A Travellerspoint blog

China

2013 - OCEANIA - SHANGHAI

SHANGHAI

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Today is my first time in China & I am just going to wander around on my own.

I walk off the ship & turn right & through a nice little park to the ferry across the river.

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2 Yuan is the one way fare. Quite a deal at 7 Yuan to the Dollar.

My ship on the left...

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Getting off the ferry...

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China - One point something Billion people. But not here for some reason....

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A nice walk on the less well known side of the river. I keep to the river walk..for a hour or so & then take the ferry for another 2 Yuan back to the more well known side of the river, know as the Bund.

In the old days - Opium war days - the British, French & other foreigners had sections along the Bund.

Imagine Britain giving a huge swathe of London to the Chinese. Britain forced China to buy Opium & when they disagreed, went to war with them.

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Lots more people on this side of the river.

Tourists,

locals,

local tourists...

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It is around here I get asked by a good looking girl to take a photo of her. I do but she does not want any nice view in the background & this is a little strange.

Maybe a scam starting or a hooker.

I move on quick to get this photo of a wedding party..Lovely dress on this lady....

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Interesting face on this guy. Looks like how I imagine an old time Chinese person would look.

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A group of 4 youngsters near here - 2 girls, one of whom was very pretty, the other not so & 2 guys - ask me to take their photo. I do and they walk alongside me chatting in very good English & they suggest we go for some tea & a chat. This one I have heard of & is definitely a scam. I just left them.

I mentioned it to Don so when he was approached a few days later, he said he will take their photo, but no tea. They left.

We did hear of a singer on board who actually went for tea & was given a bill for 1 or 2 hundred dollars. He gave 5 & left.

The people at the ships excursion desk had never heard of this scam!!

These from back on board the ship

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a Telecom tower I think..

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57 cents for the day out.

Two ferries, lots of walking - & the scam entertainment..thrown in for free

Posted by hasbeen 18:13 Archived in China Comments (0)

2013 - OCEANIA - GARDEN CITY of SOUZHOU

Today, we are heading inland to the garden city of Souzou.

Would be really odd if I bumped into the couple I met in Singapore. I don't.

Shanghai from the ship - early morning, very misty....

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People passing by having breakfast...

Ladies exercising with fans...

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The wall behind is the side of the Bund & seems to be miles long. Each block of colour is an individual flower pot..

We stop for a bite to eat & I take these shots waiting by the bus...

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amazing what can be squeezed onto one of those 3 wheelers.

Getting close to Souzhou now.. this rack looked cute.

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We board a little boat to go for a ride along the canals...

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lined by.......Temples....

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Bridges...

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Little shops..

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A bit cold here...people going about their lives...

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passing tourists..

and more bridges...

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Another temple...

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More houses...more laundry...

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.....A well earned nap

It's still Chinese new year - but In China this time..

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More bridges

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....Film stars maybe..

The only Cheongsam that I saw all trip..

They were being filmed....

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More bridges...Some descriptions have this called the Venice of China..Not quite..

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Hello - more girls...Friendly bunch here..

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More friendly people

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Hello....

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Hi,,,,,

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That was a fun little boat ride. Took hundreds of photos.

Off the boat now...& a brief stop at the city wall..

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Gloves attached to the handlebars. We could do that here except they would be stolen pretty quick...

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The city wall

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Who needs trucks..

Still haven't got to the the gardens of the Garden City yet. Been a long day already.

This is a garden , but not the one we are here for. This one is in the Hotel we stopped at for lunch.

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Mobile Goldfish....

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& finally we are at the garden, except we now learn that these are not gardens that we might expect from the description. This was someones house & the gardens are inside the house. Must have had some cash..

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The entrance looking out..

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we are going to move through the building...passing a...

A sedan chair

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and some interiors...

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A pretty pot

& outdoors...to the pond...

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it's too cold for much in the way of flowers..but some nice bamboo...

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Some nice art decorating the walls as we move indoors again..

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This is a strange photo of a tree against a courtyard wall...

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another strange shot.. through a doorway into the courtyard..Very Japanese looking, but this is China.

& another...

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& yet another... must be the light. I like it..

That's it for the garden city. Not at all what I was expecting from the description but very enjoyable.

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Some street life on the way out of Souzhou on the way back to Shanghai..

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Another couple of the wall of flowers..taken from the bus on the way to the show to see the Chinese Acrobats. Very exciting but photos not allowed.

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I could have done with a massage after that.. It was a long tour & in the evening the show.

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On the way back I was still staggered by the size of Shanghai & the absence of the teeming masses. 15 million some say.

People around for sure, but not as many as I expect.

