2010
A Short Spring Trip

(Map of the planet around the North Pole.)
THE NORTH POLE OF THE PLANET EARTH
Map courtesy of The Hong Kong Observatory

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Story and Photos by

LEE A. WOOD

Because of work, I missed my yearly trip to China in 2009 and I only had a short trip in 2010.

Here are some of the pictures I took on a short trip South West of Shanghai.

Normally, when one talks of the `Polar Route’ they refer to a flight over the North Pole. This is the route that goes from Eastern North America to Asia and Central Europe. Because of the curve of the planet this is the shortest route.

However, if one is flying from Canada’s Pacific coast to Asia’s Pacific coast it is shorter to stay South of the Arctic Circle but still shorter to go North before heading South.

If you look at a map, with the North Pole as center, you will see that from Vancouver to Tokyo, or area, that it is almost a straight line. And this is what Air Canada follows.

The straight line, because of the curve of the planet, takes you over the Aleutian Islands, the Bearing Sea, the Eastern end of Russia, and Japan.

When I left Vancouver, late March of this year, the sky was clear and we were able to take many pictures. The warm spring weather was just reaching the North country and the ice was starting to break up.

(Bering Sea - Aerial view of ice with water breaks.)
BERING SEA
(Bering Sea - Aerial view of ice with water breaks.)
(Siberia (Eastern Russia) - Aerial view of snow covered mountains.)
SIBERIA - RUSSIA
(Siberia (Eastern Russia) - Aerial view of snow covered mountains.)
SREDINNYY KHREBET MOUNTAINS
ON POLUOSTROV KAMCHATKA (Kamchatka Peninsula)

Friday Mar. 26

I had been putting off getting my hair cut for several weeks before I left home. I wanted to go to my favourite barber in Shanghai. She only charges $3, about 50 cents to us.

Instead, Serena took me to her hairdresser, where she plays mahjong, and got me a free haircut.

I have never in my life experienced such a fast haircut, including razor trim.

I know, there is nothing there to cut but it usually takes longer to cut than it does to put the apron on.

(PuDong China - me sitting in a barber chair reflection in mirror of Serena taking my picture.)
FIRST STOP - BARBER SHOP
(Zhou Pu China- Archway into closed street)
ZHOU PU SHOPPING AREA, SORT OF A MINIATURE NAN JING LU

Sunday Mar. 28

We loaded Jin Di's van and headed West.

East of Hang Zhou, after, about, 2 hours on the freeway, we turned North for an hour and then stopped for lunch in….

Sorry, I can't remember the name of the town. I probably couldn't pronounce it anyway.

(China - Parking area.)
A COMMERCIAL REST AREA ALONG THE FREEWAY
(China - Exterior of buildings.)
FOOD, FUEL, AND REST ROOMS
(China - Glass over flowers to pee on.)
THIS URINAL DOESN'T SMELL AS NICE AS IT LOOKS
(China - Sinks and stand made from sheets of glass.)
NOT THE FIRST TIME I HAD SEEN A GLASS URINAL
BUT THE FIRST TIME I SAW GLASS SINKS

(China - Modern building.)
AMAZING, HOW MANY SIGNS,
IN TOWNS WHERE THEY SELDOM SEE A WHITE PERSON,
ARE REPLICATED IN ENGLISH
(China - An archway into a parking area.)

Three wheel cars are very common in this area but I have never seen them anywhere else.

(China - Street lined with cars.)
LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO PARK
(China - Small car tuning the corner.)
A THREE WHEEL CAR
(China - Interior of dinning room.)
(China - Family sitting at table.)
(China - motorcycle parked beside our car.)
THIS TYPE OF MOTORCYCLE IS VERY COMMON IN CHINA
(China - Street sign - Yu Hang Lu.)
(China - Busy street with cenotaph in the distance.)
(China - close up of cenotaph.)

After lunch we went South, and West, skirting Hang Zhou.

TONG LU COUNTY

(China - Street lined with flowers.)
(China - A large, heavy duty motorcycle with a load of bricks.)
OLD BRICKS ARE USED TO BUILD NEW WALLS

We went up a narrow winding, newly paved, road, through a narrow canyon with a little town of 10 or so houses on every other wide bank of the river.

At the top of the canyon was a long tunnel. Two lanes wide, one in each direction, with a pull out on both sides, in the middle of the tunnel. There was a row of lights along each side. It has to be the longest tunnel I have ever gone through. Much longer than the longest one in the Fraser canyon.

The tunnel ended at a tourist attraction where you climb a narrow trail up a steep hill, and follow the mountain ridge around the canyon and back down, about 2 hours.

No, we didn't go.

Some people, coming down, told us it was a waste of money. The trail was blocked about 1/2 way up the first hill.

