BigWorldAndSmallWorld Blog

Ancient Village Hongcun and Scenery Mount Huangshan

Posted in Hongcun,Huangshan,Travel and Adventure by Administrator on the January 3rd, 2017

People say one must see Huangshan in one’s life time, how true it is. I was lucky to see it not too long ago. Huangshan is a mountain range in southern Anhui province in eastern China. The area is well known for its scenery, sunsets, peculiarly-shaped granite peaks, Huangshan pine trees, hot springs, winter snow, and views of the clouds from above. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Huangshan and the scenery has been the frequent subject of poetry and artwork, especially Chinese ink painting and, more recently, photography. Even though Chinese people like to take pictures with rocks that are painted or carved with words or poems, I normally just like to see it and move on. I like nature stuff much better. To me Huangshan is impressive with its beautiful sunset, sea of clouds, many strong and different shapes pine trees, and unique rock formations. Climbing up and down the 1-person-wide ladders on the mountain is truly memorable, it was scary but exciting. The memory of being on the mountain was still vivid as I go over my pictures a couple of years later.

Hongcun is a charming small village at the foot of Huangshan. I enjoyed the architecture and the market; this place truly is a gem of Hui culture. If you are like me who like the movie Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon then you will be pleased to know that scenes from the film were filmed on location in Hongcun. It was a nice walk around the village seeing old residences and old furniture, people painting on the street, a nice pond in the middle of the village and walking over some very old stone bridges.
While in the area, visiting a market is a must. I enjoyed stroll along the street and window shopping. So many special local food and artifacts to taste and see on the market, it’s hard not to buy anything.

Korea Experience

Posted in Korea,Travel and Adventure by Administrator on the January 3rd, 2017

May 2016 I went to Seoul for Rotary International Conference. It was a super inspirational experience for me the first time attendee. Our district folks stayed at an Ibis Hotel. The hotel has a nice rooftop restaurant where I got a good view of Seoul.

The hotel is near Seoul’s famous shopping street Myeong-dong. It’s pleasant to stroll around, do some shopping and have a Korean mango ice.

After the conference, I took subway and Korea rail and took about two hours to get to an Incheon hotel where I started my 6-day Korea tour with a group.

Among all the places I went to in Korea, I like the Korea Cutural Village where Dae Jang Geum 大长今was filmed. In the village one can see Korea style old and relatively recent residences, wedding ceremony and other performance.

Another place I like is Namiseom南怡岛 a small half-moon shaped island. If you like the movie Winter Sonata then you will like this place and its pines.

景福宫Gyeongbokgung, also known as Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gyeongbok Palace, was the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty. Built in 1395, it is located in northern Seoul.

On the trip I ate some traditional Korean food such as many different hot pot, ginseng chicken noodle, seaweed rice, BBQ, kimchee and other, they were good.

New Shanghai

Posted in Food,Travel and Adventure by Administrator on the January 3rd, 2017

Shanghai is my hometown. Each time I visit home, I try to see one or two new places. After all, Shanghai changes so fast, it’s all new to me. But no matter how it changes, Shanghai will always be the city I love.
A day in Shanghai May 2016
In the morning I walked from the place I stayed near Nanjing Road to Shanghai Exhibition Hall to attend a travel trade show. Two hours later I was at one of the 嘉里中心 building and seeing Shanghai’s busy street from above. A friend treated me for a delicious lunch at a Japanese restaurant and then I hop on a subway heading to Pudong to see another friend.
Later in the afternoon my friend took me to see the back stage and theater of a show she was putting on. Seeing actors and actresses was eye opening for me.
The next morning I went to Tianzifang 田子坊,I like the old Shanghai nostalgia atmosphere. On the way to lunch passed by a farmer’s market we called 小菜场. Nowadays farmer’s market is much cleaner and nicer. After some delicious Yunnan style lunch, I flew to Guangzhou for my next destination.

Sinan Mansions October 2015
Sinan Lu is a residential stretch of road located in the Luwan district and walking distance from both Tianzifang and Xintiandi. Most of the mansions there were built in the 1920s and 30s and housed Shanghai’s elite – including the political figures of Sun Yatsen and Zhou Enlai. In fact, Sinan Mansions is located right around Zhou Enlai’s house where now it’s a museum. The day when my brother took me there, Shanghai had a rare blue sky, it was a nice day.

The Old Pier老码头 October 2015
Near the Bund is the Old Pier. It was fun to visit the Old Pier with many restaurants, old buildings and even saw people taking wedding pictures there.

