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Singing two songs, Star and Opera No 2, Vitas impressed audiences with his five-octave vocal range and the costumes he designed for his concerts.
Some Chinese singers have tried to imitate his singing, but fans consider Vitas unique because of his distinctive technique and low-key image offstage. In November, he will return to China with some new material mixing classical, rock and heavy metal. In his decade of performing in China, he has teamed up with Chinese composers and singers, and has sung such Chinese songs as Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Jasmine Flower. His grandfather introduced him to music as a child, teaching him to play the accordion and walking several kilometers every day to take Vitas to a music school in a nearby village. In 1999, he was discovered by his producer, Pudovkin, who invited Vitas to Moscow and helped launch his career. At 23, Vitas rose to fame by performing at the Kremlin - he was the youngest artist to do a solo concert at the venue.
He wrote those songs, which contain a mix of techno, classical, jazz and folk elements, when he was around 15. He then released two albums dedicated to his mother - The Songs of My Mother and Mama, which include classic Russian songs as well as original compositions. His producer is now in discussions with Paramount Pictures about his participation in the film History Legends, which is about the life and career of Elvis Presley. An outdoor exhibition of installation art, featuring art in containers, will start its world tour in July in Shandong province's Qingdao. Elsewhere Is Here comprises 10 well-known artists from China and France, including Qiu Zhijie, Huang Jiancheng, Yan Lei, Matalie Crasset and Mathieu Dorval. By using containers as art spaces, the artists will "create a moving museum", says Fan Di'an, curator of the show and president of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. Fan says the show of art in 10 containers is easy to display in any public space in cities, making it a good option for cultural exchanges among places that are far away from one another. In July 2017, it will be presented at Futuroscope, a theme park in Vienne, France, and then tour other countries in Europe. Joking about his previous experiences, he says he was either setting up his installation work in the show space or was on the road to do it. For instance, in his Project of Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, he produced lots of foot-like items crafted from bamboo with different plants inside. Guan Huaibin, another artist participating in the show, says containers are interesting carriers that make him think about their roles in transmitting culture and ideas across the world. Elsewhere Is Here is an annual show initiated in 2012 by France's former prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. As a young, classical music conductor in a town known more for Mickey Mouse than Mahler, Eric Jacobsen faces a double challenge: Live up to the promise of his youth and innovative background, and somehow discover the magic formula to lure young audiences to the concert hall. Beginning his second year as music director of the Orlando Philharmonic, the 33-year-old is many things that modern classical music traditionally isn't: young, accessible and willing to be a tad goofy.
He's spent most of his career as a cellist with New York-based, boundary-breaking ensembles, exploring new directions in an art form that cherishes tradition. A decade ago he co-founded the string quartet, Brooklyn Rider, with his older brother and two other classmates from the Juilliard School. Jacobsen represents a new path for many young conductors, says Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras. In the past, a would-be conductor trained professionally and sought a job in an orchestra as an assistant conductor or director of a youth orchestra, while preparing for bigger, more prestigious orchestras. Nowadays, many future orchestra conductors are creating their own ensembles with different types of community-based programming, says Rosen.
As Jacobson looks ahead to the upcoming season, he says programs may combine music with visual artists, performing artists and literary works.
The season's sweltering weather coaxes Chinese to northeastern destinations like Heilongjiang. Xiang Shuangshuang believes China's northernmost province, Heilongjiang, is a cool place to beat the heat of Beijing's hottest months.
She was impressed by Harbin's architecture, Wudalianchi's hot springs and Yichun's woodlands.
The provincial capital took the top spot in a 2014 report on domestic summer destinations jointly released by the China Meteorological Administration and the China Tourism Academy.
They feature volcanoes, wetlands, China's easternmost and northernmost points, forests and urban fun.
China CYTS Tours Holding Co will focus on ecotourism to develop products with such themes as resorts, leisure, health and family fun, says the company's chairman, Kang Guoming. Three special routes have been designed for the elderly, says Heilongjiang tourism authority's deputy director, Hou Wei. The provincial government has teamed up with major online travel brands to cultivate itineraries that take travelers out but bring them home by bedtime.
The government is planning to make full use of its wetlands, woodlands and border culture, says Xi. Forests cover 220,000 square kilometers, which is roughly equivalent to the size of the Korean Peninsula. Mohe county's Beiji village is the only place in China where visitors can view the aurora borealis. It won the Michel Batisse Award at the Fourth World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in Lima, Peru, in March. Mudanjiang city's Jingpo Lake is the world's second-biggest volcanic barrier lake, after Switzerland's Lake Geneva. Harbin's music and wetland festivals, Yichun's international forest-ecology tourism festival and Mohe's aurora borealis festival will be staged this summer.
Road trips from Fuyuan to Mohe will be organized along the Chinese-Russian border by the province and Jeep, one of China's biggest cross-country driving clubs.
A high-speed railway also connects Harbin to Liaoning province's capital, Shenyang, and Jilin province's capital, Changchun.
Eleven airports link Heilongjiang to major cities across the country, as well as Russia, South Korea and the United States.
