Machu Picchu Walls

Machu Picchu, 2009

Machu Picchu, 2009

Machu Picchu, 2009

Machu Picchu, 2009

I haven’t included many photos from my 2009 trip to Peru in this blog – until today.
The choice of photogenic walls in my collection is huge: the Great Wall of China, graffiti on walls in San Francisco and Toronto, stone walls throughout Peru, sleepy garden walls in England, or highly decorated temple walls in Thailand. Too many walls, too few blog posts.  So here are a couple of examples of the amazing stone work that is Machu Picchu, Peru, a Unesco world heritage site

There are lots more walls by others you might want to check out.

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Tourists at Ayutthaya, Thailand

Tourists take photos. Bunty takes photos of photographers.

Tourists take photos. Bunty takes photos of photographers.

Tourists stand in the shade to get information.  Bunty takes their photo instead of listening.

Tourists stand in the shade to get information. Bunty takes their photo instead of listening.

Behind every photographer is a patient partner.

Behind every photographer is a patient partner.

The best description of Ayutthaya is offered by UNESCO. More of the photos of my visit are in the post immediately previous to this one.

Ayutthaya-1-8

Ayutthaya-1-7

More of Thailand to come….

Elephant Trunk Hill

Elephant Trunk Hill.

Elephant Trunk Hill.

After two nights in Yangshuo we bussed back to Guilin for a relaxing walk around the waterfront park with its elephant trunk hill. Guilin – probably because it has an airport – is the home base for touring the Li River, though Yangshuo is where my tour was centred.

Around the corner from the  elephant trunk.

Around the corner from the elephant trunk.

An overview of the area around the park and hill.

An overview of the area around the park and hill.

Graceful arched bridge.

Graceful arched bridge.

Fellow travellers waving from the bridge.

Fellow travellers waving from the bridge.

Next Post: More from the waterfront park in Guilin – street photography.

Li River – Tourism

Waiting for the next tour group.

Waiting for the next tour group.

Taking foreign and Chinese tourists on the lovely River Li is a booming business for the town of Yangshuo and the neighbouring city of Guilin; the name of Guilin is probably more familiar to westerners than Yangshuo. Our boat was bigger (and uglier) than the colourful boats pictured here. There were about 40 of us (a combination of buses 2 and 3 from the Sinorama 21-day tours) so the smaller boats would not have been big enough.

Looking back towards the village of Yangshuo.

Looking back towards the village of Yangshuo.

Chinese tourists always waved at us.

Chinese tourists always waved at us.

A private boat, and photographer.

A private boat, and photographer.

Some boats put in to shop at vendors on the riverside. Ours did not!

Some boats put in to shop at vendors on the riverside. Ours did not!

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

Humble Administrator’s Garden – Suzhou #2

The main house and entry to the garden surrounded by a courtyard overlooking the largest part of the pond.

The main house and entry to the garden surrounded by a courtyard overlooking the largest part of the pond.

The largest garden in Suzhou — nearly 52,000 square meters — is the Humble Administrator’s Garden.  It was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) for a former government worker and poet, Wang Xianchen (王献臣).

Black and White version of the same photo.

Black and White version of the same photo.

Along with bridges, pavilions and islands, the architecture of the buildings retains Ming Dynasty characteristics. The garden gets its name after Wang’s desire to retire from politics and live a humble life.  Note that in China administrators were usually political (and perhaps they still are.)

With water as the main theme, the lake in the center of the garden occupies about 20 percent of the space and is filled with giant lotus plants in summer.

A lady singing traditional songs and playing a stringed instrument.

A lady singing traditional songs and playing a stringed instrument.

Another part of the pond, with koi and water lilies.

Another part of the pond, with koi and water lilies.

Multi-generational families enjoying the garden.

Multi-generational families enjoying the garden.

Beautiful views wherever you looked.

Beautiful views wherever you looked.

Anyone know what this flowering bulb is?  Please leave a comment if you do!

Anyone know what this flowering bulb is? Please leave a comment if you do!

Next post: Details from the garden.

Venice of the East – Suzhou #1

Suzhou is one of the places our tour should have shown us more of. I just looked at the map given to us by our hotel, and can’t believe how little we saw. This was partly due to the questionable logistics of flying us into the far eastern side of Shanghai and then bussing us (and getting us caught in a Friday traffic jam) to the western side of Shanghai where Suzhou is located.

We stopped at one bridge: the Everlasting Bridge (Wannian Qiao) over one fairly boring section of the city moat.  Also part of the site were a gate through a reconstructed part of the city wall (sorry, no photos), and a larger-than-life statue of Wu Zixu.

Everlasting Bridge - going up

Everlasting Bridge – going up

Everlasting Bridge, looking down.

Everlasting Bridge, looking down.

Suzhou is know as the Venice of the East because of its many canals. You can Google ‘Images’ for  ‘Suzhou canals’ to see what we missed and what you should see if you go there.

Suzhou moat looking one way (compass direction impossible to tell with the smog.)

Suzhou moat looking one way (compass direction impossible to tell with the smog.)

Suzhou moat looking in the other direction.   To be honest, I did not notice all the fishers when I took this picture, but I cropped it to show just them because the rest of the view was uninspiring.

Suzhou moat looking in the other direction. To be honest, I did not notice all the fishers when I took this picture, but I cropped it to show just them because the rest of the view was uninspiring.

Across from the fishers. See another tour group in the background?

Across from the fishers. See another tour group in the background?

Dragon boat detail.

Dragon boat detail.

Wu Zixu was the founding designer and urban planner of Suzhou city in 514 B.C.  Historical records suggest that Wu Zixu lived near to where his statue can be found.

Wu Zixu

Wu Zixu

You can find more information about the bridge, the gate and Wu Zixu here.

Next Post: A Chinese Garden in Suzhou