Stone Streets and Canyons, Dali, Lijiang and Tiger Leaping Gorge
DSC_0318The footpath was such narrow it let us walk only in a line. First threee hours of the trekking was climbing and as we came to the end of area called as 28 bands we stood on a cliff. On one side there was Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and on the other side Haba Xueshan Snow Mountain was standing. The Yangtze River between these mountains which was not generous to us all the way showing its face was flowing 800 metres down with a huge sound. It was time for a break and enjoy the view of one the numerous scenes of Tiger Leaping Gorge.

We were bit anxious after trip from the rice terraces. The camera companied to us for more than 5 months was dropped into the muddy water and was not working anymore. Buying a new one would result in budget problems apparently. Fortunately it didn't take too much time to find a self-confident camera reparier in Kunming streets. It was satisfying to see the camera working again after an extra day spent in this city. Immediately we moved to Dali city in the same day.

DSC_0200Dali is an ancient capital of history's Bai and Dali Kingdom. Hence it became a commercial city nowadays and although it is not the high season there were many tourists around including local ones. We don't prefer to spend time in these kind of cities so the following day we moved to Lijiang city by bus. Lijiang used to be a prefecture in the past and was administered by Mu family. City has a unique architecture but again its destiny is the same with Dali, such a commercial city! We would like to be in nature and on the mountains more than cities. Thus we moved to Tiger Leaping Gorge which is the deepest river canyon in the world. According to the story the tiger escaping from a hunter jumped from the gorge's most narrow point 25 metres long which today still exists. We selected he footpath as our walking path along the river which has an altitude of 2000 metres above the sea. This trekking would last for 2 days. The path might be dangerous particularly on the rainy days. Thanks God the 2 days were sunny and nobody from the trekking team fell down. The first day walking took 6 hours and we ended up the day in a guest house on the mountain. We spent the night by the wooden fire with other trekkers from South Korea by singing songs. We again remembered our days in Korea and one more time experienced the Korean people's friendship in this cold night.

DSC_0585We kept on walking in early hours of the second day. We passed through the villages and waterfalls with amazing views and finished the trekking after 4 hours. We came back to Lijiang city and spent the night by having a rest. Before our Chinese visa expires we need to get out from China so from Tibet. We took a bus to Panzhihua city which seems to be a regular bus journey. But it was the most difficult journey ever in this trip. The road  was full of with cliffs and bends. It was such narrow and difficult for two vehicles pass. Apart from these we had to deal with many things inside the bus. Probably because of the nice scenery people were smoking all the time and they companied their smoking by playing Chinese songs from their mobile phones with a high sound at the midnight. They kept on spitting inside the bus without minding where they do it in the dark. Inside the bus was already a thrash bin with other rubbishes. But we were too tired to mind these things and I dared to put my head to the dirty seat, get a little bit away from the bad smelling curtain and fell into sleep. (In fact I made an intervention about the music part).
 