Leave China this evening after the show & head for South Korea...Getting colder all the time.

Posted by hasbeen 18:12 Archived in China Comments (0)

2013 - OCEANIA - THE GREAT WALL

I have one day in the port of Tianjin & get off the ship tomorrow.

Today it is a bus ride to the part of the Great Wall closest to the port.

A couple of views of the countryside.. Mostly, very rural.. except for this, I know not what..

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& quite cold with Ice on a irrigation ditch..

Meat on it's way to market...

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Again - who needs trucks...

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Some buildings....a wall...The Wall? Nah..

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A table tennis table.....the only one I saw..

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A reservoir....

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Is this the Wall? Nah..

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but this just might be the first glimpse...

and here we are - the entrance to the wall... Bernard & his wife whose name I never got..

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& start climbing & meet crew members already on the way down.

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Anna the sommelier posing for me.

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You can see the wall disappearing into the distance ... & note that there are no people on this stretch.

It was very steep & I did not get to the top...& even if I did, there is another 2 thousand some miles to go...

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I did not stay a long time as It was cold & windy but exciting to be walking the wall & I am glad I made it here.

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Waiting for the group, a girl on the street pointed me to a cafe. Remembering the scam, I took a chance & followed her. 5 tables covered with plastic inside. Not Starbucks. One occupied by some of the tour. Beer was cheaper than tea so I had a beer. No scams here. Just people trying very hard to make a dollar.

Here's something drying, peppers maybe, or what? Nothing much growing as yet.

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This little chap playing near a bike.

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and the ride back to the ship.....

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I will lose count of the number of times I heard that the crane is the national bird of China...

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Then it's back aboard the ship & my last bit of time with Niki & her buddy..

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65 days on the boat.

Overall, I enjoyed the itinerary.

Most of the passengers were nice but more obnoxious people than usual.

It was spoiled by the incidents at the very beginning & the fact Oceania do not even come close to matching their billing.
Excursions for the most part were nothing better than any other cruise line & Oceania show a distinct lack in imagination in their offerings. Like other cruise lines, they just hand off the tours to on-shore providers & rake in their cut, which must be substantialy more than others.

Service ranged from really bad to really good when we are paying for exceptional all the time.

Same with the food.

I will never go on an Oceania cruise again..

So - that's it for the cruise - But not the trip....

IF YOU ARE FROM MELBOURNE & ENJOYING MY TRIP, WHY NOT INTRODUCE YOURSELF?

THE NEXT SEGMENT....

Posted by hasbeen 18:10 Archived in China Comments (0)

2013 - OCEANIA - BEIJING, TIANNAMEN SQUARE & FORBIDDEN CITY

BUT IT'S LESS FORBIDDEN NOW..

THE PREVIOUS SEGMENT...

THE LAST BREAKFAST ON BOARD...

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JENNY & DON - DON'S OFF TO EVEREST ON HIS WAY HOME.

TOBY & BOB - THEY GOT ON BEFORE ME, DUBAI MAYBE.

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THE WORKERS CARRY ON REGARDLESS.

So, left the ship behind....

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The outskirts of Tianjin on the way to .....

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Tiannamen Square......

Entering the square there was a huge line-up passing through a security checkpoint. We just walked around it.

I bumped into an English couple I had met on the boat. Not very friendly on board but suddenly very chummy. They attached themselves to my tour & never even tipped the guide.

Cheap trick.

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Chairman Mao's mausoleum...

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Fancy fashions...

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Not that impressed with the square really..& is this little chap?

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He was walking around with his mum, wearing his Chairman Mao hat & waving his little flag. Smiling at all the tourists. We were all clicking away like crazy.

It wasn't til later that I realised he was peeing on the square!!

His trousers have a slit in them so she does not have to pull them down.

Not unusual trousers & you see kids peeing all over the place.

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Note the fire extinguisher. There are a lot around the square. In case a Buddhist monk chooses to set fire to himself - true apparently.

The line up is to view the Chairman - pass.

Through the arch & into the Forbidden City.

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This girl was taking a photo of me with her boyfriend..

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Several squares like this...& very impressive.

It's like a Russian Doll.

Go through successive arches with a very similar view on the other side.

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Hard to find a shot without people...but nearly..

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A family visiting from the Philipines. The little girls head wear is "to make her look like a princess" ...

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and I think she does...

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Zara - still hard at work.

That's the last I will see of her I expect, although Sandy knows her quite well, so maybe someday.

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Tourists I guess...

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Almost outside now...this is the Emperors gardens...

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& the rear gate...

Walking round the outside walls, this lady knitting & a guy exercising with some sort of toy. Saw it a few times in Asia.

