Posts Tagged ‘China’

I’m writing this now while it is still fresh. It’s amazing what disappears from the memory when you are doing a lot of travel and sightseeing. I just finished my previous post and had completely forgot about Qibao, which was odd because it was interesting. Lucky there were photos to remind me to talk about it. It’s where Taamo tried to teach me to eat dumplings and I failed to learn. Apparently you bite the edge and suck out the juice, otherwise it squirts all over you. Guess who was grotty the whole time with stains down their front? Me! One thing I’ve noted here in China is that you don’t go hungry. Everywhere you go there is some kind of food for sale. Noodles, dumplings, all sorts.

Taamo took me for a walk locally and we had some street food for breakfast. Some vegetable rice buns, which look Pork dumplings at home but are filled with green vegetable and mushrooms. Then Taamo bought this pancake thing, with egg a few bits of onion, bbq sauce, chili and some crispy thing. It’s rolled up and you munch on it while you walk. It was tasty! We checked out the local English bookstore, where I bought a learn to speak Mandarin textbook as you do. One day she says! One day!

We found an out of the way place called, Books in Space. It was off the main drag and part of a house, sort of like a terrace house really. It was a cafe that had second hand books for sale for 10 RMB (about $2) and really good coffee. There was French music playing and it had a nice vibe. Very Western shabby chic I guess.

We also visited a new bakery called Lost Bakery and it had stuff in there to die for and boy I’d get fat if I could find my way back. So I’m staying away. The coffee was good and my apple tart was too.


Anyway, the tour. So Taamo gave me a few to choose from. I chose something that didn’t sound to strenuous. We went south to the Nanxi River Area. We went with Ok Deals tourist group. The group was smallish, around 30, laid back, but not slack. That meant we went where we were supposed to go when we were supposed to go but the itinerary was not excessive. Taamo reckons we went almost halfway to Taiwan. I guess he is right. (map Wikipedia commons.)

Image result for map Nanxi River

So bus and group were a okay! Six hour trip on the bus with two hourly stops. I was introduced to toilets in a big way. Squat toilets, bring your own loo paper and don’t flush it. Used loo paper goes in bins. Some of them don’t smell too good either. But livable.

We left at 7.05 am, not bad for a 7.00am start. Great scenery on the way. A long bridge etc. Mountains. Terraced rice fields, gardens everywhere. I saw sweet potato growing, taro, eggplant, green vegetables, potatoes and corn. Also persimmon trees with persimmons everywhere (Japanese kind I believe). Lunch was at 2.00pm but we stopped to visit an ancient village. This one the home of the head of the Chen clan.




Taamo took this one of a goat herder returning.


This is my shot using the panoramic function.


This is a close up of the roof tiles that I found interesting.


The food was very local. Lots of vegetables grown locally I guess. Some weird stuff too, but I tried most of it. I liked the tomato omelette, which turned up in most places. I’m thinking tomatoes grow locally too. Some thin slices of potato, gourd (winter melon?), fresh whole fish (I couldn’t eat that), rice cake etc.

The hotel where we stayed was out of the village proper. We had to be barged across by rope pulled by hand.


A few shots of the hotel. The rooms looked nice. The power was off. Some kind of trouble. The bathroom fitting leaked and the cleaning wasn’t quite the thing. Food was plentiful.




On the second day we went to a waterfall and mountain walk. Too many stairs and it was so hot. It also rained a bit.



On the barge.


The Dragon Waterfall.


Inside the waterfall cave. This had been extended by man. Quite extensive with temples inside etc.

Inside this part of the cave people could hire traditional costumes and take photos.


We walked up the mountain and found the source of the waterfall, and the former source of the waterfall.


Behind the dam wall




We sat under these rocks. We thought they might be Basalt.


At night there was a bonfire party. I didn’t hang for that but I did get to see some fireflies. Second night it was raining so they had a room party in the restaurant. The drinking, dancing etc went on till two am.

