In the middle of last year I spent over three weeks in Cambodia, a small country in South East Asia sandwiched between Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. The two things that the country is most famous for are probably Angkor Wat (pictured below at sunset) and Communist leader Pol Pot.
Drum roll, please. After three weeks and nine proceeding numbers, we have at last arrived at the number one reason to go to China (according to me at this moment in time): the Temples.
Six down, four to go. I’m not drawing out getting to number one because I have a tendency for melodrama (even though I do) but instead because in the great tradition of holiday slide shows, I didn’t want to bore people with hundreds of photos at once. Plus it would have been a pretty long blog entry and would have taken me ages to edit all the photos down to a manageable size.
I think we’re down to number four, which would have to be The Slightly Odd and Kitsch:
This first snap is from the zoo near Xian where we saw the panda, and also the monkeys in horrible conditions. I’m not one hundred percent sure what it’s supposed to be, but there was a spruiker out the front (this picture isn’t the spruiker, it’s mum. Sorry mum, I bet you hate this photo. Just be happy I haven’t posted the one of you posing as a terracotta warrior) and they were trying to get children to come inside. So it’s either a day-care centre or a haunted house, I’m guessing.
And then we have a couple of dwarfs hanging out by their cottage. I found this in the middle of one of the beautifully peaceful gardens close to the Forbidden City. They were having a tulip festival at the time, as you can see from the foreground.
My uncle, Tony, is a bit concerned that I’ve got a thing for women with guns. That’s not entirely true. Demi Moore in GI Jane does absolutely nothing for me. I have though, developed a liking for oil paintings of Asian women in communist military uniforms holding some kind of machine gun. I can’t explain it really, and it’s probably best if I don’t try.
I was in love with dragons long before I discovered that it was my animal in Chinese Astrology. Maybe it was because of The Hobbit. In true Libran arrogance, I’ve always thought the dragon was the best animal of all to be, because it’s the only one that isn’t real.
China played right into my hands here. The lovely beasts were everywhere, and evidently only the Emperor was allowed to wear dragons on his clothing (I think I might go put my dragon shirt on). This first one, in royal yellow, is at the Temple of Heaven Park and is made entirely of flowers.
When I was wandering around the Shanghai Museum, where this next picture was taken, I had a real ‘oh-my-god, I’m-an-idiot’ moment. It happened when I realised that there was a pretty good reason that the English called ceramics like this ‘China’. What can I say? It’s lucky I’m so pretty.
In Chinese mythology, the Dragon had nine sons, and the eighth one was a lion. Chinese Buddhism adopted these and so you can see lions like these stone ones all over the place. Usually, they come in pairs – one with its paw on a ball (like this one) or else on the belly of a baby lion.
The Bund is a strip of colonial buildings alongside the river in Shanghai, and on the other side of the river is Pudong, which is high-rise heaven. You can take a boat across, or the subway, but that’s no fun! Instead, why not take a Halflife-esque capsule through a laser wonderland?
Brilliant. See you next week with number one.
So here is the second instalment of my Top 10 Reasons to Go to China, basically an excuse to post photos and video from my recent trip there. If you missed the first instalment, you can check it out here.
Leaving aside the obvious highlights (like the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors, which are good, yes, and certainly reasons to visit China), here is the beginning of the countdown of my China Top 10.
Bear in mind that this is outrageously subjective and based only on visiting three major cities in three weeks. It’s just an excuse to post some videos and photos I took. Continue reading 10 Reasons to go to China (Part One)
I flew back into Sydney from Beijing Saturday morning (yes, my arms are tired), and I have to say that the best thing about being back is being able to see the sky. In my three weeks in China I probably saw blue sky twice, and both of those times were through a haze of smog. Here’s a picture of the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall taken on a lovely smoggy day.