Asia, North America · 17 Days · 22 Moments · June 2017

Lynn's journi to China

28 June 2017

We spend one last day on Monday in Shanghai on our own before the flight home on Tuesday morning. We decided to walk along the Nanjing Road to look at the shops and the people. It was a long walk probably 4 miles. We found a few souvenirs and then we ate lunch at Victors 4 Seasons Peace hotel. After a rest we then walked across the street to see the Bund one last time. It was so crowded with people. We caught a cab and decided to go to see the Jade Buddha Temple. It was in the strange neighborhood with a difficult to find entry. We got inside and were able to walk through and see many different Buddhas. many were golden. The temple was under construction being recreated of stained wood. The reclining Buddha was the most beautiful. The monks were doing their prayers and chants. Many people stopped to pray at each Buddha. The laughing Buddha was encased in glass up high and difficult to see. A last dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Chinese fooded out!

25 June 2017

June 25. Last day of tour. We enjoyed a rainy day seeing the sights of Shanghai. The Bund in the day time is nice in a different way. Colorful flowers on the walls. The river curves around to hug the buildings. A trip to Yuyuan gardens to see old gardens that bankrupted the builder. Brief shopping in the stores. Bought beautiful wood comb. A trip to see embroidered pictures and silk rugs. So soft. So expensive. We spent afternoon at Shanghai museum. Native costumes and hand carved furniture from thousands years ago so impressive. Topped the evening with Acrobatic show. Amazing performance of body defying contortions, balance, daring, and agility. Larry from Viking was great guide who had so much knowledge and made the trip so insightful.
Saturday June 24. We took a brief tour of a temple complex with traditional Chinese architecture. Missed the yellow crane pagoda. Our bus broke down and we were delayed to airport. Jennifer in our group had a ugly American moment on the broken down bus. A rescue bus came in a half hour. Amazing Larry the guide fixed the problem again. At the airport, our plane was delayed due to severe rain in Shanghai. Made it in at 5pm for a river ride on the Bund. So beautiful lit up at night. The buildings have electronic designs wading over the buildings. Amazing lights at night in many colors and designs. The river cruise was relaxing evening ending a long day!
Friday in Wuhan. Visited the museum and listened to the ancient brass bell replicas and other traditional Chinese music. Very lovely. Also went to museums to see artifacts excavated with the bells. Many brass vessels. Coffins etc. A shopping walk on their long city street where we picked up a 24 dollar suitcase for our many purchases. Walked through the river gardens park and watched the people walking, sitting, and flying kites.

22 June 2017

Thursday June 22. We spent this morning in Jingzhou visiting the Viking school. Town was so poor with usual open stall shops. Tattered apartments with steel bar windows. Children were friendly and sweet. They are kids no matter the language. They do a short dance performance and then we went to classrooms. Larry and I sat in desks surrounded by four kids. We looked at our phone pictures. I emptied my purse of candy, coins and pens. We used hand sanitizer together. We looked at their books and wrote notes in their books. They read out loud. Could not communicate as they did not know English. Then it is back on ship. Super short dumpling lesson. Air is cool and moist tonight. Rain tomorrow?

21 June 2017

We watched the ship go through the four out of five locks last night. Going to bed late, then getting up to see the Three Gorges dam today. A short trip through the "local mall" had Larry obligated to purchase from the black and white checked lady. She and Larry exchanged the evil eye. We bought two books but really wanted one. Then we got chased to buy a "silk" jacket. Have to do alterations at home. Our contribution to local economy. The dam was really only seeing the locks again. Never really saw the dam. Hot day not too exciting . Wednesday June 21

