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Hangzhou/ Shanghai, Day 14

Hangzhou, China

It was a tight day, there was a lot to squeeze in.
We started by hiking up Phoenix Mtn. and see herbs there. This was the last hike, so naturally we had to get separated as a group in order to keep with the tradition. It was a nice day out and the trail was lined with new slate tiles all the way. Robert grabbed a couple of samples to show us on the trail and later on the bus.

During lunch we all decided that while Hangzhou is a niced city, we were ready to move on to Shanghai earlier and wanted to all have a formal, final dinner together.
So we revised the schedule a bit.

Next we visited the West lake tea farm. Along the drive you could see all the tea growing on the hill side. Here we met some of the local farmers who pick the green tea leaves and pan-dry it for 8 hours each day by hand. It's an arduous task and explained why the tea is expensive to produce. Then we met "Dr. Tea" who then explained all the benefits of green tea as well as the various grades there of. He was a total salesman with animated demonstrations. The teas though, tasted nice. Of course, we had to buy some, since it is hard to find good quality tea in the US.

We then had to hurry to catch our boat ride on west lake. The day started off beautifully and continued that way while we were out on the water, the weather was perfect. The ride offered nice views of the surrounded hills which were dotted with pagodas and temples. In the distance you could see the modern city, a drastic contemporary contrast to the ancient buildings. It was a perfect snapshot of modern China.

After the lake, we had about an hour to squeeze in any last minute shopping at the promenade in town. there were lots of paintings, textiles, handcrafts and snacks to be had. So much to buy, so little time.

Then it was our last 3 hour bus ride to our final destination: Shanghai.
The city was all lit up. Shanghai is a city with the height of NYC, the width of LA and the electric light overload of LV. Our hotel was located right on the end of the "Bund," an area along the river where on one bank there are all old European colonial buildings and the other all skyscrapers made during the last 10 years. It was a great drive and a perfect introduction to the chaotic city.

We quickly checked into our hotel, which was all Art Deco and made in the 30's. Then it was nice final dinner together. We were all able to fit at one large table this time. After many toasts and thanks to one another we called it a night. it was great to wrap up the trip together this way. So much had happened in the past weeks, you could barely remember all the events. At this point, the traveling had taken a toll and most of us were exhausted. We had to prepare for the next day, check out and leave Shanghai at noon. A few brave souls walked around the Bund and checked out Shanghai's night life.

permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 28, 2005 from Hangzhou, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged Food, China, Herbs, Medicine, Nanjing, TeaHouse, Mountain, Hangzhou, TeaFarm, Phoenix, PhoenixMountain, Herbal, Tea, Boat, BoatRide, Lake, ArtDeco and Bund

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A Nearer Baguio

Tagaytay, Philippines

If you are looking for a cold place nearest to the city, I would suggest that you visit Tagaytay. Unlike Baguio which is located Miles away from the city, Tagaytay provides a very convenient getaway. And of course it costs less than going to Baguio City.

Tagaytay is situated in Batangas, near the famous Lake Taal. Tagaytay is not as cold as compared to Baguio, but its gentle winds and fine weather make it perfect for relaxation. There are a couple of clubs that provide great accomodation and recreation, such as Tagaytay Highlands. Some of the famous activities that you can do in Tagaytay are the followign: horseback riding, camping, dining, and even casino. When in town, it is a must to vist Mount Taal, which is a volcano in the middle of the Lake.

Tagaytay is one of the most accessible places that offers cool weather and great sights.

permalink written by  On Foot on February 24, 2007 from Tagaytay, Philippines
from the travel blog: On Foot
tagged Lake, Cool, Camping, Mount, Tagaytay, Taal, Baguio, HorsebackRiding and Gambling

