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China Memoirs'


China Memoirs' Day: Location:

Had a long, great day. Saw Tiananmen Sq, sent picture of us at the Forbidden City. We took a rickshaw ride thru the Hutong, which is the old Beijing. Government owns most of these old, small, dilapidated buildings and rents them out to families who pass them down to their kids. Very very small. So unlike our homes. The lady who gave us tea in her home was very proud of it. In the Forbidden City, there were toilets that were rated 4 Star - a joke - no seats, no toilet paper! We also went to a tea ceremony and tasted many teas (thought of Meg). Then went to a Kongfu Show (very similar to Cirque du Solei ) and ended the day at a very fancy restaurant (in our shorts!!) for Peking Duck. Cyril didn't do his math right and ended up with a $200 dish - oops!! Today we head to the Great Wall. I don't I will gain any weight at this rate! >Love to all -


China Memoirs' Day: Location:

Had a long, great day. Saw Tiananmen Sq, sent

picture of us at the Forbidden City. We took a rickshaw ride thru the Hutong, which is the old Beijing. TheGovernment owns most of these

old, small, dilapidated buildings and rents them out to families who pass them down to their kids. Very very small. So unlike our homes. The lady who gave us tea in her home was very proud of it. In the Forbidden City, there were toilets that were rated 4 Star - a joke - no seats, no toilet paper! We also went to a tea ceremony and tasted many teas (thought of Meg). Then went to a Kongfu Show (very similar to Cirque du Solei ) and ended the day at a very fancy restaurant (in our shorts!!) for Peking Duck. Cyril didn't do his math right and ended up with a $200 dish - oops!! Today we head to the Great Wall. I don't I will gain any weight at this rate! Love to all Sent from my ASUS Eee Pad


China Memoirs' Day: Location:

Hi All! We are having so much trouble with the internet!!! ugh! I have sent a couple of whatsapp messages to Katie to pass along, but am sure she doesn't know exactly who all to send them to. Doug, Dick - I will send some pics your way via whatsapp soon. We had a really great time in Beijing - did the Great Wall - amazing!! - Now in Xi-an and saw the Terracotta warriors today. They are really unbelievable. Took lots of pictures. Tomorrow we will do the old city wall, "climb" Mt. Haushan (see U-tube for video). We keep practicing our chop sticks lol B/c of the demonstrations here over the conflict with Japan, we were told not to wander outside tonight. Interesting...We are really getting a lot of Chinese history and customs. We leave here in 2 days to go see the pandas. The time is going by so fast... Hugs to everyone. XOXO Sent from my ASUS Eee Pad


China Memoirs' Day: Location: Page one of one

Paul, I hope all is well on your end. Sorry I've not written but it has either been too late or no Wi. Jean & I are having a great adventure. We feel like VIP's with our translator & guide. The last 2 nights we've been in a hotel that caters to tourist & it's not been as much fun. We like not having English spoken. It's been fun to be the only white couple in a restaurant & to have to point to pictures on the menu to order food. Tonight we walked a couple of blocks from the hotel & had a great meal of sweet/sour egg plant & a plate of fried rice... both delicious ! + a large bottle of beer, tea & no tip ! all for &7 US ! It's been fun to have no idea what you've ordered until it comes. People stop & stare at us, surreptitiously take our pictures & on 3 occasions have come to us & asked to take a picture of them..... with us ! like they have never seen a white guy & gal before. Today we went hiking in the Sacred Mountains. It was somewhat like Yosemite.... except the trail was jammed packed with people & it was raining & foggy.


China Memoirs' Day: Location: Page two of two

The l was literally carved out of the mountain with steps & a metal hand rail & a little Buddhist temple at the top..... just to let us know that we're not in California.

Jean 'loves' the traffic.... especially the chaos of

motor bikes, pedestrians, cars ..... all going in different directions ! Tomorrow we're off to explore the Muslim quarter of Xiam. It's only a couple of blocks from the hotel. Our guide said not to go there tonight because of the world wide uproar over the US video on Mohammad. Sorry we've not sent any pictures. We've tried but todate have been unsuccessful linking them to the email. A couple of times I just wanted to pick up the phone & call you cause I knew you would know the answer. I'll try to write more tomorrow. The Wi -Fi on this end has been limited to the hotel lobby ... which has been a pain. They have the old phone modem outlet's but I don't think it's possible to link to my tablet. Any thoughts ? I'd wish to a good night... but I think we're about 12 hrs behind you.


