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China2010 - Page Text Content

S: Zhangjiajie & Jiuzhaigou

BC: Panda Lake......Jiuzhaigou

FC: National Forest Zhangjiajie & Fairyland Jiuzhaigou China 2010

1: Zhangjiajie | Jiuzhaigou | Bifengxia Panda Reserve (Ya'an) | Sichuan Opera (Chengdu) | September 4 - 16, 2010 | China Air & Sea Travel | Thank you to all my traveling companions who generously shared their great photos with me. Many are included in this book.

2: Sun. Sept. 5, 2010- Manila After a 10 hr. flt. we arrive in humid Manila. $1=44.7 peso. Beautiful Hotel H2O was part of "Ocean Park" with a huge aquarium next door. A colorful aquarium covered one wall of Yoshi Yonemura's room. Not everyone was that lucky. Liz Tango and I had dinner with Pat and Phil Hubbard at Gerry's Grill on the ground floor of the hotel known for Filipino cuisine. We had Sizzling Pork Sisig (diced pig's ear), "heart of the banana fruit," and Crispy Pata (deep fried ham hock.) All delicious with rice and for less than $20 for all of us.

3: Mon. Sept. 6th- Xiamen, China This morning our 2 hr. flt. brought us to Xiamen, an important coastal city(pop.2.5M) in southeastern China (Fujian Province.). Most of the city is located on Xiamen Island. Taiwan is located across the strait. It was warm (80's) and slightly smoggy. It is also important as being the ancestral home for many overseas Chinese. Today it is a busy, modern city, kept relatively clean with beautiful parks and highways. It is known as the second best China city to live in. $1= 6.79 Yuan. | City flower is the bougainvillea; city tree is poinciana (flame tree). We have our first lunch in China....Cantonese. Beer and soda come with every meal. Our hotel is Millennium Harbourview Hotel.

4: Our guides, Helen and Vivian, took us on the city bus to the harbor where we caught the ferry to Gulang Yu, a one-square mile island. It is a popular destination for tourist and locals. From 1860 until the end of WWII it was the home for foreign representatives. No cars are allowed on the island. | Elegant colonial homes remain as residence for the wealthy. We wandered through shops filled with wonderous Chinese delicacies. The island is filled with beautiful art pieces.

5: Picturesque Old Town on Gulang Yu was most intriguing. The girls on the right were carefully arranging scallops in the jars for sale in the stores.

6: Tues. Sept. 7th- Xiamen This morning we visited the Xiamen Museum where we learned about the history and culture of Xiamen. Derrick Kaw, our Air & Sea escort,.. "Stay together, folks. Don't get lost." Interesting "Water Closet" sign. | Tracy Tsuhako and mom, Trudy Tom

7: The heads of these buddhas were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and had to be restored. | Koxinga was the most famous military hero. He is known for resisting the Manchu invaders and with ousting the Dutch from Taiwan. | This remarkable picture of Xiamen is made of a collage of tiny photographs. | Our afternoon flt to Guangzhou was a stop over for a Cantonese dinner at a restaurant next to the airport. A late flt brings us to Zhangjiajie at 9:35 p.m.

8: Zhangjiajie is located in Wulingyan in northwest Hunan Province in Central China (pop. 1.57M). Wulingyuan covers three natural reserves---Zhangjiajie, Tianzi Shan, and Suoxi Yu. 72% are minority people---Tujia, Miao, and Bai nationalities. Zhangjiajie is a small town. This is our hotel, Qinghe Jingiang (Avatar) Int'l Resort. | I wonder why there is a window that looks into the bathroom? Hi, Liz! | Wed. Sept. 8th. Zhangjiajie. Rainy and misty.

9: This is the entrance to the Ten Miles Gallery train ride to view the wonderful scenery of the Tianzi Mountains. (Too bad it was so foggy that day.) The movie "Avatar" was filmed here. | Despite the rain, Judy Yamaki, Anita Beppu, and Florence Wakuya are still smiling. | Three Sisters Peak

10: Interesting shopping along the way. | We got on the glass Cliff Elevator where we got a spectacular view (through the rainy mist) as we go up to the peak.

11: Lunch awaits us at the peak. Frog was on the menu, but my favorite was the eggplant. | Nearby, Albert took a different path and came across a lookout filled with locks left by couples. This tradition is also seen in Korea...couples would lock their padlocks together and to the railing before throwing the key over the edge......"together forever." | Following the path in Yuanjiajie we saw a huge natural bridge. | Sceneries of deep valleys and high primeval peaks.

12: The path ended at the huge bronze statue of Marshall Helong. The sculptor made it to look like the peaks in Wulingyuan. He and his horse symbolize the glory of his military life. Another set of steps to the cableway. | Breathtaking views of the Tianzi Mountains going down on the cableway. | Francine & Everett Cabanilla | Toshi & Sho Ohnuma | "No jumping on the bridge for the happiness of yourself and others."