They'll open up less-known but worthwhile sites like Jiansanjiang, an agritourism destination. Visitors can explore unique volcanoes and wetlands at Wudalianchi and Zhalong Nature Preserve, and enjoy health-and-fitness experiences in Daqing's hot springs. Visitors can travel to China's easternmost point - Heixiazi Island - and Fuyuan's Wusu town. Visitors can hike Tangwanghe - China's first approved national park - and China's biggest and best-preserved primitive Korean pine forest. Visitors can travel to Beiji village - China's northernmost point - and savor Songyuan's primitive woodlands. Duck your head if a low-hanging branch comes up too fast to paddle around, and move to the side if the modern world intrudes: Motorboats turn up on the waterway, too. I did a two-hour kayak trip here with a group of friends, booking through the Black River Outdoors Center. The kayak outing was one of many excursions I took on a five-day getaway to the Myrtle Beach area.
See, exciting activities are easy to come by in a place like Myrtle Beach - not to mention restaurants, bars, fireworks and shopping. Among all the apartments in the 19 three-story buildings near Yuyuantan Park in Beijing, only one has maintained its original look, with neither interior decoration nor the balcony enclosed with glass.
The apartment in Nanshagou Community, where the famed Chinese writer and translator Yang Jiang lived until her death on May 25 at the age of 104, is typical of her modesty. Yang and her equally famous husband, Qian Zhongshu, moved into the unit in 1977, just after the "cultural revolution" (1966-76). Qian Zhongshu, meanwhile, was a scholar and author of the best-selling novel Fortress Besieged. In 2001, on behalf of her family, Yang set up a scholarship fund at Tsinghua University, where the couple had studied and worked, to encourage students, especially those from poor families, to read. Chen Pingyuan, a professor at Peking University, remembers a woman whose achievements had come despite the turmoil of the collapse of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), China's civil war and the "cultural revolution". In an article mourning Yang, he writes, "The older generations had experienced much fiercer waves, but many of them stood up. Born Yang Jikang in 1911, the year China's feudal empire collapsed, she faced tough years before and after the founding of New China. Like her father, Yang Jiang turned out to be a person of spirit, good at both Chinese and English. Her happy marriage with Qian Zhongshu was another example of her free thinking and independence.
By 1952, the couple was working at the Institute of Foreign Literature part of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. At that time, women in China started to wear Lenin-style clothes - gray double-breasted shirts and long trousers with a leather belt fastened around the waist, a symbol of the equality of the working class. During the "cultural revolution", many intellectuals were forced to "disclose" each other's "guilt".
In the late 1960s, intellectuals at the institute were sent to the countryside to work, and Qian and Yang, almost 60, were among them.
Yang later compiled her stories of that time into a book, Six Chapters from My Life "Downunder".
Lu Jiande, deputy director of the institute, says unlike other memoirs of the time, Yang's contains no complaint or anger. Yang spent her leisure time writing, and when Qian passed by, she would give him the work to read. After Yang's translation of French writer Alain-Rene Lesage's Gil Blas into Chinese was well-received in 1956, she was picked to translate Don Quixote from Spanish. Four young Africans studying at Peking University, not content to feast alone on everything they have discovered in China, are sharing it with people around the world on a website they have set up.
Wadeisor Rukato from Zimbabwe and her three friends, all in their early 20s, have spent about nine months in China with Yenching Academy, a foreign student project of Peking University which started in late 2014.
Ththukile Mbanjwa, Wadeisor Rukato, Sihle Isipho Nontshokweni and Nothando Khumalo during their recent trip to the Tibet autonomous region. The website, From-Africa-to-China, which went online in December, has attracted thousands of readers, not the stratospheric numbers some popular blogs can boast of, but enough to delight and encourage the four women.
They will work hard to increase the reach and impact of the website while studying and enjoying themselves in China, she says. The women update the website at least twice a week, mainly writing about their trips exploring the country and their thoughts on academic life.
A recent study trip took them to Tibet autonomous region, which produced a rich harvest of stories and pictures for the website. In a red-lacquered traditional Chinese house with wood-frame windows on the campus of Peking University the four pondered over what should go up on the website. Dressed in Chinese-style clothes, seated around a solid wooden table and reliving their Tibet trip, it was as though the four were veterans of travel in China rather than having been in the country for just a few months.
Nontshokweni says she was particularly touched by the flags on the mountains on their way to Tibet, which speak of the depth of its spirituality, she says. These flags are a traditional way for Tibetans to offer prayers seeking blessings, similar to better-known prayer wheels.
When the four were in Tibet they themselves became something of an attraction for the locals, who would have seen few Africans, the women say. As they made a video they attracted such a large crowd that police intervened, says Ththukile Mbanjwa from South Africa. As the only four African members at Yenching Academy of Peking University, Rukato, Nontshokweni, Mbanjwa, and Khumalo, who all studied at the University of Cape Town, say they appreciate the opportunity to live and study in China. It was not easy to enroll because hundreds of students in Africa applied for the Yenching project when it was founded, Mbanjwa says. In selecting students the academy seeks outstanding young people with academic excellence and leadership potential, he says.
