Crowds at The Grand Palace, Bangkok

Before you can enter Buddhist temples and Thai Palaces, you must be appropriately dressed.  That means no shorts for men or women.   The tour group below doesn’t seem to have been very well prepared because many seem to have visited the same shop to continue their tour.

 

Bangkok Palace and Temple

 

This crowd photo below explains why we didn’t stay very long at the Grand Palace. That, and the heat. I notice from the photos’  metadata that all my pictures from this palace visit were taken within an hour!

Bangkok Palace and Temple

Nonetheless, I managed to get a lot of people-less photos.

I wanted to capture these workers, who appeared to be repairing plaster on the underside of a roof overhang. No safety equipment except the shirt, which reads, “this is my lucky shirt.”

"This is my lucky shirt"

“This is my lucky shirt”

More detail from the Grand Palace in the previous and the next post.

Macau – Street Scenes

Below St. Paul's facade

Below St. Paul’s facade

The photo above gives some idea of the tourist traffic in and around St. Paul’s facade.

The following two photos are of the narrow street leading from the remaining facade of St. Paul’s to Senado Square.

On the tourist route between St. Paul's and Senado square.

On the tourist route between St. Paul’s and Senado square.

On the tourist route between St. Paul's and Sedano square.

On the tourist route between St. Paul’s and Sedano square.

The layout of the tiles in Senado Square, in the middle of the touristy area of Macau, gave a tromp d’oeil feeling of an uneven plaza.  The ground is perfectly level but even the pictures are deceiving.  I don’t know if the phone holder is taking a ‘selfie’ or a shot of the plaza.

Senado Square

Senado Square

Senado Square

Senado Square

 

This next “street photo” was taken in Zhuhai near the Fisher Girl, similar to a photo from a couple of posts ago, except that a beggar has been added to the scene.  We did see beggars at some tourist sites, but not very many.

 

Zhuahai

Zhuahai

The following photo is an orphan, not having any relatives in any other post.  We thought the red jacket might have belonged to Mao (?)

In Coloane between our hotel and Taipa. This building may have been part of the "City of Dreams" but there didn't seem to be much life around it.

In Coloane between our hotel and Taipa. This building may have been part of the “City of Dreams” but there didn’t seem to be much life around it.

And finally, a shot of an ad for a CANADIAN English language school. It was a bit of a surprise to me to learn recently that in Prince Edward Island, Canada, where I live, the most-spoken language after English and French is Chinese. After thinking about it for a while, I’m not really surprised at all!

In the 'city' of Taipa in the northern half of the island which makes up the bottom half of Macau.

In the ‘city’ of Taipa in the northern half of the island which makes up the bottom half of Macau.

Conspicuous Consumption Chongqing

Ah, Mont Blanc. I still dream of owning one some day.

Ah, Mont Blanc. I still dream of owning one of you some day.

The ads and the high-end stores would have you believe that much money is being spent in China on luxury goods.  Our tour guides told us several times that Chinese people with money do like to show it off.  We found that branded goods –  at least the ones we looked at: Apple products, and cameras – were much more expensive in China.

The faded look to the buildings is because of - your guessed it - smog.

The faded look to the buildings is because of – you guessed it – smog.

I don't suppose Samsung is considered a glamourous item these days.

I don’t suppose Samsung is considered a luxury
item these days.

Classical columns and giant ads front one shopping arcade.

Classical columns and giant ads front one shopping arcade.

Another interesting side note on consumption was that we were given two opportunities for buying knock-offs, another product for which China is known.

I liked the graphics on this window.  We were inside this shopping centre because someone in our group had discovered that the washrooms were really nice!

I liked the graphics on this window. We were inside this shopping centre because someone in our group had discovered that the washrooms were really nice!

Warning: selfie below…

I have never understood the fascination with high end purses...

I have never understood the fascination with high end purses…

Next Chinese post: more from Chongqing’s high-end shopping district.

People Rule!

As part of a tour of China, where the People’s Republic has a hand in the itinerary, we tourists get taken to People’s monuments. In Chongqing we were dropped off in People’s Square just in front of the Hall of the People.

I believe you had to pay to get in. Not part of the tour....

I believe you had to pay to get in. Not part of the tour….

Across the Square is the Three Gorges Museum – visible behind the arch –  which was not part of our visit. But we wandered up and down the plaza…turned loose with very little explanation other than the time we were to return to the bus.

Wet, but the rain had stopped. An immense plaza .

Wet, but the rain had stopped. An immense plaza looking down from the Hall.

The plaza looking towards the Hall of the People.

The plaza looking back towards the Hall of the People.

And an even longer view of the plaza.

Mom, in her heels, can’t keep up!

The chap in the yellow shirt was our wonderful tour guide.

The chap with the yellow jacket around his waist was our wonderful tour guide.

No idea who this is or what it represents. No English translation.