13: Dinner was at the hotel that night. Lots to eat at every meal including several soup dishes. Every part of the chicken is used as shown by Richard & Linh Morinaga. Elaine & Eugene Yoshimi liked the chicken soup. The bamboo soup in foreground was very good too. | Thurs. Sept. 9th. Zhangjiajie | Zhangjiajie Forest Park covers 72,000 acres and has over 500 species of plants, over twice the total in Europe. It is known for its unusual peaks, tranquil waters, and beautiful forest. At the park entrance we took pictures with a pretty miao girl for 10 Y. Miao dresses are noted for its silver decorations.

14: We ride the cableway up to the Yellow Lion Village (Yellow Stone Stronghold), the largest observing spot of the stone forest. | Gail & Kenneth Lai | Phil & Pat with Tony & Margaret Yung | Yoshi, Florence, June Kuramoto & Clement "Buddy" Chun-Ming in back. | Richard Sato, Cora Kam, Harold Young in front.

15: Zhangjiajie guides: Sarah is Bai. Cindy is Han/Tsujia. | Here the path is a one-hour loop walk to see the magnificent scenery. Three hired the rickshaw men to carry them (180 Y.$27) | The Five Finger Peak was so foggy we couldn't see it. The clever Chinese photographer said, "Just point your finger at it," and they photoshopped the peaks behind me. See the picture on the cover of this book. Lunch was at a nice garden restaurant. Mushrooms and fungus of every variety are in most of the dishes. Lots of red chili pepper is used. | Yummy!

16: After lunch we walked along the Golden Whip Stream. Fitness is a theme here and the path included exercise rocks, stepping stones, and rope bridges. "Dear guests: Please take off your shoes and stroll on the rubbing-feet fit route." Another theme is to care for the environment. | "Human should coexist with nature. Exploitation should cohere with protection."

17: This area got its name from this imposing rock (head down sword) which legend says was the golden whip that Emperor Qin Shihuang drove mountains to fill in the sea to expand his territory. The"eagle" rock guards the "whip." | Albert shot this picture of a beautiful butterfly in flight.

18: Fri. Sept. 10th. Zhangjiajie We began our day with a visit to the Yellow Dragon Cave. We rode on the tram through a replica of an ancient village. | An ancient waterwheel. Sisters: Caroline & Winona Au | Albert took this picture of a dragonfly. Cindy shows us the map of the cave. We were able to see a fifth of the cave by boat.

19: Located in the east Suoxiyu Valley, Yellow Dragon Cave is called an underground magical palace. There are four layers, about 160 meters high, having one reservoir, two rivers, three waterfalls, four ponds, thirteen halls and ninety-six passages. Walking on zig-zag paths, we saw calcium carbonate formations--stalactites, stalagmites, stalagnates, stone branches, curtains, tubes--illuminated by colorful lights. | This 9.2-meter high stalagmite is the highest in the cave and is the symbol of Yellow Dragon Cave. It has been insured for 100 million yuan.

20: Instead of walking the 3,000 steps beyond the boat ride, I took a walk outside the cave in the little village. | Quote below the monkey: "No way are we able to import white clouds and blue sky today. Never will they be capable of recreating rivers and mountains tomorrow. Do not abuse the natural resources on earth, Or, the day after tomorrow monkeys will ponder over Human's today."

21: After lunch we visited a Jade Shop. The owner is showing us that Grade A jade can cut glass and is translucent. | Many bought a male ("nan") & female ("niu") "PiXiu." 300Y ($44). It will help the owner to acquire wealth. This mythical dragon/lion collects money in his body. You must rub it from its head to its tail. Cora and I split the pair. | Jun Sheng Sand and Stone Painting Institute. The sand paintings of sceneries of the area were beautiful and hard to resist. | I got a tile with a scene of the Tianzi Mt. for 190 Y. ($28) | Richard took this photo of a picture here.

22: Sisters: Sharon Leong & Shirley Ng. | Sisters: Rene & Dorothy Nakama with Clement in lobby of Qinghe Jinjiang Hotel. | Vivian & Stephen Ng show us one of the beautiful scrolls they got. | Optional evening Minority Chinese Show. 280Y ($41)

23: That's Phil on stage. | Outside we watched men walk on hot coals and a man carry people standing on a bar across his chest.