Few African students get the opportunity to study in China, Rukato says, but numbers have grown in recent years, especially now that more and more college exchange programs are opening to African students.
Even as the From-Africa-to-China website's logo shows lines linking African countries, the four women are endeavoring to connect African countries with one another and with China.
Then, filmmaking - a surprising shift after more than two decades in music - caught his fancy seven years ago.
The upcoming 3-D animated film Rock Dog will feature a Tibetan mastiff pup pursuing his musical dream. Zheng, along with a few friends, decided to adapt his first graphic novel, Tibetan Rock Dog, as a big-screen animated film in 2009.
But the pup, ignoring its father's wish that he take up the family profession, embarks on a journey to a metropolis to pursue his musical dream. The 3-D animated film, which is set for a national release on July 8, has two versions, unusual for a Chinese-financed animated movie.
The English version features voiceovers by Luke Wilson and Eddie Izzard, while the Mandarin one has crosstalk performer Guo Degang and his son Guo Qilin. To make the movie, the producers first flew to the United States to recruit Hollywood talent, which would make the movie the first fully Chinese-financed animated film to be outsourced to an American crew. After hiring the crew, Zheng frequently flew to the US for meetings with the Hollywood team, most of whom once worked for Disney or Pixar.
So, with no precedents to follow, Zheng says they initially "wasted" a lot of time and money on finding the right people. Besides, the first American scriptwriter, whom Zheng declined to identify, was difficult to work with. Zheng says the experience with the scriptwriter taught him a lesson and he finally put his hopes in Ash Brannon, the co-director of Toy Story 2. Brannon, who had originally joined the crew as a story artist, was picked to direct the film after he fell in love with the story, foreign media outlets reported.
During this period, Chinese entertainment giant Huayi Brothers joined the other investors in backing the movie. Zheng says the movie, which he ranks at eight out of 10, fulfills his dream of telling an Eastern story using Hollywood style.
Beijing is a sprawling international city where regional and international cuisines offer more dining choices than there are days in a year.
When the emperors, officials and the imperial court were still in residence, the folks living outside the walls of the Forbidden City were merely cogs in the great machinery that kept those inside well-fed and well-clothed. Beijing snacks can be traced back to the Muslim community, mainly Uygurs from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region who had traveled to the capital along the Silk Road with other merchants of West Asian origin and made Beijing their home. While Beijing may boast of decadent court cuisine in the imperial kitchens of the past, the city had no particular culinary identity.
The common folks living in the old alleyways were mainly merchants and craftsmen from other provinces who settled there many generations ago. Muslims have a long history here, and the oldest mosque in Beijing is tucked away in the Islamic quarters just behind Caishikou, near Xuanwumen. Uygur chefs brought their food with them because they couldn't eat at non-Muslim restaurants. If a Beijinger goes visiting friends in other provinces, he or she will likely bring boxes of pastries - the Eight Big Pieces, or badajian - made from Chinese jujubes, candied osmanthus flowers, candied plums, candied haw fruit, and red and green bean pastes, all encased in flaky pastry using vegetable oils. In an old alleyway that used to house the imperial tributes temple, Huguosi, a time-honored Beijing Muslim snack shop still does a roaring trade every day.

On the weathered hardwood stools, elderly women and men bring their grandchildren for mid-morning snacks.
Bean juice is that last threshold that separates a Beijing native from the later immigrants. Once you get past the smell, which is reminiscent of a market dumpster at day's end, the taste itself is not bad, especially as it comes with a little platter of salted vegetables and a couple of fried dough rings. Another option is the fried flour tea, or miancha, served with a thin layer of sesame paste on top. My husband grew up in the Beijing alleyways, and his favorite childhood tidbit was the "donkey" snack lyudagun.
There is also the beautiful aiwowo, a snow-white soft cake made with glutinous rice and filled with honey, osmanthus flowers, candied green plums and red candied haw. There are also egg and flour dough balls coated in sesame seeds and deep-fried until they split apart. Many are nothing more than plain dough, stretched and twisted, deep-fried and drizzled with syrup, and then dusted with sesame seeds.
Sanzi is the savory version, which is pulled into long, thin noodles that fan out in the hot oil. A healthier snack is the pea-flour wandouhuang, which is based on a recipe smuggled out of the imperial kitchens. A soft, snow-white cake made from steamed glutinous rice hiding a syrupy filling of candied fruits. A crisp and crunchy Chinese doughnut made by twisting thick strands together and deep-frying them thoroughly. A lighter relative of mahua, the dough strands are stretched thinner and longer and shaped into elaborate curlicues to be carefully fried so it keeps its shape. Hawthorn trees are abundant around Beijing, and their tart, red fruits are harvested and cooked down into a soft sweet and sour cake, which can then be cut into strips and further dried and dusted with sugar. This is made from nutty, deep-purple glutinous rice that is steamed, sweetened and then shaped into little balls. Lyudagun, or donkey rolling in the dust, is such a graphic name that you cannot help but be charmed. One of the most popular sweet cakes of Beijing, this is made from pea flour and has a velvety texture. These are a popular snack, even though they are nothing but tight rolls of deep-fried pastry that taste like spring roll wrappers.
