Saturday, February 26, 2011

Terraced rice fields of Longji

A visit to the Yao and Zhuang villages in Longji area, Longsheng County, Guilin.

Gulin, Guangxi

Guilin is the traditional Chinese definition of a beautiful place, immortalised by a famous 12th century poem that proclaimed the city as the most beautiful place on earth - 桂林山水甲天下. Unfortunately, it rained heavily everyday we were in the city and hence we did not do much.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nanning II

Interesting historical exhibits at the Guangxi Museum - one of the very few places with Zhuang language signborads - even then there are more English explanation than Zhuang, which is fast fading in importance despite Zhuang being China's largest minority tongue.  The Zhuang people have been assimilated for a long time. The ethnic exhibits have moved to a bran new and huge complex far away in Nanning's eastern suburbs, now known as the Guangxi Nationalities Museum.

On the road in Guangxi

Friendship Pass on the Sino-Vietnamese border

The Chinese turn everything into fee-charging tourist attraction.  RMB 50 to visit this historic strategic pass.  Ancient invasion route and battlesite between the Chinese and Vietnamese and between the Chinese and the French.  We visited the exhibition halls on the Sino-French wars - none on SIno-Vietnamese wars but yes, a photo of smiling Ho Chi Minh at the pass - and also visited the Qing fort overlooking the pass.  People still cross the border.  Evidence of alot of border trade.  Modern-day fortification and watch post on the mountain top.

Huashan Rock Murals of Guangxi, China

A very rush day taking a 3 hr train ride from Nanning to Ningming County, then hop onto a rural rickshaw truck (30min) to Mingzu Shanzhai where we got onto an 1 hr boat ride - on a rusty old boat that almost couldn't start.  And through a winding river beating with cold bitter winds.  Tall cliffs on most stretches, then a huge wall of prehistoric (2000 yrs old) mysterious red murals of warriors, tribal dancing, dogs and even a queen of sorts.   Unfortunately, due to the fear of falling rocks, visitors are no longer allowed to climb onto the raised platforms next to the cliffs.  Then a long journey back to Ningming where we caught another 1 hr bus to Pingxiang, followed by a taxi ride to Friendship Pass on the Sino-Vietnamese border.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 1 in Guangxi: Yangshuo

A long absence since my first visit in 1987... Headed for Yangshuo upon arrival.  What used to be a small farming town is now a holiday resort with lots of hotels, nice shops and a tourist trap of the first order.  Ate the famous Beer Fish and watched Zhang Yimou's Impressions Yangshuo: Liu Sanjie.  Amazing show!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Exotic Places & Dodgy Places

This book - a revised edition of The Greenland Seal Hunter with photos, maps and new stories on Venezuela, Guyana, Mauritius, etc - is now available at the following book stores: Page One, Borders, Times the Bookshop, Harris, Kinokuniya, Prologue, Select Bookshops.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Edited poster: Next month's Sgtravelcafe

11th March 2011 Gathering: Namibia/Okavango/Chobe/Vic Falls by Kelly; Tonga by Wee Cheng

Kelly will be presenting "Wonders of Nature - Namibia+Okavango+Chobe+Victorial Falls", while Wee Cheng will be presenting the month's Brief Moments "Tonga - Last Kingdom of the Pacific".  

Date: 11th March 2011, Friday 730PM 
Venue: Wee Cheng's place. 
Address: 11 Pemimpin Drive #07-03 Marymount View. Singapore 576148
Time:  Door opens at 7:30pm (for usual potluck, socialising, networking, etc),
presentation will start at 8:40 pm.
(For potluck just bring a small box of pastry or a packet of noodles enough for 3-4 people or a bottle or 2 of soft drinks). 

Directions: Get out of Marymount Station (Circle Line) from Exit A. Face north and walk 400 meters. You should walk pass an overhead bridge, then Shunfu Road followed by a second overhead bridge. Cross the second bridge and Marymount View is there... at the junction of Marymount Road and Pemimpin Drive. Just opposite Shunfu Estate.
PARKING: Please park at your own risk on the roads outside, or at Shunfu Estate across the road.

See maps:

On Google Map/iphone4, type "Marymount View Singapore"

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

State of the Union

Cover image of the latest issue of the Economist