Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hanoi (30.06.09)

I came back to Lao Cai and took a night train to Hanoi. It's an unique and unbelievable city. There are so many beautiful buildings, all having French colonial architecture. The city is very crowded. There is a river of motorcycle flowing down the streets. Crossing the street is not easy, but can be done. In the center there is the Hoan Kiem lake. The most of the touristics sites are around this lake, in either Old quarter or French quarter. I visited the Ho Chi Min mausoleum - same soviet style like others. The presidential palace is so lovely. The Opera house is another attraction. I visited the Temple of Literature but was not too impressed. I read about Hoa Lo Prison (named Hanoi Hilton) but it didn't seem so scary from outside. One-Pillar Pagoda was somehow interesting. I passed on the Ho Chi Min museum. The army museum was close and didn't bother to come another day.
It is hot during the day. If that's not enough, it also rains every day. Despite all this, there is an undefined charm and it's a cool experience being here.

Sa Pa (27.06.09)

From Lijiang I took a nightbus to Kunming. I had to spend here few days until I got my visa for Vietnam. From Kunming I took another night bus to Hekou. I cross the border in Vietnam at Lao Cai. I tooke a minibus to Sa Pa, which is a small a popular city . A lot of people come here to escape the heat. It is located in the mountains and there are beautiful rice terraces all over the places. It's a very nice place to be. However, it rains every day. I visited a village named Cat Cat down in the valley. The food is good (finally).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tragical loss

My beloved laptop is gone. Along with my Romanian passport. I have forgot it in the hostel in Kunming, China. While I do have double backup of all the pictures, I did loss some priceless personal files. Now great stories from my 10 years immigrant life will be left untold and unheard.
Now I have a bit more time to enjoy the life and a bit less weight and things to worry about.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lijiang (21.06.09)

Lijiang is an UNESCO site. The old city looks a lot like Dali; the difference are that the streets are narrow and have many turns and there are few canals filled with running water. The city is so crowded and full of tourists. There is one street full of bars, one after another.
One of the attractions is the Black Dragon Pool. Is a park with a nice lake; there is an arched bridge accross it and a pagoda. I also climb the Elephant hill from where I had a panoramic view across the city. I didn't find anything in the new Lijiang city; just a tipical big chinese city.
I went to the north of the city to visit Baisha but I was dissapointed. Another day I went to the west ot the city to visit a traditional village. The view from the hills was nice, but we couldn't find anybody home.

Tiger Leaping Gorge (15.06.09)

This is definetely the nicest hike I had on this vacation. It was somehow easy and the scenery was so beautiful. The first park was a gentle but long slope. After lunch I had to put a little effort to go up few hundred meters. The last part of the hike in the first day was pretty much at the same level, more like a walk in the park. At the guesthouse I stayed I had a well deserved beer. The mountains on the other side of the gorge are majestic. The conds part of the hike was very easy, I just went down.
The legend says that the gorge is so narrow a tiger could leap from one side to the other (using a big rock in the middle of the river). The rock seems to be the main attraction of the place, since I saw around 30 buses full of tourists who came to see it.

Shangri La (13.06.09)

One of the last cities toward the Tibetan world is Shangri La. It is said that the city is an actual tibetan city, even though is not in Tibet, but in the Yunnan Province. City is located at 3200 m altitude. Sky seems closer. The old town is made of wooden building. I do not know if is a chinese style or tibetan style. On a Saturday evening I saw traditional dancing in the central square. There is a tibetan temple on the hill, at the edge of the old town, and next to it there is a rotating golden tower with religious symbols on it.
Few kilometers north of the city there is the biggest tibetan monastery outside of the Tibet (Songzanli). The scenery around is breathtaking.

Dali (09.06.09)

I have been so lazy. I came to this small relaxing city named Dali and stayed 9 days. It's like a big village, situated at hig altitude (around 2000m). I stayed in the old city. It is very commercial - every single house has a business on the first flo0r. Plenty of tourist on the street, mostly chinese. A couple of day I rented a bike and cycled arround. I have been through rice fields to the Erhai lake and arround. I made it to the new town which is not interesting at all.
I did a bit of climbing on the nearby mountain (Cangshan). The faimous site is the Three Pagodas.

Kunming (01.06.09)

I travelled quite a bit lately. I returned from Osaka to Shanghai (2 days on cruise ship). I took a train to Hangzhou (to see a friend), and then a train to Kunming (2 days). I have seen from the train a dozen of beautiful little villages.
I didn't like Kunming at all. It's a big city, very crowded and commercial. I just stayed for the day. There is a beautifull park named Green Lake.

Censorship in China

I came back to China and to my surprise I could NOT access my blog anymore. Goverment of China has decided is best to block few sites. I think they were afraid of a rise, since it was approaching the 20 years anniversary of Tienamen massacre. For few days they even blocked the hotmail too.

I took the picture bellow in Chongquing on 29/04/09 . It is a poor guy who set himself on fire because he didn't get the money the goverment owed him (according to the letters he left on the site). In this case, I do believe this is stupid and this doesn't neccessary needs to be seen on news (bloody car accidents with plenty of deads are more popular).

Bye the way, the guy wasn't dead...just burned to some degree. Police didn't arrest anybody.