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Day in the High Desert

La Pine, United States

We left Bend this morning and stopped in La Pine to see Heaven, Makalah, and Aden. Their grandmother did not tell them we were coming, so they were so surprised when they saw us driving up! It was great. They were very happy to see us. We spent a few hours at a lake with them. Benjamin played in the water a little bit (he was so cute in his little swim trunks!) and Kevin swam for a while with Aden, diving for rocks and playing on a floating log. Makalah wasn't allowed to swim because she had a cold, so she stayed on shore hanging out with me and taking some pictures with the camera. Heaven found a baby toad, which was neat (I had never seen a frog like it). The lake was beautiful - looked like very clean water, and not too cold. Wendy (grandmother) says there are over 150 of them in the area, some only accessible by hike. We said our goodbyes, and headed out. While trying to find our way out of the BLM lands, the GPS kept telling us to turn this way and that when there were no roads to turn on - very confusing, but we managed. There were mountains of lava rock which was neat. I got out to take a picture and there were a ton of these moths swarming around. We got Subway and found a campground at Williamson River (aka Mosquito Haven!) Mosquitos were eating us up, but we had already paid for the site when we learned of them (lesson learned). We set up camp and walked to the river - only to be swarmed by 100 X as many mosquitos. Kevin carried some wood back to the site to start a fire (we heard that mosquitos don't like smoke). We were still getting bitten, but it seemed to help some. The night was cold and the ground was hard, but we managed to get some rest anyway. It was Benjamin's first night camping and he did great - he really enjoyed it despite the bugs.

permalink written by  heddwyn on June 28, 2009 from La Pine, United States
from the travel blog: To Costa Rica
tagged Lake, Kids, Swimming and Lava

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Reno, United States

Today we woke in Reno, Nevada at a Motel 6. A hot shower and quiet room was exactly what we needed. Sylvia was pleased to find that "we're still making money" as she went online and caught up with the business end of things. Ben and I were exploring the stairs of the hotel and re-organizing the Tahoe. The GPS unit is giving us guff and I struggled with that for a bit. I noted that we'd used about a pint of water so far in the HHO cell and that my adjustments to the vacuum relief valves were right on and now were operating perfectly. I don't know if I would be so excited about the HHO unit if it were difficult to make or to maintain. People (including myself) have better things to do than worry about their cars all the time.

As I was checking out of the hotel I asked about "those drive-through wedding chapels you hear about" - yes, the clerk says - here, go to Silver Bells chapel and tell them we sent you. Silver Bells? I just put Ben's silver bells from Christmas back into his toybox, hmmm. We go to investigate and find Richard and Sharon (BOTH our mother's names and Sylvia's step-father's name is Richard as well) and that Sharon (who is deaf) would be marrying us. So far so good, then Ruth comes to drive us in the limo to get our license (Ben has two great grandma Ruths) our first limo ride (all three of us). Afterward, Ben falls asleep and we smile our way through a simple ceremony that brought a tear to my eye. Photos of the Heddwyn's and we're off again!

A good drive South to Lake Topaz where we say hello to a few seagulls and play by the water. The weather was perfect! After an hour of stretching we get back into the Tahoe and sing our way to SR 120 and, just before we get into Yosemite, we stop for the night at a campground where we pick out a site nestled in a copse of trees. I have to admit I was a little put-off by the Bear Boxes - one at each camp site to hold your food. Should a bear decide to come down for food it would supposedly be deterred by the box. I put our food into it but I had to ponder... if I were a bear, the box would irritate me so bad I would have to wake someone up so they could open it for me. Then I may notice that their car is a box too...

anyway... sleep tight...

permalink written by  heddwyn on June 30, 2009 from Reno, United States
from the travel blog: To Costa Rica
tagged Lake, Camping, Reno, Married and Bears

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Disney Dali

Dali, China

Trams zipping through the streets, guides on loud speakers. Where am I? I'm in Dali. The mountains are close by to the west causing an early sunset. The lake is visible if on the [new] old city wall. Contruction everywhere. Gorgeous cherry blossoms everywhere, too. Beautiful blue skies & pleasant tempuratures. Could be worse. When do the tours leave???

permalink written by  prrrrl on March 12, 2012 from Dali, China
from the travel blog: Yunnan, China
tagged Lake, Sunset, CityWall and Trams

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