Tag Archives: City

Hainan – Sanya

hainanWe got to visit the Sanya area of the Hainan Island, the most southern part of China–“their Hawaii”, we found a gem in the China Pacific, the the Pullman Sanya Hotel Resort on Yalong Bay. Yes! We arrived on Friday, May 4th and departed on Tuesday, May 8th. Some of our criteria for finding our dream resort was access to beach (walking from room to beach preferable), an affordable price, clean, good food and a great pool. Our greatest desire was to be able to eat, play, sleep and swim all from an attractive resort. Our thoughts were, why would we come to Sanya to sight see with 30 degrees Celsius with 92+ in humidity, clear blue water and light sand? I have always dreamed of being able to walk from my hotel room to the beach and being able to see my feet in the ocean water.

At this resort, my dream wasn’t perfect, but the short ride, few minutes on what they call ‘the buggy’, which is a electric super-sized golf cart, took us to an amazing beach with tasty food and drink bar, hammocks and lounging chairs. The water was clear and a warm 27 degrees Celsius, the service was nice and the beach was everything we had hoped for and we did not miss having foot access to the beach. Kids had a blast surfing the waves in with a body board we purchased for 100rmb from the shop at the hotel and catching little light colored crabs on the beach. Our beach, which was shared with the Ritz Carlton and Hilton Hotels, does get little moon jellyfish. They are clear with purple/blue tentacles. We had the luck of swimming with a few of them while there. The sting was not bad, but having Basil Oil from Young Living (yes, the spice) on hand back at the room was a winner and calmed the sting and itch.

We booked our Thai Villa with the same .com company we purchased our inexpensive flight tickets from. I read over and over in the reviews to get the Thai Villa. So we did. Oh my, were they right. It was the best decision on the trip and it was surprisingly affordable. The whole darn trip: Flight, room, drinks and food, was less than it would cost for the five us of to fly to Hawaii. And where in Hawaii, could we afford, even one nights stay in a villa? The Villa had two buildings, a very large pool, a gazebo resting area, two lounge chairs and a gate as a front door with a little garden too. The main building had the massive bathroom with two showers–indoor and outdoor and a Jacuzzi big enough for four and master bedroom with walk in closet, couch and sliding door access right into the pool. The other had a sitting room with a small mini bar–sink and dining table. For us, this building was rearranged to house the kids. Two twin beds were brought in and a bed was made on the couch for the other. It worked out well. The rooms were clean, air-conditioned and well maintained by the staff. The few times a day we went to get a meal or go to the beach, we would call for a buggy. We figured the call, alerted the staff the Villa needed cleaning because we would return to a fresh towels, made beds and new items in the bathroom.

We ate at the Bar, American Grill, Chinese and the Buffet. All were good. The Bar was great for lunch time. They offered sandwiches, pizza and a yummy iced mango tea–the kids and I could not get enough of. We had an late lunch one day over a dinner. The American Grill was very tasty and a nice treat since we have been living in China for a long time. Grilled chicken & steak with the bread and fresh veggies were our favorites. The Chinese restaurant serves all kinds of dishes from lots of areas in China. We enjoyed the Sichuan food. We are all fond of spicy. Bonus, the food in this restaurant was more affordable than the Buffet. No endless dessert though, Briana was sad. The Buffet was great for dinner and breakfast. Breakfast was included in the room rate and the dinner themes varied: One night Seafood, the next BBQ, etc. The breakfast is very filling. We found ourselves eating the Chinese breakfast foods over the American style. Funny how our taste buds have changed over time here in China.

The kids’ favorite part in the morning was to go out to the pond and feed the fish the bread in the basket. Wild eaters and fun to watch, those fish were. With the heat, we found a good breakfast and a dinner was all we needed each day with some drinks down at the beach. The hotel had three main pools. With our pool at the Villa, we found we did not want to hang around the main pools of the hotel.

The Thai Villa was by far the best part of this whole experience. The pool is large, warm and so amazing to swim in anytime of the day or night. We practically lived in it the entire time. I think we all would have slept in it if we could have since it was a wonderful temperature and size for the five of us. Ours was the best causing us to pinch ourselves often and rub our eyes in disbelief to how amazing our time here was. We kept wondering, is this real? What a way to end our stay here in China! Ending with a dream fulfilled. Thanks, Mike! Enjoy the photos…


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Guangxi Province – Longtan Village

Yesterday was a nice day, but today was fabulous! Hardly any haze out and the sky was so blue. Here was what our breakfast table looked like…

Watching the video gets us all wishing to return. We just loved it there. Zachary was up for another walk today, after yesterday’s awe-inspiring views, we attained a new route from Luna. She suggested we head down the road to a village called Longtan. Most of its buildings are over 1500 years old. Then head back to the hotel cross country. Mike was all over that idea. Cross country, yes! So this time, we had the hotel make us some sandwiches and we filled up our camelbak with new water. (Hey, we found adding one drop of consumable peppermint oil in 1.5 liters of water makes for refreshing water along a warm walk. Try it! I also takes away the plastic flavor that the camelbak bags produce.)