24: Sat. Sept. 11th--Chongqing & Jiuzhaigou | It was an hour's ride from Zhangjiajie to the huge industrialized city of Chongqing (Chongqing Province.) This port city is located on a peninisula at the junction of the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers. The Yangtze River cruises begin here. It is the biggest of the 4 municipalities of China (Beijing, Shanghai & Tiajin) with a pop. of 32 M. Known as one of the "Three Furnaces," its summers are among the hottest in China. It is China's third largest center for the production of motor vehicles (American, Asian, European cars) and the largest for motorcycles. Pollution is high. It is a hilly city so you don't see too many bicycles. The city is full of tall apartment buildings and our guide, Legend, told us that many do not have elevators. Because of the hills, they build bridges from the street to the various floors. Although there are tons of cars on the road, it is relatively quiet because honking is not allowed. The city is working on a huge monorail system to help with the traffic.

25: Lunch at the Jinpai Da Liulou Restaurant. The soups and veggie dishes were delicious. Be careful of the bones of the Yangtze catfish. Derrick ordered us a special spicy pork dish popular in this area that was as "hot" as it looked. | A stroll through "Old Town." This "stake man" porter is popular in this hilly city. Babies are carried in unique baskets. | Pat Hubbard took this photo.

26: Yes, there is a man pushing this load on the busy street. Babies are hard to resist. This is the entrance to the Chongqing ("Huguang Tian Sichuan" Immigration Movement Museum. This comprised of a complex of buildings, courtyards, gardens and halls of an ancient Chinese Guild hall used by the Hubei and Guangdong immigrants ordered here to cultivate the fertile land. | Legend was our city guide (above). | Our museum guide, Heather, points to Emperor Yu. They prayed to him for protection from floods and for peace. | This banyan leaf vein painting is a specialty of the gift shop. A typical scene of the area, houses on hills with narrow bridges leading into them. 150Y ($22)

27: An hour's plane ride brought us to Jiuzhaigou Airport which is 11,400 feet above sea level. It was at 8:30 at night; dark and chilly at 55 deg. F. Here we met Kevin, our next guide. We drove down to a lower altitude for our dinner at a Tibetan Restaurant. Unfortunately, the roads leading to the restaurant was under construction. It was an adventure walking the torn up streets in the dark. | Fortunately the food was wonderful! Pat H., Liz, & Elaine had a good laugh using the primitive toilets in the restaurant. Then we had to find the bus in the dark. This was a true test to having a great group of travelers. No complainers! :-) We finally got to our very nice Sheraton Hotel for a much needed shower and rest. | Sun. Sept. 12th-- Jiuzhaigou | Juizhaigou (Juizhai Valley) is in the northern part of Sichuan Province in SW China. Name means "Valley of Nine Villages," referring to the Tibetan villages here. This valley is also inhabited by the Qiang, Han, and the Bai groups. This valley is also known as "Fairyland" because of its magnificent mountains, splendid waterfalls, and colorful lakes (UNESCO World Heritage Site). | What a beautiful day! We left the hotel for the valley's scenic spots. First stop was Nuo Ri Lang Waterfall.

28: With Judy at the lookout across the street. Nuo Ri Lang Waterfall is the widest highland waterfall in China. It is one of the symbols of the valley. | At Five Flower Lake with guide, Kevin. This shallow multi-colored lake is criss-crossed by ancient fallen tree trunks.

29: Arrow Bamboo Lake is the site of the 2002 Chinese film, "Hero." Karen Lee, Tobie Leong (Sharon's daugther), Shirley & Sharon. | Judy, Dorothy, Anita, Cora, & Rene | At Panda Lake, you could take pictures with colorfully dressed Tibitans. You could even wear the outfits for the camera.

30: Pearl Shoals--a wide, gently sloping area of flowing water over calcium tufa deposits. This empties into the famous Pearl Waterfalls, the most photographed site in the park. TV version of the famous Chinese novel, "Journey to the West," filmed here.

31: Tibetan buffet at the Tourist Center. Yak is a staple meat in this area. I learned that Tibetans do not eat fish as they are considered sacred (deceased are put into lakes and eaten by fishes). | Long Lake--highest, largest, deepest lake in the valley; has no outlet. We climb down steps to get to Five Colored Pond--one of most spectacular with richly colored underwater landscape with bright, clear water. | See if you can understand this sign in the women's WC. "Invites oneself to use." "The disposable hygienic chamberpot sits the gasket paper."

32: Lots of shopping at the Tourist Center. | With Alvin & Pat Morimoto | Since tourism is the main occupation here, this Tibetan home is turned into a souvenir shop.......yak horns, handmade jewelry, scarves, prayer wheels, ........ The top level is their prayer room.

33: Our last stop was most impressive, Shuzheng Waterfall, a multi-level waterfall with thousands of water streams running through the stems and and trunks of plant life that grow from it.

