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US: Pawtucket, RI – Dragon Boat Racing & Taiwan Day Festival in Blackstone Valley

Now in its 18th year, the Rhode Island Chinese Dragon Boat Races & Taiwan Day Festival is an extraordinary event for the whole family to enjoy.  Join the thousands of people who attend each year for exciting competition, family-fun, and a great opportunity to learn more about Chinese culture.RI Dragon Boat 2017-07-31_11-03-41

Racers continue to use the fiberglass Taiwanese-style dragon boats gifted to them from the Republic of China (Taiwan)  and incorporate the skill of flag-catching in each race.

The course length is 1,000 feet long up the Pawtucket River, with three boats racing at a time. A unique element to the races is the larger Taiwanese-style dragon boats, wood paddles, and the flag-catching in each race. If the flag is missed a penalty is added to their time.RI Dragon Boat- crowd2017-07-31_11-05-27

Sanctioned by the Eastern Regional Dragon Boat Association, the RI Chinese Dragon Boat Races consist of two divisions: the Mixed Division, which requires a minimum of 6 female paddlers, and the Open Division that has no gender restrictions.

In addition to the exciting boat races, under the giant tent you will find Taiwan Day festivities with some top notch entertainment including  cultural performances, many art & crafts tables, and the ever-popular dumpling eating contest. The festival also has a great selection of vendors, interactive activities, and food trucks.RI Dragon Boat dancers2017-07-31_11-08-34

Don’t miss the great entertainment throughout the day including:

  • The popular Chinese dumpling eating contest
  • Taiwanese arts & crafts tables
  • Lion dancers
  • Yo-yo performances
  • Interactive games and activities
  • A fun (and messy) watermelon eating contest
  • Food trucks
  • Vendors

With so much to see and do…the Taiwan Day Festival is truly a great opportunity to witness some wonderful traditional Chinese and Taiwanese entertainment.

Parking and shuttle buses: Parking and shuttles for teams and attendees will be located at the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center‘s lot, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI. Shuttle buses will start at 7:00 am and run until the awards ceremony has been completed.

Photo credit: James Toomey/Blackstone Valley Tourism Council

Location: Festival Pier, Pawtucket River, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Date: Sat, September 9, 2017
Time: 8am – 5pm
Tel: 401-724-2200
dragonboatri.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: tourblackstone.com

US: Lexington, MA – China’s Golden Dragon Acrobats: Breathtaking Showmanship of Magical Stunts

The ancient art of Chinese Acrobatics is an old and long running tradition that began in China well over two thousand years ago. Over its long and rich history it has developed as one of the most popular art forms among the Chinese people.

The Golden Dragon Acrobats represent the best of a time-honored custom that combines award-winning acrobatics, ancestral dance, spectacular costumes, ancient and contemporary music and theatrical techniques to create an unforgettable experience of breathtaking skill and spellbinding beauty.Chinese Acobats - Rings

The legendary Golden Dragon Acrobats performs at Cary Hall with their amazing feats of athleticism, daring, heart-stopping stunts and the finesse of the centuries-old art form.This unique cirque spectacular showcases a tour de force of traditional Chinese acrobats highlighting their remarkable skills and physicality.

Boasting the best in gasp-inducing juggling with props as varied as ladders and giant spinning wheels, tumbling and balancing acts, the performers show just why they’re world renowned. Their spectacular artistry and colorful accoutrements are combined with cirque-style acts. The traditional and contemporary musical score and explosive choreography creates an exciting  show of mesmerizing mastery showmanship and breathtaking, magical stunts that is nothing short of phenomenal.Chinese Acrobats - Bike

Location: Cary Hall, 1605 Massachusetts Ave, Lexington, MA 02420
Date: Sat, April 8, 2017
Time: 3 -5pm
Tel: 617-531-1257
caryhalllexington.com/wordpress1/?projects=the-golden-dragon-acrobats-april-8
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: merrimackvalley.org

Hong Kong: Cycling to see Castles

For those who are truly adventurous,there’s a tour Cycling the Castle Houses of Southern China. It’s always a tough decision to leave Hong Kong for a few days, but this two-wheel foray into the Guangdong Province offers one of the best ways of swapping the city lights for more rural delights.

