Communications Centre for Friends & Fans of WWW.DRBEN.NET :
Ben in Hong Kong 2000
Ben in Beijing 2002
Ben in other Asian Countries - Thailand :
My First Trip to China, as mentioned on the main page, started off with my landing in Hong Kong at the newly constructed Lantau Airport,
To be completely honest I had never expected to arrive in thailand , and certainly not this soon. But, after wishes of Caroline, and my Parents (Father), it turned out that I did
Traveling to Bangkok in November 2005 for a short stay, Caroline and I had short and interesting vacation. For me a getaway from business-frustration in China and an overburdening urge to photograph more, For Caroline her first trip outside China. Thailande was kinda hot but very different from China and a good vacation destination, if you hadn't heard.
The 2nd Trip to China led once more to Beijing. This Time Around I came slightly better prepared. First of all, having vowed to return to China for better photos I flew down with a hyper-modern Sony F-717 Camera. Secondly, I had the Plan to Cover Beijing while it was hosting a National Communist Party Congress, the One to Change the Leadership away from Jiang Zhemin. I was counting on the Chinese throwing One of their Impressive Military Parades for this Occassion, however - unfortunatly I was proven wrong. As a result I was left touring Beijing on business , career , photography and adventure.
Ben in China 2003
The Third Trip to China , again on business , career , photography and adventure. Yes, you may certainly say that I liked my last stay in 2002.
On my return his time I was to expand my photographic series and thus have the opportunity to make The China Reporter the largest and most Unique China Related Website on the World Wide Web. Quite a hobby , aye ??
Anticipating on this I had even made a significant deal already, so that during most of my 2003 China stay I was assured of the best room at the Magnificient Capital Hotel at Beijing ( Most near to TiananMen Square, 5 star Hotel, VIP treatment ), a hotel just a nice walk from the famed Square of Heavenly Peace.
I was also planning on hacking out another Major China Deal , but ... to be honest I was unsure on how it would unfold. It is always hard to judge from letters , phonecalls and the odd fax to a Country like China.
Stick around on this website, study the photos or Sitemasters Logbook and you will most certainly find out what I am talking off. One thing I can already reveal - I made a Bigger and Better deal in Beijing than I had dared hope for. Plus , I opened some other fine opportunities to build on for the Future.
Too much work for 1 Man !! Luckily I have a staff in waiting also... Daisy is standing by the help me now her end of studies is nearing. The China Report will have to expand on pages and text first, but in the future - slowly we may get there. Meanwhile - daily joys and memories with the photos and books I gained on my growingly interesting China Journeys. I just love Beijing and Xian !
The China Report is an Exclusive Digital Representative and Photographer of the Capital Hotel, Beijing, China
Ben in China 2004
The Fourth trip..... Again flying to Beijing and on to Xian, Capital of Shaanxi Province. A Knock-out trip in which we photographically covered many subjects we left of on in November 2003. Many new photo-additions and much better photography done this year, in Beijing as well as the city of Xian. However, even 5 weeks in China again was not enough to cover Xian in it's entirety. We did get some of the best photos ever at both Great and Small Gosee Pagoda. You will see ! I shall have to return next time, again ! Apart from the photos, there was also a large business -segment to this trip, talking among some to BBHG, a cloisonne factory in Beijing. Unfortunatly, that deal fell through almost entirely in the endfase. Very disappointing. However - no reason for Doc Ben and the China Report to be stopped. Our reporting will go on for now, and mind you - we will find other business to support our effort with ! Your help is welcome buying our unique source books, and more is to come !
Under Construction !! This certainly will stay our Motto through this year also, but .. advances have been made, and ground gained ! You should meet Caroline Wang for instance. She is the latest possible force to join our China Project and her skills are surprising. Her charm and good heartedness too !
Ben in China 2005
The Fifth and Sixth trips to China both happened in the bright year 2005. In springtime already, a Return to Beijing for DrBen after only 6 months away. Again I was on my way to North China, Beijing and Xian, this time to set up an Headquarters for The China Report in Beijing, China in may and june of 2005. Since then Caroline has a home, an office and has thoroughly joined the China Report Staff. We also had great time together visiting Chengde and scouting the city out for our reports and lots of Photos. See them online via China Report main Page or try
Some flashbacks to earlier days in my Life. Travels to 28 of the United States before my eighteenth birthday, and visiting some of the finer countries and cities in Europe, and more. There are also photos from normal daily Dutch life, that is before I started all my China Travels.
Since undertaking those travels, there seem to be fewer and fewer photos of myself in The Netherlands. I am working to change that !! Although, yes .. China has more priority !!
