Thursday, 9 September 2010

Dating Aussie Girls | Socyberty

Dating Aussie Girls | Socyberty

Friday, 6 August 2010

Overnight cruise on Halong Bay

How do you begin to write about a mind blowing, wildly spectacular experience! Halong Bay in North Vietnam was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994 and ranks right up there with some of the most spectacular natural environments in the world. I think a collage of photos of the Heritage listed area will probably do the trick without too many words to say. Ron and I were lucky enough to book a suite on a junk with only 2 other people booked in. It is monsoon time in Vietnam and people seem to be avoiding the place in droves. However we have only had a few showers and our overnight trip was not marred by even a sprinkle of rain. The boat was a replica of a 14th century Vietnamese Junk - and our suite came with a very modern king size bed! I had visions of sleeping in hammocks!

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Bath time on the streets of Nanjing

We were wandering home from the performance at Bailuzhou Park and came across a family having heaps of fun on the footpath near the bus stop. Mum and Dad were giving the children a bath in a large plastic wash basin. The older of the children did not like having water over her face and was screaming at top pitch when we arrived, while the little one just puddled away in the water!

This looked like a nuclear family so I don't know how they fit in with the one child  policy but I may be making assumptions and they were neighbours or cousins - or something else altogether!

A musical play in Bailuzhou Park

Last night we decided to retrace our steps to Bailuzhou Park. On our previous trip we had found a stage all set up on the lake and some seating. On asking around we found out that at 8 pm each evening there is a performance. Last night was a lovely clear and balmy evening so off we went to see if the performance was on (you can't really trust advice in this place - so we went fully expecting that it would not be on!) We had no idea what sort of performance to expect but thought it was a good excuse to get away from the house for a few hours.

What unfolded was the story of 2000 years of Nanjing. Unfortunately our camera hasn't taken great pics at night and at distance but anyway - here are the few we took that turned out OK. It was a delightful show with boats gliding by with singers on them and beautifully constumed dancers. There was also a large screen that described (in Chinese) the history of Nanjing up to the Qing dynasty.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Japan and Korea in the rain

July is monsoon time in Asia and a few typhoons hang around dumping heavy rain and blowing winds right up the Chinese coast and into Japan and Korea, so you would wonder why we might choose to cruise at this time of year! I just was not aware that it would be so darn wet and, after all, this is when Ron has his holidays. We left Shanghai on the 11th July in a warm, humid drizzle on board the Legend of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean International cruise ship bound for Japan and Korea and seven days on the sea.

We have not been regular cruisers and only have one other trip under our belts - the South China sea cruise we did in 2007. So we approach cruising with a bit of a dubious attitude - isn't it really just for old people (and we are not yet that old are we?), and isn't it packed with Asian gamblers and will we feel like sardines crammed into a small space with hundreds of people we would rather not be with? In fact nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, the passengers were in a majority from Asian countries - after all we were cruising in Asia! The overwhelming majority were from China and they were families, sometimes 4 generations from the great grandma through to the only child. And they were having just the same sort of holiday any Aussie family would be having! There was a small casino on board that opened in the evening and stayed open till the wee hours and, yes, the casino filled with people who wanted to use it but it was just a small part of the ship and only one of the activities that were happening at the time.Mostly we felt we were living in a 6 star hotel with everything laid on and staff who would do anything to make life easy, pleasant and fun. I had also heard that cruise ships turn into drunken dens of iniquity! I saw no evidence of this but Ron did note that there was a Spanish guy who was watching the world cup final at 3 am who was rather strongly inebriated and showing very vocal support during the game! So really for most of the time the cruise felt right for us and we had a great time. All negative perceptions thrown out the window and now thinking we might try another cruise sometime soon! you can't go wrong checking into a 6 star hotel, unpacking your bags for a week and visiting 2 countries and four cities and never having to wait in a queue or repack your bag! Here are some pics we took when we got onboard and before there were a lot of people around:

That's me sitting in the casino - the only time we visited it really! And then clockwise - the card room, the whirlpools, art gallery, dining room, library, looking over the outdoor pool, internet cafe, and looking down into the music lounge.

Our first port of call was Kagashima in southern Japan. At all ports you could choose to take a guided tour of some of the highlights of the town but Ron and I have seen enough temples and Asian markets to last us a lifetime so we decided to abandon the guided tours and just go experience the city. Armed with a map we wandered the streets of Kagashima and found a market style shopping centre, a bank and a beer. The rain had started to bucket down so we grabbed a cab and headed back to the ship with 2 umbrellas added to the luggage. We all know if we buy an umbrella it ensures it won't rain anymore so we were placing our holiday in the hands of the umbrella gods!