After the waterfall and lunch, we went bamboo rafting. It was wonderful. The rapids weren’t really rapids but you did feel the rocks bumping underneath. We had a very cool pilot/captain. Photo courtesy of Tour Guide Alice. It was so tranquil.


Before we left the area we went for the most amazing walk. These photos don’t do it justice. You lose the height impressions.

This is the view of the mountain/rock from the village. We walked to the river walk.







The goats near the bridge. This bridge was sealed off. My favourite parts? The bamboo rafting and the river walk, which was mind blowingly beautiful.

And finally I saw this at the hotel. A native, traditional raincoat?


That’s it for now. I’m having a home day and it’s wonderful. My sore legs can recuperate.

Waving from Shanghai.






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I’m going to break this post up. I didn’t post the Star Trek Expo photos so I’m going to try to do this. My next post will be from the tour to the Nanxi River area. Some breathtaking scenery there.

Shanghai appears to be a complex place, perhaps reflective of elsewhere in China. A juxtaposition of ultra new such as tech and the layers of old with the very traditional beneath. For example, in my country trip I could get 4G. I could get 4G in the tunnels beneath mountains. Internet and wifi are ubiquitous and used in ways we don’t even think about in Australia. We have QR codes for example but I’ve never used one. Here they are used all the time. But by contrast, if I go to Tharwa, just five minutes away by car from my home I can’t even get a signal, let alone 4G. We are way behind technologically. Maybe it’s our population level, maybe China has an advantage coming from behind and implementing tech and jumping ahead of us. The fact is our technical infrastructure is crap and our government is to blame. Look what they are doing with fibre optics in Australia. We have Turnbull saying copper wire is okay. Man, are we going to be left behind.

So what surprises me is not so much the electronic billboards in the metro with rapid refresh rates that allows you to see the image while travelling at fast speeds, or on the bus shelters or just about every shopping mall’s giant electronic billboards. That’s frosting. That’s a glimpse of a possible future in the West. Let’s take WeChat, China’s equivalent to Twitter/Facebook. Yes. I suppose it is monitored by the Chinese Government, but if you think Twitter and Facebook aren’t monitored by your own government then you are way wrong. There are apps that look for words and phrases. Nothing online is private. WeChat lets you create your own QR code. So you meet someone and you want to add them to your WeChat connections you can scan their code or they scan yours. You can link your WeChat to your bank and you can pay your bills, restaurant etc, just by using the QR codes. I haven’t linked that up because I’m not living here but I was thinking Wow. That’s awesome. On the tour there was a tour group WeChat so we got messages about breakfast and shared photos. You could pay for things to the tour company etc. Just wow. I mean WeChat is not useless like Twitter and Facebook, it’s like useful. I’m impressed.

So the Star Trek exhibition. We practically had that to ourselves. For this nine day public holiday people exodus the city and apparently the exhibition was in the ‘Ghost Mall’. The Ghost Mall is attached to the second airport (domestic?) and is linked via the metro. So we travelled on the metro to this place, then walked through empty corridors to the Ghost Mall where we found the Star Trek exhibition. It was like 80 RMB to enter. Cheaper on Weekdays. Apparently as Monday was a public holiday we paid 80RMB. Taamo used Alipay (I think that’s what he called it-The WeChat app.

Starting with Picard’s quarters and his uniform. You can’t see it but there is a wedding photo of Riker and Troi.

It wasn’t a huge  exhibition but wow. I loved the costumes. I’m trying to think which was my favourite. I’ve decided Kaiopaka and I’m going to cosplay it one day. I’m short and plump so it should work.


Kai Opaka!


A close up of Eric Bana’s coat, rogue Romulan?



romulan-costume-close-upClose up detail of Romulan uniform

There was an amazing Enterprise on display.



The transporter room was cool and covered in Tribbles.



Lots of models of weapons and ships, like DS9.




Then I stepped through a door and found the Bridge!!!! I was so excited I ran back to Taamo and said. There’s a bridge. While we were in there a bunch of Chinese fans dressed in uniform were mucking about in the other section. Then one walked in, saw the Bridge, and had the same reaction I did. She went squeeing back to the group and they all descended en masse and filmed themselves. It was cool to watch.