Located in the heart of Shanghai and well known for its labyrinth of alleys, Tianzifang was built where abandoned factories from the 1940s and historical shikumen "stone gate" residential buildings from the 1920s once stood. Yu Hai, a professor of sociology at Fudan University who has studied the Tianzifang area since its inception nearly 20 years ago, says it is a shame that the true charm of the area has been lost in the modernization process. This used to be a place where people could savor the essence of old Shanghai, and one that was slated to become a community for people from the creative industries.
Zheng Rongfa, the former administrative head of the Dapuqiao area which Taikang Road is under, recalls how Tianzifang used to be a vibrant place filled with the sounds and smells coming from the homes of Shanghainese families. In 1998, Zheng kicked off the project to turn the area into a hub for the cultural industry. In 1999, Chen Yifei, a world-renowned Chinese painter, and several other artists set up studios in the old factories on Lane 210 along Taikang Road, creating a cluster of more than 200 culture and art venues.
One year later, the sub-district government leased the remaining spaces to a sole proprietor named Wu Meisheng. Fortunately, thanks to the intervention of Zheng and a group of his supporters, Tianzifang emerged unscathed. According to statistics provided by Yu, 100 million square meters of old buildings in Shanghai were torn down between the early 1990s and 2008 to make way for modern ones.
Following the threat in 2004, Zheng realized that the residents from neighboring lanes needed to band together to help expand the size of Tianzifang in order to boost the significance of the area.
However, he says he did so only because the 3,500 yuan ($531; 477 euros) he charged for rent would go a long way in helping with his living expenses - he was getting only 300 yuan every month from his pension. While the interiors of many of the buildings have since been renovated and given a new coat of paint, the old brick facades from which Tianzifang gets its charm, are still very much intact. In 2008, the government took over Tianzifang and shifted the focus from developing the place as an art and culture hub to commercialization, security and property management. As one of the first shop owners to arrive on Lane 274 in 2007, Yan Hongliang, who sells ceramic art designed and produced in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, has witnessed the tremendous changes that have taken place since. At the beginning, Yan had to pay only around 6,000 yuan a month for his 60-square-meter shop. Fabienne Wallenwein, a German doctoral student who is enrolled in a one-year exchange program at Fudan University, shares the same sentiment.
In the meantime, Zheng Rongfa, the former administrative head, says he can only hope that the government thinks the same way about the future direction of Tianzifang's development.
The controversy surrounding an advertisement for a Chinese detergent is the latest cultural mismatch in the progress for globalization. Qiaobi, the brand, posted a commercial online that had a young black man being thrust into a washer and then coming out as a fair-skinned Asian, the kind of androgynous pop idol that represents male beauty in China. Suffice to say, this ad would not have passed the marketing department, let alone the broadcast platform, had it been made in a Western country.
While the racial insensitivity was outrageous, the underlying forces for this ad could be much more complicated. If you put yourself into the shoes of Qiaobi, you'd probably be bursting with pride when first hit by the concept.
I don't think the people who thought up the ad equate being black with being dirty - at least not consciously.
For good or bad, blacks as a race are used for dramatization when appearing in Chinese imagery. That said, I'll not justify the simmering racial discrimination that exists among some of my compatriots. That is why symbols like the first black American president and Hollywood luminaries like Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman are so important in shaping public perception. Although China is an ethnically diverse country, most of our minorities do not have distinct facial features. I once debated the issue of "yellow face" with a Chinese-American dramatist who is a kind of vigilante against the outmoded casting practice. Just as early Hollywood portrayals of Asians tended to be caricatures, white or black characters on Chinese screens are rarely three-dimensional. In 2011, CNN posted on its website an article listing "the most revolting food" in the world. Had it labeled the article "some of the revolting food in the eyes of most Westerners" and changed the tone from authoritative to humorous, it may have flown by without any controversy. But I guess the editors had forgotten that CNN is a global news operation rather than a local Atlanta channel. To varying degrees distant from the online realm, rural romance is a little more traditional.
Matchmakers take a wide range of roles in the marriage process, and it's not surprising that this sort of service brings with it a relatively high income in impoverished regions. It's important to note that "matchmaker" is not exactly a job title; it's a cultural mainstay. But, sometimes, the sparks just won't fly; even then the matchmaker gets something out of it.
Despite the matchmaker service being viewed as a dying practice, it's already evolved into a business in some areas. The wedding, for the matchmaker, was payday, the place where the matchmaker could receive her hongbao, a red envelope with money, from the groom's family. Today, things are a bit simpler, but matchmakers also have an extra duty: negotiating the dowry. According to Beijing Youth Daily, over the past 20 years, there were more than 120 males born for every 100 females, and this imbalance has caused inflation in the price of a bride. As such, it's a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of no fortune will be in want of a matchmaker.
