S: People's Republic of China - Chengdu, Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Kunming, Guilin, Yangshuo and Guangzhou
FC: China September 24 - October 14, 2010 Book 2 | Chengdu, Sichuan Province | Lijiang, Yunnan Province | Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan Province | Guangzhou, Guangdong Province | Kunming, Yunnan Province | Guilin, Guanxi Province | Yangshuo, Guanxi Province
1: Chengdu Sichuan Province | . | Chengdu | Tianfu Square Metro Station.
2: Westernization at its best:Gina's Gelato ripping off the Wendy's restaurant logo (above) and a Louis Vuitton flagship store (right) near Tianfu Square.
3: The Temple of the Marquis of Wu was expanded to its current size in 1672. | above: A statue of Zhuge Liang (181-234 AD) chancellor of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms Period. left: A Sichuanese-style guardian statue decorates the top of a banister in the Temple of the Marquis of Wu.
6: This gardens in the Temple of the Marquis of Wu offer fine examples of Chinese penjing, a gardening technique that creates a miniature landscape on a slab of stone. "Penjing," translates to, "tray scenery," in English.
7: left: A dragon statue in the Temple of the Marquis of Wu. below: Canals along Jinli Ancient Street.
8: left: Incense burning in front of an altar to Liu Bei at the Temple of the Marquis of Wu. | right: Interior of a restaurant near Jinli Ancient Street.
9: Qingyang Temple, founded in the 9th century,is Chengdu's oldest and holiest Daoist temple.
10: above: A quiet courtyard where worshipers pay their respects. | above: Three Purities Hall contains three massive bearded statues representing Nature, Virtue, and Wisdom. | above: One of the teahouses within the temple. | above: A painting of a Daoist deity inside a worship hall at Qingyang Temple.
11: Chengdu Panda Base
12: Red Pandas (below) earned their name from similar behaviors to Giant Pandas, such as: extremely shy behavior and a predominantly bamboo diet, but they are actually not related.
13: In recent decades, the Giant Panda has replaced the dragon as China's national emblem.
15: Giant Pandas gain so little nutritional value from their diet of bamboo it restricts their day-to-day activity to eating and sleeping.
16: Giant Pandas are true bears and classified as "living fossils" since they have no close living relatives, have survived major extinction events and have retained low taxonomic diversity.
17: above: Paddling in the People's Park. | above: Chunxi Road Shopping Quarter.
18: The streets in and around Wenshu Historic Quarter were recently built as an upscale throwback to Sichuan Old World charm.
19: above: A shaded street in Wenshu Historic Quarter. left: A huge Tibetan prayer banner draped over the side of a building in Wenshu Temple, Chengdu.
20: Wenshu Temple is one of China's four holiest Zen Buddhist temples. | left: A covered walkway in Wenshu Temple. below: The temple's architectural style dates to the Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644 AD).
21: An eleven-tier solid-bronze pagoda in Wenshu Temple's main entrance courtyard.
22: A four-story pavilion in Du Fu's Thatched Cottage Park. | above: Ticket window, Wenshu Temple | above: Statue of Du Fu riding a mule. | A lantern walkway, Du Fu Thatched Cottage Park.
23: Lijiang Yunnan Province | . | Lijiang | The famous tiled rooftops of Lijiang's Old Quarter date back 800 years.
26: Solitude can only be found in the Old Quarter first thing in the morning.
28: Lijiang's Old Quarter was meticulously laid out by carefully intersecting canals and bridges around stone foundations.
29: Himalayan foothills surrounding Lijiang.
30: above: A canal-spun waterwheel across from the Wu Family Mansion's entrance. right: The Wu Family Mansion's main entry gate. | From within the walls of Wu Fu, the Wu family governed Lijiang for over four centuries. Their ancestors date back to Mongolian nomads who first settled the area in the 13th century.
32: right: Rooftops in the Old City. below: The Wu Family Mansion's main residence hall.
33: The Wu Family Mansion's rear courtyard juts into Lion Hill, which overlooks the Old City.
34: above: A drum tower at Wangu Temple. upper right: An alleyway in the Old Town. lower right: Wangu Pavilion.
35: above: A stairway leading into Wangu Pavilion. | above: A tranquil canal in the Old City.
36: A wide canal by the Old Town's main square.