Next port was Nagasaki where the typhoon was in full swing and the rain was falling almost horizontal driven by a strong wind. Sounded like a good day to hunker down with a good book and keep warm and dry! So Nagasaki did not get a visit from us - we observed it from the ship. Does that count as a visit? Oh well - that's how it went. Some of the more intrepid cruisers went to see the Peace Park and the Memorial Museum but I have to say all that war stuff just leaves me feeling depressed and overwhelmed by sadness. Our dinner partners came back from the visit very subdued and quite saddened by the atrocities of WWII and the nuclear holocaust.

Fukuoka gave us a morning of sunshine before turning on the buckets of rain - so off we went into the subways, exploring underground shopping centres and eventually finding me a new camera to replace my other little portable one which I think I have now worn out completely! We strolled some shopping arcades and eat streets, Ohori Park and the Museum of Modern Art. Ohori Park was lovely, filled with ponds with lotus floating on them and really very similar to parks in China, except much better maintained! We enjoyed the museum and picked up a few arty postcards, wandered around the park and found a coffee shop and then headed back to the ship.

Busan in Korea greeted us with a slightly better day and we were now adept at working out the subway systems under these Asian cities. They do transport so well. The curiousity of the locals was quite funny - everywhere we went we were nodded to, smiled at and greeted with courtesy and respect. We spent a short while in a Cultural Centre and the Museum of Busan. Both very interesting and a great way to hear about the history of Korea and it's interactions with China, France, Russia, the USA and Japan. I reckon those poor Koreans have as much fighting spirit as mortally wounded bulls in a bullring - They just keep fighting back!

Here are some pics from the trip :

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Picnic at Lion Rock Beaut Spot!

Summer has come to Nanjing with a blast. Temperatures during the day have not fallen below 30 degrees for a few days now and it is muggy and tropical. What a contrast to the snow an ice of a few months ago!

So to celebrate the good weather and take advantage of lovely balmy evenings we decided to take a picnic dinner to the Lion Rock Beaut Spot - yes, that is the official name! Here is proof!

We had no idea how to find it so my friend Sian who had visited before came along to be the guide!

Ron has been collecting some Chinglish signs, just for fun, and there were many to be found here at the Beaut Spot. (More news on Chinglish later!)

Now there is not much to say about heading out for an evening picnic really, however the picnic spot was delightful and the Champagne and prawns with seafood dipping sauce, followed by honey soy chicken drumsticks, potato salad and a green salad, crispy bread rolls accompanied by a nice bottle of French red was certainly a tasty repast! So it's really not too tough in China now the winter is over!

I think you will agree - the setting was very nice!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Great Wall of China

One of the things to do in China, in fact a must do, is to see the Great Wall of China and it is really amazing to be able to walk along pathways and through buildings that were originally built in various stages from the 5th Century BC up to the 16th Century! The Chinese name for the GW is "Wanli Changcheng" and it means the long fortress of 10,000li, which is just short of 9,000 klms and just over 5,500 miles. Most of what remains of the GW was built in the Ming Dynasty between the 14th and 17th centuries. We visited the Mutianyu section of the wall which is about a 90 minute drive from Beijing. Although it was Sunday there were not so many visitors as to make it crowded or uncomfortable and we had lots of opportunity to take photos and not have them full of people. This is quite different in China as most tourist spots have wall to wall people and you struggle to get photos that don't have people in them.

At Mutianyu we were able to take a gondola style cable car to a high point on the wall and walk about 2klms to a chair lift that takes you back to the entrance area. Along the way you climb and descend hundreds (no - probably thousands) of stone steps. You also pass through a number of watchtowers and along some parapets. It can be done at a slow ambling pace and there are lots of places to stop and catch your breath. There are also some small stalls that sell water and iceblocks, Coca Cola and other soft drinks and BEER!

At the entrance to the site there is a small tourist shopping area selling "I climbed the Great Wall of China" t-shirts and other touristy paraphenalia. We got the T shirts!

So I guess now we can say - "Beijing? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt!"

