Friday, November 30, 2018

Hawaii? No... Jeju

If you have been keeping up with me on this Asia Cruise you will remember that we have already stopped in S. Korea. Well, we have turned back south and stopped sixty miles south of  Korea's mainland just across the Korean Strait. The island of Jeju, which is a province of south Korea, is nicknamed the Hawaii of Korea...
and with good reason. It has a much more temperate climate and is dotted with palm trees and beautiful beaches. Here we are visiting a Buddhist Temple.
Yakcheon Temple is not that old, having been constructed in the 1990's, but it is JeJu's largest and certainly worth a stop.
They grow all sorts of fruit on the island, the principal one being tangerines, but due to the weather and the islands beauty it is also a very popular vacation spot. The white sandy beaches are lined with five star resorts and golf courses.
They served delicious locally harvested fruit for dessert at lunch. This small orange one is a perfectly ripe persimmon.
After lunch we toured an impressive indoor botanic garden. The outside grounds were perfectly groomed as well.
Close by was a park with a pretty waterfall
and a beautiful bridge high above.
Next stop after a relaxing day at sea was our first stop in Japan.

Monday, November 26, 2018

A Huntong Neighborhood

Our guide in Beijing took us to what she described as a Hutong neighborhood. I thought that was an area of town...but Hutong actually means narrow streets. This neighborhood was just one of the many Hutong neighborhoods in Beijing built hundreds of years ago. They are small compounds usually in units of four around a center courtyard. They were built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1912).
Included in our tour was a rickshaw ride through this quaint old neighborhood.
Typical tourists...we enjoyed this a lot!
This contraption looked very useful and very used.
This little canine wasn't sure about us!..or maybe he just didn't speak English
Again we found people doing their morning exercises.

So I jumped right in......and discovered that they were a very friendly group.
I said we were going to the Summer Palace and we did. It was our last stop in Beijing before going back to the ship.
I guess the Forbidden City was entirely too warm in the summer so the reigning dynasty traveled to what was the Summer Palace on the edge of a picturesque lake. We only saw the palace from the grounds, but it looks rather magnificent
This building is the living quarters of the Dragon Lady on the grounds of the summer palace.
The pollution was settling back in so these shots of the lake are pretty fuzzy.
There were all sorts of beautiful barges and I so wanted to take a ride.
My husband laughed at me when I ask if this one made of concrete actually floated.
It takes a lot of workers to keep this place groomed.
The grounds were massive with several pretty bridges.
and I especially liked the Weeping Willow Trees.
Back on the ship...we turn around and go back south to a Korean Island
Yes, we also enjoyed these lazy days at sea!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Asia cont.

Well, my children and grandchildren have departed. We sure enjoyed them being here...and the house is a little too quiet this morning, but it does give me time to post a few more pictures.
I really felt like I was in Beijing when we arrived at Tiananmen Square. The barricades were still up from an early morning military event...and the square was still pretty empty.
I didn't realize that the Forbidden City was right next door to the square. Our guide told us about the last Emperor PuYi. He became emperor at a mere three years old...and had a most unusual life....Forced to abdicate the throne at a young age, imprisoned for a time in Siberia, and eventually  becoming (as a prisoner) a gardener. You can read more about him HERE
You certainly felt a military presence in the whole area
We did find the crowds in the Forbidden City. Here and there groups wore coordinated clothing to help stay together. We did momentarily lose a lady...but her panicked husband was able to find her.
I wasn't shy about asking if I could photographic people,
but on occasion I did sneak a shot.
 I did always ask permission before photographing a child.
Next up the Summer Palace

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Still Here

I am still here...I have just taken a Thanksgiving break. We have been enjoying visiting kids and 
and grandkids,
and as you can see I have been very busy.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Asia Trip cont. Beijing

Okay went went from China to South Korea, now we were headed back north to China again, where we docked at Beijing's port city of Tianjin. Beijing is inland, so we had to take the bus two and a half hours to reach the city. We felt that the excursion offered by the ship was too pricey, so we booked a private recommended tour, which was three days and two nights and included bus ride, touring, hotel (and food).
 First stop was to be The Great Wall of China, but they fed us first. I thought they had put all of the food on the table when I took this, but it kept coming and the filled the entire table
  Normally my mountain climbing husband would insist that we walk up, but he is having hip problems so we took the chair lift.
The weather was absolutely perfect. It was sort of surreal for me....the feeling I got when standing on that wall.
 After the bus ride and The Great Wall, which was enough for one day, they took us to our hotel. Not sure what to expect,  but we were pleased to find a very nice comfortable....western type room. (3star). I actually am not a particular as my husband.

This little box in our room was unusual to me. I take it that is to wear in case of a fire?
We are what you call news junkies and turn on our morning report as soon as we get up. Ahhh don't think we can understand these people. Thankfully the t.v. channels included International CNN
Tom was ready to take an early morning walk (despite his hip) and was pleased to find you know what? Did you know that they have pretty darn good (American) coffee?
We found ourselves in a very modern area that could have been any large city.....but this statue brought us back.
I would have preferred to be in an older section of town....which I am pleased to report was next on our tour.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Asia Trip cont. South Korea

After two nights and three lovely days in Shanghai, China we boarded our cruise ship and headed toward South Korea. We had a relaxing day at sea before arriving in S. Korea's largest port and third largest city, Incheon. Seoul is about 90 miles north. 
Our excursion  was in and around the port of Incheon. First stop was a rather large fish market..
I don't think I have ever seen so much seafood
and it took me a minute or two to figure out what this was. I think it is a skate or stingray.
We also toured some old traditional homes,
where the doorways made me feel tall.
There were ladies there playing  Neolttwigi which resembles an American seesaw, but you stand instead of sit, and you try an launch the other person into the air. 
Just a little pond with small looking Lilly Pads.
After stopping at a Korean War Memorial Museum we arrived at an ultra modern area of the port where the views from the 33rd floor were amazing.
It appears I have been eating too much rice....which is probably stop back to China to tour Beijing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Shanghai cont.

Lilly our Shanghai guide, took us to two very old parts of town:
A section with restored old buildings, appropriately called "Old Town".
There were a lot of tourists there and I could see why...It is a photographers dream.. Notice the bridge. It is called the zigzag bridge and winds through the whole area.. It has nine turns on purpose. It is said that demons are afraid of corners.
A food booth selling dumplings...seemingly a favorite food.
Also part of Old Town ... the Yu Gardens, with several unusual doorways.
Every turn being a surprise.
I love to photograph children...but also Grannies
Notice the Dragon crawling along the top of the fence. Dragons in Chinese folklore are not demons but very well liked creatures.
I said Lilly took us to two old parts of town. I was happy that she wanted us to see that all of Shanghai (like most cities) is not sparkly and beautiful.
There are still areas that are poor.
To end the day she took us to the famous area called the Bund. How is that compared to the last picture ?
What a beautiful day we had with Lilly. I was surprisingly wowed by Shanghai.
Next up we board our 14 day cruise taking us to  more exciting ports in Asia.