Page 2 of BossManBing Travel Blog Posts


Asia » China » Henan » Kaifeng July 9th 2008

After seven weeks in China, my VISA had all but expired, so I head for a small city called Kaifeng, a four hour bus-ride from Luoyang, in hopes of getting an extension. Unfortunately, because of the Olympics, 2008 is China's 'Special Year' and VISAs are hard to come by. In Kaifeng they could only give me a 10 day extension from that day - not much point when I still had 13 days left on the current one. I book a train ticket to Nanjing, the old Capital of China, but it leaves me two days to kill in Kaifeng. I visit the Da Xianguo Si - the Prime Minister's Temple, and see an amazing gold-plated carved Buddha, which took 58 years to carve and was made from a solitary tree. It has 4 faces and ... read more
1048 armed Buddha
Gardens
Gardens

Asia » China » Henan » Luoyang July 9th 2008

I took a seven hour train ride to Zhenzhou, arriving late, and then a three and a half hour bus-ride to the town of Luoyang. The next day I was up early to get the public bus out to the Longmen grottoes. They obviously didn't get too many foreign tourists on the bus, as pretty much everyone stared at me for the 50 minute journey... It was worth it though, as the Longmen carvings were brought to us by the same folks that gave us the Yungang caves, after they'd moved their capital from Datong to Luoyang. The carvings were incredible and much more liufe-like than anything I'd seen in China thus far, but many of them had been damaged by either fire, water or the Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution. I spent most of ... read more
Longmen Grottoes
Longmen Grottoes
Longmen Grottoes

Asia » China » Beijing July 9th 2008

The bus into Beijing was smart and air-conditioned, but from inside you could see how polluted the city was. Can they really be hosting an Olympic games here in a little over a month? I take in the tourist sites of Beijing, starting with the Forbidden City. I'd heard they'd built a Starbucks in the outer coutryard, but must have since removed it - thank God! As you'd imagine, for an attraction this big and well-known, it was packed with tourists - for the most part Chinese - and taking photos with no-one else in was challenging. Once again, much of what I saw was either renovated or being renovated, but it was still very impressive. From the Forbidden City it's just a stroll across the road to Tian'an Men Square, alledgedly the biggest of it's ... read more
Forbidden City
Beijing Olympics
Forbidden City

Asia July 9th 2008

I made it! I crossed a continent! The world's largest continent lays behind me, but it takes a little while to sink in. Three and a half months of pretty constant movement, through strange lands and cultures. I know I'll need to stop for a while at some point and filter through all the things that I've learned and experienced so far, but my mind is saying, "What's next?"... read more
Beijing

Asia » China » Hebei » Qinhuangdao July 9th 2008

I visit the Eastern Qing tombs, where several members of the Qing dynasty, (1644-1911) including the tomb of the Empress Dowager Cixi (who controlled the country by using her very young relatives as puppet emporers). The underground palaces containing their coffins are dank and spooky places, eerily lit with green halogen lamps. I begin my obsession with photographing chinese rubbish bins...... read more
Tombs
Tombs
Organic or...

Asia » China » Hebei » Chengde July 9th 2008

I pay my second visit to the Great Wall, this time near the far Eastern end, and to the more modern parts, built of stone during the Ming dynasty. The plan is to do a 10km hike along a stretch of it (thus accounting for 0.1% of it's original length). I set off at a brisk pace, as we're being followed by women with big bags trying to seel us tourist tat. It's quite a hot and humid day and the wall is incredibly steep in places, but these women do this professionally. Although I manage to get my particualr follower (a Mongolian girl by the name of Twee) out of breath and red-in-the-face, she keeps up. I sing Pink Floyd songs for most of the two hour walk, enjoying the amazing scenery and noting that ... read more
The Wall
The Wall

Asia » China » Hebei » Chengde July 9th 2008

I arrive in Chendge late in the evening and the town has been quite badly flooded. Fortunately, most of the water has subsided by morning and the weather brightened a little, but the streets are still covered in mud. I visit the Imperial Palace and Summer Villa, and stroll around the very beautiful park and grounds. They have deer running wild that bite if you get too close (take my word for it...), ponds FULL of goldfish and some amazing pagodas, with many tiled rooves. In the afternoon I got to the Puning Si, a Tibetan style temple containing a 22m high, many-armed Buddha, one of the world's biggest wooden statues. It's a working temple and there are hundreds of monks around, hacking and spitting. I also get to turn my first (hundred) prayer-wheel(s).... read more
Goldfish!
Prayer wheels
Monks spend a lot of time in their beds

Asia » China » Shanxi » Datong July 9th 2008

I travel to Datong, passing through the huge industrial areas of Northern CHina. This is where much of the country's coal comes from and hence where many of the massive power-stations are. They're a blight on the landscape but, in such a growing, power-hungry country, they've got to put them somewhere. Just West of Datong are the Yungang caves, a huge site of over 51,000 Buddhist carvings in a sand-stone cliff-face. Work began here in 453AD, when Datong was the province's capital, and much of the big stuff has survived well. From here I head 40 miles South-East of Datong to see Xuankong Si - the Hanging Temple. You may have seen pictures of this amazing place, clinging precariously to the side of a canyon wall. The wooden buildings, supported by frighteningly thin wooden poles are ... read more
Yungang Caves
Yungang Caves
Hanging monastery

Asia » China » Ningxia » Yinchuan July 9th 2008

I visit the Zhongwei Gao Temple near Shapatou to see the strange representations of the Buddhist heavena and hell. Spooky! Also near Shapatou, on the banks of the Yellow River and surrounded by towering sand-dunes, I try out the Chinese equivalent of an adrenalin amusement park. There's rafting on the river on a raft made fom inflated sheep-skins, a zip-wire,from the top of one of the dunes, across the river, a small bungee-jump and sand-toboganning down the dunes. It's good fun, but after the adrenalin sports in Africa, a little tame.... read more
Heaven and Hell
Heaven and Hell
Heaven and Hell

Asia » China » Shaanxi » Xi'an July 9th 2008

On to Xi'an, which served as China's capital to 11 dynasties over a period of 4,000 years. Best know for the Terracotta warriors, it's position at the very Eastern end of the Silk Road turned it into a busy metropolis and merchant town. During my stay I visit the magnificent Drum and Bell towers, (present in all of the major, ancient Chinese cities) and watch performances on both instruments, cycle around the top of the city walls - a 14km round trip, at 9m high, giving great views of the city - and of course, visit the Terracotta Army. Not discovered until 1974 when some peasants digging a well came across pieces of broken clay ottery, the site is actually located 28km outside of Xi'an. It was believed to be the burial mound of emporer Qin ... read more
Terracotta Warriors
Terracotta Warriors
Terracotta Warriors




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