Nanjing Dapai Dang 南京大牌档 October 2015
If you haven’t tried this food chain, I highly recommend it. The hosts, waiters and waitresses wear old Chinese costume. The food comes in smaller dishes so that you can eat many different kinds. They have a thick menu and a ton of items to choose from. While you dine, you can listen to Pingtan评弹. Pingtan also known as Suzhou Pingtan, storytellers or Southern word, is storytelling performance use folk art forms and Suzhou dialect.

Taiwan Impression

Posted in Taiwan,Travel and Adventure by Administrator on the January 3rd, 2017

As 2013 turning to an end, I went to Taiwan for a 7-day around the island tour. I saw many attractions and ate a lot of good food. Taiwan people are nice and warm. I like Taiwan, it was a delightful experience.
Since I like nature, Taroko National Park, Sun Moon Lake and Island’s Most Southern tip gave me deep impression. Taroko NP located in Hualien County, it is one of the nine national parks in Taiwan and was named after the Taroko Gorge, the landmark gorge of the park carved by the Liwu River. The name, Taroko (formally as Truku), means “human being” in the Truku language of the Truku indigenous tribe. Long ago a Truku tribesman saw the beauty of the azure Pacific when he walked out of the gorge. On seeing the magnificent scene, he cried “Taroko!” And so it became the name of the place, in a fashion not dissimilar to how the island, Formosa, got its name.

Sun Moon Lake is the largest body of water in Taiwan, located in Nantou County. The area around the Sun Moon Lake is home to the Thao tribe, one of aboriginal tribes of Taiwan. Sun Moon Lake surrounds a tiny island called Lalu. The east side of the lake resembles a sun while the west side resembles a moon, hence the name. Taking a break to watch local Taiwanese people sing and dance at the pier was delightful.

Eluanbi Park is located at the southern tip of Taiwan and part of Kenting National park. The name ‘Eluan’ (鹅銮) is derived from Paiwan language meaning “sail” while the Chinese word ‘bi’ 鼻which means nose, refers to the shape of the cape. Though a little windy, the view of the seashore was amazing.

When you go to Taiwan, you must visit a night food market, there are so many delicious foods to choose from, it’s a foodie’s heaven. I went to Kaohsiung’s Liu He Night Market 六合夜市 and tried some tasty snacks including grilled squid and other delight. When you are in Tainan, be sure to eat the well-known Tainan noodle, it’s yummy.

Some of the other things I enjoyed to do are: visiting the National Palace Museum, it has some of the most beautiful jade collection in the world. Going to the top of Taipei 101, 360 city view from there was superb. Visiting Teresa Teng’s museum and listening to her album, Teresa Teng is my favorite pop singer of my time, her sweet voice and songs are timeless. I like many of her songs, too many to name a few.

Gourmet Guangdong

Posted in Food,Travel and Adventure by Administrator on the January 3rd, 2017

A friend and I went to Guangdong in 2016 for two purposes: indulge in their mouth-watering delicious food and search for family root because our ancestors were from this region. Guangdong (formerly Canton), a coastal province of southeast China, borders Hong Kong and Macau. Its capital, Guangzhou, sits within its industrial Pearl River Delta region. While I don’t remember all the places we went on the 6-day gourmet food tour around Guangdong, I certainly remember some of the tastiest food we ate and I’m glad I took some pictures. Cantonese cuisine is one of China’s Eight Traditional Cuisines, it is also popular in the western world . Roast pigeon, egg custard, abalone, duck, crab, double-skin milk, dim-sum, roast suckling pig, and Foshan Chen-village noodle are among the favorite, too many to name the others.

Below are some of the pictures I took around the region. Best of all, I got to see two college friends whom I haven’t seen since we graduated from Fudan University many many years ago. It was delightful to see them and chat with them, even though it was a short time. The other fun thing I got to do was being drafted as a temporary actress for a show and I got to dress up and be on stage acting as an empress, it was so much fun and totally unexpected.

