October 2019


Scenic China

Scenic China ~ In October of 2019 I explored China with the Sierra Club for 3 weeks visiting wonderful national parks from Shanghai to Beijing. We hiked everywhere, while along the way we enjoyed stupendous Chinese food (the real thing). In Shanghai I celebrated China's 70th birthday on the Bund with scads of others jammed curb-to-curb. Then we traveled by bus and plane, but mostly walked to visit the Yellow Mountains, the Memorial Archway, the Great Wall, Suzhou aka Venice of the Orient, and much more. A truly amazing experience.

If you travel to China with a GPS you will find that satellite and ground coordinates do not match as they do elsewhere in the world making GPS navigation nearly impossible. This is part of China's closed society.

Pics L->R: (1) Great Wall, (2) Venice of the Orient, (3) Tiananmen Moat, (4) Memorial Archway, (5) School Outing, (6) Court Lady, (7) Bonsai Landscape, and (8) Huizhou Waterway.

China's 70th Birthday on the Bund

China's 70th Birthday on the Bund ~ I arrived in Shanghai a few days before the official start of my trip. That timing allowed me to celebrate China's 70th birthday, and Shanghai's Bund waterway was the place to be. I have never experienced so many densely packed people in my life. As evening progressed, on the final celebration night, the buildings exploded into a dazzling light show.

Five Playing with Turtle

Five Playing with Turtle ~ A cute trinket on display at the Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum. Circa 1970s by Zhu Hong Gen, composition boxwood.

Xitang Water Town

Xitang Water Town ~ Before the official start of our trip, 9 of us traveled to this water town. Located about 2 hours from Shanghai, the day turned into a most delightful adventure. At lunch Elizabeth traipsed into the restaurant's kitchen so she could pantomime our lunch menu with the kitchen's refrigerator door open as we didn't speak Chinese and they didn't speak English. Communication at its best.

Tujia Mask for Nuo Opera

Tujia Mask for Nuo Opera viewed at the Shanghai Museum. Nuo opera is one of the most popular folk operas in southern China. Characterized by its special features such as ferocious masks, unique dresses and adornments, the strange language used in performance, and mysterious scenes. Nuo opera has been selected as one of the non-material cultural legacies of China. [Wikipedia]

Thatched House Beside Fanju Lake

Thatched House Beside Fanju Lake ~ A section of a hand scroll viewed at the Shanghai Museum by Ren Xiong (1823-1857). It was painted in the 5th year of Xianfeng reign (1855) when the artist was 33 years old.

Memorial Archway

Memorial Archway ~ Tangyue Memorial Archways are 7 majestic archways [4 shown here] built in the Ming (A.D. 1368-1644) and Qing (A.D. 1644-1911) Dynasties. Each of them represents a heart-touching story and shows the virtues of Tangyue people. As the construction of an archway should be under the permission of the emperor, it is very rare for a village to have as many as 7 archways in China. [Reference]

Bonsai Landscape

Bonsai Landscape ~ This landscape is part of the Boa Family's Garden. It is located near the Tangyue Memorial Archways. The garden covers an area of about 60 acres. It is dotted with lakes, bridges, pavilions, and nearly 10,000 bonsai. The garden has become the largest and most beautiful Hui-style private garden. [Reference]


Sustenance ~ After we arrived at Huizhou, we took a stroll by its waterway. Along the way were areas of drying grain and this corn.

Huizhou Waterway

Huizhou Waterway ~ Near our lodging in Huizhou was this waterway that passes through the village. It was a pleasant place to take an afternoon stroll.

Learning Watercolor

Learning Watercolor ~ At the waterfront park in Hongcun were these aspiring artists.


Woodcuts ~ An enjoyable day in Hongcun, an ancient village with a small waterway flowing through it. The village dates back to the 10th century and since 2000 it has been a World Heritage Site. These 4 woodcuts are from Chengzhe Hall, while their age is unknown.

Yellow Mountains

Yellow Mountain is the literal translation for Huangshan, the mountain provence where it is located 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, and is one of China's major tourist destinations. [Wikipedia]

Chinese Labor

Chinese Labor ~ Constructing new tourist lodging was ongoing at Yellow Mountain. And it seems building materials are transported by people-power. Here is just one of many mules I observed hauling rebar.

Chinese Flowering Crab-Apple

Chinese Flowering Crab-Apple ~ A traditional hanging scroll Chinese native painting viewed at the Imperial Examination Museum in Nanjing.

Nanjing Mountain Winter

Nanjing Mountain Winter ~ A traditional hanging scroll Chinese native painting viewed at the Imperial Examination Museum in Nanjing.

Mise En Rose

Mise En Rose ~ Bronze of a barrel crafter viewed at (or near) the Nanjing Folk Customs Museum.


Fireworks ~ Bronze of 4 children at play with one one about to light a firework while another holds her hands over her ears to cushion to blast. Bronze viewed at (or near) the Nanjing Folk Customs Museum.


Macaque ~ Cute but aggressive. They have learned that tourists have food, often an easy target. I was snapping its picture at a distance when it lunged at me. Very scary, thankfully I reacted quickly to survive with a story to remember.


