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China

Hangzhou day 2

Hangzhou in the morning and back to Beijing

overcast 82 °F

I was really glad that we had visited West Lake yesterday afternoon. The skies were really grey, smokey this morning and photos were not even an option. We first went to the silk market as Mike wanted to see if there was anything better than the silk he had found in Beijing. There wasn't but I found some silk items that I really liked. I had to just walk away.
We then went to the park where it was so smokey but we walked a good way around it. We then realized that we were a little hungry and needed to eat then get back to the hotel. Had another flight to catch.
So here we are in Beijing our last evening in China. We got here a little late so had to rush to get to the shops for Mike's last second shopping. We haven't eaten yet but will find something.
It is warm out tonight and we have seen a bunch of foreigner's, as if we are not. It is so funny as we have seen so few until tonight. I guess they are all coming for summer holiday.

Posted by Miss Chris 07:07 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Hangzhou

A garden city.

semi-overcast 75 °F

A quick flight from Yichang and we arrived late morning in Hangzhou, a city fairly close to Shanghi.
IMG00215-2..26-1656.jpgIMG00215-2..26-1656.jpgThere are beautiful places on this earth and Hangzhou is certainly one of them. There is a lake, West Lake, where an emperor lived which is quite large with gardens around the permiter. Paths run throughout the gardens and a path goes around the lake.
There are 3 islands in the lake, one large and 2 small. The large one has a resturant which has been in that location since the 1800's. We stopped there and had the local famous "Beggars Chicken" a chicken stuffed with beef and cooked in a pot. Yum!
The afternoon sun was nice although the skies were overcast a bit. Still photos came out well.
A nice way to spend our last afternoon.
"The Lonely Planet" has been our bible throughout this trip and it suggested that we go to one resturant for the crispy fried potatoes with chilies. We thought that we'd go thru the night market and then on to the resturant. After walking and looking for the resturant for about 1 hour, and asking many people we finally found it. I'm not sure that the potatoes were worth the effort, but we saw a bit of Hangzhou that was off the beaten path.

Posted by Miss Chris 07:29 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Yichang and the 3 Gorges

A visit to 3 gorges and making a new friend

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Lucy__our_.._dinner.jpgcoke_sculpture.jpgBefore arriving in Yichang my son said to keep things simple in this city. As soon as we arrived yesterday we went to the concierge and asked about a tour to the 3 gorges dam. The concierge told us that we could sign for the tour right then. We did paying our 200 yuan on the spot. The only way to see the dam is via an official tour.
A little later the confcierge told us that the tour would be a chinese led one and we should consider paying 150 yuan for a english speaking guide. Since Mike had really wanted to come here and we had made the extra moves to get here we paid the extra for the guide.
Our guide's english name was Lucy, a young woman who just graduated with a degree as a tour guide. She met us at the hotel which was good since we had to change buses along the way.
The weather was forecast to rain an although it had rained earlier it was just a heavy fog.
To get to the dam you must go into the mountains. I'm not sure of the elevation but it is about an hour drive. Near the end the bus goes through 5 tunnels, one of which is over 2 miles long.
The tour takes you first to a point overlooking the dam at which time we could barely see across the dam. The 2nd stop is just under the top of the dam which gives the prospective of how tall it is.
The third stop is from the bottom. By this time fog had lifted enough to see across. To get to the viewing spot one must walk through a park running along the river. The park was built to show materials used in the construction. A waterfall is made from stones used to show how they were cut and so forth.
On the way back to the city we asked Lucy about a good place to eat and she said we would show us one. We told her we'd like to buy her lunch and she said ok. It was nice to have her along as she explained about the area specialty Chongdong fish. Unfortunately it cost 240 yuan so we got a different fish but cooked the same way for 40 yuan. You ask what kind of fish for
240? Catfish.
Keep in mind the exchange rate is about 6.5 yuan to $1.00
After a good and not expensive lunch Lucy asked if we would come to her house for dinner. We said yes and she wrote the place to meet in chinese.
At 7pm we hopped in a cab then waited at the place until she arrived. She said that she had gotten a call to go back to the gorge after she left us and it was raining with no visibility.
She made us a dinner which was fun to share in her small place. I'll blog more about this later. For now it is time to catch a flight.

Posted by Miss Chris 00:47 Archived in China Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Xian and beyond

Xian and flight

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We were concerned because our flight to Yichang was to leave at 4:50pm with a 1-1/2 hour drive to the airport. The concerige suggested that we rent a car for the day and the driver could drive us to the airport saving 1/2 hour in travel time.
We got an early start and went straight to the mausoleum where the emperor is thought to be burried. The findings verify that the ground is full of mercury, hence no digs have been completed there. Around the perimiter however they have found the graves of the emperor's ministers and concubines who would have followed him to his grave by custom.
The warriors are about 20 minutes away but I wanted Mike to see both in order to have a understanding of the distance the Warriors are.
We followed the guide book in this instance and started with the Pit 3 first, then Pit 2 where excavations have only scratched the surface and there is much to go. The last Pit 1 is the largest excavated to date hence the most exciting. It is always a thrill to see the warriors and I was so happy to share that experience with Mike. The warriors are encased in dirt so excavation is slow and exacting. Seeing them close up gives the perspective on the efforts both in their making and excavating.
Since the last time I visited them more have been unearthed. Unfortunately my battery on my big camera died at the end but it was a thrill to take photos and see them again.
We did catch our flight to Yichang and had a very yummy snack. We were given a little box containing a dinner roll, a sweet muffin and a cucumber. I ate the cucumbers while Mike ate the muffins.

Posted by Miss Chris 01:40 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Travels to Xian

Train ride to Xian, travels that evening

We had a train to Xian at 9:30A.m. so took a little time to walk thru Peony Park on the way back from coffee at Mc Donald's. I showed Mike where we had taken Sunny, Bel and Elias to play.
The train station was full of drama. Our train was over 1hour late and we were waiting just dozing. We heard a commotion and looked to see a man yelling at the train officials. As is typical, the chinese gathered around the man watching, then more people yelled. We laid low as we were unsure if the situation would deteriorate but finally most people dispursed. Then another person came along and started yelling at the officials.
All of the sudden it was time for the train to come. The officials opened the gates and we all surged to the platform where we got on the train.
After checking into a hotel I'd stayed at when I brought my parents we went and looked at the Bell Tower where the bell would ring in the early days of Xian, walked on the old wall, then went to the Musln quarter. By then we were hungry so we found a resturant where a menu was in english and chinese but packed with chinese people. BBQ'd chicken and beef was great.

Posted by Miss Chris 01:39 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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