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& another wedding.. Lady wearing red of course...She must be frozen.

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I get to the hotel & it's no surprise to find my luggage is not in my room. That's twice on this trip

After a lot of tooing & froing, it finally turned up on a photo someone had e mailed from dockside, 100 miles away.

Should be with me in the morning, maybe.

Too tired now to go out & have a chinese so it's time for bed after an exhausting day.

The bathroom is in the back. Has a nice TV in there over the bath.

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CLICK HERE FOR THE NEXT STOP

Posted by hasbeen 18:09 Archived in China Comments (0)

2013 - OCEANIA - TERRACOTTA WARRIORS & SHOW

After breakfast at a really great buffet in the hotel, my luggage arrived so I was able to change in time for....

...the flight to Xian and the Terracotta Army

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It is not allowed to go in amongst them.

Only VIP's get to do that.

The Queen did.

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Notice some are facing away. They are defending the flanks...

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Lots have not been restored yet...

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but they are still working on it....

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Outside some nice blossoms...

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& a strange looking avenue of trees...

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Not finished with things terracotta yet...

We still have the museum to go through. I go through a lot of museums but am not a fan really. This one is quite nice. Very well presented..

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Some figures not seen in the dig..

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People posing of course...

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Lots of people in Asia do variations of the V sign...

writing on Bamboo...no idea what it says but it looks striking I think...

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Mock ups...

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& back to the hotel....

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No, not really.

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This is the hotel reception...

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and the bar...

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Not the end of the day yet...

One of the group asked about an evening dinner show he had heard of & the guide fixed it up for us to go.

Should have been part of the tour anyway, but anyway..

Xian city wall on the way..

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Lots of colour & music...

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A couple had a cake delivered to their table & you can just make out the knife used to cut it...

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Enactments - this is the start of the bathroom scene...

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Wonderful costumes...

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the band sat off to one side

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& they clapped us.!!!!

Don't know why. I wasn't that good...

It wasn't all ladies, just seems that way.

It was worth the cash & we got fed as well.. It was a set meal of all sorts of Chinese goodies.

Only 2 on my table of 6 tried the chopsticks.

Me & Mary.

This is the place..

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Next day....

Posted by hasbeen 18:08 Archived in China Comments (0)

2013 - OCEANIA - XIANG


View 2013 OCEANIA - SINGAPORE TO BEIJING on hasbeen's travel map.

Still in Xian,

we are out early & pass the exercisers....

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& early morning market

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to another museum that I quite liked. 2 in a row - must be some sort of record.

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This one is more like an art gallery with some impressive sculptures...

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And paintings..

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& a Chinese character writing lesson..the brushes...

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Teacher...

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& my attempt.

Oddly, I write better in Chinese than English.

You still cannot read it, but it looks neater...

After the lesson came the sales pitch & I was tempted...

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& some terracotta stuff. Cannot avoid it here.

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& temple stuff..

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& some of my group passing some kids enjoying themselves getting wet in spray from a lawn sprinkler.

L to R.

Big guy & his wife. Very chatty.

Lady behind the tree. Never did get her name but chatted a lot with her & her husband.

Guy with the hat & lady in Yellow. Spanish speaking but friendly enough.

Blonde lady - Sherry. I met her & her husband their first day on board. Singapore or Hong Kong - I forget which. We had a meal together. They ignored me the rest of the cruise. Now we are off the boat & sit next to each other on the plane & at meals. She actually gave a little cheer when she found out I was next to her on the flight back as well. I think she was getting bored listening to her husband by this time. I know I was.

Chinese lady at the front. Wei Wei - our guide in Xian. Excellent - not too much chat & a good pace. We covered a lot of ground with her. Has a daughter studying in Canada. I forget where but a long way from me.

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60 Kites in a row......& she wants one too.

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What is that he's smoking?....

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Lunch time & the kids are out in force, buying I know not what...

More food.. & still not too many using chopsticks or eating in the Chinese manner.

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Now we climb up onto Xian's wall...

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A sand storm coming in from Mongolia

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She is part of the wedding pics. Pre-wedding this time

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Very atmospheric.....

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A turret on the wall. This is one of the only remaining city walls in China. Not part of the Great wall..You can just make out the happy couple & their photographer.

She looks comfortable enough going side-saddle..

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Back to Beijing after this....

Posted by hasbeen 18:07 Archived in China Comments (0)

2013 - OCEANIA - BEJING & HOME


View 2013 OCEANIA - SINGAPORE TO BEIJING on hasbeen's travel map.

