10 Reasons to go to China (Part Three)

By May 26, 2008My Travels

Six down, four to go. I’m not drawing out getting to number one because I have a tendency for melodrama (even though I do) but instead because in the great tradition of holiday slide shows, I didn’t want to bore people with hundreds of photos at once. Plus it would have been a pretty long blog entry and would have taken me ages to edit all the photos down to a manageable size.

I think we’re down to number four, which would have to be The Slightly Odd and Kitsch:

This first snap is from the zoo near Xian where we saw the panda, and also the monkeys in horrible conditions. I’m not one hundred percent sure what it’s supposed to be, but there was a spruiker out the front (this picture isn’t the spruiker, it’s mum. Sorry mum, I bet you hate this photo. Just be happy I haven’t posted the one of you posing as a terracotta warrior) and they were trying to get children to come inside. So it’s either a day-care centre or a haunted house, I’m guessing.

And then we have a couple of dwarfs hanging out by their cottage. I found this in the middle of one of the beautifully peaceful gardens close to the Forbidden City. They were having a tulip festival at the time, as you can see from the foreground.

My uncle, Tony, is a bit concerned that I’ve got a thing for women with guns. That’s not entirely true. Demi Moore in GI Jane does absolutely nothing for me. I have though, developed a liking for oil paintings of Asian women in communist military uniforms holding some kind of machine gun. I can’t explain it really, and it’s probably best if I don’t try.

Number Three is Dragons:

I was in love with dragons long before I discovered that it was my animal in Chinese Astrology. Maybe it was because of The Hobbit. In true Libran arrogance, I’ve always thought the dragon was the best animal of all to be, because it’s the only one that isn’t real.

China played right into my hands here. The lovely beasts were everywhere, and evidently only the Emperor was allowed to wear dragons on his clothing (I think I might go put my dragon shirt on). This first one, in royal yellow, is at the Temple of Heaven Park and is made entirely of flowers.

When I was wandering around the Shanghai Museum, where this next picture was taken, I had a real ‘oh-my-god, I’m-an-idiot’ moment. It happened when I realised that there was a pretty good reason that the English called ceramics like this ‘China’. What can I say? It’s lucky I’m so pretty.

Dragons were all over the place. This next picture is some stonework on one of the walls of the Forbidden City.

And this one’s just outside of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.

In Chinese mythology, the Dragon had nine sons, and the eighth one was a lion. Chinese Buddhism adopted these and so you can see lions like these stone ones all over the place. Usually, they come in pairs – one with its paw on a ball (like this one) or else on the belly of a baby lion.

Drum-roll please for Number Two in SansIcarus’s Highly Subjective and Totally Arbitrary Top Ten Reasons to go to China: the Bund Tourist Tunnel:

The Bund is a strip of colonial buildings alongside the river in Shanghai, and on the other side of the river is Pudong, which is high-rise heaven. You can take a boat across, or the subway, but that’s no fun! Instead, why not take a Halflife-esque capsule through a laser wonderland?

Brilliant. See you next week with number one.

One Comment

  • iryshannie says:

    I’ve always wished that I was a dragon too but, like you, didn’t have much say in what year I was born in… You owe your parents big time!

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