20 June 2017

Today we stopped at the Goddess stream tributary on the Yangtze. Water is clearer cloudy green instead of dirty brown. We got on Wooden Sampan boats to motor up the Goddess stream. Walls narrowed and limestone rocks at the bottom lined it in layers and stacks. Green trees and bushes line the mountainsides. We are told There are Ba coffins up on a high cliff cave. Saw the round cave opening but no casket. Cute guide Amanda told us stories and sang a song about a girl asking a boy to marry. She showed us pictures of a wedding. A couple wearing red. The sun came out and we sang you are my sunshine before getting off sampan to return to ship. June 20
June 19 Shibazao temple. Stopped in small town to see red temple hanging off mountain. Women are washing clothing in river. Locals want to carry you up the hill in sedan to see temple. Many booths of local wares. We walked to temple across Drunken Bridge. 99 steps up to top on narrow wooden stairway. We then supported local economy by buying jewelry bags, tablecloth chopsticks etc. people are very poor and desperate. Bargaining is crazy to see as they won't let you walk away.
We flew into Chongqing this am and had time to do a short tour. We saw the boxy opera complex which looks better lit up at night. We saw the nostalgia center of old time life in chongqing. Beautiful carvings with opera stage. Stone cauldrons hold water in case of fire. Ribbons tied to banister for luck and to banyan tree for fertility. Real life size figures to show common life. Then onto the Viking Emerald. June 18

17 June 2017

Dinner at Tang Dynasty show. Shrimp with crunchy coating was wonderful. Beef sweet and sour in foil packet. Fruit soup. Consommé of mushrooms😏Show was mostly dancing telling the story of Empress. Beautiful costumes.Story of only female Empress who is a concubine who has heir to throne. She kills her daughter and pins it on the current Empress to get her out of the way. Complicated story. Kill or be killed. Seems to be many versions of the story floating around.
Xian Terra cotta Warrior Day. Traveled to see the magnificent terra cotta warriors. Amazing how much detail to create in ancient times. incredible how the have been excavated and put back together from a million pieces. Different face on everyone. Three excavations but the first is the most amazing and craziest busy. Chariots are detailed and interesting in separate museum building . Warriors are Tall, short, or skinny. No heads on some. Lined up for war. All weapons were stolen by raiders. A story beyond belief. Lunch at terra-cotta warrior shop. Bought statues for Andrew and Ryan. Also saw wonderful lacquerware furniture. Noodle soup. Great cookies. Otherwise typical buffet.

16 June 2017

Today we visited the Hutongs, a traditional Chinese neighborhood from the past. We were taken into the Hutong on a rickshaw ride. Now a cart with a bicycle. The Hutongs are small , dirty with lots of abandoned bikes, etc. there are expensive cars as well. People hang out playing games and talking. The Chinese lady we visited served tea and talked. She and her niece paint traditional Chinese scenes inside snuff glass bottles. Very pretty. We then drove to airport to fly to Xian. A long afternoon. A marginal hotel buffet. Walked to the city wall by too tired to do much else. Poverty of local shops and homes is overwhelming. Families play games on sidewalks in the evening to socialize and keep cool. " Hómé Depot " shops have odds and ends that seem useless crammed inside. June 16

15 June 2017

Today was our second day to visit the great wall of China. I guess that helps us check off the entire bucket list for the great wall. It wasn't as crowded as expected. This time we walked up to it and walked up some steps in there we were with another thousand or 2000 people. I managed to hike about 3 1/2 towers. Larry was going to go to the top but he decided it was too steep. I got off the wall and visited a couple of the junky tourist shops. The Chinese follow you around and try to get you to look at anything and everything. The bus drove us to lunch at the Jade store where they served us a very nice turn table lunch. Everybody was friendly and pleasant. Shopped for some souvenirs to take back to the family so it didn't become an ordeal to search later on. We continued on to the Ming tombs which is really an avenue of statues commemorating the emperors. They are very interesting and detailed carvings but the day was so hot and my hip did not feel so hot. Peking duck nite.