Fog ~ On this day we were scheduled to walk to the top of Tianmen Mountain climbing the 999 steps to Heaven's Gate. Sadly Mother Nature had other plans bringing fog and drizzle. Our day was then walking the lower elevations.

West Lake

West Lake is a freshwater lake in Hangzhou, China. There are numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands within the lake. West Lake has influenced poets and painters throughout Chinese history for its natural beauty and historic relics, and it has been a source of inspiration for Chinese garden designers. Since 2011 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. [Wikipedia]

Laughing Buddha

Laughing Buddha ~ In the historic city of Hangzhou is the extraordinary Buddhist site of the Lingyin Temple. Together with the nearby Feilai Feng Grottoes and their ancient Buddhist rock carvings, the Lingyin Temple is a truly amazing place. Founded in 328 AD, the Lingyin Temple is a living artifact of Buddhism's long influence. The temple has been rebuilt many times since its founding. [Reference]

Venice of the Orient

Venice of the Orient is the name given by Marco Polo to Suzhou because of its criss-crossing canals and stone bridges. The city's canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens have contributed to its status as one of the top tourist attractions in China. The canal is a UNESCO World Heritage site. [Wikipedia]

Two Children

Two Children ~ This is a replica of a colored painting of a Two Children Tang Dynasty Scroll, ink and color on silk. Viewed at the Suzhou Museum.

Court Lady

Court Lady holding a quilt by Zhang Daqian as viewed at the Suzhou Museum. What I find dazzling about this print is the similarity with the next photo which is of a true-to-life lady.


Perfection ~ While roaming the Humble Administrator Garden in Suzhou, I got this candid shot. After comparing my photos from my China trip, I was amazed at the similarity with the previous print image of a court lady holding a quilt.

Master of Nets Garden

Master of Nets Garden in Suzhou is among the finest gardens in China. It is recognized with other classical Suzhou gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The garden demonstrates Chinese garden designers' adept skills for synthesizing art, nature, and architecture to create unique metaphysical masterpieces. The Master of the Nets is particularly regarded among garden connoisseurs for its mastering the techniques of relative dimension, contrast, foil, sequence and depth, and borrowed scenery. [Wikipedia]


Bouquet ~ One of many delightful arrangements at the Master of Nets Garden in Suzhou. The Garden is recognized with other classical Suzhou gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Honing Artistic Skills

Honing Artistic Skills ~ Many places I visited I saw young children on group outings. Certainly a fine way to learn new skills. Here at the Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an is maybe the next generation of artists.

School Outing

School Outing in the Forbidden City, now known as the Palace Museum. It is located to the north of Tiananmen Square near the city center of Beijing. It once served as the imperial palace for 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911). [reference]

Xi'an Bell Tower

Xi'an Bell Tower ~ What luck. Just outside my hotel room (Bell Tower Hotel) was this nighttime view of the Bell Tower. I opened my 4th floor window and was able to take a time-lapsed photograph of the streaking traffic below with the Bell Tower as the primary subject. I balanced my camera on the hotel window ledge, then shot at Av=f/11, Tv=2sec, Iso=125, and 10sec timer delay.

Terrocotta Soldier

Terrocotta Soldier ~ The Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210-209 BCE with the purpose of protecting the emperor in his afterlife. It is estimated that the Terracotta Army held more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses. [Wikipedia]

A Job Waiting for the Take

A Job Waiting for the Take ~ By the entrance to the Terracotta Soldiers was this utensil, it might mean something!

Marble Boat

Marble Boat, also known as the Boat of Purity and Ease, is a lakeside pavilion on the grounds of the Summer Palace in Beijing. It was first erected in 1755 during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. In 1860, during the Second Opium War, the pavilion was destroyed by Anglo-French forces. It was restored in 1893 on order of Empress Dowager Cixi. In this restoration, a new two-story superstructure was designed which incorporated elements of European architecture. Like its predecessor, the new superstructure was made out of wood but it was painted to imitate marble. [Wikipedia]

The Great Wall

The Great Wall of China is the name of a fortification system built across the historical northern borders of China. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BCE. The most well-known sections of the wall were built by the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). The wall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. [Wikipedia]

Mickey On The Great Wall

Mickey On The Great Wall

Forbidden City Moat

Forbidden City Moat ~ Although the Forbidden City is surrounded by a water moat, there is also a smaller watercourse within the complex. This image shows a section of one of those others.


Downpour ~ Our day exploring the Forbidden City was interrupted by Mother Nature. We sought shelter when the skies gave way to heavy rain. But then we braved the storm as it receded, observing a plethora of umbrella people.

Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is the largest building in the Temple of Heaven complex. It is an imperial complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. The Temple of Heaven was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. [Wikipedia]

Traveling Friends

Traveling Friends ~ New friends were made as we explored scenic China with the Sierra Club in October of 2019.

Standing from L->R: Jim, Pat, Ruth, Mike, Hal, TS, Herb, Marcia, Bill, Rich, Gerlinde, Linda, and Marla. Kneeling: June, Jim, Elizabeth, and Kathie.

This photo was shot at the Suzhou Museum, and its artistic background is by I. M. Pei.