There was some VR consoles at the end of the exhibition, not Star Trek specific. We didn’t try them. There was, however, a poster for Star Trek, Beyond, 3D at the Imax. We were cool let’s do it, alas it wasn’t playing at the Imax so we consoled ourselves with a trip through the Ghost Mall and food.

This poster is up on billboards around the place. Taamo won’t take me because he said he won’t understand it. I have dubbed this movie, Chinese Elves. Maybe one day it will come out in the West.chinese-elves

We also went to a place called Qibao, a watertown. All the other tourists decided to go there too so it was my first taste of crowded in Shanghai. Again we took the metro. It was sunny and hot. I got sunburned.

Here are a few shots.



This one will give you an idea of the crowds.


This one of the river/canal.



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In Shanghai

Just a quick blog post from Shanghai. I don’t have a lot of photos to show you as my phone is having issues with my son’s computer.

Firstly, it is hot and muggy. As it is a week of public holidays it hasn’t been too crowded mostly. By mostly I mean when we go to tourist things like The Bund then it is crowded, but probably not normal crowded.

My son lives is a lovely little apartment in a tree lined suburb. Apparently it is is a trendy area. He has aircon. Grin!

Today we are going shopping. Tomorrow we are going on a tour for a couple of days to the coast about six hours drive away.

My grasp of the lingo is not good. I can barely manage xie xie (thank you). The food has been awesome. Yesterday we had Vietnamese and much nicer than the Australian version. We went to a poshy modern Chinese cuisine place called Lost Heaven and it was fab. So was their bakery, Lost  Bakery. We’ve also eaten at an American diner in the French concession-bloody awesome food. Yesterday we tried some street food. Yummy!

Also of interest is the amount of tech here. There is WeChat, the Chinese version of Twitter, and you can use that to pay for things using a QR code. Pretty amazeballs if you ask me.

Now for some photos.img_6828

People’s Square on the walk down to the Bund.


An example of some of the architecture along the People’s Square


The Peace Hotel, near the Bund.



View from the Bund


Electronic billboard. Can’t remember the name of this area.


This mall was near the Bund and it blew our minds. It was huge. It is not even one of the largest malls  here. It had curved escalators and a roof motif that mimicked the sky and Iron Man.


The only other photo I’ve managed to save to this pc is this pic of the Jinjian Temple which isn’t far from here.



This morning I probably had a dose of culture shock. I blame this on the horror-type movies we watched last night. I’m not normally into the gruesome. Caught up with Horns (based on  Joe Hill’s novel, which I own but haven’t read). Daniel Radcliffe did an amazing job. A really unusual tale too. Pretty awesome movie. I don’t think it had a cinema release in Australia. The other was a pretty riveting watch called. He Never Died or something like that. Available on Netflix. I really should have watched something light before bed as the book I’m reading is a bit dark too. But I’m fine now. My son made crepes and coffee. Anyway I’m off to do  some shopping for some cooler tshirts for this trip.







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My son is working in Shanghai and I’m popping over for a visit. I’ll have to get up early, my least favourite part, but I’ll arrive tomorrow evening.

This will be my first visit to China. My son says it is still warm and muggy. Different from here which is rainy and chilly. I’m looking forward to chilling with my son. Apparently there is a number of public holidays this coming week so we will just hang out. He works in games development.

On the writing front, I had thought to get Oathbound off to my editor and Ungiven Land to beta readers but I was derailed by a piece of bureaucratic bullshit that gave me a nice dose of anxiety and the need to seek legal advice. I’m feeling better now, but I don’t think I’ve recovered my equilibrium. I’ve not touched my writing and have buried myself in Lois McMaster Bujold (Komarr and A Civil Campaign) for the last couple of days. This is probably a nice sanity space and Bujold writes to well and I love the series. I will learn something I hope.

I should get back to packing and try to decide whether I should take my laptop and work over there.

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