Michelle Obama’s Trip in China

US first lady Michelle Obama and her daughters Malia and Sasha visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall in suburban Beijing on Sunday and became a heroine, if an old Chinese saying is to be believed – “You’re no hero until you reach the Great Wall.”

Sunday is the fourth day of Obama’s first China visit. Upon her arrival, Obama signed her name on a guest book and wrote: “My family and I will treasure this visit. It is truly a privilege and an honor to experience this wonder.” Before the hike on the Great Wall, Obama and her family attended a luncheon at the Schoolhouse restaurant named “Xiaoyuan”, a dining and lodging venue known for its food and community improvement work. The Schoolhouse was set up by US citizens. The family had a private meal in one of the Schoolhouse’s “classrooms”.

At about 3 pm in the afternoon, Michelle Obama accompanied by her daughters, Malia and Sasha, hiked on the wall for about an hour. After mounting the Great Wall to gaze into the distance, the US First Lady will be amazed by the magnificent view and the boundless culture of China.

The Mutianyu Great Wall lies in Huairou District, 73 kilometers from Beijing proper. It is a superb location to appreciate the grandness of the Great Wall as well as to avoid the crowds at Badaling. The Mutianyu section, 2,500 meters (2,734 yards) long, connects the Juyongguan Pass in the west and Gubeikou in the east. Rimmed by mountains, it is filled with beautiful flowers in spring; abundantly verdant in summer; charming with red-leafed maple trees in autumn and enchanting covered in pure white snow in winter.

The Mutianyu section has its own characteristics. The coping on both sides of the wall has parapets and battlements, which made it possible to repel foes from either side. The bases of the indented battlements have square holes arched at the top from which soldiers shot at the besiegers. Additional walls with watchtowers were built in order to relieve the enemy’s assault on the main wall which is densely distributed with watchtowers, twenty-two in total. The wall runs up and down following the contours of the steep mountainsides. In Zhengguantai, three watchtowers stand on the same terrace, a rare occurrence in the structure of the Great Wall.

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Thousand-island Lake in Hangzhou

Thousand-island Lake in Hangzhou is one of China’s most popular tourist destinations. Famed for its greenery, the lake is surrounded by the largest forest park in the country. There are 1,078 large islands in the lake and a few thousand smaller ones.

One local tells of his idyllic lifestyle: ‘People here live in scenic houses, drink mineral water, eat fresh lake fish, and breathe pure oxygen.’ All the residents of Qiandaohu enjoy their simple, unsophisticated lifestyle. They use solar energy and liquefied gas instead of polluting fuels, even in the buses and taxis. There are two air quality monitors in the city that inform the people of the air quality everyday. Thousand-island Lake had an early start as a tourist city, and is now one of the country’s top holiday destinations.

The city is currently developing more land, water and air-based tourist activities. Locals hope that one day, Thousand-island Lake will become as popular a resort as Europe’s Lake Geneva. There are numerous projects underway, such as Mengrutang, Jinxian Peninsula, Pearl Peninsula, Suian Island, and the Danzhu Resort.

About 24 companies have located in the area to take advantage of its unique geographical, economic and social conditions, and a luxury inland lake cruiser, the Duke made its maiden voyage around Thousand-island Lake. Top-class hotels such as the New Century Hotel are soon to open.Locals believe that all these development plans in addition to existing in Qiandaohu fantastic resources mean that tourism will be soon the mainstay of the local economy.

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Sichuan cherry Festival

About 68 kilometers south of Chengdu, Pujiang county is only 50 km from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport. Pujiang boasts 50.8 percent forest coverage, the highest percentage of all counties in Sichuan province. With three big reservoirs, densely wooded hills and a few old towns, the county has long been a popular trip from Chengdu.

With many of China’s major cities suffering from frequent fog and hazy weather, the good environment in Pujiang has given the area a fresh appeal. Spring is the best season to visit Pujiang, only 10 minutes’ drive from the expressway between Pujiang and Chengdu. The air is moist and fresh with the mixed fragrance of flowers and green grass. The night is full of the sounds of insects calling.

