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Temples, Palaces, Terracotta Warriors, and the Yangtze River: A tour through 中国 (China)


Travel pictures from China

by Dr. Günther Eichhorn


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In March/April 2000 I spent 3 weeks in China. It was not at all what I expected. I expected to have the feeling of being in a communist country that I knew from East Germany before the re-unification. It was nothing like that. The people dress and behave like anywhere in the USA. You can buy anything you want in the department stores (unlike in India). The traffic jams are like here in the USA, maybe somewhat worse because of the many bicycles. And on every other corner is a Kentucky Fried Chicken or a McDonald (sorry, no Burger Kings yet    :-\)). I was completely free to do whatever I wanted, there were no restrictions. I talked with quite a few Chinese. One thing I heard frequently was that they wanted to spend some time in the USA. It seems that this is only a matter of having enough money. Once they have enough money (on the order of $5k to $10k it seems), they seem to have no problem getting permission.

Altogether this tour was a memorable trip. The tour was organized by Pacific Delight Tours, a tour organizer for China. It was very well organized. We didn't have a tour guide for the whole trip. A local guide would pick us up at the airport or train station, guide us for the few days that we spent in that city, and then drop us off at the airport/train station. At first I was a little concerned about this, fearing that somebody might drop the ball and we end up in an airport with nobody to help us, but not so. Everything worked like clockwork, our local guides were always waiting for us when we arrived. They were generally quite knowledgeable and spoke fairly good English. Some meals were included in the tour, but not all of them. There were two couples with me on the trip, one in their late 60's, the other a little younger. One couple was mostly on time, the other was mostly late. We missed one event because of her being late. The worst part was the time they spent on shopping. We spent untold hours in shops, by the end of the trip I was pretty tired of spending time in shops. Altogether, I can recommend this organization.

The first 5 days I spent in Beijing. I visited the Temple of Heavens, the Summer Palace, and the Forbidden City. These imperial buildings are quite impressive. I also visited an impressive Tibetan Buddhist Temple. A stop at Tiananmen Square was also included, as was a tour through the Hutongs, the old residential buildings. These small one-story buildings, usually arranged around an inner courtyard, are disappearing fast. One day I did the excursion to the Great Wall. It is quite impressive. What was unexpected there was the fact that the Great Wall is not just one single continuous wall. It branches in some places, and has double or triple rows of walls that were build on after the other as the Chinese empire expanded. Unfortunately it was quite hazy because of the weather and pollution, which made it difficult to see much of the Great Wall. Also the trees had no leaves yet, which made the whole area look rather drab.

A familiar urban legend has it that the Great Wall is the only man-made structure that can be seen from space. This is of course not true. The Great Wall is much too narrow (some 4-5 meters (13-16 feet)) to be seen from any large distance. You have a better chance of seeing the Great Pyramids in Egypt, or any large building for that matter.

One memorable part of the trip to the Great Wall (and of most of the places that I visited) are the street vendors. They sell with a vengeance, and they don't take no for an answer very easily. Around the Great Wall they were hawking T-shirts for $1, baseball caps for $1, and similar stuff. "Genuine" Rolex watches (yeah sure) were to be had for $5.

The persistent selling went so far that in many places there were separate entrances and exits to attractions for tourists and for Chinese. The entrances and exits for tourists lead through a souvenir store, the Chinese could get in and out without having to go through the store.

From Beijing I went to Hangzhou and to Suzhou. These two small cities (each around 1-2 million inhabitants, which is a small city in China) are famous for their gardens and parks. These gardens and parks are 700+ years old. They are very beautiful. When I was there it was drizzle and fog most of the time. This created atmosphere that is hard to describe. It was probably more intriguing and enchanting to see these parks and gardens through the mist and drizzle than in bright sunlight.

From Suzhou I went to Shanghai for one and a half days. This is a fascinating city. Again it is quite western in appearance and in the way people live and go about their daily business. The most memorable part of Shanghai is the Museum. It is the most impressive museum that I have ever visited. It is fairly new. It is very well laid out and contains everything from Stone Age artifacts to recent items. You rent a cell-phone-like contraption that lets you input a number and then tells you the information about that particular piece. All the important pieces in the museum have such numbers. This is much better than guides that go through the announcements sequentially and you have to try to follow the descriptions. With this system you can hop, skip, and jump through the museum and always get the right description. These announcers come in many languages. I had one in English and I can say that it was extremely good. It must have been recorded by a native English speaker. The information given is concise and extensive. I wish more museums had systems like this. Another item worthwhile seeing is the Buddha temple with the Jade Buddha. I also visited an afternoon school. In that school children spend the afternoon to learn different arts (singing, musical instruments, dancing). It was quite impressive what these children could do.

