Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Fun in China

Just a few more odds and ends pictures. I must say, I am getting a lot of questions as to whether or not these guys work. In their defense, these outtings all occured on the weekend. They do put in lots of hours during the week. (I am still a bit jealous though.)

A giant, jade jaguar in the jade factory. Ronna REALLY REALLY wanted to take this jaguar home. This kitty stands about 3 1/2 feet tall and is carved out of a solid piece of jade. The most astonishing part is that the price was only $800 US dollars. Ronna has decided that Robb needs to visit that cat when he goes to China in May and make plans to adopt it. :-)

While touring the old part of Beijing in the rickshaws - we stopped at one of the traditional Chinese houses - called Quadrangles (multiple houses built around a common courtyard). We were able to go into one of the houses and we had tea with the host - Mr. Wu. This particular house was the former residence of the Emperor's favorite concubine in the early 1800's. Mr. Wu rents the house from the government for the astonishing price of $25 US a MONTH. Investors who come into the area to buy these houses are paying up to $1 MILLION. And - most of these houses have no bathrooms - the residents have to go to a common bathroom usually several streets away.

Mr. Wu's fighting crickets -- The Chinese people gain harmony in their lives by focusing on 4 key areas -- gardening, fish (they all have fish tanks), birds, and insects. Cricket fighting is a very big deal. Mr. Wu has several huge crickets and their houses are quite elaborate. One of the crickets actually had a MARRIAGE chamber - really. We weren't sure what activities went on in the chamber.... maybe we don't want to know.

Riding in a rickshaw. Jarom and one of our guides - Robin - not to be confused with our colleague - Robyn. Robin spent a great deal of time sharing details with us about the HuTong (meaning narrow street or alley) areas of the city - the old Beijing. In this part of town - there are no real streets - just small alleyways that jut off in all directions. When the government began cleaning up the city in preparation for the Olympics - they tore down a lot of HuTong areas before deciding that they needed to preserve some of the city heritage. The HuTong that we toured has been designated a historical site
Robyn and Ronna in the rickshaw -- it was VERY cold, but the ride was fabulous.

They left Beijing and are now in Dalian. Here is the view from the hotel. It's a bit of an improvement from India. Dalian is a remarkably clean city -- there are just over 6 million residents and yet the traffic is pretty mild. The Chinese REALLY like large neon signs and at night, the city could rival Las Vegas.


LouandAngela said...

It's very interesting to learn about the places they are visiting. Thanks for sharing so much!