A Travellerspoint blog

Courtyard Dream House Adventure (August 4)

Traveling around Huangshan Area

View Courtyard House Adventure on inchinahil's travel map.


This morning we got up fairly early and had a quick breakfast. We got a taxi to our next adventure location and this one promised to provide us with lots of visits to Courtyard Houses. Our destination was Hongcui 宏村. This ancient village (now famous as a World Heritage Site since 2000) was built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties and has many really great residences from that period. It was founded by a general (Wang Wen) in 1131. The Wang family was, surprise, the dominant family in the town. Check out Hongcui with us.

This is a commercially prosperous tourist attraction with all the bells and whistles that means. Lots of touts. Lots of stuff to buy. Nice restaurants all over the place. The actual entrance to the town is over a bridge on a serene lake.

Green Butterfly who decided to pose for me

Green Butterfly who decided to pose for me

A view of Hongcui

A view of Hongcui

The Hongcui bridge

The Hongcui bridge

Art students taking advantage of the beauty

Art students taking advantage of the beauty

An Old door

An Old door

Huzhou style buildings

Huzhou style buildings

A couple of wooden heads advertising good food, I think

A couple of wooden heads advertising good food, I think

Local fried chicken but the lady asked me not to take a picture . . oops

Local fried chicken but the lady asked me not to take a picture . . oops

More local cuisine

More local cuisine

Down and ancient alley

Down and ancient alley

Huizhou entranceway

Huizhou entranceway

Another ancient doorway

Another ancient doorway

Need directions

Need directions

Very nice hostess for a new restaurant

Very nice hostess for a new restaurant

Can't help taking pictures - Oval door

Can't help taking pictures - Oval door

A local resident

A local resident

Another narrow alley

Another narrow alley

Painting the scene

Painting the scene

As you can see, the village is really well done. The people in the village are used to having lots of people visit and are friendly and cheerful. The village is authentic with very little obvious renovations or new constructions. This is as good an ancient town as we had visited. I probably took more than 400 photographs during our four hour visit. Enough photographs and enough visiting courtyard houses. We must get back to our hotel and prepare for our return to Chengdu. But first, a visit to the local tea market.

Buying Tea in Tunxi

If you are interested in tea, check out my tea blog at http://chinateatravels.blogspot.com/. I have not blogged tea for a while but I will soon get back to tea blogging. When we travel, we always look for tea.

Famous flower green tea. It opens up like a flower in a pot of hot water

Famous flower green tea. It opens up like a flower in a pot of hot water

The Tunxi Tea Market

The Tunxi Tea Market

More taiping houkuei tea

More taiping houkuei tea

World famous Huangshan maofeng green tea

World famous Huangshan maofeng green tea

Posted by inchinahil 06:21 Archived in China Tagged architecture tea ancient_town anhui-province huanshan hongcui tourist-sites Comments (0)

Courtyard Dream House Adventure (August 5 - 6)

Return to Hefei

View Courtyard House Adventure on inchinahil's travel map.


We needed to get back to Chengdu and Emei City. The best way was to return to Hefei via bus and see about getting a flight from there. Once again the four hour bus ride through tea country was pleasant. Arriving around noon, we checked into the Hanting Hotel and decided to explore more of Hefei. Researching site in and around Hefei, I found that the great judge, Bao Zheng, was actually born in Hefei and worked in Kaifeng. He had a memorial temple in Hefei as well. We decided to visit the temple our last afternoon in Anhui Province.

On the Road to Hefei

On the Road to Hefei

Bao Zheng Temple

This is a small temple and park dedicated to this great judge. Nothing fancy or unique as one can see.

Inside door to a small courtyard

Inside door to a small courtyard

These devil dogs are everywhere in China. Fortunately they do not bark or bite

These devil dogs are everywhere in China. Fortunately they do not bark or bite

How to punish criminals: the head chopper

How to punish criminals: the head chopper

Justice Bao Zheng

Justice Bao Zheng

Chinese window design

Chinese window design

The serene Bao Zheng lake

The serene Bao Zheng lake

We must be pagodaed out as I did not even go into this small pagoda

We must be pagodaed out as I did not even go into this small pagoda

We also did not go into this big pagoda

We also did not go into this big pagoda

After about two hours worth of visiting, we caught a taxi to the local museum.

