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Chengdu and Jinli Street March 15

Visit to Chengdu and Jinli Ancient Street

overcast 40 °F
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March 15

We left Bangkok at the normal Thai Airlines Flight TG618 which was at 1045 and arrived to Chengdu at the expected time of 1400. Xiao Lin and her husband were waiting for us at the airport, which was a surprise. They helped us rent a couple of taxis to take us to our hotel next to Southwest Jiaotong University. We told Xiao Lin we would come back later as we were scheduled to leave for Taiyuan early in the morning.

We got to our hotel at around 5 PM, checked in and immediately got a couple of taxis to Jinli Ancient Street. Both Sumalee and Supaporn (Sunee's sisters) wanted to do some shopping and looking the first night in China. Sumalee and Jesse (her son) had never been to China before. They brought along with them the GoPro Hero camera I had ordered so I stuck it on Jesse's head and put it in video mode to test out its capabilities.

GoProJesse

GoProJesse

Jessewelcom

Jessewelcom

Jesse and the GoPro ready for movies. The evening was spent walking around Jinli street, shopping, eating and taking pictures and movies. I think everyone had a pretty good time. As for me, I took pictures but, alas, I was only duplicating what I had taken many times before as we have come to this street a dozen times in the three years I taught at the Emei branch of the university. I have to do something to keep myself busy.

Oh, did I mention the temperature was cold?

Maskshop

Maskshop

MomSon

MomSon

Pond

Pond

Posing

Posing

redlatnshdr

redlatnshdr

Seller

Seller

SumaleeWelcome

SumaleeWelcome

Treedecs

Treedecs

An evening well spent, but we had to get back to the hotel and get ready for a 0400 wake up and 0500 leave, because our flight left really early the next morning. A pretty good introduction to China for a couple of new comers, I would think. Tomorrow the adventure begins!

Posted by inchinahil 07:32 Archived in China Tagged shopping china chengdu sichuan_province jinli_ancient_street Comments (0)

Taiyuan March 16

Visit to Taiyuan in Shaanxi Province

sunny 34 °F
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March 16

This morning we caught an early flight out of Chengdu, having to get up at 0500 and go to the airport. Our flight took off at around 0730, so we had very little time at the airport. We arrived to Taiyuan at around 1000 and immediately went to a Hanting Hotel which was downtown Taiyuan, a very good location.

After getting some lunch and relaxing for about an hour we got a couple of taxis to the Twin Pagodas or Shuang Ta Temple. Sunee and I had been here two years ago on our Courtyard Adventure Trip. It was fairly cold and there were only half a dozen people visiting the temple. The management at the temple were very friendly and helpful. Did I say it was cold?

01_Flttotaiyuan

01_Flttotaiyuan

A view from the airplane, about half an hour from Taiyuan.

02_HotelWait

02_HotelWait

Waiting for our taxis to go to the Twin Pagodas.

03_Tourists

03_Tourists

Bangkok tourists not used to the cold weather. Actually Jesse and Sumalee live in Wisconsin and Minnesota so they were very much used to this temps. In fact, it probably felt like spring to them.

04_AncientBuilding

04_AncientBuilding

Got all the pictures the first time around but I had to have something to do. Check them out.

05_PagodaShot

05_PagodaShot

06_Photosession

06_Photosession

07_Photographer

07_Photographer

08_PrayerRoom

08_PrayerRoom

09_Rafters

09_Rafters

10_Rooflion

10_Rooflion

11_twins

11_twins

12_Shuanghdrgrounds

12_Shuanghdrgrounds

13_SingleHDR

13_SingleHDR

14_hexview1

14_hexview1

Very much like pictures taken by everyone who visits the temple. It is nice, well laid out with enough ancient buildings to keep one interested. The sales shop ended up where we spent a lot of time. The guy in there was friendly and anxious to make some sales so we helped him out a lot. Everyone involved was happy.