China Memoirs' Day: Location:

Forward of today's note via whats app: Hi hon- last day in Beijing. Did the Great Wall- amazing! Getting better at ordering food lol Picture of food stalls at night that sell some very" special" food like donkey, centipedes, spiders, anything imaginable. Walked down a walking mall near hotel, very expensive stores like Rolex, Gucci, Hermes. Please share this email with siblings and aunts, uncles. Internet doesn't seem to work for email...?...hugs. Plz call Robbie to check on him. Thx Sent from my iPhone


China Memoirs' Day: Location:

On Sep 20, 2012, at 8:56 AM, cyril.barch@gmail.com wrote: > Hi All! We are having so much trouble with the internet!!! ugh! I have sent a couple of whatsapp messages to Katie to pass along, but am sure she doesn't know exactly who all to send them to. Doug, Dick - I will send some pics your way via whatsapp soon. We had a really great time in Beijing - did the Great Wall - amazing!! Now in Xi-an and saw the Terracotta warriors today. They are really unbelievable. Took lots of pictures. Tomorrow we will do the old city wall, "climb" Mt. Haushan (see U-tube for video). We keep practicing our chop sticks lol B/c of the demonstrations here over the conflict with Japan, we were told not to wander outside tonight. Interesting...We are really getting a lot of Chinese history and customs. We leave here in 2 days to go see the pandas. The time is going by so fast... Hugs to everyone.


China Memoirs' Day: Location: Version: one

Just a quick note. These are some shots I just took in the lobby of our 'hotel'

It's beautiful.... an open court

yard in the center... the sound of water & birds.... Asian music.....very peaceful. The hotel is surrounded by a typical Asian market with narrow streets & numerous vendors selling all sorts of brassware, food , jewelry etc. We are the only Westerner's around. It's great not hearing any English spoken. In fact I'm finding myself getting resentful when I see a 'white' face...... because I feel like they're in fringing on my space. This morning we went & saw the Panda's. Very interesting.... I thought it would be boring.... but we got there just at feeding time. They eat nothing but bamboo & huge am't of that. Then the adults go to sleep till the next meal... but the young ones become playful. I hate to use the word 'cute'... but ... they're cute Jean has booked our schedule so tight that this is the first time since we left Virginia I've had Wi-Fi during the day & could compose & send something all at one time. Time to go to the Chendu opera..... Love to all...


China Memoirs' Day: Location: Version: two Just a quick note. These are some shots I just took in the lobby of our 'hotel'

It's beautiful.... an open court

yard in the center... the sound of water & birds.... Asian music.....very peaceful. The hotel is surrounded by a typical Asian market with narrow streets & numerous vendors selling all sorts of brassware, food , jewelry etc. We are the only Westerner's around. It's great not hearing any English spoken. In fact I'm finding myself getting resentful when I see a 'white' face...... because I feel like they're in fringing on my space. This morning we went & saw the Panda's. Very interesting.... I thought it would be boring.... but we got there just at feeding time. They eat nothing but bamboo & huge am't of that. Then the adults go to sleep till the next meal... but the young ones become playful. I hate to use the word 'cute'... but ... they're cute Jean has booked our schedule so tight that this is the first time since we left Virginia I've had Wi-Fi during the day & could compose & send something all at one time. Time to go to the Chendu opera..... Love to all...


China Memoirs' Day: Location: Page one of two

I already 'sent' an email earlier today with multiple attached photos... but... it didn't go through. So I'll try again ... this time w/o the photos. Today we started off with breakfast at the hotel... always a buffet... which means all you can eat. I'm enjoying the Chinese noodles.. very taste with a little egg. Bokchoy I've found edible but kind of strange for breakfast but I'm trying. You can see the British influence ... cold baked beans every morning. Last night we did a Hotpot dinner... a large 2 ft 'bowl' with a central smaller 'bowl' .... both filled with oil & different seasonings. Then we ordered different meats, vegetables & noodles ... & cooked them with our chopsticks. Yummy ! Mom says my eyes are already beginning to look slanted. Today was a trip to see the Pandas. They have a research 'zoo' where they're kept in a natural habitat. I't the nicest 'zoo' I 've ever seen. We got there just as they were being fed. Panda's eat nothing but bamboo... lbs. & lbs of the stuff.