DSC_0599After this tiring bus journey as soon as we got to Panzhihua we bought the tickets for the train to Chengdu where there were only hard seats available. But as the train arrived to the station there were no available seats in our carrier besides many people were sitting in the corridors, sleeping in the space between two carriers, briefly any space were full of with people. I would go by standing if I was on a public bus in the city but it is not easy to go for 13 hours by standing after a exhausting bus trip. We just got into the restaurant carrier and sat on a table. We were tired and sleepy and we put our head on the table without minding the food rests on it. After a while an officer came and told us to leave so we came back to our carrier again. We realized that some pople were occupying more than one seat by sleeping on them. We had to woke them up and took our seats finally. All people in the carrier were again staring at the foreginers but we already got used to them. I don't remember how we got to Chengdu. Our entrance permission to Tibet is ready, we will spend a night in Chengdu and the following day we are moving to the capital of Tibet, Lhasa. The train journey to Lhasa will take almost two days. I hope this paragraph convince people why we are still in China. We just spent 20 hours to come from one city to other. The country is huge and the distances between the cities are big. We prefer to use trains and buses to travel but not planes if not necessary. It takes too much time and effort. Anyway if we don't count Tibet from China this article is the last post from China. Now it is time to travel to the roof of the world, Tibet.
ismail
We kept on walking in early hours of the second day. We passed through the villages and waterfalls with amazing views and finished the trekking after 4 hours. We came back to Lijiang city and spent the night by having a rest. Before our Chinese visa expires we need to get out from China so from Tibet. We took a bus to Panzhihua city which seems to be a regular bus journey. But it was the most difficult journey ever in this trip. The road  was full of with cliffs and bends. It was such narrow and difficult for two vehicles pass. Apart from these we had to deal with many things inside the bus. Probably because of the nice scenery people were smoking all the time and they companied their smoking by playing Chinese songs from their mobile phones with a high sound at the midnight. They kept on spitting inside the bus without minding where they do it in the dark. Inside the bus was already a thrash bin with other rubbishes. But we were too tired to mind these things and I dared to put my head to the dirty seat, get a little bit away from the bad smelling curtain and fell into sleep. (In fact I made an intervention about the music part). After this tiring bus journey as soon as we got to Panzhihua we bought the tickets for the train to Chengdu where there were only hard seats available. But as the train arrived to the station there were no available seats in our carrier besides many people were sitting in the corridors, sleeping in the space between two carriers, briefly any space were full of with people. I would go by standing if I was on a public bus in the city but it is not easy to go for 13 hours by standing after a exhausting bus trip. We just got into the restaurant carrier and sat on a table. We were tired and sleepy and we put our head on the table without minding the food rests on it. After a while an officer came and told us to leave so we came back to our carrier again. We realized that some pople were occupying more than one seat by sleeping on them. We had to woke them up and took our seats finally. All people in the carrier were again staring at the foreginers but we already got used to them. I don't remember how we got to Chengdu. Our entrance permission to Tibet is ready, we will spend a night in Chengdu and the following day we are moving to the capital of Tibet, Lhasa. The train journey to Lhasa will take almost two days. I hope this paragraph convince people why we are still in China. We just spent 20 hours to come from one city to other. The country is huge and the distances between the cities are big. We prefer to use trains and buses to travel but not planes if not necessary. It takes too much time and effort. Anyway if we don't count Tibet from China this article is the last post from China. Now it is time to travel to the roof of the world, Tibet.
 
The World of Hani's in Fog, Yuanyang Rice Terraces & Kunming
DSC_0091It was already 07:00 AM when we woke up. We climbed up to the roof of the guesthouse quickly. There were some restorations in the building. That must be the second reason (other than being really hard to access) why there was only 1 Chinese girl staying here except us. In fact we wanted to stay here in purpose, because the Rice Terraces that are 3000 above sea level which we traveled for hours to see was just in front of the guesthouse, glittering. The guesthouse was in the middle of the Duoyishu village and was only 20 metres away of the rice terraces. The sun was rising slowly and we could see that the rices terraces that are full with water were glittering through the foggy valley. The Hani people that built the terraces and who live around here for hundreds of years also started the day early. The women with their colorful local clothes were going to their farms through the narrow paths among the terraces. We could see some flashes belonging to the tourists over the platform on the way to the village. DSC_0124But looking at the view above was not enough. We should have gone down to the valley, to the heart of the fog through the terraces. It shouldn't have been that hard. We went into the terraces while the kids playing with the mud talking and laughing at us, we started to roam around the terraces full with water with slow and careful steps. But we noticed that it was not that easy after climbing down a few levels. The paths among the terraces were narrower than it seemed and they were mostly muddy. But the view among the terraces were incredible. Were the tourists also taking photos of us ? We kept going down, the women working in the terraces were looking at us surprised and laughing. There were so many things to take photo of. We setup the camera on the tripod for some free shot and kept roaming around. Meanwhile an old man working in the terraces came and tried to warn us about the camera but we just had a smile and didn't care at all... It was a long day, we would be going down the terraces into the fog and discover the little village and then we would be the guest for the dinner which all Sheng village have together. But there was a little problem, after 30 seconds the old man warned us; the wind has dropped our camera into one of the terraces full with water...