From Shanghai I flew to Wuhan to start the five day cruise on the Yangtze through the Three Gorges. This is quite captivating scenery. The cruise ended in Chongqing. Going upriver, the three gorges are the Xiling Gorge, with 76 km (47 miles) length the longest of the gorges, the 40 km (25 miles) long Wuxia Gorge, and the 7 km (4.3 miles) long Qutang Gorge, the narrowest of the three. Large ship traffic is one-way only through that gorge, so ships have to communicate with each other as to who can enter the gorge. I went on several excursions, the most memorable one was by hand-pulled boats into a narrow side gorge, famous for its hanging coffins.

One of the highlights on the Yangtze is of course the Three Gorges Dam Project. This is a massive project, building the largest dam in the world. It will raise the water level by over 110 meters (360 feet). There are four main benefits from the dam:

  1. Flood Control.
    The lower Yangtze experiences devastating floods every few years. Just 2 years ago there was a flood that devastated much of the area on the lower Yangtze.
  2. Shipping.
    The reservoir will allow much larger ships to travel upstream to Chongqing. Since commerce in the whole area depends very much on ships on the Yangtze, this will greatly improve the local economy.
  3. Irrigation.
    The water from the reservoir will be used for irrigation of important agricultural areas on the lower Yangtze.
  4. Power Generation.
    The dam will have 24 turbines with 400 MW each! This will yield a total power output of almost 10 GW. This will be very important, especially in light of the extreme air pollution in many parts of China because of power generation from sulfur-loaded coal.

Currently the main dam is being built, while a side channel carries the water and the ship traffic. In 2003 the main dam should be completed, and the side channel will be closed. Ships will have two ways to pass through the dam area, a five-stage lock and a ship elevator. Going through the lock will take 3 hours and will be free. Going through the ship elevator will take 20 minutes, but will cost money. I visited the construction site and it is HUGE.

The cruise ended in Chongqing. There I visited the zoo to see the pandas, Lesser Pandas (Ailurus fulgens) well as the Giant Pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). That was the only time I saw animals. There are no animals (other than birds) in the wild it seems. They have all been eaten. This is the one thing that I missed in China, to see wildlife, since this is usually the most important part of my vacation trips.

From Chongqing I flew to Xi'an, the old Chinese capital. This is where they discovered the Terracotta Warriors in 1974. They date from the Qin dynasty (221 BCE - 206 BCE). If you visit anyplace in China, this one is a must. There are some 7000 of the statues. The statues were almost all broken shortly after they were put in place when the emperor that had built them fell out of favor. They have been excavated in three pits. In the first pit the statues have been reconstructed and set up as they were originally. In the second pit they were left more like they were found so you can see what they looked like when they were first excavated. The third pit is much smaller and has some reconstructed statues, including horses. Photography is not allowed in the excavation pits, but everybody takes pictures. It seems that they used to be quite strict about that and removed your film from your camera when they caught you. By now they don't take it very seriously anymore. Also near Xi'an is an excavated Stone Age village with several remnants of buildings and several graves with excavated skeletons.

Xi'an had the most impressive artifacts, but it also had the most impressive (and oppressive) air pollution. Four of the five people in my tour group got sick there. At times it felt like I was breathing acid fumes. It was REALLY bad.

From Xi'an I flew to Guilin. This area is famous for its scenic limestone karst formations. It is quite impressive. I was on a one-day cruise on the Li River through the karst area. Part of the visit in Guilin was a visit to an old village (with 200 year old wood buildings) that is being kept in its original state. It is like a museum village. People there work in their old trades and farm the fields as they did years ago. One thing that was unusual was the exclusive use of natural fertilizer from the village in the surrounding fields.

