Loading...
Start a new Travel Blog! Blogabond Home Maps People Photos My Stuff

Benjamin Satterfield


33 Blog Entries
13 Trips
21 Photos

Trips:

Bhutan or Bust
China Tour Summer 2007
Living in China 1997
Japan Tour 1997
Yemen 1997
Tamil Nadu, India, 1996
Scotland Tour 2001
China Tour Spring 2005
goin home
Journey to Istanbul
China Tour Fall 2005
Benjamin Satterfield's Travel Blog
Benjamin Satterfield's Travel Blog

Shorthand link:

http://blogabond.com/scootdown


Being one of the of the first people on Blogabond I feel attached to this project.
Hanging out with it's creator, Jason Kester, gives me an advantage to making impressions on getting the site to be better and easier. While I try to catch up with him around the world and even hire him to do other cool projects, I find myself loving blogabond.com more and more.

Having been a laptop lugging world traveler for quite some time now, this site has always been like a dream for me. What better way is there to journal, scrapbook and map your adventures online? Plus, it's a great way to keep your family informed that you are still alive, and to educate them on some obscure geography along the way!

I like to travel. I like blogabond.com Are you ready for the Geospatial web, fellow traveler?



Nanjing, Day 10

Nanjing, China


We arrived in our new hotel, which was a huge 4 star hotel holding a computer conference. Although the hotel was packed for the weekend, we could tell that we were going to be spoiled here.

After check-in, we went to the Nanjing Botanical gardens nearby. This is where Robert worked a lived fro a few years. We got to meet some of his old friends and teachers and pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. We spent a few hours there going over the many different medicinal herbs, many of which Robert originally planted there in 1997. It was a lovely garden that had a new teahouse built to relax in. After sipping tea for a bit and playing with some of the local kids (balloons are a huge hit with the kids here) we went back to the hotel.

Dinner was in the city downtown, which is a decent drive from the hotel. After the meal we had free time to walk along a promenade. It was Friday night, so all the shops were open late. Here you can find anything... pirated movies or CD's (good quality ones too for $1US), pet stores, silk stores, gift shops, handcrafts, fast food, etc. It was great to hang out with the locals and haggle at the shops. It was barely enough time to even scratch the surface.

After that, it was back to the hotel, where we had to go exploring. The hotel is huge and the nicest one by far on the trip. Some of us wandered around and came across a disco... this disco is like 2 stories underground in what could be the dampest, moldiest part of the city. It looked like nobody even knew it existed! In fact, for a little while, we doubted if it even did. Going down the hallway, everyone was laughing at how surreal the wallpaper and giant mirrors were. The name David Lynch was mentioned a lot when trying to describe it to the others who didn't check it out. Anyway, it was rewarding, we found Coronas and a lit-up disco floor with a video projector behind it. We had the whole place to ourselves, so the Michael Jackson music video marathon began. Who knew we had so many good dancers on the trip?


permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 23, 2005 from Nanjing, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged Food, China, Botany, VCD, Nanjing, BotanicalGarden, TeaHouse, DVD, CD and Pirated

Send a Compliment

Chuzhou; Long Ya Mtn. Day 9

Chuzhou, China


Today we waited out the rain by having a short lecture/ class with Robert on botanical nomenclature. After finding a store that sold boots, we were ready to hike up Longya Mountain. The rain subsided a bit, and the mountain was filled with misty clean air. Robert did his best to dig up roots and hunt for plants in his poncho. There were a good amount of common medicinal herbs growing on the mountain there. That pretty much took all day, with the evening open for free time, writing postcards and early rest.

permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 22, 2005 from Chuzhou, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged China, LongyaMountain, Botany, Herbs, Medicine, CleanAir and Chuzhou

Send a Compliment

Chuzhou; Long Ya Mtn. Day 8

Chuzhou, China


This day was pretty much a driving day. The bus drove down a mixture of never ending roads that were almost entirely used by us. You'd think that the lack of traffic would get us to Chuzhou faster, but it didn't. It was a 6 hour bus drive through a rainy country side in China. Good thing we bought that 2 hour VCD of Shaolin monks fighting to watch on the TV...

It was fun to see how the local vehicles cope with the rainy roads as well.


permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 21, 2005 from Chuzhou, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged China, LongyaMountain, Chuzhou and VCD

Send a Compliment

Bozhou, Day 7

Bozhou, China


The morning started out with the Bozhou herb market, one of the largest in China. The warehouse was like an herbal COSTCO, with thousands of items for sale at wholesale prices. There was everything from scorpions to deer antlers. The locals seemed intrigued by our small troop going through the building. Not only is it strange for non-local Chinese to visit there, its simply unimaginable that people from the US would travel around the world to go there. I guess it would be like living in Lafayette, United States and seeing a bus load of Japanese tourists pile out at your COSTCO to check it out from around hte world. It was fun to wander around the many isles and explore the herbs that are not sold in the US like centipedes.

