Entrance to the Forbidden City in Beijing with the photo of Chairman Mao still in evidence.
Canal inside the Forbidden City.
Face on a large vase inside the Forbidden City.
Rooftops in the Forbidden City.
Drummers in the Beijing Drum Tower that mark the time each hour by beating the drums.
Appetizers for one of the meals enjoyed during our tour. Notice the arrangement of food in the shape of a bonsai tree in the center plate.
You just knew we had to show the Great Wall. It's located about 40 miles outside Beijing. This restored section is reserved just for Chinese and wasn't being used very much the day we passed by.
This is the section of the Great Wall we visited. Notice that the wall goes on and on, both to the left and right of the tower near the middle of the photo.
Okay, this is the last photo of the Great Wall I'll show you. It's included to give an idea of the steepness of the steps in some sections. Notice the care people are taking in walking up and down the steps in the foreground.
The tour of Beijing included a couple of shows with "cultural" performances.
Paint colors used in the making of Chinese vases.
This is the "Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha" at the Emperor's Summer Palace outside of Beijing.
Okay, you have to give me one pseudo sunset (it was really just late afternoon and was purposely underexposed). This one was at the Summer Palace.
Dragon image at the gate to the Temple of Heaven, a large temple complex inside Beijing.
Marble wall leading up to the Temple of Heaven.
Here's a closer view of the pagoda.
Beijing has six beltways (rings) around it. This is a sense of the traffic on all of them all the time. We were told that they add 300 more cars to the traffic each day.
The city of Xi'an (pronounced she-an) is about 750 miles SW of Beijing and was once the capital of China. Today, it is best know for the 1970 discovery of the buried pieces of a Terracotta Army.
7,000 life-size statues of soldiers, archers, and horses. Many of them have now been restored and are on public view.
More views of the terracotta warriors.
Here is a closer view of the head of a terracotta soldier. Other heads are shown in the next images; one is pretty hidious but the other is kind of cute.
A bicyclist waiting for a break in the traffic to enter the highway. Shot through the tour bus window.
A buddha in front of the Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an.
Praying to the golden Buddha.
I just loved the looks of this bicycle standing on a street of Xi'an. Those are mops draped over the rear wheels.
A market in the old section of Xi'an viewed from the city wall.
The city of Guilin (pronounced gwee-lin) in the southwest of China. It has some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. This is a view of the Li river that runs through the city. The area is populated by numerous hump-backed limestone mountains called "karsts."
Here's a closer view of the fisherman in the previous photo. They ride on bamboo rafts and have trained comorants to catch the fish for them The bird's necks are tied so that they cannot swallow the fish they catch.
The Guilin area is also resident to rice paddies, some on mountains (coming up soon). Here's a woman planting rice by hand.
Here are those rice paddies on mountain ridges near Guilin. The area is called Long Sheng (dragon spine).
It was a long climb up to the point to view the valley, but we did it (believe me, no photoshop tricks here).
There were quite a few vendors along the steps leading up to the peak at Long Sheng. I caught the daughter of a hat vendor reading in a closed area.
Cooking with bamboo.
A straw worker.
Guilin is also home to the Reed Flute Cave -a cavern with interesting rock formation and lit beautifully with neon lights.
We happend to be in Guilin during their May Day weekend celebration. We were at a park which included rides on bamboo rafts and other festivities.
Part of the May Day festivities were kids frolicking in plastic bubbles on the water.
The city of Suzhou (pronounced sue-joe) is just about 30 miles outside of Shanghai. The Chinese refer to it as the "Venice of the East" since there is a network of canals crisscrossing the town.
We also visited an old village called Tongli just outside of Suzhou. It was also a water-based town filled with canals and tourists.
As a place that draws tourists, Tongli offers street venders and entertainers like this musician.
Tongli also offers gondola rides.
While walking through a garden home in Suzhou, I noticed the bamboo through the lattice works of an open window. It looked like a painting to me.
In that same garden home in Suzhou, I really liked the image of the silhouette of these leaves on the peeling wall.
Our last stop in China was the city of Shanghai (pronounced ... oh, you know how to pronounce Shanghai). Although usually quite smoggy, we were blessed on our last day with crystal clear view of the modern building from the Bund - a wide walkway on the opposite side of the river.
This photo was taken about the same time as the last one. I was making a shot of the advertising boat sailing in front of the buildings and, sun-of-a-gun, one of the globes aligned with the head in the ad, forming a kind of a hat.
This view of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower gives a better view of the smoggy conditions that typically exist in Shanghai. It also demonstrates the contrasts (modern architecture in the midst of above-street electric poles) that exits there.