Shortly after leaving the hotel, on the main road, we found all kinds of ladies trying to help everyone out. They were located in front of the entrance to the Moon Hill; a very famous location to visit. We smiled and said hello. Little did we know we would pick up a guide out of the group. A sweet, older lady decided she would walk her bike with us as we hiked to Longtan. Mike was hot! He did not want another demanding guide, like the one we had on Mount Emei or in Xi’an. He tried several times to get her to leave. But nope, she held tight. She kept trying to teach us all a little mandarin and would tell us about the sites. She was funny and she finally worked him over with her good-natured personality. Frankly, after it was all said and done, she was a delight! If we did not have her, we never would have known what we were looking at, nor would we have gone as far into village as she took us. We never got her name, but the kids did pose with her in a picture, which is in the photos. Once we got out of town and found our path to take cross country, we gave her a hug each and a gift of 100RMB. She was tickled.

Our cross country adventure require a river crossing. The water was warm and a nice change of pace. Close to our hotel, we came upon a ghost town. At least, that is what it felt like. We asked later what it was and found they are trying to construct a fancy hotel. Oh my, do they have a lot of work ahead of themselves. It ought to be neat once it is done. Not quite as many photos as yesterday’s, but a fair amount still.


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Guangxi Province – Light Show on the Li River

In the Pudong, Shanghai airport, on the way to Chengdu, we came across a lady who told us about a nighttime show she saw in Yangshuo. She shared with us, it was the most memorable show she had ever seen. She was brought to tears with it all. Liu Sanjie, is choreographed by the master movie-maker and cinematographer, Zhang Yimou, who also oversaw the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The entire show, performed at 8pm, was acted out on the river and features bamboo rafts, cormorant fishermen and dramatic lighting. The show easily employed over 300 actors alone. Even though we understood the story line, but it was still very hard to follow. But the sights were flashy and we are glad we went…

Here was another part of the show…

I did manage to get a few shots. They are not the best, but I still wanted to share the experience with you.


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Beijing – Confucius Temple

beijing_confucius

Confucius

We had a few hours before we needed to catch the train back to Suzhou, so we headed out through the hutongs and found the Confucius Temple that had just recently been opened to non-Chinese persons. Confucius’s theories have influenced and affected the course of Chinese thinking for over two thousand years. Though some say he never truly lived, Confucius was said to be born in 551BC and experienced poverty in the early part of his life, only managing to become a junior official through hard study. Disheartened with the chaos and disorder of the Zhou dynasty declining into the Warring States Period, Confucius created a system that would restore order. His philosophy was if the correct hierarchy was in place and individuals treated and respected one another according to this structure, then life would be harmonious. One of his sayings I like is ‘in a group of three, one can always find a teacher.’

This Confucius Temple is the largest outside of Qufu, the philosopher’s birthplace in the Shandong provice. First built in 1302 during the Mongol Yuan dynasty, the temple was expanded in 1906 in the reign of Emperor Guangxu. Today, around 200 ancient stelae stand in the silent courtyard in front of the main hall inscribed with the names of those who successfully passed the imperial civil service exams. Additional stelae are propped up on the backs of mythical animals called bixi (half tortoise and half dragon).


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Beijing – Acrobat Show

After the best day walking the Wall, we decided to hit an Acrobatic Show in town. It came highly recommended by the tourist books, websites and our hotel owner. Acrobatics have a long history in China. Students begin training around the tender age of five in order to be supple, skillful and strong enough to perform the stunts we saw. Shows usually include a range of acts, including balancing, contortion, jugglers, formation troupes, and magicians. Modern times have brought in motorcycle darning acts. We were so dumbfounded and on the edge of our seats with the motorcycles, I started to record once it became almost unbearable to watch. Take a look at this video…

Wasn’t that unreal? My jaw still drops when I watch it. Unlike the US, were it is outlawed to take a camera. In China, you can bring your nice camera and even use a tripod at your seat. I didn’t bring the tripod and only used my little point in shoot, G12. Here are some photos of the feats being performed.


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