Afterwards, our guides took us to their local herb store for a quick tour before heading out to their pill factory after lunch.

The pill factory welcomed us with 2 large banners hanging on their buildings. There was even a local TV station there to record the event for local broadcasting. We were all excited by the amount of attention we got; we were treated like diplomats from the US goverment.

Inside the plant we saw the process of taking the local farmed herbs and preparing them into powders and pills for resale.

of course, most things are clinically tested and visitors and workers have to wear the lovely sterile looking uniforms. Our guides were as pleasant as ever and they invited us to dinner later at finest retaurant in town. The woner adn director of the factory said that the city's economic leader would be present at dinner and wanted to welcome the American guests in person.

Before heading back to the hotel, the plant owner gave us a quick history of the onve famous city of Bozhou. not only is this area the bitrth place of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu (Taoist founders), as well as kung fu... But it is also the birthplace of Hua Tou, the famous Chinese Dr. who formalised Traditional Chinese Medicine. We went to visit a small shrine to him in town on the way back. Hua Tou also created a set of animal exercises that sorta resemble Tai Qi practice. Here's a pic of the owner really getting into doing one of the animal forms. It was pretty fun.

The official dinner started off with a rather formal introduction, some of us felt a little underdressed, but they didn't mind. The welcomedus to their town and country and hoped that we would return again soon and bring more attention to the importance of Bozhou in the herb growing market.

The dinner adn hotel was amazing. It was the best nite yet. After about 100 shots and various toasts to almost everyone... we were ready to call it a nite and asked robert if we could sleep in the next day.

there was one last photo op before we left. We felt like we were part of the UN.

permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 20, 2005 from Bozhou, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged China, Herbs, Kungfu, Bozhou, Farms, Rural, Farmer, ChineseMedicine, Herbalist, PillFactory, Taichi, HuaTou, LaoTzu and ChuangTzu

Send a Compliment

Bozhou, Day 6

Bozhou, China


faOur train trip to Bozhou ended and our 3 hour bumpy bus drive began. the raods are crowded and severly undermaintainded out here. This is rural China, farms are everywhere. Yet even here there are significant signs of progress and new building, including new cell phone towers in the middle of fields. We checked into our hotel, which, despite its huge number of vacancies and rural location, had the best accomodations so far. Including a great internet connection in every room! we spent the morning recovering from our travels.

We spent the afternnon traveling visiting nearby farms. The local farmers were great company. The village there was small and quite poor. They invited us to look around at the herbs they were growing and showed us how they process some of the herbs locally. This place offered great insight into the chinese herbal medicine; it's where it all starts. The hospitality we recieved from the farmers was wonderful and everyone welcomed our alien presence and constant picture taking. They were digging up samples and telling us the differences in age and quality with some herbs.
The family of farmers there introduced us to th eldest of the group. The man beig 90 and his wife 92! Both still looking healthy and both still working in the fields there. Everyone was sad to say goodbye to our newfound friends.

After, we traveled to the display gardens just down the road. We were told that although these lands were once owned by the government, they were now sold and privatised and the herbs grown there are still subsisidized. Mr. Gou, the owner and self-taught herbalist was there to show us around and invited us to be his guest for our stay in Bozhou. The garden was quite big and had a lot to offer. We were able to see a good amount of commonly used herbs growing there. the owner and the directors were very friendly and we left there just before the rain fell.

The owner and directors came back with us to the hotel and asked to guide us through the herb market and pill making factory the next day.

permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 19, 2005 from Bozhou, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged China, Herbs, Medicine, Bozhou, Farms, Rural, Farmer and Harbalist

Send a Compliment

Luoyang, Day 5

Luoyang, China


The Longmen caves are huge sculpted grottos along the river in Luoyang. The city itself was an ancient capitol of China and the birth place of Mahayana Buddhism. Traveleres and traders brought the influence form India and settled in the political and economic capitol. Most of the ancient city is gone, as well as its prestige. Luoyang is now an industrial park, resurrected by the communist party.

The grottos are massive and took years to make.