No idea who this is or what it represents. No English translation.

Ghost City, Fengdu China

A beautiful entrance to the Ghost City proper.  It was very foggy/smoggy and humid.

A beautiful entrance to the Ghost City proper. It was very foggy/smoggy and humid.

It was a steamy and smoggy day when we were offered a ‘free’ tour of The Ghost City. In other words, this tour was included in our overall tour/cruise price. Fengdu is 170 Km downstream from Chongqing and it was our last excursion before we docked and debarked the next morning.  There was a considerable amount of uphill trekking to get to the site entrance. And considerably more to get to the more esoteric aspects of the ghostly city.

Another view of the entrance area.

Another view of the entrance area.

An interesting thing about Chinese floral displays was that they were not planted in the ground, but left in their pots.  Is there something to be learned by northern park designers from this?  There certainly didn't appear to be much vandalism - but then in China, in 'official' places you wouldn't expect any.

An interesting thing about Chinese floral displays was that they were not planted in the ground, but left in their pots. Is there something to be learned by northern park designers from this? There certainly didn’t appear to be much vandalism – but then in China, in ‘official’ places you wouldn’t expect any.

The city has been around for nearly 2,000 years, filling it with a spooky sense of the past. The story begins back in the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE), when two officials decided to run away and live out their lives, where they eventually, the story goes, became immortal. Yin and Wang, the names of the officials, were combined during a later dynasty to mean “King of the Underworld.”There is background to be found here and here.

Superficially, Fengdu looked like a fairly typical older shrine.

Fairly typical Chinese architecture, roof lines and colour.

Fairly typical Chinese architecture, roof lines and colour.

Painting detail.

Painting detail.

Roof detail; mythical figures.

Roof detail; mythical figures.

A terrace for gathering and meditating on what one has seen?

A terrace for gathering and meditating on what one has seen?

 

The end of the tour - vendors selling all manner of spirited souvenirs.

The end of the tour – vendors selling all manner of spirited souvenirs.

There was a long set of stairs back down to the cruise ship.

Returning to the ship from Fengdu.

Returning to the ship from Fengdu.

That’s enough photos for one post, and a good storyteller leaves things hanging.
The next post will include the ghost-like aspect of Fengdu.

Little Boats

The Yangtze River is an important waterway for commerce of all magnitude, from one-person fishing craft to huge barges and fair-sized cruise ships.

In this post are a selection of small boats.  Well, the first one isn’t actually a boat!

Not a boat, but a marker buoy!

A marker buoy!

A hard life on dirty water.

A hard life on dirty water.

On our second day of the cruise we transferred to smaller tour boats to visit the higher reaches of some of the gorges which you can see here.  These two photos show details from our smaller tour boat.

A boatsman repairs a rope.

A boatsman repairs a rope.

Our tour boat's bumper.

Our tour boat’s bumper.

While we were on the tour up-gorge, there were numerous other smallish boats, including ones containing only Chinese tourists.

We did a double take on the fellow at the prow of the boat. Mao Tse-Tung come back to life?

We did a double take on the fellow at the prow of the boat. Mao Tse-Tung come back to life?

When we returned to the mooring of the cruise ship we were met by a friendly mobile shrimp vendor. Judging by the colour and content of the water in the Yangtze, it would not have been my choice for a healthy lunch.

Lunch!  Fresh right here!

Lunch! Fresh right here!

A couple of the Chinese passengers with us did buy these tiny shrimp.

A couple of the Chinese passengers with us did buy these tiny shrimp.

Next post: bigger boats – probably more properly termed ships.

Lazy Three Gorges Tourism

Bus tours - get out of the way!  (Oh, that includes me!)

Bus tours – get out of the way! (Oh, that includes me!)

These first photos are from day one on the Yangtze Gorge tour upriver from Yichang, but before we reached the Three Gorges Dam.  The buses (above) seemed to be parked in the middle of nowhere, but perhaps that’s where the drivers go to get away from the passengers.

There was a morning tour off the boat but many of us declined the offer to take it.  After ten very busy days we were thoroughly enjoying the chance to just sit, watch, read, sketch or sleep.

These photos of the place where we stopped were taken from the boat.  Where were we?  Please comment if you know!

Tourism Fengje-3079

In the next photo there are a number of poles on the right which bear some similarity to west coast First Nation totem poles.

Tourism Fengje-3070

Tourism Fengje-3072

The next three photos were taken from the ship in the afternoon of our second day on the Yangtze after a morning tour of the upper gorges on a smaller boat. (Photos from that excursion will come later.) There was optional tour in this area but I didn’t go, instead attempting a watercolour of the tower and the buildings around it. (It didn’t turn out at all well!)  Is this Fengjie and the White Emperor City?

Tourism Fengje-3299

Tourism Fengje-3301

Tourism Fengje-3304

Next post: The Three Gorges Dam