Matchmakers often share information and use their connections to share a take of the wedding booty.
Sexual discrimination gave birth to the gender imbalance, and now that gender imbalance is taking a toll in the form of matchmaker inflation. Once a Disney teen icon Selena Gomez is now well on her way to power fashion It girl status. New York based label Monse is only two-seasons old, but is already considered an up-and-coming name to know and has been worn by Amal Clooney and Sarah Jessica Parker as well as Gomez. Creating a very clear "look" has also been Selena Gomez's strategy when it comes to red carpet dressing. Young monopolises best dressed lists by creating a signature look for each of her clients, so that their red carpet history is cohesive and instantly-recognisable. Young doesn't just advise what her clients should wear on the red carpet, but instructs them on how they should behave while they are being photographed. Recently I flew to Vancouver from London and clocked an incredibly chic woman in the departure lounge. At the luggage carousel, amid the battered old bags covered in stickers, random ribbons or wrapped in cling film (the lowest of luggage lows), a shiny silver case glided into view. If you've ever felt the shame of grabbing your battered old case with peeling stickers off the luggage carousel, there's never been a better time to make like a chic frequent flyer and go in search of an upgrade. Meanwhile, we barely go a day without a new photo of Victoria Beckham (recently named the world's most stylish traveller by British Airways), Gwyneth Paltrow or Cate Blanchett emerging from a terminal building looking enviably put-together. Models emerged ready for takeoff in comfortable riffs on the label's classic tweeds, rolling matching luggage alongside them.
Lagerfeld is renowned for taking inspiration from unlikely places (supermarkets or wind turbines), but for the airport show, he only had to look as far as the editors and clients on his front row, most of whom hop on to planes as often as the rest of us jump on buses.
Lupe Puerta is Net-a-Porter's global director of VIP relations, which means that she's not only travelling extensively herself but is also advising clients on their own optimal luggage and packing arrangements.
She says that "the most stylish travellers are the ones who look comfortable and chic in a low-key way. Rimowa - whose cases are distinguished by their signature grooved exteriors-is the name that comes up again and again when elegant frequent flyers are quizzed on their luggage of choice.
In 1937, Richard Morszeck, son of Rimowa's founder Paul Morszeck, created an aluminium trunk that proved to be the first in the race to innovate the super-lightweight and durable baggage that today's travellers crave. The aforementioned Salsa style is made in sturdy polycarbonate and weighs around the same as a newborn baby (just under 3kg), meanwhile Tumi's range of Tegra-Lite cases are made from a composite material also used in racing cars, equipping them to withstand even the least considerate of baggage handlers. Samsonite's Cosmolite cabin case comes in at 1.7kg, about the same as a kettle with enough water in it for a couple of cups of tea. Of course, the dearer the luggage, the more painful it is when said luggage goes missing - a fate that befell Instagram's head of fashion partnerships Eva Chen when she travelled to the most recent Paris Fashion Week. Next time, she would do well to ring Diego Saez-Gil, co-founder and CEO of luggage start-up Bluesmart, before she checks her bags in.
The Bluesmart case features location-tracking technology that users can follow from a smartphone app. Given the functionality we now demand from our luggage, we could be at risk of forgetting the romance that has long been associated with the concept of travel. According to Stephanie Alameida, founder of Salt Resort Wear, which specialises in holiday wardrobes, this sense of occasion when making an escape is still alive and well today. It's a sentiment that rang true for Tessa Holladay, founder of Saint Luke, a start-up creating holdalls that are strictly for play rather than work.
On reflection, if I saw that traveller strolling through customs, I would aspire to her breezy attitude just as much as the chic lady with her pared-back silver suitcase.
As beautiful as a Botticelli painting, James has captivated millions as the spirited Lady Rose in Downton Abbey, and gleamed brightly too as the vivacious Natasha, heroine of the BBC's recent War and Peace adaptation. Cast members Lily James and Richard Madden pose at the premiere of Cinderella at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California. Together, they were Ella and Prince "Kit" for Branagh's sugary, money-spinning Disney version of Cinderella last year.
There's a lot of collective weeping and wailing to establish the ominous mood, but also a swiftly counterpoised gaiety and coutured sophistication. Sir Derek shows everyone how it's done, bringing thoughtful, teasing emphasis to Mercutio's "Queen Mab" speech - but what, actually, is he doing here? It's so exciting to see their bodies change and then to see their excitement as they start to see their muscles take shape. Why have your body fat, lean muscle mass, visceral fat, and resting metabolic rate tested??
Invited by China Central Television, he performed using his stage name "Vitas" at a gala in Beijing celebrating The Year of Russia in China. During the past decade, he has performed in China more than 200 times, including galas prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
There are beautiful waves, a very beautiful sea and a very bright horizon in Qingdao," he says. Vitas and his team prepared for nearly a year for the show and performed such songs as Opera No 2, Opera No 1, Cold Peace, Prelude and Circus, which Vitas called "The philosophy of the miracle". Every year, artists from the two countries produce works in a different medium for display in Futuroscope. The 300-meter-wide Diaoshuilou Waterfall that crashes 20 meters into Jingpo is the world's biggest basalt cascade. It crosses eight provinces and the city of Tianjin before arriving in the capital of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The Jiayin Dinosaurs Geological Park is where the country's first dinosaur fossil was found.