Pujiang in Sichuan province boasts lush forests, delicious cherries, great local cuisine and a pace of life. The opening ceremony of the second Pujiang Cherry Festival last week in Pujiang county, Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. During the festival, however, the cherries were everywhere – on the tables, in the baskets of the local villagers and even hanging on trees. Villagers sell cherries along the road on the hill.

The cherries are not the black cherries native to North America and now popular in our markets, but the Nanking cherry, mainly distributed in northern and western China, Korea and Mongolia. Compared with the black cherry, it is scarlet, smaller, with thinner skin and often a little sour. Because it is difficult to store and transport, it is rarely found in markets far from areas where it is grown.

Dominated by buildings with black-tiled roofs, wooden structures and timber sliding doors, the riverside town offers visitors a glimpse into the region’s traditional countryside life. Restaurants and teahouses line the riverbanks, where towering trees grow. Under the shade of the trees, local people drink, eat, chat and play cards or mahjong. The slow pace of life is truly attractive.

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Scenery and Wisdom of Dujiangyan

We visited Dujiangyan Irrigation System on one Sunday. Our first stop was the Erwang Temple – a good place for sightseeing which was near the mountaintop. The temple was built to memorize Li Bing and his son’s great contribution to local people. The irrigation system was a wonder in the ancient times because it was finished with unique technology over 2,000 years ago. At that time, Li Bing was a local governor of Shu State. Minjiang River originates from mountains, ran fast cross the Chengdu Plain. It caused water disaster and flooded the Chengdu area agriculture frequently which made farmers suffered great loss every year. To change the bad situation, Li Bing and his son designed this system and summoned thousands of local residents to help complete this project. When it was completed, the system automatically diverted Minjiang River and then the Chengdu Plain became one of the most fertile places in our country. 

Erwang Temple was built to honor Li Bing and his son. It is a way of expressing the respect and highly praise of their virtue. It changed names several times in history. We were attracted by its broad roof and beautiful decorations. The main Hall was built for Li Bing with his statue holding a silk map in his hands and his eyes bright. It seemed that he was framing up the grand blueprint. The rear Hall was built for Li Bing’s son with his statue standing firmly with a tool in his hands. The Minjiang River was just behind him. Many people came to visit the temple and prostrated themselves before the figure of Li Bing and burned incense on July 24th, because it was Li Bing’s lunar calendar birthday according to the folk tale.

We visited delicate Guanlan Pavilion which was full of carving characters. We viewed those quotations on the stone walls which say something about how to manage the irrigation system. The Suspension Bridge was one of the ancient bridges in China which was over three hundred meters in length. The guide told us that it was made of bamboo and cane at first, and that it was replaced by steel chains bridge in the 20th century.

In the afternoon, we visited the three main parts of this great hydraulic project where the Fish Mouth Water-Dividing Dam was built in the middle of the river. The whole dam shaped like a fish and the front dam which looked like a fish mouth divided the river into inner and outer canals. The Flying Sand Fence controlling the flow of water had a wide opening from north to south and joined the two canals. In modern society, the reinforced concrete weir had replaced the original materials. Due to the time limit, we couldn’t spend too much time on the third main part-Bottle-Neck Channel and have no time to take a quick view of the Fulonguan. I was full of pride of our wisdom ancients who left these precious heritages to us. We must protect them with our own efforts and pass it from generation to generation.

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Southern Sichuan Bamboo Sea

Bamboo Sea is located in Yibin City, Sichuan province,about 60 kilometers from Yibin urban area.Covering an area of 70,000 acres,there are 58 kinds  bamboos here.It is characterized by the gorgeous bamboo scene which looks like a misty vast green sea.It is the largest”bamboo park” in China with a spectacular scenery of landscapes, caves, lakes and waterfalls.

Bamboo Sea scenic area has a typical Danxia Landform.It’s like going into a a mysterious world where there are streams, waterfalls,mirror-like lakes,clear springs and fresh air.Bamboo Sea is known as the natural air anion bar with a vegetation coverage rate of 87%.

Bamboo Sea is one of the first national 4A level scenic areas,China National Scenic Area,Top40 Best China Travel Destinations,China Biosphere Reserve.It also has been named as China’s top10 most beautiful forests by Chinese National Geography magazine.