PREVIOUS DAY

Before tacking the Great Wall for the 2nd time, we visit a temple & a shopping visit to a Jade sales outlet.

Heres the temple....very quiet... we were about the only tourists there..

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...but there must have been some people there at some time judging by the contributions...

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At the Jade place....A polisher....

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.....some bangles.

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A sales girl puts a plastic bag over your hand to help the band slip over your wrist easily.

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I saw these on the way in & went back to take photos. They are silk embroidery. I saw some in other countries earlier & again the other day. Amazing work. Some are on screens where you can see both sides. Each side had the same picture but in different colours. I missed the explanation of how they do that.

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.....Still embroidery...

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.....& Still embroidery...Amazing...

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And this is not embroidery but marble..

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I am not going to buy anything here so I sit at a bar inside the shop & try to order a Chinese beer. The chinese girl sitting next to me helps me out. She is the tour leader for another group & I had an enjoyable half hour listening to her complain about her guests. Seems Chinese groups can be just as annoying as American.

ENOUGH WITH THE SHOPPING... LETS GET ON TO THE WALL...

& my first glimpses of my second section of the wall...from the bus...

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The entrance gate - note the snow, but a picture perfect blue sky..

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Mary & her husband. He's still not well but is gonna make the wall. How could he not having got all the way here. Don't know who the girl getting in the way is....nice shoes..

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Standing room only.....& will I make it to the tower at the top? Not on your Nelly. That's hard work.

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Mary's husband again. With me taking a pic of the Chinese guy taking a pic of the ladies & us - all holding our arms out, don't know why. Lots of giggling..

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More posing...

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She took my photo too..again with the V sign..

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Her again - gives a good idea of how steep it is.

I went back down about now.

Way too steep for me.

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Me - Gasping for breath.. Mary's husband took this one & we both retreated downhill after. He said 'the blind leading the sick'. He knows my glasses are bi-focal & how hard it is to see the ground with them. Hard walking down steps. He suggested I take them off but without them I cannot even see him.
Still - we made the effort & it was a nice day for it.

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I head off the wall & go find a bathroom. In passing - Bathrooms throughout have been excellent - if you are not female. Some places only have the squat toilet or 50 squat toilets & one western toilet. No problem for the guys but those squats are difficult if you are not used to them & why don't they supply hand rails to haul yourself up afterwards!

I should get this translated...people were lining up to pose here.

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Hey Mom! Guess where I am!

Very few western tourists....

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I should have asked where these ladies are from.

Mongolia, maybe.

They were having a great time.

I like to think it had something to do with the cannon & shelling China maybe, or the fact they are inside the wall?

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Nice clothes & she was really cracking up.

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After all that puffing on the wall, we see this from the car park.

A CABLE CAR!!!!!

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a last look at the wall from the bus...

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Into Beijing & a quick stop to see the birds nest - from across a major highway. Some guests wanted to go inside but the guide did not, so we did not.

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Kites...

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Chinese tourists, amazed at the white barbarians going by...

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More kites

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I had read about Hutongs in Beijing. Original parts of the city or how it would have looked many moons ago. Not many left now. I kept bugging the guide about going there and eventually enough people showed an interest, so he arranged it - for only 25 dollars.

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It is by pedicab & 2 to a seat so I invited this young lady to join me under the blanket.... I see she has a fur on.

Should have got her address!!!

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biked around narrow alleys barely room for a bike but there were cars too...& laundry, & satellite..

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Passing tourists..Happy to see us?

My date aged 94 meets the owner, also 94, of the house we are about to visit

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How we all got in is in doubt.

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The lady of the house in the courtyard.

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These properties are probably worth a fortune but no one can knock them down or do anything with them by law.

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I was on the lookout for a Pekingese but this was close as i got..

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A night ride around Beijing ...

on the way to the restaurant for Peking Duck.

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The restaurant - Excellent food & lots of it,but Peking duck needs practise with chopsticks.

Everyone gave up on them, except me.

Leaving Beijing, skimming the mountains outside Beijing..

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Who even knew there were mountains outside Beijing?

& then over a surreal looking Siberia on the way home & the end of the journey.

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Thirteen hours on the plane, but getting a day back as I cross the Dateline..

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That's it folks..

Hope you liked the pics & that it wasn't too boring for you. There are thousands more..

Quite the trip.

Lots of animals, temples, markets, temples, temples & more people than I have ever taken pictures of.

It will be a while before I attempt anything quite like that.

It is my second time all the way round the world since I retired.

Time for a breather - well, a little.

Off to Switzerland on 2nd June til 26th June. All the panoramic trains they have there.

Posted by hasbeen 18:06 Archived in China Comments (0)

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