From Guilin I flew to Hong Kong, the last part of the tour. China itself was very western in appearance. This of course goes even more so for Hong Kong. It is like any other big city in the world. Hong Kong Island is quite scenic, and Aberdeen harbor with the Sampans and the house boats is interesting, but for the most part it is just a regular big city.

I went out most evenings and tried to find local bars in order to talk with local people. Throughout the whole trip they were very friendly everywhere. I spent several very interesting evenings with local people talking about all kinds of things. Most of the time this had to be done through the dictionary, since many of them spoke only very little English. But with enough efforts on both sides I had a great time talking with them by looking up individual words in the dictionary and putting them together to convey what I wanted to say or ask and translate their answers and questions. It was very interesting and informative.

In June 2004 I visited China again. This time I went to Chengdu to the Wolong Panda Reserve, to Tibet, and to Beijing. China had changed quite a bit. In particular Beijing, there were no more bicycles on the roads, they are not allowed anymore. I have integrated the pictures from this second trip with the ones from the first one.

The Wolong Panda Reserve near Chengdu is one of the last places where Giant Panda live in the wild. You can't get to the wild Panda, only the ones in the zoo of the reserve. When I visited there were six baby Pandas playing around. They were about 6 months old. It was fun to watch them.

The people in that area are one of the many minorities in China. I walked around a bit in the area. It is not a very developed area, mostly small farmers. Chengdu on the other hand is one of the larger cities in the area with several million people living there. The pollution in the area is pretty severe in some places.

One advice that I learned the hard way: Bring plenty of cold and flu medication, especially cough suppressant with you, and I mean lots, and lots of Aspirin. Almost everybody gets a severe cold or a flu. On my trip to India the year before I had 3 colds in 3 weeks, each lasting for about 5 days, with about 2 days in between. Almost everybody in that tour at one time or another got sick with a nasty cold, some just as long as I did. I ran out of cold medication pretty soon and had to buy some stuff locally. I couldn't get the right medication, so I suffered from the symptoms quite severely. For this trip to China I thought I was prepared and had plenty of cold medication. That time I got a flu and ran out of Aspirin to keep the fever down. Again I had to resort to local Aspirin. But with flu and cold medicine, cough suppressant, and Aspirin to keep the fever in check, I was just fine this time. This is something that happens to almost everybody and it can ruin your vacation if you are not prepared. But if you are prepared, and can keep the symptoms in check, you are OK. You can cure it completely when you get home if necessary, but you don't want to mess up the vacation because of a cold.

Here are some of the pictures I took on my trip. All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn


kites tiananmenTiananmen Square. This is a huge square in the center of Beijing, the largest square in China. It was full of people of all ages flying kites. (553k)
kite oldHere is an old man flying his kite. There were all kinds of people flying kites. Some of the kites where quite elaborate constructions. (613k)
bird walkingThis old man is walking his bird. I saw this several times where older men were walking around with their bird cages. Or they were sitting in the park, with their bird cages hanging on a nearby tree. (581k)
calligraphyHe was on the road leading to the Temple of Heavens. He wrote calligraphy with a big brush and water, just for fun. He was not collecting money, he did it just for himself. (629k)
bejing pagodaA multi-storied pagoda like building in Beijing. (752k)
bejing universityI visited one of the main universities in Beijing. This is one of the university buildings. (759k)
bejing parkOne of the many nicely arranged parks in Beijing. (970k)
bejing templeA nicely decorated Buddhist temple. (934k)
buddhaA Buddha statue on a Lotus throne in one of the temples. (708k)
bejing prayerdrumA prayer drum. (680k)
lion statueA stone carved lion statue. (746k)
bicycle trafficBicycle traffic in Beijing. This was completely gone when I visited Bejing the second time, no more bicycles. (732k)
bicycle parkingBicycle parking. There were long rows of parked bicycles everywhere during my first visit. (790k)
bejing motorcycle taxiThey were using motorcycles as taxis extensively at the time of my first visit. (619k)
taxi trafficThe red taxicabs where everywhere. (662k)
2004 more bicyclesIn 2004 there were no more bicycles on the roads in Beijing, but even more red taxis. (557k)
very nicely landscapedA very nicely landscaped park near the Forbidden City. (889k)
beautiful marble bridgesBeautiful marble bridges in the park. (682k)
colorfully painted coveredColorfully painted covered walkway. (883k)
painted roof walkwayPainted roof of the walkway. (679k)
detail paintingsDetail of one of the paintings. (565k)
small temple hillA small temple on a hill near the Forbidden City. (507k)
monumentIn addition to the interesting historical monuments, there were also these unsightly monstrosities. (596k)
local bar hadA local bar. I had a great time there, playing dice with the locals, etc. They were very friendly. (1644k)
friendly bartender reallyMy friendly bartender. He really was a character. (1552k)