We had a hard time finding taxis back to the hotel, so we took a bus to a busier intersection to get our taxis. That evening we negotiated for our trip to Mount Wutai. Got a van, hotel reserved and entry tickets all for a decent price. We were ready to start our trip to the Holy Mountains of China (or at least one of them).

Posted by inchinahil 06:49 Archived in China Tagged shopping china shaanxi_province buddhist_temple tourist_site Comments (0)

Mount Wutai March 17 - 18

Visit to the Holy Buddhist Mountain of Wutai

sunny 29 °F
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March 17

Our rented van came by the hotel this morning at around 0800, so we packed up and headed out to the Mount Wutai area. The weather was cool, almost cold with a few clouds in the sky. The trip took about three hours total which brought us to the normal entrance one expects to see at such a mountain site. Since we had made a packaged deal with the tour agency who provided us with the van, the driver had to make all the arrangements with the state-run cultural area.

01_MTWutaiMaps

01_MTWutaiMaps

Some very Tibetan-looking touts came up to sell us some maps. Of course, I had to buy one, against the wishes of Sunee.

01_WutaiHotel

01_WutaiHotel

About forty minutes up the mountain we are dropped off at our hotel. The hotel was just OK but later we would find that it had little or no heat and the temperature was going to get really cold at night.

02_Lunch

02_Lunch

Since it was around noon when we checked into our hotel rooms, we went ahead and had lunch at the hotel restaurant. Not too expensive and not too good but enough to get by.

03_buswaiting

03_buswaiting

There is always a system of transportation on all of these famous mountains from Emei to Huang. Usually the entrance ticket will get one a free ride on buses going up and down the mountain. Wutai was no different. We walked out to the front of our hotel and caught the first bus headed up the mountain. We traveled on it all the way to as far as it was going and then worked our way down. Actually we did not have that much time so we only visited three temples.

04_IncenseBurn

04_IncenseBurn

The temple where the bus stopped was very small and obviously very old. It was active as I saw several monks strolling around or studying in the courtyards.

05_firstvisit

05_firstvisit

The wood on the entrance was well-worn but still in good shape. We spent about half an hour in this small temple and the pictures taking opportunities were excellent as you can see from the following samples.

05_insidebuddha

05_insidebuddha

06_Monkstudy

06_Monkstudy

07_Monkclose

07_Monkclose

08_columns

08_columns

08_WutaishanHdr2

08_WutaishanHdr2

09_insidebuddha

09_insidebuddha

10_Prayders

10_Prayders

When we came out of this temple I saw this older gentlemen sitting on the steps in a position of prayer or meditation. Very authentic!

11_waiting

11_waiting

We also saw this group of nuns waiting for the bus. One came in about ten minutes and we all climbed aboard headed to the big temple we had seen coming up the road.

12_onbuspass

12_onbuspass

On the way down, I snapped this picture of a temple on the left. It appeared to be a temple where the monks were interned after their passing. Reminded me of what we had seen at Shao Lin Temple in Hunan Province and the little temple near Fuhu Temple on Mount Emei.

13_GreatWhiteDagoba

13_GreatWhiteDagoba

The Tayuan Temple on Mount Wutai with its Great White Dagoba is supposed to be one of the most important. We spent a couple of hours visiting it and, of course, I took a lot of pictures.

14_tayuan

14_tayuan

15_mtntemple

15_mtntemple

16_TayuanEntrance

16_TayuanEntrance

17_tayuanside

17_tayuanside

18_Monkandguys

18_Monkandguys

19_HappyBuddha

19_HappyBuddha

20_HappyBase

20_HappyBase

21_walkway

21_walkway

22_coldcourtyard

22_coldcourtyard

As is evident of the snow, the temperature was right at freezing and with the wind it was downright cold.

23_toilets

23_toilets

When one has to, one has to. One of the worst "has to" places I have had the misfortune of visiting outside the silk road to Western China. Talk about rustic!