13 June 2017

How do they live without Pinterest in China? Day to visit Tienammen Square and Forbidden City. Was very hot. Chairman Mao Tomb blocks middle of square. Bits of old wall at the edge of Square. Many people from villages here to visit the City. We stare at them and they stare at us. Marilyn in our group collapsed from heat. Did not see inside rooms so the visit was of only outside areas and one room full of pots. Very old but plain. Did not look like a comfortable place to live. Lots of rooms for the concubines. Sex was good entertainment. Lot of rock because trees hide enemies. Water pots to put out fires.
We took the ski lift tram up to the top of the mountain to see the great wall. The hills are beautiful to see with the wall snaking up and down the hills. Unfortunately there are many hills with many steps going up and down so to see it we had to huff our way on the steps. A cool breeze blew threw the first lookout to cool off our sweat. We decided to go all the way down to the lowest building. I did refuse to go up the next mountain as our heart rates pounded. I can't believe these were built up in mountains by basically slaves. Almost impossible. We made it back up to the top where we took pictures again. Think we have that Christmas picture. We took the toboggan ride down through the stainless steel metal tubes that were slick. A fun afternoon.
Before we went up the mountain to the great wall we had lunch at the restaurant of Johns choosing. He encouraged us to try the fish. So we went to the fishpond and selected which fish we were going to have for lunch. The waiter scooped the fish up with his net as the fishy tried to escape. The waiter flopped him on the concrete and the fish said oh shit and it was. I couldn't believe it when he bashed him in the head with a metal pipe. In that brief moment, I considered being a vegetarian.The fish tasted delicious a little bit spicy as we ate him up.
Today we took a trip to see the great wall of China at mutianyu. We used our same tour guide from yesterday with a driver to take us there. It was basically Mr. toads wild ride all the way to the great wall. I've never seen such crazy driving in my life which seems to be what they do in China. He cut in and out in front of people seamlessly and honked the horn constantly to show them that he was the king of the road. We had to take a side trip again today to see the Jade factory. We saw how Jade was carved and then we saw how Lynn and Larry were pressured to buy it. Such selling techniques. I succumb to buying a jade bracelet which is very pretty but I really don't know how much I over paid for it. Maybe I don't want to. June 13 2017

12 June 2017

Welcome to China! We had a long and crazy cab ride on arrival to Beijing. Cabs. Drive in and out cutting people off and making extra traffic lanes. Nearly hit pedestrians and scooters. People don't wear helmets! Mr. Toads wild ride! We were taken to the wrong hotel and dropped off. Unbeknownst to us. The hotel got us another cab and we then we're driving to another Marriott which was another wrong hotel.after talking to the bellman at that Marriott in Chinese the cabdriver finally managed to get us to the right place after a long two hours after a long 20 hour flight including layovers. so glad to be here! June 11 2017
The summer palace is a beautiful park in the middle of Beijing. Apparently they ever needed a place to cool off with his empress in the middle of summer so they took the Dragon boat for three days to get to the summer palace. I did not see a comfortable place to sleep there. And they made her climb way to the top of a mountain where they built the palace. It overlooks Kunming Lake with a beautiful bridge with 17 arches. It takes up to an island in the middle of the lake. We walked part of the walkway on the side of the lake and then we took the Dragon boat to where we walked up to the palace. I thought I was going to have a heart attack walking up the stairs. only 1000 stairs or something like that according to John the tour guide who probably doesn't know. Sure could've used an ice cold Slurpee at the top of that mountain.
Forced to use my first squatty potty today in china! No toilet paper of course! At least it had a door!
We saw two things on our bucket list. Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace. We enjoyed the day with John our tour guide from via tour. He was a little difficult to understand at times, and when he didn't get us he would say sure sure. We took a cab ride to Temple of Heaven and learned that nine is the The holy number. All the steps had nine. The middle of the walkway was for the emperor the common people were on the right and the important other people could walk on the left I think. Many many Chinese people at the temple of heaven and one of them took my picture with her because I was so beautiful At least she had that right. After the Temple of Heaven we were forced to go to the silk market museum where we saw how silk was made from silkworms and then got a sales pitch for a comforter duvet that I'm not so sure I want but it is arriving at my house in 40 days. That girl needs to do videos on how to pressure people. Great lunch at the local dumpling cafe!
Beautiful temple of heaven! June 12 2017