I took a Peoples' Republic of
China (PRC) sponsored tour of
Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou and surrounding areas.
The air quality was very bad all
over that part of the country with the
addition of dust storms in Beijing. The water is not drinkable. The
five star hotels even have warnings at the taps telling us not to drink
the water. They supply bottled water for brushing teeth.
The air quality will only get
worse as the Chinese people are acquiring
millions of new cars every year. On the other hand many Chinese commute
via electric motor scooters. There is often barrier separated bike
lanes in the cities. Many buildings have solar heaters.
The development is amazing. New,
tall, modern buildings are going up
all over the place. New, wide freeways abound. You can see the logos of
many American businesses all around. The Maglev train in Shanghai is
the fastest train (267 mph)in the world. The airports are huge and
Capitalism has firmly taken
hold. The Air China airplanes have
advertising from various companies stuck on the seat backs. Rolex
watches sell at four for ten dollars on the street. A pack of
cigarettes (Twin Happiness brand) sells for about 80 cents.
The people are very friendly and
hospitable. They are quite anxious to
talk to Americans and have their pictures taken with us. They do not
hesitate to talk politics but they have been clearly indoctrinated by
the State philosophy (but not communism). I did not sense resentment or
hatred from anyone at any time.
I was strongly impressed by the
superstitions of Chinese people. Everything in their lives is governed
by attempting to leverage "luck" in their favor. Every number, day,
object, place location and orientation, step ... everything has a good
luck and bad luck symbolism.
Capitalism (China brand) is
clearly entrenched and there to stay. The
clearly have no in interest having someone Nuc their progress back to
the stone age
China is rising and rising fast!
Note: Clicking on the links will open a picture album in a new
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Hairy Leg Crabs.
These particular crabs are only available during a couple of weeks in
November in the Shanghai area. We were lucky enough to be there at the
Various pictures on the streets of Beijing.
pictures of things I found to be curious and different in China.
Dinner at a family
divided into small groups and sent to the homes of various families for
dinner. They transported us there via bicycle Rickshaw. The home had
been remodeled and was quite beautiful. The dinner was excellent.
Electric Bikes and
Many people commute on bikes. Many of these are motorized electric
bikes. Gas driven scooters were very rare. Most city streets have nice
wide bike lanes which are often separated from he main road by a
city was the home of 24 Chinese Emperors. The site is many acres large
and contain 9999 1/2 room. It is called the Forbidden City because only
the Emperor, his family and retainers were allowed inside the city. The
infamous Tienanmen square is just outside the walls of the Forbidden
Fresh Water Pearls.
taken to a fresh water pearl factory. These pearls are cultured in
large fresh water oysters. Every oyster will yield as many as thirty
pearls of various sizes. After the brief tour we were given the
opportunity to buy various pearl products (for which our tour operators
get a kickback).
The Great Wall. This
is the famous
7000 mile great wall.
Various Five Star Hotels.
These are some
of the hotels we stayed at. The pictures include views from the
windows. One picture is of a sunrise in the polluted air of Beijing.
The promised the hotels would be five star and indeed they were - even
the Howard Johnson's Hotel.
Thirteen of the
sixteen Ming Dynasty emperors are buried here. One of the tombs is
fully excavated and open for exploration. The PRC is waiting to open
other tombs until they have the technology to properly protect the
Jade Factory. We
were taken to
Jade Factory and once again given the opportunity to spend our money
and fatten the wallet of our tour operators.
This is one
of four classical gardens in China. The garden was once the home of
rich person. He "gave" the garden to the State during the Cultural
Revolution and did just about everyone that owned anything in China at
Silk Factory. Most
of the world's
quality silk come from the Chinese city of Suzhou. Nearly every home
with a small plot of land has Mulberry Trees which the silk worms eat.
Most of the children of Suzhou learn to care for the silk worms and
harvest the cocoons. After seeing the silk pulled from the cocoons and
spun into silk thread, we were given the opportunity to spend more
Silk Rug Factory.
another silk product factory in the Suzhou area. I was quite impressed
by the quantity of hand work required to produce these rugs. Some of
the women making these rugs will spend six or more years on a single
The pictures were taken at various locations around the City of
Shanghai. This city is filled with beautiful new sky scrappers of
The canals of Suzhou.
been called the Venice of China. The town is filled with canals upon
which many boasts, small and large, roam. We rode one of these boats to
an old shopping district.
Dragon Well Tea Factory.
factory is located in the country side near the city of Hangzhou. We
learned how Green tea is manufactured and prepared. After the tour we
were given the opportunity to buy cartoons of loose tea and around $50
Tiger Hill Temple.
Tiger hill is
crowned with a 1000 year old Buddhist pagoda. Not only is this pagoda
old, but it, like that tower in Piza, Italy is leaning. We were assured
that the People's government had the lean totally under control.
West Lake Cruise.
We took a
cruise on West Lake in Hangzhou. I took some pictures. There was
nothing to buy here.
This is another
one of those private homes given to the State by it's generous owner.
The People of the Tour
Group. Me and
my tour group companions.