DSC_0073A typical China view was waiting for us when we arrived to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan which lays down in the southwest of China; crowd, people spitting, street sellers and insisting stares. We went into the crowd with our backpacks. We were in a new city again on the very last day of 2010. We would like to focus on rural China instead of spending time in big cities around southwest, that's why Kunming will be a base for our further travels. But we decided to spend the new year's eve in a large city instead of rural China, so decided to spend a few nights in Kunming. The most important difference of Kunming for us is the existance of a large muslim community which also means good food for us. As a matter of fact, we were selecting what to eat in the very first minutes of 2011. The people getting back home after the new year celebration were staring us in a weird way but as my father says "First food then love".

DSC_0068After spending the Saturday with sleeping and eating, we were again on the road to go to Xinjie, which is 300 kilometres south of Kunming. Xinjie is the base for the famous Yuanyang Rice Terraces which is only 50 kilometres away from Vietnam border. The trip was a chance to experience the intercity bus transportation in China once more; old, neglected buses, continous horns and corridors that look like a trash after the journey. Once more, I realized how much I like traveling by train when we got down in Nansha for a litte while. I noticed some curious looks while I was having some weird moves to get over the pain. We were in the lands of Hani people with their colorful clothes and their pink or dark blue headings. Some were selling some local fruits with their little kids in the back while some were waiting for the buses to their villages. Our bus hit the road again and we started to climb up the hills through the curved roads, we could see city of Nansha and the huge banana gardens down in the valley after some while. We were desperate to see the rice terraces while we finally made it to Xinjie. We got on a van to go to Duoyishu this time, the trip was long and tiring. We could finally see the rice terraces when the sun was about to set. We arrived to the village when it was getting dark and found the guesthouse walking through the muddy alleyways. We must have been suprising for the kids, otherwise why should they shout at us ?

DSC_0043The Rice Terraces in Yuanyang are around 1300 years old. They have been built by the Hani people who live here for long centuries. The most important things about the terraces are their architecture and their natural beauties. Since the rice plant should stay in the water for a long time while growing, the views are the paddy fields are great. Besides Hani people are remarkable with their culture and history. They live in rural side like most of the minorities in China and working on agriculture. We had a very interesting day after our camera was completely destroyed in the terraces early in the morning. The old man was still laughing at us while we were draining all the water in the camera. That was the time when we decided to live the moment. We were stepping much more carefully anymore, we kept going down through the terraces. We were getting into the mud sometimes or jumping from one terrace to another one... The views were getting better as we got down in the valley. We noticed that there is a village in the slope of the hill lost in the fog and moved towards the village. The old farmer working in the muddy terrace with its ox was surprised to see us, 2 strangers getting down through the terraces. It was so obvious that we didn't belong there. The first thing that attracted us the huge, black pigs roaming around the village freely. We went into the village and met with some old man sitting on stairs and smoking tobacco via a large metal tube, just like a waterpipe. Who needs the same language to communicate ? The kids of the village already arrived while they offered us to smoke. The woman of the village prefered to keep away, the babies in their back were about to cry. Is it normal that Chinese kids are getting scared of me and even running away, especially after I have a beard ?

DSC00772We left the village and climbed up the path to get out of the village and reach the main road. A guy with the van helped us and took us to the main road climbing up through the bumpy road. We then realized how down the village was, the village was in the bottom of the fog but we could see the sky above the fod when we were in the main road. It was around noon and we were already hungry. We were walking on the main road and we came accross a village. We were looking around to find a place to eat. Meanwhile some people were cooking with the huge caldrons by the road while some were cutting some meat to get cooked. This must have been a restaurant. We asked if we could eat but the answer was negative, the only way was to but some stuff from the local market. Our lunch was consisting of some nuts similar to roasted chickpea and some tangerine.


