Sue Groom


Sue Groom

Asia » China April 30th 2015

Today arrived with mixed feelings. Our last morning in China and also our trip home. We were all going to go to Mao's Mousaleum until we all realised that none of us was actually particularly interested in going. Great news really so we ditched the whole idea and headed for one last shopping experience. We were all turbo shoppers this morning, getting last minute gifts and just enjoying our last bit of time in Beijing. A taxi there and a taxi back and a quick stop at the bakery for a snack, a final coffee in the premier lounge and then 2 taxis to the airport. We checked in to the flight and 3 out of 4 of us needed to open our bags to remove the power chargers that we had packed. Sharon's was confiscated ... read more

Asia » China April 29th 2015

Just after sunrise we woke to the beautiful sight go the great wall. Out of our tents and we could see the sun, through the mist, just above the peaks of the adjacent mountains. A pretty good way to wake up. We had all slept quite well and were pretty happy that we could tick off having slept on the great wall. We then packed up all of our camping equipment, the few things that we had actually taken up onto the wall, all of our rubbish and headed back down the steep dirt track to the restaurant/guest house for breakfast. Breakfast was a mix of egg plant, noodles, boiled egg and Chinese pie. Chinese pie is a bit like a toasted sandwich, only quite greasy. Back into the mini van for the trip back to ... read more
And again
So quiet and peaceful
The bird's nest for the Beijing Olympics

Asia » China April 28th 2015

Today I awoke with mixed feelings. I was looking forward to our adventure on the great wall, but I was also in two minds about leaving the comforts of the Novatel. Nonetheless, it was pick up time, straight after breakfast and we headed out to a less touristy part of the wall to start our adventure. We drove for about 2 hours from Beijing City to get to the place we were going to climb. I knew the wall was going to be big, but I didn't expect it to loom in the distance like a huge backbone to some weird dragon or monster. The sheer size and the angles of the wall were amazing. It followed the steepest peaks across the ridge line of the mountains for as far as you could see. On arrival, ... read more
First touch of the wall
Up on the wall
Good view of the steepness of the wall

Asia April 27th 2015

Beijing Well what a sleep after the confined surroundings of the train over the past couple of nights. I really enjoyed the train ride, good company and good fun but perhaps not an experienceI would wish to repeat. After breakfast in our Premier Level 12 lounge we headed off for the day's activities. Our guide is nothing short of annoying. She takes us to all these places and then rushes us through everything. I understand that she wants us to see a lot and for us not to miss out, however, there is no point in going somewhere when we can not even take a good look around. Anyway… we still have a good day. Our first stop this morning was to Tiananmen Street. A local shopping district that also had the folk theatre. The folk ... read more
And agin
Models of life
Decorations around the theatre

Asia » China April 26th 2015

Hooray - we finally arrived in Beijing after 40 hours on the train. Thankfully we chose very well with our times as sadly there was an earthquake that hit Nepal just hours after we left Lhasa. The earthquake was 7.8 and felt through Tibet, Bhutan, India and Bangladesh. I feel terrible for the suffering of the people in Nepal who already have very little. On arrival in Beijing we were met by Sonia, our guide for Beijing. We took our bags to drop them off at the hotel for our day tour. We were offered an upgrade to the premier level 'so decided why not? We left our bags and then headed up to the 12th floor for a coffee. We were pleasantly surprised that there was also a buffet breakfast awaiting. We drank our fill ... read more
Judi getting off
and Noelene...
A sneaky bag photo

Asia » China April 25th 2015

I awoke not too early with a dry throat and the smell of cigarettes wafting into the cabin. On a non smoking train, this was a bit weird. Several times we would be up closing the door between the bathroom area and the cabins to stop the smoke form coming in. Several times it was reopened and Sharon even tried to tell the smokers to stop. The scenery today was another day of stark contrasts. We were largely away from the mountains but the ground was still frozen and the desert plains were brown and barren. Last night, we had put together a list of things to do today to keep us busy. Only one thing at a time was allowed to happen, for example: if you were eating a mint, then that was it. Opening ... read more
Good morning ladies
Hey Sharon

Asia » China April 24th 2015

This morning we were off to have one last look around Bakhor Street. The number of pilgrims never ceases to amaze me. On the way to the square we saw a man making what looked like Tibetan churros. They were light and fluffy and tasted a bit oily but warm and delicious. When we got to the square, we saw a Chinese couple who were all dressed up and having, what I presume was wedding photos outside the main temple. The locals didn't seem too impressed with the whole thing and just kept on with their own business. The aim of our trip was to get some last minute souvenirs and we were';t disappointed. A bit of haggling and some fun trying to break the communication barrier was all that was needed. Sharon was sold a ... read more
And again...
Tibet style churros
Tibetans in the square

Asia » China April 23rd 2015

After a well earned sleep we headed for the buffet breakfast. You never know what to expect at a buffet and I wasn't in the mood to be daring. Cornflakes with warm milk and sugar, followed by scrambled eggs and coffee was enough to get me started. Our only real stop today was Tashi Lhun Po Monastery the seat of the Panchen Lama. One of Tibet's 6 great Gilupa institutions (Yellow Hat). Built in 1447 by a nephew of Tsong Khapa and is the size of a small village. It has a mesmerising statue of Jampa, the maitreya buddha (Future buddha). The largest gilded statue in the world. The monastery is famed for the opulent tombs of the fourth and tenth Panchen Lamas, the former saw 85 kilos of god and masses of jewels used in ... read more
Monks and Tibetans go about their morning
Wish people read this sign and followed the rule.
Break time at the monastery

Asia » China April 22nd 2015

Today certainly gave me a different insight into Tibet. We set off at 8 am to take the scenic route to the 2nd largest city in Tibet called Shigatze. Although distance wise, the cities are not that far apart, with a few stops enroute, the trip took 11 hours. We had to stop every so often for the drivers speed to be checked. At one point his time was recorded and at the next checkpoint it was checked again. We headed out of Lhasa and down the 'best road' in Tibet. That is the road that links Lhasa with the airport. Just before the airport we turned off the take the scenic route to our destination. We traveled along watching beautiful snow capped towering mountains in the distance. Villages where the animals live on the ground ... read more
Yaks dressed up and ready for work
Prayer flags blowing in the wind
View from one of the passes

Asia » China April 21st 2015

Our first mission today was to introduce Mr Schnitzel and Carole to Sherub. A good move as it ended up with us all having a few laughs. The first stop today was Drepung Monastery, built in the 15th century and one of the 3 pillars of the Tibetan State. Reportedly the largest monastery in the world with 7500 monks in it's hey day! Drepung means rice heap. During the peaceful revolution it remained largely untouched and is now home to about 600 monks. On entering we saw a lady cooking tsampo on pine needles that she had collected and brought to the monastery to sell. The monastery was like a small village, beautiful doors, hot chicks in China, lots of dogs for Mr Schnitzel to play with. There was a huge Thanga painted on a rock ... read more
Pine leaves to make Tsampo
Outside the Drepung Monastery
A lovely door

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