kalinda001: (Avon Cally Sit LookR)
The final few days of my tour through China was spent in the most scenic area of China; the inspiration for many ancient paintings. We took a cruise through some beautiful mountains and rivers.

China, Guilin pics )
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On our 5th day, we flew to Guilin. This is reputedly the most beautiful area of China, the mountainous landscape is the inspiration for many paintings. The city itself is not very beautiful. I've found that most of the new buildings are very block-like. Mainly functional and not very aesthetic. It's in sharp contrast to beautiful ancient architecture.

Once reaching Guilin, we only had time to visit the Flute Reed Caves. The reeds in this area are used to make...flutes.

Day 5, Guilin )
kalinda001: (Avon Cally Sit LookR)
My 4th day in China contained another highlight for me, a visit to the dig site for the Terracotta army. The clay warriors were built as an afterlife army for the first emperor of China. The entire army complex consists of 4 huge pits: a command headquarters, a special military unit and the main army. A 4th pit is empty.

It is estimated that there will be 8,000 such figures once the entire site is excavated. So far only a small percentage has been unearthed. The majority still lie buried and will likely remain so until the technology to preserve them becomes more advanced. Once the figures are dug up, the colouring and other features decay and are lost. The main tomb for the Qin Emperor has also been left unopened in order to preserve it.

Onto the pictures... )
kalinda001: (Avon Cally Sit LookR)
These are pics from my 3rd day in China. This was a partial travel day. We had a photo op of the Olympic site. Unfortunately it wasn't open for visitors but we stopped to get shots of it from a bridge on our way to the airport. One of the older gentlemen on the tour managed to get himself lost for an hour by not following directions. Fortunately we got to the airport in time. Another 10 minutes and he would have been left behind and the city tour guide would have had to stay behind to continue looking for him. After this, everyone made sure to keep an eye on him, in case he wandered off again.

Then we flew to Xian, which was the ancient capital of China for 13 dynasties. The main attraction that we're all looking forward to, is seeing the dig site for the terra cotta warriors. But that's tomorrow, Day 4.

One disadvantage of flying between the cities is the luggage restrictions for the domestic flights. Only one checked-in baggage (44 lbs) and one carry-on.

Read more... )
kalinda001: (Avon Cally Sit LookR)
More pics from my tour through China. The second day had another packed itinerary. Visited a jade factory. The specialty in this region is white jade. Very beautiful pieces. We had the opportunity to see some of the artisans at work. The rest of the day involved the Ming Tombs, the Great Wall and the Summer Palace.

Onto the pics... )
kalinda001: (Avon Cally Sit LookR)

More pics from my first full day of touring in Beijing. These are of the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven.

Read more... )
kalinda001: (Avon Cally Sit LookR)
I finally have access to LJ. Yay! It took getting to Hong Kong to do it. LJ appears to be one of the sites blocked from China but is still accessible in Hong Kong.

So far it's been very hectic. The 9 day tour through China was fantastic. We hit alot of the historic and natural sights I've always wanted to see. Here's a brief synopsis of the trip so far.

First Day (flying to Beijing, 13 1/2 hours)
The red-eye flight was long but uneventful. We arrived around 6pm, met the other people on the tour. Some are from Vancouver, Calgary, the US and one from Australia. Went to a nice chinese dinner, but was too tired to remember much from it. Went to the Jade Palace Hotel and crashed for the night.

Day Two (Beijing)

This was a full day with the highlights being visits to Tienanmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven.

We arrived at Tienanmien Square first. It truly is huge. Loads of tourists. It's hard to believe that a week ago, during the China's nationalist holiday that there were even more people. The square is surrounded by two ancient towers on one end, the entrance to the Forbidden City (with Chairman Mao's portrait on the wall), the Great Hall and the National Museum. Inside the square, other than for the hordes of people, was a lantern display left over from the national holiday plus a popular one for the Olympics.

Going through the gated entrance with the large portrait of Mao, you arrive at the .outer court area of the Forbidden City, the Hall of Imperial Peace. The Imperial Palace (which is also known as the Forbidden City) was the center of the Ming and Qing dynasties. It's a huge complex which housed the Emperor, his family and all of his attendants, at its zenith, twelve thousand people lived within its walls. It covers over 1 million square meters. The buildings themselves account for 170,000 sq meters.

This visit verified something that I had heard when visiting the National Palace museum in Taiwan. It was said that the majority of the relics from the Forbidden City were taken away by Chiang Kai-Shek and the people who founded Taiwan. Well, it appears that this is a fact. In a tour of the Imperial Palace, we were told that 70% of the artifacts from the palace did indeed reside in Taiwan. The only things that weren't taken were mainly the things too large to be moved.

Visiting these two sites, I'm really struck by how grand a scale everything is. They don't do things by halves here, not even in the ancient days, which made the living areas surprising. The personal living area (bedroom) for the Emperor and his concubines (of course there were up to 3000 of them at one time) are quite small in comparison to the Palace grounds, the gardens, etc.

The Temple of Heaven is a large round temple that was constructed without any nails. Each piece fits exactly.

There was also an acrobatic show in the evening to round out the day.

Here are some pics from the first sight-seeing day )


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