Smart Travels 香港行 (5-6)

There are different kinds of natural forces and energies in our environment. We call these natural forces or energies the chi.

Most Hong Kong Chinese believe in aligning walls, furniture, and objects to create a natural flow of energy through their houses. I was curious about Chinese Medicine, so I signed up for a workshop with an herbalist.

In Chinese medicine, everything is considered to have the characteristics of either yin or yang. For example, herbs that are of cold and cool nature are regarded as yin medicines. And herbs that are of hot in nature are regarded as yang medicines.

According to this tradition, human organs and tissues also have attributes of yin and yang. When these forces are out of balance, a person will develop symptoms of disease. Certain herbs are thought to restore harmony.

A legacy of shipping and trade have made Hong Kong the city it is today. An interesting place to learn about South China’s seafaring past is the Maritime Museum in Stanley. Hong Kong’s deep and protected harbor has beckoned vessels since ancient times. But in the 20th century, the shipping industry mushroomed. In 1900, an estimated 11,000 ships docked here. Within 10 years, that number had doubled. Hong Kong continues to impress the business world with its import export prowess.

The single most fascinating thing is probably a present-day statistic that Hong Kong’s little Kwai Tsing container port, about a kilometer by a kilometer and a half, has the annual throughput capacity of every single container port of the west coast of the USA put together.

No question, this maritime muscle is not to be trifled with.

Yes, it’s hard for folk to know how big, a really big ship is, and to show them. We took Hong Kong’s tallest building, 420 meters, 86 stories, and stood the world’s largest ship on its stern right next door to it. Big ships are very, very big.

All of the commerce rolling through this port creates plenty of demand for high-end hotels. While Hong Kong is generally inexpensive, hotel costs are on par with major American and European cities. The hottest new place to stay is the Landmark Mandarin Oriental with a great location right in the middle of the central shopping district. The state-of-the-art rooms have sophisticated electronics as well as marble baths. And the oriental spa offers the ultimate in relaxation.

Visitors who anticipate nothing but shopping and crowds are often surprised at Hong Kong’s abundance of open space and natural beauty. If you’re willing to explore beyond the high-rise jungle of downtown, you’ll discover that much of the region is made up of rural countryside and unspoiled coastline.

There are plenty of easy day trips. We are checking out Sai Kung, an enormous country park popular with locals, as well as the culturally rich island of Lantau. Before 1970 Sai Kung Park was a remote area that could only be reached by foot or on ferry. Then development of a huge new reservoir brought in several roads and opened up easy recreation for Hong Kong’s workaholic residents. Relatively unknown by tourists, the park can be reached by a 20-minute taxi ride or by local bus.

Located near the edge of the park, the town of Sai Kung is a busy marketplace and convenient gathering spot for fishermen and local villagers. You can easily hire a sampan boat and take a relaxing ride through the serene waterways. Looking at these little islands, it’s easy to imagine how Hong Kong Island itself must have looked before the British took control in 1842. For thousands of years, this was a quite, remote corner of China, occupied by small settlements of fishermen and farmers, and the occasional band of pirates.

Smart Travels 香港行 (3-4)

You know you are going to live a very long life? Do you know that?
No, I didn’t know that.
You see? This career line is very long. You see?
So I’m going to work for decades more?
Is that good news? I’m not sure.
Oh, because, ok, you’re active person.
You don’t want to sit lazy at home.
No, no, no.
You see, you see the red color? The red color that means too much of heat inside your body.
I see.
This, that means the blood circulation is not very strong.

Her consultation also came with a few caveats about my health.

So no coffee, not a lot of salt, more exercise, what a surprise, and the thing is to look OK.
Thank you, Jane. Thank you very much.
You’re welcome.

Hong Kong’s efficient transportation system includes trams and buses, an excellent subway system, and reasonably-priced taxis. But my favorite transportation bargain is the Star Ferry. These green and white ferries have linked Hong Kong Island with the Kowloon Peninsula for the past 100 years. The journey takes about ten minutes and tickets cost only about a quarter. And with these views, it’s obvious why the ferry is one of the city’s most popular attractions.

When you’re in Hong Kong, you might as well do as the locals do. When they’re not working, they’re shopping, seriously. For many, Hong Kong is synonymous with shopping, and for good reason. The city is a prime distribution center for much of the world’s products. In fact, it’s difficult to find anyplace here where you can’t shop.