The unique castle-like dwellings (diaolou) of Kaiping have UNESCO World Heritage status and display a flamboyant fusion of Chinese and Western architecture. Émigré Kaipings returning to their home country from overseas in the 1920s and 30s built these fortified towers in this distinctive style to protect against bandits.credit: Hong Kong Tourism

This unique three-day cycling tour starts (and finishes) in Hong Kong, where participants board the ferry to Jiangmen and then take a coach to Kaiping, the location for saddling-up and setting off to spend the next few days travelling along rural country roads, village paths and forested tracks. The heritage sites of Kaiping and Chikan, as well as the diaolou clusters in Liyuan Garden, Zili Village and Majianglong, are all included on this fascinating itinerary. Arriving back in Hong Kong will provide an exciting contrast to a lovely rural trip.

www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/see-do/tours-walks/guided-tours/explore-hong-kong/kaiping.jsp

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Canada Ottawa: Museum of History

The swooping architecture of the building and jaw-dropping 17 metre-high domed ceiling of Canada Hall are visions you will not easily forget after you have visited the newly named Canadian Museum of History (was Canadian Museum of Civilization), which covers Canadian life from AD 1000 to 2000.

From now until Sept 28, 2014,  you can enjoy the informative exhibit about Snow and the ingenious ways in which  Canadians have adapted to difficult winter conditions, from sleighs to snow removal. You can participate in a fun quiz at the end.

The museum is a playground for all, as the Children’s Museum takes the kids on travels around the world – including a passport to stamp in each country. All kinds of imaginative play from driving a bus, motorcycle, ship or camel to running a shop, putting on a puppet show, living in a pyramid, moving heavy boxes using a winch, or booking a trip can all be tried out.

museumofhistory
In the main galleries, visitors see a Viking family arriving in Newfoundland around AD 1000,  discover New France through a farmhouse, inn, hospital, shoemaker’s shop and visit a voyageur camp, a lumber camp, a Métis campsite, British military living quarters and a Maritime shipyard. There’s a stroll past shops  along the main street of a small town in late 19th-century Ontario.

Learn about life in a turn-of-the-century prairie railway station and yard, a Saskatchewan grain elevator, an authentic Ukrainian church, a Chinese hand laundry and a 1920s Alberta oil derrick. You can even sit in Yellowknife’s Wildcat Cafe, the town’s first restaurant and a popular gathering spot for prospectors, bush pilots, miners and trappers.

If you love animals, leave time for the up close and personal movie, Kenya 3-D about a safari through Africa.

Location: 100 Laurier St., Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M8
Phone: 819-776-7000 or 800-555-5621
www.civilization.ca

Bitter Chocolates?

Laurent Gerbaud, Belgian chocolatier, was so good that he was sent to Shanghai for the World Expo to show off the sweet talents of his country. However, when he got there he soured on chocolates. Gerbaud discovered that the Chinese were not  used to so much sugar so making use of his creative skills he revised his recipes and started to work on tart and bitter tastes.

He searches purveyors for ingredients such as South African Barrrydale apricots, Persian cranberries, Turkish figs, pepper, spicy ginger  and orange peel, and mixes them with his dark dark 70 % chocolate recipe using  chocolate from Madagascar and Ecuador. The Turkish figs are crunchy, chewy and just slightly sweet. One with Greek pistachios blends salt, sweet (milk chocolate) and nut crunch. There’s a salute to Belgians love for specoloos (gingerbread) by rolling a truffle in the crumbs.

Gerbaud is really a chocolate pusher because once you get addicted to his intense flavor combos, it is very hard to go back to sweetened chocolate.

www.chocolatsgerbaud.be