tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:/posts China Trip 2009 2013-10-08T15:34:21Z Stephen Daniels tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59762 2009-07-11T18:39:44Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Tickets and bumf for China trip

My China pack arrived the other day.  It contains my flight tickets, and tags etc., but they also included a Lonely Planet Mandarin phrasebook, and an excellent guide on everything to prepare for photographing and viewing the eclipse on the 22nd.  Can’t wait!

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59759 2009-07-13T00:11:00Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Making a solar filter for my camera

Using a cheap Jessops skylight lens, a pack of Baader AstroSolar™ film, and a few spots of Araldite®, I am making a filer for my Canon SLR so I can get a few (pea-sized) shots of the sun as the moon eclipses it, without burning out my eyes or my camera’s CCD sensor.  All I need now is clear skies.

I’ll have a practice round tomorrow in the garden.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59756 2009-07-16T13:25:37Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Test photos of the Sun and Moon
Well here are the results of my tests - the round one is the sun with a 200mm zoom, and a 2x magnifier and a solar filter.  The second is the moon with the saame configuration apart from the solar filter.
 
You can see the focus isn't ideal, but provided it's sunny, I should be able to get a good enough shot of the diamond ring!  I've got all my settings worked out, so no farting around at the crucial moment!

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59753 2009-07-17T06:59:07Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Well so much for travelling light

I was full of big ideas about going out with nothing, and coming back with my bags full.  Pah.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59750 2009-07-17T07:10:05Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Heading for Glasgow in 45mins. Now what have I forgotten..? ]]> Stephen Daniels tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59747 2009-07-18T16:02:38Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z A fish supper in Hong kong... It comes in 2 varieties.  Scoop-your-own (dried fish bits), or Catch-you-own (live fish).  It is very humid here tonight.  

They have a Level 3 Typhoon Warning for tonight, so I'm hoping it will have blown through by the morning.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59744 2009-07-19T18:31:46Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Cyclone passes through in the night

It leaves a bit of damage behind it after reaching 'Signal 9' at about 2am.  These trees were outside the hotel's side entrance.  They were gone by the end of the day.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59741 2009-07-19T18:37:16Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Geek heaven This is the Golden Computer Arcade which is 2 floors crammed full of many many individual 'shop counters' where you can get every computer accessory available.  I could have spent have the afternoon in there.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59740 2009-07-19T18:42:46Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Hong Kong Island from across the harbour in Kowloon

This is the view of Hong Kong Island from the Star Ferry Pier in Kowloon.  The buildings flash all their lights every night at 8pm - apparently to music (though I didn't hear any).

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59737 2009-07-19T18:45:04Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Busy streets at night-fall Double-decker buses just like Edinburgh, but a lot busier with shoppers as night falls.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59735 2009-07-20T14:45:00Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z The Star Ferry to Hong Kong Island It only costs about 26p per journey - must be the best bargain in town.  Takes about 10 minutes to cross.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Ferry

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59733 2009-07-20T15:01:07Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Some street pics from around Hong Kong city There were a few ladies very unhappy with Citibank for pinching their life savings, apparently.  I'd be mad too.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59730 2009-07-20T15:16:29Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Gross sight in fish market

Not sure how well it will come through on video, but I guess by leaving a chopped-up fish alive enough to let its heart still beat indicates the freshness of the fish.

The fish swimming in tubs of water seemed evidently more fresh to me (and a little more jolly I'd imagine).
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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59727 2009-07-21T14:45:40Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z The Great (fire)Wall of China

Hmm.  It seems Twitter is one of the banned sites this side of the Great Wall, so no direct tweets from me (who said thank god?).  Luckily my posterous blog cross posts to Twitter in the US!

Arrived in Shanghai after some cancelled flights nonsense.  Lovely hotel, and this is the view from my bedroom window.

It's not looking good for the weather tomorrow - I think we will have a rained-out eclipse, looks like I should start planning for Eclipse USA 2017.
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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59724 2009-07-22T14:45:05Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Eclipse of the Sun Here are my photos from from what I am told was a total eclipse of the sun.
We headed down a narrow lane just outside Shanghai to a small open park area where a few seats had been set out for us and other spectators.  We were all expecting cloud, and in this respect our expectations were met.
In the 70mins before totality, we given a few glimpses of the sun through the clouds.  it does kind of look like it is laughing at us.
of course it did go as dark as night.  All the crickets that had been chirping away about doubled the noise they were making, and it cot several degrees colder for about 20mins.
Just as it ended, it started to pour with rain.  I wonder if the temperature change had anything to do with it..?
I managed to get a quick shot of Shanghai city lights glowing in the distance, just as the sun came back.
Result: Fail.  Actions: USA 2017 (or maybe Australia 2012?).

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59721 2009-07-23T16:07:45Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Silk worms doing their thing It was a visit to a silk factory (and adjoining shop, of course) this morning.  Actually I found it quite interesting to see the whole cycle, and how they make the finished product.
The first pic is a moth emerging from the cocoon (normally they are baked or boiled before this happens, as the moth bites and breaks the thread as it emerges.
Following images show the silk thread being teased from the cocoon and spun into thread reels.
Finally, workers are making a silk duvet filler by stretching out great wads of the stuff.  

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59718 2009-07-23T16:09:40Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Crispy fried sparrows...

