GerardR's China 2006 Photo Page

Welcome to a collection of photos taken during a three week trip to China!
I wanted to visit China and learn about the country, so originally, in order to find like minded people (and to gain a broader, more recent perspective on research related to work), I chose a technical conference to attend. After that, I found a nine day tour that matched the conference timing well and started to finalize my plans. When I finally announced my two week vacation, I was then asked if I'd not like to go to Hong Kong for a week, to do some training and make some contacts in the company office there.

The photos below document my journey, somewhat. The early photos are grainier than later ones, in general, since the film in the camera was over a year old at the time (oops...still had some undeveloped photos from a trip to Disney with relatives). Other photos that seem grainier were taken in low light. I'm really considering getting a digital camera with image stabilization and more auto focus points, since many of the photos did not turn out as well as could be hoped from blurriness or movement (this collection is about 40% of the total number taken).

This table's background color was taken from the color of the Beijing sky in one of my photos (I'm told it's "sand season" in October in Beijing, where the dried out desert sand moves into the "bowl" that is greater Beijing). The size of this table and the photos shown within, was picked to just fill the width of a 1024x768 screen.
The tour starts out in Beijing, and the first place I visit is the Temple of Heaven, about 2 miles from the hotel (it looked much closer on the map). I have no idea what this little guy represents other than one suggestion that it's a little pig to represent the "year of the pig" starting in 2007. He was found just prior to the Temple of Heaven.
The Temple of Heaven was balanced by an altar connected by a raised walkway. This temple, like most around Beijing were built by some emporer to exalt himself.
This style of stair sculpture showed up in the Forbidden City and elsewhere.
Me feeling and looking a bit droopy after the ride up the cable car to a high point on the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. I'm about to go test whether my blistered foot (obtained during the walk to-around-and-back from the Temple of Heaven) would stand the descent.
Tourists climbing up from the walkway
On the descent, there was a branch off into a series of buildings named "The Peculiar Rock Museum". It had a wonderful pagoda-style gazebo under which to rest, and this rock caught my eye. I call it "Lasagna Rock".
Here's the new Olympics 2008 mascots on display in Tiananmen Square.
Not sure why the Tibetan Palace is built in Tiananmen Square other than it might be celebrating the newly opened train link to Tibet.
Now we've moved on to the Terracotta Warrior and Horse Museum just outside Xi'an, China. The excavation pits are now enclosed by buildings, and the lighting relatively low. Several thousand of these warriors and horses were set up to guard the emperor's grave, but were shattered by an uprising.
More warriors.
The charioteer without a chariot (being wood, it disintegrated).
There appeared to be some active excavation work still in progress in the pits, but this was primarily educational.
Next, we went to Suzhou, China, the "Venice" of China. It had an old town laced with canals, which now is a popular site for weddings. This is a wedding photo shoot.
Old Suzhou combined well the qualities of quaintness, age and beauty.
We now take a ride in a couple of the gondolas, like you see in the photo above. Here's our excellent tour guide, Wei Bin (known to us as Sunny), sitting in the bow of our gondola. You can see James looking back from the gondola holding the rest of our tour group.
A somewhat unfocused (the camera did that alot no matter who was holding it), but still useable photo of our half of the tour group, taken by Sunny. Left to right, that's me, Helen, Kerri, Yolante, Brigid and Spencer.
Kerri moves to the bow of the gondola, and we've become the tourist attraction :-)!
On the bridge was yet another (of about 8-10) of the wedding photo shoots we saw that Thursday in Suzhou.
Later, we went to the Garden of the Master of the Nets. There we saw a program of music and theater in a serial fashion, room-to-room. This young woman played the dulcimer for us. The instrument is bigger than she is!
After that, we went to an Aussie bar in Suzhou (Intrepid being an Australian tour company), played darts and shot pool. Ignoring the woman directly in front of the A/C unit, there's (l-r) Charlie, Sunny (partly hidden), Helen, Bronwen (at the table), Dorothy (seemingly staring off into space), Spencer, Brigid, and Kerri.
Finally, we've transferred to Shanghai, our final city. Here's a photo of a Chen Yi (first mayor of Shanghai) statue located on the Bund, the French colonial river front area.
There's alot of ship traffic, some noticable percentage of which are these ships plying the waters with video ads complete with sound!
This is Nan Jing Road, this section turned into a walking mall, a famous Shanghai shopping street. Our hotel was located about one half a block off this street.
This is the Pearl TV tower on the opposite side of the river from the Bund in Shanghai.
This area's know as Pu Dong, the new area of Shanghai. Most of what you see here was built after 1990.
An interesting looking tourist cruise boat.
Yu Yuan Gardens is in Shanghai's "Old Town". It has a restaurant famous for its dumplings, as well as a tea house. Here's part of our group on a bridge (l-r): me, Spencer, Sarah, Charlie, Kerri and Brigid. Yolante took the picture from across the pond.
The first of many temples in the complex showing Shanghai's Jade Buddah. The Jade Buddah is over 6 feet high and carved from a single block of jade. However, I'd run out of film, and this is the first picture on a fresh roll purchased at the temple.
Closing down the tour ... our final group dinner at a restaurant in the trendy Heng Shan Road area. Here's Helen, Brigid, Yolante and Bronwen ...
... and further around the table, Dorothy, Jilli, James, Charlie, Sarah, and Kerri ...
... and finally, at the head of the table, Sunny and Spencer.
This shot was taken by the waitress. She did 10 shots with new digital cameras, and then got to my old film one, and didn't know where to look to frame the picture! She literally asked where the LCD was, so we showed her how to use a viewfinder :-). L-R: Helen, Spencer, Brigid, Yolante, Bronwen, James, Dorothy, Jilli, Charlie, Sunny, Sarah, Kerri and me.
After dinner, we walked down a couple of store fronts toward the metro stop to a night club. Here's Kerri, Charlie, Sarah and Yolante on the go-go platform, with Brigid on the dance floor, lower right.
Now on to the conference. No pictures, mostly because students already were capturing everything on digital cameras. I'm awaiting the link to a web site of those photos, and regret not having a picture (yet) of my favorite participant to show you. However, these two come close, and I shared the ride to the airport with them. This picture was taken on the mag-lev train between the Pu Dong district and Pu Dong International Airport. We got to more than 400 km/hr, and Xin (right) was complaining to Juho (left) that the photo he took with her camera only captured the speed in the 300 km/hr range. Xin and Juho are both from Karlsruhe, Germany.
From the airport, I now go to Hong Kong. Here's a monument, near my hotel, to the 1997 reunification of Hong Kong to mainland China, called the Golden Bauhinia (the bauhinia, or orchid tree, is the floral "mascot" of Hong Kong and its flower appears on their flag).
One of the touristy things to do in Hong Kong is to ride the tram up the side of one mountain and take photos from the peak. It's a little hazy, and this is the best of three shots. That's the IFC building (see next photo) to the right.
The IFC building is one of the tallest buildings in the world, and the tallest in Hong Kong, reaching 88 storeys. So, I took a photo of it and some of the surrounding area. Later I learned that I'd captured, right in the middle of the photo, the buildings in which my company's office is located, Exchange Square (the three brownish ones).
And now ... I'm back home in my little town. This is a shot of Main Street, about a block from my condo.