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Giving Thanks For The Memories

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San Diego's Luxury Lifestyle Magazine Holiday TraditionsRanch & Coast

La Jollans Betsy and Scott McClendon also experienced special access and insider events when they visited China in April 2006.

"We were dreading being part of a tour," Besty told me, "but Imperial Tours enabled us to go behind the scenes and have extraordinary adventures."

"When we visited the Forbidden City in Beijing, our group was taken to a gate that led to a private section of grounds. Upon admittance to the Palace of Gathering Excellence, we were treated to sights that few other travelers see -including colorful ceramic tile work, marvelous gargoyles that indicate the status of the person who lived there, and windows covered in delicate silk."

A memorable meal took place on the grounds of the Hotel of Modern Art near Guilin. Here, in a spacious garden devoted to contemporary sculpture and outdoor art, each guest cools their own traditional hot pot lunch using individual woks.(www.relaischateaux.com)

After spending the night at HOMA, (Hotel of Modern Art) an exclusive Relais $ Chateaux boutique hotel, the McClendon's group floated down a rarely visited stretch of the Li River in two-person bamboo rafts. Larger tour boats clog other sections, but the Imperial Tours group only saw fisherman, cormorants, and the occasional water buffalo.

© November 2007 Ranch&Coast