24_smalldagoba

24_smalldagoba

25_fish

25_fish

26_MainHall

26_MainHall

27_Burner

27_Burner

28_TempleCourtyard

28_TempleCourtyard

29_monkwork

29_monkwork

30_swingprater

30_swingprater

One of the most interesting areas of the temple was the prayer wheels that wen all around the base of one of the buildings. I saw several monks and nuns walking around this base and spinning the wheels.

31_PrayerWheel

31_PrayerWheel

32_spinning

32_spinning

33_Morespinners

33_Morespinners

And the spinning continues, continues, continues. . .

34_WutaiPagodaview

34_WutaiPagodaview

This is one of my favorite pictures of the trip. It was taken from the side of Tayuan temple looking out toward the mountains in the distance. Beautiful!

36_tourguide

36_tourguide

This is the tour guide who eventually helped us get a van the next day for our continuation trip to Datong. She looked to be very Tibetan but was very nice.

37_pagodafront

37_pagodafront

One final picture of the temple (HDR with multiple exposure modes). The sky was especially beautiful this day.

Getting back to the hotel was a breeze as we only had to wait a few minutes to catch it. The tour guide made the appropriate phone calls and we had a van to our next destination scheduled at around 1000 the next morning. That night, however, was the coldest I have been since we lived in Alaska in the early 1980s. It was cold!

March18

The next morning we got up really early. Sunee had made arrangements for us to take a couple of taxis up to the Guan Yin Temple about half an hour or so away. She wanted to visit this temple specifically because she had been watching a lot of Chinese movies with this temple as the backdrop. The wind was gusting and the air was very cold when we got into the taxi and went to visit the temple.

101_StepsFront

101_StepsFront

Arriving to the temple found it locked up tight. It took a good fifteen or twenty minutes to roust the monks up to open the doors for us. They were friendly but professional as we entered the temple.

102_Guanyingfront

102_Guanyingfront

103_Guanyingtowerview

103_Guanyingtowerview

105_Gurnyingview

105_Gurnyingview

107_roustedmonk

107_roustedmonk

I was able to take several pictures outside before we got a monk to open the doors. He was neither unhappy nor happy to see us.

108_WheelBuddha

108_WheelBuddha

Inside we found Guan Yin as expected but also a beautiful temple.

109_FirstCourtyard

109_FirstCourtyard

110_SecondCourt

110_SecondCourt

The temple had at least two courtyards and it was obvious that this temple was very old but well maintained.

111_Guanyin1

111_Guanyin1

112_Guanyin2

112_Guanyin2

114_Guanyin4

114_Guanyin4

Back inside out of the wind (but not the cold) I took several more pictures of the images. We were in a hurry so we got our taxis back down to our hotel where our van to Datong awaited us. Sunee negotiated a shopping stop on the way out of the area, so I had a few more minutes to find some things to photograph.

115_anothertemple

115_anothertemple

This temple was across the street from where Sunee and family were shopping. It was about half way up the mountain and very nice.

116_Coldgirl

116_Coldgirl

In front of the store where Sunee was shopping, I saw a bunch of Tibetan women hanging around waiting for something. This was the best I could do from inside the van without bringing any attention to myself. It was just too cold to get out of the car and take pictures!

We left Mount Wutai about 1100 and it took a little over two hours to get to our negotiated next site - The Wood Pagoda.

118_Frontgate

118_Frontgate

Bye bye Mount Wutai!

119_Mutatown

119_Mutatown

Hello, Yingxian and the wooden pagoda or Shuozhou Pagoda. Sunee and I stopped here on our Courtyard Trip the year before and I loved it.

120_mutafrontgate

120_mutafrontgate

This pagoda is about 45 miles from our next destination of Datong so we could spend a couple of hours here and have lunch as well. The pagoda is the oldest and highest wooden structure in China. According to the TravelChinaGuide internet site (http://www.travelchinaguide.com)it is regarded as the 'First Pagoda in the World." It was built around 1056 and is

Built during the Liao Dynasty (about 1056), this wooden pagoda has about 900 years of history. It has a height of about 220 feet tall with around 100 foot diameter long. "The Pagoda appears as a five-storey structure, but in fact it has a total of nine stories with four hidden inside." Unfortunately ne can only go up to the second floor. This time all the windows were closed to keep out the wind so there was very little to see. I got some great shots the last time from this second floor. The wood in the structure is in fairly good shape with a lot of wear and tear in some areas. I have always wondered how this structure survived the Cultural Revolution when so many of these old temple buildings were burned to the ground.

