30 April 2019

2019-2020: This Departure Lounge of Dreams!

Travel gives me life, back in February of this year I had the bizarre opportunity to experience selected locations within North Korea and the surrounding Chinese border city of Dandong. It didn't take me long once that trip concluded to have another trip booked! 2019 progressively became booked up! Yes, Britney B, I know I'm ready to make my Newark, New Jersey return!

July 2019 will kickoff my first Chinese summer holiday destination, I will be boarding a night train from Beijing to Baotou in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Hitting the ground running I have chosen to be busy from the moment my overnight train pulls into Baotou. Visiting the Wudangzaho Lamasery was an add-on to the trip, its on a par with Lhasa's Potala Palace. Acting as the wild card I will visit the Northern Weapon City, I am really not sure what I am going to see? Getting back on the road, leaving the city of Baotou will give me the chance to spend an overnight stay at the Erdos Grasslands, I wanted to stay in a traditional family yurt but the hotel version will do for me fine. It didn't take much persuading for me to accept such a payment, this tour will in-total take me four months to pay off completely. I don't think I'll repeat such an adventure so its all worthwhile. Yes, I'm very excited for Inner Mongolia!

Oh, no! Going back just a few steps, I will have a little time to explore the Dalateqi Sand Bay before I'll check into my very own Chinese Mongolian style yurt. Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region that possesses such a rich landscape, no matter the dent into my finances I have to see it all! After my overnight stay in the Erdos Grasslands it will be time to see the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan as that will conclude my Inner Mongolian trip. I honestly don't know what to expect, I am keeping an open mind. Choosing China Highlights for this Grasslands summer tour didn't take much thought, I always know things are going to be organised and most of all I don't mess with group tours, I will be keeping it all private! There's one more instalment to go, definitely paying my fees on-time! Will this Inner Mongolian adventure be my next trip in China? No, I have Shijiazhuang to make up and Dragon Boat Festival will take me to Guilin's Yangshuo County for that June holiday weekend! A summer sorted?

Giving myself just enough time to repack my hand luggage overnight, I will be jetting from Beijing to China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region for the final week of my 2019 summer holiday. Sticking with China Highlights I will be guiding myself around the provinces capital, Urumqi for two days in-between my Uygur travels. Things at the moment seem to be cooking up in Xinjiang but I am not fazed by hearsay or a little bit of drama. My overnight train will take me to Kashgar, one Chinese city that borders with Pakistan as it lies within China's Far West region. I'll be looking for the Grand Bazaar and some hand pulled noodles that supposedly hail back to the days of the European explorers who lined the historic Silk Road? Like Tibet, China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has required planning, I know it will show me it all! Clearly, China keeps showing me more, its not just about Shanghai or Beijing! Oh, that Turpan!

Turpan will showcase to me the Gaochang Ruins along with the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Grottoes for the win! I am especially excited to be seeing the Suleiman Minaret along with a local vineyard because Xinjiang is famous for its grape production! High Speed Rail will help me get back to Urumqi before my Beijing bound flight, its going to be all about trains and flying because Xinjiang is huge! The itinerary is going to be mad with three cities but I am so prepared for this Far West China trip to take its full force! Urumqi will show me the Arabic Chinese city that I need in my life, Kashgar has been somewhere with an extra spice on my hit-list, whereas Turpan gets me fired up with its ruins and minarets! The two weeks spent between Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang Autonomous Regions will show me more! Moving to Beijing has made these trips possible, getting to Tibet from Wuhan was no joke, being in the capital affords those key transport links! I'll be Xinjiang rich!

So, National Day 2018 served me a nasty good trip to Seoul, South Korea but fulfilling a travel wish I emptied my account in January to book my Singapore Airlines flights for 2019s affair. Wanting to further expand my flight review blog series I wanted and got those Singapore Airlines flights! That Airbus A380 though! Spending three full days in Singapore has to be done without question! Staying in a capsule hostel style compartment in the heart of SG's Chinatown has saved me some pennies! Staying not so far from the lights of Marina Bay will secure those main attractions during my stay. Singapore's Chinatown isn't just known for its cuisine, no its got a perfectly formed Rainbow scene so when the sun sets it's definitely going to be nasty good! Getting those British colonial sites down, I am going to try at least one Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel because when in Singapore, darling it has most certainly got to be done!

Getting my Kampong Glam needs to happen! Singapore looks so vibrant and rich with so many colours! I am up for trying food in all of those ethnic and quirky Singaporean neighbourhoods! During my times in London's Chinatown I never got myself to 'Old Chang Kee's' for a colonially inspired Curry Puff Pasty, that foolishness will change without any questioning! Will I be hitting up Sentosa Island? I really don't know because I want to make my three full days count whilst in Singapore, for sure I want to boss Little India, Chinatown, Kampong Glam and be at one within the sparkling lights that surround Marina Bay Sands. Money isn't something that we can take with us, I want to make this trip work and if I paid through the nose for those flights then I'll be damned but I don't give a hoot! National Day 2018 got scandalous, with that said 2019 will be even more of a raucous affair! It's been a long time in the planning stages but with those Beijing links in place, I'm going to Singapore baby!

Nine long years have passed by, I am now in a place that's financially strong to make the journey back to Newark and New York City, USA! Even though this planned 2019 Christmas trip is in the planning stages things are pretty much already concrete in my head! I anticipate on touching down onto Newark Liberty soil from Beijing direct with United during mid-December. Eyeing up reservations at a hotel within Columbus Circle will keep me on the Subway and to be near Midtown Manhattan, I want to relive that life for a brief time if nothing else! I plan to make my Newark, NJ comeback with much gusto, getting down to the Ironbound for some Portuguese chicken, rice and beans needs no thought! The Downtown has big plans for me to witness, I am all about those simple things because a McDonalds breakfast at Newark Penn Station is in great need! It's been a long time so, World Trade Center guide me back to the PATH home! Yes B!

As much as this trip stands to be about reconnecting with Newark I plan to take the train up to New Haven, Connecticut for a chilled and slightly unplanned winter day out. I never made it to that state during my year stateside, taking the MTA New Haven Line from Grand Central will be the one. Feeling my Samantha 'KIA' James fantasy I will spend one night in Philadelphia, getting back to a mad city that I didn't see the half of during my first visit. Philly cheesesteaks from Ishkabibble's and cocktails and queens from Bob & Barbara's will happen! Of course, I want to soak up South Street and be horrendously hungover the next day! Returning to Newark Liberty once more to board my potential Birmingham bound flight for Christmas week will take me home, flying Aer Lingus via Dublin looks quite likely. To be part of the Christmas festivities with my brother and his growing family will be worth any jet lag! It's got to be right and I have waited long enough, no price tag will be quibbled over.

2019...  I'm Loving Life!

Joseph Harrison

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