China Memoirs' Day: Location: Page two of two

After that, they sleep till the next meal. Apparently there are 2 types of Pandas .... the giant & the red. The red are much smaller ... like big raccoons... & are much more active. I don't use the word 'cute' much... but these little critters were CUTE ! Tonight was a Chinese 'variety' show....some of it I could make no sense of at all .... but it included a world class magic show, an interesting puppet show that at least I could follow the story line, a clever pantomime show where the performer used his hands on a black lighted screen to make 'animal pictures' & tell a story . It also included a performance by a classical 2 string Chinese 'violin'. I've never heard such a wide range of sound from such a simple, stringed instrument. Tomorrow... back to the airport. I'll try to send another note tomorrow. Love to all....


China Memoirs' Day: Location: Page one of three

Yesterday was a day of travel. We flew from Chendu to Guillin & then drove to Yangshou . Last night we finally got to bed after midnight.... thus no email . As we drove down, Mom wanted to go to the 'Pearl Factory'. So we stopped at the 'Pearl Museum' where we got a lecture on pearls that may have lasted all of 5 minutes & then..... we were shown the 'tasting' room' which made up most of the museum..... where Mom just had to do some shopping. Of course none of this was planned. Today was amazing... went on a 'raft' trip' down the Li river...just Jean, myself, our guide & the 'boat captain'. A little out board motor mounted on 4-5 pieces of large plastic tubing , a couple of benches & a canvas roof. For the next 4 hrs. we motored through the heart of the Krast rock formation with these huge tower like mountains coming out of nowhere. The river was remarkable clean/clear & was larger (x3) & faster flowing than the Shenendoah R. Today was foggy & at times drizzly... so I don't know how the pictures will turn out ....but the scenery was just like the classical Chinese paintings... fog shrouded mountains rising up out of mist.


China Memoirs' Day: Location: Page two of three

We also got to visit an ancient riverside village. Talk about China being a land of contrasts ! Beijing was as sophisticated as New York City.... no wonder the rural folks want to move to the cities. Except for the village having electricity, it could have been back in the 1400's ... which IS when it was built. Tonight we're in our hotel room with the windows open onto a narrow ,Venice like street , with music floating in, mixed with the muted sounds of Mandarin. This location would make a great 'base camp' to explore the surrounding country.... it abounds in picturesque villages, rice fields, water buffalo.... all easily reachable on foot or bike. Any takers ? Mom's choice of China Odyssey has been superb ! Not only has it been less expensive but we've been able to adjust our schedule on a whim & have had the complete attention of our guide. Our schedule for tomorrow calls for a trip to the Mud Caves & a 'mud bath'. No thanks ! Can you picture Mom taking a MUD BATH ! She wouldn't even go for a massage!


China Memoirs' Day: Location: Page three of three

Our guides have all been 20 something student types, with fair to good English skills/ knowledge of China. It's been interesting getting their perspective on their country & it's history. I can tell you that there is no love lost between them & the Japanese. To them, the dispute with Japan over a couple of small uninhabited islands is a big deal. They see a war with Japan as fairly likely. It will be interesting to see how things play out. I've been amazed at the signage here. Many businesses & almost all the roads are 'subtitled' in English...which certainly makes travel easier. I hope everyone is well. I'll try to write more tomorrow.


China Memoirs' Day: Location:

Real quickly....I'm sitting in the lobby waiting for Jean & our guided to show up. Our accommodations have been superb. We would never stay at places like this at home... much too nice. A 4 star in China is clearly a 4 star anywhere. Breakfast buffet today must have had a least 50 possible choices. Jean tried a couple of 'new' items including some sort of seaweed ... which was tied in a small little bow. Cute but ... no thanks! She has always been the more adventuresome when it comes to eating. Yesterday ,visited a farmers home ... built 400 yrs ago. A pump in the court yard for water, chickens in an enclosure off the 'kitchen'.... no heat but they did have electricity. We'll show pictures on our return. Of course a large chairman Mao picture in the 'living room'. More later... the guide is here.... off to rice fields today.


