Camel Crossing

Fits and Starts

Here it comes in fits and starts, the return of travel. Beginning in late June a British cruise line will send out a ship capable of holding 3,647 passengers  and … just sail around, not stopping anywhere. More wandering than cruising.

China says it is processing visa requests from vaccinated individuals, but only from those who have been vaccinated with a Chinese-made vaccine, which are not available or approved in much of the world.

And the Icelandic government announced today that from tomorrow, visitors who can prove vaccination will be welcomed into the country with no test or quarantine. If you time it right, just before the coming big volcanic eruption, maybe you can trade where you’re stuck now for being stuck in Iceland.

That Settles That

They disagreed so they measured it together. It’s 8,848.86 metres (29,031.69 feet), a bit more than their previous calculations, they say.

New 3QD Column

On the Road: Kathmandu to Lhasa in a Bad Mood is live on 3 Quarks Daily this morning. Read it there now, and I’ll post it to CS&W later this week. Here are the photos, which you can also find in the China Gallery at

Slow Trains in China

There’s a nice photo feature today about local train travel by photographer Qian Haifeng, in the South China Morning Post’s magazine. This photo is from the article.

The Future of Flying?

“A requirement forcing all air passengers arriving at Hong Kong to be tested for the coronavirus will remain in place going forward, a leading city health official said, with experts predicting the practice will become standard at airports around the world as the aviation industry adapts to a new normal once the pandemic recedes.”

From the South China Morning Post. Read the rest here.


Having just returned from a couple days in Russia, it’s interesting to see the headline In Russian Cities, Mock Gravestones Are Sounding Putin’s Death Knell. Add that to this, and go ahead, take a moment to be an optimist.

There are a lot of people at this protest, aimed against a proposed law allowing extradition of Hong Kong citizens to Beijing.

Chinese media blamed “collusion with the West”.

Arctic Route

Travel Time, two posts back, had it about right. Regulatory confidence in Boeing’s abilities to fly on two jet engines over the pole produced this flight path for us on Tuesday/Wednesday. The flight was Air China CA818 Dulles to Beijing, fourteen hours in a Boeing 777.

Never having seen Hudson Bay in mid-April, I’m here to testify that there’s not a thing down there, no sign of Churchill and polar bears, just icy patches with streams to the bay and snow fields beyond.

Washington Dulles to Beijing was followed by Beijing to HCMC where everybody is wilting after several 97 degree days.

Xinhua Tweet-Claims Chinese Democracy

Xhinua (@XHNews) has found an American willing to associate his credibility with this quote: “It is widely acknowledged that a key to China’s success is its system of democracy.”


A couple of posts in the last few months have referred to far western China’s Xinjiang province. Quotes: Life in Xinjiang, posted October 5th, quoted an article in The Diplomat titled The Uyghurs and the Han: 1 World, 2 Universes. The author, Ruth Ingram, has written to note that I used the word ‘Turkmen’ when I should have used the term ‘Turkic’ (see comments in that post). Duly noted, corrected in the post, and thanks to Ms. Ingram.

And on the subject of Xinjiang, in Weekend Reading a couple of weeks back, I recommended a long travelogue titled A Week In Xinjiang’s Absolute Surveillance State by Vadim Mikhailov. It’s thoroughly absorbing. I recommend it still.

(Map from Wikimedia)