34: Optional Tibetan & Qiang Ethnic Show for 150Y ($22)

35: Mon. Sept. 13th -- Jiuzhaigou - Chengdu | Instead of Zhaga Falls, we visited a Tibetan home (Zaxidele) this morning. | With Elaine, Albert Ng and June. The youngest brother presented us with a roasted lamb. | After turning the prayer wheels we went upstairs for a traditional breakfast. | For breakfast, we were served lamb, potato, chicken soup, fungus, walnut flower, roasted barley, mt. fern, barley bread, yak butter, barley wine, and suyu tea made from yak butter (good for the high altitude). | We were greeted with traditional silk scarves, "hada."

36: The children (from several wives) were all very talented. We enjoyed their singing and dancing. In the photo the eldest brother is in red. Bai Ma Duojie is a famous singing star. We bought his CD for 30Y. ($4.40) | We left our hadas for good luck.

37: At the hotel we enjoy an elegant Tibetan lunch with yak, goat, ginseng soup with hungjao and goji berry. | The road to the airport was through the scenic countryside. We saw yak and sheep on the hillside. | Yes, this is the same town we had our first dinner in Jiuzhaigou and the bus driver amazed us as he maneuvered through the torn up streets to get to the Gem Store. | I wondered what the men were planting on the hill? | A hotel in the style of Bai homes.

38: Layered purple and white jade were carved into animals, bowls, and pendants. | Western Gemstone And Jade Store | The specialty here are Sky beads also known as Dzi beads. These beads are prized as protective amulets. I bought a necklace for good health for 198Y ($29) The silver necklaces in the Tourist Center were about 15Y each ($2.25) | The beads are carved from these stones. | It was a 45 min. flt to Chengdu, Kevin's home.

39: Tues. Sept. 14th. Chengdu | The capital of Sichuan Province (7 M), Chengdu is a modern city with wide streets with lots and lots of traffic...cars, bikes and scooters. Since the young cannot afford to buy homes, their dream is to own a car. In China you can buy and live in a home for up to 70 years. You cannot own the land. Jin Jiang Hotel is located at a very busy intersection. | with Yvonne Kearns & Betty Rezentes | We motorcoached with our guide, Fay, 2 1/2 hours south to Ya'an to the Bifengxia Panda Reserve and breeding facility. From the modern highway we see the fertile farm fields. Fay tells us that the government is buying the farm lands to build buildings. The farmers are gaining wealth this way. Many young workers are moving to the city to find work. They leave their children behind to be cared by grandparents. The problem of educating them is a big problem. | This contraption was actually refueling at the gas station. It runs! | European style dining room. With Cora, Yoshi, & Richard. | Map of Reserve

40: The famous Giant Panda is found only in the mountains of China and are now seriously endangered. They feed primarily on a special bamboo. | This center is now home of three U.S. born, Hua Mei, Mei Sheng, and Tai Shan. Pandas were relocated here from earthquake damaged Wolong in 2008. | Baby panda in nursery

41: Lunch was at a quaint tea house in a nice garden setting. Guides: Fay & Kevin | The Ng Family: Stephen, Norine, Vivian & Albert | Colorful and interesting bugs. | Many in our group paid 500Y ($73) to sit next to the Panda. It was for a worthy cause.' Judy, Pat & Hammond Hu

42: Back in the city, we visited the Shu Silk Shop. Chengdu is famous for its silk brocade. The pictures were gorgeous. Some had two different pictures on each side. | The huge loom where silk thread is made. | Did you know that caterpillar poop makes good pillows? | Two caterpillar cocoons are used to make pillows. | We saw a demonstration on how the silk can be stretched out to make comforters. Oh, were they ever so soft! Would have liked to bring one home.

43: The Sichuan Opera at the Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse was a variety show. We watched talented musicians play Chinese instruments, stick puppets, a comedy act, hand shadow, fire spitting, and the amazing face-changing performance in colorful traditional costumes. Before the show we were able to watch them put on their costumes. | For dinner we ate the popular spicy mapo tofu. My favorite dish was stir-fried veggies and mushrooms over puffed rice.

45: Wed. Sept. 15th ---Shenzhen | At lunch in Chengdu, Chinese sake was served from a beautiful silver pot into cute white miniature cups. | From the Chengdu Airport, it waa two hour flight to Shenzhen. Albert took this picture of a sign in the men's toilet. | Shenzhen, located in the southern portion of Guangdong Province on the eastern shore of the Pearl River Delta, is an important business and transportation center. Our arrival at 8:30 p.m. did not allow us to visit the city. We overnight at Nan Hai Hotel, a small hotel with a tropical theme. The bell boys wore aloha shirts. | Thurs. Sept. 16th-- Shenzhen--Hong Kong--Manila | It was a short walk from the hotel to the Ferry that took us from Shenzhen to the Hong Kong Airport (30 min. ride). | We went through Immigration and Customs before getting on the ferry. It was a one and half-hour flight to Manila. At 3:20 p.m. we boarded our PA flight for Honolulu (10 hours). We arrived at 7:45 a.m. WELCOME HOME

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