Hello and Welcome

As I am currently away from home for study, and as Skype has proven to be rather problematic in terms of time zones, I have decided to start a blog in an attempt to keep in touch with family and friends back in Canada.

August 31, 2011

Vacation 8

Today I registered for school, and in a few days I sign up for classes. =) I found out that my Winter Vacation is from January 16 Until February 12. Yay! On the eighth day we went to the World Expo in Shanghai. We waited an hour to get it, which was far better than the waiting time of 3-5 hours during the actual World Expo, but it was still rather boring. After we got through the gate, we entered a new line to go up the elevator to get to the first station, where we waited in a group for the theatre to clear out before we were able to watch the film. The film was the main attraction of China's Station and was about China's history and hopes for the future. It was quite good and I took some pictures and a video at the bottom, if it works. After the video we left the theatre to follow the pack of people through the rest of the building. There were a few interesting things, but it mostly felt like an interactive line-up. There was a part where you could take a train through part of the building, but the wait was 45 minutes so we walked through instead. We were running out of time before we headed to our next location. Next we went to a famous tourist area full of shops and where Shanghai's famous dumplings were sold. However, the area is also quite famous for pick-pockets so we had to watch out. We were able to haggle at the shops, and we found out that the tea at the Tea Village really had been selling for a good deal. Afterwards we went for dinner where more dumplings were served, and they were quite good. That night we went to see the lights in Shanghai across the bay and then walked down Nanjing road to see all the shops before heading back to the hotel.

August 27, 2011

Vacation Day Six & Seven

I've been feeling sick the past fews days, and so I didn't really feel like updating my blog, but I'll get to it now. =) Other than that I might have a job come September teaching English at Sino Education in Hangzhou, depending on how things work out. Also, soon I will be registering for my classes, would should be interesting since ALL students have to go to the same place on the same two days to try to be enrolled. Hopefully it will not be too confusing...

Anyways, back to the recap.

We spent the next day in Suzhou, where the hotel had a light fixture that I wasted some pictures on...

And then we went to a famous garden. It is called the Lingering Garden in Suzhou, and it was very pretty. It was formerly the residence of a wealthy family and had been restored as part of China's cultural heritage. It was quite large, although not as big as the Summer Palace, it felt more serene and was filled with enough people to be as crawded as the Summer Palace. =P

There they had a rock from Taihu, a lake which is filled with valuable porous rocks. Despite its size, it was only around 25 kilograms, which made it one of the most valuable ones, and the treasure of the garden.

Afterwards, we went to a ailk factory. It was very interesting to see how they collected the silk from the silk worms and wove it. They also had a special type of silk there from a 'double cocoon'. Some of the silk worms became attached to each other and bonded. As a result, they would weave their cocoons together and make a special mesh silk. Very few of the silk worms did so though, so it is quite valuable, they use the special silk to fill sheets as it doesn't retain moisture and keeps a fairly constant temperature so it is warm in winter and cool in summer.

This is howthey prepared the mesh.

Some of the desgins they printed on the silk.

We were then brought to a silk fashion show, before being led to the second part of the silk store, clothing and accessories. It was full of very nice silk clothing, scarfs, bags and other products. Aly-Shah's family was very kind and bought me a silk bag. Most of the clothing was too expensive to buy though.

We then went for lunch before heading to a recreation of a traditional town in China. There they had three different wells that people would drink from depending on their status.

There was a stone tablet on the other side of the bridge. A former emporer used to come to the area to drink tea. They were famous for their tea pots in the area as they had the best clay for making them.

Also, they had a temple there with a Bhudda with 1000 arms.

We then continued to the 'country' city of Wuxi, where we walked by the lake before dinner. I thought it was pretty funny that they continuously referred to the area as the country.

The next day, we went to a tea pot factory, where we were able to see one of the masters making a clay tea pot. It was amazing all the different designs they put on them. It was also very interesting to learn just how much the best tea pots made by the masters cost. Some of them were worth millions! One of the designs was of a lotus flower, there was no hole at the top as you were to pour the water in through the bottom, beacuse of the vortex causing shape of the inside of the tea pot, when you put it right side up the water didn't drain out!

Then we went to a pearl factory. They showed us some of the triangular oysters and told us that each one could hold anywhere from 5 - 50 pearls inside. However, most of the pearls would either be too small or lopsided and would be made into pearl powder for cosmetics instead. There I bought a necklace for mom. =) Hopefully you will get it soon. The pearls there were on sale, and much cheaper than what they sell for in Canada. However, they did have more expensive pearls based on size, luster and if they were natural they were worth more. The salespeople in the store wre rather funny, and very eager to sell us some pearls. =P

We had a very nice lunch on the lake. They served Wuxi dumplings, which were very good and lots of other lake foods. The area around the restuarant was quite nice as well.

From there we left Wuxi and went to a theme park with three main attractions. A giant Bhudda, Water Bhudda show, and a palace, in which was held a Bhuddist conference, which the government had spent BILLIONS on building. It was amazing inside, and I'm really glad I was able to go.

The Giant Bhudda

The Water show. We had to leave a little early from this one to try to beat the other groups to the trams. It was really hot out, and the park is huge so they were necessary if we wanted to see everything before we had to go. Since there were so many other people at the show, we had to hurry to beat them.

We then went to the palace, which was gorgeous. Outside and inside. The floors, walls and ceilings were marble, gold plated, colourful and decorated. There where jadeite statues and porceline dolls inside too, along with white jade and a giant bhuddist conference room. The ceilings were amazing too. We had to hurry through though since we wanted to catch the last tram.

I forgot to get a picture of the monkey. Haha. =P

Ceiling in Cenference room. It changed colour in patterns.

I wish I had more pictures, but my camera ran out of space. =(

Finally, we had dinner and that was the end of the day. =)