acrobatsAcrobat show. It was quite impressive what they did. (618k)
acrobatAn acrobat balancing a lot of stuff. (611k)
musicMusic performance. They were playing traditional Chinese instruments. (639k)
musicians cMusic performance. (675k)
musicians aMusicians playing traditional Chinese instruments. (572k)
musicians bA musicians playing a string instrument. (605k)
music schoolAfternoon school. Children learn to play a string instrument. (757k)
bronze bellAn antique bronze bell in the Shanghai museum. (449k)
bronze vesselAn antique bronze vessel. (390k)
painting1Traditional Chinese painting. (608k)
painting2Traditional Chinese painting. (779k)
painting3Traditional Chinese painting. (686k)
teapotThis antique teapot doesn't have a lid. The whole top is solid. To put tea into the pot, the teapot is turned upside-down. The bottom has hole through which the tea is poured into the teapot. The teapot is then turned right-side-up. It is not difficult to figure out how it works. I saw this type of teapot several times. This example is a Ming Dynasty pot in one of the museums, about 1000 years old. (567k)
pandaGiant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) in the zoo in Chongqing. (733k)
panda babyA 6 month old baby Panda playing. (800k)
lesser pandaLesser Panda (Ailurus fulgens) (892k)

Temple of Heavens

toh gateEntrance to the Temple of Heavens. Blue is the color of the Heaven. All the buildings in the Temple of Heavens have blue roofs. (704k)
toh mainThe main building in the Temple of Heavens. (636k)
toh roofBlue roof on one of the buildings in the Temple of Heavens. (574k)
roof decorBlue roof decorations. (613k)

Summer Palace

sp corridorThe Long Corridor in the Summer Palace. This corridor is about 700 meters long. Every beam and straight surface is decorated with paintings. (779k)
sp corr p1Detail of a painting in the Long Corridor in the Summer Palace. (680k)
sp corr p2Detail of a painting in the Long Corridor in the Summer Palace. (775k)
sp bronze beastA mythical beast in bronze. It is a combination of lion, deer, and dragon. This figure is in the Summer Palace. (630k)
sp bronze dragonA bronze dragon. (717k)
sp stone shipA stone building in the shape of a ship, built in one of the lakes. (742k)

Forbidden City

view forbidden cityView of the Forbidden City. (571k)
fc gateEntrance gate to the Forbidden City. (627k)
fc palaceOne of the palace buildings in the Forbidden City in Beijing, the residence of the Emperors. Yellow is the color of Earth and the Emperor. All the roofs in the Forbidden City are yellow. The stone relief in the middle of the staircase leading up to the palace is carved out of one single piece of marble. (643k)
fc reliefThe marble relief. (828k)
detail marble reliefDetail of the marble relief. (618k)
fc templeA temple in the Forbidden City. (792k)
fc stonehillMan-made stone hill in the Forbidden City with small palace building on top. Using natural stones in designing gardens was very common in different palace and temple areas. (921k)
wooden buildings backWooden buildings in the back and carved marble structures. (509k)
closeup carved marbleCloseup of carved marble. (378k)
fc lionsgateEntrance to one of the palaces in the Forbidden City, flanked by two lion statues. (738k)
male lion statueMale lion statue, holding a golden orb, symbolizing the male element, the Yang, and the reign of the Emperor of the world. (579k)
fc female lionFemale lion statute, holding a lion cub, symbolizing the female element, the Yin, and fertility. (706k)
fc turtlesStone carved figures of a lion and dragon-headed turtles. (684k)
bronze figure turtleBronze figure of a turtle with a dragon head. There were many bronze figures in the Forbidden City. (522k)
bronze figure craneBronze figure of a crane, a frequent symbol. (425k)
small gilded statueA small gilded statue of an elephant. (715k)
marble sundial shadowA marble sundial. It has a shadow casting gnomon on both sides. The lower side is for times when the sun is below the plane of the sun dial. (295k)
fc vesselBronze vessel. This vessel has a very simple but very appealing form. (617k)
fc vessel2Bronze incense burner. This is an example of one of the elaborately decorated bronze vessels, in stark contrast to very simple vessels also shown. (870k)
wood carved decorationsWood carved decorations in one of the palaces. (598k)
thrones palaces forbiddenOne of the thrones in the palaces of the Forbidden City. (606k)
view over roofsView over the roofs in the Forbidden City. (504k)
fc roofRoof decoration in the Forbidden City. All the roofs in the Forbidden City and in many other palaces are decorated with different figures. (636k)
fc roof2Most roofs in the Forbidden City are decorated with a row of figures (gargoyles) on the corners. The number of figures signifies the importance of the building. (656k)
view few roofsView of a few of the roofs with decorative figures. (547k)
fc roof figuresA close-up of one of the rows of roof decorating figures. They are all different and sculpted with great details. (668k)
had seven figuresThis one had seven figures. (348k)
had maximum numberThis one had the maximum number of figures, indication that it was one of the emperor's palaces. (374k)
close-up figuresA close-up of some of the figures. (499k)
close-up figuresA close-up of some of the figures. (378k)
close-up showing fineAnother close-up, showing the fine details of the figures. (325k)