Visitors can see the Manchurian tiger-breeding facility and enjoy Russian performances and food at Volga Manor.
But just a few miles from the city's busy boardwalk and roadside attractions, a different type of thrill awaits. Spanish moss drapes the trees, turtles sun themselves on stones and spider lily plants bloom with bright white flowers. Our guide, Mandy Johnson, was brilliant at spotting wildlife and generous with her knowledge. But while I enjoyed the destination's other pleasures - including brunch at the Tupelo Honey restaurant and a visit to Fat Harold's, a North Myrtle Beach club famous for the swing dance known as the Carolina shag - the kayak trip stands apart. The space is almost unadorned - white walls, cement flooring, an old-fashioned sofa and desks worn by years of use. But Yang lived there alone for nearly two decades after the deaths of Qian and their only daughter, Qian Yuan. Whether living in poverty or affluence, however, Yang always followed her heart, living a simple and honest life. Her father, Yang Yinhang, a renowned wit and intellect from Wuxi, Jiangsu province, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a master's degree in law.
Then, the couple would often sit, chatting and laughing, though there were plenty of serious moments, too. In Six Chapters, Yang captures the event in a single sentence, but the sadness fills the page.
They had become used to drawing public attention after several trips to Shanghai, Nanjing and Shenzhen, she says.

In a tale with Asian values, the good guy repays evil with goodness despite being betrayed or harmed. Food is the indestructible bond that holds the whole social fabric together and it is also one of the last strong visages of community and culture. This was the Muslim community, mainly Uygurs from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region who had traveled to the capital along the Silk Road with other merchants of West Asian origin. It is well kept and is allegedly older than even the Forbidden City, which was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Soon, they established their own eateries - the famous mutton hotpot restaurants like Donglaishun and Lailaishun - and they became known for their cooking of beef tripe, now recognized as a Beijing specialty. Many adopted local ingredients and flavors, and again, over time, they became part of the city's epicurean traditions. A halal establishment, the Old Beijing Snack Shop was awarded intangible cultural heritage status for its delicious contributions. While the young ones feast on flaky pastries and toasted soybean-floured sticky rice cakes, charmingly named Donkey Rolling in the Dust, the old folks are likely slurping up bean juice.
The dusting of yellow soybean flour apparently reminded people of the sturdy donkeys who used to trot through Beijing's nine city gates. It is an attractive and tasty little dumpling, and reportedly became the Empress Dowager Ci Xi's favorite slum food after she tasted a goodie smuggled into the Forbidden City by one of the eunuchs. The famous Beijing mahua is simply thick strands of dough twisted into a rope and fried until it is crisp and crunchy.
These crackers are sometimes flavored with fermented bean curds, but they are mostly plain flour and slightly salted.
The more delicate and perhaps authentic cake can still be sampled in restaurants offering imperial cuisine. It is a curious chapter in Beijing's food history, but the city owes much of its love of sweet pastries to a little group of settlers from the past, just as now, the city's large population of young migrants is rewriting culinary traditions by introducing various foods from their home provinces. This is actually just another cake using the most common ingredients of glutinous rice flour and red bean paste. Mashed glutinous rice is beaten into a dough, made into balls and filled with sweet bean paste. It has a texture almost similar to choux pastry and is served liberally dusted with the cottony powdered sugar that Beijingers love so much.
The name itself is a homophonic reference to the crunch of the pastry disintegrating in the mouth. Home to the iconic Tianzifang, the area is now filled with numerous retail outlets, small snack shops, bars and cafes, most of which are occupied by tourists from other Chinese cities and abroad. Today, it is just another tourist attraction, albeit a very famous one, that only has a faint glimpse of its artistic core. Those who are in the area now are also planning to move out," says Yu, who recently led a team of students from Fudan and Tongji universities to conduct an in-depth survey of Tianzifang. Many men would smoke cigarettes and play poker on tables in the courtyard in the afternoon," says Zheng, who is widely regarded as "the father of Tianzifang". He leased out the 10,000-square-meter space occupied by the idle factories on a 20-year contract and moved the street market indoors.
This was also the time when Huang Yongyu, another well-known painter, named the area Tianzifang as a tribute to an ancient Chinese painter of the same name.
Galleries, cafes and boutiques opened alongside old Shanghai homes, imbuing the area with a unique charm. However, the Shanghai government has also been striving to preserve traditional architecture, turning many old estates into zones for creative industries.