(Tong Lu, China - Narrow road through a valley.)
THE ROAD TO JUI LONG TAN
(Tong Lu, China - Tree lined road passes some buildings.)
(Tong Lu, China - Field with a dam in the background.)
(Tong Lu, China - Top of the dam and a construction sign.)
THIS DAM IS BEING ENLARGED TO HOLD MORE WATER
(Tong Lu, China - Long bridge over small stream)
(Tong Lu, China - Tall houses behind small stream.)
(Tong Lu, China - Narrow street between old buildings.)
(Tong Lu, China - Rice paddies minus water.)
(Tong Lu, China - Large truck partially filled, sitting on side of road.)
A TRUCK ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD,
BEING LOADED, BY HAND, WITH BAMBOO POLES
(Tong Lu, China - Long bridge over small stream)
(Tong Lu, China - Motorcycle approaching, field of yellow.)
(Tong Lu, China - rice paddies minus water.)
(Tong Lu, China - Tree lined road approaching tunnel)
(Tong Lu, China - Entrance to tunnel.)

JUI LONG TAN (9 Dragon Lake)

(Jui Long Tan, China - Tunnel exit, from interior.)
LEAVING THE TUNNEL
(Jui Long Tan, China - Large sign at side of road.)
(Jui Long Tan, China -  Large sign at side of road.
(Jui Long Tan, China - Stone pole entrance to tourist area.)


THE RETURN PART
OF THE WALK TO THE LAKE
(Jui Long Tan, China - Small building at base of hill.)
WASHROOMS AND EXIT FROM HILL
(Jui Long Tan, China - Colorful, fortress like, wall.)
ENTRANCE TO HILL CLIMB

(Jui Long Tan, China - Sign at entrance to climb.)
(Jui Long Tan, China - Sign at entrance to climb.)
(Jui Long Tan, China - Pleasant water area inside entrance.)

NATURALLY, SUCH A PEACEFUL WATER WAY,
LOOKS LIKE A PERFECT SWIMMING HOLE
(Jui Long Tan, China - Side of a mountain.)
HARD TO SEE BUT THERE IS A LOOKOUT,
ON THE PEAK, AT THE TOP OF A LONG FLIGHT OF STAIRS
(Jui Long Tan, China - Stone stairs and doorway leading out of the mountain.)
THE TRAIL GOES ACROSS THE RIDGE OF THE MOUNTAIN
AND THEN COMES BACK DOWN TO THIS EXIT

HEADING BACK DOWN THE VALLEY

(Tong Lu, China - Tunnel enhance.)
BACK INTO THE LONGEST TUNNEL I HAD EVER BEEN IN
(Tong Lu, China - Field of yellow beside the road.)
(Tong Lu, China - Colourful houses beside the road.)
(Tong Lu, China - Lone house beside river.)
(Tong Lu, China - Lake behind dam.)
(Tong Lu, China - Field of yellow, tall houses in the background.)

We stopped for the night at Tong Lu, staying at the Ya Yuan Hotel, a typical 3 star Chinese hotel. [(About a minus 1 star in Canadian rating.) (Equivalent to a typical Mexican hotel.)]

YA YUAN HOTEL - TONG LU, CHINA

(Tong Lu, China - City street.)
(Tong Lu, China - Tong Lu, China -  City street Cenotaph in the background.)
(Tong Lu, China - City street.)
(Tong Lu, China - City street, close up of pedicel.)
BICYCLE TAXI

(Ya Yuan Hotel - Tong Lu, China - Street up to hotel.)
YA YUAN HOTEL
(Ya Yuan Hotel - Tong Lu, China - Large sign on side of hotel.)
(Ya Yuan Hotel - Tong Lu, China - Small sign with house number 52.)
THESE ARE THE ADDRESSES
FOR THE TWO NEIGHBOURS
(Ya Yuan Hotel - Tong Lu, China - Small sign with house number 52-3.)
I COULDN'T FIND THE HOUSE
NUMBER FOR THE HOTEL

(Ya Yuan Hotel - Tong Lu, China - Front of hotel.)
(Ya Yuan Hotel - Tong Lu, China - Interior of hotel lobby)
(Ya Yuan Hotel - Tong Lu, China - Interior of hotel room bathroom.)
ALL IN ONE EFFICIENCY BATHROOM
(Ya Yuan Hotel - Tong Lu, China - close up of hot water tank on wall.)
ON DEMAND HOT WATER TANK
WHAT ALL HOUSEHOLDS SHOULD HAVE

THE DAM ON THE FUCHUN RIVER

(Fuchun River, China - Top of dam, long.)
(Fuchun River, China - Barges in water beside dam.)
(Fuchun River, China - Looking back across water at mountain.)
(Fuchun River, China - Looking back across water at top of the dam.)
(Fuchun River, China - Looking down on barges waiting to enter lock.)
THESE BARGES ARE WAITING TO ENTER THE LOCK
TO GO TO THE LOWER PART OF THE RIVER
(Fuchun River, China - Looking down on barge leaving lock.)
THIS BARGE HAS JUST LEFT THE LOCK
FROM THE LOWER PART OF THE RIVER

(Fuchun River, China - Large sign on roof of old building.)
(Fuchun River, China - Small sign pointing to LuCi Village.)
(Fuchun River, China - Small sign pointing to fishing area.)

