Blessed Hangzhou and Final Reflections on This Trip

Blessed Hangzhou and Final Reflections on This Trip

After slowing down in Chengdu and especially Kunming, the final leg went by in a whirlwind. We had flights on three straight days – from Kunming to Hangzhou to Beijing and then back home. This post is being written somewhere over the Sino-Siberia border with another eight hours or so to go in the flight to Boston. (Instead of across the Pacific, the flight actually goes to the US over the Arctic and Canada).

Read More

Days 7 & 8: Civilized Kunming

Days 7 & 8: Civilized Kunming

To many Americans, Kunming is one of the world’s greatest resort cities that “you have never heard of.” It is the political, historical, and cultural capital of Yunnan province, sitting in southwest China on the border with Vietnam. Surrounded by mountains and Dian Lake, the sky was noticeably bluer, the air fresher, and the sun, well, sunnier as we stepped into this absolutely stunning city. It is known as the land of eternal Spring.  Both days reached 65 degrees and cooled off to only about 50 with a nice breeze that definitely made us feel at ease and able to take life at a slower tempo—especially in contrast to the bustle of Beijing and Qingdao. The local tourist board justifiably uses the slogan “civilized Kunming.” Here’s a picture from my hotel room.

Read More

Day 4 & 5: Chengdu – The Land of the Panda Bear

Day 4 & 5: Chengdu – The Land of the Panda Bear

Sichuan province is the native habitat for pandas and this center has 180 of them – in all stages of natural development as it is one of the world’s preeminent facilities for the breeding of the adorable black and white bears. All of them seemed to be out to play in the nice 50 degree day. It is almost impossible to describe the sheer joy on everyone’s face while all of the children exclaimed “xióng māo,” which is Mandarin for “panda.” I practically filled my cell phone with pictures and videos of these endangered marvels of nature. The selection here is just a few of the intimate encounters this center allows visitors.

Read More