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DSC_0388_8671It feels like ages ago that I promised China pictures.

In the northern part of Sichuan Province there’s a large nature reserve and national park. It’s located at a very high altitude and the scenery is very spectacular. Here is a quickie map I did to give you an idea of the location. I apologize for any inaccuracies.

Jiuzhaigou-LocationJiuzhaigou translates to “nine village valley,” and there are still several Tibetan villages within the park two of which are accessible to tourists. The best approximation of the pronunciation I could manage was “Joe – Jai – Go,” but I should warn you that without at least making a stab at the tones no one could understand what I was saying. The park is known for its waterfalls and lakes. The lakes have a high mineral content and are unusually colorful. We went there in the late spring/early summer, but the most popular time is the fall due to the colorful leaves. There are so many scenic spots, it’s really hard to take bad pictures.

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My sister’s been telling me that people want to see Pandas!

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, our main reason for going to China was to attend a wedding in Chongqing. Chongqing, which deserves its own post, used to be part of Sichuan province. If you are like me, your main association with Sichuan is spicy food.

The northern and western parts of Sichuan are mountainous and the forests there are the home to the Giant Panda. The capital, Chengdu, region 9 on the map above, is significantly lower, and consequently warmer. However, it is in this city that the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is located.

Here is a quick post with some photos. I will write more in the very near future.

Guardian Lion in front of the Forbidden City.

Guardian Lion in front of the Forbidden City.

I probably don't need to tell anyone what this is, but, just in case, it's one of the Terracotta Warriors that were discovered outside the city of Xian.

I probably don’t need to tell anyone what this is, but, just in case, it’s one of the Terracotta Warriors that were discovered outside the city of Xian.

The national park and nature reserve, Jiuzhaigou.

The national park and nature reserve, Jiuzhaigou.

Did anyone actually think that I would go to China and not visit the pandas?

Did anyone actually think that I would go to China and not visit the pandas?

Chongqing was our ultimate destination. Here is the city's most popular food, hotpot. A variety of foods are put into the soup base at the center of the table.

Chongqing was our ultimate destination. Here is the city’s most popular food, hotpot. A variety of foods are put into the soup base at the center of the table.

We left Chongqing via the Yangtze river and when through the Three Gorges area and the big dam project. This is the Qutang Gorge.

We left Chongqing via the Yangtze river and when through the Three Gorges area and the big dam project. This is the Qutang Gorge.

As it happens, my photos stop after the dam. We went on to Shanghai, but it rained so I didn’t get many pictures there.

This is just a quick post to share a bit of info I just came across and thought was interesting.

A while back Richard Dawkins stirred up a bit of controversy when he tweeted, “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.” I originally tried to address that with a bit of humor.

I came across a bit of information, ooh, about five minutes ago, that reminded me of that little brouhaha.

No one, after 12 years of Chinese education, has any chance to receive a Nobel prize, even if he or she went to Harvard, Yale, Oxford or Cambridge for college…. Out of the one billion people who have been educated in Mainland China since 1949, there has been no Nobel prize winner…. This forcefully testifies [to] the power of education in destroying creativity on behalf of the [Chinese] society.

Diane Ravitch quoted Yong Zhao quoting Zheng Yefu in an article currently on the New York Review of Books website, “The Myth of Chinese Super Schools.”

Now, I’m off to visit the Musée de l’Institute du Monde Arab, entirely by coincidence, so I’ll have to leave the editorializing to you.