Saturday, 26 June 2010

The Forbidden City

After Tiananmen Square we crossed under the road and came up at the entrance to the Forbidden City. The reason it is called the Forbidden City is because no-one could enter or leave it unless they had the permission of the emperor. UNESCO lists it as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. It is a World Heritage Site. And so there are a lot of reasons to visit if you are in Beijing! Some statistics quoted from Wikipedia say the Forbidden City was built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 surviving buildings with 8,707 bays of rooms and covers 720,000 m2 (7,800,000 sq ft). It was impossible to visit all aspects of it in one afternoon. There is a lot of information in the Wikipedia entry at this link: 

I was struck by the fact that an ancient imperial "city" would have a picture of Chairman Mao mounted above the entrance. He actually wasn't anywhere around when it was built and didn't come along till centuries later! The Emperors would roll in their graves to think that Mao now has pride of place at the Tiananmen Gate to the Forbidden City! I suppose Mao is just there to keep an eye on happenings in Tiananmen Square. I got my camera out to get a photo with one of the guards and he quickly said "No Photo" quite emphatically - however I had already taken this one and it seemed OK at the time.

You can wander for days through the Forbidden City and I imagine you could get lost in there without too much trouble at all. However Ron and I had taken advice from our friend Lynn who had said not to follow the tour groups up the middle of the city and to branch out to one side where there were far less people and in fact quite a lot of lovely things to see. We decided to head off to the right as we entered the main part of the palaces and found ourselves going through the Galleries of Treasures. it was much quieter than the central path that went through all the palaces and it was very interesting as well - lots of museum pieces that indicated the life of the emperors and the lifestyle of the court. 

I wouldn't have missed it as it was genuinely stunning. However if you really have an interest in Chine Imperial history you will need at least three days to explore it.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Tiananmen Square, Beijing

In 1989 there were several incidents in and around Tiananmen Square where intellectuals and students had gathered to mourn the death of Hu Yaobang, a Chinese official, and former General Secretary, who had taken a stand against corruption in the Chinese government and had also led a pro-democracy movement in China. The death of Hu Yaobang was a catalyst for massive rallies by students, anti government protestors and intellectuals opposed to the communist regime across China but more so in Beijing where many thousands of protestors staged events for about 3 months from April to June. Scuffles broke out between the protestors, who were promoting democratic and economic reforms, and the state police and security. The army was called in to clear the area on the 4th June and that day is now remembered in many parts of the world (but not in China) as the day of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Some reports have up to 3,000 people killed but here in China it is still only known as the June the 4th incident and is swept aside as an insignificant event in Chinese political history.

I had expected that the square would be quite large and imposing and I guess I also expected that there would be some attention to the event and memorial to the victims - I am not sure what I really expected! However what I found was simply a fairly large square with Mao's mausoleum in the central area and a number of monuments to the the martyrs of the communist revolution - including a tall obelisk which is the Monument to the People's Heroes - shown in the collage above. There is no evidence of the massacre or the students who died there and life goes on as if it really never happened.

The square is situated in front of the Great Hall of the People and across the road from the entrance to  the Forbidden City and the Palace Museum. The area is easily accessed through the Tiananmen subway station.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Muchou Lake Nanjing

Posted by Picasa

Muchou Lake is situated just south of Nanjing City. Like all the lakes I have seen in China the water is very thick and green and I wonder just how the fish survive! However the gardens have been put together beautifully and apparently there is a legend about the lake and the "Lady Muchou" who was a peasant girl who married a nobleman and lived happily ever after. Therefore the lake is said to be popular with young lovers and families. It is certainly busy on the weekend. However it is a lovely place to have a walk and do some people watching and we have visited a couple of times now.
I am always amazed when you see these beautiful gardens and lakes just how the buildings have fallen into disrepair and how unkempt and unclean they are - they look like they need a good wash and a man with a toolbox hanging about all the time. I must admit there is no rubbish laying around because there are people who clear it away. However the museum at this park was a very dismal sight with what would have been a lovely display of Chinese brocade, but all the models hair was moth eaten and it had fallen all over the clothing and there was dust (many years of it) settled on the displays. There are a whole lot of people sitting around trying to flog souvenirs and it really would only take a few hours a week for some of them to actually put in an effort to maintain the displays! Oh well that's CHINA!