(Fuchun River, China -  Large sign.)
(Fuchun River, China - The women in my life, dam in the background.)
AARON, BIN, JIN XIAN, JIN MEI
(Fuchun River, China - Girls get in car beneath an old building.)
OUR CHARIOT AWAITS
(Fuchun River, China - Gin Di at door of car.)
JIN DI - OUR GUIDE, CHAUFFER, AND BROTHER-IN-LAW
(China - Busy street.)
(China - Busy street, Jin Di trims sugar cane.)
MY 2 SISTER-IN-LAWS, AND MY LITTLE GRANDSON, WATCH,
WHILE JIN DI TRIMS AN AFTERNOON TREAT - SUGAR CANE

Monday Mar. 29

We were heading for a town that specializes in clothing, however, because my brother-in-law was using his new GPS, we never found the place.

Did I ever tell you I don't trust GPSs. I have had good success with `MAPS' in my iPhone but even that had me going down a narrow residential street in Edmonton with a tractor trailer rig.

We missed our turn off from the toll way, yes, they have toll freeways in China, thanks to Jin Di's GPS, why anyone would want one of those things I will never understand. Give me a good street map, anytime.

We ended up in the historic town of Wu Zhen but after checking out the entrance fee we didn’t go in. Admission was $120 Yuan.

WUZHEN - ANCIENT WATER TOWN

(Wuzhen, China - Large, Pagoda like, entrance way over street.)
MAIN ENTRANCE TO WUZHEN - AN OLD TOWN

(Wuzhen, China - Front of store and signs.)

(Wuzhen, China - Close up of sign.)
(Wuzhen, China - Close up of sign.)
(Wuzhen, China - Close up of sign.)

(Wuzhen, China - Side, or bus entrance to old town.)
BUS ENTRANCE TO WUZHEN

(Wuzhen, China - Back side of store.)
(Wuzhen, China - Sign on wall of store.)

(Wuzhen, China - A large group of Japanese tourists sit, and stand, in front of a water fountain.)
5 BUS LOADS OF JAPANESE TOURISTS
(Wuzhen, China - Jin Mei stands, in front of a water fountain.)
(Wuzhen, China - Water fountain - statues of people standing on stairs to a river, doing laundry.)
A STATUARY TRIBUTE
TO THE WAY LAUNDRY HAS BEEN DONE FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS
(Wuzhen, China - Water fountain - statues of people standing on stairs to rive, doing laundry.)
STILL A COMMON SITE IN MANY PLACES IN THE ORIENT

MEANWHILE - BACK IN PUDONG

Since the trip to Tong Lu I took a bus, throught a tunnel, from PuDong to PuXi. The tunnel, actually two tunnels, 3 lanes in each direction, curved and curved back, a couple of times, up and down, under the river. (It must be twice as long as the one at Jui Long Tan.

(Shang hai, China - Newly widened street.)
THIS STREET HAS BEEN WIDENED SINCE I WAS HERE 2 YEARS AGO
(Shang hai, China - Newly widened street.)
OVERHEAD, A NEW FREEWAY

Water like everything else in Shanghai is on a meter. Each apartment has a natural gas meter, an electrical meter, and a water meter.
Water, after being used for cooking, or washing; laundry, or dishes, is saved for flushing the toilet.
Note the wooden tub, topped with a wooden wash board. Though the apartment has a washer and dryer, laundry is usually done by hand as electricity and water are expensive.

(Shang hai, China - Newly widened street.)
A NEW STREET WHERE ONLY A FIELD EXISTED 2 YEARS AGO
(Shang hai, China - Bowls of water in a bathtub.)
WATER CONSERVATION

I find a lot of similarities between Mexico and China. One of the commonalities has been, broken glass along the top of walls surrounding property
However, the newer walls are now topped with electric wires.

(Shang hai, China - Fence around apartment buildings)
THE BRICK WALL WITH BROKEN GLASS HAS BEEN REPLACED
WITH A NEW FENCE TOPPED WITH ELECTRIC WIRES.
(Shang hai, China - Close up of electric wires.)
ELECTRIC WIRES ARE NOW USED INSTEAD OF BROKEN GLASS

END

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