The summer of 2009 will be the one I remember with special affection, for it took me to places that have long been in my imagination and in my dreams. These summer travels and experiences also remind me of the diversity and vastness of this amazing country called China. Much of the thanks for my unique summer adventure is offered to my wonderful College, Taizhou Teachers College, it's genteel an... Read Full Entry
After 38 years as a Foreign Language Teacher and Foreign Language Dept. Chair at Coral Gables Sr. H.S., and A.J. Professor of German at the University of Miami, I have left Florida in June of 2006, where my home is in Miami Beach, Florida, USA. I have just signed another year's teaching-contract (my 8th year now) with Taizhou University in the city of Taizhou, located about 3hrs north of Shanghai, in Jiangsu Province, CHINA.
I thought it would be informative for others and rewarding for me personally, to log the progress of my efforts from beginning to end, as a Travel and Photo Jo... full info
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins, Photo #4 Standing at the main road leading into the ancient city, we can look toward the top of the plateau. The steep cliffs make it a natural defense, and no walls were needed.
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins, Photo #6 The plateau is in the shape of a willow leaf, measuring 1,650 meters in length (some 5,500ft.), about 1,000 meters in width (some 3,000ft.), and 30 meters deep (almost 100ft.).
Oh God, it looks like I am growing boobs in the summer heat???
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins, Photo #7 Much of the city is actually underground, especially the living quarters. This provides protection from the dreadful summer heat or the bitter cold of winter. All of this was naturally excavated from original earth.
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins, Photo #8 Not many visitors brave the intense summer heat to visit these fascinating ancient ruins. Those who do have the opportunity to have their picture taken with these ladies in their colorful traditional costumes. This is not an easy way to earn a few Yuan.
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins, Photo #12 This naturally fortified ancient city was eventually abandonded because of lack of water and wars. It is now a dying monument to the important days, when the Silk Road first opened communication between East and West.
THE FLAMING MOUNTAIN VISITTHE STONE MARKS AN AREA NEXT TO THE SILK ROAD , WHERE MERCHANTS AND MONKS AND TRAVELLERS PASSED THE "RED MOUNTAIN", SEEN IN THE BACKGROUND. THE MOUNTAIN STRETCHES SOME 100 KILOMETERS AND AT VARIOUS TIMES OF THE DAY GLOWS AS IF ON FIRE. HERE YOU KNOW THAT THE DESERT IS KING.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #1In the center of the tourist area stands this giant thermometer, indicating the temperature of this afternoon. Please enlarge this photo and take a look at the red indicator line. During our visit it reached above 50 C.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #2The entrance of the Flaming Mountain Tourist Site is a low structure, actually much below ground, and pleasantly cool, in stark contrast to outside temperatures. It is a museum, telling much of the history of centuries of travels along the Silk Road.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #3We walked along the cool corridors of the Flaming Mountain Site Museum, to be greatly informed. The information was posted in English as well, a great help for me.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #4Statues, Frescoes, Reliefs, and Paintings remember the explorers and adventurers from around the world, who have travelled the Silk Road since it opened thousands of years ago, and brought East and West ever closer.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #5Once we pass through the underground museum, we exit into this stark desert scene, only marked by a few large stones. The Flaming Mountain stretches along the horizon. Since we visited during the high noon, the sun and shadows did not show us the fabled colors, for which the Mountain is remembered.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #6Clear blue skies highlight the length of the Flaming Mountain on the horizon. Here, travelers and caravans of merchants have passed for milleniums, wondering where the next drop of water could be found to refresh. The water was another few miles away, near Turpan and the Grape Valley Oasis.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #7Arthur was hoping for some shade behind the few memorial stones posing for the obligatory visitor's photo to this famous point. It is well remembered and researched in the famous novel: "Journey to the West".
I urge you to read these wonderful adventures of the Monkey King and Xuanzang on their way to India and their return with Buddhist scriptures to China.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #8We could not spend so much time under the desert heat, and on our return to our airconditioned car, we once again passed the thermometer. This time we looked at the temperature reading more askance, and we hurried for the cool of the car.
VIEWS AROUND THE CITY OF TURPANThough the center of the desert city is changing quickly and more modern structures are now appearing, especially some fancy hotels for the more thriving tourist trade, I still prefer the older more ancient sections of this tranquil Oasis town. Please remember that the next photos are taken from the car, and may not be of best quality.
The Oasis-City of Turpan, Photo #1The older streets of Turpan are lined with trees and provide much needed shade. They have not changed much over the centuries. In front of us, a truck ferries its cargo of freshly picked grapes to the market.