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Contrasts

Everyday Ganyu

Residing in a four star hotel does not mean being detached from everyday Chinese life. I took a few quick pictures all within a half a block from our hotel front door. The street is humming with activity day and night. China is a busy place. Our walk (two blocks) to school is more of the same with
music of every kind coming from various commercial establishments. There is much to absorb and observe but the pace is quick one would like to be invisible and be able to film and take photos for hours003.jpg on end. For now a few quick photos from my phone will have to do.005.jpg
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Posted by annhcrowley 05:37 Comments (0)

Rooms with a view

Shanghai, Nanjing,Ganyu

What makes a hotel experience a good one? What does one really need? In Shanghai I had the proverbial room with a view.
Looking out my 9th story window at the lights on the Bund the night I arrived was spectacular. One felt immediately transported to another world.
In the early morning I watched the kite flyers and the boats on the Pudong.
In Nanjing the room overlooked a beautiful lush park area. When pulling aside the drapes I saw the printed notice attached to them. It read" The hotel is in the grass. The mosquitos swarm, please the sandscreen closed keep." Once again the charm of language made me smile.
In Ganyu a former government hotel, once posh--perhaps in the 50's or 60's. The convenient location outweighing any deficits.
The hotel garden down below seen through rain streaked windows when we arrived. Shortly the deficits mounted--interior walls soaked with rain, intermittent access to the internet, electrical challenges. A change was deemed necessary. Going a mere two blocks and we entered a brand new hotel, open only 10 days.
Eager staff, fresh clean rooms with all the eletric and wifi in working order. Who could ask for anything more?

Posted by annhcrowley 06:04 Archived in China Comments (0)

Houston

Packing for China July 2,2012

Heading back to China. Curious to see what it seems like the second time around.

Posted by annhcrowley 17:42 Comments (0)

Yangshou

Back to Nature

IMG_0953.jpgIMG_0959.jpgStaying at the Yangshou Village Inn was a trip back in time. We stayed in one of the rooms in a restored farmhouse, had breakfast and post hiking beers in the shady Pomelo grove. Dinners were on the roof top (4th floor) terrace overlooking the village and looking up at the famed Moon Hill. The entire area is covered with Karst mountains and small villages. Yangshou city, about 5 km away, is a bit of a crazy tourist place. Hundreds of buses of Chinese tourists visit the area on any given day. We briefly braved the crowds, hopping the 3 yuan mini bus on the highway into the city one evening....hopped a quick taxi back to the village after about an hour, opted for a delicious meal on the terrace. We hiked up Moon Hill the next morning---800+ steps carved into the trail.... a relatively brutal climb...a beautiful view back towards our village once we got to the top. A motorized bamboo raft up and down the Li river made for a more leisurely afternoon. The following day we hiked along the river for several kilometers taking in the scenery, including many a water buffalo. After walking a couple of hours we hopped a little 3 wheeled cart (moments before heat stroke set in) for the rest of the way to Dragon's bridge. Apparently the map we had consulted was not drawn to scale. The Karst mountains keep enticing one on with the thought that just around the next one....we'll be there. And Anna is legendary for her "Oh, its not so far......" Once we got to the bridge we contracted a raft, a rather strange non-process, a bit of a mystery to unravel. The bamboo rafts on the Yu river drift with the current and one goes over a series of weirs, some a few feet of a drop--pretty hilarious. The front of the raft submerges and your feet and sometimes your seat get wet.The rafts take two persons in a sort of recliner bamboo chair secured to the raft. The 'driver' stands behind and poles the raft along. One sits under a standard multicolored "beach umbrella". We drifted along and spent about two hours getting back to where we had started our hike. There all the rafts are pulled out of the water, stacked on little diesel dump trucks and hauled back up to the starting point. It is an amazing continuous process. At the starting point they are dumped back in the water.
The following day we lazed around, lingered to read in the Pomelo grove after breakfast. I spent awhile wandering the village itself. In the afternoon we headed to the 1400 year old Banyan tree park about 1-2 km down the main road. Inadvertently, after seeing the actual tree, we ended up on the backside of the park and began walking along a village path. In our minds the path would ultimately bring us back to the main road...wrong again. We ended up behind more Karst hills. It was interesting seeing how people live and farm in these small places. We were a bit shaken when two massive water buffaloes charged out of the pond they were lazing in---we must have startled them--they certainly startled us. After about 90 minutes we did mangage to wend our way back to civilization. We reconnected with the main road not far from our village. Made it home just as the rains started. We enjoyed a cool Tsingtao under the umbrellas in the grove.
Staying in a small, out of the way, place had some terrific advantages. The Inn had excellent food, both Chinese and Italian, with an excellent wine list. When staying in a big city, figuring out where and what to eat is one of the often not so fun parts of the day. Having a wonderful breakfast and a great meal on the terrace in the evening made our stay most relaxing and enjoyable. No tv was a plus and wifi was terrific. We slept with the windows wide open a couple of nights.

Posted by annhcrowley 08:45 Comments (0)

Modern china

Guangzhou

A few days in Guangzhou give a hint at what modern China is and will become. Formerly Canton, an historically important city, it is a growing thriving metropolis. We had the serendipitous good fortune to choose a hotel directly adjacent to the EastGuangzhou Station. this gave us easy access to the metro and any place we wanted to visit. Being ill prepared and not having the city on our radar initially, we did manage to see the most important historical sights and enjoy some of the older areas. Shamian was fascinating and a lovely area to walk around, we found a cool spot for a drink and a terrific Thai restaurant. There is an excellent Museum built around a tomb of a Nanyue emperor that was excavated in the 1990's. Sun Yat Sen's Mansion was also remarkable and a terrific look at a significant part of China's history. We found a marvelous Uigher restaurant one evening and made a brave foray into the "fabric mart". Virtually everything clothing wise produced for sale in the U.S. starts in China----we stumbled upon acres of stalls of every possible embellishment ((think anything you've seen at JCresw BananaRepublic, Gap,) buildings of stalls with every fabric choice imaginable---fancy, cheap, mens, womens, all of this takes place in a heightened chaotic atmosphere, carts, motor bikes, zipping in and out loaded with whatever----most stalls are wholesalers--some actually will sell you fabric---sensory overload for sure---hundreds of stalls selling buttons, or fur trim or rhinestones---not to mention patches...
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Posted by annhcrowley 07:41 Comments (0)

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