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Doc Ben in private time in Holland. Passfoto for multiple entry-visa to China.
<---Other: Caroline and Ben fun-dress up at the Capital Hotel, Beijing.
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Ben in China 2006
The year 2006 was another happy year bringing a quick return to by now my Favorite Chinese City - The Capital of Beijing. In this year developments went fast, but things were more unexpected than ever before. Happily unware of this, in April 2006 I first stopped over in Beijing to check up on Caroline, my headquarters, some Beijing Publishers and of course - to complete even more photography in the City of Beijing ! It was one of the best times I have had in China so far.
Caroline manned the HQ and was studying her IELTS test and french language, I regularly went out for long hours visit yet another Beijing Monument and try get the best Photography possible of it. As visible in the Photo, the weather was quite warm, the trees were green and flowers were blooming. In evenings I would spend time reading, watching TV with Caroline while we both enjoyed the local "Hutong" Cuisine. Chairman Mao Restaurant at Bai Shu Hutong, the West Dashilan Street Sky Sea Restaurant or just Xinjiang Style BBQ from the nearby alley.
My neverending browsing of DVD stores, book stores and publishers turned up yet another treasure trove of interesting books to use as source material, or sometimes even sell in our ONLINE CHINA STORE. I found a 5 DVD Box on the Forbidden City which is a documentary beyond belief. Another gem found is the double Silk Road Documentary, with something like 17 DVDs exploring all stories of the West and the Ancient Silk Road.
Talking of which. After catching a taste of the famed Buddha's of the ancient silk road at Datong in Shanxi province in December of the before year (2005), I was quite inspired by the Silk Road documentary, and therefor had decided the next interesting dstination would be the City of LuoYang in Henan Province. LuoYang was visited in early may 2005, with the city abounding in the Peonies it is famous for.
Ben in China 2007
The 2nd half of 2006 and certainly the year 2007 saw an explosion in our website visitors number as we had ample time to catch up with our photo-sorting and were putting more and more of our gathered materials and knowledge online. As a result - the year 2007 was a year of hard work but of great results. That is, by november our visitors number was up by some 40%, DrBen had almost completed uploading the year 2005 photos and several new business-partners had joined up finally giving us a prospect of actually earning money with this site.
In November- December 2005 Dr Ben and Caroline follow up with another bussines visit to Beijing, Datong and more. Now that business is starting in earnest, this project is enterily too much work for 1 person - so this year we invested severly in
some good personel. Enter Caroline Wong, Enter a Professional Beijing Headquarters managed by the competent Caroline, enter a new level of China Report. Rests us to mention that we also have chinese support from Shanghai now.
The weather in LuoYang was hot, but our 5 day stay fantastic. That is - we enjoyed a daylong visit to the LongMen Caves, another famed Buddha Site and got a first meeting with this Old but now again rapidly modernizing City. Photos include: the old town of LuoYang, Bai Ma Si - White Horse Pagoda (too crowded), LongMen Grottoes, Shao Lin Monastery (too crowded), the Lo River Banks and more.
Doc Ben on Sand Dunes above the Crescent Shaped Pool, outside Dunhuang, Gansu Province in China. November 2007.
Dr Ben's Beijing Home - The Capital Hotel
DrBen after photographing TiananMen Square and parts of the Forbidden City in Snow in November 2003.
It would become the 8Th trip to China already. This Time traveling alone for 10.000s of Miles, leaving my trusted translator, guide
and companion Zhi Hong - Caroline at home in The Netherlands. Again the flight went directly from Amsterdam to Beijing. But from there i would go on to the chosen destination of far Western China to visit Dunhuang and JiaYuGuan and later Lanzhou, all in Gansu Province, a huge swath of arid and rough Chinese Land.
All in all 2007 would bring a lot of website expansion and a great Tour of China, which was mainly a photography tour.
The First target, of completing main photos on the City of Beijing before the opening of the Olympic Games in 2008 was almost reached. The secondary target of documenting all of Dunhuang and
Such good news called for a celebrations, and being bored with all the computer work and in desperate need of a holiday, Dr Ben started itching to fly away abroad. Where ? To China, ofcourse. It was just a matter of what could be seen and visited first. Would it be Ningxia as orginally planned and desired ? A return to Datong and a tour through the towns of Shanxi Province? Or .. out to the West - finally visiting the legendary Marco Polo Buddha Caves at Dunhuang ??
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Ben in Beijing 2000
The 1st trip I ever made to China was around the Millennium Celebrations , i.e. New Years 1999-2000.
