S: China & Hong Kong December 18, 2010 - January 2, 2011
FC: China and Hong Kong | Marina Barcelona and Claire Lockwood
1: Claire Lockwood and Marina Barcelona Best of China & Hong Kong December 18, 2010 - January 2, 2011 Year of the Tiger | Travelers: Raúl Montoulieu López Blanca Díaz Segarra Lydia Cintrón John Velez Pablo Mejía Claire Lockwood Marina Barcelona Richard Malone
2: Tiananmen Square- a focal point of the pro-democracy movement of 1989 Gate of Heavenly Peace in background Beijing, China | Waiting to board Air China | Marina and Claire with Mao Zedong, a Chinese Communist Revolutionary and founding father of the People's Republic of China
3: The Forbidden City, built from 1406 to 1420, was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. For almost five hundred years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government. The complex consists of 980 buildings with 8,707 rooms. “Forbidden” referred to the fact that no one could enter or leave the palace without the emperor's permission.
4: Repainted for the 2008 Summer Olympics
5: Chinese guardian lions traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, and the homes of the wealthy. They were believed to have protective powers. The lions are always created in pairs, with the male resting his paw upon the world, and the female restraining a playful cub.
6: Rickshaw ride into the Hutongs, followed by a family-hosted lunch
7: Chinese Sayings: "A wise man, his merits like jade" "Gold has value; jade is invaluable" | Fierce, like a tiger | Majestic, like an elk | Round, like Buddha | Jade Museum
8: The Great Wall of China was originally built to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by various nomadic groups. Several wall segments were built as early as the 5th century BC and were used as a means of fortification until the 17th century. The wall covers over 3,500 miles.
9: "If you haven't walked on the Wall, you haven't been a good Chinese." -Chairman Mao
10: Summer Palace The largest and best-preserved imperial garden in China. Its Chinese name, YiHeYuan, translates as "Garden for Maintaining Health and Harmony." | Our Beijing guide. Jeff? Bob? Franklin?...Charlie!
11: Hmmm...a bit dismal in the dead of winter...with lotus skeletons and sheets of ice! Brrrr! | Marble boat on Kunming Lake | 728-yard-long corridor! | Lotus
12: The Beijing National Stadium, a.k.a. the "Bird's Nest" - designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics | Seriously, who are we kidding?
13: The Water Cube | The day wouldn't be complete without a Peking duck dinner, cooked to "crispy perfection."
14: Mandatory pre-work exercises for employees! | Masses gather to participate in leisurely group exercises | Lydia and John
15: Temple of Heaven, Beijing -built in 1420 during the Ming Empire | Top left and center: "Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests," a highlight of the temple. During each winter solstice, the emperor would perform rites and make sacrifices, praying for good harvest. According to the emperor's Fengshui masters, it is the exact point where Heaven and Earth meet. Incredibly intricate architecture built without a single nail! | Barc, Dylan(?), & Claire
16: Culinary query | Lydia, the vegetarian of the group, gets a little something special... | Pablo, John, & Blanca
17: Proof :) | Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian- a Tang Dynasty landmark | This Pagoda was initally constructed in 652 AD to house the Buddhist sutras brought back from India by the monk Xuan Zang, who later translated them into Chinese. His pilgrimage to India is immortalized in the Chinese classic- The Journey to the West. | Off to Xian, an ancient capital and the historic gateway to the Silk Road. Xian was the capital of the Middle Kingdom for 11 dynasties.
18: Wild Goose Pagoda
19: Ding Dong teaching the Amuricans how to be respectful | Ven Acá, Ding Dong...
20: Making replicas
21: The real deal... | ~The Terra Cotta Warriors~ Over 6,000 life-sized terra cotta warriors guarded the tomb of China's first emperor for over 2,200 years. In 1974, while digging a well, a local farmer uncovered the first of three massive earth and timber vaults. | The farmer who discovered it all! | Warriors, officials, horses, chariots, acrobats, strongmen, muscians...
22: Bronze chariot | Barc braves a pickled, tea-marinated egg! | Noodle-making demonstration
23: Xian teahouse
24: Barc brushes up on her Mandarin | Fish dumpling
25: Duck dumpling | Perhaps the corniest show we have ever seen. The picture speaks for itself!
26: Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center in Chengdu-the largest panda reserve in the world. Eighty percent of the world's 1,000 remaining giant pandas reside in the Sichuan Province. | Tinks, Ding Dong, & Rose | Red Panda
27: Barc invests in Karma by eating Angel Chips!
28: "Changing Faces," a 200-year-old Sichuan opera
29: Hong Kong is an ex-British colony and is known as the "Pearl of the Orient." It has been ranked as the world's freest economy since 1970. | View from Victoria Peak
30: Dim Sum lunch at the Jumbo Floating Seafood Restaurant | ?! | Aberdeen- a floating village and disappearing fishing community. Thousands of people still live on the junks and sampans in the harbor.
31: Repulse Bay | So intrigued by the blonde hair... | Ferry jumping: Amazing Race-style!
32: Lamma Island, a small fishing community in Hong Kong | Note the bamboo scaffolding-Not an uncommon sight, even in industrial China.
36: Ladies' Market
37: Street Food
38: Hong Kong Fish Market
39: Flower Market
41: Overwhelmingly massive Hong Kong mall | Claire, Chaz, Barc | Yes, yes we did.
42: Guilin and the Li River | "The best scenery under Heaven"
43: John | Marina braves the snake wine | "Ginger" and Pablo
44: Do you see the horses? | Classical Chinese landscape
45: Blanca with a cormorant fisherman | Limestone pinnacles in the middle of town
46: Gaudy Christmas decorations! | Girl with a pearl earring | $15/hour | Gotta love Ginger
47: Prayer tree | Below: Reed Flute Cave. This "Crystal Palace" is filled with awesome stalactites and stalagmites.
48: "Tony the Tiger" | Suzhou, China. A 2,500-year-old town best known for its silk production, ancient canals, and traditional gardens. | Silk-spinning mill
49: Boiled silkworm cocoons
51: The canals in Tongli | "Venice of the East"
52: Don't put all your eggs in one basket...
53: Garden of the Master of Fishing Nets
54: Soooo cold...
55: Cute kid. Too bad he was married! | vs.
56: View from the 88th floor of the Jinmao Tower, the tallest building in China. At 1,380 feet, it is also the world's third tallest building. | Walk along the Bund, Shanghai's riverside promenade. "Oriental Pearl" TV tower in the background. | Free pearl with your purchase of a $20 sterling silver-plated necklace!
57: We couldn't stop laughing! | John immortalized himself in a piece of glass. | So did this John...
58: Shanghai Acrobats! | Claire, top right. | Barc, center, airborne.
59: Hot pot lunch
60: Shopping in Shanghai
61: Shanghai Museum
62: So many ethnic groups in China...
63: 100 Yuan (= $15 USD) | "Middle Kingdom" | 'Till our next adventure...!