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Shopping, Eating, and Culture-Vulturing Through Cathay

The mission was clear. We had just two weeks to visit six cities in five provinces covering thousands of miles in this vast country. Our host, The China Tourist Board would provide air and river transport as well as guides and flexible itinerary in each location. We gladly accepted the daunting challenge arriving in Beijing with empty bags and stomachs to be filled along the way with the treasures of the orient.

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The Cruise

“You don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” so they say, and actually the opposite is true. Generally gift horses come with strings attached, like being forced to buy what it is that you’re supposed to be getting for free, or worse. That’s what happens 98 times out of a hundred and one lives for the other two.

Civitavecchia fort and harbor

I was supposed to go to Greenland, and had a bunch of actual venues line up and everything, but at the last minute they fired the PR guy and disavowed any knowledge of my existence. I was ticked off about it when I was checking my spam filter and found something that seemed to be legitimate, RSVP, the largest Gay travel agency, sent me an email inviting me to join their cruise of the Mediterranean, I told them I wasn’t Gay, in fact just the opposite, but if they were going to pay for the whole thing, I would put any biases I had aside and go along. It turns out that they weren’t. I knew it.

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San Diego Downtown Rundown

The problem with the San Diego Comic-Con is that it’s almost all in one place, the Convention Center. But with a self-contained area like that, it’s difficult to see much of the city besides the immediate area -- the Gaslamp district -- an area defined by the trolley tracks, shaped like a pentagon similar to Superman’s logo.

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Venues in Chelsea for Tribeca Film Festival Goers

The Chelsea West Cinema on West 23rd Street isn’t called that anymore. It’s now The Visual Arts Theater, and the reason is obvious -- it got bought. What was originally The RKO 23rd Street has been there for many years -- since the early 1960s. It was a duplex until the '90s, when Cineplex Odeon, who had bought if from Walter Reade, sold it to Clearview and it became a fourplex. The seats are comfortable and even with the  two theaters cut in half, has large screens.

The Chelsea West began to fail early in the decade and the reason was price. Outside Manhattan, most movie theaters have bargain matinees and reasonable prices. Going to the local Bijou here is really expensive, and it’s usually cheaper to go to one of the outer boroughs or even New Jersey to see the latest releases.

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