121_mutadoubleguardshdr

121_mutadoubleguardshdr

122_Mutafront

122_Mutafront

123_mutaguanyin

123_mutaguanyin

124_Mutahappy

124_Mutahappy

126_scary

126_scary

127_Mutastraight

127_Mutastraight

128-Sidebuddha

128-Sidebuddha

As you can see, I still took lots of pictures. The pagoda grounds had been cleaned up and the whole area looked as if it had been revamped for the tourist trade. We actually had visited this place two years previously. A lot of positive changes had been made over the course of those two years. BRAVO!

It took another two hours to get to Datong and find us a hotel. The hotel we found was inexpensive and fairly nice. We did, however, have a hard time finding a place to eat as we were located fairly far from downtown Datong. I was amazed at how friendly the people were who walked by us. Everyone we saw seemed to greet us with a smile. This was not what I had expected from reading the guide sites on the internet. I had a good feeling about this town. Too bad we would only get to stay here overnight.

Posted by inchinahil 03:54 Archived in China Tagged shopping china shaanxi_province tourist_site buddhist_mountain mount_wutai Comments (0)

Datong And The Yungong Buddhist Caves March 19

Visit to the Yungong Buddhist Caves

overcast 38 °F
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March 19

We negotiated a van for our trip to Yungong Buddhist Caves and Beijing the previous evening with the tour agency located in the hotel lobby. Actually, it appeared that both the tour agency and hotel were one in the same. The van showed up at around 0800, right on time.

01_vantobeijing

01_vantobeijing

As nice a van as one could ask for and it should be for 2500 Yuan. Of course, the tickets to Beijing would have cost each of us 500 yuan, so we were actually saving money. Plus we would get to spend the morning at the famous Yungong Cave Complex outside of Datong on the way to Beijing.

02_comfort

02_comfort

Is this the way to travel, or what?

The caves did not disappoint as one can easily see. Enjoy the pictures from one of the great Buddhist sites in the world. Magnificent!

3_Moretourists

3_Moretourists

03_YungangVisitHall

03_YungangVisitHall

04_Entrance

04_Entrance

05_EntranceDoor

05_EntranceDoor

06_Insidedoor

06_Insidedoor

07_EntrancePath

07_EntrancePath

08_thegroup

08_thegroup

09_ThePath

09_ThePath

10_ColdSunee

10_ColdSunee

Yes, it was cold, very cold with a little breeze thrown in for frostbite now and again.

11_Monument

11_Monument

12_Anothermonument

12_Anothermonument

13_pose

13_pose

14_Goldheldbudda

14_Goldheldbudda

15_templeview

15_templeview

16_Yungangtemple

16_Yungangtemple

Yeh, that water is really frozen and there was still snow on the ground in patches. It was cold!

17_Pagoda

17_Pagoda

18_Carvings1

18_Carvings1

19_Carvings2

19_Carvings2

20_WoodTemple

20_WoodTemple

21StillCold

21StillCold

22_WoodMask

22_WoodMask

23_Tourists

23_Tourists

24_carvings3

24_carvings3

25_Carvings4

25_Carvings4

26_Carvings5

26_Carvings5

27_Carvings6

27_Carvings6

28_Carvings7

28_Carvings7

29_Carvings8

29_Carvings8

30_PhotosAllowed

30_PhotosAllowed

31_Carvings9

31_Carvings9

32_Niece

32_Niece

Here is a tourist picture of my niece who lives across the street from us in Bangkok. She was using an Olympus Pen F or some such little powerful camera. The family had a great time but we had to get on the road to Beijing so we left around noon for the expected six hour trip.

