© 2014 by ARLON J SIEVE.
My travel to Asia have been less extensive than Europe. St Petersburg and Odessa in Russia, Yalta in the Crimea, and Istanbul in Turkey (on the Bosphoros separating Europe and Asia) were my first experiences. Found St Petersburg to be beautiful in places, worn out in other places still recovering from the terrible ravages of WWII. But it is a beautiful and mysterious city as is Istanbul. They are so old and have so much history. Russia is a place I'd like to see more extensively, outside St Petersburg and Moscow. There is a surprise around every corner in Instanbul and there is noise from a busy city late into the evening along with the 5 daily Muslim calls to prayer. Can you imagine - its been there for 2000 years.
China was just fascinating. Bejing was busy and polluted. The Olympics were coming to town so it was being spruced up. The cities along the Yangtze were new cities, the old cities covered with water as the dam became operational. Hard to imagine life in China until you go there. Their civilization and culture is thousands of years old, and much of China outside Bejing and Shanghai has changed little. Southern China is very different. The soft rounded mountains along the Li river and the lovely city of Guilin were reminders of the China we see in the western world media. Chongqing upriver on the Yangtze is the largest city in the world by some estimates, and it is a bustling place. Loved XIan and the terra cotta warriors. Shanghai is like New York, cranes in the air everywhere, buildings reaching to the heavens. Very modern place. China is very clearly emerging to take its place in the world, but much of it remains rural, old, and mysterious.
The Arabian Peninsula was a not what I expected. Suez Canal into the Red Sea, Jordan, southern Israel, the gulf of Aden where we had four days of pirate attack watchfulness, and then the oil rich countries of Oman and the United Arab Emirates. From dusty villages 40 years ago, Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Dubai have sprung from the ground into modern cities. Dubai is just spectacular. No place better to see what oil riches brings to those lucky enough to have it.