Family Reunion In Yunnan
Trip Start Oct 20, 2010
14Trip End Feb 07, 2011
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Where I stayed
Lijiang vacation home
Yuanyang rice terrace is a world heritage site and its pictures have been on many photography books and National Geographic covers. Since it is not too far from Mengzi we decided to hire a car to see it. It took us about 2 hours but the higher we went into the mountain, the foggier it got. By the time we arrived Xianje, the town near the terrace, the fog was so thick we couldn't see 10 feet in front of us
We arrived at our Lijiang vacation home in the early morning hour of Dec. 24. We had a few days to ourselves to get everything in order before the arrival of the rest of the family. Ray and I had our Christmas dinner at a traditional Naxi (the major ethnic group in Lijiang) restaurant. We had free range chicken hot pot and it tasted better than any of the turkey dinners I made for past Christmas.
We took a train to Kunming – the capital of Yunnan to wait for DiDi and Liz
DiDi and Liz arrived from Hong Kong to Kunming on 29th. This was their first trip to China and Yunnan. Everything – food, people, scenery and even bathroom - were new experiences. My friend in Kunming took us out for a classic Yunnan dish called “Cross Bridge Rice Noodles”. It was made of very, very hot chicken soup and thin sliced meat, fish and vegetables. The foods are dropped into the hot soup and cooked instantly. This was the design by a loving wife who wanted to be sure that the meal delivered to her husband who was busy studying at the studio would remain hot and tasty even though she had to carried the noodles for a long distance and crossed many bridges
Ling Ling and Srin arrived on New Year’s Eve. At dinner time, Ling Ling handed us our surprise Christmas present – an ultrasound picture of our first grandchild. We finally will join the “grandparent” club in July. We all toasted for this great news! At our Lijang apartment Ray enjoyed his 2nd 70th birthday cake, this time with the family around him. Lijiang probably has the best January weather in whole China– it is cool in the morning and evening but warms up nicely when the sun is out. We took the bus (for 1 RMB or 15 cents) all over Lijiang and stopped at the Black Dragon Lake. It was full of local people out with family walking around and dancing in the plaza. We took a day tour to Jade Dragon Mountain
We all flew to Xian to visit the famous Terracotta Warrior. Even though this was my 3rd visit to this museum, the live like clay solder, with all the details of his hair style, armor, weapon and the horse and carts still brings thrills to my body. It was hard to imagine the sophistic workmanship existed 2000 years ago in China. Xian was the capital of 13 feudal dynasties dated back 2500 years. During the Tang dynasty, a young monk Xuanzang spent 14 years walking through desserts, high mountains and vast uninhabitable lands to reach India. He brought back the Buddhist scriptures and spent the rest of his life translated these Buddhist text into Chinese. The Big Wild Goose Pagoda was built in the year of 652 to store the Buddhist sutras and celebrating Xuanzang’s accomplishment and it still stands at the center of Xian city today
After Xian, Didi and Liz flew to Shanghai and spent two days at my brother’s luxury apartment before returning home. Ling Ling, Srin returned to Lijiang with us and spent a few more wonderful days walking and getting to know the town. In the original planning, Ling Ling and Srin had wanted to hike through the “Tiger Leaping Gorge” - a strenuous 2 day hike up and down the gorge. Given the delicate condition Ling Ling is now, they settled with a nice, easy hike up the Elephant Mountain. Tiger Leaping Gorge would have to wait until their next visit. Two weeks was really not enough to see a lot in China. We just hoped this introduction of China and Chinese history will be enough to lure our children back to China soon.