Surprise! We had to wait for around two hours on a huge traffic jam one hour out of Beijing. Unbelievable! Too many vehicles wanting to enter the capital city no doubt. I understand that this is not unusual!

We checked into our hotel at around 8 PM and relaxed by finding a place nearby to eat. Another long and fruitful day in China.

Posted by inchinahil 01:34 Archived in China Tagged shopping china datong shaanxi_province tourist_site yungong_buddhist_cave Comments (0)

Beijing March 20-22

Visit Beijing to shop and sitesee

overcast 41 °F
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March 20

We got up early today to go see some sites but mostly shopping. I remembered a place near the Temple of Heaven that was fantastic the last time Sunee and I visited China. I did not know for sure where it was but figured such a big place could be found. No problem. The place turned out to be even bigger than I remembered - Hongqiao Market! So . . . the morning was spent shopping with the idea of coming back later to visit the Temple of Heaven.

02_Shopping

02_Shopping

03_WowShop

03_WowShop

11_Saleslady

11_Saleslady

Shopping for everything one can imagine. But, there are sites to see so we took a taxi to Tiananmen Square to get serious about a Beijing visit.

04_Mao

04_Mao

05_ForSale

05_ForSale

06_ChopMaking

06_ChopMaking

07_Smileforcamera

07_Smileforcamera

08_Reflections

08_Reflections

09_finishedchop

09_finishedchop

10_Gottatakeit

10_Gottatakeit

Tourist photos all over the place. The whole area was crowded with people, too many, so we decided to forgo entering the Forbidden City. We just walked around the area shopping and taking pictures. We did meet, however, a tour guide (tout) who offered us a trip to the Great Wall and other places in a private van. We ended up calling him at the hotel and set up the tour. With six people, it is not easy to travel independently!

March 21

Yep, did the tour to the Great Wall with a private van. Nice way to get around if one can afford it.

101_Greatwall1

101_Greatwall1

102_Greatwall2

102_Greatwall2

104_Redbuidling

104_Redbuidling

105_Entrance

105_Entrance

106_Wallgroup

106_Wallgroup

107_HDREntrance

107_HDREntrance

108_HSRbuidling

108_HSRbuidling

109_HDRGreatwall

109_HDRGreatwall

110_Rock

110_Rock

111_Terracottas

111_Terracottas

Been there, done that but Sunee's family had not so while they climbed the wall, Sunee and I kicked back in warmer surroundings and did a little shopping. Things are expensive at the tourist sites so we did not buy anything except a cup of coffee. Aren't the above pictures so typical of pictures taken by tourists from around the world?

112_Drtea

112_Drtea

113_teademo

113_teademo

And, of course, no Chinese tour would be complete without visiting at least two "factories" or stores to present discounted wares to the tourists. This time we stopped at a tea place and a silk factory. The silk factory is always a favorite place for tours to stop. I did enjoy the tea shop, even though, their tea was way overpriced. Bought a tiny tea set on sale just so I could say I bought something.

We had the van driver drop us off at the Russian Market (I had read about it on the internet). Talk about a difference! Sales people here were nasty and rude. We spent about an hour and realized it was a really bad place to shop. Made plans to return to Hongqiao Market tomorrow.

Long day, so we returned to our hotel and explored the area around it, finding several good places to eat. Tomorrow we will return to Chengdu in the evening so we have some time in the morning to visit the Temple of Heaven.

March 22

Today we got up early and caught taxis to the Temple of Heaven. Most of the morning was spent on the Temple grounds. It was not warm but the Chinese tourists were out in force. Again tourist pictures all over the place.