There are 124 scenic attractions in Bamboo Sea.Top10 best attractions include Emperor Temple, Tianbao Village,Xianyu Abode,Qinglong Lake,Colorful Waterfalls,Ancient Battlefield,Guanyun Pavilion,Emerald Corridor, Camellia Hill and Huaxi Thirteen Bridges.

As an excellent place for leisure,Bamboo Sea is available all the year around.You can wander in the woods, boat on the lake,visit the Tourist Center, Bamboo Sea Museum, Xi Jia Shan ancient houses.You can not only feel the tranquility and beauty of Bamboo Sea, but also appreciate the profound cultural connotations here.

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Travel is to get away from routine life?

Yesterday when I talked with my friends about traveling to Shennongjia, my friend replied:” so you are get tired of your routine life now?” I don’t understand why she would get that from what I planned, but when I think about her words sometime later, I finally get it. Yes, I am tired of my routine life. That’s why I am looking for something new, something different. And I just want to get away from this big busy city for a while, so to find peace in my mind.   

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Fantastic Beijing Hutongs

Beijing Hutong tour

A Hutong in Qianmen Dajie

A Hutong is a traditional alley, characteristic of an old Beijing city. A total of 7000 Hutongs have been built throughout the capital in straight lines under strict construction guildlines. The longest Hutong starts from the Beijing Legation Quarter, Dong Jiao Min Xiang,to the Xijiao Min Xiang, and has a total length of 6.5 kilometers, while the shortest Hutong is One-inch Street at only several meters’ long. The narrowest Hutong is only about 0.7 meters wide. Therefore, people carrying even a little bit of extra weight have to hold their breath to pass through it. Formed during the Yuan, Ming and Qing, dynasties thousands of Hutongs surround the supreme Imperial Palace from all directions. They are woven into the fabric of people’s daily lives.

Beijing Hutong

A bicycle repairman in a Hutong

Beijing Hutong tour

A unique stall in the Hutong

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Top 10 most beautiful islands in China

China possesses many islands, which are important part of China’s tourism resources. A new ranking of the country’s most beautiful islands was recently released by the World Heritage Institute and the Asia-Pacific Environmental Protection Association (APEPA) on 2013. More than 100 islands on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan appear on this latest list, and one should not miss those charming islands, especially the top 10 beautiful islands as following:

Hailing Island
Hailing Island

Meizhou Island
Meizhou Island

Xisha Islands
Xisha Islands

Temple Islands (Main islands)
Temple Islands (Main islands)

Zhoushan Island
Zhoushan Island

Huangyan Island
Huangyan Island

Diaoyu Islands
Diaoyu Islands

Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island

Hainan Island (Main Island)
Hainan Island (Main Island)

Taiwan Island (Main Island)
Taiwan Island (Main Island)

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Four most Fantastic Chinese Foods

Chinese pride themselves on eating a wide range of foods, and Chinese cuisine often has an interesting history. This article lists four unique Chinese foods, which you can taste the essence of genuine Chinese food when traveling in China.

1. Beggar’s Chicken

According to legend, a beggar arrived at a village of Changshu Prefecture, Hangzhou. He had a chicken, and wanted to cook it. But he had nothing but a knife and a fire. He solved his difficulty by slaughtering and gutting the chicken, wrapping the chicken with yellow mud (without plucking it), and roasting the potato-like chicken. When he peeled off the dry mud, the chicken’s feathers were also taken off.
Features: It is a typical Zhejiang dish, with savory aroma and tender chicken meat. The chicken is served on a lotus leaf, and tastes fresher and less greasy.
If you are planning to travel to Hangzhou, Beggar’s Chicken is a highly recommended dish.

2. Bamboo Rice

Bamboo rice is always cooked with rice and pork, which is cooked in a section of fresh green bamboo till the bamboo is seared. This food is delicious with the fresh fragrance of bamboo.
Where to taste it: Bamboo rice can be found in many places, especially where there are Dai minority and Yao minority people. Hence, you can have a taste when traveling to Yuannan Province (especially Xishuangbanna), Guilin (especially in the minority villages of Longsheng County), Guizhou Province (especially in the minority villages of Kaili), and Taiwan (Ali Mountain area).