After making a very Happy Start on my Discovery-of-China in Hong Kong ( I was invited) celebrating Christmas with 24 degrees and sunshine , I traveled onto a much colder Beijing for a further look and meeting with the Country.
I did not have much of a clue yet, but I was in for a meeting with the "Real China" as you may have called it certainly in those days.
As I landed immediately after Y2K alert , there were almost no Tourists there with us in Beijing. Great, excellent !! As a result I Had a Great Time in the Snow, taking tours through the Summer Palace Park, the Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall of
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DrBen on the Great Wall of China at Badaling, Beijing - Januari 2000.
This Page holds Some of the Story of DrBen and his passion for the country and culture of China.
Follow DrBen through the years on travels, through the Provinces of Hebei,Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, and for now finally Gansu accompanied by photos of DrBen in China in the years 1999/2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. More additions are added when available.
Take to the Road with DrBen in China, follow in his Path ! Share the joy and sense of adventure and get an idea of what was done, visited, documented and photographed in the past already by studying this Page and the many DrBen Photos ! More Coming Soon !
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Dr Ben among Peonies at LongMen, in LuoYang Henan Province in may 2006.
Ben in China 2008
One of the Last Things to happen for www.DrBen.Net in 2007 was the coming available of the domain name AsiaReport.com. After some negotiations about pricing and making profits on the stock-market, we managed to purchase this domain, setting a whole new horizon for our already ambitious website (and project).
While Dr.Ben was staying at the Grand Sun Hotel in Dunhuang and photographing the City, our computer wizz Koos Beens (www.Kozy.Nl) already set to work the creation of a hypermodern and hopefully interesting main menu for this new domain and menu to our information on all other countries in Asia.
Hence, the year 2008 started off once more as a promising year. First of all we will continue to explore China and bring you our best photos and accurate and in-depth information, we can now also expand to other countries of Asia. Which is quite a surface area to cover ! Countries of interest are still vague but may include Korea (North and South!), Japan and possibly India. Thailand is another interesting getaway, but to my taste, mainly for happy tropical holidays !
More of 2008 - Coming Soon !
DrBen on a rare Asian visit outside of China. At the VimanMek Mansion + Gardens in Bangkok, Thailand.
DrBen Far out west at the JiaYuGuan Fortress, last strongpoint on the Great Wall of China, in West Gansu Province. November 2007.
This 2007 China Trip was once again one to remember as Dunhuang is truely an outpost, even in the China of today. It was a challenge and an adventure, but I managed to get there for some excellent photography. In this - my new Camera , the Sony DSLR - 700 alpha camera was a huge help. It is a Great Camera which is light enough to carry around. Resulting Landscapes were many but include sighing sands, crescent shaped pool, yangguan pass, jade gate pass (YuMen), the western 10.000 buddha caves, Mogao caves, Sanwei Mountain gorge, and of course the Tang Dynasty Great Wall of China located at some distance from Dunhuang. Next up were the small industrial City of JiaYuGuan and the last Fortress on the Western Great Wall of China in the Ming Dynasty !
Lanzhou was only s short stop for a breather and to get aquainted with this gateway city in western China. Well, it wasn't much of a breather as the air in Lanzhou is yellower than its famed Yellow River. It was an interesting stay without a visit to the main silk road monument of BingLing Si. But whatever - I vowed to return !!
JiaYuGuan in one tour was almost completed. The Only thing that was not payed much attention to was Business. It was a holiday and no Publisher was visited nor contacted on this Trip. However, not to worry - thank god for internet, e-mail and the good old telephone.
It will be done in 2008 no doubt!!
The unexpected part of 2006 followed after my return from hot China for a cooler summer spent in The Netherlands.
Although I had planned a quick return to China in August, we completely threw around our original plans, and instead of DrBen visiting China for another 6 week Tour, Caroline came to The Netherlands instead !
The Result was a Loss of a photography opportunity and another holiday, but also the gain of opportunities to work through materials and finally publish them. And so it was done. Caroline came to the Netherlands in September and DrBen stayed at his desk to work for
Dr Ben enjoying the Good Life in Beijing. Which naturally involves foods of all kinds an many tastes !
It would be in late 2007 only that I could reasonably return to China for the next photography trip. Meanwhile, Time could be divided between earning income and uploading text and photos to the China Report. What was new in 2006 ? Try visiting our new Chengde Report with photos from 2005, or the "Virtual Palace Museum" of Beijing !
Dr. Ben in front of the Hof-vijver and Binnenhof in The Hague in 2004. There for preparations to see and interview the Dutch Ambassador in Beijing, Mister De Heer.