201_Caligraphy

201_Caligraphy

202_Templeview1

202_Templeview1

203_Exercise

203_Exercise

205_Templeview2

205_Templeview2

205_Templeview3

205_Templeview3

207_GroupTemple

207_GroupTemple

209_ANotherGroup

209_ANotherGroup

210_TempleHDR

210_TempleHDR

211_GroupPhoto

211_GroupPhoto

212_Opendoortemple

212_Opendoortemple

213_Outbuilding

213_Outbuilding

We spent most of the morning on the Temple grounds and then walked over to the Hongqiao Market to finish out our trip to Beijing. I found some really inexpensive accessories for my Canon 7D, so I ended up being delighted with this trip to Beijing.

214_bikes

214_bikes

Got this picture on the way out of the Temple area. Kind of tells the story of the crowds.

We caught our flight from a secondary and small airport with no problems and were back in Chengdu that evening. We decided to stay close to the Chengdu airport, so we found a hotel just down the road. Not a nice place but adequate. No heat to speak of for the very cold Sichuan night. The next morning we saw Sunee's family off to Bangkok and caught us a taxi to Emei City to take a break from all the excitement of traveling in China.

Posted by inchinahil 00:00 Archived in China Tagged shopping china beijing tourist_sites Comments (0)

Hangzhou April 2 Evening

We visit the night market which turns out to be a huge tourist walking street not far from our hotel

sunny 64 °F
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It took us three full days to find the night market we had heard so much about. Was this a problem with Sunee's Chinese or just lousy directions. We finally found it this evening and it was only three blocks from our hotel. The way was easy and had some interesting things along the way.

54_Onwaytonightmkt

54_Onwaytonightmkt

The road leading to the night market was filled with upscale department stores and speciality shops that sold jewelry, branded clothes and upscale restaurants. Very clean and very modern.

55_Trolley

55_Trolley

About two blocks from the night market we found this old trolly. We were in Hangzhou a little off season but it looked like this thing was used to carry tourist to and from the night market.

56-Familyinstone

56-Familyinstone

This carved family scene was also within two blocks of the night market. It was very impressive with a lot of detail. Is this a Chinese extended family? It looked like it from what we saw.

57_XmasinApril

57_XmasinApril

It was April and the Christmas signs were still out. See, they celebrate Christmas everywhere in China. Wonder why it is such a problem in the States? PC PC PC PC PC. No such problems exist in Thailand either which is 95% Buddhist. Ignorance comes before the falll!

58_FriendTaiwan

58_FriendTaiwan

We met Jenny Cheng almost immediately upon starting our night market walk She was an American (parents originally from Taiwan) and working in Shanghai. She was a newly-minted architecture. Her last name is the same as Sunee's. She was eating a grilled squid which looked good but weird. When she saw me looking at it she said in perfect American English - "Do you want one? They are just down the road and are cheap." Surprised, I then visited with her about her Americanism. She was wonderful, smart and sweet so I had to get her picture for this blog.

59_Shopchop

59_Shopchop

The next hour we spent getting some chops made for Sunee. I think she bought four from this shop.

60_ChopSeals

60_ChopSeals

60_ChopShop

60_ChopShop

61_ChopMaking1

61_ChopMaking1

62_ChopMaking2

62_ChopMaking2

63_Chopmaking3

63_Chopmaking3

64_Chopmaking4

64_Chopmaking4

65_chopselection

65_chopselection

The lady "chopper" had a great selection of chops to chose from and she did not mind me taking all the pictures I wanted. We had a great time watching her work and visiting with her about art and chops.

66_Photographer

66_Photographer

Now you know where my Facebook mug shot came from.

67_Oldmandandchopper

67_Oldmandandchopper

68_Rockchoppers

68_Rockchoppers

The above two pictures came out really well so I included them here.

69_LongjingTea

69_LongjingTea

Hangzhou is the birth place of the number one tea in China - Dragon Well Green Tea or Longjing Cha. Expensive, yes but I talked Sunee into buying a few kilo.

70_WalkingTourArea

70_WalkingTourArea

71_GiftShopping

71_GiftShopping

72_HandicraftSt

72_HandicraftSt

73_TeaShop

73_TeaShop

74_Handicraft

74_Handicraft

75_BigBuddha

75_BigBuddha

As you can see from the above pictures, the night market in Hangzhou did not disappoint. It is large, bustling with lots to see, eat and shop. This was a highlight of our stay in Hangzhou.