Great Wall

great wallA section of the Great Wall, about 100 km from Beijing. Unfortunately it was not yet spring, so the trees had no leaves. This made it all look fairly colorless. Only the blooming trees gave a little accent of color. I think the best time of year to see the Great Wall is in the Fall with the leaves turning color. (806k)
greatwall closeCloseup of the Great Wall. I took a cable car up to the Great Wall and then walked on top of the wall for a bit. (786k)
section great wallAnother section of the Great wall, this time in Spring. It was much more colorful at that time of year. The air pollution however was still there. (437k)
view section greatView of a section of the Great Wall with one of the watch towers. (466k)
wall runs mostlyThe wall runs mostly along the crest of mountain ridges. (475k)
topography impassable likeWhen the topography is impassable like at this vertical cliff, the wall breaks and resumes after the cliff. (398k)
sections very steepSome sections are VERY steep. You had to walk backwards while holding on to the handrail to get down this section. (690k)
even emergency phonesThere are even emergency phones on the wall, in case you have a heart attack on one of the steeper parts. (555k)

Hangzhou and Suzhou

hangzhou parkPark in Hangzhou. You can see a small temple peeking through the mist and drizzle. It was a very captivating atmosphere. (651k)
hangzhou park2Another view through the drizzle of a park in Hangzhou. (799k)
hangzhou garden2View of a garden through one of the decorative windows. (679k)
hangzhou garden3Cherry blossoms in the Hangzhou garden. (883k)
hangzhou gazeboA gazebo in one of the gardens in Hangzhou. (719k)
hangzhou garden1Garden in Hangzhou. It shows one of the covered walks through the garden. These walk ways are not straight but zig-zag. This is done to keep bad spirits from following you. Bad spirits can only go in a straight line, they can't follow the zig-zagging walks. (744k)
hangzhou bonsaiA Bonsai tree in the rain in a garden in Hangzhou. (716k)
suzhou garden1Interior view of one of the gardens in Suzhou. These gardens are some 700 years old. (954k)
suzhou garden2Another view of a garden in Suzhou. I was lucky here that the trees were just in bloom. (920k)
suzhou windowsThese are windows, not paintings. They are designed to look like paintings together with the bamboo and rocks behind the windows. This was a very beautiful design. (683k)


shanghaiApproach into Shanghai. This city is the most western of the mainland Chinese cities (except Hong Kong perhaps). (795k)
shanghai towerThe modern Shanghai. It looks just like any big western city. (485k)
shanghai livingApartment building in Shanghai. Every apartment had a long pole sticking out with a clothesline that can be reeled in to hang up clothes. (584k)
shanghai old newThe new Shanghai looming over the old. Will the old China survive? (717k)
shanghai gardensOld gardens in Shanghai. (596k)
shanghai carvingWood carved panel in one of the gardens. (777k)
shanghai decorDecorations in one of the gardens. (598k)
shanghai doorA decorative door in the garden. (725k)
shanghai mosaicStone mosaic on one of the walkways in the garden. (856k)
shanghai roofRoof decorations in an old temple in Shanghai. (499k)
shanghai bonsaiA large Bonsai tree in the same temple area. (836k)

