Top-100: Central America.

Another week – another peek… – at the next regional update to my Top-100 Must-See Most Beautiful Places in the World: Central America.

13. Teotihuacan.

The ancient city and pyramids of the Aztecs. A completely separate branch of the modern history of mankind. A climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun to gaze at the sunset (or sunrise) – simply obligatory.

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Top-100: South America.

Hi folks!

And so we reach the next world region in my Top-100 Must-See Places in the World – South America.

And, not surprisingly, there’s plenty to must-see here too. So without more of a do, let’s get on with this!…

21. Angel Falls, Venezuela.

The highest waterfall in the world; almost a kilometer of free-falling water. Haven’t been myself, but have heard rave reports and seen prodigious pics.

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Top-100: Russia.

Hi folks!

On we go with my journey around what are to me the 100 most beautiful places in the world, all of which I reckon need visiting at least once in a lifetime without fail – so as not to live the rest of that lifetime with regret!

Next up, the world’s largest country!…

Russia.

Russia’s East European Plain doesn’t have anything outstandingly must-see when it comes to natural beauty. Of course, there are beautiful places – and many of them, but none quite make their way onto my Top-100. Then, east of the Urals there’s the West Siberian Plain – a rather plain… plain, this time all tundra/taiga/steppe (from north to south, respectively), marshes, rivers, lakes, oil extraction and mosquitoes. Things only start getting Top-100-worthy still further east. But I’ll get to that in a bit. For now though…

39. Red Square and the Kremlin.

Many foreign friends who come visit us here in Moscow tell us that Red Square – with St. Basil’s Cathedral at one end, the Kremlin to one side and GUM on the other – is the most beautiful spot in Europe, especially at night when lit up. And who am I to argue? I too am a big fan.

Note: St. Petersburg is in the Cities section of the Top-100 series.

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Top-100: China. part 2: bonus track.

Hi folks!

Last month I published an update to the Chinese portion of my Top-100 Must-See Places in the World. Today I’ve got for you another list of places also in China, but these are the ones that didn’t quite make it onto the list. Runners up, as it were; B-sides; also rans… But don’t let this put you off – they’re still well worth a visit.

Bonus tracks:

Terracotta Army.

This place is of course well known, but you only truly grasp the scale and depth of the history when you see it in the flesh. Without doubt, a truly grandiose site. I’ve been there, and was very impressed.

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Top-100: Middle East

The Middle East is another thoroughly interesting region. Without a doubt its ‘greatest hits’ are of a man-made archaeological-historical nature, comfortably prevailing over its naturally occurring ‘B-sides’. Hardly surprising given that the Middle East is an ancient cradle of civilization (please forgive the banality).

One thing I should mention at the outset here: I only have scant first-hand knowledge of the region; accordingly, there may be a few inaccuracies in this short regional section of my Top-100. If so – help me out! Any mistakes need correcting or additions need making? > the comments section please. I’d be most grateful.

All righty. Off we go…

50. Dead Sea.

An undeniably unique Middle Eastern natural phenomenon. Water so salty… yes, you know, you float in it!… So let me be a little less obvious here: water so salty… just a lick of your wet fingers and you need to down at least two cold beers in one. What better excuse for a little naughtiness? :-).

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Two thousand eighteen: so much done, so much seen.

Ladies and gents, boys and girls!

Another year, another… oh dear. Where did that go? Again!

Indeed the end of 2018 is upon us, with our planet just a few hurdles short of its full circle around the Sun. Up here in wintery Moscow it’s snowy and freezing (-14°C today); down in the summery southern hemisphere it’s sunny and warm; but no matter where you are on the planet there’s one thing that’s the same: we’ll soon be seeing in the New Year of 2019…

Almost as inevitable as a +1 being added to the number of years since the year dot – before the presents, the fireworks displays, the champagne, the parties… – there also simply has to be my round-up of the year!

However, the round-up of the business year of Me Lab… that will come later on. Here will be a summary of my personal achievements of 2018. There was an abundance of interesting/amazing throughout the year, so I’ll have to somehow organize it all into different categories. But first off, let’s get things rolling with some pics of highlights of the year:

Next, my year – in cities/countries. The ones inside square brackets were places I was visiting purely for tourism; the rest – on business.

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The former city of the future.

Tokyo. The extraordinary capital of an extraordinary country. The Imperial Palace against a backdrop of skyscrapers in the commercial district…what’s it called? Marunouchi? I always hear it as ‘Marunouti’. It’s not that important – just those Japanese “middle sounds” again. It would probably be more accurate to write ‘Marunoutchi’. But again, it’s not important. The main thing is that they’re both here. The emperor’s palace and gray office blocks against an overcast December sky – gray on gray.

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A melancholic December in Tokyo.

Early December in Tokyo, Japan. Autumn’s stark colors are all but gone now, while cherry blossom season still a long way off. So, there won’t be any need for an easel or paints – I don’t have them with me in any case :) In fact, I’ve never had an easel and paints. Nature goes to sleep; tourists become cold and sad, longing for a cup of hot sake. On this Sunday before a working Monday we are also sad while we go out for a short walk. This is the sort of melancholic December we’re having here.

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Forbidden City – 2018.

I’m lucky enough to find myself in China several times a year, and often that means its capital – Beijing. I’m also lucky enough to be able to take the time out of my busy business schedule here to get in some touristic sightseeing. Which is just as well as there’s just sooooo much of interest to the tourist in and around this amazing city. But what’s strange is that I haven’t been back to the city’s top tourist attraction since… 2009 – nearly 10 years ago!

And what’s the city’s top tourist attraction? Ah, yes – this post’s title gives it away a little. Yep, it’s the Forbidden City.

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Top-100: China; pt. 1.

Hi folks!

As promised, herewith the newly refurbished China sub-list of my Top-100 Most Beautiful – Must-See – Places on the Planet

But why does China – a single country – have its very own section of the List, like no other geographical area has? All rather straightforward really: because the number of OMG-beautiful natural and cultural and unique must-sees in China is just off the scale – even if it is only one single country (albeit not a small one:). But the funniest, curious-est, strangest bit of all is that outside the country very little at all is known about them. Just as well you’ve got me to tell you all about them, eh?)

Why exactly they’re unknown outside the country I don’t know. But I think it’s because the Chinese aren’t that bothered about attracting foreigners to their priceless natural tourist attractions. But then they don’t have to. They’ve enough on their plate catering to the hundreds of millions of their own citizens. Accordingly, some places – no matter how ‘wow’ – don’t even have a Wikipedia entry. They only become known about through tales of the odd (odd!) foreign tourist or two who accidentally happen on them during their pioneering travels around the country’s hinterland. And one such odd foreign tourist is (to a certain extent, for I still haven’t seen a great deal of the country) me!

But first, a few of the very obvious, very famous Chinese tourist attractions…

56. Great Wall of China.

I’ve been told that several generations ago folks could trek along the wall for several days on end! Alas, these days there’s no chance of that: self-preservation’s the name of the game today; only a short section is open to visitors. Nevertheless, it’s still totally worth checking out, and not only for the tick on your ‘been and seens’: there’s no other wall quite like it in the world. Uniformly unique.

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