Friday, March 21, 2008

Guilin and Yangshuo

We went to Guilin and Yangshuo - It was very beautiful - I posted the pics - it is known for it mountains. Gulin is a smaller town - its quaint no pollution it is along the Li river - We climbed a peak and took some great pics of the city. We also took a tour through a cave. Its funny here in china we went through the cave and it was nothing like my tour of Crystal cave in Sequoias.

Here they showed you lots of rock formations and told you what animal it looked like or pointed out that another one looks like a vegetable ect. nothing about caves and how they are formed or anything - they also had lots of multicolored lights all around the cave and behind certain formations to highlight them. It was interesting - we have a different local tour guide in every city we go to as well as a National tour guide that comes with us to every city, Collin He is very nice he is teaching us Chinese. I can count to 5, say its too expensive, hello, I love you, Cheers and I can understand a few other things as well. Its fun - We all love the city we wish we could have seen spent more time there - we left and took a 4 hour cruise to Yangshuo. The pics i took are amazing. It rained in the early morning - so when were were traveling down the river their was clouds in between the mountains, mist - it really added to the beauty - if it was sunny with no clouds or mist - it wouldn't have been as nice - We saw Water buffalo and lots of Chinese farmers, bamboo boats, rice fields. It was all very scenic and very different from the big cities we had been in so far. Especially after being in Xian - very dirty and polluted - we were in heaven when we arrived. When we were on the River Cruise the Loal Tour Guide, Angela did the same thing, showing u the peaks and telling us what animals they looked like. it was funny - we all enjoyed - Ok Sheela just told me how much internet is costing me here - gotta go.
Im In Shanghi now - Ill write more later

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


We arrived in Xian around Lunch time. I thought we were going to a smaller city (8 million or so) that the air would be clearer. Although I have to say the smog didnt bother me in Beijing it is noticeable. When we drove from the airport to the downtown area, we passed this really huge coal factory with 4 large smoke stack things. Again my expectation was way off. Air quality is very very bad here, when you blow your nose black comes out. The entire city seemed old, run down and dirty when we first arrived. The tour buss drove us to a bell tower from the ancient times, it is in the center of the down town area next to a mall and lost of shopping from Very i end to tiny shops. Another example modern right next to the ancient ones. the bell tower was for keeping time, they rand it in the morning - a little bit further was a drum tower that they rang at dusk - but we only walked past that we didn't go  in.  After word was the highlight of our meals and entertainment. They took us (along with 20 million other tour busses) to a wonderful dumpling dinner and a traditional chinese folk type show.  The food was Excellent thay had all kinds of different dumplings that they molded into shapes of the thing it was for example - the Dunk dumpling looked like a duck - i took a pic of that one. others were port , cabbage, walnut(my fav) and many more. All of us loved the food. The Show was also Great - albeit a little long. some songs, some intruments, some dances, it was all entertaining, beautiful, graceful, and occasionally funny. 

The next morning we got up and headed out to see the Wild Goose Pagoda. It is a Buddhist Temple and behind it is a the Pagoda, that in ancient time was used to store the writings of the scholars. Only few people were allowed to climb the tower in ancient time, only the students that Passed the highest level examinations we allowed to do it.  This place was more like I imagined the ancient places would be like - it felt like a sanctuary in the middle of the city - the grounds were lovely, and  peaceful and no city noise come in around it. This was also the first day in China we didn't feel like we were running running the entire day. We all enjoyed the visit. After we went to a factory that reproduces the Taricotta Soldiers - using the same clay they did in ancient time - thy also made furniture and showed us the process of making Lacqor (sp?) furniture. So many beautiful pieces I wanted them all. Anyway - After the factory - we stopped for lunch and then we were finally off to visit the sight where they discovered the Soliders. They Discovered them my accident there were 3 farmers digging a well in the early 1970's and they came upon one when they were digging it. The Farmer is as old as dirt now and he was there signing books. he was funny we all got a good laugh. He doesn't like his picture taken, he has a sigh that says NO PHOTOS - one of the girls held up her camera and was going to take one. He started yelling at her in chinese and slamming the sign on down on the table to make a point. It was great. He was funny.  

We talked around the pits where they discovered the soldiers, took lots of pictures, but the lighting was dim and the camera didn't get very many good shots of it. I plan to get some from one of the other people on the trip. The soldiers were built for the First Emperor of the Quin (chin) Dynasty - They were made to be his army in his afterlife there are 4 different kinds of soldiers, every one is unique and has a different ace. It was very interesting - there were also horses down with the soldiers. Most of the them were broken, buthave ben restored. There are still several thousand that still need o be rstored - I will write more later about it.

After we came back we finally had some free time to get out and experience China.
Dustin and I walked around Xian shopped a little and Just enjoyed  the streets of Xian - He said it reminded him of New York It was very busy and we had a fantastic time trying to communicate and barged for our purchases. 
When we got back we found out lots of other people, well I think all of them, did similar things.

