in Korla again, having completed my Fodor's travels and turning to the task at hand: writing. But enough with the boring stuff...

I've been informed by the latest generation of Circle English teachers that CCTV (China Central Television) was in Korla earlier this month, shooting a documentary of some sort. Two Canadians, Peter and Lonnie (both from British Columbia), were asked to appear in some of the shots. The program won't be broadcast until summer, but the producers have sent Peter two slightly different promos. You can spot him for a few seconds here and there if you watch closely. (Watch for the foreigner in a cowboy hat really surprised to see a delicious Korla pear.)

Anyway, I figure the clip will be a good way to let some of you take a look at Korla. The heavily-edited promo makes the city appear to be a bit more exotic than experience would justify, but that's TV, eh? Just think of it as a stylized introduction to the city of Korla (and Bazhou Prefecture).... my home away from home.

Here's the video's YouTube link. You can watch it in full-screen mode over there.


posted May 26, 2006 at 11:45 PM unofficial Xinjiang time | Comments (47)

May 19, 2006

Xi'an to Kasghar

The small village of Subaxcun lies beside Lake Karakul and beneath the icy heights of Mustagata.Hello again. Remember me? I know I haven't been posting much lately, so I've taken some steps to make nice with all of my readers. I've been relaxing for a few days in Korla after returning from Kasghar and have found both the time and the computing power to put together a new gallery of photos. Unlike previous galleries, this one covers only a select few (meaning thirty) moments chosen from the past month's travels. So, the photos do in fact span the entire distance from Xi'an to Kasghar that I'm covering for the Fodor's gig, but are by no means comprehensive. I've tried to use only the best and most interesting shots... mostly from places I hadn't previously visited. I'm sure you'll enjoy everything. As always, I'd love to have some feedback.

As for me, the Fodor's travels are almost finished. I'm relaxing in Korla and doing some clothes washing at present... staying in the apartment of my old Circle English boss, David. (Speaking of Circle English: I caught up with Simon and Tomoyo in Kasghar, for those of you who know them.) The only thing I have left to do is travel to Urumqi for a few days in order to review the city's hotels and restaurants. Then I'll be coming back to Korla for a week or two to write everything up... then it's off to Beijing to find another job. (Finding a new job is sooo fun!) Hopefully I can find something stable and well-paying. CCTV-9 and China Daily are my first targets.

Guidebook writing is fun, but as a lifestyle I think it's for the birds. I'd prefer to enjoy my travels leisurely rather than hurrying from place to place in a seemingly never-ending personal relay race. That said, I've visited lots of interesting places in the past month and met some very nice people. Enjoy the photos.


posted May 19, 2006 at 04:09 PM unofficial Xinjiang time | Comments (15)

May 05, 2006

Travel Buddies

My northwest China travel buddies, from left to right: Nir, Gal, and Mirek.

Arrived in Dunhuang today after an inexplicably long 10-hour trip by bus from Jiayuguan. This town is filled with foreigners drawn to the famous Buddhist caves and massive sand dunes, but it somehow doesn't feel as overwhelmingly touristy (well, not in the typical Chinese way) as a lot of places I've visited... perhaps the rabid souvenir hawkers will come out from their hiding places at daybreak. In any case, the Internet access is fast and an inexpensive hotel room has been secured.

But nevermind that. Above you'll find a photo of my three travel companions whom I stumbled across in Xining. From left to right they are: Nir (Israel), Gal (Israel), and Mirek aka Mr. Telephoto (Poland/Chicago). The photo was taken two days ago while visiting the huge fort guarding the western terminus of the Great Wall at Jiayuguan.

After Dunhuang, there's nothing else left to visit before Xinjiang. Yay!


posted May 05, 2006 at 08:12 PM unofficial Xinjiang time | Comments (25)

May 02, 2006

Goodbye Hotmail. Hello Gmail!

michaeldmanning -=at=- gmail-dot-comWell, I'm finally fed up with Hotmail. Having lived in China for 13 of the last 16 months, I've constantly had to deal with blockages, general slowness, and various other problems. So, I'm moving into the 21st century and switching to Gmail. I've actually had the address (which you can see above) for almost two years, but I've resisted fully switching as I feared losing contact with some far-flung friends. Not anymore!

So, if you've been using my Hotmail address please start sending to Gmail instead. I'll still be logging into Hotmail every once in a while to keep the account active, but eventually I'll completely phase it out of my life. For those of you that use my notspecial.org address, don't worry... it will now forward to my Gmail account.

In other important news, I'm leaving Xining today and heading up north to Jiayuguan and Dunhuang in Gansu Province. I've teamed up with two Israelis, Gal and Nir, and a Polish fellow named Mirek... I met all of them here in Qinghai. It should sure beat travelling alone. Then it's west to Xinjiang... land that I love. Korla here I come!


posted May 02, 2006 at 02:48 PM unofficial Xinjiang time | Comments (16)