The Anhui Provincial Museum

Sunee hates museums, so we planned to make this a quick visit. Turned out to be a nice place with the museum people being very friendly,

museum item1

museum item1

museum item2

museum item2

museum item3

museum item3

museum item4

museum item4

museum item5

museum item5

museum item6

museum item6

We met a bunch of students touring the museum so we visited with them for quite awhile. Most of them were anxious to try out their English on us and we did not disappoint. Always great to interact with Chinese students everywhere.

Our new friends (students) posing for a group picture

Our new friends (students) posing for a group picture

This museum had a whole section dedicated to the architecture of the provincial ancient towns and streets. We liked this section very much as one can guess.

The Anhui courtyard house

The Anhui courtyard house

Also in the back of the museum was a dinosaur museum for children. A lot of dinosaurs had been discovered in this part of China.

And these, children, are dinosaur eggs

And these, children, are dinosaur eggs

Great way to spend our last day in Anhui Province. The next morning really early (after my KFC breakfast to go), we flew back to Chengdu. Our trip had been an overwhelming success. We now had a very good working knowledge of the traditional courtyard residence of China.

Posted by inchinahil 06:20 Archived in China Tagged shopping tea china museum courtyard_house hefei anhui-province Comments (0)

Around Wuhan

We spend our last day in Wuhan looking at the architecture and hating the people


From Wuhan sitting on a plane
Must have been a little insane
You see Wuhan was hot as hell
And the people there sucked as well

They’re all rich and great so they think
But underneath their souls all stink
The sights are three in Wuhan town
Not much else can be found

The Huang He Lou and big East Lake
With Guan Yin place for heaven’s sake
Nothing else but glass and steel
Why don’t Wuhan people get real

No picture! No picture!

As I was taking a picture of Sunee (not this idiot) checking out a place to eat, we got the hand waving crap from this Wuhanese (please think as negative as you can when I use this term). I took the picture anyway because I was not concentrating on him but Sunee's search. Usually when I take people pictures in China, I get the typical Chinese hamming it up with the bunny sign or the peace sign or whatever one calls it. THIS IS China. My guess would be that about one person in 200 0r 300 in China becomes upset or requests that I do not take their picture. I respect this, smile and continue on my way. Herein is where I despise the typical Wuhanese so much. I think maybe one or two people in the entire city smiled as I was taking their picture. The rest ran away or did the hand waving forbidding me to take their picture. Who, pray tell, would want to visit such a nasty place with such nasty people. They are not Chinese but Wuhanese!

Bet this guy hates Wuhan as much as we did

How about this very European style statue. Seems I saw this in Greece when we lived there.

Western-style buildings are everywhere, yet, the Wuhanese hate westerners. GO FIGURE!

We had some Xinjiang noodles and the people were OK. Just OK. Elsewhere the Xinjiang people would have been super friendly. See what happens when one spends time around Wuhanese!

At least the chickens looked good and tasted as good as they looked. Too bad we had to interact with a Wuhanese to buy one. Yep, she was extremely rude to Sunee.

Looks like Western buildings and companies to me.

Rice bowls pre-made for a quick snack.

This was our first lunch in Wuhan. The people seemed OK. Turned out he and his wife were the friendliest we met and they were just OK. This is not Sichuan!

We made a final trip out to do a little shopping before going to the airport.

Coming home to Sichuan and real Chinese people. Skies are beautiful once one leaves Wuhan!