Posted by inchinahil 22:33 Archived in China Tagged shopping hangzhou zhejiang_province green_tea Comments (0)

Courtyard Dream House Adventure (July 31 - August 1)

Taiyuan to Hefei, Anhui Province


View Courtyard House Adventure on inchinahil's travel map.

Hefei

Our plane was supposed to take off for Hefei at around 2030 (8:30pm). Unfortunately it got delayed and we ended up waiting for nearly five hours. Hey, if one has to wait, why not at an airport.

Waiting at leisure at Taiyuan Airport

Waiting at leisure at Taiyuan Airport

We are finally scheduled to leave

We are finally scheduled to leave

It was very early in the morning (0230) by the time we got to the Hanting Hotel in Hefei. We were both tired from the long day that we slept in. Got up and had a leisurely breakfast (the hotel supplied me with a KFC breakfast to go). The morning was late so we decided to check out the local tea market area to find some famous Anhui Province tea. I was especially interested in getting some Tai Ping Hou Kuei green tea. It was a nice visit to the tea market which was not busy at all.

Melon Pieces green tea

Melon Pieces green tea

There was definitely tea for sale here

There was definitely tea for sale here

I had read about what teas to buy while in Anhui Province. In Hefei, one would want to buy the Taiping Houkuei and the Lo An Guapian (Melon Pieces) green teas. And that is exactly what we were looking for. The Taiping Houkuei or monkey picked green tea comes from Taiping lake and is very unique in its shape and color. The Lo An Guapian comes from the Lo-an district outside Hefei.

The world famous Tai Ping Hou Kuei tea

The world famous Tai Ping Hou Kuei tea

Testing a good quality taiping houkuei

Testing a good quality taiping houkuei

Big variety of tea

Big variety of tea

Some huangshan maofeng green tea

Some huangshan maofeng green tea

Negotiating for our Taiping Houkuei tea

Negotiating for our Taiping Houkuei tea

It had been a long day previously so all we did the remainder of the day is walk around and do some shopping. I got a great collection of tea music cds and dvds at the local book and music store. We took an early dinner and went to bed early. Older folks are like that!

The next morning we were up early and walked behind the hotel for an Anhui Province breakfast. I had already had my KFC breakfast to go but Sunee was hungry.

Hefei Breakfast

Hefei Breakfast

During my research on Hefei and its attraction, I came upon a small article about a newly opened ancient town not far from Hefei. We decided it would be an adventure to visit it. It was called Sanhe 三和. It was supposed to be 2500 years old with a beautiful buildings and river. The bus took about a half hour to get to. It was not disappointing at all

Entrance to Sanhe ancient town

Entrance to Sanhe ancient town

Part of the town had a wall around it which looked to have been freshly renovated. Sort of like a fort with its own canon.

The deadly canon of Sanhe

The deadly canon of Sanhe

An unusual and old lantern

An unusual and old lantern

Some of the local cuisine. Glad I had that KFC breakfast because this food looked a little rough

Some of the local cuisine. Glad I had that KFC breakfast because this food looked a little rough

The local transportation

The local transportation

A walled courtyard style building

A walled courtyard style building

A very nice river view

A very nice river view

Along the river

Along the river

The Sanhe pagoda

The Sanhe pagoda

River portrait

River portrait

A small temple

A small temple

A diligent wood carver

A diligent wood carver

Sanhe street scene

Sanhe street scene

Fanmakers

Fanmakers

Very Chinese stand of weeping willows

Very Chinese stand of weeping willows

We spent most of the day in Sanhe and had a traditional Sanhe lunch. Actually, this is a joke as we asked for a typical local style lunch and ended up with some sliced tomatoes sprinkled with sugar. We still joke about the local Sanhe cuisine.

