Category Archives: China

A wall that connected

One thing that fascinated me when I researched about the Great Wall of China is that it was used more for communication than for separation. In the days before cell phones, messages could be sent quickly over long distances along the wall using smoke, flares and flags.

These are photos from the reconstructed area called Mutianyu. It is less crowded than Badaling, which is more easily accessed from Beijing. As I mentioned we had a private driver to our hotel as part of Wild Great Wall’s self-guided tour so we did not have to figure out how to get back to the city.

Comparing from the photos I posted last week, Which Way. You can see that the reconstruction and maintenance are a monumental endeavor. The wall is along the crest of the hills and the area is not accessed by roads, the materials are heavy and there is a lot of territory to cover.

Traveling this section there are a lot of stairs, steep and uneven in many places.

For Son of a Beach’s Which Way Photo Challenge

Which Way

These are from a walk we took on the Great Wall of China last spring, from Jiankou to Mutianyu. These are all from the unimproved section (Mutianyu is one of the large sections that has been improved.)

The walk was about five miles and the package we used had a driver who drove us to Jiankou, then walked with us to the first tower on the wall (that is a steep-ish, but short hike), after taking our picture he returned to the car and drove around to Mutianyu to meet us. Once on the wall you can follow it and the instructions provided easily. I can recommend the outfit we used: “Wild Great Wall”, I’ve used them three times for different activity levels. We all felt that is was beneficial to see both the unreconstructed and the reconstructed wall. If I stay on task this week (not real good odds) I will post pictures from the reconstructed section of the wall next week.

For Son of a Beach’s Which Way Photo Challenge.

 

Getting around in Shouguang

One really fun thing to notice when traveling is how people get around. I live in an area where it seems like all the cars look pretty much the same. Here is a gallery of some of the variety I saw while visiting my son recently in a small-ish Chinese city. Click on an image to see it larger.

I really admire how many options people have beyond taking the bus and owning a full size car.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Things People Drive

Pull up a Seat Photo Challenge-Week 8

PHOTO CHALLENGE OF PLACES WE SIT…OR MIGHT SIT…OR ART ABOUT SITTING

Welcome to week 7 of Pull up a Seat. Take a load off and share a favorite perch by linking your post to this one, either with a comment or ping-back. For more detailed directions go to Pull Up a Seat page.

Thank you to everyone who is participating. It is really fun to see all the different ideas conjured up by the theme.

Thank you to everyone who is participating. It is really fun to see all the different ideas conjured up by the theme.

Here is my contribution for this week:

 

This old gentleman stared then smiled at me, which made me smile. He was just sitting out and enjoying a nice fall day, visiting with people passing and keeping an eye on the neighborhood. This is an older portion of town, but the modern buildings are looming on the horizon.

Over to you.

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Steps to immortality

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Interesting fact: one of the steps she took to become immortal was eating ground mica.

Chinese people call her a fairy. She is the only one of the eight immortals who is a woman, He Xiangu. In this statue she holds peonies instead of her traditional lotus flower (this statue is in a peony garden).

The tall, new apartment buildings are reducing her dramatic presence. It was hard to get an angle where she and the steps really stood out.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Steps

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If we were having coffee…

I’d tell you that I found another Cat Cafe in Shouguang. This one was livelier in terms of both cats and customers. I shouldn’t have had coffee though. They did not have decaf and the only thing I can order with confidence is mei shi, (Americano). It kept me up, so I saw both the sunset (through a gap created by buildings that were demolished during my stay)

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and sunrise

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The Chinese like what they call re nao (“ruh now” is more or less the pronunciation) which means “hot noise”. It can be translated as hustle and bustle, but sometimes that translation seems lame. Even on normal nights there is quite a bit more light than there is in my relativity quiet neighborhood in Seattle. Restaurants will also pipe out music and messages to try and draw people in. In my neighborhood there is one restaurant that pipes soft jazz to the sidewalk.

But both last night and this morning there were promotional activities nearby that make that pale in comparison. Strobe lights so bright they were blinding combined with highly amplified music at a performance last night and fireworks, a lot of them, going off this morning.

It was both deafening and blinding for me,yet people seemed to be loving it. Maybe there are people at home who wouldn’t find it so overwhelming, so I shouldn’t project it as a cultural norm that Chinese people like re nao and Americans don’t, after all many people do go to rock concerts.

Doing the time warp again: Now I am in the place and time between. A quiet and uneventful bus ride to the Qingdao airport passing through some of Shandong’s countryside with gentle autumn light was an antidote to the war zone noises of this morning. Shandong Province is the fruit and vegetable basket of China and there is a lot of farmland growing a wide variety of crops in strips and greenhouses.

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Tomorrow I have a magic morning. My plane leaves Qingdao airport at 7:25 am and I arrive at Seatac at 7:23 am. Does that make me two minutes younger than when I leave?

Have a good week, whatever your time zone.