A Travellerspoint blog

SHANGHAI ARCHITECTURE---------A CONTRAST IN THE NEW AND OLD

sunny 30 °C

Every street amazed us. A busy but efficient road system with lots of green, pedestrian overpasses and an impressive city scape.

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Posted by keithandhelen 19:39 Archived in China Comments (1)

AROUND CHINA-------A BIT OF THIS AND THAT

semi-overcast 30 °C

We have some pictures that don't fit in any special places but we found them interesting-----so here they are!

Modern motorized tuk tuk.

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A reminder!

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Wangfujing Street where you can buy anything to eat.
Do you see the scorpions, star fish and locusts.......yum yum.

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Cloisonne workshop. This is one of 600 being made as gifts for dignitaries at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

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A grumpy fruit seller.

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One of many Lotus ponds.

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Tea Plantation

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A smog free sunset!

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Posted by keithandhelen 18:51 Archived in China Comments (2)

A TALE OF TWO BUDDAHS

semi-overcast 31 °C

We visited 2 Buddah temple sites. The first, in Wuxi, was officially a Buddist Conference Centre (like they have loads of conferences), It was very beautiful and opulent. Paid for by the Government it was clear that money was no object.

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All the Chinese zodiac signs were represented in cloisione statues - this year, the Year of the Monkey, had a special display.

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Once daily the Lotus Flower opens along with music, fountains, and doves. As it opens the Baby Buddah appears and the fountains wash it to prepare it for its new life.

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This is the largest free standing Buddah and if you have a few million dollars you can inscribe the names of your family members on the lotus leaves at the base. We have taken advantage of this offer.

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This is a picture of the 4 Buddahs----Dave and I are with our Tour Guide Antony. Meanwhile, Helen and Dianna wait to get back on the trolly.

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THE SECOND BUDDAH SITE WAS IN HANGZOU. The site has been a Buddahist temple since 969 AD. It once housed 3000 monks though is now much reduced in size. it was damaged extensively in rebellions in the 19th century and later by fire. Luckily it was protected during the cultural revolution.

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Posted by keithandhelen 18:49 Archived in China Comments (1)

WUXI----------ANOTHER MODEST TOWN OF 6 MILLION PEOPLE

overcast 30 °C

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We begin our day with a visit to Turtle Head Park, on the edge of Taihu Lake, one of the largest lakes in China. We arrived to find hundreds of elementary school students all having a wonderful time. It is 'Student Sharing Day', where all the students get together and share the food and snacks that they have brought with them - this is a government initiative to teach the students to share. Our travelling companions, Dave, Patrick, Dante, as well as myself decided to share ourselves in one class picture.

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As the park was full of children, there was lots of vendors selling toys and snacks.

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We did find a quiet spot by a lotus pond with a beautifully made silk dragon.

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Posted by keithandhelen 15:25 Archived in China Comments (0)

SUZHU-------A MODEST TOWN OF ONLY 6 MILLION PEOPLE

sunny 30 °C

After a late night arrival in Shanghai we had a relaxing drive to Suzhu. Our first stop was a short ride down the Grand Canal. Building of this canal between Beijing and Shanghai started in 486 BC and was completed in the 13th century. It is 1900 km long and brought prosperity to Suzhou as silk could be exported to the north and eventually to Europe along the Silk Road.

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Our next stop is the Master Of The Nets Garden, built in 1140, and renovated in 1770. One of the owners wanted to become a fisherman, hence the name. We were surprised to find this peaceful oasis hidden away in the midst of this busy city. The garden has all the elements of a traditional Chinese garden; rocks, water, paths and bridges, pavillions, plants, and patterned screens.

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As a contrast we ended our day gathering with everyone, watching the sunset on the shores of Golden Cock Lake scenic area.

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Posted by keithandhelen 14:12 Archived in China Comments (3)

What you can do with mud................THE TERRACOTTA ARMY

semi-overcast 34 °C

Remember the tyrant Emperor Qin who built the great wall. Well, here he is again. Because he made so many enemies during his lifetime, he built a Terracotta Army to protect him in the afterlife.

Lets jump ahead to 1974 when a farmer, digging for water, unearthed pieces of pottery. Recognizing the potential significance he took them to the village head. Jump ahead again to today and we have a site that welcomes over one hundred thousand visitors a day.

There are 3 pits with pit 1 being the largest excavation to date. Here there is a total of 2 thousand restored full sized terracotta figures of soldiers, archers, chariots with horses and drivers, and 1 general. When the pit 1 excavation is complete they anticipate there will be 8000 warriors. Archaeologists are currently excavating all 3 pits

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Emperor Qin's actual burial site is about 10 kilometers away. Scientists are currently working on developing techniques to safely excavate the tomb as it is believed to contain massive amounts of mercury. These brass figures were found in excavations adjacent to his tomb.

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Terracotta Warriors are big business. You can buy mini to full-sized replicas as souvenirs -- something you have always wanted.

