This is the second time I’ve visited China in the past year. Last autumn I enjoyed snuggling the affectionate kitties at Chengdu’s Peekaboo Cat Cafe, so I decided to see what Beijing has to offer too.
China has an ancient history but the country is technically quite young. After a brutal occupation by Japan up until the end of WWII and a civil war that forced the losing side out to Taiwan, Mao Zedong and his Communist Party formed The People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. Seventy years later, I just happen to be in Beijing. What better place to join in the celebrations.
Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan, that region of China famous for its spicy food. Chillies are a vital ingredient in almost every dish but what’s not well known is that chili peppers originated in South America – not Asia – and have only been part of Sichuan cooking for around 300 years.
Continue reading “Chengdu – Home of Mouth-Numbing Sichuan Pepper”
I’m stopping over in Chengdu China on my way back from visiting the “Stans” of Central Asia. Chengdu is famous as the home of the endangered Giant Panda. The weather here is perfect for them – warm and wet – just what you want for growing lots of bamboo. I’m very lucky that it’s actually clear and sunny! A rare occurrence, especially in winter, and a great opportunity to capture some photos of people enjoying themselves outside.
Continue reading “Chengdu China – Home of the Giant Panda”
Urumqi, China isn’t on anyone’s travel bucket list. My good friend, Charles, and I only ended up here due to bad planning. And a cheap flight. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it has terrible air pollution and there’s just really very little for a tourist to see. Or is there? If frequent travel has taught me anything, it’s that everywhere is interesting and how much you like a place has a lot more to do with your state of mind than the place itself. Here are a few of the things I enjoyed seeing in this rarely visited city. Continue reading “Finding beauty in the most unexpected places”
The same snowstorm that turned Almaty into a winter wonderland also hit Urumqi, only much harder. It feels kind of crazy to be back in the same city where we began this trip six weeks ago… but it sure does look different now. Continue reading “Freak Snowstorm in Urumqi, China”
We left Kashgar early in the morning. It stays dark here really late into the morning because all of China is in the same time zone.
Before leaving town, our driver had to gas up the car. Gas stations in Western China are heavily secured. No passengers are allowed, so we had to walk around the outside of the the station while our driver showed her ID, let security search the car, then fill up.
After a few days in surprisingly pleasant Urumqi, we figured it was time to start heading west. West to the “Stans”.
Distances are big in China. Don’t let the crowded nature of this country fool you, it’s vast. We lucked out and managed to get sleeper seats for the 12-hour ride to Kuche, a town rarely visited by western tourists.
I’ve just arrived in Urumqi, the largest city in Western China and once a major hub on the Silk Road. I didn’t get to my hostel until 4am but there’s no better way to get over jet lag than to get up early and do what everyone else does on a warm Saturday morning – go to the People’s Park.