Dragonboat Festival Nanjing

This weekend marks the annual dragonboat festival and holiday in China. We made two trips to Muchou Lake to have a look at the dragonboats. These photos were taken on the practice day - we didn't get there early enough to get photos on the day of the big race and it was so crowded near the shore we could not get a good vantage point. However it was a great day - very festive and the people of Nanjing were out to celebrate. Lots of families were out in the park and we only saw one other western person there! They really need to publicise these events better so people can go along and see what is happening.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The village at Huang Cun

Posted by Picasa
Nestled at the base of Huangshan, Yellow Mountain, is the delightful village of Huang Cun. Legend tells us after the village was totally destroyed by fire hundreds of years ago a sage was consulted who told the villagers to rebuild in the shape of a water buffalo. As part of the rebuilding the village has built in fire protection with small streams running through the streets and a central lake called the Half Moon Lake.
These days the village has outgrown the original design and there are houses and shops outside the core village and lining the banks of the lake on one side. However much of the initial village is still in existence and the villagers proudly open it daily to tourists.

On approaching Huang Cun, at the base of Yellow Mountain (China's Grand Canyon) it is clear this is a popular tourist spot and a favourite place for artists to practice their craft. Artisits were sitting on small stools with their paints and easels developing a variety of renditions of the lake, the bridges, the village and the surroundings. My effort at painting the village is included here!

Within the original village there are small shops and restaurants dotted along the winding pathways and it is not unusual to run into a family of geese out for a stroll. If you get lost you find one of the small canals that run along the pathways and follow the flow of the water back to the lake.

The villagers are very welcoming and will allow you to photograph them at work and rest. There are many opportunities for a photographer to record very authentic photographs of ancient Chinese culture and living.

A day out with Henry, Amanda and Qian Yi

Posted by Picasa

It has been some time since we had this day out but I have just found the photos and thought I would put them up. Ron works very closely with Henry  (He) Congpei and he is the most delightful man and ever so helpful. Henry has been responsible for much of our happiness in Nanjing. He has acted as Ron's right hand man, translator, interpreter, advocate and friend and all the while has also been the communication anchor between Ron and the Chinese staff and NFLS. Henry is a gem beyond being able to measure in value.
One day last year we went to the zoo with Henry and his family - his wife Amanda and his son Qian Yi (who has since decided his English name will be Thomas - ala Thomas the Tank Engine!) Zoos in China are not really very pleasant places when you compare them with modern zoos and I struggled with the conditions the animals are kept in. The Pandas seemed to have a nice enough home but most of the other animals, although looking healthy enough, were in very poor containment and many were obviously emotionally stressed. Also the visitors to the zoo were not very careful about where they threw their rubbish and many of the cages had plastic waste and food wrappers strewn around.

Qian Yi was the saving grace of the day. At the time he was still 2 and full of fun and excitement. He has defintely inherited Henry's good nature and sense of humour and mischief. Amanda was kept on her toes racing around after him and playing with a bubble gun that really was more fun than the zoo!
We had a delightful afternoon and I just love the pic of Ron with Henry and family - one of the happiest moments in Nanjing.

Xuanwu Lake - Nanjing

Posted by Picasa 
Xuanwu lake is approached through the Xuanwu gate in the Nanjing city wall. Xuanwumen Metro station is the closest to the lake.  The name Xuanwumen means Xuanwu gate. Nanjing city sits to the south west of the lake. It is a quick ride on the metro from the city.
The lake is dotted with five islands and each of these has a history in legend. Chinese families enjoy the use of their parks and lakes and you will find it is a popular place for Chinese people to spend  the weekend.

The islands can be accessed by hiring small electric cars, boats or by walking. They are all inter connected with pathways and bridges. A convoy of electric open busses circles the park at an alarming rate so watch out for them as you amble along the paths!  There are many boat operators who will hire you a boat to drive yourself (pedal or electric) or you can cruise the lake with a driver taking the boat through the arched bridges and around the islands.
Legend has it that a large black dragon came to the lake one day when the clouds were settling low. There are also some stories concerning snakes and turtles that are said to live in the lake. The waters of the lake are now quite polluted, probably not a home for much marine life at all, more or less a large dragon. However there will always be a number of people fishing along the shores and they set up tents and spend the better part of the day picnicking in small groups. It is a lovely family environment.

There is a garden sculpture that depicts 2 dragons fighting and a large sculpture of a female in Buddhist regalia surrounded by children. I have not been able to find the significance of this statue and fountain but it is quite impressive.
Kite flyers can be found on sunny days with slight wind. Watching a string of hundreds of kites rise into the summer sky is quite spectacular.

There are a number of roadside restaurants and cafes dotted through the park.
All in all a lovely way to spend an afternoon in Nanjing.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Chrysanthemum tea from the slopes of Yellow Mountain


The Chinese are tea drinkers. Everywhere you go in China you will see people carrying jars of tea - literally their old recycled glass jars with lids! And the tea can be green or brown or even red! Often is has bits and pieces floating in it - flowers and roots, leaves and stems.