Into Africa’s Serengeti

Posted in Travel and Adventure by Administrator on the December 4th, 2011

Located in Tanzania, Serengeti is Africa’s largest plain. In Swahili, Serengeti means endless. We saw and loved this typical African scene: animals rest and eat peacefully; powerful lions and meek impalas happily live together on the same land; sausage tree stands alone on a vast land under the sun; at sunset, Serengeti is so beautiful. This is what draws our human beings to Africa.
Two things are must when people enter Serengeti: open-top jeep and plenty drinking water. We bought 24 bottles of 1.5 liter water for five-day’s supply. Our tour package included a driver and a cook. The driver is also the guide. All vehicles entering Serengeti are modified Toyota SUVs either Land-rover or Land-cruiser. They are tough vehicles perfect for the rough roads. We had a good cook who cooked three meals daily for us. Considering he was cooking on charcoal at camping sites in the wildness, we were surprised by the delicious and variety of food the cook prepared for us. Lunch was usually something easy to take on the road such as sandwiches, fruits and drinks. For breakfast, we had eggs, sausages, toasts, coffee and tea. For supper, we had rice or potato or noodle, the main dish usually was a stir-fry dish with beef or chicken and vegetables. We had fruits like baby banana, mango, orange, papaya and watermelon. Eating under the African stars in the evening was a real treat for us. The meal service was English style. The cook set up plates, forks, spoons and cups on a table with nice table cloth. And he served our meals with polite manner. What a luxury! We would not have imagined this kind of service in the wildness. The cook also would put up the tents for us and we would help the driver take down the tents. The driver guide not only knew the roads well, he also was very knowledgeable about animals and plants in Serengeti. To be a driver guide, one has to go to special schools for a couple of years to learn.
Sleeping under the Africa sky was the most memorable experience for us. We chose camping on this trip so that we could be closer to the nature. At night we could hear animals’ sounds, it was wonderful but also scary at the same time. Knowing there is wildlife out there, I was afraid to go to bathroom at night. Clark said every time he went outside the tent, he would shine flashlight around to spot any eyes staring at him in the darkness:). Camping was also the cheapest accommodation among others such as sleeping in fixed tents, huts or in lodges.
Road conditions and toiletry conditions were pretty bad. Every day we were dusty from head to toe. It was hard to comb my hairs. Camping sites did have outdoor showers. We had to be brave to endure the coldness to take a shower. To our surprise, one place where we camped at the rim of a creator we even had a hot shower. It was the coldest place where days and nights were foggy. Africa has two seasons: wet season and dry season. We went there in August, it was their dry season and also winter. Morning and night were cool while daytime under the sun was warm. Travelers can enter Serengeti only in the dry season; otherwise jeeps would be stuck in the mud during the wet season. Human is not allowed to get out of vehicle in Serengeti. While we were at the bottom of the creator, a few hundred meters away from seeing a lioness under a rock, our jeep broke. It would not shift gears. The driver guide had to come out and work on fixing the car. We were worried. Time seemed frozen and we felt we had waited forever. Eventually we got a few other cars’ attention and they stopped to help us. Nothing bad happened and we were able to drive away with a temporary fix.
Africa is animals’ heaven. We saw baboon, zebra, elephant, lion, giraffe, hippo, hyena, buffalo, crane, impala, wildebeest, cheetah, leopard, ostrich and many kinds of birds. We had a very close encounter with a cheetah lying on top of a termite mound. He/she was relaxing but seemed stay alerted. The thought of the possibility the cheetah would jump on to our jeep was frightening, but it never happened. A huge male lion was also in close view. We could see his strong body powerful and beautiful. This fearless creature indeed had the king of the jungle manner. He walked confidently away from us towards a few female lionesses resting under a tree. My favorite was zebras and wildebeests. They were in great numbers.
We also saw native Africa tribe people Maasai. Like American Indians, they love nature. Some sleep in the wildness with surrounding bushes and sticks as temporary shelters, some sleep in fixed huts. The huts were made from mud, straws and cow pup. The main foods they live on are cows and sheeps. The cows we saw in Africa all were very skinny. The Maasai people rarely take shower. They wear red or purple robs, holding a stick in hand. The guide told us even lions could recognize Maasai and the lions don’t normally get too close to Maasai people.
Kenya and Tanzania people look poor and live a simple life. They live in shabby houses. The roads were dusty, muddy and bumpy. The Chinese are building roads in Africa. Water is a precious resource in Africa. Tuesdays and Saturdays are market days where people can sell or buy all kinds of produces on the market. Our guide told us his monthly rent was $15 US dollars and his monthly grocery was $20 US dollars. Tanzania shilling is worthless. 1 US dollar is equal to 1600 Tanzania shilling. The largest bill in Tanzania is 10000 shilling and the smallest bill is 500 shilling. People there like to receive US dollars because they can get good rate by exchanging them to shillings. When the tour ended, we gave tips to the cook and the guide in cash. We also gave them our nice sleeping bag, ropes, blankets and flashlights. They appreciated these good camping equipments because they did not have much stuff.
Our Africa trip is the hardest vacation ever. We met three Chinese people from Guangzhou in the beginning. They were to climb Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. It borders Kenya and Tanzania. I would think climbing Kilimanjaro would be a harder trip than our camping trip. They had to backpack everything themselves and sleep in tents on the mountain where base camps were set up. I asked these young people why they choose Africa and why climb Kilimanjaro? They told me they want to challenge themselves. What a terrific answer! Luckily after returning to USA, I was able to connect with one of the Chinese. They did climb to the peak and got a certificate. I liked one of their photos a lot where the moon seemed so close, the snow peak was within reach and the sky was so deep blue. Africa, you added another continent to our travel log. Kilimanjaro, we wish to climb you the next time we go to Africa.
You can watch our photo video Dailey’s Africa on YouTube at