Thousands of malls, department stores and designer boutiques offer every imaginable name brand luxury, as well as factory seconds and designer knockoffs. In stark contrast are the many traditional open-air markets, nestled in among the towering skyscrapers. Here, dedicated shoppers hone their bargaining skills.

Shopping in Hong Kong extends far beyond buying life’s necessities. It’s a recreational and social activity. So unless you are a committed non-shopper, best to leave a little extra packing room in the suitcase.

So, apart from shopping, what’s Hong Kong’s most popular pastime? Well, I’d put my money on horseracing. Here, betting on the ponies isn’t just a sport. It’s a passion.

Millions of people follow these events and the average betting turnover per race is the highest in the world. The first race was held here at the Happy Valley track more than 150 years ago. And the track even remained open during the Japanese occupation of the city in the 1940s. Until recently, horseracing was the only legal form of gambling in Hong Kong. And with an annual turnover equivalent to more than a billion US dollars, the Sport of Kings definitely reigns.

The Hong Kong Tourist Board’s “Cultural Kaleidoscope” program makes it really easy to get a crash course in Chinese culture. Everyday you can take a different workshop on important traditions that will help you more fully appreciate your visit here.

And best of all, the classes are free. For example, one day, you can learn how to do Tai Chi.

(Next pattern, turning and looking at the moon. About 45 degrees to your left and right side. Let your palms face each other.)

Another day you can take a class in the ancient design method of feng shui.

(Good morning, everybody, and welcome to Hong Kong, and welcome to our feng shui class this morning.)

Literally translated as wind water, feng shui describes how homes and workspaces can be designed to achieve harmony with the spirits of nature.


Hi, I’m Paddy Kim. Ireland, it’s an exciting mix of the old and the new. Here you’ll find the quiet of the countryside and the exuberance of the city. But Ireland is still well stocked of this glorious castles and windswept landscapes, it really is the jewel of destination, deserving of its nick name “the Emerald Isle’’.

Historically, Ireland was divided into the four provinces of Leinster, Munster, Connacht and Ulster. Today most of Ulster is now in Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom. The Republic of Ireland covers 5 / 6 of the Ireland, its capital is Dublin.

In Dublin, start along the river Liffey for tours of Dublin’s architecture. Visit Trinity College and explore Ireland’s oldest university and its vast libraries. But for a real brush with history, travel to the Boyne Valley in County Meath and see Newgrange. This massive tomb is similar in purpose to the pyramids of Giza though it was built over 5,000 years ago when the pyramids were even a twinkle in the pharaoh’s eye.

Ireland’s Stone Age inhabitants built it to house on their honored dead and perhaps for something more. At sunrise on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year a beam of light enters the central chamber. What significance this had for the builders is still a matter of debate, enter the tomb and decide for yourself. The experience is illuminating.

Ireland has produced a plethora of castles, churches and towers. Its monasteries became important centers of learning during the Dark Ages. And its fortresses were strategic battle grounds against the island’s frequent invaders. The Rock of Cashel near Tipperary serves both the secularly and religious function.

According to legend, this fortress of the Munster kings was visited by Saint Patrick himself and eventually became an important medieval cathedral. If your tastes cater more towards scenery than history you are in luck. Opportunity abound. Near Galway the cliffs of Mohair rise more than 650 feet from the sea providing dramatic views of the coast. Also nearby are the surreal landscapes of the Burren with its cracked limestone in brooding ruins.

When it’s time for a more leisurely pace, you can travel along the river Shannon, ride horses in the Connemara or stroll through quaint towns of lush countryside, colored in Ireland’s 40 shades of green.

New Words and Phrases

exuberance n. 茂盛,充沛,丰富
glorious adj. 光荣的,辉煌的
windswept adj. 被风吹扫的,曝露在风中的
landscapes n. 风景,山水,风景画 v. 美化景观
Leinster 伦斯特省
Munster 明斯特
Connacht 康诺特省
Ulster 乌尔斯特
Dublin 都柏林(爱尔兰首都)
Liffey 利菲河
Trinity College 圣三一学院,现在名为都柏林大学(欧洲最著名的学府之一,创建于1592年,被认为是爱尔兰高等教育的象征,也是爱尔兰人们心目中的精神象征)
Boyne Valley 博伊恩谷
County Meath 米斯郡
Newgrange 新庄园(爱尔兰最着名的史前纪念碑之一,同时亦是西欧最好的走廊式墓穴,它始建于公元前三千二百年左右,在紧邻Drogheda的Boyne Valley中的大走廊式墓穴墓地中,它是一处主要景观。)
pharaoh n. 法老,暴君
Stone Age 石器时代
inhabitant n.居民
winter solstice n.冬至
solstice n. 至,至点,至日
beam n. 光线,(光线的)束,(横)梁,桁条 vt. 用梁支撑,发射,播送
a beam of 一束(一道,一线)
chamber n. 房间,会议厅,室 adj. 室内演奏的
illuminate vt. 照明,阐释,说明