One of the popular teas which is said to relieve head aches is Chrysanthemum tea. In these pics you can see the tea growing in the terraces on the side of the mountain. At the time we visited they were harvesting yellow and white flowers. the people work incredibly hard bent over all day with huge packs on their backs, but they still had a ready smile and a wave for us. 
Posted by Picasa

Embroidery shopping in Suzhou

Visiting the silk embroidery workshops in Suzhou has been yet another highlight of being in China. Silk embroidery is an ancient art here and the women who do it are just magic. They can make two sides of the same embroidery absolutely identical. I also saw an embroidery where the two sides were different and the embroiderer made two completely different pictures from one side to the other - I was fascinated - How do you do that? And there is not a knot or a loose thread showing.

We left very early on a miserably cold day just after a light dusting of snow. Driving to Suzhou we went through quite a few snow showers and rain and I have to say I was questioning my sanity on coming out on such a dismal day. We arrived at the Embroidery Street where there are over 300 embroidery shops and workshops. It was impossible to visit them all. Many of them actually have very similar products and some stand out as just superb. I guess it is like any other craft - there are artisans who are masters and others who, although quite competent, will never reach that level of expertise.

In the top right corner of the collage you can see the silk embroidery I bought. It is goldfish/koi in a circle feeding on lotus flowers. It is strikingly beautiful and I have been "eying it off" at our local markets for a while now! I bargained like a veteran and was able to get it very cheap - cheaper than the piece of glass in it would have cost me in Australia (let alone the embroidery, the frame and framing materials) and for about one third of the price I could buy it for in the market. I could have bought many pieces - but what do I do with them!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Our first Chinese New Year

We arrived back into China from the Philippines on Chinese New Year’s eve. What a contrast.  For the last week we had been experiencing hot, humid days, perfect for swimming and just lounging about the many lagoons and pools of the resort. Often too hot to sit in the sun we generally stayed in the shade – and still managed to put some colour back into our long since faded suntans.  Nights were warm and balmy – usually just warm enough to require a little bit of air conditioning. And now we were in Nanjing, on the airport concourse waiting for the bus, 10pm at night, snow on the ground, minus 3 deg, and despite us putting on our jackets the freezing breeze is cutting through our clothing.
In the distance we can see occasional flashes of light but that’s not unusual in this land where everyone has access to fireworks at all times of the year, using them for celebrations and to mark the passing of loved ones. The bus trip is uneventful and we arrive in the street about 3 kilometres from our apartment. That’s too far to drag the suitcases so we walk to the nearby main intersection and wait for a cab.  It’s cold. A cab stops. We finally arrive back to our apartment …… and wish we had left the floor heating on.
Every now and then a flurry of fireworks is heard in the distance. Fortunately our double glazed windows keep out most of the cold and the noise. While we’re waiting for the house to warm a little (A-C is going full blast) we settle to watch a bit of TV. Before we know it, it’s close to midnight. Those flurries of fireworks are becoming more frequent.
Now I’m sure almost everyone who’s reading this will have some kind of memory of childhood cracker nights  and perhaps the occasional bonfire; Queen’s Birthday, Independence, Guy Fawkes, whatever. Remember those little skyrockets? Put the stick in a bottle, light the wick and get away quick? Or the ‘flowerpots’ with their cascades of colour, the roman candles that sent bright balls into the air for 10 or 20 metres.  Maybe you remember other western New Year’s eves – with their city-wide fireworks. Sydney is always spectacular with its Harbour Bridge backdrop. And then there’s Paris, London, New York all telecast to the world. Spectacular displays all of them.
Then let me tell you they all pale into insignificance compared to what a city of 9 million individuals, each with their own supply of major fireworks can do.  You see while fireworks seem to be freely accessible to all Chinese throughout the year, generally they are not very evident in the shops. But leading up to New Year, like it used to be in my younger days, the shops are full.   And the fireworks – these are not the little skyrockets, flowerpots and roman candles.  These are big. Starshells come in boxes of 12 or more, the size of a case of Fosters. Light one wick and they go off in succession.  There are industrial sized cannon shells that can rise to hundreds of metres before loosing their bursts of colour, clusters of noisemakers, Whirling wheels … and all available in bulk to the entire city. Our small corner supermarket down the road sells them from a 50 ft container load parked outside.
And all this has been saved for one 30 minute period of absolute, sheer insanity.  Outside our apartment men light big boxes of mayhem, oblivious to the cars they stand between. The sky glows with continuous explosions of colour. Not confined to one display area, these come from the parks, from between buildings, people’s patios, tops of buildings, in the street, traffic islands. Little children share the thrill of ‘light the wick - get away quick’.  Fathers hold tiny babies while having their turns at sending off howitzers of noise and stars.
We’re tired, but there’s no chance of even thinking about going to bed. Inside our double glazed apartment we can’t hear the TV.  And finally, after an hour, it begins to subside. We go to bed and sleep.
Next morning it is strangely silent. The snow has covered the city in a muffling blanket of white.  It is cold. We spend the day indoors.  And then the snow begins to melt. And as it melts, exploded boxes, empty cannons, stains of black and brown powder are revealed along with all the other detritus of exploded fireworks. Red paper and cardboard mixes with the snow, littering the footpaths and forming its own coagulated version of crimson papier mache in the gutters, under the trees and shrubs and on the footpaths.  So passes Chinese New Year 2010.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Yellow Mountain - Huangshan

