Thursday, May 31, 2007

Proud, but not boastful

We drank a glass of this wine on the Li River cruise:

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More beautiful scenery

I hope everyone had a nice weekend. I did nothing particularly interesting. Luckily, I still have approximately 395 pictures to go from my China trip. Yay! So...

The Li River cruise ends in Yangshuo, which has now become a popular destination for tourists—it’s become a backpacker and rock-climber town. It also has lovely sunrises:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Li River

We eventually made our way to Guilin, in the Guangxi province of China (and by “made our way,” I mean that we took a commercial flight). From Guilin, which is a lovely city on its own, we took—as all tourists to Guilin do—a river cruise down the Li River.

The Li River is a part of the beautiful scenery of the area, which has been captured in Chinese art through the centuries:

Some of the scenery has also been captured on the twenty-yuan note:

And cormorant fishermen add nicely to the surroundings:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Chinese food

This was the display outside a restaurant in Shanghai:

And this is what wound up on my plate a few minutes after picking out one of the unlucky creatures outside:

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bright lights, big city

Shanghai has a population of over eighteen million people (according to Wikipedia). It’s a densely-populated, active, flashing, noisy place. It’s difficult to convey its use of—and apparent devotion to—colored lights.

This is Nanjing Lu, the main shopping street, on a Wednesday evening:

And here is a picture of the Pudong, a commercial area to the east of the Huangpu river, which has the weirdly-shaped and colorful Oriental Pearl TV Tower:

Our first morning in Shanghai, Debbie and I, who were sharing a hotel room, woke up at 6:00 am. The reason: there was a marching band competition going on immediately outside our hotel:

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Chicago, Chicago, it’s a hell of a town

One more picture-less post before I start with the real flow. Beware: I took over 400 pictures in China.

But first an update—and complaint—about my trip home: the flight from Shanghai to Chicago was delayed five hours. Which means that we all missed our connecting flights. Which means I got to spend the night in the lovely Wyndham O’Hare hotel in Chicago (Rosemont, actually). The next morning, due to weather on the east coast, my flight to New York was delayed almost two hours on the tarmac. So... instead of getting home around midnight on Thursday, I got home around 4pm on Friday. At least I was already planning to take that Friday off work.

But now I’m home. Yaaay!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

And once again, Shanghai

And we’re back in Shanghai. It’s our last night here, so we went to a nice rooftop restaurant (that served French food—go figure). But now we’re sitting in an internet place for some last-minute e-mailing and, for me, updating. Rounding out our trip, today we saw a temple with famous jade statues, and we went shopping for antiques (I’ll admit that I’m a little suspicious of some of the ones we saw). And I can assure you: I have taken many many many mediocre photos. I bet the anticipation is maddening.

Monday, May 14, 2007


And now, after a flight back east, we’re in Hangzhou, a popular Chinese tourist destination. It’s a lovely town, known for its silk and tea. And tomorrow evening, we head back to Shanghai.

I have a correction for the last post: we did not actually stay in Longsheng. We stayed in Ping ’An village, which is in Longsheng county. In Ping ’An, the population is primarily Zhuang, one of the ethnic minorities in China. There are also some Yao people there. Yao women cut their hair only once in their lives: when they’re 18. And for 5 or 10 yuan, they’ll unwrap it and comb it for you. Ping ’An is not without its touristy influence.

From there we went to Zhaoxing, a Dong village. The population of Zhaoxing is about 4000. Like Ping ’An, Zhaoxing is surrounded by rice terraces. One of the main hazards for a casual tourist is being stepped on by the livestock passing by on the street. But I was generally pretty successful sidestepping them after being mooed at.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


To answer a few questions in the comments—lots of people, especially the young people, speak English in Shanghai, although certainly not everyone. It’s rarer in the southern part where I am now, but two of my travel companions can speak a little, and we actually have a guide for this part of our trip.

So... I’ve now gone from Guilin to Yangshuo to Longsheng. Yangshuo is surrounded by beautiful scenery, and is a bit of a backpacker town. Longsheng is in the mountains and has, among other things, ancient, tall, terraced rice fields. As we were leaving Yangshuo, one of my travel companions came up to my hotel room to let me know that it was a bit of a walk to our hotel from where the van would drop us off, and said we should just pack a small overnight bag for the evening. I looked at my newly-packed bag and decided I’d just tough it out—I hate packing and unpacking.

Then he told me that it was a 20-minute walk. Up steps.

I repacked.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


I’ve now recovered from a 14-hour flight from Chicago to Shanghai. I’ve fended off any number of fake watch and handbag purveyors on the main shopping road there. And now I’m killing time in the Guilin airport, waiting for the fourth member of our group to arrive (his flight was two hours after ours). Nice. This is going to be the hot-and-humid portion of our trip. But it’s also supposed to be quite pretty. I’ll try to update from time to time.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Holiday Road

I’m heading out tomorrow morning. I’ll try to post while I’m away, but I don’t know what sort of internet access I’ll have during the trip.

Have a good couple of weeks!