Posted by inchinahil 05:29 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Wuhan - East Lake

We book reservations to return to Emei Mountain and take a trip to the famous East Lake resort area

After we returned from visiting Guan Yin Temple at around 1400, we decided to go visit the other main site in Wuhan - East Lake Scenic Area. Here is some information I downloaded from the internet about East Lake:

East Lake, the biggest scenery tourist attraction in Wuhan and also the largest lake within a city in China, is located on the south bank of the Yangtze River and in the east suburb of Wuchang. It covers an area of 87 square kilometers (33 square kilometers of water area) that is five times greater than the area of the West Lake in Hangzhou . Because of its winding banks and crisscrossing ponds and brooks, it is called 'a lake with 99 bays'. The East Lake Scenic Area was formed from many famous scenic spots along the bank. The six major ones are Tingtao (Listening to Surging Waves), Mo Hill (Millstone Hill), Luoyan (Diving Wild Goose), Baima (White Horse), Chuidi (Playing Flutes), and Luohong Hills.

Among the six scenic areas, Tingtao and Mo Hill scenic areas are the most two notable and are open to visitors.

The East Lake gate opens to the Tingtao scenic area featuring the rare sequoia especially elegant in late autumn. The Listening-to-the-Waves Tower (Tingtao Xuan), with its classic elegance is one of the famous buildings in this area, along with Land of Water and Cloud (Shuiyun Xiang) which serves as a teahouse, and the Tingtao Inn of Wine, a restaurant offering local fish dishes. On the north, the center of this area, is the Poetry-Reciting Pavilion (Xingyinge), built for memorizing works of Qu Yuan, the great patriotic poet of the State of Chu (one of the seven warring states before Qin (221BC-206BC) in China's first feudal dynasty). Many exhibits about Qu Yuan are featured in this building including his great literary masterpieces. In addition, the first allegory sculpture park in China is here displaying wonderful sculpture and allegories.

Characterized by beautiful landscape, abundant plants, the customs of the State of Chu and unique gardens, the Mo Hill Scenic Area attracts many tourists. In this area, the Chu cultural theme park displays the Chu culture in China. The Botanical Viewing Garden where more than 360 kinds of plants are nursed in 13 special gardens with flowers blooming all the year round - orchids and cherry blossoms in spring, lotus in summer, osmanthus in autumn, and plum blossoms in winter - is also admirable. Two of the most famous are the Cherry Blossom Garden said to be one of the world's three cherry blossom capitals along with Hirosaki in Japan and Washington in America, and the Plum Blossom Garden which is listed as the top plum garden. For more details about Mo Hill, please click Mo Hill. (http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/hubei/wuhan/donghu.htm)

Sounded pretty good to us so we were anxious to find something positive about visiting Wuhan. The Guan Yin temple was ok but it was hugely commercialized with two huge buildings given over to selling Buddhist stuff.

This is the map found at the entrance to the scenic area. It was all in Chinese so we did not spend much time looking at it.

Since it was hot, very hot, we let this guy talk us into using his vehicle to take us around. It was expensive but we were hot.

The lake area is very nice and relaxing. Buildings such as this could be seen all around the area.

This road was beautiful as it cut across one area of the lake. Reminded me of some of the golf courses I have visited in the United States.

One area of the lake offered these pavillions actually out on the water. They looked to be either tea houses or mahjong places or probably both. They looked to be modern with AC and all the conveniences of relaxing on the water.

A beautiful teahouse near the water

As we made our way around the area, there were literally hundreds of carvings and statues like this wall carving.

I thought this picture of a mother photographing her son at one of the many carvings was cute.

Modern-style statues and carvings are all over the place, anywhere there was room.

This dragon statue was especially beautiful and surrounded by beautiful flowers and plants.

The Strange Mini-European Area

This place was a bit overgrown but was also being cleaned out and upgraded. It looked like a mini English town.

A very Chinese looking bridge could be seen among the many lotus plants.

I like lotus flowers so I took lots of them as you can see. Some came out better than others.

We were told that the buildings across the lake that we could just barely make out was one of Mao's many residence

We were offered a trip to Mao's residence but figured it was too hot and too expensive.

Posted by inchinahil 06:16 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Wuhan - Guan Yin Temple

We return to Wuhan and go immediately to see the famous Guan Yin Temple

Jingzhou was great but it was time to return to Wuhan, finish our visit and get back to Emei Mountain. We still had two sites left to visit, Guan Yin Temple and East Lake

Sunee buys our tickets to Wuhan. Easy to do and the lady was nice.