After getting back to Hefei a little late we decided to find a restaurant within walking distance from the hotel. Found a restaurant that served fast food style Chinese food. Nothing great but OK. We did not find anything exceptional about this province's cuisine. On the way back from the restaurant I came across this Rolls Royce. Took me a few minutes but then I realized it was sitting in front of a wedding studio. This is very common in the larger cities in China.

An end to another great adventure in China.

17_Rolls

17_Rolls

Posted by inchinahil 06:22 Archived in China Tagged shopping taiyuan hefei anhui_province Comments (0)

Courtyard Dream House Adventure (August 2)

Huangshan Area


View Courtyard House Adventure on inchinahil's travel map.

Tunxi

This morning we got up fairly early and took a taxi to the south bus station where we caught the bus to Tunxi in the Huangshan area. The trip took about four hours and the scenery was fabulous. Lots of tea plantations along the way.

A relaxed bus trip

A relaxed bus trip

Sunee never relaxes, she is always studying Chinese

Sunee never relaxes, she is always studying Chinese

A nice tea plantation along the road

A nice tea plantation along the road

Tea Plants

Tea Plants

We arrived to Tunxi and got a taxi to a reasonable hotel on the edge of the ancient town. A nice hotel and a nice location. We got checked in then spent the rest of the day exploring the ancient streets and buildings mostly Ming Dynasty style.

Tunxi Ancient Arch

Tunxi Ancient Arch

Ancient street

Ancient street

Tunxi is famous for the four treasures of study: paper, brushes, ink and ink stones. We ended up shopping quite a bit for Sunee to find some nice brushes and ink. She was not interested in the ink stones nor the paper. The paper we could buy in Chengdu and it is the best one can buy.

Buying one of the four treasures:Brushes

Buying one of the four treasures:Brushes

One must always check the brushes before buying

One must always check the brushes before buying

And continue to check them

And continue to check them

A college student on his summer break

A college student on his summer break

More ancient streets

More ancient streets

Tunxi and Anhui are famous for their stinky tofu. Boy was it stinky!

Molded, rotten, stinky dofu

Molded, rotten, stinky dofu

Not Sunee's favorite

Not Sunee's favorite

A unique wooden Street sign

A unique wooden Street sign

Fabulous Ming Dynasty wooden building

Fabulous Ming Dynasty wooden building

Weaving as a tourist attraction

Weaving as a tourist attraction

We never turn down Chinese baked bread

We never turn down Chinese baked bread

Took us most of the day, but we finally came to the end of the ancient streets of Tunxi. Time for dinner and local cuisine. Found a nice restaurant and ordered locally. After dinner we enjoyed the sunset on the local lake.

The local cuisine

The local cuisine

Sunset

Sunset

Posted by inchinahil 06:22 Archived in China Tagged food architecture shopping tea huangshan tunxi ancient_town buddhist-temple anhui-province Comments (0)

Courtyard Dream House Adventure (August 5 - 6)

Return to Hefei


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Hefei

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)

To Market, To Market

A quick trip to our local Emei Mountain fresh food market

This is a series of pictures to show what is now "hot" in our local fresh fruit and veggies market about a ten minute walk from our apartment on Southwest Jiaotong University campus.

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It's time to go shopping at the local market

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The market place is also a beer bottle recycling location. Interesting greens here.

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As usual, there are lots of vegetables

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Ahh, it must be pumpkin time in China

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These pumpkins are great. Looking to make a pumpkin pie soon!

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This is Sichuan Province so peppers are everywhere

Grapes.jpg
It is also grape season but they are still a bit sour

goodcombo.jpg
This is a great combination of veggies

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Also it is plum season

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Eggplants and other veggies are always available

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Cucumbers! The long or the short.

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Anybody for some pork, cut to your specs

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Sunee is always looking to do business with the older generation like this lady

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This is used to steam the Chinese bread or mantou. I love it!

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And then, of course, we need bananas

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Finished shopping and it is time to go home

Posted by inchinahil 20:22 Archived in China Tagged shopping Comments (0)

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