Yangtze River/Three Gorges

3gorges aFirst of the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River. (628k)
3gorges bIn the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River. (549k)
3gorges boatCruise ship in the Three Gorges. There were quite a few of these cruise ships on the Yangtze. (579k)
yangtse ferryA car ferry on the Yangtze. (685k)
hydrofoilSpeedboat on the Yangtze. Some people were in more of a hurry. These hydrofoil boats were very fast. They probably seated 100 people. Some of them also seemed to carry cargo. (814k)
fishing boatOthers were fishing in these small boats. It looked like they lived on these boats, at least temporarily. (797k)
rowboatOthers took more time. I saw quite a few of these man-powered boats crossing the Yangtze or going up and down the river. (813k)
fishingStill others did their fishing from shore. (755k)
3gorges terracesFarming terraces along the Yangtze. They were even in some of the steeper areas of the Three Gorges. (729k)
3gorges treesBlooming trees in the Three Gorges. In some areas there were little villages with blooming fruit trees. (919k)
3gorges pagodaScenic view of a pagoda on the shore of the Yangtze River. (814k)
3gorges rocksRock formations in one of the Three Gorges. (961k)
3gorges footpathOn the steepest cliffs along the Yangtze the trails were carved out of the rock cliffs. These trails were build hundreds of years ago. (1001k)
3gorges footpath bA footpath on a cliff in one of the gorges. (964k)
3gorges travelSome of these trails are still being used, and used with century old transportation methods today. (792k)
3gorges plankroadThis was a road along the cliff. Wooden posts were put in the holes in the rock, and planks put over these poles to form a road. (1050k)
tow boatsThis was an excursion into one of the side canyons. Each boat had four men that hooked up to a line, towing the boat. (788k)
tow boats bWhen the water was deep enough and the current not too strong, the boat was propelled by pushing it along with long wooden poles. (757k)
coffinIn this gorge, people buried some of their dead by putting the coffins in small caves high up on the side of the gorge. (776k)

Three Gorges Dam

dam modelA model of the Three Gorges Dam project. (633k)
3gorges dam1Construction site of the Three Gorges Dam. It shows the overhead crane that is some 150 meters above the construction site. The site is dammed off by coffer dams on both sides to allow construction of the main dam. (626k)
3gorges constructionThree gorges dam construction. (552k)
3gorges lock1Site of the 5-stage lock next to the main dam. This is a HUGE earth moving project, digging through solid rock. (697k)
3gorges lock2Downstream view of huge lock construction site. (659k)
3gorges bridgesOld and new bridges across a tributary of the Yangtze River. The old bridge will be covered by the reservoir when it fills up. (690k)


xian pit1Pit 1 of the excavation of the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an. In this pit the statues have been reconstructed and set up as they were originally. (600k)
xian warriorsPart of the Terracotta Army in Pit 1 (714k)
xian warriors closeCloseup of some Terracotta Warriors. (743k)
xian warrior detailDetails of some of the Terracotta Warriors. (670k)
xian pit2Pit 2 of the excavation at Xi'an. In this pit the statues have been left as they were found. Most of them were destroyed shortly after they were built. (592k)
xian warriors pit2Closer view of the statues in Pit 2 (696k)
xian warriors horsesReconstructed statues of warriors and horses in Pit 2 (699k)
xian colored warriorIn Pit 3 efforts have been made to preserve the colors of the statues. In the earlier excavations, the statues had colors also, but once the statues were exposed to the air and pollution, the colors quickly disappeared. This picture is an example of a statue with the colors preserved. (615k)
xian stoneage grave1Stone Age grave with excavated skeleton. (695k)
xian stoneage grave2Dual burial in this Stone Age village. (604k)


guilin carstLimestone carst formation along the Li River near Guilin. (395k)
guilin carst2Limestone carst formation along the Li River near Guilin. (616k)
guilin carst3Limestone formation near Guilin. (398k)
guilin hillLimestone hill in Guilin with temple on top. (459k)
guilin ricefieldsRice fields near Guilin. (621k)