China Memoirs' Day: Location: Page one of three

Another day.... more new experiences. Today was a trip to China's 'classic' rice growing area. It's high up in the mountains & took the Chinese over 200 years to construct. First ... a 2 hr van ride... second a tortuous 30 minute twisting bus trip up a mountain... third... a 45 minute steep hike up a mountain. Now... the unusual part. .......Once we arrived at the hiking area we were accosted by multiple 'vendors', who spied Mom's brace, leaped to their feet & convinced her that she needed to be CARRIED to the top! Sure enough, she opted to ride like a Princess ( or British Royalty ) on a custom, padded 'bed' all the way to the top ! Two guys carried her on their shoulders with no shoulder padding. All of the padding was under Jean's touche! I even had to buy the porters tea so they could finish the climb. 160 Yuan or about $25 not counting the tea & a tip.....It was worth it, if just for the pictures! Oh, yes, I did ask.... there IS a maximum wt., & it costs more to go uphill than

down-

hill & the charge rises proportional to ones body mass index.


China Memoirs' Day: Location: Page two of three

Most of the roads in the big cities have been as good or better than any in the U.S. I've been surprised at their interstates/ beltways. No pot holes etc. Yesterday & today we had to traverse 'construction' sites, each about 20 miles long. Sections were like traveling on a poorly maintained Forest Service road.... & based on the near complete absence of work crews... it looked like it might be years before they're fixed. The only construction I saw was a machine shaped like an asphalt laying machine, but instead of laying anything it had 8-10 one foot by one foot 'pile drivers' that were tearing up the road. I rated them an A+ in road destruction & F minus in road repair. I've been impressed with the Chinese driving. No speeding, very relaxed, no regard for passing lanes, road signs etc.... but lot's of common sense.. you pass when no one is coming & the way is clear.....you stop when something/one is in the way. Even in heavy city traffic, no weaving in & out... &


China Memoirs' Day: Location: Page three of three

a sign of care & concern. My only grip is they try to get into 4 th gear as soon as possible. At 15 mph they're chugging along & the poor engine wants to stall out... & just crying to be down shifted.... Oh, well. UPDATE: It's now Friday night & after another 'hard day 'we're sitting in the hotel bar. Mom has gone upstairs to the room. I'm determined to finish this E-mail....... So I'll finish now... & tell you tomorrow about the silk factory, Love to All, CB,


China Memoirs' Day: Location: Page: One of two

Today has been real low key. A boat trip on a canal in the Venice of China, a walk through the 'Humble Administrator's Garden'....I can tell you there was nothing humble about this man... & a quick tour of an an adjoining museum showcasing the art of Shanghai from 3000 BC to about 1600 A.D. We're now sitting in the hotel lobby where we've got Wi-Fi doing some messaging. We'll leave soon to do some exploring on foot & russle up some dinner. I've been trying to catch up with Maddy & her eating experiences.... so far I've imbibed ginkgo nuts, snails, river shrimp (where you have to bite their little heads off), lotus root & a bunch off other things I decided not to ask any questions about. The local markets have an abundance of items like snakes, frogs, spiders, centipedes, skates, jelly fish etc which would put me leagues ahead of Maddy... but in my old age I don't care about being first in anything any more. Maddy, your reputation is safe. More random observations on China..... At home I'd usually see 2-3 animals dead on the road between home & the hospital. None here. Does that mean there


China Memoirs' Day: Location: Page two of two

is little local wildlife? Probably so..... I don't think things here are as bad as West Virginia where the state legislature has made it legal to eat road kill. The people here seem happy. Either they're not much interested in politics or they're feigning disinterest. There is huge discrepancy between the life style in the rural villages vs the big cities. Probably like the U.S. 30-40 yrs ago. The villages are POOR. In the big cities everyone seems to drive a new car... Audis, Mercedes etc. China is primarily a capitalist country. Socialism died after Mao & the Cultural Revolution. Yes, the airlines,trains etc remain government owned but entrepreneurship is alive & well with more little shopkeepers than you can imagine. Wait till Walmart moves in & puts all the little guys out of work. The Chinese hate the Japanese because of the atrocities committed against the Chinese people prior to & during WWll. They're pushing their leadership to take on the Japanese over the disputed off shore islands. They're in favor of war. Time to go... Mom's getting cranky.... Love Dad


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