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Posted by keithandhelen 06:25 Archived in China Comments (3)

THE INCREDIBLE GREAT WALL Of CHINA

sunny 30 °C

We can hardly believe that we were standing on the Great Wall of China. It was created by Emperor Qin after he unified China in 200 BC. This is the same man who was a nasty tyrant and had great ideas. More about him after we go to the Terracotta Warriors. It was expanded to encompass Beijing in the 1500's during the Ming Dynasty and stretches from Korea to Kazakhstan.

Here we are! We didn't climb to the end as it is 12500 km long and we didn't have that much time. However, we did climb up and took some pictures. Please look at them closely as you will see people climbing in all of them.

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Posted by keithandhelen 06:02 Archived in China Comments (3)

AMAZING OLD BEIJING IN A DAY

TIAN'AN MEN SQUARE is the heart of modern Beijing. It is huge and stretches one kilometre in one direction and 700 metres in the other abd can acommodate one million people. It is flanked by ancient gates and communist era buildings which house the national museum and The Great Hall Of The People. Mao's mausoleum is a focal point of the square. The square leads into the entrance to the Forbidden City.

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The Forbidden City

Twenty four emperors ruled China from here for nearly 500 years. There were palaces for the Emperor and the first lady as well as rooms for thousands of concubines and their children.

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The Temple Of Heaven

This temple is where the Emperor would come to communicate with heaven. The round alter represents the centre of the world and the accoustics magnify the sounds which enabled the Emperor to speak directly to his God

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The circular tower, the Hall of Prayer for good harvests, was built without the use of a single nail. There is an extensive courtyard in front of it, with other smaller buildings, built in the same style.

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As an added protection, the whole complex is surrounded by a moat.

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Tomorrow, we are off to the Great Wall!

Posted by keithandhelen 06:02 Comments (4)

Let's go to CHINA

We are on our way

sunny 30 °C

Heading off to Vancouver

As we get ready to go to China--Via Vancouver- we seem to have picked up some travelling companions. These are our good friends, Dave and Dianna from Calgary and we should have a great time together.

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We are waiting, with anticipation, for our 11 hour flight to Beijing in the morning - of course, that doesn't include the 3 hours waiting in the airport!

We arrived after our long but uneventful flight. Lots of movies and games and food and naps that took up the time. After clearing the airport and driving in solid traffic for an hour we get to check into our hotel and have a free evening before our next day of activities. Beijing is a city of 25 million people. It is 100 kilometres accross and 70 kilometres wide. Apparently there are 7 million cars and judging from what I saw, they were all on the road with us.

Our hotel. We were impressed with the lobby and the rooms were just as nice.

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The lobby also had a lobby bed. Very interesting!

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China is undergoing a speedy development and massive changes. Unemployment is low and tour guide Tony said it is now getting harder to buy things made in China here as factories are closing because it it cheaper to make goods elsewhere due to rising labour costs. However 0ur interests here are mostly cultural and we will not be buying too many goods as they are plentiful in Canada.

Stay Tuned. Our Tour starts in earnest at 8:30 AM tomorrow morning.

Posted by keithandhelen 01:42 Archived in China Comments (2)

ITS 2016 AND WE ARE BACK IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN

sunny 30 °C

After a month in Victoria and with lots of visits with friends and family we say goodbye to everyone, including our newest member, great nephew Alfie.

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Arriving back in Playa we are rushed to our home where we celebrate Christmas with our friends.

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This year we have decided to do a few mini trips and visit places we have always meant to go. Our first such trip was to XPU HA. (pronounced Spoo Ha), with our friends Eduardo, Pilar, and her daughter Yami.

If you blink you miss the turn off which is part of the reason we have never been there. This day, unfortunately, was the roughest day you would ever get in this part of the world. Nevertheless, the beach was beautiful and we and our good friends had a great day and picnic.
This is typical of the whole coast along the Caribbean side of the Yucatan which is lined with beaches, some more accessible than others.

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Izamal (pronounced Ishamal)

Izamal is a small town about two and a half hours south of Playa del Carmen. It is an easy drive and we take off one fine morning with our friends Denis and Carole. We arrive around lunch time and check into our hotel before heading to the town.

This is the first time we have stayed in a Hacienda, which is typical to this area of the Yucatan peninsula. Many plantations established in the 19th century by Spanish landowners have now been restored as hotels. Hacienda Santo Domingo sits on 33 acres at the edge of town, a 10 minute walk to city centre.

Checking in

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IZAMAL is known as the Yellow City and as we walked into town we saw that "Yes, it really is yellow" in most of the centre of the city. The yellow paint was used to decorate the city for the visit of Pope John Paul in 1973. The city is also dotted with Mayan ruins albeit not the largest we have seen. There was a great market, a very interesting small museum and in the centre there is the convent of San Antonio de Padua built in 1561. The atrium is second in the world only to the Vatican and inside is a statue of Pope John Paul the 2nd who visited the site. It must still be a convent today as there were Nuns all around the grounds. The centre is also dotted with good restaurants all with different names but all having exactly the same menus.

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Finding a Pyramid

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We found this house for sale but decided against it-------what do you think?

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Now, back to Playa del Carmen for a rest.

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Posted by keithandhelen 13:30 Archived in Mexico Comments (6)

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