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November 20, 2003

Quanzhou and Wuyishan

The final part of my trip was spent in Li's home province Fujian, and the town of Quanzhou. I had the most fun of the whole trip staying here with his family and meeting his friends. Quanzhou has an ancient history, 1000 years ago it was the busiest port in Asia. It has been prosperous for many centuries and there are magnificent old temples and even mosques. The old part of town is a beautiful maze of narrow cobblestoned paths and the unexpected park.

I also had the best food of the trip here, cooked in Li's home kitchen. For a few days I took a trip by myself to another popular scenic area called Wuyishan, an overnight train ride from Quanzhou. I had a fun and relaxing time there. Li and his friends had arranged my trip and I had a personal guide that could speak English. The photos are from this side trip.
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Posted by Dave at 05:53 PM

Beijing

We had to go see the center of it all. Unlike most of the sections so far, here the photos show most of the things we did, it was a short visit. We did enjoy some famous Peking duck also. And we encountered the most aggressive beggars so far. On the famous Wangfujing shopping street these little girls would come up to me (or probably any foreigner) and start begging. If you didn't pay any attention to them they'd go in for the kill; they'd latch their entire body, arms and legs around your leg and you'd have to peel them off or walk around with the extra weight. Meanwhile I guess they were hoping you'd give them some change to stop the embarassment from onlookers. Also I'd already gathered that China wasn't very Communist anymore, but the Porsche and Rolls-Royce dealers within a few blocks of Tiananmen Square cinched it.
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Posted by Dave at 05:35 PM

Jiuzhaigou

The most fantastic landscape of the trip. This scenic area is a full day bus ride north of Chengdu and quite popular with Chinese tourists. We walked around all day and there was still more to explore. It's a high alpine valley with lakes, pools, and falls containing crystal clear water that takes on many hues depending on the light conditions. We also visited Huanglong Mountain which is a more isolated spot at an even higher altitude. It was a few hours hike to a temple and then back down.
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Posted by Dave at 05:00 PM

Chengdu and Qingcheng Mountain

From Shenzhen we flew to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province and famous for its spicy, "mouth-numbing" cuisine. Li and I loved it. In our favorite style you have a big spicy, oily bubbling pot in front of you into which you dip all sorts of meats and vegetables to cook. Then dip in your own sesame oil mix and eat! We had excellent hosts in Chengdu, some friends of Li's mom. It's a huge city, some 10 million or so. It's also almost always completely clouded and hazed over due to pollution and lying in a low valley surrounded by mountains. We went hiking on one of those mountains, full of ancient history, sacred in the Taoist religion. The photos are from that day trip.
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Posted by Dave at 04:39 PM

China

I've recently returned from a twenty-five day trip to China. My port of entry and exit was Hong Kong. I went with my friend Li Lin who grew up in Quanzhou, China and Hong Kong. China was busy, booming, crowded, and fun. It was a lot of things and I only saw a small slice of its immensity. more...

Posted by Dave at 04:07 PM |

Hong Kong and Shenzhen

Hong Kong was a separate world from the rest of China. It was pretty overwhelming on my first time through. Coming back through it though I realized it's similar to the West in many ways. Beautiful architecture along the harbor. The most efficient public transit I've ever seen. On Saturday we walked the shopping streets of Mong Kok which are thronged with people; you can buy everything from a tropical fish to a bouquet of flowers to a new computer or Jaguar, fake Rolex, real Rolex, whatever you like. Shenzhen, China is a neighbor to Hong Kong and was my port of entry into mainland China.
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Posted by Dave at 03:27 PM |