DSC00779We visited some other terraces assuming that we are full, we were feeling bad about the camera. Then I remembered that my mobile was also with me and I could take some pictures with it. We saw some great views after dropping the camera into the water, I asked İsmail if he has the mobile so we can shoot some photos but didn't even think about mine ! We decided to go back to the village to take some photos about the local life with the mobile phone. The roasted chickpea which we didn't like the taste we was tasty for the lorry driver that took us to the village. We got off the lorry in the entrance of the village and decided to walk but the village was not that crowded as before. It seemed we wouldn't be able to take photos.  After some walking the road got more crowded, we noticed that many people were eating in the houses, stores or just by the road. The woman with local clothes and their little kids were eating together in groups in the same table and some other were serving them. There were tens of these tables all along the road. Suddenly one of the woman invited us to their table. We were so hungry, we didn'y reject the offer and became their guest. There were many local woman and kids and they were all smiling at us when we sat down. I got out just before the food is ready and walked along the crowd. Then I realized that this huge meal was prepared by the guys that we saw at noon. It was not a restaurant. Instead they were getting prepared for the dinner that all the villagers get together and eat every evening and we were the only foreign guests in this dinner. The food was ready when I returned to the table, my glass was even filled with water. I realized that the drink in the glass was not water when I had the first gulp, it was a very strong alcohol. The people around the table were laughing at my reaction and the shape of my face. My dear travel-mate also joined them. The little kid next to me was still dazzled, his mouse was surrounded by rice pieces and he was trying to put some noodle into his mouth with his hand while he keeps looking at us. There was rice, chicken, fish, pig, a type of vegetable and tofu in the menu.

DSC00789After a while man came in and we were introduced to them. Then they invited us to their table. They had the same glasses, only man could drink this alcohol. The only way to communicate was the body language except a few words, anyway we couldn't communicate so often that's why the best way was to drink but drinking the liquid in the glass was so hard. It was very strong. The old guy next to me was complaining since he thought that we didn't eat and drink so much, he continuously wanted us to eat more, drink more. It was easy to tell the situation for him, he was showing his thumb for his friends, they were good at eating and drinking while he was showing his pinky to us which means we were bad at that. We kept spending time like that; talking in Chinese, getting lost in translation, lots of laughs and drinking. It was nearly evening, we should have returned home because it would be so hard to find the way back in the dark. We greeted everyone and said goodbye. It was a long walk but in the end we reached the guesthouse in the dark.

We woke up at 06:30 AM next morning and reached Kunming, to our hostel after 11 hours trip. We were tired, we still hated Chinese buses but we were happy. Yuanyang Rice Terraces and surrounding villages were not affected by tourism since it is really hard to access and they were still unique. After the disappointment we had in Guilin, we were so happy about it. We both agreed that it is the nicest place we saw after Mongolia. The bad side, we couldn't take many photos. Actually it is weird, we always have a problem in the places we like. As the Turkish saying goes "If you like the rose, you have to deal with the barbs"

Özcan

 
Lives of Li River, Guilin and Yangshuo
DSC_0613We passed through the back streets of the town and came to an area full of with tangerine trees. It was difficult to find the muddy and rocky footpath where there are no signs pointing it. While we were hiking on this path as we rised up the scenery formed by unique shaped mountains and bamboo trees was getting better. After 1,5 hour of hiking we came to an edge that we felt a bit tired. At that time the village we wanted to see appeared at the foot of the hill by the Li River. As we started moving towards the village a village man came from below with pickaxe and shovel on his shoulders. He was pointing to down and repeating his Chinese words to us. Liisa, the only Chinese speaking person among us translated this village man's words who had a different accent than usual. If you go along this way you will go to the village, that village is village where I live.