Lost in translation

Posted in Travel and Adventure by Administrator on the September 27th, 2011

Often times we heard people say learning Mandarin Chinese is difficult. Indeed it is one of the most difficult languages in the world. Being a China native, I can’t appreciate enough of the beauty of the Chinese language until I have a need to translate it into English. For example, 杭州八景 the eight famous scenes of Hangzhou is perfectly constructed in four small but precise and vivid Chinese words. These Chinese words paint a lovely picture on my mind. How can I translate them into English that still maintain the same beauty as they are in Chinese? I can’t! It’s a sad thing, isn’t it? But at least this is the best I can do to translate the top eight famous scenes of Hangzhou in English.
1.断桥残雪 Remnant Snow on the Bridge in Winter;
2.平湖秋月 Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn;
3.阮墩环碧 Ruan Gong Islet Submerged in Greenery;
4.雷锋夕照 Leifeng Pagoda in the Sunset;
5.曲院风荷 Curved Yard and Lotus Pool in Summer;
6.三潭印月 Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon;
7.柳浪闻莺 Orioles Singing in the Willows;
8.南屏晚钟 Evening Bell Ringing at the Nanping Hill。

And then, it came the new ten scenes of the well known West Lake located in Hangzhou西湖新十景:
云栖竹径Bamboo–Lined Path at Yunqi
满陇桂雨Sweet Osmanthus Rain at Manjuelong Village
虎跑梦泉Dreaming of Tiger Spring at Hupao Valley
龙井问茶Inquiring About Tea at Dragon Well
九溪烟树Nine Creeks Meandering Through a Misty Forest
吴山天风Heavenly Wind over Wu Hill
阮墩环碧Ruan Gong Islet Submerged in Greenery
黄龙吐翠Yellow Dragon Cave Dressed in Green
玉皇飞云Clouds Scurrying over Jade Emperor Hill
宝石流霞Rainbow over Precious Stone Hill

How many of these scenes have you seen? Like the Chinese saying 上有天堂,下有苏杭Heaven is above, Hangzhou and Suzhou is beneath, Hangzhou and West Lake are truly one of the most beautiful places in China.

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.

China awaits you – 5 reasons why you should visit China

Posted in Travel and Adventure by Administrator on the December 30th, 2010

If you ask me why I like to travel to China, I would say…
The number 1 reason you will like China is its cultural experience. China is a developed country that hasn’t lost its flavor. You will experience both fast-paced city life and authentic ethnic tribe’s colorful culture. Of the 55 minority ethnic groups in China, Yunnan a southern province has the most 25 of them.
The number 2 reason you will like China is its nature landscapes. From the panoramic limestone formations in Guilin, to the gorgeous terraced rice fields in Yunnan province, to the surreal fog-covered peak in Huangshan, to China’s most famous valleys – Jiuzhaigou, the snow-capped peaks, waterfalls, forests and lakes, and many mountains, rivers and grass lands will simply take your breath away.
The number 3 reason you will like China is its long and rich history. The Great Wall, the longest wall built for defense, is over 2000 years old. The Forbidden City, the world’s largest palace complex built in traditional Chinese architecture, is also over 2000 years old. The Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses, thousands of life-size figures with individually unique faces, hair and uniforms, is grand in their elaborate design and scale.
The number 4 reason you will like China is its delicious food. There are eight authentic cuisines with regional features throughout China, which are known as Anhui Cuisine(徽菜), Canton Cuisine(粤菜), Fujian Cuisine(闽菜), Hunan Cuisine(湘菜), Jiangsu Cuisine(苏菜), Shandong Cuisine(鲁菜), Sichuan Cuisine(川菜) and Zhejiang Cuisine(浙菜). The varieties will surely satisfy your taste buds.
The number 5 reason you will like China is its top of the line accommodations. China has the most 5-star hotels in the world by my guess plus numerous boutiques hotels, B&Bs and traditional Chinese style hotels. You will easily find a place that suits your budget and style to have a good night sleep.
And of course the last but not the least, China is a safe country to visit. And the Chinese people are very friendly too.

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