中文名称: 爱尔兰共和国
英文名称: the Republic of Ireland
所属洲: 欧洲
首都: 都柏林
主要城市: 科克,多尼戈尔
国庆日: 3月17日
国歌: 《战士之歌》
国家代码: IRL
官方语言: 盖尔语,英语
货币: 欧元
政治体制: 总统制共和制
国家领袖: 玛丽·麦卡利斯,布赖恩·考恩
人口数量: 4203200人(2009年7月)
主要民族: 凯尔特人
主要宗教: 天主教
国土面积: 70282平方公里
国际电话区号: +353
国际域名缩写: .ie


爱尔兰国旗 Ireland Flag




爱尔兰是一个西欧国家,西临大西洋东靠爱尔兰海(Muir éireann),与英国隔海相望,爱尔兰为北美通向欧洲的通道。爱尔兰人属于凯尔特人,是欧洲大陆第一代居民的子嗣。它有5000多年历史,是一个有着悠久历史的国家。这里非常美丽迷人。尽管爱尔兰也有自己的语言——盖尔语(Gaeilge),但它却是欧洲除英国之外唯一一个英语国家。爱尔兰共和国于1922年从英国殖民统治下独立出来,是个和平宁静的国家。爱尔兰北部被称为北爱尔兰,至今仍属于英国。因此,爱尔兰共和国与电视新闻中经常出现的暴力冲突频频的北爱尔兰是有所不同的。


Travel in Southern Africa

Hi, everyone. I’m Patty Kim. Today we’re headed for Southern Africa, a place that holds something for every traveler, for every budget: cosmopolitan cities, world-class safaris, not to mention record-setting sites that’ll take your breath away. Here’s where you’ll find some of the world’s wildest places as well as some of its rarest creatures.

Chances are if you’re heading to this region, you’re heading for the most popular stop: South Africa. But there is a whole slew(大量) of other places like Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Malawi that also have plenty to offer to travelers.

When is the best time to go? Generally during the cooler, drier months from around May to October, though parts of South Africa are pleasant all year round.

With an abundance of national parks and game reserves in Southern Africa, a safari should be at the top of any traveler’s to-do list. The wide variety of terrains, savanna, desert, forest, wetland and highland provide an even wider variety of animals and places to encounter them.

The original safari hunters made a list of the toughest animals to hunt, the big five: lions, leopards, rhino, elephants, and Cape buffalo. Today’s modern safari spotters might soon discover that while elephants and even lions are easy to catch sight of, many other animals, including the elusive leopard, are a little harder to find.

Sharpen your eyes and your odds with a few simple tips: go out at dawn and dusk when animals are most active; head for water where animals come to drink; make sure to look near and far, left and right, on tree branches and underfoot. With a bit of practice, you’ll capture some amazing photographs.

Some of the best-known parks and game reserves in the region include South Africa’s Kruger Park, Namibia’s Etosha, Zambia’s Luangwa National Parks, and Botswana’s Moremi Wildlife Reserve in the heart of the Okavango Delta, stretching over 6,000 square miles, the largest inland delta in the world.

The Okavango River once fed into a large lake now vanished under the Kalahari Desert. When the seasonal floodwater surge over the land, they create a labyrinth of channels and thickets(茂密丛林) brimming with wildlife.

For more record-setting attractions, head west into the Namib Desert. One of the oldest deserts in the world, this thin strip of sand along the Namibian coast is home to some of the world’s largest sand dunes. Undulating waves of sand stretch for up to 30 miles in length, reaching a thousand feet in height. The slopes hold the animals uniquely evolved for this alien landscape.

On the Zambezi River you can canoe or kayak(划皮船) along the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Just be careful when you hear the rumbling of water. Its name is Mosi-oa-Tunya, or the Smoke that Thunders, better known as Victoria Falls. At some 350 feet high and a mile wide, it’s considered by some as the largest waterfall in the world.

The Zambezi River flows eastward into Mozambique and out to sea. Across the Mozambique Channel are Africa’s Indian Ocean islands, including Comoros, the Seychelles, Mauritius, the French island of Réunion, and Madagascar. Each island competes for best tropical paradise, and it’s easy to see why.

When you’re ready to wind down, head to cosmopolitan Cape Town and pamper(纵容) yourself with some fine dining and samples of local wines.

Remember, Southern Africa is big, nearly the size of the continental United States. No matter where you plan to travel, city, plains, falls or desert, you’re bound to have an unforgettable adventure.


Hi everyone! I’m Petty Kim. Today our destination is Japan, a country that steeped in tradition, but one that also lives on the cutting edge of the future.

It’s one of the few places in the world where tradition and change go hand in hand. A place built on paradox. This is Japan.

A throbbing country of more than 127 million people crammed into a chain of islands, an area smaller than California. Maybe it’s not so surprising that such a modern place pulled such a strong grip on its cultural past.

It was only as recently as the late 1800s when the country emerged from hundreds of years of isolation brought on by its rulers.

Nothing embodies the contrasts of tradition and modernism quite like Tokyo. Staying in the capital, a city of over 12 million people, you’ll be able to experience some of the best shopping, dining and cultural treasures the country has to offer. And if you looking for a taste of authentic Tokyo, you don’t have to go far. Head down to the Tsukiji Wholesale Fish Market handling seafood for the entire region around Tokyo.

For a breath of fresh air, plan a day trip to the iconic Mount Fuji. Located 62 miles southwest of Tokyo in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, rising more than 12,000 feet. Although it’s covered by snow several months out of the year, the sacred mountain remains one of Japan’s most popular attractions. Just to the south of Mount Fuji, is a natural wonder of a bay called Suruga. Here boaters enjoy pristine water conditions, divers check out the sea life and researchers congregate to study this wonderful marine habitat. Above water, the wildlife is no less impressive. Japan also offers the opportunity to come face-to-face with some amazing animals, such as the Japanese giant hornet or the Japanese macaque.

When you’re ready for more urban exploration, give traditional Kabuki Theater a try. Your best bet for a good show will come in Kyoto, Osaka or Tokyo. Japan’s traditional theater is known for highly stylized drama and elaborate makeup worn by its all male performers. Keep in mind, though, it might not be a great stop for kids. Performances last about 3 hours. Drinks and snacks are usually available in the foyer(门厅). You can also buy a ticket for a set bento or lunch box. It will be served to you in the dining room during the intermission(幕间休息).

For those seeking out traditional arts and crafts, Japan won’t disappoint. For ceramics lovers, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Japan boasts of hundreds of famous kilns(烧窑) and many of the country’s master potters(陶工) continue the tradition on the island of Kyushu.

From handmade Japanese paper called Washi(和紙) to the centuries’ old art of Bunraku puppetry(木偶戏) to the thrill of watching some of the Japan’s finest athletes compete in the Sumo rings of Tokyo or Osaka, Japan offers the unique promise of experiencing the past but with one eye always looking toward the future.

Smart Travels 香港行 (1-2)

Smart Travels 香港篇—1

Hi, I’m Rudy Maxa, venturing to the shores of Asia and one of the world’s most thrilling destinations. We’re about to discover why great travel experiences are made in Hong Kong. Next up, it’s Hong Kong, on Smart Travels.

Smart Travels is a grand tour of the world’s great destinations, the people, places, and unique local flavors. Now, tips, trips, and secret places on Smart Travels Pacific Rim.

When you catch your first glimpse of Hong Kong and the skyline unfolds above the harbor, your heart is sure to beat a little faster. No doubt about it, there’s something exciting here. From futuristic skyscrapers to incense-filled temples, from hoards of shoppers to bobbing wooden boats, the many faces of China are revealed in this dramatic Pacific Rim city.

Hong Kong is a magnificent balancing act, effortlessly juggling east and west, past and present, commerce and mysticism. Although it was a prized colony in the British Empire until 1997, Hong Kong is firmly rooted in Chinese culture.