DSC_0463It was 03.30 am when we came to Guilin and the bus we got from Guangzhou dropped us in a weird place in the city. Here was neither a bus station nor the city centre. Besides it was raining and the weather was so cold. Whereas Hong Kong had such a warm weather conditions. Immediately we put on our coats, we put our bags in front of us and we started to watch the rain. By the help of the cold weather it took not much time to realize it was inconvenient time and place to perform this. The best thing to do now is sleeping, besides it is after midnight. We had better to go and sleep but to where? Once again we didn't arrange accomodation for the city we came. We opened our guide book in our computer and we came to the first  hostel in the list of the guide. The door was locked which was not surprising. Fortunately there was a responsible guy who coudln't speak English. But it doesn't matter, he had the paper showing the useful phrases in English which were translated to Chinese. Yes, it worked! There was vacancy, everything was all right. We drank our soups which Müge gave us in Shanghai and we had the shower. The next step is bed. It would be greed if we asked for more in this trip.

DSC_0959Guilin is one of the southern cities of China and the life here is going on slowly as the River Li. There are bunch of similarities with other local cities in China. The smell of the tofu is mixed with the smell of urine in the streets, there are many people selling variety of unique Chinese foods on the pavements and there are taxi drivers who are calling us with "hello" all the time. Tangerine is a common fruit grown in this region and the producers were trying to sell us these fruits in every corner by pointing them to us and saying "helloooo" again. This art of forced fruit selling once worked on me. I think the Chinese people are good at marketing or I am an easy buyer. However our reason for visiting this city was not fruits for sure. We wanted to see the rural life in countryside of China. The natural beauties with its unique mountains and rivers made our decision easier to get to here. We spent our two nights in the city before going to the counryside. The elephant hill and the camel hill was the most interesting points in the city.
 
DSC_0968We spent so much time recently in the metropols, it is time for villages now. Our roommates Dana and Liisa wanted to travel the same places with us. The minibus arranged by the hostel took us to a place by the Li River. From here we took the bamboo boat and the journey to Xing Ping town which would last for three hours had started on the river. Thanks to the good weather that we met many interesting nature scenes and people on the way. Even one of these sceneries is described on the 20 yuan of banknotes in China. As we got to Xing Ping we had a short walk in the town. The open market was so interesting where the fruit, meat and even cut pig head was sold. After a conversation by the stove in the hostel we fall asleep. The following day we came to the fisherman village after a 1.5 hour hiking. The view on the way and the village scenery from the top of the hill was perfect on the other hand we were disappointed as we came down to the village. It was not the village I used to dream about. Instead it was a village victim of tourism. As soon as we entered to the village many villagers insisted us to buy souvenirs and the huge fruits called pomele. Even one of the men asked for money to enter the village streets. Anyway we didn't pay for this but it was a disappointing behaviour. These people preferred to earn money from the people coming to their villageDSC_0903 rather than doing their traditional works. I am never against making money from tourists but obviously tourism is killing some cultural values. The sunset began and we wanted to turn back to the town by the bamboo boat. This time the village people tried cheat us by asking money four times more than regular. In the end we convinced them to pay the usual amount and we left from the disappointing village. Fortunately we were able to see the only fisherman in this trip on the way to town. The old and hump fisherman was on the river with his bamboo boat and cormorant birds on it that he use for fishing. This made me a smile on my face, the old fisherman was the only person I saw who didn't give up traditional behaviours. The view of the mountains and the river worth to see despite of these things. 

The same evening we moved to Yangshuo city by a village bus. Yangshuo city center had already affected from the tourism. Anyway I didn't mind because the following day we would go to countryside. Although mostly I don't like Chinese food the beer fish which is special food for this region was great. During our stay in Yangshuo we had the chance to get away from the city and go to some villages. These places are rural places of China consists of orange tree, strawberry gardens and rice fields. We cycled through these gardens and fields and welcomed by many villagers. Sometimes we communicated with people in the fields or should I say we tried to communicate.