It is now a few months since we visited Huangshan - China's Yellow Mountain, which is also known as China's Grand Canyon. If you have ever seen the typical paintings of China's mountains - craggy and peeping through the clouds - this is where the painters received their inspiration. The mountains are particularly steep and seem to jut up through the clouds. The day we were there was quite clear and so we didn't get that sense that the Chinese speak of, that the mountains float in a sea of clouds. Instead we could actually see how high we were and how steep these mountains are. It is quite scary really and the paths and passages can be quite a challenge. Thousands of steps that go on for miles!

You travel to the peak in a cable car that holds about 100 people. You can see it in the bottom right photo. So you can imagine if that cable car holds 100 (and it looks so small) just how vast and impressive the mountains really are.

It is a tradition to purchase a lock, have your names engraved on it and clip the lock to the chain fences. The fences really do not look capable of holding you back from falling and the drop to the valley below is terrifying. I am not sure how I managed to stay there and not go into a total anxiety state! (I am not good on heights!)

All over the mountain paths you will come across Chinese men who are carrying supplies and building materials in baskets and on their shoulders. I could not believe the loads some of them were carrying, easily 50kgs and more.

The mountains are dotted with resting places that have traditional pagodas, and there are several hotels to visit where you can get drinks and food.
Posted by Picasa

Zhenjiang and the home of Pearl S Buck

The highlight of our trip to Zhenjiang was a visit to the house of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Pearl S Buck. She wrote a number of novels about China and was given credit at the time for being an ambassador for cross cultural relationships between America and China. Her father was a Christian missionary who worked on his ministery in China for most of his lifetime. Pearl spent many years in China living in the house in the collage (above).

We walked through some streets in central Zhenjiang and passed a number of local vendors selling their wares. Top left is a man supervising the firing up of a traditional Chinese oven, next to him another man makes popcorn. His right hand is turning a handle that is pumping the bellows to keep the fire hot, while his left hand is turning the cast iron circular oven over the coals. We could hear the corn popping inside the oven. Bottom left is a failrly typical local cafe. A woman peels and sells water chestnuts which have been steamed. Another woman is selling goose, duck, chicken and pigeon eggs.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, 25 January 2010

Jiaoshan Mountain in the Yangtze River

About an hour out of Nanjing and still on the Yangtze River there is an island in the middle of the river. The local people call it the "mountain that is in the river" - Jiaoshan. On this island there is a temple, an Imperial residence (where the Emperor used to stay) and a fort. It is a lovely place to visit. You can go there by taking the train to Zhenjiang and then catch a bus to the wharf and a ferry to the island. It is such a peaceful and pretty place, even in the middle of winter when the trees are bare. I can just imagine how beautiful it would be in the summer when all the trees have their foliage.

A stroll along the Qinhuai River

What have we been up to - I can almost here the question coming in over this airwaves! Well actually we have been up to quite a lot but we just have not been up to writing up the blog - please forgive us. I am going to make a concerted effort over the next few days to bring you all up to date and show you some fabulous things we have been doing in China. As a start these pics are from a short stroll we took along the banks of the Qin huai River last weekend. Hopefully Nanjing is starting to warm up again and although we were still rugged up and it was only 11 degrees that is better than what we have had for a while!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Bridge at Huang Cun

This painting has taken a while to get underway since our trip to yellow mountain. This is my depiction of the bridge at Huang Cun at the foot of Yellow Mountain - Huangshan.
Posted by Picasa