BigWorldAndSmallWorld Blog

Top 10 China attractions for foreigners

Posted in Travel and Adventure by Administrator on the May 11th, 2011

• Beijing the Great Wall of China长城
Built in 210 BC by the first emperor Qin Shi Huang, the Great Wall stretches for more than 5500 miles.
• Beijing Forbidden City故宫 and Tiananmen Square天安门
Forbidden City (also known as the Imperial Palace Museum) was commissioned by the third Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Emperor Yong Le. Built between 1406 and 1420, the total area of the complex is 183 acres and all together there are 9,999 1/2 rooms in the Museum.
• Xian Terra-cotta warriors and horses 兵马俑
With a history of more than 2000 years and covering an area of over 23290 square yards, more than 8000 terracotta warriors and horses and more than 40,000 bronze weapons have been excavated from the 3 excavated pits in the burial site of the first emperor Qin Shi Huang’s tomb.
• Sichuan Jiuzhaigou四川九寨沟
Also known as the Nine Village Valley, Jiuzhaigou is a natural reserve located in the North of the Sichuan Province. Ranked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, Jiuzhaigou is extremely famous for its mirror-like lakes with amazing blue colors and crystal clear waterfalls.
• Three Gorges, Three Gorges Dam and Yangtze River Cruise 长江三峡
Three Gorges are spectacular. There are many archaeological and cultural sites along the Yangtze River, and also the world’s largest hydroelectric power station: the Three Gorges Dam.
• Anhui Huang Shan 黄山
This is the Holy Land of Taoism since ancient times. It’s amazingly tranquil and it is such a natural beauty. Many Taoist relics and temples can be found on the mountain. It is said that the Chinese immemorial Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) used to refine his elixir on the Yellow Mountain.
• Picturesque Guilin 桂林山水
Li River is one of the most famous waterways in China. Along the riverbanks, you will see beautiful rock formations, caves, numerous hills and mountains.
• Beautiful Jiangnan watertowns 江南水乡
Zhouzhuang, Xitang, Tongli, and Wuzhen are among the top four water villages. They are typical ancient townships south of the Yangtze River delta. There is a lot more than the ancient bridges, canals, dykes and magnificent garden villas. Here ancient dwellings sit encroaching on each side of the canal that passes through the city. You will see rich and amazing history and have a feel for how ordinary people live their lives along the canal.
• Tibet Potala Palace布达拉宫
Potala Palace is a huge treasure house for materials and articles of Tibetan history, religion, culture and arts. The Palace is widely known for the precious sculptures, murals, scripture, Buddha figures, antiques, and religious jewelry.
• Hangzhou West Lake西湖
“Ripping water shimmering on sunny day, Misty mountains shrouded the rain; Plain or gaily decked out like Xi Zi; West Lake is always alluring.” These are the words composed by the famous Song Dynasty poet Su Dongpo (960-1127) when he compared the West Lake to Xi Zi, the most beautiful woman in ancient China. These poetic sentiments leave one in no doubt of the glory of the scenery.

Here is a link to CCTV’s video series on China’s world heritage sites: -> click the video(s) you wish to view.

My thoughts on reading the book “Oracle Bones”

Posted in Travel and Adventure by Administrator on the May 2nd, 2011

“Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present” was written by an American journalist Peter Hessler. China from 1999 to 2004 was a period that sounded so familiar and yet so distant to me. I can very much relate to many things in the book.
Thought 1: When I first came to the US, I used to say “peasant” all the time because that was what I have learned in school, rarely did I say “farmer”. So when I said peasant to my husband whose parents were farmers, he said: “Do you mean farmer?” There are big differences between Chinese peasants and US farmers especially in the areas of education and farming tools/methods.
Thought 2: It is very true that false/fake (假的jiade) products are everywhere in China, so be cautious in things you buy or people you deal with. In China from the food we eat, to clothes and accessories we wear, to diploma and official documents, all can be faked. Even the author Peter himself had to write a false resume in order to get a journalist visa. Is it the Chinese system’s fault that makes people do what is necessary in order to survive?
Thought 3: About the Uyghur. My first encounter with the Uyghur language was at the Urumqi airport during our Silk Road vacation in 2010. My husband saw the language was written everywhere but he did not know what it was. I told him it looked like Arabic. Later, our guide told us it was the Uyghur language because Uyghur is the biggest group in Xinjiang province. I also discovered on the trip that Uyghurs look more like foreigners than Chinese. I know Uyghur is one of the 55 minority groups, other than that I know very little about this unique ethnic group especially its political and religious beliefs.
Thought 4: The Movie Red Sorghum and actor Jiang Wen. In the book, the author talked about visiting a movie set in the Gobi where famous actor Jiang Wen was shooting a movie. I remembered watching the movie Red Sorghum in 1989 when I was a senior at Fudan University. The movie was a huge hit because it was the first kind that was brilliantly directed by the director Zhang Yimou, and Jiang Wen and actress Gong Li truly captured the audience with their brilliant acting. Jiang Wen’s personality is so characteristic both on screen in all his movies and off screen in his real life, surely he is well liked.
Thought 5: How ironic! As I ended reading the book today, I found out at the news time that Osama Bin Laden was killed. In the book the author described Chinese people’s Anti-American feelings for the war American launched against the terrorists after the September 11 attack. I am eager to find out what the Chinese think now that the Americans are celebrating the big victory after nearly ten years. The Americans finally did what they set their minds to.