DSC_0909We are traveling bit rapidly recently for our wish to get into warm countries. We just spent a night in Yangshuo and got back to Guilin. All the way to Guilin we tried to get an idea from the Hong Kong movie with Chinese subtitles. In the end of the movie the bodyguard who was responsible for protecting a girl from Hong Kong killed hundreds of people and saved the girl. He posed in front of a Chinese flag and gave us the message. As we got to Guilin we stayed in the same hostel. The girls called Cutie and Xuan who helped us buying the train tickets took us to a local restaurant in the back streets where we had a meal costing around 50 cents. Our cost for accomodation was around 4$. So this may make an idea for those who think about traveling the world is an expensive activity.

We got up at 6.00 am and I could only slept for 1.5 hour because of the damn coffee. We wanted to see the rice terraces called as Dragon Backbone in Longji and the only chance to see them was taking the first bus. As we got to the bus station we couldn't find any people speaking English. We could understand that the buses go from different station though. The information provided from the hostel was not correct. As we were trying to figure out the situation we already missed the bus and the chance to see the terraces. Because we would get the train to Kunming in the afternoon. Fortunately there are many rice terraces in Yunnan province we are heading. At least I could sleep few more hours!

DSC_1010At the moment we are in the Kunming train and Chinese travel mates already started eating as soon as the train moved forward. Some are eating chicken and throwing the bones under the beds, some are eating noodles which is a must on a Chinese train. The smell of the Chinese pickle had already reached me. Let their conversation continue which looks more like shouting I am going to put my headphones and play street hoop game. I can write the article after people go to bed. I can't write without this Chinese train atmosphere anymore. Before we used to get tired from the train journeys but nowadays it became the only chance to have a rest for us. I guess we will be able to have a rest in this 18 hours lasting journey.

There is no more noise apart from the sound of the rails and the horn of the locomotive which seems to be far from my carrier. Everybody went to sleep. There is even no more light apart from the flasher of the carrier's official who is passing by me from time to time. Dear machinist please no rushing so let me have a rest and enjoy this moment.
Photos: Guilin, Yangshuo
ismail
The sunset began and we wanted to turn back to the town by the bamboo boat. This time the village people tried cheat us by asking money four times more than regular. In the end we convinced them to pay the usual amount and we left from the disappointing village. Fortunately we were able to see the only fisherman in this trip on the way to town. The old and hump fisherman was on the river with his bamboo boat and cormorant birds on it that he use for fishing. This made me a smile on my face, the old fisherman was the only person I saw who didn't give up traditional behaviours. The view of the mountains and the river worth to see despite of these things.
 
Symphony of Lights, Hong Kong
DSC_0396We were again on the roads after spending 2 nice weeks in Shanghai. We had a daily stop in Hangzhou and got on the train to Guangzhou which took 18 hours. A surprise was waiting for us when we got off the train and got out of the station, warm and sunny weather, it seems we came south enough. We didn't lose time in Guangzhou and headed to Hong Kong right after. The visa process took place in Shenzen bay and we left China once again. Our trip to the Autonomous Region of Hong Kong went on through the bridges. We were in the middle of glittering streets and crowd when we got off the bus. We had to find a place to stay. The first hostel that we went was full so we moved to second one. When we arrived to the building that is described in the address, many foreigners that are obviously not from here surrounded us; Indians with their clear accent and Africans with their local clothes... Some of them were trying to sell watches to us while some were trying to take us to their own guesthouses. The hostel supposed to be in the 10th floor but this building didn't look like a convenient one. We decided to look for another place, this building was creepy. But we didn't have much options since there weren't many hostels in Hong Kong and they were nearly full. We went back to same building without listening to the crowd and walked through to the elevator. The situation in the elevator was weird, 2 Africans with their colorful local clothes on and 2 Turkish with backpacks. The owner of the hostel, short, around 50's with glasses met us in the hostel. We communicated with basic English and he took us to our room; 2 beds in a room not larger than a few metersquares. We found a place to spend the night again, we learnt that we were spending the night in famous Chungking Mansion which was the theme for Wong Kar-Wai's famous movie Chungking Express, next day...

