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Hali Hotel – The Perfect Place To Stay In Istanbul

Hali Hotel is an affordable place to stay in the center of Istanbul and is easily accessible to all the attractions and cultural institutions.


Amazing view of The Blue Mosque from the Hali Hotel in #Istanbul, #Turkey. #travel #latergram

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

I landed in Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport homeless. This was the first time I didn’t book my hotel stay before I arrived. I took public transportation to Sultanahmet and toted my luggage around in search of a place to stay. After stopping by a few hotels, I settled on the Hali Hotel.

Imagine a panoramic view of the Golden Horn, The Haghia Sophia, The Bosporus River, The Blue Mosque and the Sea of Marmara. That’s the view from the terrace of the Hali Hotel, where I had my complimentary breakfast every morning.

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Climbing Out of Poverty in China

At Shanghai’s QiDi Migrant School, a former migrant student grew up to build a school for migrant children because he understood that education is the only way out of poverty in China.


Missing the kids I taught at the QiDi Migrant School in #Shanghai. #volunteerabroad #China #Travel

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

Once a week for five months, ten of us, were herded into a dark van with tinted windows and ragged carpets. We contorted ourselves into the most uncomfortable positions and driven to the outskirts of Shanghai. The driver dropped us off on the side of a dusty highway and like clockwork, someone was waiting to take us through the dark alley.

We passed by a middle-aged couple whose brown leather skin was the result of years of toiling in the sun. They baked bread on the side of the highway – salty ones and unsalted ones. Behind them was a dirt road carved between two dug out vegetables fields, which were being tended to by residents in straw hats and hunched backs. This is what poverty in China looks like.

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Stories From The Nanjing Massacre Museum

Nanjing Massacre Museum is an agonizing and graphic reminder of the Rape of Nanjing by Japanese soldiers


I’ve read Iris Chang‘s The Rape of Nanjing. Words never felt so real. I’ve also watched the documentary, Nanking, before my visit to The Nanjing Massacre Museum. The museum, which has an ambiance that reflects the aftermath of The Rape of Nanjing, is dedicated to the 300,000 men, women and children who died at the whim of Japanese soldiers.

There are walls upon walls of anecdotes and obituaries of those who were killed, raped, burned and looted, along with stories and faces of those who did the killing and raping and burning and looting.

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