Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Judee and Albert Algazi finally visit us in SC. They are on their way to FL with their nephew Robbie. They're amazed at our warm weather and flowers blooming in December. So good to see them and lots of hugs.
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Theme From A Summer Place

Last night we saw The Lettermen, in concert, right here at Sun City. It was their holiday show and terrific! One original member is still performing along with two fifty-something guys and same great sound. I had purchased the tickets back in April and had to be at the ticket office at 6 am to get good seats for us and 7 other couples. Luckily I was selected to participate in The 12 Days of Christmas and what a blast. I was Seven Swans a Swimming and told to act like Marilyn Monroe when she sang Happy Birthday Mr. President. Oh what fun doing a sashay down the aisle and vamping with my part. Jeff took this video clip and it is painful to watch, but gives you an idea. I'm in the white sweater.

Life at Sun City continues to be wonderful and the best place for us to be loving our retirement.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

I Had A Little Dreidel

We were privileged to run the Hanukkah service at Parris Island. The room has been recently painted resembling an Israeli flag with the names of the 12 tribes in English and Hebrew. Our pals Sue & Bob Wiener joined us and assisted with the service and educational hour. The Marine Corps provides the challot, grape juice and special donuts for the holiday. We had 8 recruits attend and it was wonderful as always.
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Am A Rock

A Winter's Day.... A Deep and Dark December (November).... We are not alone on this gorgeous day at HHI with Sue and Bob Wiener. Spent the day outside visiting a petting zoo and then to Harbor Town. All did not go off perfectly as Jeff was bitten by a horse at the petting zoo. Guess he didn't like being hugged or maybe it was a love bite.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010


Each month our theatre club presents an hour show at the meeting. We call them "monthlies" and they range from an original script to a scene from something famous to the "Gong Show." This month our pal Stu Blickstein (Seated in top photo) wrote an original piece called Broadway Origins. He took books and stories and showed how they became Broadway shows. There were readings and songs and lots of fun for our cast and the audience.

Top photo is our cast in costume. Next is me with my "sisters" singing Matchmaker from Fiddler on the Roof. Jeff and I introduced that segment reading from "Tevye's Daughters" by Sholem Aleichem. Jeff and his partner sang Brush Up Your Shakespeare from Kiss Me Kate and were so funny and great dance moves too. The two of them also performed as horses in a Man of LaMancha number.
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Monster Mash

Halloween 2010 and here we are at our neighborhood party. I'm a flapper and Jeff is my guy. No, it's not a real cigarette - just a prop. Jeff is wearing a fake nose and glasses that he got in China. It also has fake lips with blow-out thingies that whistle. Lots of fun.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So long, Moose and Squirrel

Animation has had plenty of unknown geniuses — from the directors, artists and storymen of Walt Disney's early features to the sly hands behind the silent pornographic cartoon Buried Treasure — but few were more obscure, or more important, than Alexander Anderson, who died Friday at 90 in Carmel, Calif. Anderson created the characters Rocky the flying squirrel, Bullwinkle Moose and Dudley Do-Right, and the vaudeville-style format, for the 1959 animated program Rocky and His Friends and its 1961 spin-off The Bullwinkle Show, known collectively as The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

For many who grew up in the Eisenhower-Kennedy era, and for later generations enthralled by reruns, this megafunny enterprise set a standard for wild comic invention, jam-packed narratives and merciless punnery (as in Bullwinkle's alma mater Wossamotta U., or its archrival college Heckwith U.). The talking cartoon animals suggested it was a kid's show; the smart humor, delivered at warp speed, clued in adults that the series was really for them. The trick that The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy try to master 14 to 24 times a year — populate a cartoon world with indelible characters — Rocky pulled off five times a week. "From watching that show when I was a kid," Simpsons creator Matt Groening told Louis Chunovic, author of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Book, "it was one of my fantasies to grow up and have my own cartoon show. It was a big influence." The middle initial J. in Homer's, Bart's and Abe's names is Groening's tribute to Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose.(See the top 10 cartoon theme songs.)

With his yellow family and their Springfield neighbors, Groening has earned hundreds of millions of dollars, and the thanks of a like number of kids and adults. Everyone knows his name, if not how to pronounce it (Graining). Similarly, most admirers of the squirrel, the moose and their fellow denizens of Frostbite Falls, Minn., know that Jay Ward produced the two series, and that Bill Scott was in charge of writing and directing. The show's voice actors — Scott (who did Bullwinkle), June Frees (Rocky), Hans Conried (Snidely Whiplash) and Edward Everett Horton (narrator of the Fractured Fables) — have secured their fair share of renown. And some fans surely remember the credit, at the end of each episode, for the executive producer, Ponsonby Britt. He didn't exist: Ward and Scott made the name up.

But there was a real person who got almost no credit, and without whom the characters and the show wouldn't have existed. That was Alex Anderson, and it took a lawsuit against Ward's estate, which was settled in 1996, to make his crucial contribution public. Actually, not that public. I've revered Rocky and Bullwinkle since it came on the air, when I was a kid, and until I read of Anderson's death I didn't know either his name or the acclaim he deserved.