DSC_0267Hong Kong caused discussions and even wars between China and England for long years and in 1997 it became an autonomous region belonging to China after belonging to England for long years. It consists of 4 region and 2 of these regions are islands. Most important of these are Hong Kong Island and Kowloon peninsula. Hong Kong Island represents the glittering side of Hong Kong with its shiny streets and attractive skyscrappers while Kowloon represents the local life with dynamic and crowded streets. The inner sea between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula is called Victoria Harbor and felt like Bosphorus to us, especially the ferries; the only missing thing were tea and bagel. There is a light show in this harbour every night. This show is known as Symphony of Lights which is done with the attendance of some of the skyscrappers in Hong Kong island and it already exists in Guiness Book of Records. In our humble opinion light shows in Bosphorus that are done in some special days are much nicer. This is our new habit lately, we compare every city we visited with İstanbul and we decide that İstanbul is nicer in all comparisons. Are we fair enough ?

DSC_0330When it gets dark, the life in two sides are also different. People spend time shopping and having dinner in the night markets while fun just starts in Hong Kong Island. There is any kind of entertainment for anyone in these lands. Although Hong Kong is an autonomous region belonging to China now, the life here looks like it still belongs to England. The traffic is in left lane, all the plates are in English first and the trams are 2 floored which is also the symbol of Hong Kong. The life here is so different than China. The nature in Hong Kong which is just next to Pacific Ocean is also really nice. We also went to Tai O Fishing Village in our last day to explore the nature. The village is a little one located in the western coast of Lantau Island. The river in the village and the stilt houses of fishermans make this village very special. We wandered around the village all the day and watched the sunset between the fishing boats. The only noise in the peaceful bay were the boats that are coming back home after a tiring day.

It is time to go west now, we are leaving Hong Kong which is located by the sea and starting to climb up slowly. The first target city is Guilin, we will be heading up to 5000 meters in a few weeks and we plan to reach to the Roof of the World. The good weather in Hong Kong will be replaced with cold weather in this period. We have to be patient until we got back to sunny weather again, the time for dancing with clouds and cold weather in mountains is getting closer...
Özcan
 
City of Skyscrapers, Shanghai
DSC_1693As the ferry already left from Japan was moving toward the sun through the shipping vessels in the vast Pacific Ocean we were still having sleeping problems due to Japanese style beds called futon. As I put my head on the bed I felt the sound of the engine inside of my head which made us unable to sleep. I don't know when I fell asleep but once again I was sleeping in the initial hours of arriving a new city. In the night the ferry had passed Pacific Ocean and quietly entered the Huangpu River through East China Sea and brought us back to China after 2 months. As we looked through out the window we were welcomed by a scene full of skyscrapers that we are familiar from TV, obviously here was Shanghai. Immediately we got out from the ferry terminal and got to the distrcit we would stay. Dinçer and Evren welcomed us at the corner of the street. We walked toward the house in a sunny sunday morning also we were chatting at the same time. As Müge opened the door of the house with a lovely smile we could smell the new prepared Turkish tea coming from inside which was a herald of a classical Turkish sunday breakfast that we miss for 5 months. It was such a surprise for us that we have been only eating noodles and drinking green tea last 2 days. This was the first day of our break which lasted 2 weeks at Mola family...

DSC_1819We just came to a new city but we never felt relaxed before. Because there were plenty of people waiting for our arrival to Shanghai. Dinçer, Müge, İlker, Evren and Ömer. Everything for our Shanghai trip was already arranged before we get here. Dinçer and his wife Müge hosted us during our stay in Shanghai. Dinçer and Özcan know each other from the university. Since Dinçer is the person who wrote Shanghai Guide that made us our trip more easy. Thanks to Müge she reminded us the taste of Turkish cuisine that we already missed. Besides she helped us about our India trip by means of sharing her 2 years India experiences. They took care of us so much that we didn't want to go out from the house for a long time. We mostly preferred to stay at home, play PES game and drink tea. Mostly İlker whom we call mayor of the city and Evren whom we call headman of the city were together with us the time when we went out. 2.5 month rookie of the city Ömer was also together with us. We also met more people like brave heart Ezel who is going to settle a new life in Bangladesh, Pınar and his husband Savaş who are already residents of Shanghai. This crowded Turkish community in Shanghai made us say the cliche words for Turkish people again. "Turkish people are everywhere." Fortunately it is. We lived in Shanghai rather then traveling by means of all these people. It was so crucial for us that it provided us a big motivation and energy for the rest of our trip. Again special thanks for all.