Today we leave for Guilan - its a small town and I may not have internet until I get to Shanghai - Dont know yet. 

Monday, March 17, 2008

Impressions of the Great Wall & Beijing

We took a bus out to the Great wall today. On the way we stopped at a Jade Factory. They showed us people carving and Polishing Jade. Based on the amount of tour buses in the parking lot it is one of those places they take you to shop and make commission, who knows. At any rate there was a lot of interesting jade pieces, they told us about soft jade and hard jade. Anyway - there was some beautiful things as well of things that are not my taste ( sculpture of a cabbage, or and Any Animal you can thing of.) I did buy a few things, However my favorite things there were the Beautiful Furniture with Jade inlaid in it - I took a pic of a table, that was incredible. every piece was different and beautiful. didn't even bother to look at the price. 

After we shopped we went to the Great wall. it is perhaps 1 hour out of town. at least the section we went to was. 

I took a ton of pictures - even a few of ducky. anyway - we all had a great time climbing up the wall. the section we were at was a steep up hill climb the whole way. The first impression is awe and over whelmed with a sense of history, but when you start the climb you start to notice little things like the stones near the rails are indented and have a bow in them - how many people did it take to curve the stone like that?
Another interesting detail - is the steps them selves are all different sizes.  Some are very high and some are very small - you may have 5 small in a row and then 1 high step that is a challenge to climb - especially after you half way up already. It was beautiful - the day was perfect sunny no wind. 

Another thing I liked was the road and pathway leading to the steps was covered with the Dragon Claw type trees. they were all there perfectly lined up like an army of trees.  Anyway at least I like to think of it that way.

There was plenty of things to buy I got allot of souvenirs for the boys and a few other people. I haven't been able to buy any Olympic type things they haven't given us much free time. our entire say if scheduled and filled ...almost a little to much.
At any rate the Great wall was only part of the day - after  we stopped at a Porcelain Factory we saw from start to finish how they make those beautiful Vases - albeit overpriced. Again the parking lot was filled with tour buses - we are all starting to feel we are separated from the real China. we all want to rent vespa's and drive around the city where their aren't any tour buses. 

You only need to be in Beijing for half a day before you start to notice - that there is so much conflict or maybe contrast is a better word. 
Ancient Structure next to a modern Hi-Rise or an Ancient Structure converted into strip mall type shops - I saw more than one, but on the way to the forbidden city - the tour guide told us used to be a Palace of a Prince a brother or some relative of the Royal Family. At any rate it is an odd thing to see. I'm not sure what I expected it is Beijing in 2008. Maybe because our country is so young I didn't really imagine what it would be like

Another thing you notice right away it the number of Cranes that are in the city I kid you not - north, South east or west, not matter which way you turn you see at least 7 or 8  - every structure they are building is a Hi-Rise - and interestingly - No parking anywhere to speak of. All the new building are very tall, narrow and close together. Its like Vegas on Steroids The City truly is  Growing Exponentially.

After the Porcelain factory we went to the summer Palace - The Dragon Lady rebuilt it after the it was burned down during the 2nd Opium War. As Large as the forbidden City was - The Summer Palace was 4 times larger - we were not there very long and got a sort of Summary type tour, but what we saw was very beautiful - and you could see the Women touch that the dragon lady had on the place - It was very different from the Forbidden City.

I will write more later - 
take care

first few days o far

Hello all. I haven't had much free time. here goes a quicky update.

It took a total of 30 hours to get to Beijing. Our flight left on time, but after 7 hours of flying we had to turn around and go back to Los Angeles. There was a Very sick Passenger, he was suffering from Diverticulitis (sp?) anyway - we had to go back because of him. We landed back in Los angeles and Had a 2 hour wait until we tried again for the second time.

since were were soo late we had to change the plan of our tour. We arrived in Beijing at aprox 1 pm their time and went straight to the Forbidden City. NO SLEEP for most of us, we were up 48 hours. good news is none of us has JetLag because of it!!!
Anyway we went to the forbidden City it and through the entire tour the same thought came to me often.  This Place is Huge!!!

I took many pictures and our tour guide was great at giving us the History and Significance of many of the details of the Place. I watched the Last Emperor on the Plane over and so It was interesting to get more information about all the Palaces, concubines, and the Dragon Lady.

After forbidden City we walked to Tian amin (sp?) It is the Largest Square in the World and it was Huge.  more later

Saturday, March 15, 2008

day 1 in beijing

I posted pics in the os day one at the Forbidden City - Please check them out

We are leaving now to go to the Great wall - I will write more later

take care

Friday, February 22, 2008

B-day Flowers

Linda Surprised me with the Tulips !!!

Friday, November 23, 2007


This is my first test- happy black friday