We got a big comfortable bus to make the three hour journey back to Wuhan.

We arrived back to Wuhan, found another cheaper hotel and placed our stuff in the room. The hotel staff was surly and nasty just like the first hotel. Geez, this place really sucks!

After taking a shower and relaxing for a few minutes we get a taxi to Guan Yin Temple, one of the three biggest tourist sites in Wuhan.

Entrance to the famous Wuhan Guan Yin Temple

Inside the temple things were modern with telephones readily available

Little used area out the side for lighting candles

One of the many walkways connecting the various buildings inside the Temple

One has to wonder how they feed all these turtles. There were thousands swimming around.

Too hot to get any closer to this huge Guan Yin statue.

Bright red greeted the visitor to the main building

A beautiful red panel that caught my eye

Ya gotta love these Chinse oval entrance doors. They make for great pictures.

One of the many Buddha buildings which made up the inside of the temple.

A Buddha image inside the above building.

I found this panel to be very interesting but unusually childish in its rendition

An incense burner in front of the main building

Beautiful Chinese gardens were interspersed among the temple buildings. Very relaxing, but it was hot.

One of many incense burners scattered around the temple area.

Sunee was shopping for Feng Sui stuff so we crossed the street. Looking back at Guan Yin Temple.

This little girl at the store for Feng Sui stuff, makes our visit worthwhile. A real sweety.

I really liked this picture of Sunee getting a taxi next to the huge advertisement for Buddhist accessories.

The trip to Guan Yin Temple was worth the effort. It is a huge complex with a lot of history. It is, however, very commercial with two or three buildings dedicated to selling Buddha images and other Buddhist religious items. Most of the people selling the stuff were indiferent and none really smiled as I tried to either visit with them or simply say hello. Wuhan people simply are the most surly and unfriendly people I have met in China. We will not come back.

Posted by inchinahil 06:13 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

Jingzhou, Hubei Province

A trip to see the ancient capitol of Shu from the Three Kingdoms period

To say that we did not like Wuhan would be a huge understatement. It was absolutely the worst place with the most unfriendly people we have ever encountered in China. The place sucked big time. The following poem I penned in remembrance of Wuhan:

Wuhan Culture

The sun bore down upon their greed
With hate-filled eyes they watched us go
We crossed the street in frantic speed
Our smiles rebounded on an ancient foe

The streets were lined with Western signs
Their very lives enriched by foreign ways
From Western culture, a hundred kinds
But for themselves they gave the praise

The hotel staff was surlily bound
With arrogant musings made of air
Each one a product of ignorance found
As they walked around so unaware

The Wuhan Chinese are worthless touts
Oh, for Star Trek shows to beam them up
To planets dark for muffled shouts
Of a culture which would not fill a teacup

The Wuhan Bus Station


This place was busy and very unfriendly. People stared out of hatred and not out of curiosity. We both felt very uneasy. Wuhan people are nasty. It was with great pleasure that we left to go visit the famous Chu Capitol of one of the Three Kingdoms - Jingzhou. The bus left in the morning and we were there in anxious anticipation to get "out of Dodge."

The following narrative and pictures are not in chronological order but in the order in which we thought were the most interesting.

Wanshou Pagoda Park


We looked all over for this place. It is located on the way to Sashi, the sister city that is part of Jingzhou. I have a special interest in Chinese pagodas and the research I had done about the pagoda at this place told me it was a must see. The entrance to the park was very impressive but old. The colors were vibrant with some really eye-catching Buddha statues outside. As we bought our tickets and walked in, we were greeted with smiles and welcomed with open arms.


Wanshou Pagoda (Longevity Pagoda)

Longevity Pagoda was built in the twenty-seventh year of Jiajin reign in the Ming Dynasty (A.D.1548) when the seventh king of Liao in the Ming Dynasty was granted the territory of Jinzhou. The pagoda was built in four years to pray for many happy returns for the emperor Jiajing.