DSC_0062During 1800s Shanghai used to be a small fisherman village. After concession to Britain, France and Japan the city started developing rapidly and it became one of the major ports in Asia. Also its geograpchical advantages helped this. The skyscrapers rised one by one and the city turned to a trade and financial center. The number of the skyscrapers is still increasing which is making the city sink few centimeters from the ground. The latest constructions are not only representing the limits of the technology but also they are a piece of art. Most of these buildings are by the Huangpu River where the area is called as "bund". China's highest building is still being constructed in same area. It is enough to understand how the city is arranged by observing it from the 100th floor of World Financial Center which is highest building of Shanghai and was built by Japanese. By means of Expo international fair which was organized this year lots of investments were made to the city which helped the city develop also. Transportation by metro is very common and it is possible to reach any point by metro. The metro constructions in the city were started at the same time with İstanbul, which is so thought provoking for us. The illuminated streets with restaurants and famous brand shops, art galleries, theaters, museums and night life. This city doesn't seem to be similar with other Chinese cities. Even some of the traffic rules differ from other cities. Only thing made me believe that I am in China was the bicycles and Chinese people around me. On the other hand there are many expats in Shanghai. Since the city is a major point in Asia as a trade and financial center and the city provides lots of opportunities, many foreigners prefer to live here.

If we talk about China we can not skip talking about Chinese products again. Visiting fake market is so funny in Shanghai where you can find imitations of any kind of products. After our experience with Chinese products in Beijing we prefer to stay away from these products though. It is obvious that many Turkish people come here for shopping. We experienced how one of the sellers talked to us with a fluent Turkish. If you ask for the price of a product you may buy this product without realising. Because Chinese are really good at selling and bargaining.

DSC_1974We mostly stayed at home in the first week when the weather was sunny and shiny. The second week it was cold, rainy and even sometimes it snowed. But second week was the week we traveled the city. The bund area was the most exciting part of the city for us. It was a good view both in the night and day watching the ships which are semi-sinked in the muddy river. Skyscrapers by the bund were showing their faces behind smoke in the day time and they were spreading their neon lights in the night time where they make the city so colourful. By Dinçer's advices we have been many places like Yuyuan Garden, Jingan temple and Jade Buddha temple. Besides we had the chance to make a day trip to the cities close to Shanghai. In fact these cities are not close but getting the fast train made this distance less. Even these fast trains were faster than the ones in Japan. We were able to see the velocity of the train around 350 km/h on the other hand Japanese shinkansen bullet trains had the speed of 200km/h. The first city we have been was Nanjing which means south city in Chinese. Nanjing used to be China's old capital. We had the chance to see our first Confucius temple also we had the chance to Nanjing's freezing weather. How cold it was! The other day trip was to Hangzhou. This city is prefered by domestic tourists. Nature around west lake was great we had to leave the city early though. Meanwhile, if you ever want to go to a Chinese theater I would recommend you to get Chinese lessons for few years first. Otherwise you would not understand any single word.

DSC_0167The winter is coming soon. We met the first snow of the year when we were in Shanghai. We should go to south like birds. However the conditions of the trains are non qualified we love to be on the trains and roads. We are in Shanghai-Guangzhou train at the moment which will last 18 hours of journey. As we get to Guangzhou we will go to Hong Kong by bus without stopping. When we got to Hong Kong that would mean we came to south around 2000 km. South China and Tibet are next destinations. We finished our Tibet preparations in Shanghai. Because the lowest point of Tibet is 4000 metres and the weather conditions are very tough. But Başka Türlü Bir Şey will be on the road anyway...
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