China in Antarctica?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Maureen in Antarctica 542
▲ Maureen in Antarctica in 1997.

When Lonely Planet published its first Antarctica guide in 1996 it felt like a pioneering project. In fact I remember having to work hard to convince some people in the company that it was a feasible idea. Were there really enough visitors ‘heading south’ or was it just something for armchair travellers? Probably both, but it must work because the Lonely Planet Antarctica guide is now in its 5th edition.

Antarctica 271◄ But I was indeed a little surprised when I visited the Lonely Planet office in Beijing earlier in the month to discover they’ve just published Antarctica in Chinese! Is there nowhere on earth the Chinese aren’t going?

Antarctica would seem like a ‘one time’ destination, you go there, you put a tick in the ‘visit all seven continents’ box and that’s it. In fact for many people one visit is not enough, there are so many Antarctic islands, so much wildlife and birdlife, so much history, lots of visitors make repeat trips. If I count a ‘fly down, mosey around and fly back’ visit on a Qantas 747 then I’ve been three times. My third visit was to spectacular South Georgia island when I joined a group to walk across the island, following in the footsteps of Ernest Shackleton and camping out in an Antarctic blizzard en route. ▼