We spent much of the afternoon in the "old city" which is really just a budget redux of the old city walls. Inside the city there wasn't much and we spent most of our time looking for either bathrooms or internet cafes. The old city seemed to be designed to attract tourists and promote shopping with in the walls. Although we were there for a limited time, the only shops we saw were countless barber shops and spring shops (for like car shocks?). Talk about lack of diversity; perhaps these meet the large local needs? The streets inside are small, and the traffic is completely unregulated, so you had to spen most time looking over your shoulders. Still, the people were friendly, and rather curious to why we were even there.

After dinner, our amazing guide, Daisy, took us to the river bank to do a ritual for the mid-autum festival (moon cake festival). We prepared a small floating lantern with flowers and after a prayer we floated it down the river. Amazingly, it traveled a long ways and we could see it thru the darkness even as we were driving away.

On the bus ride to the train station, Daisy yet again impressed us with an on-bus performance with a chinese instrument that sounds like a clarinet and is fashioned form a gourd. We then got dropped off at the trainstation, which was pretty much empty but had a lot of people in the square hanging out together. There were about 100 people dancing (I guess becasue of the festival) and playing sports. There was one girl there, she had to be maybe 4 or 5 years old practicing kungfu that pretty much put the monks performance to shame. After a wait at the station and hanging out with some locals, we got on our sleeper train and met some other traveling foreigners. A Dutch group was on board, and by the smell of it, they had been traveling for quite some time...


permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 18, 2005 from Luoyang, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged China, Luoyang, Buddha, Mahayana, Buddhism, Sculpture, Carving, Daisy, Grotto, Sleeper and Train

Send a Compliment

Luoyang, Day 4

Luoyang, China


We arrived in Luoyang by train in the early morning. After checking-in to the hotel in town, we got ready for a short drive out to the Shaolin temple. After a local lunch we visited the temple at the base of a mountain whose peak looks as though Buddha is lsleeping on his back (it kinda looks like that). The shaolin temple was one of the most anticipated sites to visit for the trip. The following events occurred:

DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAMERA?!

The Shaolin temple is pretty much on its own park. There are countless children and youth training away and maintaining their own grounds. The main focal attractions at the site are the theatre, where you can see them perform and train (its a choreographed show really) and the pagoda forest, a collection of small pagodas dedicated to the past shaolin masters. The performance was impressive but has an edge of feeling over rehearsed. After the show, which was really too short, you can buy shirts and other momentos outside. This is where we encountered the master of the five-fingered discount. I was talking with the shop keepers and students interested in buying some stuff from the store and I put my video camera down for a second. A minute later, it magically disappeared, in th emidst of only about 5 people. My camera DV got yanked! And not only that, the DVD's that Robert and I bought where bogus. They weren't the performance that we saw, it was a lame instructional video... it was a shaolin hustle. A lesson in impermanence.

Other than the slight damper of the theft, the religious ceremony at the temple and the pagoda forest were quite interesting and impressive. Although, on the way out of the pagoda forest, I did see a monk kick a blind beggar in the back to get him out. Not very compassionate... then again, there is a serious contradiction with having monks be powerful warriors. There's somehting not right about Peace, Compassion, and Butt-kicking. Still, it was cool to see all these things; monks doing head stands, breakig stuff, etc. I mean, we've seen so much stuff in film and TV, it was nice to go to the source of it all.

As we drove away that evening there was a huge reddish moon rising above the mountains. It was the start of the mid-autumn festival (moon cake festival). Later, we finished the day off with hour long foot massages. It was great and I almost forgot that I got ripped off earlier.


permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 17, 2005 from Luoyang, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged China, Theft, Luoyang, Shaolin, Temple, Buddha, Monks, Kungfu, Pagoda and Camera

Send a Compliment

Beijing, Day 3

Beijing, China


The day started out with an intense ambition. We had three main attractions to visit: The Great Wall, The Summer Palace and Tian An Men Square, in that order.

The Great Wall featured, of course, lots of steps. Most at a severe incline. It's probably one of the most international tourist sites in the world. I heard at least 10 different languages spoken on the hike up. Where most people climb the great wall and some even skate it, for Robert it was just another obstacle to jump over in order to find plants. And find them he did. He came back with plastic bags of not t-shirts but of plants to show us on the bus. Mao said your not a hero until you climb the great wall... I wonder what he thought about teachers who jump it. There was a nice hook on the ride to the wall, yet again by our tour guide. We took a short detour to see a jade factory, which of course had a massive jade store attached. We all protested before going in, but yet again, most people ended up buying something (perhaps there's subliminal messaging in these places). The hook worked.

The next stop was the Summer Palace which is a good drive back from the wall. The palace is one of the largest parks in all of China and was the vacation spot for the later dynasties. The gardens and lake were a welcome haven for us, although we had to rush through it in order to fit all of the days activities. Where there is Yin there is Yang... to contrast the peace of the garden, just outside was an alley back to the bus, which we've nicknamed "swindler alley." Not only was the long alley loaded with poor merchants hounding us to buy their t-shirt knock-offs and cheap crafts, they were ready to scam the tourists. After some tour members put up a good job haggeling down the price of some goods, they found their change back to be counterfeit bills... So it is possible to get Shanghaied in Beijing.

After dinner we got to walk a few minutes around Tian An Men Square, which was lit up at night and preparing for the upcoming Mid-Autum Festival (moon cake festival).

After the square we drove to the massive Beijing train station to get aboard our sleeper train to Luoyang. Upon entering there was a huge crowd outside waiting to get in and watching someone get detained by the police. After a bout of abuse, about 5 red guards handcuffed the guy and took him away. Then we had to deal with the bottlenecking and the thousands of people laying around or rushing to get on their train. While we were all excited to hop into our soft sleeper cabin on the train, we quickly realized that after a day of hiking around without a shower, the tight quarters weren't as pleasant as we thought, especially after we took our shoes off...



permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 16, 2005 from Beijing, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged China, Beijing, TheGreatWall, SummerPalace, TianAnMenSquare, Jade, Theft, MoonCakeFestival, Autumn, Festival, RedGuard, Luoyang and SleeperTrain

Send a Compliment

Beijing, Day 2

Beijing, China


After a change in plans, we visited IMPLAD an institute on the outskirts of Beijing where there are research facilities on herbal medicine and extensive gardens and green houses. We spent most of our time outside in the damp, over-cast garden with Robert reviewing about 25 common medicinal plants growing there.

After lunch we somehow got caught up in some kind of tourist trap that makes and sells pearls. After several awkward demonstrations of pearl creams and oyster shucking, we had enough, although there were a few enstarred shopers... We then straveled to Bai Wang Mountain on the edge Beijing.

While in pursuit of the ellusive Chai Hu herb, we came across countless plants and massive flourescent spiders. The Chai Hu was found, but half of our tour got lost along the way. After a few hours of hiking the rain finally broke and it drizzled the whole way back down the mountain. The group was divided, but we all made it back to the bus alright. Robert came back covered in plant matter and grit but with bags of samples, including the Chai Hu...we've never seen him happier.

After spending a ridiculus amount of time in the Beijing rush-hour traffic, we decided to skip out on dinner in an attempt to make it to the Peking Opera performance. We just made it... oh, by the way, the performer in the picture below is a man.


permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 15, 2005 from Beijing, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged China, Beijing, IMPLAD, TouristTrap, Pearls, BaiWangMountain, Traffic and PekingOpera

Send a Compliment

Beijing, Day 1

Beijing, China


After a long overnite flight we arrived in Beijing just before morning rush hour. The weather has been reported as "the best in over a month," with nice sun and cool breezes. The pollution and smog are at a minimum and the group is happy to be here for the next few days. We'll be even happier to sneak in a nap here and there.

After a big breakfast we walked through most of the Forbidden City, which is about 2 blocks from our hotel. Despite the massive reconstruction efforts there, the tour went well and it wasn't over crowded. After a few hours there we returned to the hotel. Unfortunately the acupuncture and herb museum was closed for some last minute rennovations. On the way back Robert found a bunch of common medicinal herbs simply growing around the streets and informed us what they are and used for.

After a short break, we went to see a Chinese Acrobat troop perform and had a late dinner before calling it a day. We're all tired but content and happy to be touring together.

Later, some brave travelers ventured down the street from the hotel to the night market, where u can pick up tasty treats like starfish, centipedes, scorpions on a stick...




permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 14, 2005 from Beijing, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged China, Beijing, ForbiddenCity, MedicineMuseum and Acrobats

Send a Compliment

Viewing 11 - 20 of 33 Entries
first | previous | next | last



author feed
author kml

Heading South?

Online Spanish lessons with a live personal tutor FairTutor can hook you up with Online Spanish lessons with a live personal tutor. It's pretty sweet! Online Spanish lessons with a live personal tutor www.fairtutor.com
Navigate
Login

go
create a new account



   

Blogabond v2.40.58.80 © 2019 Expat Software Consulting Services about : press : rss : privacy
View as Map View as Satellite Imagery View as Map with Satellite Imagery Show/Hide Info Labels Zoom Out Zoom In Zoom Out Zoom In
find city: