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Archive for 'China'

Forbidden City, Beijing #travel

Forbidden City Roof

This is another photo taken in the Forbidden city, Beijing. The carvings and figures on the roof are amazing. The roof design allows people to see the figures easily and they add a decorative touch. The figures all have meanings, and they were only used on important buildings such as palaces, government buildings and temples.

Exploring the Forbidden City #travel

ForbiddenCity

This is me in the Forbidden City in Beijing. This previous imperial palace is now a large museum. We visited twice while we were in Beijing and spent hours wandering around the huge complex. Lots of color and beautiful buildings. Lots of people too, although we were early enough to avoid the worst of the crowds.

Summer Palace, Near Beijing

Summer Palace

The Summer Palace is a beautiful spot with statues, temples, ponds and gardens. Originally the domain of the royal family, the tranquil gardens are open to the public these days. A visitor needs plenty of time to explore and a good pair of walking shoes. This is a photo of Kumming Lake looking over to the Buddhist Temple.

Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven

This is the Temple of Heaven, which is set in the tranquil Temple of Heaven park in Beijing. I loved the vibrant colors of the temple and understand the buildings were repainted in honor of the Olympic games. In the actual park there were people enjoying the sunshine, playing board games such as chess and others selling trinkets to tourists. Our tour guide told us parents will often discuss their children and search for suitable marriage partners while meeting in the parks.

Climbing the Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China has always held a mystique and allure for me, so during our visit to China it was top of my must-do list. The large number of tourists was expected, but the sheer steepness and the big steps that presented a challenge for even my long legs were a surprise. The first part of the climb was made trickier by the mass of tourists. It would have only taken one person to over balance and the rest of us would have gone over like bowls.

Another surprise was the hazy air. You can see what I mean in this photo. We took this shot at the top of the wall, just below the farthest watch tower. Most people only made it as far as the first watch tower, but hubby and I both climbed as far as we could go. It was well worth the effort, and the beer we drank at the cafe at the bottom of the wall tasted like nectar.

Is there a particular place or historical site that you’ve always dreamed of visiting?

The Gorgeous Scenery of Guilin, China

Li River, Guilin, China

The journey down the River Li near Guilin is memorable for the beautiful scenery. It’s also full of boat loads of tourists, but you can’t see them in this shot. Along the length of the river the locals fish and wash and go about their daily business. If you’re ever in the region this is a must-do trip since not only is the scenery stunning, but there are photo opportunities galore.

Check out my post at Marie Treanor’s blog about books as gifts for Christmas. I’m also giving away a download of Christmas is Coming. While you’re there make sure you scroll up and down since lots of authors are talking about their Christmas highlights and giving away prizes. Contest winners are announced on Sunday.

Also take the time to check out the Christmas DIY posts at Maria Zaninni’s blog. You’ll find a variety posts ranging from recipes to jewellery to table decorations. Once again, scroll down to read all the posts since there are lots of interesting ones.

How are you holding up with Christmas preparations?

Behind the Mask…

Chinese Masks

Masks in a Chinese craft shop

Since I’m off on a mini holiday and leaving before the birds even think about chirping tomorrow morning, I thought I’d give you a virtual tour through China during the next four days. I hope to pop in and chat during the day, so I’m going to leave you with a question.

If you could pick any mask to wear what would it be? Something elegant, something silly or something else?

My husband would probably pick a snorkel mask since he loves snorkeling. I have trouble getting him out of the water when we’re on holiday! I’d pick a half mask–one that would be perfect for a Regency masquerade ball. A mask to conceal yet seduce…

What would you choose?

Faces of China

One of my favorite things to do when visiting another country is to wander around the markets. I like to see the different types of food, and of course, do some people watching. These are some of the photos hubby and I took during our wanders.

China

Banana Lady

China

Sugarcane Lady

China

Grape Man

China

Handicraft Lady

The Chinese people enjoy sightseeing, and we encountered many groups of local tourists at the Great Wall, on the Yangtzee River and visiting the Terracotta men. They’re big on photography, and if we smiled at anyone we’d find ourselves in the middle of a photography session. This couple grabbed me to pose in their photo. In fact, most of our group ended up in their photos. It was a real hoot.

China

Me and Random Tourists

Which one is your favorite?

Want to Grow a Bonsai Tree?

Yesterday Mr. Munro and I were listening to the radio while driving down the motorway. Hubby listens to a fuddy-duddy station with lots of chat, but it turned out to be interesting when the discussion turned to bonsai trees.

The lady speaking about them made growing bonsais sound very easy. Hubby and I like projects, so this weekend we’ve done some research.

Although bonsai is a Japanese word, bonsai trees were first known in China back in 1000BC. They were grown as gifts to give to the wealthy and were called pun-sai.

Bonsai Tree

Bonsai are grown in shallow pots and usually kept outside. They should be kept out of direct sunlight because there’s not much moisture in the pots. Quite a few varieties of trees are suitable to turn into bonsais, including several New Zealand natives such as the pohutukawa and kowhai. The lady on the radio mentioned Japanese maples are very pretty since their leaves turn color with the seasons. Basically you choose a seedling or small “junior-sized tree” from the plant nursery. Trim one-third of the roots off the tree and also trim the leaves so you gain a nicely shaped tree. The branches can also be wired to attain an attractive shape. Special soil is required – check at your plant nursery – and of course you need your special shallow pot. Once the bonsai are established, they require yearly root trims and shaping.

We have lots of small seedlings underneath our hedge, and we thought we’d try growing a pohutukawa bonsai.

Here’s a video on how to make your own bonsai tree

Do you like bonsai trees? Have you ever grown one?