When did it get to be Friday?
In April, it seems so very long ago now, my husband and I spent three weeks visiting our son in China. A highlight of our trip was a hike up to and along the Great Wall starting at an un-restored area and ending at a restored one. It was a splendid day.
Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge
We visited Shouguang’s Vegetable Museum earlier this week. When I first spied this huge bowl in the museum I wondered what on earth it was for (and how they made it). Most of the artifacts and displays were life size.
Turned out to be a very detailed diorama of farming during the era that was the theme of the room.
I reminded me of the Where’s Waldo books we had when my son was growing up.
At lunch time I realized that the artist must have been inspired by her/his lunch:
I still wonder how they made it.
I don’t take selfies. Traveling in China lots of people take lots of pictures. It is hard to get pictures of sights without people having their pictures taken in them. Although it seems like folks mostly travel in groups and having someone from the group take pictures is more common, a fair number of pictures I take contain people taking selfies.
This older woman, at least my age ;), caught my eye, she was obviously “doing” the Forbidden City alone. I wondered what her story was (is).
The picture below is one I took because a) my husband and son are in it b) it was typical of that day for one or more of us to be asked to be in pictures with Chinese people and c) there is a guy who is part of the group taking a selfie during the group pictures.
Response to Pic and a Word Challenge: Selfie
The peonies are blooming in Shouguang!
Acres of different colors and shapes.
Cee’s Flower of the Day
Indoor pictures from the Empress Cixi’s quarters in the Forbidden City.
Daily Post Challenge: Lines
A fanciful presentation of the Chinese Zodiac from this years Vegetable Fair:
An ancient system which is based, somehow, on yin and yang, not the stars. You see the animals everywhere.
Yangjiabu Folk Village, modern stone carvings.
Yangjiabu Folk Village, Zodiac Hall.
Waiting for a holiday at Confucius Temple in Beijing.
At a grave site in Qufu’s Kong Lin.
A procession on Qing Ming spring festival at Fengdu, Ghost City:
The 12 animals were chosen deliberately, after many revisions. The zodiac animals are either closely related to ancient Chinese people’s daily lives, or have lucky meanings.
The ox, horse, goat, rooster, pig, and dog are six of the main domestic animals raised by Chinese people. The other six animals: rat, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, and monkey are all loved by the Chinese people.
I don’t understand the Chinese Zodiac, but the symbols show up a lot. They are part of an ancient, indigenous Chinese faith or mythology (depending on your point of view) and there are a lot of stories about the animals in lore.
The Yangtze River
The name Yangtze—derived from the name of the ancient fiefdom of Yang—has been applied to the river mainly by those in the West. Chang Jiang (“Long River”) is the name used in China, although it also is called Da Jiang (“Great River”) or, simply, Jiang (“[The] River”). The Yangtze is the most important river of China. It is the country’s principal waterway, and its basin is China’s great granary and contains nearly one-third of the national population.
What more can you say? It’s “the river”. A source of power, water and transportation, it is also a source of livelihood and way of life for many people.
X is not as uncommon in Chinese as it is in English, but it’s still hard to come up with an X is for… topic.
Xi’an, a city in central China, was an ancient capital. Now famous for the terracotta warriors, who are there because Xi’an was that ancient capital. Because of the warriors it is on the Western tourist track.
I went to Xi’an with my dad, about four years ago, after a cruise up the Yangtze in an attempt to see all of the main “must see” locations, never dreaming that I would wind up coming to China as frequently as I have. We hired a car and guide for the full day we spent seeing Xi’an. It worked out well but I do not recall which company it was.
The day was rather grey and rainy so it wasn’t spectacular…and traveling with Dad can be a bit limiting since he can’t walk very far and isn’t interested in the same things I am. But we hit a few of the highlights of the city.
We saw the terracotta warriors:
the great goose pavilion:
and the city walls:
The symbol of China more than any other is the Great Wall. It winds its way along the tops of mountains. It has a fascinating history, if only because it has so much history. A History of the Great Wall of China Ebook by Luo Zhewen gives a better idea than any attempt I might make to paraphrase it. It was provided by WildGreatWall.com, the outfit through which I arranged our hike from Jiankou, where the wall has not been restored, to Mutianyu, where it has been. If you like to hike I strongly recommend that hike, although the hike up to the wall is a bit challenging. I’ve used WildGreatWall.com three times and they have all been good experiences. Here are some pictures from the hike we took earlier this month:
Deciduous azalea blooming near the trail up to the wall.
The road not taken, looking west-ish from zhengbeilou tower.
Watch your step.
Path is narrow in places.
Broken area gives a chance to see construction details.
Spring blossoms and the “oxhorn”.
This section is in good shape for being un-restored.
The resoted section has lots, and lots, and lots of steps.
Still quite a ways to go.
Looking back at where we came from.
Myth busting: The great wall is not visible from space. It is too narrow to be seen from even a low earth orbit. Here is a view from a plane:
It seems like every city/area/town in China has something that is special to it. In Weifang it’s kites and paper cut art work. In Shouguang it’s vegetables.
The annual “High-Tech International Vegetable Expo” is in full swing right now. It is an event like no other in my experience. Seattle’s Garden show in February is one, not quite comparable event. In Shouguang the displays are made up of vegetables, not flowers. The displays are much, much larger. Also, there are eleven large greenhouses of displays and vendor exhibits.
Some are artful:
Some are more scientific, like this display of plant cloning:
…and this area where they demonstrate vertical systems that could even work in an apartment:
…and this area where they demonstrated aqua culture and integrating it with living spaces:
Some were not really about vegetables, maybe “vegetation”, all-be-it interesting, would be more accurate for this display of desert plants (typical of displays they had for several climates):
…and the orchids:
Vendors ranged from selling candy and toothbrushes, to plants and vegetable, to tractors and irrigation systems.
All in all a rather exhilarating, but also exhausting day.