Middle-aged housewives carrying bags of vegetables would squeeze past expats sipping cappuccino at outdoor cafes. He is now paying 40,000 yuan and says the rent will exceed 60,000 yuan after his current contract expires in two years. The place is now filled with more tourism-related items instead of original artworks," says Yan, adding that he plans to move out of Tianzifang after fulfilling his rental contract despite his attachment to the area. Over the past five years, retail outlets have steadily replaced the art studios and galleries, which now account for just 2 percent of the shops in Tianzifang. Though he says he does not think that this will lead to the demise of the place, he is concerned that it will eventually result in a change of appearance and the loss of its iconic architecture. Leishang Cosmetics, the company that owns the brand, issued an apology to those who felt offended.
I'll bet you a king's ransom that a tanning salon for women would be laughed off the block. Many Chinese have never come into contact with people of other races, especially blacks, and they may not know how the issue of skin color should be addressed properly.
Years ago, I heard a story of a Chinese language school that refused to hire English teachers who were black. The lead actor, who is black, mysteriously disappeared from the poster until he was reinserted after protests. For some, only when you're given the name do you realize they are not Han (the largest ethic group).
Until you have mingled with a fair number of regular people of other races, you tend to form opinions that are basically prejudices, and if you're a filmmaker you might reinforce it by presenting crude replicas on the screen. Instead, it could have been helpful by alerting some Chinese not to serve these local favorites to foreign guests. Its detergent may not be targeting Africans per se, but they are not selling to a landlocked market either.
And, when one considers the lack of online services in China's more rural regions, this would obviously be where matchmakers shine.
Whoever performs the act of getting a couple together and seeing it through to the end could be called a matchmaker, but it is still an important position.
Interested parties tell the matchmakers their requirements and their conditions and when the matchmaker finds someone suitable, a blind date is arranged.
This process was apparently derived from tradition, namely the "six ritual steps" or liuli (a…­c¤?), and each step requires a matchmaker. According to custom, the hopeful groom should give the bride's family betrothal gifts before the wedding as reflection of the family's wealth and sincerity.
Matchmakers, with their Rolodex of women in need of a husband, represent these unmarried men to negotiate with target women about the dowry, helping them to control the budget, kind of like love brokers. As a result, hopeful young grooms can add a hefty "thank-you-matchmaker" hongbao to their list of wedding expenses. Prospective brides are lumped into different categories based on their appearance, age, family wealth, and education. The imbalanced gender ratio has also led to a lack of balance in supply and demand in the marriage market. Sadly, though, this isn't behind the scenes work that ends with one matchmaker taking a single gift.
It's unclear what most matchmakers think of this, but they'll probably tell you - for a price. The stylish rise and rise of Gomez was confirmed with her appearance on the cover of the latest issue of Vogue Brasil posing alongside Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere who was preparing to show his Resort collection in Rio last weekend. The cover line describes Selena as his "muse" - a fitting label given she has become a fixture on the Vuitton front row and has worn custom Louis Vuitton for a number of key red carpet events, including the Met Gala and the Oscars. She has also exhibited an experimental attitude to her look, recently choosing to wear buzzed-about, fashion-insider labels like Vetements and Monse. The brand's founders, Oscar de la Renta alumni Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, worked with Gomez to create a catsuit covered in 96,480 Swaorvski crystals and a black gown. The other personality behind Gomez' notable fashion climb is her stylist Kate Young, who was crowned the most powerful stylist in Hollywood this year, thanks to her work with Dakota Johnson, Natalie Portman and Sienna Miller. In the caption of her Instagram post about the Vogue cover, she writes "exciting things coming with this brilliant man".
She wore a pristine red-and-black Prada coat with matching heels, her hair was blow-dried into a glossy bob, and she carried nothing but a sleek leather handbag on to the flight.
Invariably, they are accompanied by unscuffed, bulgefree suitcases that seem either to float along beside them, or are stacked neatly on to a trolley being pushed by a burly minder a few metres behind. This was all a clever way to announce the launch of the Coco case and a range of travel wares created to bring Gabrielle Chanel's values of simplicity to the lives of today's jet-set women.
Her case of choice for work is a Rimowa Salsa Air, plus Samsonite hand luggage ("it's super-super-lightweight"), while weekends away call for as lightly more decorative Voyager holdall by Eddie Harrop.
Bric's, the Italian luggage brand, is the go-to choice for Amal Clooney when she jets from high-profile trial to glamorous getaway - which is probably down to its smooth-swivelling Hinomoto wheels and internal garment-bag system. As one of the most connected women in fashion, Chen had no trouble amassing a cache of loans from designer and editor friends - think Mulberry heels and Peter Pilotto coats - rather than having to resort to hotel T-shirts like the rest of us. As well as preparing for the launch of a new suitcase later this year, Louis Vuitton is currently celebrating the joy of a journey with its exhibition Volez, Voguez, Voyagez (Sail, Fly, Travel), which sees trunks used by grandes dames for Edwardian ocean voyages exhibited alongside those favoured by glamorous mid-century stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn.