3. Preserved Egg

Shiny dark grey or black with s snowflake pattern, this unique egg product was created by Chinese people in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Besides its unique taste, it is said that the preserved egg is useful for on curing hoarseness and dispelling the effects of alcohol.
Ways to eat: Many traditional Chinese restaurants serve dishes made with preserved eggs. Soup cooked with preserved eggs and mustard  leaves, minced pork congee with preserved egg, which can be found in KFC in China during breakfast time, and braised preserved eggs with tofu are the most popular ways of eating preserved eggs.

4. Stinky Tofu

Stinky tofu, or strong-smelling preserved tofu, is really smelly, with an “ugly” appearance. However, once you have tried it, you should enjoy its taste. The stinky tofu in Changsha is the most famous type, with crispy skin and a fresh and spicy taste.
Changsha’s stinky tofu enjoys the most fame in China, followed by that of Nanjing and Shaoxing. The production and tastes of the stinky tofu in these three cities are quite different, but they share a common point: smelling bad but tasting nice. Stinky tofu has become a traditional Chinese snack throughout China, and it is easy to find in the most-traveled cities (like Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Guilin, and Hangzhou).

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Impression of Colorful Yunnan

Yunan, whose name literally means south of the clouds, is a astonishing places. The province is famed for its multitude of ethnic groups and beautiful scenery. Mountainsides carved into paddy terraces, and deep red soil make it a photographer’s dreamland. Also hundreds of acres of rape flowers in this area paint the valleys golden. When it comes to the impression of Yunnan, it reminds you of paradise.

The so-called “Colorful Yunnan”(Colorful Yunnan Tour) boasts not only snow-capped mountains, blue lakes, red soil, green woods and flowers all year round, but also ancient towns, distinct features of subtropical highlands and rich multiethnic culture, since among the country’s 56 recognised ethnic groups, 52 nationalities are found in Yunnan Province.

A huge influx of tourists are attracted by the bright yellow rape flowers and the terraced paddy fields, and also its perpetual red soil.

rape flowers,Yunnan

Louping is a county about 230 kilometers to the east of Kunming. In spring, photographers, professional and amateur alike, are smitten by hundreds of acres of rape flowers there, which paint many valleys golden.

In some places, the swaths of rape flowers spiral all the way down to the bottom of valleys and local people call them “screw fields,” as layers of circular-shaped fields resembling the lines of a screw.

Against unfavorable odds, flexibility often helps us shutterbugs to come away with some good shots.

Our next stop was Yuanyang, known for its terraced paddy fields.

The Hani people have inhabited the Yuanyang area since ancient times and they have built more than 10,000 hectares of terraced paddy fields along the slopes of high mountains. The fields are still an essential part of their life today.

Yuanyang terraced paddy fields,Yunnan

The best time to shoot pictures of the terraced fields is in early spring, after the fields are ploughed and filled with water, but before they are planted with rice seedlings.

The still water turns the fields into numerous mirrors, reflecting the blue sky and floating white clouds.

Especially at dawn or dusk, when the clouds change colors with the rays of the sun, a whole mountain slope of terraced paddy fields looks like a colossal piece of stained-glass artwork.

Yuanyang is now a relatively beaten track as it attracts millions of tourists every year. Last year, more than 7 million people visited.

We were told that there were more terraced paddy fields in neighboring Honghe County and that was just the place listed in our itinerary after Yuanyang.

Honghe paddy fields,Yunnan

We arrived in Honghe in the evening, not the right time to shoot photos of paddy fields in deep valleys. So, we planned an early session the next day.

In Honghe, as the terraced paddy fields are built on steeper mountain slopes, they are not as extensive as the paddy fields in neighboring Yuanyang, but they are definitely more poetic.

For instance, some paddy fields here are dotted with slender willow trees, which were reportedly planted there accidently after some local rice growers left behind their sticks made of willow branches in the fields after they called it a day.

The trees’ reflections in the water of the paddy fields looks like musical notes written on a stave.

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