Longevity Pagoda is around 135 feet high, with seven floors and an octahedral structure. It is a pavilion-like pagoda made of bricks and stones but was build to appear to be made out of wood. There are eight white marble Hercules-like figures on each corner of this pagoda footing to support the pagoda. An eight-meter statue of Jieying Buddha is located in middle of the first floor, very impressive. There are dozens of carved niches for Buddha inside and outside of the pagoda; over eighty white marble statues of Buddha are there. Each one different and differing poses. Many of the bricks were fired in a unique way. These bricks are square and have various patterns with five kinds of characters-Man, Tibetan, Hui, Mongolian and Han. There are over 2340 of these bricks. These bricks came from eight provinces and sixteen different prefectures or counties. There is a legend that Buddha donated some of these bricks.

The pagoda has a center core and there are stone stairs open onto each floor; there are four doors in each floor. Looking out the openings on the various floors, one can see the rivers and Jingzhou City in the background, a very beautiful view so I read but was unable to appreciate because of the fog. The top of the pagoda is a gourd-shaped copper, carved with the full text of Vajracchedika-sutra, which is supposed to be very valuable. I went all the way up to the top of the pagoda and did have some difficulty getting through as the stair cases got smaller and smaller. Coming down was even more difficult than going up. The stairs and the bricks are well worn with an amazing amount of sculptures embedded into each stone and polished smooth by visitors rubbing on them. I loved this pagoda.

This pagoda is unique among all the pagodas in China. As you can see from the photos, the base of this pagoda is set 24 feet below of the surrounding grounds of the dam. This is because the bed and the water level of the Changjiang River was gradually raised in the course of years. The pagoda was built on this dam to guard the rivers, to tame the flood and protect Jingzhou.

This is set 24 feet below the surface with carvings and steles embedded into the surrounding rocks.

Three hippos ready to bite. They have hippos in China?

I like this picture of a tree growing out of one of the Buddha platforms.

There were many of these Buddha images set into carved niches around the base of the pagoda

Small but passable staircases all the way up to the top with a center at each floor

Thousands of these buddhas were carved into the bricks on the way up the staircase.

Here you can see that the second floor is actually at ground level as I look out one of the small windows.

This Buddha statue was in pretty bad shape from exposure to hands and the weather. He is on the second floor.

On each of the floors there was a Buddha image. Some were old and some were new.

Buddha images like the two above could be found at all levels of the pagoda. These are old, very old.

I met these two students (English majors) on the top floor of the pagoda. It was dark so the flash worked great.

The is the ceiling of the top floor of the pagoda. Interesting structure I thought.

I loved this picture with the "gazebo" in front and the Wanshou pagoda in the background.

The above pictures give you a good idea of the beauty that surrounded the Wanshou Pagoda. Stunningly nice.

These were Chinese practicing their Tai Chi Chuan. There were about ten people involved in the exercises.

Around Jingzhou

This is the entrance to Jingzhou from Wuhan. My understanding is that this city wall is the best in South China. I love city walls ever since we visited Xian in Shaanxi Province. This wall was marvelous.

It's August and in three days or so the Olympics will begin in Beijing. These advertisements were all over the city.

This is in the area known as the ancient street of Jingzhou. Actually this alley led to the toilets but I loved the paintings on the wall.

These two pictures give a good idea of the Jingzhou Drum Towers. Drum Towers were essential features of all major Chinese cities. I guess they were like the town clock and rallying devices.

Pay money and you can have your photo taken in these ancient transportation vehicles. I snuck this picture without anyone knowing it. A couple of Chinese tried to take some pictures but they were told they had to pay some money.

This was one of the best fortune tellers we have talked to in China. He was dressed the part and accurately guess Sunee's age and where she came from. He was very friendly and we enjoyed talking to him.

This gate was near the Guan Yu Temple and, I think, is the East gate. I love it when the wall has gates all around a city.

Walk out the East gate and this is what you will see. The city mote goes all around the town just like a medieval city in Europe.

This guy visited with us for a while. Jingzhou people are very friendly and made us feel very welcome.

A typical street scene in Jingzhou. Very relaxed and friendly.

When Chinese have some spare time they play Mahjong. We will be learning how to play mahjong soon to join in the fun, if it is fun.

