Dan

DantheMan

Dan

Dan
South Carolina, USA



Asia » Hong Kong » Lantau Island October 19th 2007

Today was "a free day to explore on our own". I had seen a show on the Travel Channel about Hong Kong a few months before, and it had mentioned a giant Buddha on nearby Lantau Island. So, I decided I would check it out. The previous day, our local tour guide gave me instructions on how to get there. I took the subway out there, where I then boarded a bus to the Giant Buddha. The bus was a little cramped, and the roads were hilly and curvy, not the most comfortable bus ride in the world. The scenery was nice, though. I checked out the Giant Buddha, known as the Tian Tan Buddha, completed in 1993 and is "the world's tallest outdoor seated bronze Buddha". It's 34 meters tall, and sits on top of ... read more
Tian Tan Buddha
Me at Tian Tan Buddha
Tian Tan Buddha

Asia » Hong Kong October 18th 2007

We arrived in Hong Kong in the evening, and checked into our hotel, the Marco Polo Gateway, on the Kowloon peninsula a few blocks from Victoria Harbor. The next morning, we went to Hong Kong Island and took a tram up to Victoria Peak, for great views of the city. We went to Stanley market on the south end of Hong Kong Island. This was basically just a crowded shopping area. We then took a sampan (boat) ride. We saw the infamous "Jumbo" large floating restaurant and a lot of houseboats. We had the rest of the day free. I walked around some. There were some people on the street trying to get me to go to a tailor's shop or whatever. It wasn't nearly as bad as Shanghai, though. By the time I got back ... read more
View from Victoria Peak
Me at Victoria Peak
Hong Kong by day

Asia » China » Guangxi » Guilin October 17th 2007

The next morning, I walked outside of the hotel and down the sidewalk across the street. Some people were dancing, and doing Tai Chi. We had a great lunch at the Long Ze Tea House, and then visited the Reed Flute Cave. It was cool, but very crowded in there. As we were walking back to the bus, I saw the group of Chinese ladies that I had talked with on the Li River cruise the day before. The sales pitch of the day was going to a Pearl Museum. We were treated to a brief "fashion show" featuring young ladies wearing pearls, which livened things up a bit for me. Then, we went to the airport. We had to say goodbye to our guide Kevin, who apparently is not allowed to go to Hong Kong. ... read more
Morning Dance
Morning Exercises
Ni Hao

Asia » China » Guangxi » Guilin October 16th 2007

Guilin We flew to Guilin today, arriving late day, and made our way to the hotel, the Sheraton. Guilin is an interesting area. One of the reasons I picked this tour over other China tours, is because it featured a visit to Guilin, which is known for it's unique landscape. I had read where some people had considered it one of the more unique or scenic landscapes on the planet. Li River Cruise The next morning, we went up the road and boarded a boat for a 4 1/2 hour cruise down the Li River to Yangshao. I was surprised to see how many boats there were. There was a caravan of something like 70 boats chugging down the river. There were seats and tables on the first and second floors of the boat, and a ... read more
Li River Cruise
Li River Cruise
Li River Cruise

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Suzhou October 14th 2007

Suzhou It never stopped amazing me how many people were around everywhere, even at a train station on a Sunday morning. We got on a train for Suzhou. The trip out there took about 30 minutes. I didn't know it was going to be a fast train until we got up to speed. It looked like we were going almost as fast as the Japanese bullet train. After getting off the train at Suzhou, there was quite the scene outside. We forged through massive crowds and to a gridlocked road where we got on a bus, and slowly made our way out of there. What a madhouse. Suzhou is known for having a network of canals, which were built centuries ago to facilitate more efficient trade. Marco Polo apparently called Suzhou the "Venice of the East". ... read more
Master of the Nets Garden
Master of the Nets Garden
Sign at the Master of the Nets Garden

Asia » China » Shanghai October 13th 2007

Candy told me the people in Shanghai were different. She was right. Read on. When we rolled into Shanghai, I couldn't believe what it looked like. There were an incredible number of lit up buildings, cars, traffic, and people everywhere. What an incredibly big city. The tour guide said there were 20 million people in Shanghai. If that's true, then that's equal to the total population of the entire states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia combined. Of course, Beijing and Hong Kong were big crowded cities, too, and I have also been to Tokyo, but Shanghai was more of a madhouse. In China, there are 1.3 billion people, that's over 4 times the population of the US, and I believe it now. Wow. We checked into the hotel and had the evening free. On ... read more
Night Shot
Night Shot
Night shot using a different setting on the camera

Asia » China » Shaanxi » Xi'an October 12th 2007

The alarm goes off at 5 or 6 am, and Cindy gets up and says goodbye. Candy and I slept a little longer. I get up and get my bags together and place them outside the door per instruction. Instead of going down and eating breakfast, I decide to spend as much time with Candy as I could. We made out for a while. Then, I had to say goodbye to her, and join my tour group in the lobby. It was another cool and rainy day. We went to a section of the Xian City Wall. This wall was built in the 1300's, and has a perimeter of 9 miles. Had it not been raining, we could have a taken a bike ride on the wall. Instead, we walked around. I thought it was really ... read more
Xian City Wall
Xian City Wall
Xian City Wall

Asia » China » Shaanxi » Xi'an October 11th 2007

Onward to Xian We caught a late afternoon flight to Xian, on China Eastern airlines. The flight was roughly an hour and a half or so, and it was dark by the time we landed. A lot of the trip was spent in transit. Drive to an airport or whatever, wait around, fly, get your bag, travel to the hotel, etc. It takes a lot of time to do all that. We had a long drive from the airport to the hotel, the Sofitel on Renmin Square. Candy We were standing around the lobby waiting for Kevin to dole out the room keys. Near the front desk was the entrance to a Japanese-themed restaurant named "Koi". Outside of Koi, was a cute young girl wearing a kimono who would seat the guests. I got to talking ... read more
Terracotta Warriors
Terracotta Army
Funny Sign at the Terracotta Warriors Visitor Center

Asia » China » Beijing October 10th 2007

I had a little scare this morning at the hotel in Beijing. I lost my passport. I searched everywhere and I couldn't find it. I frantically searched the room and my bags, and I didn't locate it. The bell man picked up the bags and I went downstairs, saw Kevin and told him. He freaked out and insisted that I keep looking. Down in the lobby where my checked bags were, I went through them again, and finally found it rolled up in a pair of shorts. What a relief! Kevin joked with me about this for the rest of the trip. Temple of Heaven The Temple of Heaven is an incredibly large public park. It was constructed by the same person who built the Forbidden City and Ming Tombs, the Yongle emperor. The centerpiece of ... read more
People dancing at the Temple of Heaven
People dancing at the Temple of Heaven
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest

Asia » China » Beijing October 9th 2007

I woke up a little early this morning. Around 6am, I went down to the steam room in the hotel. I also had a nice breakfast at the hotel. Ming Tombs/Sacred Way Then, we headed out to the Ming Tombs. It was a little bit of a drive outside of the city. This area is where the emperors of the Ming Dynasty era are buried. Leading up to the tombs is a path known as the "Sacred Way". It is lined with statues of animals and people. There is a particular significance to the order of the statues. This was constructed in the 1400's. We walked down the Sacred Way. It was very peaceful. It was quiet since there weren't many people there except for our group. Music was being played from speakers along the path. ... read more
Gateway to the Sacred Way
The Sacred Way
The Sacred Way




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