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Archive for January, 2008

Welcome home

Shortly after returning from our China holiday I discovered that the power outlets were all off in our apartment. Closer inspection revealed that the safety switch for the power had tripped, killing everything but the lights.

Consequences? No power to the fridge for quite a while. Everything in the freezer had thawed/melted and a good portion of it needed to be chucked. It was less disastrous in the fridge, where we’d cleaned out most things before our holiday. Besides, fridge items are generally those items with a shorter shelf life anyway.

Now if you can work out how or why the safety switch tripped…

And back again

OK, we’ve made it back home after our wonderful trek across China. To complement the previous post, here’s the list of things we did subsequently:

  • Beijing (Summer Palace, Peking Duck, Art Gallery)
  • Dingshan (Ceramics museum, tea pots & ceramics)
  • Shanghai (Maglev, the Bund)

Still ticking

We’re most of the way through our trip across China now and it’s been an absolute blast. We’re currently in Beijing and are taking in all the sights on offer. Something that has been most suprising is the impovements made to the air quality and the general cleanliness of the city since our last visit. Most impressive.

The weather has been bitterly cold. On the upside it’s meant that tourist sights haven’t been crowded and there’s been the odd discount. Our coldest place was Datong, where the max and min temps were -5 and -17 degrees celsius respectively! It’s a glorious sunny -3 in Beijing at the moment.

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve taken in the following cities and major sights. There has been lots more but here’s a hit list. Photos to come once we return:

  • Shenzhen (where we live)
  • Hong Kong (New Year’s Eave in Tsim Sha Tsui, Po Lin Monastery)
  • Chengdu (Panda breeding centre)
  • Xian (Teracotta Warriors, Xian city wall, first Qin Emperor Mausoleum)
  • Pingyao (Historical city)
  • Taiyuan (Visit a Friend)
  • Datong (Hanging Monastery, Yungang Grottoes)
  • Beijing (Forbidden City, Mao’s Mausoleum, Tiananmen Square, Underground City, Great Wall, Beihai Park & frozen lake, Temple of Heaven, Food Night Market, markets… markets… markets…

Into the China heartland

A quick note to let everyone know that we’re currently enjoying a 3 week travelling holiday within China. So far we’ve flown to Chengdu and taken the train up to Xian.

Blogging might be a bit thin (i.e. practically nonexistant) over the next two weeks but we’ll do our best to share some of the wonderful sights and experiences once we return to Shenzhen.

The setting of the sun

Our last day in Japan! We had one last spot to check out before our departure so we popped down to a cafe called Amazon nearby. The food was fantastic, shame about the cigarette smoke that filled the place.

Sanjusangen-do 1

We trotted over to Sanjusangen-do temple near to where we were staying. We called it the Sam, Judy, Sandy & Jenny temple ) . It was built in 1164, burnt down in 1249 and re-built in 1266. It had a special design for it’s pillars to make it earthquake resistant, allowing it to essentially float on the moving ground during a quake.

Sanjusangen-do 2 Sanjusangen-do 3 Sanjusangen-do 4

It’s name means 33 bays, as there are 33 bays between the uprights. Along it’s 120m length were 1001 status (approximately) of the 1000-armed Buddhist Kanon statue and about a dozen scary looking sculptured gods. There was a Japanese guy who was keen to talk to us and tell us all about the temple there. He went there to practice his English by talking to foreigners.

Back at the Ryokan we readied our things and bid farewell to our overly-friendly hosts. We walked to the train station and came across this most mournful pedestrian crossing song. In contrast, when arriving at the train station we were greeted by a happy looking Astro Boy!

Yuhara Inn 1

We took a light rail train back to Shin-Osaka station. After we found the right platform to be on a train arrived. We were about to board when the guard at the back of the train asked where we were going to, we said Osaka, and he said to wait for the next train which was an Express. Travelling on the Express we overtook about 4 other trains on the way to Osaka.

From here on it was the Osaka Subway down to Nankai Namba station (where we temporarily got lost in the underground maze) and another train out to the Osaka airport for a smooth Cathay Pacific flight back to Hong Kong. Feeling somewhat lethargic we took the soft option home - the SkyLimo service back to Shenzhen.