Saturday, October 25, 2008
I am going to load some pics for you from my trip to Lahassa in Tibet. I arrived yesterday by air -- the shots from the plane were wonderful -- the mountains are beautiful and snow-capped. I took a shot of the oxygen tank that is in the Hotel Room - it is for those who can't handle the altitude of 12,000 feet. I was met at the airport with the traditional white scarf by my guide who is a former Trecker to Everest.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
At the last building of the Terracotta Museum -- they have some of the work of Jiang Yuan displayed. I thought the movement in his horse screens were beautiful and the colors were really wonderful. He loves to paint on round objects, believing that there is something eternal about the circle and that art is a part of that.....great thought.
I am off to Tibet.
We got an early start today and headed about an hour and a half outside of Xian city to where the Museum of the Terracotta Warriors is located. I must admit -- it felt good to see some more of the mountainous areas and not more of the cement buildings -- which are typical around the world. We stopped at a factory nearby which explained the process of how these warriors were actually made. (see shot of Daisy) But it can't compare with walking into the pits, with huge overhangs and seeing these artifacts all lined up -- The emperor thought that he was preparing himself for the next life and that he would have set up for battle as well. He thought that he would be able to rule from the next life - well apart from him being in for a big surprise -- we on this side of eternity have the pleasure of being able to see the great effort that went into this endeavor. This was all uncovered just in 1975 by some farmers -- one of which sits at a table in the main entry hall, and is on display(but no photos please).
(From the Web)
Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun to work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life. A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archaeologists immediately. They came to Xian in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty (211-206 BC).
The State Council authorized to build a museum on site in 1975. When completed, people from far and near came to visit. Xian and the Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses have become landmarks on all travelers' itinerary.
enjoy the shots....
I am in Xian, pronounced (shee-ann) -- it gets very confusing with the Che and She sounds. Anyway -- I was met at the airport by my local guide whose name is Daisy. I had a meal at the airport and then was transported to the Hotel. I am staying fairly in the center of town at a place called the Lee Garden Hotel. I found out that the name "Lee" means black horse -- which is supposed to be beautiful -- so I am staying at the Black Horse Hotel or Beautiful Black Horse Hotel -- However....this horse needs some water and a run around the track!
First day of sightseeing took us to the Big White Goose Pagoda, which was built by the emperor from the Quin Dynasty I believe -- this temple was built after he traveled for nearly 10 years to Italy and back and brought the influence of Tao Buddhism to China (I think I heard that correctly -- perhaps not) -- anyway -- like other buildings in Italy -- this one also has started to lean -- I was told about the leaning while on the third floor -- and then I saw engineers with measuring equipment on the 4th floor -- needless to say -- I didn't stay long on the 7th floor!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
My last day in Beijing was met with sleeping in until 9:00am (Yeh!) breakfast, packing and then Jack (Lien Xiu) picked me up at the hotel at 11:00am for my last day of sightseeing. We were on our way to the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace was frequented by the Emperor and is situated on a very large piece of land. There is a huge man made lake in the center and a famous part of the Palace is the 17-Arch Bridge. Because the Chinese believe that the number 9 is a strong number -- no matter which way you count -- you end up at 9 in the middle.
The pics I have are from one of the Iron Sculptures in Front of the Palace building -- where they conducted Business while vacationing here -- also there are shots from a very long corridor, 750 meters to be exact, which leads to the launch of the dragon boats (I have that on video) then there are some shots through these wonderfully shaped windows that made for interesting photographs. The tall temple you see at the top of the Hill was built for the Emperor Dowager (Dragon Lady) for her 60th birthday. I guess it was a long hike up the hill, sing happy birthday, blow out the candles and a long schlep down!
The last shot is of a big Pagoda near the center of the lake and then the 17-arch bridge.
Drove to the airport and had McDonald's for lunch and then off to Xian. Which is located an hour and half by air in the south west direction of Beijing. I'll spend 3 days there and will fill you in as we go.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Ok -- so now I know why it is one of the great wonders of the World. By the time you get to the top -- it packs a good Wallop. If you have ever been to the Great Wall then you know how steep the climb can be. We went to the part of the wall in Badaling and didn't take the regular route of all the people -- because it was too crowded -- Jack said- - this one is more challenging and is higher -- I was really challenged when I got to the steepest part -- you practically can climb up the stairs on your hands and feet.
It was worth it when you reach the top -- just amazing piece of history -- and very beautiful. It is fall here in China and the leaves are starting to turn colors. There is a famous saying by Mao that you must have your picture taken in front of -- and it is supposedly a rite of passage into manhood....so there you are.....
Jack asked me if I would like to see the Olympic Village. I said yes. It has just opened up to the Public. I was in India during the Olympics and only saw a small part of one of the ceremonies -- the Birds nest was beautiful all lit up. Well I had the privilege of seeing it up close. The pics you will see are the Birds Nest Stadium -- It is massive and holds 91,000 people. The other shots are of the Courtyard to the Olympic Village with the Tower and also the Swimming Center, and the other Buildings where the Games were held.
There is another interesting building -- it is a tall tower with 4 other smaller buildings behind it. It was done in the shape of a Dragon and is Beijing first 7-Star Hotel -- very interesting design.
....and speaking of Olympics -- the entrance to my next site was the Great Wall of China in Badaling -- which is where the Paralympics were held -- you can see a sign there as well....
I had a chance to see the New Beijing Center for the Performing Arts Building -- very beautiful -- it is a half dome that is split in the middle in glass style -- with the Yin/Yang thing going on -- I tried to get tickets to see a ballet tonight and couldn't -- sold out. However, i am going to see the Beijing Opera Tomorrow Night at another location.
The second part of the day was spent at the Temple of Heaven -- a place where the Emperors would go to make a sacrifice to "The God of Heaven" for peace, harmony, good crops, etc. Very interesting to see the practices. I asked Jack if the Emperors believed in the God of heaven -- he said no, it was just a way to keep the people in order -- only the emperor went through these practices. There is one emperor, I believe in the Ch'in Dynasty -- the last one -- who ended up being thrown in prison and was given a job afterwards as a Gardener for 10 years. He supposedly wrote a book. Now there is a story to read -- from the highest place to a servant -- sounds like another story I love.....
In the gardens in the Temple of Heaven there are kids playing, ribbon dancing and also some spontaneous singing by the local Chinese (I have it on video) check out the shot of the little girl with the traditional head-dress -- beautiful...
enjoy the pics.....
Set out to discover some of the sights with my guide, Jack. Unfortunately when we came up to Tianamen Square -- there was some government meeting that kept us from being on the square itself -- so I had to look from across the street. We also went by the Peoples Building (Parliment Building), The People's Memorial (Like the Washington Memorial in Shape) and the two towers -- Arrow Tower and South Gate Tower of the Outside Ring (I think that is what he said -- it gets confusing). The Forbidden City is beautiful -- the architecture amazing and crazy to be around things this old -- foreign to us in the USA.