This beautiful restaurant is right inside the main gate on the right. We did not eat there but I did take some pictures as you can see.

We walked out the main gate in the evening and found a place to eat across the river or mote. This is the view looking back across to the main gate.

A bit over priced but the food was good and the service excellent. The location was also pretty impressive. This is what we had. Believe the big one was a pumpkin pork. Really good.

Had to take a smapshot of these grapes. Sunee is learning how to paint grapes using watercolor. Maybe she will paint these grapes.

And, of course, kids are always fun to take pictures of. We met this sweety on one of the busses outside Jingzhou.

Guan Yu Temple in Jingzhou

Origin of Emperor Guan: Emperor Guan was originally the revered Mr. Guan of the Shu kingdom in the Three kingdoms Period. Named Yu and literally titled Yunchang, he was a local of Xieliang county, Puzhou prefecture (now Xieyu county, Shaanxi province). According to legend, Guan was the incarnation of a green dragon. He was born with a heroic look with erect eyes, knitted brows, a wide forehead and a long face. When grown up, he was 9.5 feet tall with a 1.8-foot-long beard. With a jujube-red face, red-phoenix eyes, and lying-silkworm eyebrows, he was a hero able to fight ten thousand men. At the end of the Eastern Han, Guan Yu, Liu Bei and Zhang Fei became sworn brothers in a peach garden and planned to raise troops. At first Guan Yu was defeated and captured by Cao Cao at Xiapi. Cao Cao treated him with special respect and gave him the rank of general. As a loyal commander, he killed Yuan Shao's courageous general Yanliang in battle and saved Cao Cao from dangerous difficulties. Cao appealed to the Emperor to the Marquis of Shouting with very rich largess.

However, after being informed of Liu Bei's whereabouts, Guan left the gold and the marquis's seal untouched and went for Liu. Having founded the Shu kingdom, Liu ordered Guan to defend Xianyang and govern Jinzhou prefecture. Guan defeated Cao Ren and his seven army corps at Fancheng, killing Pang De and capturing Yu Jin, and won resounding fame through the country. Underestimating the enemy from the Wu kingdom, Guan was cheated by the enemy's scheme and suffered defeat at Maicheng and was killed. According to legend, Guan's head was buried in Guan Woods at Luoyang, Henan and his body on Mt. Yuquan at Dangyang, Hubei. Moved by his loyalism and righteousness, later generations have offered sacrifice for him every year. According to Daoist scriptures, Guan manifested himself in theophany and later met the Perfected Man of the Iron Bowl1 , who honored him as Admiral and Earthly Deity. In the Song dynasty, responding to the call of Perfected Man Xujing, the 30th Celestial Master, Guan manifested himself to the emperor, killed monsters, and tamed the flood dragon.

The Zhenzong Emperor praised his merit in protecting the state and blessing the people. In the 1st year (1102 A.D.) of the Chongning Era of the Huizong Emperor, Guan was honored as Loyal and Benefiting Duke. In the 5th year (1123 A.D.) of the Xuanhe Era, he was honored as Righteous and Courageous King of Martial Protection. In the Yuan dynasty, he was honored as Righteous and Courageous King of Martial Protection, Heroic Blessing and Numinous Manifestation. In the early Ming dynasty, people honored him as Grand Warrior Duke Guan and offered sacrifices for him together with Yue Fei. Consequently, martial temples were also called "Temple of Guan and Yue". In the 33rd year (1605 A.D.) of the Wanli Era, the emperor honored him as Imperial Sovereign Saint Guan, Great Emperor Who Defeats the Demons of the Three Realms, and Heavenly Lord Known from Afar for His Divine Power. In the 1st year of the Shunzhi Era in the Qing dynasty, he was honored as Loyal Righteous Divine Courageous and Imperial Saint Guan. In the 5th year (1666 A.D.) of the Kangxi Era, he was honored as Loyal, Righteous, Divine, Courageous, Numinous, Benevolent, Mighty and Imperial Saint Guan. People erected a stele for him in the Guan Woods in Luoyang. Since the Northern Song dynasty, Guan Yu has been one of the law-protecting heavenly deities and known as the Demon-Cleansing Perfected Sovereign8 or as the Great Emperor Who Defeats the Demons. The folk people call him Imperial Sovereign Saint Guan or Emperor Guan. Some people in Taiwan also call him Mysterious Numinous Lofty Emperor. 

