Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cock-a-doodle-do! The Year of the Rooster is coming

China celebrates the Year of the Rooster in 2017 when the Lunar New Year begins on January 28.
The rooster is the 10th animal in the Chinese zodiac. There are 12 animals in the zodiac with each one celebrated every 12 years. The next Year of the Rooster will be 2029; the last one was 2005. The number of days in a lunar new year varies, and is not the traditional 365 days on western calendars. The Year of the Rooster ends on February 15, 2018.

This is a special Year of the Rooster, one that happens only every 60 years. Lunar New years are based on elements: gold, wood, earth, water and fire. This is the year of the Fire Rooster. The last year of the Fire Rooster was 1957.  Fire Roosters are considered responsible workers, good timekeepers and trustworthy.

In general, roosters are considered hardworking, self-confident and talented.  They’re honest, outspoken and talkative. They like to be the center of attention.

Gold is a lucky color for roosters, but red, a traditional good luck color in China, is not. This year is considered an unlucky year for roosters, but they are expected to be lucky in the second, fifth and 11th months on the lunar calendar.

Famous roosters include Barry Bostwick, Cate Blanchett, Brittney Spears, Caroline Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt and Serena Williams.

NYT: best places to visit in 2017

Only one place in China made it to this year's best places to visit in 2017 list from the New York Times. In past years, several China destinations have been on the lists.

Sanya,  an island resort in South China, is known as the Hawaii of China. Located on Hainan Island, it's got tropical weather and super beaches. CNN singled out the many luxe resorts as one reason to visit.  It was No. 20 on the list.

As usual, luxury accommodations rate high as reasons to visit the newspaper's list of top destinations. newspaper's annual list of best places to visit.

Other dstinations inAsia that made the list were in Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Nepal.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Pandas, spicy food shine in Chengdu

Panda papercut
A city I southwestern China is the only Chinese city to make one list of the best places to visit in 2017.

CNN picked Chengdu because of its tasty Sichuan food and the opportunity to get up close and personal with pandas, a symbol of the Middle Kingdom.

Chengdu is one of UNESCO's cities of gastronomy. If you like your food hot and spicy, you'll love the food here.  When I visited Chengdu many yars ago, I had the best gongbaojiding (chicken in a spicey peanut sauce) I've ever had. It was also the spiciest and I drank four bottles getting to the last bite.

No visit to Chengdu is complete without a visit to the Giant Panda Breeding Center. I visited there in the early morning, a time when they feed the pandas.  There were no babies at the time I was there, but thee are usually panda cubs there a lot, due to the success of breeding this endangered species.

Chengdu also has lots of other interesting things to see. Some of the places I visited during my week-long visit were Du Fu's thatched cottage (Du Fe was a famous poet); the Wenshu Monastery, the best preserved Buddhist temple in the city where worshippers burned red candles instead of incense whicks while "Happy Birthday" played in the background;  and the old town.