Emei Shan, China

Posted in China with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2010 by alexanderlaws

From Chengdu we took a two hour bus ride to the town of Emei. The town is near a sacred mountain called Mt. Emei, which is what we wanted to see.

We stayed at a very foreigner friendly place called the Teddy Bear hotel. We only had one day so we followed the hotel’s recommended route as follows: (copied from their website http://www.teddybear.com.cn)

  1. Go out of the Teddy Bear Hotel and turn left,and you will see the Bao Guo Bus Station on the left;
  2. Take a bus to Leidong Ping Bus Station (40RMB/person).Buy the entrance ticket (120RMB/person, and with student ID card, 60RMB/person);
  3. After 1.5 hours’walk, you can get to Jinying Palace, then it takes you 1.5 h to get to the Golden Summit on foot or 10 min by cable car;
  4. You can go around the Golden Summit for about 1 or 1.5 h;
  5. Go back to Jinyin Hallin the same way. 1 hour later, you will arrive at Leidongping where you can take a bus to Wannian Bus Station;
  6. It takes you 20 min to get to Wannian Temple on foot or 10 min by cable car (40 RMB/person);
  7. It’s about 1.5 hours for you to go down through Bailong Monastery, and Qingyin Pavilion to Wuxiangang Bus Station where the last bus to Baoguo Bus Station is at 6:30 pm. (If you have enough time, you can go up to Joking Monkey Zone from Wannian Temple).

Monkeys on the way up to the summit.

Steps up to the golden summit.

People attach locks to make a wish.

The next few are from Wannian Temple.

We grabbed a snack at a trail side cafe. We were a little worried we would get sick, but we didn’t!

These guys climb the stairs to deliver supplies to the snack stalls.

Bailong Monastery

THe next few are from around the Qingyin Pavilion.

The teddy Bear Hotel. Very friendly and nice place, but the food is so-so. We had a couple great meals up the street from here.

In town.

Deep fried catfish with Sichuan sauce. Fantastic!

Rock map of Mt. Emei.

Chengdu, China

Posted in China with tags , , , , , , , on May 3, 2010 by alexanderlaws

Next up was Chengdu in Sichuan province. It’s famous for spicy Sichuan food and pandas.

Michelle could hardly contain her excitement.

The second class citizens of the panda reserve.

This is Sichuan hot pot. You cook meat and veggies in this spicy black broth.

So spicy, but so good!

This is the real ma po tofu. It’s heavily spiced with Sichuan peppercorns and again so spicy, but so good! Chengdu wins for best food in China.

Yangshuo, China

Posted in China with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2010 by alexanderlaws

Yangshuo was our favorite place of the entire trip. The area is famous for the karst landscape that you often see in Chinese paintings and is also found on the 20 Yuan bill.

Michelle found us a fantastic hotel called the Yangshuo Mountian retreat. I highly recommend it.

The hotel was next to one of the rivers they do bamboo boating on and it was fun to watch the boat traffic go by.

The next day we went for a kayak trip. The little town where we put in is famous for fans.

This was the town we took out at.

These little trucks are the work horses in this area. There were warnings that tourists should not get rides in them because they tend to tip over.

Back at the hotel for a break and a snack.

That evening we went into town to watch the show “Impression Liu Sanjie” that they put on, on the river, every night. It was produced by the same guy that did the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympic games.  This is the crowd at the gate.

Amazingly the show uses the landscape as it’s backdrop and the river as it’s stage.

There are hundreds of actors in the show and they are drawn from all the nearby villages and ethnic communities.

This was one of may favorite scenes. All these performers have LED suites on and they dance around on platforms in the water.

Very scenic MacDonalds.

Back at the hotel.

The next day we went for a bike ride. We got lost so it turned into an epic voyage.

A 1,400 old Banyan tree.

People were practicing using the bamboo boats.

Moon hill.

Finally made it back to the hotel for a well deserved break and snack.

The next day Laurel and I took a cooking class with a market tour and Kieth and Michelle went for a bamboo boat ride.

After the class we checked out of the hotel and went to take a bamboo boat through theYangdi-Xingping scenic area of the Li river on the way back to Guilin. This was the little town we put in at.

One of Laurel’s favorites, sugar cane juice.

The famous view on the 20 Yuan bill.

Guilin, China

Posted in China with tags , , , , , , on April 29, 2010 by alexanderlaws

Our next stop was Guilin for a day on our way to Yangshuo. Guilin was not very interesting, but we made a day trip to the Ping’an Zhuang rice terraces in Longji, which was fantastic.

The town of Ping’an. I think most of these buildings are lodges for the tourists.

This is the view we came to see. The terraces are each only a few feet wide. It’s pretty surprising that these villages could ever support themselves. Now the government pays them to work the terraces for tourist purposes.

This is the nicest view back int eh city of Guilin.

Qingyuan, China

Posted in China with tags , , , , , , , on April 27, 2010 by alexanderlaws

Our first destination in China was the city of Qingyuan. It’s famous for a protected area that contains two old temples Feilai and feixia. The only way to get there is by taking a boat up the river.

They were ready for loads of tourists, but we seemed to be the only ones on this particular day.

The next few pictures are from around the Feilai temple and grounds.

And the next batch are from the area around Feixia.

The boat drivers bought ingredients from this floating market and made us a huge and fantastic lunch that we ate on the way back to town.

This is the hotel we stayed in. It seemed to out class the city and we seemed to be just about the only guests.

Hong Kong

Posted in Hong Kong with tags , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2010 by alexanderlaws

The first stop on our big China trip was a day in Hong Kong. As usual, we focused on food and we were not disappointed.

Our first stop was to check out a street market.

After the market we met up with Keith and tried to go to this dim sum place. It recently earned three stars in the Michelin guide and it is extremely popular and extremely small. Since the wait was going to be about nine hours we decide to go elsewhere.

We took the star ferry as any good tourist should.

And we took an open top bus tour through the city. Unfortunately the audio system on the bus wasn’t working so we didn’t learn anything on the tour.

The density of the city is impressive especially since it is built on a hill.

This is the escalator street.

century egg

These are noodles handemade by kneading the dough using a big piece of bamboo.

Our fearless guide for the day, Keith.

I really enjoyed Hong Kong. The city has a very vibrant and international feeling to it.

Hanami (flower viewing)

Posted in Gunma with tags , , , , , on April 11, 2010 by alexanderlaws

Spring is cherry blossom season. Hanami is the Japanese tradition of having a picnic in the park with friends while the cherry trees are in bloom. It only lasts for a a week so you only get one chance a year.

Inside is a preserved yuzu that Laurel bought at a pickle shop in Nara. I wouldn’t say it was good, but it really grew on me.