Miracles and worship: During the Song and Yuan dynasties, Emperor Guan was a symbol of loyalty and righteousness. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, many Planchette Writing sessions invited Emperor Guan to descend and handed down some writings popular among the people, such as the Perfect Book of Emperor Guan's Enlightenment, the Book of Emperor Guan's Manifest Holiness, and the Admonishment for the Literati. People worship Emperor Guan not merely as a law-protecting heavenly deity, but also as god of war, god of wealth and god of righteousness. They pray to Emperor Guan for many reasons, such as success in imperial examinations, promotion in official ranks, elimination of disasters, curing diseases, exorcising evil, punishing treachery, inspecting hell, blessing merchants, enlarging the exchequer and judging doubtful cases. Secret societies even made the loyalty and righteousness of Emperor Guan their spiritual ligament. For reasons varying from joining the society to becoming sworn brothers, they held all kinds of rituals in front of him, such as burning incense, prostrations and kowtowing, and smearing the blood of sacrifice on mouths when swearing oaths. During the Ming, Qing and Republican periods, Temples of Emperor Guan were built everywhere. Some large-sized Daoist and Buddhist temples also contained images or memorial tablets of Emperor Guan. The popularity of the belief in Emperor Guan can be compared with the cults of City God Temples and local earth spirit temples. According to legend, the holy birthday of Emperor Guan is the 13th day of the 5th month or the 13th day of the 1st month of the lunar year. On the divine birthday of Emperor Guan, temples of Emperor Guan hold celebration rituals. Someone at the end of the Qing dynasty sighed with emotion that the worship of Emperor Guan would be "eternal as heaven and earth". (http://eng.taoism.org.hk/religious-activities-rituals/daoist-folk-customs/pg4-8-22.htm)

Pictures from Guan Yu Temple in Jingzhou

Jingzhou Museum

The main building housing the really good museum of the Three Kingdoms period

I started taking pictures but was told that no photography was allowed. Got these items though

These were some buildings in the back of the main museum. They were called the Treasure House.[/b][/i]

This is a small island in the pond next to the Treasure House. A miniature Chinese landscape, right?

It was just too hot to be walking around a lot!

Sashi Temple

Pictures from the large temple in Sashi

Posted by inchinahil 06:11 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (6)

Wuhan - Yellow Crane Pagoda

We take a flight to Wuhan and spend the first day at a famous pagoda

We arrived to Wuhan in the morning after about an hour's flight. We immediately got our stuff and hired a taxi to take us to Wuhan. The taxi was 70 Yuan and took about an hour. The driver insisted on taking us to a certain hotel as is usually the case. The hotel was expensive and the first thing we felt was that the Chinese people here are not friendly. They resented our presence. I felt it and so did Sunee.

After relaxing and then walking around in the area of the hotel to find some noodles to eat. We then set out to find a street that I had read about. Supposed to have been the street that a movie I had seen was filmed on. The taxi driver was not friendly and, in fact, was surly. He dropped us of at a walking street that was modern and nothing out of the ordinary. We did, however, take a ride on a electric cart and the guy was really friendly. He told us the best place to go now and explained how to get there. Had no idea where we were going but we followed his direction. These directions included a boat trip across the river.

Our boat to cross the river. The people on it were not friendly, none smiling and not impressive.

The famous Yellow Crane Pagoda! So this is where the guy was sending us. Great we will see it first!

These places are not cheap and this one did not give discounts. The people selling the tickets sucked!

Modern tickets to get in were in the form of chits like for a subway.

Had to take a picture of this as we bought one of these later on.

The place had a bunch of these ancient carvings and items to look at.

Classical Chinese gardens and ponds. It lived up to its billing. It was, however, hot - very hot!

