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Trip report China

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Dec 11th, 2013, 02:33 PM
  #1
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Join Date: May 2009
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Trip report China

Thanks to everyone who gave me input as to my sometimes silly questions before leaving for our 3 1/2 week trip to China.
Beijing:
We went to China 3 days before out tour supposedly began trying to adjust to the time difference. Good idea s well as bad. Our tour really did not start the first day as they called it "travel day" so we had 4 days before the tour. It was hard to do things that would not be a repeat of the itinerary. We did however, thanks to someone on this broad, go to Black Sesame Kitchen for a fabulous meal! It was in a Hutong restaurant and at first we thought we'd never come out alive as it is circuitous getting there but it was worth the trip! The place is unique. Ten courses and wines. $49 US each. People ate communally and were all over the world. All found it online. It is even listed in the book of 1000 Things to do Before you Die! Must go. Make reservations online a few months in advance!
We also went to Ding Ding hotpot restaurant but unless you know Chinese it is a problem unless you go for lunch. Fun but hard when we went with 8 people for dinner. NOt one person who worked there spoke English! It is in a mall called: Shin Kong Palace which is amazing. The top floor is all restaurants but the other floors are a sight to see! Very expensive and gorgeous.
We had dinner in a family's tiny home in the Hutong area. Amazing what a woman can do with a tiny old kitchen. I was hesitant at first to eat as it was not the cleanest place but we all did. someone suggested I bring my own chopsticks and it was a great idea. The fold up kind. They use plastic ones in China and they just wash them and reuse them!
Took typical pedicab ride. Very commercial.
More tomorrow...
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Dec 11th, 2013, 04:26 PM
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Just a heads up. When you tour they like to take you to the"factories" to see how jade, or silk etc is made. It is a come on as they want you to BUY! Sometimes a good value but other times not.

Be sure you go thru the park near the Temple of Heaven. The women do exercises outdoors, the people play chess and tai chi but the best part is the marriage corner! Parents put out he resume of their unmarried child and offer them. It is like online dating but not online! Sometimes they even have their grown child with them! They put the resumes on the ground in plastic or on a little chair in front of them! A must see!

A heads up is to bring your own toilet tissue. Western bathrooms available BUT not always and not in parks!

Xi'an :
The city with THE most cranes!!! And empty high rises...they call them condos!
The Warriors re totally amazing and worth the trip!

Chongquin:
a city you have not heard of has 30 million people! Be sure to go through the Vegetable market. In the middle of this scene is a DENTIST!!!!! Be sure to see the pandas there. AVoid the OLD TOWN. It is a new place built to look like an OLD place. Our guide told us NOT to eat anything there. Frankly, the smells are so bad, you would not be tempted to do that!

Yangtze River Cruise:
We had to take this to enjoy the three Gorges. I heard most of the ships are about the same. Ours was the Victoria Anna. I would say it was minimal. Even our junior suite was minimal. It is more like a ferry with a few cruise type amenities. DO NOT get a massage on the boat! Unsanitary to say the least! Food mediocre. Scenery lovely. Sampan ride you can do without. Very touristy. LOcks interesting to see if you have never seen locks before.

Wuhan:
For some reason we went to wuhan and took what they called a speed train to Shanghai. It was an ordinary train. Went to the museum there and it was ok.

Shanghai:
The best part of the city was the view. A city with a lot of energy! The "Chinatown" is vibrant and lots of shops and restaurants. OF course the silk factory is where they guide you to BUY!
Some good values.
Our favorite part was taking the Shanghai Ghetto tour! An Israeli living in the city takes you on a fabulous tour. He is so informative. Dvir Bar-Gal is the person you want to use. You can see him on you tube. Very engaging. Meet at Palace Hotel which is a sight in and of itself. They have a tea there and you can watch ballroom dancing.

SHanghai at Night is worth seeing but they shut down the lights on the buildings at 10 pm.


Guilin:
A small rural city. Lots of walking. Underground limestone caves are scenic but they are too touristy as they have colored lights throughout. A bit much.
Group massages must be a popular thing for tours. Worth a lot of laughs and $25 US for the hr. Fully clothed!
Yangshou is a small city but they perform a show all on the water. 500 performers! The mad who did the Opening of the Beijing Olympics directed it a few years before the actual Olympics. It was outstanding.

Hong KIng:
Very Western city. Great restaurants. Everyone speaks English. Tons of shopping. We were there Halloween and yes, they LOVE that American holiday! We stayed at the beautiful Shangri- La hotel. View is spectacular!
We took cable car 25 min in another island of HK. There you can climb the steps to see the largest Buddha in Asia. Even if you do not climb you can see it!!We also saw a fishing village there as part of that tour. Very rural. Ate nothing.
In HK we bought pearls at Rio on the second floor of a building. At traditional meal across the street at Spring Deer (hard to get a reservation) and my husband bought eye glasses with a free exam across the street. An American who lives there 6 months a year told us about those places. All excellent.

China is a Communist country that wants to embrace capitalism. You be the judge...
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Dec 11th, 2013, 05:00 PM
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Great to read your trip report. Thanks for writing. China is indeed amazing.
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Dec 11th, 2013, 05:22 PM
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kja
 
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Thanks for letting us know how your trip went, clove - sounds like you had some memorable moments.
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Dec 12th, 2013, 02:45 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2011
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I have learned to greatly dislike those, now ubiquitous, plastic chopsticks. Give me wooden, or bamboo, anytime. Yes, in some tiny, tiny chinese kitchens incredible and delicious meals are brought forth which put most modern western cooks, utensils and stoves to shame.
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Dec 12th, 2013, 07:14 AM
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One of the highlights of our trip was a meal at a home in Beijing. The husband was the cook but we never saw him! His wife was very nice but spoke no English. Our guide did some interpreting when I tried my not so good Mandarin in giving a gift to her as thanks for the wonderful meal. Our group of 7 all agreed that the food was delicious.

Sounds like your trip was similar to ours. We used an agency out of Seattle, Washington that specializes in China. It is called China Spree. They were great! We loved China.
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Dec 12th, 2013, 07:44 AM
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Very nice report, thanks for sharing.
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