... or something like that.  Seemed to be popular with the Japanese tourists.  I'm not sure if they eat them bones-and-all.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59715 2009-07-23T16:21:43Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Shanghai Maglev Train This is the only commercially operating maglev train the world.  it operates between Shanghai's airport and the city centre 30kms away.  The journey takes just over 7 minutes, and gets up to a top speed of 431kph (or 268mph).  The train floats about 1cm above the 'track' so I was told.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59770 2009-07-23T16:40:47Z 2013-10-08T15:34:21Z Shanghai buildings illuminated at night (seen from the River) These pictures were taken from a boat on the River Huangpu - quite difficult to take photos from a moving boat, and not have them all turn out blurry.  Old Shanghai buildings (from the British building days), vs. the new Shanghai buildings.
Almost no skyscraper here goes without some sort of decorative roof, or other interesting feature.

Not sure what my internet access may be like these next few days, so I may vanish for a bit.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59768 2009-07-24T21:58:04Z 2013-10-08T15:34:21Z Limestone caves at Guilin This is a large cave inside one of the many limestone mountains of the Guilin area.  This particular one is in Seven Star Park.  The choice of lighting can be a little bit gaudy at times, but it was still an amazing place to be, not least because it was an even 20°C inside, and stays at that all year round (good for making very strong rice wine in the guide told us).
As I left I got a look at the park Panda enjoying his nap away from the mid-day sun, in his enclosure.  He fell asleep in the middle of his lunch, so the bamboo leaves are still in his mouth (a very a agreeable way to nod-ff I think).

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59766 2009-07-25T18:20:50Z 2013-10-08T15:34:21Z The limestone mountains of the Li River valley Guangxi Province is home to some amazing geology.  I went a bit snap happy today as we sailed up the Li River for over 4 hours, amongst the Limestone mountains.

If this blog software works as expected, this is the order of the pictures:

  1. Heading off in the flat bottomed boats
  2. The first of the limestone mountains.  The peaks that remain are actually a mix of limestone and granite, making them stronger than the surrounding limestone, and hence why they have survived the erosion.
  3. The large green fingers of vegetation to the left of this photo is bamboo and it's bushy leaves.  Appeared in some hidden dragon film thingy apparently.
  4. Cormorants ready to head out for a day's fishing - see the HSBC ad for more details, or even better, the BBC's Wild China programme (DVD available now from Amazon for less than 9 quid).
  5. Boat-side traders get ready to meet us in the middle of the river, and flog us some of their wares.
  6. More limestone
  7. Yet more limestone
  8. The Loo!
  9. the view from the loo!  Must be the best view I have ever wee'd to!!
  10. Cat's Ears mountain formation
  11. Same as above, but in close-up, and with tasteful inclusion of bamboo plants.
  12. Another river-boat overtakes us.
  13. Oh yum - some Snake Wine being dished out (it was gross apparently).
  14. This is the view that appears on the back of the 20 Yuan note.
  15. This is the back of the 20 Yuan note!
  16. Somebody's dinner cooking
  17. Okay - the last limestone / bamboo combo.
  18. Me in a wee cab thingy avoiding getting soaked just after getting off the bod - it was tipping it down.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59763 2009-07-26T13:29:04Z 2013-10-08T15:34:21Z Rice paddy fields This rice paddy field is planted in the Yulonghe Scenic Area just south of Guilin - in the southern part of China.


View Larger Map

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59761 2009-07-26T14:04:55Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z "Impressions" show at Yangshuo If you are ever in the Yangshuo area, you should not miss the "Impressions" performance by Sanjie Liu - who also directed the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

It is astonishing.  It's performed out of doors in a the theatre pictured here, with a backdrop of limestone mountains.  I have 'borrowed' these pictures from the programme website (http://yxlsj.com/english, which has many more photos of the water stage it is set on), as I didn't get many good shots while I was there, plus I didn't want to watch the whole thing through a view-finder!

There are around 100 or so professional actors and 600 extras from the local villages.  The extras and the some of the actors are also river workers who have spent much of their lives making a living from the Li River.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59758 2009-07-26T14:09:10Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Clean as a whistle, and no NEDS If only cities back home had these characteristics...

This is Guilin city centre.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59755 2009-07-26T14:31:44Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Guilin from the top of Mt. Diecei (I think that's what it was called)

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59751 2009-07-26T14:42:57Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Yangshuo and it's Farmer's Market Pictures of the cooked dog excluded...

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59749 2009-07-28T15:24:26Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Small Wild Goose Pagoda This is the Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Jianfu Temple, Xi'an city.  It is one of the survivors of the Cultural Revolution (on account of it being too big to easily smash to bits!).

The white statues are what the posh people used to tie their horses to when they visited the temple back in the day.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59746 2009-07-28T15:31:54Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Dumplings and dancing Dumplings are a traditional dish of this area, and the Xi'an Dumpling Banquet gives you a post-dumpling performance too.

The dumplings are what we would consider ravioli, that is, a pasta parcel containing anything from chilli chicken to sweet walnut filling.  Very tasty.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59743 2009-07-28T15:51:09Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z A lovely pair of knockers... ...and other bits from the Xi'an Museum.

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Stephen Daniels
tag:chinatrip.posthaven.com,2013:Post/59738 2009-07-28T15:58:13Z 2013-10-08T15:34:20Z Terracotta Warriors Part 1 The Terracotta Warriors were discovered by a farmer digging a well on his farmland back in 1974.  he dug up a head, and handed it over to the Government, who despatched expert archeologists to look into the matter.  The find is now world famous.

First brought to the UK in 1985 when they visited Edinburgh (it was a full 22 years later before London secured a display), the best place to see these treasures is at the site of the find.  The photos here show:
  1. The grand entrance to the site
  2. The surrounding farmland which is typical of that under which the warriors are buried
  3. The building over Pit 1, where they were first found in the well, and where the are restored to their battle configuration.
  4. The actual farmer that found them!

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Stephen Daniels