March 10, 2010

Thomson Family Adventures and Avatar

Southern Sky Column, Zhangjiajie China

Truth is I have not yet seen the movie Avatar, but everyone I know who has says it is awesome. Just this week I learned that the very beautiful national park of Zhangjiajie in the Hunan province of China has been credited with inspiring the scenic landscape of Pandora. Wow!

This is ‘wow’ because we’ve found ourselves over and over having to convince our traveling families that this is a place worth visiting, even though almost no other Westerners are ever found here and previously no one else had ever heard of it. It was one of our true ‘off the beaten path’ spots we could quietly share with families who would then share the pathways with the Chinese and Koreans who frequent this lovely place. In fact one could Google ‘Zhangjiajie” and come up with … nothing. I’m pretty sure along the way we’ve been accused of making it up. But not any more!

Now it seems Hollywood has discovered this amazing sliver of nature and things will be changing fast. Avatar is the biggest selling movie in China, ever. Just this week the Chinese had a ceremony, and the once Southern Sky Column in Zhangjiajie will now be known as the Avatar Hallelujah Mountain.

What does this all mean? Maybe that you want to go to China this summer and see it for yourself! I can pretty honestly say you’ve never seen anything like it. This is the very place I learned I could sweat so much as to soak through my back pack as I climbed the approximately 3, 275 stairs to the top, with amazing views the whole way. Don’t get me wrong – Mira and I thought it was the coolest thing we ever did. The best part is you don’t even have to do the walk up – you can ride an elevator!

So if you always wanted to go to China, and your kids are enthralled with Avatar – you just gained a new edge for taking them. Let us show you how fabulous this can be; no special effects, just pure, awesome nature.

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