First of all, and the question that many people ask me when I tell them about a trip I made back in '05: Why the hell did you go to North Korea?! The answer is simple: I like to do things a little differently. Most people think a great holiday is sitting on a beach in Thailand for a week, burning themselves and getting hammered every night, waking up around midday etc. I would much prefer to see places and do things so that when I come back from my holiday I've got a feeling of accomplishment. I wasn't really looking at holiday destinations when I was browsing the BBC news website and a story about DPRK's nuclear ambitions when I saw a link entitled, Holidays in North Korea. In that article I read about a company called Koryo Tours and from then my interest rose hugely. This company, run out of a Beijing office by 2 British guys, arranged visas and did regular tours to DPRK throughout the year, during which you had the chance of visiting and seeing things most of the world will never see. This was right up my street, and I exchanged a bunch of emails with one of the guys, getting more information on the trips and what was possible (unfortunately no diving was allowed, by I did ask and they did enquire!). In the end, I settled for a 6-day May Day Stadium tour of the country, flying into Pyongyang and coming back by train to Beijing. Not only would this tour include seeing some spectacular and rare sights, but there was also the prospect of going to see the World Cup Qualifying match between DPRK and Japan, to be played at the country's May Day Stadium. This is the biggest stadium in the world, seating over 150,000 people. To put it into perspective a little, it is over twice the size of the Olympic Stadium in Seoul, South Korea.
I did a little research about the country, and although information is fairly limited, I managed to pick up an excellent travel guide and DVD documentary about the country. First of all, the Bradt Travel Guide to North Korea was an excellent resource, both before my trip and during my travels in DPRK. It includes a lot practical travel information and covers almost every area of DPRK that you might want to visit. If you ever manage to go there, this book would be highly recommended. Through Koryo Tours, I also managed to get my hands on a copy of a BBC documentary called A State Of Mind. This is a fascinating documentary, and is one of the best DVDs I have ever bought. It revolves around 2 girls who are preparing for the Mass Games in DPRK. More about these later, but in summary the Mass Games is a huge choreographed gymnastics spectacle involving thousands of gymnasts. In simple terms, it makes the Olympic opening ceremony look like a primary school festival. I will talk a little about this later, but will leave you with a photo of the event itself (unfortunately not mine, I didn't have chance to see it on my visit as it is usually held in April/May and August/September).
Art Paintings From Your Photo
The market for Chinese contemporary art has developed at a feverish pace, becoming the single fastest-growing segment of the international art market. Since 2004, prices for works by Chinese contemporary artists have increased by 2,000 percent or more, with paintings that once sold for under $50,000 now bringing sums above $1 million. Nowhere has this boom been felt more appreciably than in China, where it has spawned massive gallery districts, 1,600 auction houses, and the first generation of Chinese contemporary-art collectors.
This craze for Chinese contemporary art has also given rise to a wave of criticism. There are charges that Chinese collectors are using mainland auction houses to boost prices and engage in widespread speculation, just as if they were trading in stocks or real estate. Western collectors are also being accused of speculation, by artists who say they buy works cheap and then sell them for ten times the original prices-and sometimes more.
Those who entered this market in the past three years found Chinese contemporary art to be a surefire bet as prices doubled with each sale. Sotheby's first New York sale of Asian contemporary art, dominated by Chinese artists, brought a total of $13 million in March 2006; the same sale this past March garnered $23 million, and Sotheby's Hong Kong sale of Chinese contemporary art in April totaled nearly $34 million. Christie's Hong Kong has had sales of Asian contemporary art since 2004. Its 2005 sales total of $11 million was dwarfed by the $40.7 million total from a single evening sale in May of this year.
2016 Summer Olympics - 5 Reasons Why Rio Was Chosen and You Should Come
he 2016 Summer time Olympics will be held in Rio de Janerio and is guaranteed to be a very lively event. The nation expects thousands of folks to attend this awesome and magnificent occasion ensuring that it really is as wonderful as all fiestas in Rio. With unbelievable scenery, an electric atmosphere and amazing sporting facilities, the 2016 Olympics is going to be an enormous success.
First Time in South America - Despite the fact that there were many other contenders for the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro was selected for many reasons. This will be the very first time that the summer Olympics will be held in South America. Rio is an exhilarating city which has so many things to offer visitors from when they land, including the amazing beaches, stunning mountain ranges and beautiful ocean.
Huge Investment - The investment that has been made into the 2016 Olympics in Rio is unreal, and will make certain that the rivals and spectators have the very best facilities. State of the art buildings have been developed and created to make sure that Rio makes a statement to the world. The theme that Rio chose for the Olympics is "Live your Passion" which sums up everything that Rio stands for. The entire city is behind the hosting with the games, and it's going to be a wonderful occasion.
It is Rio de Janeiro (nuff mentioned) - Rio is considered the cultural center for Brazil, as a result, being the ideal location to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The background that surrounds the city is remarkable along with the 4 zones that can predominantly host the events are going to benefit an excellent deal. Barra, Copacabana, Maracana, and Deodoro will be employed for diverse occasions. Every single one of these locations brings something distinct to the table and ensures that the Olympics will be as good as advertised.
Copacabana Beach - The worldwide known Copacabana Beach is exactly where numerous of the outside sports will be hosted in short-term buildings. The 4km stretch of golden sand is well known to both locals and tourists, and is the place where a large number of individuals gathered to hear the decision if Rio had won the bid to host the Olympics. Along the beautiful stretch from the beach, you can find a huge number of hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes, which makes it the perfect spot for spectators.
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