Chinese Bible

Chinese Bible by Yang Zhichao

I think pretty much everyone in the room laughed in recognition, as Gene Sherman told the story about the promise she and her husband had made to each other. As she noted they had been married forty-seven years, and were a family that “kept promises”, she went on to say they had agreed and promised to stop purchasing art. As they approach their 70s, they realised they had close to 900 works at various locations around Sydney, and that was probably enough for them to handle. Visiting Hong Kong, however, […]

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Nexus Holidays China Sampler

Tour Group in Tiananmen Square, Beijing

BACKGROUND: When my friend Sue first spotted the “Nexus Holidays China Sampler” late last year, we both thought it sounded “too good to be true”. For about the cost of a return flight from Sydney to Beijing (about $1200-$1300), the sampler price also included an internal flight from Beijing to Shanghai, accommodation in “five star hotels”, about three quarters of the meals, tour guide support, and entry to lots of major tourist attractions. That it was previously advertised at close to $3000, and was now being offered (through Living Social) […]

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China – Shanghai

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There was a moment today when the guy sitting behind me, Paul, said “You know I think I wouldn’t mind living in Shanghai for a year of two”. Without hesitation, I told him I’d thought the same thing earlier in the day. It’s odd, of course, because we’d only been in the city for less than twenty-four hours. Thinking logically about it, it’s probably because of the familiarity of the place. it’s the most “Western” city we’ve visited so far. It’s also reminded me a lot of Sydney. Maybe it’s […]

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China – Tea Plantation

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I learned more today about green tea than I have my entire life. Our day started with a visit to a nearby village of Mei Jia Wu, where they seem to grow nothing but tea. Amongst the things I learned included: how the different size of tea leaves produce different flavours; how the spring harvest is considered the best; how you can usually get five cups of green tea using the same leaves, how you should drink black tea in the morning, and how you should drink green tea about […]

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China – Shopping and Travel

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Earlier in the trip I wrote about how the “shopping parts” of the tour were the ones most likely to divide the men and the women of our group, including the jade factory, the silk factory, and the copper art works. But even if the blokes weren’t all that interested in the finished product, there was still something about manufacturing which was enough to keep the men interested. That wasn’t the case at today’s visit to the pearl factory. Once the oyster shell had been opened and we had seen […]

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China – Shopping Day

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Partly by design, and partly by chance, this ended up as a “shopping day”. The planned part was a visit to a “silk worm factory” in Suzhou. And when I say “factory”, I really mean showroom. The unexpected shopping expedition was when we went looking later in the afternoon for somewhere to have my haircut and my beard trimmed. The visit to “Silkworld” was another part of the tour “compromise” I wrote about the other day. In exchange for heavily subsidised travel, food and accommodation, each day we’ve paid a […]

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China – Surprises

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I never thought I’d ever find much interest in silk embroidery images of the Mona Lisa and Chairman Mao, but somehow today I did. We’re spending the night in Suzhou, the silk capital of China (apparently) located about ninety minutes by bus from the centre of Shanghai. The day started early. Really early. A four-thirty wake-up call for a five-thirty departure for the airport. I think it’s fair to say there was a degree of scepticism in the group about the need to leave so early. But by the time […]

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