37: Lijiang's canals are fed by Himalayan glaciers.
40: Lijiang's main canal (left and above) provides water feeds into the Old City. Pond carp (right) swim in the flawless crystal water of Jade Dragon Pool Park next to the Old City.
42: The postcard image of Yunnan Province: Pristine glacial water in Jade Dragon Pool Park backdropped by Himalayan foothills.
43: One worship hall (upper left) in Jade Dragon Pool Park can only be accessed via this banister-free wooden plank footbridge. | A three-tiered pavilion (above) in Jade Dragon Pool Park.
44: Lijiang's Old City.
45: above: Bright lanterns light up the Old City's alleyways at night. left: A Naxi Orchestra performance by the town elders.
46: above: A large Chairman Mao statue. right: Forested Himalayan foothills encircle Lijiang.
47: A view of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain from the small Naxi village of Baishe, 10km north of Lijiang.
48: Six elderly Naxi women (below) talking over lunch in Baishe.
49: above: A tractor in Baishe. left: Naxi women selling local produce in Baishe's town square.
50: Tiger Leaping Gorge Yunnan Province | Tiger Leaping Gorge | . | Pictured here is the First Bend of the Yangzi River, our first stop on the way to Tiger Leaping Gorge, a 60 km drive due north of Lijiang.
51: . | Approaching Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yangzi River. | The hike down is a 2km descent on slick rocks without safety barriers. | By the southern entrance to Tiger Leaping Gorge.
53: At the base of the gorge, the Yangzi turns into roaring rapids, with sheer 5,000 meter high peaks rising on both sides.
54: Mount Satseto, known to the Chinese as Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, is a mountain massif or small mountain range.
55: Mt. Satseto's highest peak is named Shanzidou (center right) with an elevation of 5,596 meters (18,360 feet).
56: An avalanche-prone roadway (right) leads to a trail that takes visitors to Tiger Leaping Gorge lookout (above).
57: Kunming Yunnan Province | . | Kunming | Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, rests at an altitude of 2,000 meters above sea level and enjoys a mild climate year-round earning it the nickname "City of Eternal Spring."
58: Yunnan Provincial Museum houses exhibits focused on the province's minority populations and tomb excavation treasures from nearby Lake Dian.
60: The Bird & Flower market sells an eclectic variety of goods from animals and pets to antiques and Cultural Revolution mementos.
61: above: Crowds in Kunming's shopping -crazed Muslim Quarter. left: Blind masseurs offer their services outdoors alongside the Panlong Jiang river.
63: Kunming's Western Pagoda sits on the edge of the city's last old street, Shuncheng Jie, in the Muslim Quarter.
64: Yuantong Temple is Kunming's largest Buddhist temple complex.
66: A dragon statue swirls around a support column next to golden Buddhist statues in Yuantong Temple's main worship hall.
67: Yunnan's famous spicy peppers drying in a basket along Panlong Jiang river.
68: An outdoor Yunnanese Opera performance
69: An inquisitive duck on the Panlong Jiang river.
70: Stone Forest National Park Yunnan Province | . | Stone Forest National Park
76: The Stone Forest is a series of tightly-packed limestone pillars that was formed when the region was once an ancient sea bed. The park is Yunnan Province's most visited tourist sight.
82: The region around the Stone Forest is home to the Sami minority, one of the many subgroups of the Yi minority. The Yi have their own written language, with six dialects, and numerous tracts on history, medicine and the genealogy of ruling families.
84: Guilin Guangxi Province | . | Guilin
86: above: A cormorant fishing boat. left: The twin Riming Shuang Ta pagodas sit on the shores of lake Gu Nan Men.
87: The front gate of Jinjiang Prince's Palace.
89: Yangshuo Guangxi Province | . | Yangshuo
90: A McDonald's next to Yangshuo's touristy downtown.
91: The 52-km cruise along the Li River between Guilin and Yangshuo winds between dramatic karst peaks.
95: An evening with the Yangshuo Cooking School took guests to the local produce market for ingredients then taught how to make a few local dishes, including: spicy eggplant, pork-stuffed tofu dumplings and greens in clear garlic sauce.
97: Guangzhou Guangdong Province | . | Guangzhou | Guangdong Province's capital, known as Canton to its 19th-century foreign residents, is an ancient port city that was the birthplace of the Cultural Revolution.