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Went to the old summer palace to join a group of photographers that i met on the internet.
For the Chinese New year holidays i decided to go to HuangShan. I was looking forward for a change of scenery from the usual tibetian mountains that im drawn to. And what better place than HuangShan to get a perfect taste of the Chinese mountain scenery. The Chinese people, and poets alike, never seem to tire of coming up with new ways to praise the HuangShan scenery. And all the photo's i've seen of the place seem to backup their claim. I was a bit circumspect about going there during winter but after a bit of research i found that the winter scenery is supposed to be the best with clear blue skies and the trees and mountains covered by snow. One day before i was due to leave it was snowing in Huangshan... I was excited...
During the Chinese October holiday festival, i organized a small trip for the Beijing Couch surfing members to go to a nearby mountain. These are some of the pictures from that trip.
On the days leading up to the Chinese new year, the whole of China shuts down. I was caught unawares at KangDing and was stuck there for a couple of days before deciding to turn back to ChengDu and go on north towards Songpan and JiuZhaiGou. It was two days before the buses started running towards Songpan and i was on it along with a bunch of other people eager to experience the beauty of JiuZhaiGou first hand. I was also looking forward to JiuZhaiGou as the highlight of my trip and considered Songpan as just a stop over point to kill a cpl of days. I was going to be pleasantly surprised.
After having cancelled the trip already in September, we were all eager to go to the great wall before the winter set in. After a lot of research on the web i decided that we will trek two sections of the great wall Gubeikou to JinShanLing on the first day, spend the night at the Jinshanling village and then do the JinShanLing to SiMaTai section on the second day. The Gubeikou to JinShanLing section was supposed to be unrestored, raw and wild with a army camp blocking its way in the middle of the section.
For the Chinese New year holidays i decided to go to HuangShan. I was looking forward for a change of scenery from the usual tibetian mountains that im drawn to. And what better place than HuangShan to get a perfect taste of the Chinese mountain scenery. The Chinese people, and poets alike, never seem to tire of coming up with new ways to praise the HuangShan scenery. And all the photo's i've seen of the place seem to backup their claim. I was a bit circumspect about going there during winter but after a bit of research i found that the winter scenery is supposed to be the best with clear blue skies and the trees and mountains covered by snow. One day before i was due to leave it was snowing in Huangshan...
Two days of being shrouded by the Huangshan mist was enough to dampen my sprits. The lure of hot running water and central heating was too tempting to pass. On reaching Huangshan city, i went straight to the railway station to book my return tickets to Beijing for the next day. "No" she said.. There were no sleeper tickets to Beijing for tomorrow's train.  "Min Tien Min Tien ??" I asked..  ('min tien' being the chinese word for tomorrow.. my question loosely (i use that term liberally) translates to "how about the day after tomorrow??" :) Nope.. the tickets weren't available on that train either. 
I usually like to claim that i do not plan any of my trips, but infact usually the opposite is true. When i came to China this time, i had decided that if i stayed here till april then i'd visit the Shanghai GP, till august then its off to the Litang Horse festival and to top it all, if i stay here till oct/nov my plan is to go to Bayan Olgi, Mongolia for the annual eagle hunting festival. Fingers crossed.. i'll be writing about that trip sometime in the near future. I had first been to Shanghai in 2004, that time to see the first ever Chinese grandprix. I missed the next one in 2005, the year where some of my friends went on to watch the race from the expensive K and H stands at throw away ticket prices (paying 300RMB for a 2500RMB ticket). I've been kicking myself ever since and i was n
It usually happens with me.. especially with my car. When i drive it after someone else has driven it, i can always feel the difference. The engine would feel a bit weaker, a little strained and the accleration sluggish. The feeling usually wears off in a day or two and the car starts feeling normal again. I was never able to figure out if it is psychological (maybe i dont like loaning our my cars to others).. or if its really different. With the car, maybe the different driving styles of people (especially the ones who like to rev the engine a bit too much) may affect the feel of the car.. but with my cycle there was no such explanation.
There has been a lot written in the media about the grandprix in China and most of it negative. The sport has very little following among the local population here and year after year the turnout at the races keep steadily decreasing. Why bring a sport to a country where there is very little interest for it. I guess its all about marketing.. multinational corporations want more visibility in china which means more sponsorship deals and more money for Bernie, the teams and the FIA chimps. China inturn wants to project itself as a modern vibrant economy and looks to be on the world stage at every opportunity and they pay a lot of money (reportedly some 50m dollars a year!!) to get the rights to host the races. Which in turn means more money for F1 association. So its a win win for everyone,
Ever since i joined the "Travel China Beijing" group on facebook, i've always wanted to go on one of the 'wild' great wall treks organized by Davis. Usually the prospect of waking up early in the morning (6am!!) would put me off from joining the trip but this time during the 3-day dragon boat festival weekend (between 28'th to 30'th May) i decided to stop being lazy for a change and join the trip. As per Davis, this section of the wall was one of the best spots for photography. The following is in his own words.. "If you look carefully at the recent published Great Wall photo albums, you will quickly find that many of the pictures are taken at Jiankou Great Wall. Due to its unique style, steep mountains and beautiful scenery, Jiankou Great Wall has become a photographic hot
Growing up, I had never given eclipses much thought. I remember a few happen around Chennai when i was growing up. The Surya Grahanam was not an auspicious sign and we were usually told to stay indoors when it happened. You were not allowed to take a bath or eat anything during the eclipse. And once it was over, the family would do a small prayer, offer food to the gods and the crows and only then you can get back to your regular routine. Superstition or a ritual with some practical meaning behind it.. I'm not so sure. Anyway, that was then. Now, i didn't have any such misgivings and the moment i heard about the eclipse from one my friends i made up my mind to go see it.
So, it was my last weekend in Beijing before my short trip to India. I was having drinks with a friend and i remarked to her about how i had always wanted to go see the flag hoisting ceremony at Tian'anmen square but never did. She hadn't see it herself but then she proceeded to tell me about all these people who make it their pilgrimage to come to the capital, witness the flag hoisting ceremony and then go pay respects to chairman Mao's memorial. Thousands, she told... thousands of them can be found waiting out the night, out on the streets around Tian'anmen square. I was amazed, not surprised, but just amazed and impressed with the nationalistic zeal the government here has imbibed into its people. Piety has been substituted by nationalism and i'am not sure if that is such a bad thing.