Cue canvas bags in lime, orange and navy, lined with pineapple prints, with a pop-out pochette for the beach. As handsome as a Michelangelo statue, Madden is best-known for having played the butch Robb Stark in Game of Thrones and stripped-off for the role of hunky gamekeeper Mellors in Lady Chatterley's Lover. Co-directors Branagh and Rob Ashford set the scene nicely enough: we're transported to a fair Verona that owes much to La Dolce Vita. Little cups of espresso are quaffed at cafe tables, and the early fight scene between Capulets and Montagues is brought to a halt by the gunshot of a prince who looks like a smart Carabinieri officer.
He qualifies as an alpha Romeo in appearance, tanned in his white shirt, with T-shirt beneath, and black jeans (later on, a suit and tie).
He's generations older than his pal Romeo, this refined gent who minces into view, in mock attitude of an old groover, silver-topped cane (sheathing a sword) a-twirl.
And her love of the natural world was infectious: We smiled as she picked a flailing white moth out of the water and let it cling to her hat until its wings dried. While the couple had become household names in the 1980s, they were always indifferent to fame or wealth, and few reporters or readers visited them. The fourth daughter in the family, she, along with her sisters, were all sent by her father to good schools to receive a Western-style education.
The 49-year-old has written and sung a host of songs that can still be heard in China's karaoke rooms.
That concept left the American scriptwriter bewildered and finally led to the termination of the contract. After their burdens were unloaded, they loved nothing better than a dirt bath, rolling in the yellow dust. What makes this one so special is the generous coating of toasted soybean flour, and its name.
Most detergent commercials would show a piece of dirty laundry and how it turns clean after a spin in the washing machine. I've seen healthily tanned Chinese-American women who have returned to China to find shocked Chinese relatives. They would rather get Russians who speak English with an accent than native English speakers who are more qualified in every other way. Perhaps whoever made the initial decision may have thought that Chinese moviegoers would not be drawn by an unknown black man. After causing a controversy, it apologized "unreservedly for any offense the article has inadvertently caused". So they should have vetted the ad with cross-cultural experts, or at least with a few blacks, since they are the subject of the misplaced humor here. Even without money changing hands, the matchmaker holds an important position in the wedding party. It's usually the male side that has to pay off the matchmaker at the end of a bad match - perhaps a few hundred yuan for the phone bills, maybe a nice dinner, candies, booze, cigarettes. Traditionally, the matchmaker would propose to the girl on behalf of the young man's family, in the process obtaining the girl's shengchen bazi (c”Ye?°a…«a­—), which translates to "the date of birth and the eight characters of the horoscope", for divination.
Just a few decades ago, this was easier - a man only needed to prepare the "four big items" (a››a¤§a»¶) for his marriage: a bicycle, a wristwatch, a radio, and a sewing machine. Gomez has admirably avoided taking the route of her former tween colleagues, eschewing the temptation to rebel with a radical haircut or by posing naked. With her 80.5 million followers on Instagram - the highest follower count on the platform - Gomez is a smart choice of brand ambassador. Are they not?" stories, but Gomez has now said that she is "beyond done" talking about her ex-boyfriend. The singer is currently on her worldwide "Revival" tour, where she has turned to an eclectic variety of designers from Karl Lagerfeld to Sonia Rykiel and Vionnet for her on-stage wardrobe. She emerged nine hours later with not a bleary eye or crease in sight, just as fabulous as before take-off. For those with a bit less to spend, Muji's excellent range offers similarly stylish details and sleek finishes. But where's the hormonal passion, the angst, the volatility - and, more importantly, a way with the verse that answers its soaring poetry? He might have stepped out of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and there's little sense of a life cruelly cut short when he hobbles off, bleeding to death.
A bright yellow bird might pierce the quiet with a loud call as it flits from tree to tree, but good luck pronouncing its name: prothonotary warbler. It depicts a group of intellectuals from the old society adjusting to a new one in the early 1950s.
After getting married, in 1935 the couple went to Britain and studied at Oxford University, returning to China three years later. It's not the truth!" she repeated, stamping her foot, recalls Ye Tingfang, a researcher at the Institute of Foreign Literature.
It sounds heavy and it's not something you can eat a lot of, but it's definitely a Beijing favorite. Sure, everyone can see the skin-whitening idea was an exaggeration, but wasn't it more fun - and effective in getting across the marketing message? Even today, in an age of fitness mania, the joke is still around when a young man in China has skin darker than average. The school authorities defended themselves by saying the parents insisted on white teachers.
The China Youth Daily reported in 2014 that in Handan, Hebei province, there was a marriage involving a total of 18 matchmakers. Romeo and Juliet was supposed to be the big, sexy, surefire winner of Kenneth Branagh's year-long season at the Garrick, pairing the head-turning, fast-rising 27-year-old actress with Scottish heart-throb Richard Madden, 29. Like a dutiful batsman, he keeps hitting the lines with a polite, dull thud without scoring any sixes. This can be quite a task for people with relatively low incomes, and with China's gender imbalance, families will do whatever they can to keep their children from becoming "leftover men". I try to encourage that in my clients, because when you remember that you see that in them and you see them looking more beautiful. A number on a regular scale can not determine whether or not you are headed in the right direction towards that look or shape.

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