From Vietnam To China


Day 10 - Thursday, April 19, 2012 - Early Morning Visit the Zhu Family Garden Mansions; The Chaoyag Gate and Tower; The Walled City; The Sea of Learning Lake; and Pottery Production

A note from Day 9 -The power came on about 10:45 last night so we got up and tried to get the journal posted. Because not all websites are accessible in China, we had to route the video and materials through our son, Eduardo who was able to post the journal for us.

Morning came early after our late night of posting the journal. We got up at 6:30 and then met our group at 8:00. The temperature was 75° and the humidity was only 53% - a cool start to our day.

Tashi had already been to the market to buy fruit and yogurt which we took to a nearby breakfast courtyard. Our menu was the same clear noodle soup we had at lunch yesterday with the addition of yogurt and fresh pears and apples.

Right next door we visited the Zhu Family Garden Mansions, originally built in the Qing Dynasty in the 13th Century; this was home to a rich trading family. There are over 42 courtyards and 214 rooms all beautifully restored.

The ancestral estate contained flowers, shade trees, rock formations, sculptures, bonsai trees; all perfectly groomed. Each doorway and window promised another spectacular view of the garden, almost like a framed painting.

We left the serene, tranquil atmosphere of the gardens and went back out on the busy street to explore the city. Everyone we spoke to returned our smiles and a family even invited us in to see their simple home.

A special treat was a trip through the supermarket. We all noticed the brightly colored packaging and the variety of products. There must have been 50 different types of soy sauce. For the first time on this trip we found ice cream bars - Gennie was in heaven!

The next stop was the Chaoyang Gate and Tower, one of the four ancient entrances to this previously walled city. We climbed to the top for panoramic views of the city.

At 11:30 we found our way back to the hotel and then at noon we met again to walk to the Shan Ma (Mother Mountain) restaurant for lunch. Tashi ordered a variety of dishes for us to try. He promised that excluding rice, he would never repeat the same food during our time together, so far he has succeeded.

Our small group of four has had so many special opportunities on this trip; one of the best is that Tashi and Pang Ga always sit with us when we eat. We have had many wonderful discussions and have learned so much more in these casual conversations.

After lunch we had a chance to walk to the Confucius Temple, (the 2nd largest Confucian temple in China), and the nearby Sea of Learning Lake. Originally built in 1285, the temple and grounds have been an educational and cultural center for over 725 years.

Our last discovery of the day was a drive to the center of the pottery industry in Jian Shui. We visited several working studios and saw the intricate hand work from the original kneading of the clay to the final decorations and then the show rooms.

As we left the potters and their apprentices, we all commented on their dedication to their work and the fact that not one person tried to sell us anything!

We met in the lobby at 7:00 and went out to dinner. Tonight’s meal was right next door; another selection of tasty dishes to choose from. When we finished we took a stroll through the streets to see the shop keepers still working hard to entice customers into their shops.

By 9:00 we were ready to finish the log and photos from our day exploring Jian Shui.

Accommodations: The Fairyland Hotel - - - Meal: B, L, D

Please see our Trip Evaluation -- Click Here -- A Complete Review of Myths and Mountains -- From Vietnam to China: Ethnic People of the Border -- China with Tashi Lamasang



  Comments

That poor woman's bound feet; I imagine she has experience her share of pain for beauty's sake! So surprising how different cultures view beauty.

Lindy Powell   April 19, 2012 - 7:31am
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