Monday, November 3, 2008

Reflections of China

1 Hall of Happiness, Yu Garden, Shanghai.
Barbara and Chuck, thanks so much for sharing
your wonderful memories with all of us!

Sue, Per your request attached are pictures from our trip to China in Sept.--a wonderful trip that provided us with many opportunities to explore the Chinese culture. We toured big cities---Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Hong Kong-- and also small villages. Other points of interest included the Great Wall, Terra Cotta Warriors, the Three Gorges Dam, Yangtze River, Forbidden City, Tianenmen Square, Potala Palace in Tibet, Buddhist temples, and Sera Monastery in Tibet (where the uprising began in March).

We had lunch with two families and stayed overnight with a family in a farmers' painting village. This provided an opportunity to see the Chinese people in everyday surroundings.
The Chinese food was delicious and easier to eat as we became more proficient using chopsticks!! Lots of vegetables in a variety of sauces--and some meat included in those dishes. We usually had soup and rice with each meal. (No bagels for breakfast!) We even had a Yak burger (with fries) in Tibet--quite a tasty treat!! Very little sweets or desserts, bread, or dairy products. We knew it was the end of the meal when watermelon and melon were served.
Early in the morning (6AM) one could see people doing Tai Chi in the park, playing badminton and participating in other forms of exercise. In the afternoon and evening the groups of people gathered to dance in the park. In the park it was common to see people playing Mahjong or cards with intense competition and spectators taking it all in.

We visited a Kung Fu School (some of the boys were a part of the Olympic opening ceremonies which the boys said was a lot of hard work). Visiting a silk factory, silk carpet factory, cloisonne factory, jade showroom and a lacquerware showroom provided an opportunity to learn about the production of these goods--and, of course, opportunity for retail therapy!!
One of the memorable visits was to an orphanage in Tibet. While there, we were serenaded with "You are My Sunshine" and "If You're Happy and You Know It". In return, we sang a song for them "Frere Jacque" in French, English and Chinese. The children happily showed us their living quarters (very sparse) and various rooms in the orphanage.

All in all a memorable experience which gave us all an appreciation for all that we have available to us--so many times taken for granted!!
Barbara and Chuck Knauf

#10 Potala (Dalai Lama) Palace, Lhasa,Tibet. Dalai Lama vacated in 1959,

#9 Three Gorges Dam, Yangtze River on which we cruised for 4 days & nights west of the dam.

#8 Terra Cotta soldiers pit near Xian.

#7 The Heavenly Temple, Beijing. Where Emperor prayed for good harvests. Millions spent restoring for Olympics.

#6 The Great Wall. More remote section than seen on TV.

#5 Olympic/Paralympic One World/One Dream display in Tiananamen Square next to the Forbidden City.

#4 One of many emperor palaces in the Forbidden City, Beijing.

#3 Lunch food in local family's home, Shanghai. 23rd floor of high-rise.

#2 Shanghai Pudong area. Building on right with needle eye at top is second tallest building in the world. We went to the top.

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