In hindsight if also offers a friendly welcome to visitors, great food & fresh fruits, and their Temples are Posh, Goldy & Glitter but of a unique kind and always pleasant to spend time in.
Read More here about this unusual trip on the Thailand Photo Page.
Loy Krathong Festival in Bangkok, November 2005.
I still have warm memories from and feelings for Hong Kong. To see the Clocktower at The Orient Express reminds me a bit of an HK Glamour, and my First visit to a place in China. Although from there I would go on into the "real PRC", whenever I hear of Hong Kong I remember the City as one of Lights and Glitter & Glamour, and my days in Hong Kong are remembered as the start of a completely new and fresh experience.
The beginning of New Passions on a newfound Trails, but also newfound Love for Life. Before my trip to Hong Kong I had hardly touched a camera. After being enjoyably enriched by Hong Kong I had found out it is quite fun to play around with such a device, especially when you are touring such a sensational place as HK mostly on your own. I was happily "making memories".
There-after, flying immediatly into Post-seclusion Beijing provided another illuminating experience. Beijing City in 2000 was only starting its drive.
On my five day Tour Alone on Discovery in China, I had snow instead of the 28 degrees of HK, and well - Beijing is certainly a very Chinese City. Its history and monuments unsurpassed ! There were virtually no westerners there and so I had a great time in a never before seen or smelled place. The Hutong were my Favorite Beijing Attraction !
Read more about this on the Beijing Photo-Pages from the Year 2000.
DrBen making Friends in China at TiananMen Square. Thanks to Jason here things remained pleasant and I wasnt arrested with my presscard and the 16Th Party Congress Security at TiananMen Square. It was the time of fear for Falun Gong, so - we had a slight misunderstanding with authorities.
China at Badaling and others, having myself ferried around the Hotspots and being awed. I was Getting my First sniff of "True" Chinese Culture.
(In hindsight - I barely touched the surface. But heck, 1 must start somewhere , right ?) Beijing was a City that inspired and China was a country that called out for more visits ! At the Time there was almost no internet information available on it neither ! Beijing Did not have an Internet Cafe yet !
The current Millenium started in China for DrBen. I loved every minute of this Trip and still like looking at my photos. Please enjoy them too.to add text.
"History o/t Grand Military Review"
( available from our Online Store )
Building a Bridge to China , part 1. Things were only starting and we did not have a the name China Report yet. As the trip was coinciding with the China Communist Party 16TH National Congress in November 2002 much of Beijing's Center was shut down with security and there were no Parades. Only an quite empty TiananMen Square...
Much of the basis for the Beijing Report and China Report was laid in this travel period. The gain includes some 10 to 15.000 photos of Beijing, some of areas in Beijing now demolished or reconstructed.
This was the year that Beijing was still its original self, but on the verge of stepping into a new decennium of rapid change.
The cars were already increasing but hutong- for instance-
were still intact. I had a great but sometimes rather cold time while exploring many of the larger and smaller streets of China's Capital Beijing. The hutong had my special attention, I visited unknown and closed Tianning Temple and there were multiple visits to the Palace Museum, covering almost the front half of the Palace. This was a year with little help from Chinese friends. In fact- it was my hardest year, but ... what a joy this work was !
It was Christmas Day of 1999 and Hong Kong at that time certainly was still not entirely a chinese city per se. In fact it had just been handed back to China a month earlier. Landing into a Tropical Heat and soon in view of the First Palm Trees outside, this was my very first Time on the other side of the continent. For me at the Time quite unimaginable. But I did !
And so I had my very first sunny and hot Christmas instead of the usual European coldness. Wow ! I must say a memorable fact and a memorable trip. HK at Christmas and Millenium-Turn was the ultimate blast. The City is spectacular and knows no ordinary Christmasses, but the Millenium quadrupled the Festivities.
DrBen under armed escort at the Kowloon Rolex Outlet.
I remember how I immediatly liked the modern Kowloon and walked happily out from my Hotel (The Kowloon) just a few meters it seemed to the waters of Victoria Harbor and a Promenade ( see photos ). I just had a Blast !
This would turn out later to be the beginning of a very long, interesting, sometimes exhausting and at almost all times just brilliant photography and travel experience throughout China, creating The China Report.
It all began there at the Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong. The HK skyline, the Harbor with the famous star-ferries, 10 thousands of happy lights, Snoopy-in-Lights skating down from a Highrise building..... It was indescribable and very beautiful and impressive.
DrBen - away from Hospital suddenly creative in HK.