Destination: China

Chinese Developers to Recreate Salvador Dalí‘s Hometown

Xiamen Bay is the new Costa Brava! From the Guardian:

Sources at the company said they had found a spot that was geographically similar to Cadaqués, with its gently sloping hills and protected bay. “Building work will start in September or October,” a spokesman said.

More than 100 acres of land will be used to build a near replica with a capacity to house some 15,000 Chinese holidaymakers who want to enjoy the Costa Brava experience without having to travel 6,500 miles.

The Chinese version will not have the sparkling Mediterranean, the madness-inducing Tramontana wind or as many jellyfish as Cadaqués, but the promoters say they will try to get as close to possible to the real thing.

The developers are following in the footsteps of Lyon in the desert and Thames Town outside of Shanghai, among other places.

Dali would surely approve. As the Guardian notes, “One of his favourite money-making habits was to sign, and sell-off, blank sheets of paper for prints and lithographs. As a result, he is one of the most frequently copied and forged artists in the world.”

A Short History of Americans and Brown Sauce

Over at The Atlantic’s food channel, Andrew Coe looks into the origins of Chinese brown sauce and the undying American appetite for the stuff. Here’s Coe:

Color matters in Chinese food. You can tell the difference between, say, Sichuan and Cantonese restaurants by the palette of dishes at their tables. Sichuan dishes are often tinted by the red sheen of chili oil, while the many clear sauces of Cantonese cuisine allow the natural colors of meats and vegetables to stand out. But on the steam tables of the more than 40,000 Chinese-American restaurants that dot this land, the predominant color is brown, as in the ubiquitous beef with broccoli drenched in a brown sauce. According to the Chinese food maven Michael Gray, there’s an ancient epigram that describes what these steam tables offer: “100 dishes, all with the same taste.”

A ‘White Guy in a Tie’ in Beijing

The Atlantic has a dispatch from a Beijing expat with an unusual sideline: fake American businessman-for-hire. From the post:

Six of us met at the Beijing airport, where Jake briefed us on the details. We were supposedly representing a California-based company that was building a facility in Dongying. Our responsibilities would include making daily trips to the construction site, attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and hobnobbing. During the ceremony, one of us would have to give a speech as the company’s director. That duty fell to my friend Ernie, who, in his late 30s, was the oldest of our group. His business cards had already been made.

World Travel Watch: Floods in China, Train to Machu Picchu Resumes and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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China Tackles Poor-Quality Tourist Tchotchkes

Is your cheaply made Chairman Mao statuette getting you down? Hunan’s Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision is on the case. Xinhua reports that new technical standards for the popular souvenirs will come into force July 1.

According to the bureau’s chief engineer: “The move is expected to curtail the production and sale of low-quality Mao statues that harm the tourism market and people’s feeling for the great man.” (Via Gawker)

Confessions of a Focus Group Traveler

Confessions of a Focus Group Traveler iStockPhoto

When LiAnne Yu visits other countries, she watches people from behind a one-way mirror. She now knows which cultures prefer jeans that accentuate curvy butts.

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Seven Breakfasts Every World Traveler Must Eat

Seven Breakfasts Every World Traveler Must Eat iStockPhoto

Petit dejeuner, frühstück, desayuno -- call it what you will. Terry Ward dishes on some of the world's great breakfasts.

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The Titanic Awards: 10 Worst National Cuisines

The Titanic Awards: 10 Worst National Cuisines Photo by onlinehero via Flickr (Creative Commons)

More than 2,000 travelers from 80 countries voted in the Titanic Awards survey. Here are the unlucky winners.

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Yosemite Through the Eyes of a Chinese Artist

Lovely piece in The Smart Set about Chinese artist Xie Zhiliu’s renderings of Yosemite National Park, which are now part of an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Xie visited Yosemite in 1994, a few years before his death.

There, he produced a series of paintings that are a testimonial to cognitive dissonance. He paints the mountains and trees of Yosemite, but they look vaguely Chinese. The vegetation looks sparse, like in the drawings that accompany Chinese calligraphy. The stones of Yosemite rise up with the stalagmite abruptness we expect of Chinese art.

Cognitive dissonance at work on a canvas can be a beautiful thing. I’m reminded of these impressionistic West-meets-East paintings by Van Gogh.

Shanghai Launches its own Chinglish Crackdown

In the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Games, we noted the government’s efforts to clean up the city’s more creative English signage. A couple of years later, Shanghai is ready to follow suit: 10,000 signs—and counting—have been tidied up by the Shanghai Commission for the Management of Language. Says one of the campaign’s leading proponents: “The purpose of signage is to be useful, not to be amusing.”

A Linglei’s Life in China

The Millions has a compelling essay about a Chinese-American novelist’s life as a linglei —a “different species”—in Beijing and Shanghai. Deanna Fei writes:

I’d moved to Beijing for a year of postgraduate study with some notions of mastering my mother tongue and reclaiming my heritage. I hadn’t expected to feel at home, but I hadn’t anticipated feeling quite so alien. Like most Asian Americans, I’d always been asked the question, “Where are you from?” with the expected answer being China, or someplace equally foreign. Now, this question was asked even more relentlessly of me by Chinese people in China, but the answer never satisfied them. But you don’t look American, they might say—or, You don’t sound Chinese. They’d assure me that I wasn’t really American, even as their suspicious expressions made clear that I certainly wasn’t really Chinese.

Photo You Must See: Setting Sail in Shanghai

Photo You Must See: Setting Sail in Shanghai REUTERS/Nir Elias

The Azamara Quest cruise ship leaves Shanghai over the weekend. The sailing marks the first gay cruise to depart from China.

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Photo You Must See: Imitation Mao in Beijing

Photo You Must See: Imitation Mao in Beijing REUTERS/David Gray

A Chairman Mao impersonator poses for photos in Beijing's Tiananmen Square

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Lover’s Moon

Lover’s Moon iStockPhoto

Pico Iyer on the power of travel to make a forgettable Glenn Frey song last forever

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You and Me, Girlie

Susan Jane Gilman Undress Me Photo by François Bourru

In an excerpt from her book "Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven," Susan Jane Gilman recalls 1986 China -- and a swaggering, lascivious man named Trevor

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