Episode 2: Mekong River Adventure – Part 2
Part 2 of Joseph’s Mekong River journey through Cambodia and Vietnam finds him in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh where he embarks on a tuk-tuk tour of the city’s highlights. He visits the royal palace with its stupas, pagodas and pavilions and pays homage to the country’s spiritual heritage, as well as its colonial past. In local markets and restaurants where the fare can range from lobsters to tarantulas, he learns how, with the help of foreign NGOs, the country is recovering from its devastating Khmer Rouge history of war and ruin. Then Joseph follows the Mekong’s flow into Vietnam where the Mekong River Delta spreads its seven arms across Southwest Vietnam. Here in the countryside towns, river villages and floating markets he experiences post-war Vietnamese life. As Joseph’s Mekong River voyage ends he understands that after centuries of struggle, at the core of Cambodia and Vietnam’s resurgence are their resilient people who have overcome the unimaginable time and time again and are now ready to greet the world with open arms.
Episode 3: Taiwan Matsu Festival & Islands
Joseph returns to Taiwan to follow in the path of Taiwan’s Matsu Pilgrimage, said to be the largest religious procession in the world, and to explore the islands named in the deity’s honor. Blessed with magical powers, Matsu, Taiwan’s superstar deity teaches creating balance in our lives and the lesson is illustrated in the 9-day Matsu Pilgrimage, which melds an exuberant worldly celebration with a mindful spiritual journey. It is literally an explosive event that encompasses the many sides of the Taiwanese nature. Complementing the festival is Joseph’s visit to the Matsu Islands, 100 miles from Taiwan while only 6 from China, revealing the resolute and determined survival instincts of the Taiwanese. Since the first Fujian fishermen came to the Matsu Islands in the 14th century, the archipelago has been a refuge. On his travels, Joseph discovers that for centuries, the islanders have weathered natural and political storms through their connections with each other and the sea. Today after decades of living in the shadow of war, they are ready to celebrate their historic, cultural and natural treasures.
Episode 4: Myanmar Irrawaddy River Adventure
Myanmar or Burma, by either name, and both are acceptable, exudes an aura of the exotic, mysterious and alluring. Even the names of its former capitals, Mandalay and Rangoon, evoke a lyrical glow. Yet, it’s the magnetism of its ancient temple architecture that draws visitors to the valley of the Irrawaddy River. Joseph embarks on an Irrawaddy River adventure from golden pagodas to colorful markets, from working villages to frenzied cities where unimagined new sights, sounds, smells and emotions capture his attention. On his journey of discovery Joseph finds that on the Irrawaddy’s 1,350-mile journey to the sea the full range of Myanmar life unfolds along its shores. The river embodies the historical, cultural and economic soul of the country and has been the lifeblood of its people since Stone Age man first arrived there 13,000 years ago. As his Myanmar odyssey unfolds it becomes clear that with a long history of conflict and conquest, until recently, Myanmar/Burma was isolated, shrouded in secrecy and hid its brilliance. Yet now it has opened its doors and is displaying its glories for all to see. And the people of Myanmar and a world of travelers are better for it.
Episode 5: Christmas Celebrations Around the Globe
Celebrating the world through their festivals is a great way to experience a country and its people. This episode begins in Venice, California at the annual holiday boat parade -- a funky and funny celebration along the Venice Canals, which highlights the offbeat, colorful spirit of this Southern California beach community. Then Joseph completes the holiday circle by returning to San Antonio, Texas’ world famous riverwalk and the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland for their Christmas celebration. In Switzerland, Joseph basks in the glow of some of the country’s best Christmas Markets, visits a Christmas ornament artist and takes a journey to old St. Nick’s village. In San Antonio, faith is real and Joseph explores the city’s spiritual roots and the real meaning of Christmas when he joins with San Antonio families in their homes to honor their heritage at the Tamalada – holiday tamale making – and in the San Fernando Cathedral at the midnight Serenada for the Virgin of Guadalupe. In this episode Joseph shows that Christmas is about more than twinkling lights and cups of cheer. In every country, in every culture -- Christmas is a time to put aside differences, celebrate our humanity and join the angels in wishing each other Good Will and Peace on Earth.
Episode 6: Taiwan Naturally
From its serpentine coastline and towering mountains to its verdant forests and remote offshore islands, Taiwan’s natural beauty is surprising. Yet, while it may be far from what the casual visitors expects, Taiwan’s nine national parks and thirteen national scenic areas have much to attract and mesmerize the nature lover. In this Taiwan adventure Joseph climbs into the mountains to explore the country’s forested sanctuaries replete with soothing hot springs, he harvests the riches of the seas with a local chef and joins Taiwanese and foreigners alike at a great bird watching contest. While traversing a country that is working to strike a balance between the preservation of natural and cultural resources and the needs of tourism, Joseph discovers still one more story to tell in a country rich with tales.
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KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. An NPR and PBS affiliate based in San Francisco, KQED is home to one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program helping students and educators thrive in 21st-century classrooms. A trusted news source and leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas.