Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Xi'an Trip

When George was asked to take his job (himself and his wife) to Beijing, China he searched his mind for what he knew about China. He came up with an article he had read about the Terracotta Warriors of Xi'an. If he accepted this opportunity to live in China he could see the Terracotta Warriors. This idea of Xian and the Terracotta Warriors become a motivating factor in our journey to Beijing. We lived in Beijing for three years and saw much in that city. We also traveled to several other cities in China. But we moved to Hong Kong without seeing Xi'an and it's famous warriors.  Currently, we've had an apartment in Hong Kong for 8 month. And it seems that there has been the shadow of an incomplete check-mark next to the the box marked Xi'an. This shadow has increased in density until George finally cracked, got tourist visas and bought airplane tickets for Xi'an.  We went on our own without the security of a tour guide making all of our plans and purchasing all of the tickets. It was an interesting experience for two introverts mingling with 6 or 7 million Mandarin speakers. 

Xian City Wall

Xi'an's walls are still in tact, forming a 9-mile long rectangle around the city center. These wall have been rebuilt several times. It is interesting that while the wall themselves are old (and the idea of city walls is even older) the city center inside the walls and the city surrounding the walls are new. Many low-rises and high-rises and even sky scrapers abound. We rented a tandem bike and rode around the city. And yes, George did almost all of the work.  

Moun Hua or Hua Shan

Hua Shan is one of China's five holy mountains. We were looking forward to seeing this mountain and all of the surrounding mountains. Sadly, it was raining. We spent the day walking around in a cloud.   


There is a Chinese custom that says that if a
couple will have  their
 names engraved on a 
padlock and then lock their
 padlock on a chain at the various places near
the summit of Hua Shan, their love will be

 "locked' forever.

George has "Locked our Love" on Hua Shan

Xi'an Warriors 

Xi'an--a big check-mark

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Guilin Trip

We took a quick trip back to mainline China to visit the cities of Guilin, Yangshuo and Longsheng to see the Longji rice paddy terraces.

We flew to Guilin from Hong Kong

This is Elephant Trunk Hill. An elephant who
has placed its trunk in the Lee River for a drink of water. 

The entire city park around Elephant Hill has whimsical
elephants here and there.

From Guilin we went to Longsheng. We had to hike straight up the mountain for 30 minutes to our hotel. Cute little grandmas ran up to us to carry our suitcases up hill. It was strange to let someone my age or older do the work, but sometimes it important to pay someone wages so they too can have food to ear. 

Rice Terraces

Ethnic Chinese costume

The beautiful Longji rice terraces of Longsheng

Preparing the rice fields the old-Chinese way

For only 5 yuan we can have a water buffalo for a friend.

We went on a bike ride along the Li River

A bicycle built for two

Buying May Day Flowers from a cute little grandma

More Amazing Mountains

With a wide variety of shapes

Cloud 9 Cooking School

We made braised eggplant, pork and vegetables, 
and Chinese dumplings (jiaozi)

George preparing to chop vegetables

George making jiaozi 

Eating our own cooking!

Bamboo Rafting

Bamboo rafting on the Li River in Yangshuo

Magnificent Landscape seen while rafting on the river