Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Summer Palace

The Summer Palace is a Qing dynasty imperial retreat from the stiling heat of the Forbidden City. On the north side of Kunming Lake is Longevity Hill with more than 30 grouping of houses, hall, pavilion, gates and walkways. We enjoyed reading the names: Hall of Happiness and Longevity, Tower of Fine Sunsets; Pavilion of Harmonizing with the Lake, Glowing Clouds and Holy Archway, Hall of listening to oriels are just a few examples.

Ruth in front of the Seventeen Arch Bridge with 544 carved lions topping each of the balusters. Each lion is suppose to be different but the differences were so subtle
we quickly tired of looking for them.

George in front of the steep Xiuyi bridge linking the mainland to the Causeway.

Ruth in front of the famous Marble Boat built by Empress Dowager Cixi.

The Long Corridor
This Corridor lined the whole north side of the lake. I imagine it was built for protection from the sun or the rain as people walked from here to there. For something to ponder or by way of entertainment over 14,000 scenic paintings decorate the walkway.

The Summer Palace is famous for it's yellow roofs. We are looking down from the Tower of Buddhist Incense. The dots on the lake are paddle boats.

On one may this is the Tower of Buddhist Incense in the tour book they called it the Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha.
Longevity Hill is the backdrop for this picture.
We really like bells and this is a most beautiful set. This is part of the Grand Theater of Garden of Virtue and Harmony. There is a Grand Stage where performers would perform.

Monday, September 27, 2010

September in Shanghai

In September we spent an enjoyable week in Shanghai. The building were spectacular! We spent a night walking around the Pudong side of the river looking at the lights which made the city seem magical. We ate dinner outside on a terrace, the temperature was perfect and look up at the skyline, memorable. Some of our highlights were: the expo, JinMao Tower, and the Jing'an Temple. George needed to do some Lenovo work everyday so Ruth had plenty of time to read and relax.

Maglev Train

Shanghai has a 'magnetically levitated' train that George was excited to see and ride.
We enjoyed the comfort of 1st class.
This train can travel up to a maximum speed of 450 kilometers per hour. As you can see, when we took this picture we were going 431 km/hour. It was a very smooth ride and quiet ride.

Shanghai Expo 2010

We were very excited to go to a World Expo. There are so many people in Asia that between 400,000 and 600.000 people visited the Shanghai Expo every day. We spent one day and two evenings at the expo. The architecture was amazingly creative. China did an excellent job of crowd management and the Asian people--all half million of them--were polite and happy. We did see an occasional Westerner, but not many.

The China Pavilion.
There were so many people wanting to see the inside of the China pavilion that they gave out tickets for a certain time beginning at 9:00 am. The official we asked said that the tickets were gone every morning by 9:05 am. We decided not to try and see the inside of this pavilion.

Honk Kong and Macao (bunny rabbit) pavilions
Saudia Arabia
Spain! We stood in this line to see something of the country where George is serving his mission. Fortunately the line moved quickly.
Swiss Pavilion
Poland Pavilion
Looking out from the Luxembourg pavilion to the UK pavilion that looks like a dandy-lion.
UAE (United Arab E...)
The Netherlands Pavilion
One of our favorite pavilions with little houses built up in Dr. Suess fashion.
Rainbow arch

Shanghai World Finance Center

The second tallest building in the world.
The observation deck has a glass floor.
Looking down on the street below.

JinMao Tower
This building is built in a pagoda-like fashion.
Looking down the 33-story atrium.

Jing'an Temple and Jing'an Park

While in Shanghai we spent a day visiting Temples. My favorite was the Jing'an Temple or The temple of Tranquility.It was beautifully restored. It was so clean that it positively gleamed. Ironically, in the 1930's it was the wealthiest Buddhist temple headed by an abbot who was a gangster with White Russian bodyguards.

Gold gleamed everywhere.
Incense is always burning in the Incense Alter.
Thee golden lions atop a pillar.
Elephant's where everywhere which made my
think of and miss my very own elephant girl.
Two golden elephant on the roof.
Four elephants on a pedestal.
An example of the beautiful woodwork.

We bought this bell as a souvenir.
This is the actual bell at the temple.
This ladder is made of bamboo. It looks dangerous to me.
People everywhere carve their names on trees.
Yu Gardens:

After spending a frustrating hour trying to find the Yu garden we were pleasantly rewarded by peaceful, beautiful garden of the Ning-dynasty. The garden has walls that divide it into 6 scenic areas.We spent a serene morning wandering around this maze like garden.
The garden wall is topped by dragons. The body of several
dragons snake along the wall and dragon heads pop up
every once in awhile. Very fanciful and fun.
Chinese lanterns come in many shapes.
This is the rockery. It is meant
to imitate the peaks and caves of southern China.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Star River Apartment in Beijing

Well, we have been in Beijing for 1 year now. Amazing how time flies. Our Beijing Apartment lease was up on Aug 31st. Our apartment was purchased by a wealthy Chinese person, that wants to hold the property for investment (yes, they have real estate speculation in China as well.....Capitalism is marching onward!!). Anyway, this guy has so much money, that he does not want to lease the apartment, but leave it vacant. So we had to find a few apartment. We found a very nice place called Star River. It is a large complex. Several large buildings, central courtyards with meandering walkways with various waterscapes, and a very scenic, albeit small, golf course. Anyway, the apartment is larger a little fancier than our other place. The following are a few pictures of the new place.

Pelicans along the side of the outdoor swimming pool.
George in a gazebo in the courtyard.
Ruth next to a waterfall fountain.
This is the view outside from our 8th floor front window. It overlooks the center courtyard. There are plenty of trees and pebble lined walkways. There is a small playground for children and a beautiful outdoor pool.
This is our front room.
Our Xian Warrior, Chinese Apothecary Chest and Mu Shu Dragon
belong to us, the rest of the furniture belongs to the apartment owner.
The dining room looking into the front room.
Looking into the dining room towards the back window.
The kitchen is a little room to the left.
Every room has air conditioning except the kitchen! Strange.
This little sitting room is part of the master bedroom.
It is the perfect place for Ruth to read her novels.
Ruth spends most of her time in the study.
This is the computer desk...
and this is Ruth's study desk. Ruth enjoys this little room.
When George works from home he likes to work at the little
table in the little sun room off the living room by the window.
Best of all we have an extra room for exercise.
Our bedroom.
The quilt was made by Luann! It is a beautiful reminder of home.