Wolong Panda Reserve, Chengdu.

wolong reserve chengduIn the Wolong Reserve near Chengdu. This is one of the last areas with wild Giant Pandas. (725k)
lots wildflowers areaThere were lots of wildflowers in this area. (352k)
more wildflowersMore wildflowers. (401k)
wildflowers came butterfliesWith the wildflowers came butterflies. (516k)
including really bigIncluding some really big butterflies. (291k)
several species interestingThere were several species of interesting looking birds. (445k)
Macaca mulattaThis is a group of Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta) in the park. (504k)
Ailuropoda melanoleucaThe highlight there are the Giant Pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) (614k)
growlingThis one was growling at me. (589k)
six baby pandasThese were the six baby Pandas. (556k)
very playfulThey were very playful. (434k)
did lot climbingThey did a lot of climbing and chasing each other. (556k)
finally all wayHe finally got all the way up there. (357k)
back upside-downBack down upside-down. (517k)

Daily Life

villageA picturesque Chinese village. (514k)
carved woodAntique carved wood panels in one of the houses in this little village. (489k)
kormorantsFishing cormorants. These birds are trained to fish from very early on. They have a noose around their neck that doesn't bother them normally, but prevents them from swallowing fish that they catch. These birds are treated very well, because they are very valuable ($100 - $200 per bird, which is a lot of money in China). But it is not only their value that gets them good treatment. Older birds that can't fish anymore are still kept and provided for. (613k)
kormorant fishOnce a cormorant has caught a fish, it returns to the boat of the fisherman. The fisherman takes the fish from the cormorant. The cormorants catch a lot of fish. We were watching that boat for about 20 minutes, and the four cormorants of the fisherman caught about 20 fish, each about 30 cm long. The fishing is done at night with a lantern on the prow of the boat to attract the fish. The river moves quite rapidly, and the boat is not anchored, so the fisherman has to work constantly to stay in place. (706k)
ricefarmMuch work is done by hand in the rice paddies. (630k)
ricefarm buffaloPlowing is done with water buffaloes drawing the plow. (568k)
fertilizingWatering the local vegetable garden. All the fertilizing is done with natural fertilizer from the village. (600k)
farm machineFarm machine. (528k)
preparing foodPreparing food. (546k)
tobaccoPreparing tobacco leaves. (566k)
brewThey were brewing something in these large jars. (455k)
silk factoryA silk factory. (727k)
silk factory bView of the machinery in a silk factory. (709k)
loomA mechanical loom. On the left is the punch card like control strip that controls the weave patter. (704k)
personnel hotel wolongThe personnel in the hotel in the Wolong Panda reserve standing at attention. It seems they do that every morning. (707k)
local family wayLocal family on their way to work in the Panda Reserve area. The children were always having fun seeing me take pictures. (623k)
bunch local youthA bunch of the local youth having fun. I remember building similar carts from boards and ball bearings when I was young just after WWII (662k)
local farm womanA local farm woman tending a field with here child on her back. The local people in the Wolong reserve look distinctly different from the mainstream Han Chinese. (547k)
fishing traps localFishing traps on the local brook in the Wolong reserve. (799k)
several bridges riverThere were several of these bridges of the river in the Wolong reserve. (752k)
didnt over bridgeI didn't go over this bridge. (1530k)
but even littleBut even in these little local villages they have satellite TV (2039k)
way chengdu wolongOn the way from Chengdu to the Wolong reserve. In the back is a bridge under construction. They were building another large reservoir on this river, which would flood most of this area. In the foreground is the local version of a car wash with the attendant waiting for customers. (1202k)
local air pollutionLocal air pollution in the Chengdu area is severe in some areas. (740k)

Hong Kong

hongkong islA view of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon from Victoria Peak. (751k)
float restaurantA huge floating restaurant in Aberdeen harbor on Hong Kong Island. (752k)
houseboatsHouseboats in Aberdeen Harbor. There used to be many more of these. About 12 years ago the whole lot burned down. Many of the former houseboat residents now live in nearby high rises. (854k)
houseboats bHouseboats. (636k)
fireplaceA fireplace on a houseboat. You have to be careful how you handle fire on a wooden boat. (647k)
sampanSampan. These small boats are the vehicle of choice in Aberdeen harbor. (763k)

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