Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chinese Take out!

I've loved china ever since I read Pearl S Bucks " The Good Earth"
My love affair continued all thru the rest of my childhood, as I read everything I could find in the Encyclopedia Britannica! 
( thanks Mom and Dad ) 
Of course, China was off limits until Nixon opened it up in the 70's, and I began to dream of Great walls, dragons, and bird nest soup!
Our big chance came with a Grand Asia cruise, and we were off on another adventure!

Our first stop was Dalian, China. Never heard of it? Well neither had we, but to  our surprise, it turned out to be a big seaside resort.
Of course the buildings had a chinese flair!

They were having a festival that day, and we were lucky to be able to join in! This was one of the few places that no one spoke any english, but we were able to get along just fine!

As I walked along the beach gathering sea glass, an older chinese man stopped me, and pointed at his camera.  I nodded yes, mentally planning how I would take his picture...When much to my surprise, he jumped next to me, with a toothy grin, and some one snapped his picture! Next someone handed me a baby, SNAP, they started lining up for pictures with me!  Suddenly, I realized that they had never seen a western person, and wanted pictures. I had my 15 minutes of fame, before my husband rescued me, but I wasn't sure if I should be flattered, or horrified that they found me so strange!
We traveled out of the city, to a local park, Saw lots of families, kids eating starfish.....yes people....Starfish, and except for the food choices, looked like a typical day at the park, anywhere!

 kites flying was abundant, as it was a rare sunny day!


Next day we were in Beijing....a 3 hour harrowing bus ride from the dock! This is a picture of the Olympic park...loved the dragon head building!

The birds nest building, would have to substitute for the soup!

The Great wall was a lifes dream, and we were amazed that we had a chance to walk along the wall itself!

The watch tower at the corner...
Our bus ride back to the port was 5 hours long, long traffic jams, and a maniac bus driver who was afraid he wouldn't make it back to the port on time.... he passed on the right shoulder, weaved in and out of traffic, and when I looked to see how fast he was going, I noticed the speedometer was broken! It was with a sigh of relief, when we flew into the port 30 min late....and the ship was still there!

Hong Kong was next, and we stayed overnight. We explored the  city, ate amazing, unusual food, and for the first time, we were able to shop in the local markets!
We took the ferry across the bay....No, this was not the ferry!, We loved this little fishing boat....There was a family living on the boat, and they were cooking lunch!

We took the quaint cable car to Victoria Peak, and 

enjoyed the views at the was a misty rainy day, and before we left, the fog had rolled in, and the views disappeared! 

The views were a little more hair raising on the way down!

The next day we took the subway to Lantau Island. ( a whole story in it'self....lets just say we were lucky we were not arrested!)

ngong ping 360, hong kong attractions
We then took the revolving glass bottom cable cars to the Shrine.

giant buddha lantau island
This is what we came to see, but unfortunately, the storm of the century blew in, and brought rain and pea soup fog....We were unable to view the big Buddha, and too old and tired to climb the 500 steps to the top! We took the cable car back down to the station, and the 2 young girls with us, cried all the way down, as the wind tossed us around like bread crumbs! I was a little afraid myself, but we made it back to the ship safe and sound!

Shanghai was our next port

This little cutie pie met us at the port!

The drummers were banging away, and believe me it was powerful music! I wanted to get out there and dance......but alas, I wasn't wearing red....

The temple we visited was ancient, and the carvings were so beautiful!

Even the monks welcomed us!

The waterfront view as we walked along the Bund, Shanghai's most famous street

We entered the old part of town, and we could see the iconic bottle opener in the background, as we marveled at the old and new.

The gardens here were 400 years old!

So peaceful, and quiet

The ponds were filled with carp

and of course the walls has wonderful carvings along them.

Our next port was Taiwan. I know, I know.....Taiwan is not part of China, since WWll, But I wanted to include it here.... as it was part of this wonderful cruise!

Why are we always fascinated by coke cans in another language!

Again we were blown away by by the temples, and the colorful designs

This was the Confucius Temple, and they were dancing to celebrate a holiday. 

We visited Chiang kai Shek's tomb 

Took The fastest elevator in the world, ( 37mph), to the top of 
Taipei 101, 2nd tallest building in the world

and viewed the city below.

We also visited the national Revolution Martyrs Shrine

 changing of the guard...They look a little scary....

The Shrine Entry

The shrine it'self..... 
It all was so impressive!

And so we say goodby to a lifetime goal, in hopes that we can go back someday

We can still dream, can't we.....