Thursday, November 18, 2004

Fievel goes west

This is one of my favourite things about Japan. The mascot for our bank is none other than Fievel the mouse. But no, not just Fievel from the original "An American Tail" but from the sequel "Fievel Goes West". Am I wrong to assume that perhaps the original "An American Tail" is endorsing another bank? Only in Japan would people feel safe depositing their money at a bank with a cartoon mouse on the bank books. Usually western banks like to give the impression of being strong, secure and professional; whether this is truly the case or not. Well, there you are; Higo Bank of Kumamoto, proudly endorsed by Fievel goes West. Imagine if Royal Bank ran a campain featuring Simba from the Lion King. He could replace that boring lion logo they have now. It'd make me switch from Bank of Montreal.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Tianamen square photo

In front of the Gate of Heavenly Peace, entrance to the Forbidden City, Tianamen square.

China, August 2004

Well, we traveled to China this August for some 28 days, but it has taken us this long to get some of our photos scanned so that we can share them. Normally Eden and I are fairly independent travlers; we like doing things at our own pace, and in most countries this is easy enough with only English. However, given the size of China, our limited time (try seeing all of Canada in a month without flying), and the thought that if rural China is anything like rural Japan, English would be non-existant, we decided to travel with a group. We narrowed it down to Intrepid and Geckos Adventures. We decided on on the China Odyssey from Geckos because it offered pretty much the same trip for less.

On July 30th we left Fukuoka for Hong Kong. There we spent three days shopping, eating, and sightseeing by ourselves before we met up with the Geckos group. We were lucky to end up with a good group of people, something we were a little worried about before we left.

I won't say much about the trip other than the Giant Panda breeding centre in Chengdu, the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, the Grand Buddha (world's largest) in Leshan, and the limestone peaks in Yangshou were real highlights. Where we went to the Great Wall, near Badaling, was a disappointment. It was just overrun with so many people that it wasn't enjoyable. The Forbidden City in Beijing was great, and our hotel was near Tianamen square, but the city was just so spread out that you had to taxi everywhere. Xian was a nice city to explore on foot. Sadly it is one of the last remaining walled cities in China. Shanghai is ever changing, and we even saw a Canadian Navy ship in port, a bit of a surprise! Hong Kong is pretty unbelievable. Along the lines of Shinjuku ward in Tokyo, but cheaper. The river cruise up the Yangtze was pleasant. It was probably the place where our group bonded, and friendships were formed. It was really quite sad to see how the dam is going to change the lives of the people living in small villages upstream. It seems like the governement has told them that instead of traditional farming and fishing, they can now make a living selling trinkets to tourists, but the boat loads of tourists will probably diminish once the reservoir fills up.

To view some of our photos from the China trip click here, and if you'd like any of the photos full size send me an email.