Group

                         17 Day China Tour---17 September-3 October 2006

I took 719 Pictures on this trip. I've winnowed that number down to 68. Every place we visited can be seen on the net. Just for that reason I am
not going to add much info. If you are curious about a certain location, just Google it! By the way, if your do not have the wonderful (and free)
program called Google Earth, you need to download it (uh, high speed internet only, no dialup). With this terrific satellite program, you can revisit
all the places we went from the air! It can be found at http://www.earth.google.com.
Oh, yeah, and most of the pictures, if dragged from your browser to your desktop, will be much larger (in case you want more detail). As for the
pages themselves, I did not build them for viewing on those tiny, old fashioned 15 inch screens, so you may have to scroll horizontally at times
(or simply change your computer's screen resolution) for optimal viewing.

There are lots of links (blue underlined text) to click on for more info on various venues
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Caroline Lent (Age 81), a dear friend, and mother
of my best friend, Martha, and I departed San Diego
by train on September 16, 2006 as traveling
companions. We had decided to go to Los Angeles
by Amtrack a day early in order to have a more
leisurely morning to catch our plane from L.A. to
San Francisco, the beginning of our China Tour;
not to mention that their was a savings of over 1700
dollars each when signing up as a "duo."

Here is a shot of Caroline being seated at our first
breakfast in the Kempenski Hotel in Beijing. One
can hardly miss the fact that everything is gleaming
and spotless, but what is less obvious is the layout
of foodstuffs available at the buffet counters.

One could also order eggs and other foodstuffs
made to order if desired. This spiffiness and
availability of food was present throughout the
entire trip. Virtually all meals were supplied on the
tour and each was a culinary delight, in my opinion,
as I really like Chinese food, and there was
certainly plenty to go 'round at every meal.


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Here we are gathering for a day on the town.

 

[By the way, group, to reduce download time
for you I reduced the size of the pictures on this
site. If you would like any of them for yourself,
you can email me and I'll send you them in full
size. They are about 1.1MB or more in size.]

I can also burn you a DVD with all the pictures
on it if you send your name and address.

 

 

 

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There are still many millions throughout China who use bicycles as their primary mode of transportation. Generally speaking, they cost about $24 American so are quite inexpensive, even for the Chinese.

There are also many motorcycles in use, but the economy is such that the country's number of automobiles (mostly Chinese and Japanese) is
increasing at thousands per day.

Driving would be a dangerous proposition for an American as we expect that signs and lanes are to be obeyed. Not so in China. They are merely
"suggestions" our tour guide told us. Traffic sort of "oozes" through the streets, often times with no regard for which side of the street you are driving on.

Drivers there are used to simply giving way as needed. It seems to work well for the Chinese. They are proud of their vehicles and take good care of them. Only saw one little traffic nudge in all my time there, and I was really looking for one!

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Tiananmen Square. In the distance, a long line
of people can be seen. Every day the queue
forms of people wanting to pay homage to
Chairman Mao. It seems that he is revered by
the people because in his time everyone was
taken care of--health care, etc. All that has
been lost since his passing and the elderly
are not happy with current conditions.

 

 

 

 

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The only sign of any military at any time in any
city in our tour was this small contingent which
circled through the square--sort of like our military
at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in D.C.
They were a snappy group of very young men.

WoW! As I was writing the last line I got a call
that said Caroline tripped on a sidewalk today
and shattered her wrist in the fall and injured her
jaw as well.

(And this paragraph written 3 weeks after the last:
Caroline is mending well and feeling chipper!)

 

6Chen, our wonderful trip tour guide.
Above at the Forbidden City is Chen with Craig and Annette just behind and the rest of the crew coming up the steps to the rear. The interesting
thing about this area of the city is small waterway in the shape of a bow with 3 bridges over it.

The Bow is "supposed" to be shooting an "arrow" at a target located in the Summer Palace some distance away. Looking at Beijing on Google
Earth shows the proximity of the summer palace to the Forbidden City...closer than I imagined as we went there on another day and I had no idea
as to just where it was located at that time.

The next two pictures are also in the Forbidden City, Built in 1420, home of 24 Chinese emperors during the Ming and Quing dynasties. It contains
9,999 buildings (Magic number) by one account, 800 by another. Makes you wonder who is in charge of counting!

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910Several thousand eunuchs, servants,
concubines and the Emperor lived
within the walls. The common folk
never got to enter.

The picture to the left is a gate leading
to the concubines quarters.

The Gate on the right is simply an
example of gates seen throughout
China. Each door has 9 rows of 9
"knobs." 9 is a lucky number.

There is always a high stoop, designed
to keep out evil spirits.

 

 

 

To the left, below, Gerry, Vikram and Indira are taking shots of the hallway leading to the Concubines' quarters.

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Later in the afternoon we went to the
Hutong area of Beijing where the
streets are too narrow for busses so
we enjoyed a rickshaw ride to a very
excellent restaurant.

 

The meal in the Hutong was for me one of the best on the tour. I don't, however, know what all the food was. The dishes just kept on coming and
coming. Our tables always had Lazy Susans and nearly always 8-12 people to a table.

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Unfortunately, the only shot I got of the Magnificent Peking Opera was
was in the foyer. ;-)

The opera was in traditional Chinese style, wonderfully colorful and
beautiful songs. I will be sure and attend again when next in Beijing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

16These two of the Ming Tombs, burial place of Emperors, at least some
13 of them....1360-1644Ming Tomb

Inside this one building are huge pillars and a ton of gold. A real treasure.
Ming3

Ming4

Off to the Great Wall--a total of about 4000 miles in all. This particular section is about 25 miles outside Beijing at a place called Badaling.
I've found that a Google search brings up literally millions of pictures so I'm only including three of my own here.

First a general shot where you can see it meandering over the mountaintops.
Wall1

The sign on the mountainside below says "One World, One Dream;" theme of the upcoming 2008 Olympics. Remember, for a larger
picture, drag it to your desktop and reopen it with your favorite Graphics program.

Wall2Wall3

SUmmer1

 


The Summer Palace 1750, located near Beijing; the world's largest
imperial garden. Lake Kunming is an artificial lake with an island in
the middle.
There is a lovely pavilion, about a half mile long with some 8000 paintings
along one side of the lake

 

 

 

 

 

Silk

 


This small silk "rug," about the size of a hand towel in the rug factory
we visited had a price tag of $7000.

We were informed that it took 3 people two years to produce. Silk is a
rather amazing material, it turns out...not to be expounded upon here.

Temple

 

 

 

 

 

The Temple of Heaven in Beijing (Tiatan) is a beautiful example of
classic Chinese architecture established in 1450.

The beautiful glazed tiles have maintained their glistening colors and
shine all these years.

There is a vast park within the site where families and people young
and old gather to dance, exercise, and play.

Pearls1

 

Then, of course, the pearl "factory." This particular Oyster contained
something on the order of 16 pearls. The jewelry available was, of course
beautiful--and from inexpensive to very expensive. A little something
for everyone.

And that's all I am going to present about Beijing, though there was much,
much more. Great meals and sights. Great city. Next was a flight to Xi'an
and the Terra Cotta Warriors....

 

 

 

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