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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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