We flew into Guilin, China in the evening and were taken by car, along a four lane highway with minimal traffic, to Yangshou. TheYangshou Village Retreatwas along a dark, quiet country road and we retired for the night, lulled to sleep by the sound of frogs croaking, in a surprisingly palatial room decorated in classic French style.
The morning greeted us with a stupendous view of the mysterious karst peaks and we grabbed bikes to explore the countryside. We rode past old men ploughing the fields with bullock’s, small children playing and women carrying buckets of water to the garden.
The road was quiet and we were seldom interrupted by the friendly toot of a passing motorbike. We sat on the banks of the Li River watching empty tour boats glide up the river. A serene first morning in China.Continue reading →
The inclusion of Taiwan on our itinerary held two attractors. One was visiting our local friends (Jack & Kitty) and the other was cycling around Sun Moon Lake. Cycling in a foreign place allows you to see things that would otherwise be considered “off the beaten track”, and the bit of exercise that comes with it is an added bonus too.
I’m a tea drinker. Here’s how my mother taught me to prepare tea. First warm the tea pot by rinsing it out with hot water, then add one teaspoon of tea leaves for each person and one for the pot. Fill the pot with boiling water, cover it with a hand knitted, brightly coloured tea cosy and allow the tea to brew for a few minutes. Pour the tea into a tea cup and make sure you put the milk in first. My mother’s tea was always accompanied by sweet biscuits or cake, always drunk sitting down and at pre-ordained times during the day. Tea time occurred Continue reading →
I hate to admit it, but I am not generally one to get excited about history, museums or culture. At a stretch, I suppose you could call me a philistine.
But, my time in Taiwan has improved my interest in, and my attitude toward, both history and culture. That’s a good thing, considering our next destinations and ongoing adventures. The Island of Taiwan was colonised by the Dutch in 1624, and since that time it has been ruled by the Spanish, Tungning, Qing, Formosan, Japanese and Chinese. If you’d like a little more Taiwan history, just click here.
Rather than retell their story, I’ve decided to share a couple of my Taiwanese cultural highlights, starting with the Taiwan National Palace Museum. The museum attracts historians and tourists from all over the world, especially those from mainland China, and houses a permanent collection of some 700,000 pieces of Continue reading →
When I left work to start this adventure my workmates gave me a travel money card and told me that I should spend it on some sort of experience while we were travelling. They may well have had ideas of me slipping a parachute on my back, or tying a bungy cord around my legs but that’s not my style. Instead I chose to use the money to fill the gap that my workmates absence has created in my life by having breakfast with the Orangutans at Singapore Zoo.
We’ve just spend four wonderful nights in Singapore, staying with friends in the “expensive part” of town on Nassim Road. They told me that the rental on apartments in this street can be as much as $30,000 per month!
Whilst chatting over drinks, our host Deanne, described Singapore as “Disneyland for Adults”, and after our day out yesterday, I can understand why. The city has something for everyone. There are hawker stalls, expensive restaurants and bars, high street shopping, local markets, theme parks, museums and public gardens, efficient transport infrastructure defined by lush tropical tree lined streets, all complemented by the ethnic diversity of Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street.