Page 3 of Sue Treadie Travel Blog Posts

Asia » China » Shanghai June 5th 2007

After the celebrations in April and the adventures of my May Day Holiday week in Gansu (blogs still to come!), it was time to say good-bye to my good friends Rick and Dorathy. Rick & Dorathy and their two children Tara and Shane are relocating to the USA after eight or nine years in Shanghai. I first met Rick & Dorathy in Cardiff, Wales in 2004 during an international hashing event. (Hash- an international group of social running/walking clubs) Hashing, as people who know me well are aware, has been a large part of my life for the past 25 years or more. I even had a niche merchandising business for hashers for 8 years. While in China, however, my hashing has been severely curtailed for a number of reasons. That is, until I met the ... read more
Drunken Dragon H3
Founding Four
Scenic trail

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Taizhou May 15th 2007

The significance of a Chinese young person reaching the age of 20 years cannot be underestimated. It is roughly equivalent to the importance that used to be associated with turning 21 years old in the West, only much, much more. For the young person involved it marks their entry into the adult world and all that that entails. Their dreams of increasing independence are tempered with the realization of the equally increasing responsibilities. Responsibilities such as entering the workforce with a “good” job; finding a suitable partner, getting married and having a family and, of course, providing for their parents and sometimes even their grandparents into their senior years. A heavy burden, indeed. For their parents it means a huge shift in their perceptions. Their son or daughter is no longer a child and now ... read more
Birthday Smiles
Cathy,  Hannah and Penny
Conny & Hannah

Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe May 9th 2007

While in Xiahe on my first visit in May (as indicated by the date on this blog), I went on many walks out and around the edges of town just to explore and also get great views and a different perspective of the impressive Labrang Monastery and the locals' everyday life. In May, much of the area was dry, brown and dusty as the summer rains had not yet arrived. The locals were preparing the dry, infertile-looking soil for the summer crops of rape seed and barley. I wondered how on earth they irrigated effectively, as the Daxia River at this point is little more than a stream. On my recent return visit in July, I have seen those previously dry, barren spaces clothed in green and yellow (rape seed). An amazing transformation! On a number ... read more
Fabulous views down the valley
Lushness of summer
All purpose channel

Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe May 7th 2007

Surrounding Xiahe are vast areas of grassland used by local nomads as pastures for herds of yak, dzo (bull crossed with female yak), Tibetan cattle, sheep, goats and even pigs. The more famous areas are Sanke (about 13km away), Ganjia (about 34km away) and further away still, Takkar ( famous for its enormous rock formations). Ganjia Grasslands (not a joke, by the way!) were my first choice as they are supposedly less developed/commercialized and they can be combined with a visit to an ancient town, a cave, and a monastery of the less well-known Black Hat Sect of Buddhism to make a great day out. Unfortunately, being Golden Week (May), many of the visitors to Xiahe were already in groups, so I was unable to organize anyone to share the cost of a vehicle. Consequently, I ... read more
Mr Ma- Mr Horse
"Little" Sanke
Golden Carpet

Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe May 5th 2007

One of my favourite activities whenever I arrive anywhere new, is to wander (often aimlessly) through back streets and up trails to get a feel for the "real life" experiences of the locals. It also affords me many opportunities to meet the locals and at least make an attempt at effective communication! My wanderings in and around Xiahe provided me with innumerable opportunities such as this. In particular, I was trailed by curious groups of children of varying ages (and confidence!) wherever I went. I spent many happy hours conversing with these children, taking photographs and showing them how to use my camera, being led by them into the hills for magnificent views over the town, even introducing them to a game of frisbee in the mosque grounds as their busy parents prepared for the Feast ... read more
Sue & cheeky boys
It's a bit glary!
Take that!

Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe May 3rd 2007

The present residents of Xiahe consist of about 45% Tibetans, 45% Han Chinese and 10% Hui Muslim, providing an interesting mix. As development continues, with road-widening projects, rumours of an airport, the tearing down of traditional housing and the erecting of ugly, bright new hotels and ever more souvenir shops, it is obvious that this mix is rapidly changing. The local Tibetans and Hui are being squeezed into a smaller and smaller area of town, or, in the case of the Tibetans, being moved further west. Mass resumptions have been common and the displaced people are usually offered "peanuts" as compensation. Very sad, the price of progress. On a brighter note, the people of Xiahe are an engaging and optimistic bunch. Many are philosophical about the changes that have taken place over the past decade or ... read more
Three-wheel taxis
Ash & Haruko
Checking for bargains

Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe May 1st 2007

Xiahe is a small, but rapidly developing town in the SW of Gansu Province near the border with Qinghai. It is nestled in a beautiful mountain valley and is the location of famous Labrang Monastery. Labrang Monastery is second in size to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, so Xiahe is visited not only by increasing numbers of tourists but also by innumerable Tibetan pilgrims, many of whom have travelled vast distances to do so. My first visit here was during the Golden week in May (as indicated by the date on this blog). Although not a religious person or a student of Tibetan Buddhism, I spent many a peaceful hour wandering within and around the monastery complex, particularly early in the morning before the hordes of tourists descended. I was fascinated (and humbled) by the ... read more
Prayer wheels turning
.....and turning
Eye-catching prayer wheel

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Taizhou » Jiangyan April 24th 2007

Despite being in China for over a year, I had yet to experience one of the local festivals in my “home” region of Taizhou. Consequently I was very keen to attend the now internationally famous Qintong Boating Festival. The Qintong Boating Festival is held during Qingming Festival (around April 4-6) every year. The Qingming Festival (Clear and Bright Festival or Pure Brightness Festival) denotes a time for people to go outside and enjoy the greenery of springtime and also to tend to the graves of departed ones. Consequently a common English translation is Tomb Sweeping Day. However tomb-sweeping is definitely not on the agenda of this particular series of events. Last year I missed the opportunity to attend the reportedly most spectacular event in the festival, the opening ceremony, due to the fact that it ... read more
Three Wise Men
The Crew at Qintong
Stef at the Entrance to Qin Lake Wetland Park

Asia » China » Zhejiang » Hangzhou April 22nd 2007

To the Chinese people and foreign tourists alike, Hangzhou is one of the most important tourist destinations in the whole of China. A heaven on earth with its pervading greenery and parks and in it’s midst its star attraction- West Lake. On my previous visit about the same time last year, I was on a guided tour that had been organized by my college. (see previous blog entry- # 8 May Madness) Needless to say we spent very little time at West Lake, so this trip I decided to make it the focus of the whole trip. In addition, I wanted to see the spring blossoms, so I decided to travel a few weeks earlier and away from the main holiday season! What a great decision that turned out to be! Being a backpacker at ... read more
Zhang Shun
Cherry Blossoms On West Lake
Sword Dancing

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Taizhou » Taizhou University April 20th 2007

Summer is almost in full swing and we are struggling to catch our breaths in the acrid, smoke-filled air that is Taizhou during the annual burn off of wheat chaff from the summer harvest. Last week was particularly bad and several of my students had to go to the local hospital with eye problems. Everyone complains but no one seems to suggest to the farmers that there could be a better and more environmentally friendly method of disposal. This was the trigger to finally get me back to my blogging! It’s been over a month now since my last series of blogs describing my “winter” trip back to Oz for the first time in a year. This term has been action packed and I have managed to be more active in making better use of my ... read more
New Plum Trees in Blossom
Magnificent Magnolias
Azalias and Bonsai

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