This city anchors on the southwest corner of China. We’ll explore the downtown core that straddles Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. Then we’ll escape the crowds as we visit Sai Kung Park, Lantau Island, and some historic sites in the New Territories.

Westerners find Hong Kong an easy introduction to Asia. Arriving at the city’s ultramodern airport, you’ll quickly discover that all signs here, as well as in the city, are in both English and Chinese. And most businesses cater to English speakers.

To begin, we’ll hit Hong Kong’s number one tourist attraction – the tram that climbs Victoria Peak. This is the world’s steepest funicular railway and it feels like it.

Smart Travels 香港篇—2

Before the tram was built, a ride up to the peak meant a three-hour trip by sedan chair. By 1888, the tram had reduced that time to about seven minutes.

In the early days of colonial rule, before air-conditioning and refrigeration, the British discovered they could get relief from the heat by living up here on the top of Victoria peak.

Only society’s upper crust was allowed to build houses at these lofty heights. To this day, some of Hong Kong’s most expensive homes are here. For visitors like us, the lookout provides magnificent views of the city and harbor. Wong Tai Sin is Hong Kong’s most popular Taoist temple. It was named after a legendary shepherd who acquired a powerful art of healing. Chinese temples are typically built with red pillars, golden roofs, and multicolored carvings.

Hong Kong escaped the religious repression that spread through communist China during much of the 20th century. While many temples were destroyed on the mainland, hundreds here remained intact.

Traditional Chinese religious practices often weave together elements of Taoism, Buddhism and other ancient belief systems, something the Chinese don’t find incompatible. There’s no special day set aside for worship. People simply stop by a temple whenever they want to pay their respects or feel the need for spiritual guidance.

Tao essentially means the way of the universe. Taoists believe that there are many different gods who actively intervene in daily life. Believers try to honor the gods with incense and other offerings in order to attain good fortune. Since Taoists believe in luck, you’ll often find fortune tellers at these temples. They might read palms and study facial features, as well as consult astrological birth charts and fortune cards.


Hi, I’m Petty Kim. Whether you are on a mission to see some of Europe’s finest art, sample cutting-edge(领先的) cuisine or simply just soak up the cultural ambience(气氛), France can seduce you with it all.

A Paris, known as the City of Lights and the City of Lovers, one of the best things to do in the city: clunk yourself down in a cafe and wile away(消磨) an afternoon, sipping un café and people-watching.

The best way to see Paris is on foot. Skip the metro, put on a good pair of walking shoes and check out for sites. From the Arc de Triomphe(凯旋门), stroll down the Champs Elysées(香榭丽舍大道) , adds the Grand & Petit Palais(大小皇宫) to the Place de la Concorde(协和广场). For a change of pace, get your art fits at the Louvre(卢浮宫) and the Pompidou Centre(蓬皮杜艺术中心). Cross the river Seine(塞纳河) and tour Notre Dame Cathedral(巴黎圣母院), once on the left bank visit the Saint Pont(圣米歇尔桥) before heading westward to Les Invalides(荣军院) and finishing at the Eiffel(埃菲尔铁塔)tower.

But Paris could just be the first stop on your personal tour de France. Cruise westward down the Loire River Valley(卢瓦尔河谷), its renaissance air chateaus(城堡) and palaces seem straight out of a fairy tale.

For another magical ride, take a train to the Normandy coast and Mont Saint Michel(圣米歇尔山). Rising from its rocking shores, the 1300-year-old Benedictine Abbey(本笃会修道院) at low tide is connected to the land. But as the tide rises, it transforms into an island. Over the years, it served as a monastery(修道院), fortress, prison and today one of France’s top tourist draws.

The south of France is famous for its Riviera(里维埃拉) beaches and jet-set resorts(富人的度假胜地), but that overlooks the area’s many other charms.

For a taste of opulence(富丽堂皇), see Avignon’s(阿维尼翁,城市名) Paple Palaces(教皇宫), or take a sweet-smelling tour of the historic perfume factories of Grasse(格拉斯,香水之都). If you are interested in high cuisine(高菜,精心制作的法国菜), you can try your hand and hunting for truffles(松露), a pungent fungus cherished by the world’s great chefs and sometimes worth more per ounce than gold.

Or of course you might simply relax and enjoy the beautiful countryside. France is a travelers’ delight in any season, packed with pleasures for historians, nature lovers, artists and urbanites(都市人) alike.

Bon voyage.(旅途愉快)