Our Tai Chi Adventure to China Part 2 Shantou, Huangshan & Shanghai
Friday, April 2 – Saturday, April 3 After driving from Wudangshan, we took a late night flight from Wuhan to Shantou on the South Coast.
Saturday, April 2 After the early morning (12:45 AM) arrival in Shantou Airport and the drive to the Hotel, Saturday started slowly. After a late breakfast, we left around 11:00 AM for a waterfront park. Shantou is a southern costal city, with a lot of seagoing freight. The climate seemed to be what we had been used to in Florida, and a lot of the trees and plants were very familiar.
Walking back to our Bus past Sidewalk Vendors.
Sunday, April 4 We traveled by Tour Bus from our Hotel at Shantou to the nearby city of Chaozhou. We visited a Temple and walked over a floating bridge to a market area, where we had lunch. We then drove to where Dr. Lam’s family lives, saw the home where he lived as a child, and met many of his family that live in that home today.
Memorial Temple to Han Yu. First built in 999AD and moved to the present location in 1090 AD.
Detail of the Roof Ornamentation. Ceramic Table and Stools.
Once we passed through the gate, we found ourselves in a narrow street, closed to cars. On both sides were shops of all kinds, selling almost everything you could need – food, clothes, hardware, furniture, and more. These were usually one person shops, and in some cases the owner also made the items being sold.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables from Bicycle vendors.
The neighborhood Hardware Store. The owner is cutting handles for the mattocks and hoes he sells.
At the end of the shopping street we found the restaurant where we were to have lunch (building with red sign). More fruit and vegetable vendors were in the area. To the right can be seen the root ball of a large tree being transplanted to line the street.
Most of the lunches and dinners we had were served from lots of small dishes placed on a large glass turntable. You help yourself from these dishes placing your choices on a small plate or bowl at your place.
After lunch we took our tour bus to the area where Dr. Lam’s family lives. Their home is in two adjacent buildings. Some of his family greeted us as we arrived. (Dr. Lam’s wife, Eunice, is at the right.)
Dr. Lam points out roof detail at his former home (L) and shows furniture to Marie Chadwick (Below)
Behind the dwelling shown in the previous picture is the larger home built by family. However, during the time when the Chinese Government was moving people out of the big cities into more rural areas, the home was confiscated. Later, the building was returned to them, but they were not allowed to evict those living in it. The left end of the building is still occupied by squatters, but the family uses the rest.
Bamboo is widely used for scaffolding during construction. We saw one building of around 20 stories with only bamboo used for scaffolding.
Monday, April 5 After an early breakfast we flew from Shantou to Yiwu and took a tour bus from Yiwu Airport to Hangzhou.
Once outside of the major cities, we saw a lot of smaller communities, many with multi-story multi-family homes, with agricultural fields nearby. This area grows a lot of fruit and vegetables in small fields.
Throughout the country we saw a lot of fields similar to these. The Yellow plants are rapeseed: the leaves and stems are used as a vegetable, while the seeds are pressed for oil – we know it as canola oil.
We saw Tea growing on terraces on many mountainsides.
Another thing that we noticed was that the sides of many of the major limited access highways (similar to our Interstate Highways) were frequently landscaped. We also saw street sweeping vehicles cleaning these highways. City streets were washed nightly, and sidewalks were being continuously being swept.
Several of the highways we were on were Toll Roads. They were in excellent condition. In some places they were elevated to avoid local roads and fields, and to minimize the grades as they climbed up large hills. There was also several long tunnels through some of the hills. Large Rest Areas were located about 1-½ hours apart. They included Restrooms, Food Stores, Restaurants, Gas Stations and Vehicle Repair Shops. _____________________________________ Monday, April 5 On arriving in Hangzhou, we went to our hotel for a short rest and lunch. After lunch we took our Tour Bus to the Mausoleum of General Yue Fei.
Some of our group got separated from the rest, and decided to find a place to rest and await our return
Tuesday , April 6 Today we visited the site of Mao Tse Tung’s private villa in the Hangzhou area. This large estate is now property of the Chinese Government, and is open to the public when not in use for formal State occasions. We walked the extensive gardens, did Tai Chi on the Lakefront of West Lake, and had Lunch at the Guest House Restaurant. Monday Night we drove to the West Lake area and attended an evening Dance and Light Show on West Lake. The show was created by the creator of the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. ___________________________________
Wednesday, April 7 <ul><li>We traveled by bus from Hangzhou to Huangshan – site of the famed Yellow Mountains. </li></ul><ul><li>After lunch, we boarded a local bus for the trip to the base of the mountains. Again, we only carried a small bag for our overnight stay on the Mountain. We boarded a cable car for the long trip up and across the mountains. </li></ul>
The cable car not only took us up the mountains but from peak to peak. The arrow points to the cable tower ahead. The total length is about 1-¾ miles and takes about 8 minutes (seemed a lot longer).
Below us we could see the remains of the original trail that was used until the construction of the 4 cable car routes starting in the 1980’s. Everything used up the mountain is brought in by the cable cars: food, bedding, construction material and tools.
Once at the top end of the cable car route, we started about a mile walk to our Hotel.
As we left the Hotel Dining Room after dinner, we looked at a hand-painted 7 foot long scroll on silk Caroline had spotted in the hotel gift shop. With the translation help of our local tour guide, we were able to bargain the price down from 1600 to 1400 Yuan (about $200.00) It now hangs in the stairway to Caroline’s Studio. The crane is a symbol of Longevity.
The next morning it was cold and misty so we decided to use the parkas the Hotel provided in each room.
The guard chains at this overlook are covered with padlocks. Chinese couples bring these to locations like this and fasten the locks to the chain and throw away the key to signify their lifelong pledge to each other.
Thursday, April 8 Following our short morning walk on the mountain in the cool mist, we had lunch and then checked out of the Hotel and took the cable car back down the mountain. We returned to our tour bus for the trip to the Huangshan airport, where we caught a 10 PM flight to the last stop on our journey – Shanghai. The next morning, after a late breakfast at the hotel, we headed back to the Airport for our flight back home.
The Journey Ends Friday, April 9 Fly from Shanghai to Newark then from Newark to Raleigh-Durham.