A beautiful pond and scenic area not far from the entrance.

To me this looked more Japanese so that probably means it was Tang as that is the style the Japanese copied.

View from the fourth floor of the Pagoda toward the rear.

Views of the back of the Yellow Crane Pagoda

It was very hot so Sunee relaxed while I went picture taking. Here is a lady from Tienjin we visited with. Very nice family!

Panorama view of the Yellow Crane Pagoda from the front gate.

The place is called Yellow Crane Pagoda because of these cranes in the front.

This is the view looking at the front of the Pagoda

Close-up of the front of the pagoda

AN area looking back toward another pagoda

Of course, after we toured the pagoda grounds, Sunee had to go shopping

The college student gave us some help in getting back to our hotel. Very nice young lady.

Posted by inchinahil 06:10 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Chinese Watercolor Learning

Sunee spends her time in the afternoon, studying Chinese watercolor near the Three Gorges Museum

We had a quick lunch around the corner from our hotel. Very cheap and very good. Sunee had an appointment to study Chinese watercolor and I was going to visit the Three Gorges Museum. I have already made an input for the Museum so this will be Sunee's watercolor input.

Fast food lunch of Kung Pao Chicken. Not bad and for around 8 Yuan if memory serves me correctly

This is the entrance to the Curio Shops where the instruction was to take place. This was taken the week before when Lillian showed us around.

Plenty of art stuff to shop for so we spent some time shopping for brushes and paints.

Sunee poses with her instruction. He was very business with many students of all ages during weekends. He was a very friendly and hospitable gentleman.

These are a couple of his students. One was also the teachers niece. Don't remember which it was.

Sunee in the act of learning some watercolor techniques.

The finished product. The teacher specialized in peony flowers.

On the way back to our hotel, I would normally stop in to the local internet cafe. Here the young ladies recognized us and greeted us warmly. They work for the second floor restaurant. The internet cafe is on the third floor.

Posted by inchinahil 06:06 Archived in China Tagged educational Comments (0)

Three Gorges Museum

While Sunee studied her Chinese watercolor, I visit the famous Three Gorges Museum

Over the course of the two weekends in Chongqing, we found Sunee a place to study her Chinese watercolor. The place was actually under the The Great Hall near the Three Gorges Museum. It is called the curio shopping area and she found a very wonderful artist who taught painting on the weekends.

While Sunee painted, I walked over to the Three Gorges Museum. Lillian thought it cost about 30 yuan to get in but this year it was free to the public.

The Three Gorges Museum from in front of the Great Hall of the People.

As I walked across the square, I came across this lovely statue

The museum is huge. It has four levels and four huge exhibit halls on each level. I took a lot of pictures and decided to show a few of these pictures to give you an idea of what was in the museum

These statues were two of about a dozen that depicted important figures in Chinese history that relate to the Three Gorges area

The museum was full of ancient bronze from the area

An absolutely brilliant red exhibition of ancient water vessels

Another ancient bronze

As one would expect, there was a large selection of revolutionary pieces

These figurines were just a few of the thousands on display throughout the museum

An ancient stone coffin used in the area

These items show the carved block used for ink printing. Once again, hundreds of these things on exhibit

I found this carved block to be really strange. Are these aliens from a different planet?

The view as one leaves the Three Gorges Museum. The day was beautiful, don't you think?

Posted by inchinahil 06:04 Archived in China Tagged educational Comments (0)

Chaotienmen Docks

I had read something about shopping in this area, so off we went

We had the morning free before Sunee's watercolor lessons so we decided to go to the Chaotienmen Docks area and do some shopping. I had read that this was a good area to find some bargains. It ended up a waste of time but it was interesting.

The docks area was a typical dock. Dirty and rather unpleasant. This lady was about the only color on the dock

We tried to get some directions for the best shopping. No luck

Stuff to eat, however, was everywhere with Chongqing snacks

These two young ladies helped us get back to our hotel. Both were absolutely sweethearts

Not a great way to spend a morning. Docks are docks all over the world. Next time we will stay away from them unless we are going to go on a cruise.

Posted by inchinahil 06:01 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)