Daily deal – HAVA Titanium HD streamer with WiFi for $85

My daily deal for today is for the HAVA HD TV streamer. I mentioned this device several weeks ago in my “watch TV in your hotel room” article, at the time, the unit sold for about $180.

Today only, you’ll find the HAVA Titanium HD WiFi at Woot.com for just $79.99 (plus $5 shipping).

As the title says – this is for the WiFi version, so you get the HAVA Titanium and their WiFi kit, all for under $80.

With the HAVA, you can watch whatever is on TV at home, anywhere in the world. The viewer application runs on Windows, Windows Mobile, Symbian and even for the Nokia Internet Tablet.

In addition to streaming live TV, the HAVA Titanium can act as a DVR and a media player, when you connect a USB memory stick or hard drive to its USB port.

UPDATE: Item sold out about an hour after this article went live. Sorry!

A Canadian in Beijing: “No Clamber Over”

I’m from Ontario. It’s a relatively flat province in Canada with lots of rolling hills and some small mountains that most of my west-coast friends won’t even call mountains. That’s fair enough, considering they’re looking at the Rockies all the time. The first time I saw those magnificent Rocky mountains I was sixteen years old and I remember feeling as though I had never seen anything so intense, so breathtaking, so grand in nature. Every time I get the opportunity to go west again and look up at their majestic snow-capped peaks, I am awed all over again. They never get boring to me – this Ontario-born Canadian – and I always feel really lucky to see them again.

Now here I am in Beijing and I was only an hour out of town this weekend and I had a similar moment of complete shock. I knew there were mountains outside of Beijing, but I didn’t know they’d be so beautiful! Of course, they’re nowhere near as high as the Rockies (i.e. no snow and no cloud-covered peaks), but they’re majestic all the same. These mountains are lush and green and they hold beautiful “tan ?” (deep pools), waterfalls and teal-coloured lakes in their various stony crevices.

I am moved by natural beauty.

(I took a lot of photos.)

The mountain we climbed was called: “Yougu Shentan 幽古伸潭.” The path rounded around a flowing stream filled with huge rocks and small waterfalls, mountain pools heated by the sunshine and picturesque views that took your breath away every time you turned around. And, you had to turn around regularly. Why keep your back to the beauty? It made for a slower ascent, but the view was always worth it.

Climbing was, of course, hard work. This was a tourist site, though, and it was set up well with resting spots equipped with sun awnings, railings on steep sections and lots of benches along the way. The “No Clamber Over” signs made me chuckle, too. I explained to my friend that the word “clamber” was technically correct, but it’s just such a strange way to request that people stay on the walkway side of the fence. “Don’t Climb Over the Fence” would more likely be on a sign at home. In fact, I haven’t seen the word “clamber” in print in a long time!

We didn’t bring any water or food with us, however, and made the mistake of assuming there’d be a vendor somewhere. About halfway up, we asked someone coming the other way and discovered that there would be no food at all for us unless we were to invade a stranger’s picnic! Of course, that was out of the question, but we were lucky enough to learn that a free flowing spring was at the top of the mountain and we just needed to get there to re-hydrate. Around the next bend, we found it.

As non-Chinese as it was, I washed my hands vigorously under the spout and then cupped them together and filled them up with water so that I could drink from the spring. I brought my cupped hands to my lips several times and felt refreshed.

I heard a woman exclaim “she’s drinking from her hands!” and I knew it was because here in China it is assumed that hands are very dirty. Perhaps this is a fair assumption, for the most part, but I didn’t have a bottle with me and this method is a way I have known to collect water since my childhood. Different cultures = different practices.

My friend, however, had a different plan. The fact that he’s Chinese meant that he wasn’t going to do as I had done and he, too, looked at me strangely as I cupped my hands together and brought them to my lips. I shrugged and continued. I was too thirsty to change my ways in that moment. When I was done, he leaned his whole face into the spout and took the water directly into his mouth. He came away from the spring with his whole face and part of his hair drenched but smiling. Different strokes for different folks! Either way, we both felt better.

At this point in the walk, we were too tired to continue and started to double back. This mountain path was not a circular one and so lunch was no closer to us the farther we walked. Food was becoming more of a motivator than scenic sights.

After getting back down to the foot of the mountain, we hopped on the bike and drove deeper into the hills where the roads wound around steep cliffs and rose and fell in switchbacks and hairpin turns. Around one corner, we saw a building that looked, to me, like an old gas station. My friend turned in and parked the bike right next to an empty outdoor table and asked the proprietor if we could have lunch there. They said sure and motioned for us to sit.

I was shocked. It didn’t look like a restaurant to me! There were three tables that were sitting in front of two cars. These cars were essentially in the parking lot (or where the pumps would have been had it once been a gas station, which it hadn’t) and then there was an L-shaped building that didn’t look like a restaurant in the least.

On closer inspection, this was indeed an eating establishment. One of those rooms housed some interior tables, one was the kitchen and one appeared to be living quarters for those who ran the restaurant. Simple and nothing fancy, but fully functional.

We ordered some vegetarian dishes, which included vegetables that grow on these very mountains. The food was delicious, the service was kind and it was the perfect lunch for two incredibly hungry hikers. Afterwards, I took several pictures of the surroundings not wanting to forget this nondescript building and its hidden hospitality. After all, it felt to me that we were pulling up at a personal residence and we were treated as such – just like long-lost guests.

This mountain top adventure more than quenched my thirst for beauty and my hunger for nature. I came away humbled by my insular Beijing existence over the past two months (not counting my foray into Shanghai, but that too is another city). I now know that all of this natural beauty is just a short drive away. I’ll be sure to take more of it in on my next journey to China.

Until then, I have lots of photos.