 After the war, Anderson went to work full-time for Terrytoons, in New Rochelle, N.Y. Movie attendance was at an all-time high, but Anderson was excited about the infant medium of TV. "I began to think there was a way to do comic strips for television with just enough movement to sustain interest and having a narrator tell the story," he explained. "You use a narrator so the characters don't have to act everything out." In 1948 he dreamed up Crusader Rabbit, the first cartoon series made for TV. "I asked Uncle Paul if we could develop some animated characters for television," he told John Province of the online cartoon-history site Hogan's Alley. "He said if the studio had anything to do with television, 20th Century Fox might cancel his releases. They clearly saw TV as a threat. He told me, however, that if I wanted to tackle it on my own, then Godspeed."

The rest is history.

From Time magazine.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spanish Eyes

A wonderful weekend visiting St. Augustine, FL, home of the fountain of youth. Spent time in a RV resort with friends Bunny and Keith Montgomery. Jeff and Keith went to prep school together many moons ago and have reconnected on Facebook. We visited them last winter on our Sarasota trip. Unfortunately our dogs didn't love each other and poor Ziggy got a nasty bite and had to have surgery and stitches to close the wound. She is recovering nicely.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

We're Home!!!!
I'm writing at 5 am on Thursday and we arrived home on Monday night. Our sleep schedule is still not right, but we are comfortable in our own bed with our Ziggy happily sleeping with us. She was jumping for joy when we retrieved her from Camp Green Dog and brought her home. She's been stuck to our sides ever since.

We unpacked, did laundry and grocery shopping and then got busy resuming all our activities. Napping at weird hours takes up the rest of our time.

Trips are wondeful, coming home is the best. China and Hong Kong are pleasant memories now and we have almost 2000 photos to sort through to help us remember. Thanks for sharing our adventure on this blog.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Show Me The Way To Go Home

Sunday is our last day and we are looking forward to going home. Another bountiful breakfast buffet and our morning agenda is a visit to the Hong Kong History Museum. While Brian is sleeping and hitting the fitness center, we walked to the museum and found an impressive building adjacent to the science center. Our tour started on the lower level with a look at the evolution of China, a la James Michener. Upstairs was more interesting with diaramas explaining the Opium Wars, WWI and WWII.

During this trip we have learned alot of the history of China and I particularly had known little of ancient or modern Chinese history. The years since WWII have shown much progress and the country seems to be thriving today. I have never seen so much building and the people we met are so optimistic about their future. Our guide, who is a Communist, felt the standard of living would soon be high enough that China could embrace democracy. I guess the Cultural Revolution served its purpose.

After the museum we walked back to the hotel and got ready to leave. Brian left before us and it was hard to say adieu. At 1:30 a guide and bus showed up and took us to the airport. Along the way we passed the Hong Kong port, the world's largest. So many cranes and containers.

Our flight was long, but comfortable, and we were lucky to have a window and aisle seat with no one in the middle so we were able to stretch out. Back at JFK we stayed overnight at a La Quinta and then flew to Atlanta and Savannah the next morning.

So here we are and what a terrific trip we had.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

One Day More - V

Top - Our first night in Hong Kong.
Judy and Jeff on Victoria Peak in the wind.
A boat ride in Aberdeen Harbor.

Around the World in 80 Days

Greetings from Hong Kong. Okay we've only been gone for a few weeks, but it feels like 80 days and we are anxious to get home. Jeff and I left Bluffton on September 22nd and flew to New York. We stayed overnight at JFK and left for Beijing the next morning. We have been sightseeing and running ever since and having the most fantastic trip. The icing on the cake is that Brian has met us here in Hong Kong and we are spending the weekend together and all leave tomorrow.

I have been diligently keeping track of all our adventures and, of course, taking many pictures. Above is Jeff and me on The Great Wall wearing tee shirts that say "I Climbed the Great Wall." I will post the day by day diary with photos when we get home. Meanwhile we have one more glorious night in Hong Kong with it's beautiful views and bustling streets. A safe journey for us and best wishes to all of you.

One Day More - IV

Jeff at the Stanley Market.
Judy trying on a new outfit.

One Day More - III

Top Photo - Brian and Jeff
Middle - Brian and Judy at lunch
Bottom - Jeff at the dim sum restaurant

One Day More - II

Top photo on the Avenue of the Stars in Kowloon.
Jeff, Judy and Brian at dinner with a view.
Brian with the Hong Kong skyline.
Jeff, Brian and Judy aboard the Aqua Luna.

One Day More

Today the weather is warm and hazy. I think the pollution keeps the smog constantly over the city. We slept late and got to breakfast a little after 9 am. Afterwards we headed out to the street to find a suitcase. Got a beautiful blue hard sided bag with four wheels. It was cheap enough to try and see if I like that style. Meanwhile I can get all my new clothing purchases packed as well as all the gifts and things we have collected the past few weeks. We are allowed two carry-on pieces going out of Hong Kong. We are not allowed any free bags on our flight from JFK to home. You have to pay for the each checked bag so I will try to take my original bag as a carry on and see what happens.

Now that the essential shopping is done we took a taxi to Nathan Road and strolled along the expensive shops. It is like a bustling Fifth Avenue or Champs d’Elysee. Afterwards we went to the Harbor Center which is a large mall filled with more designer boutiques. Lunch was at a BLT Burger which is owned by one of the chi chi chefs and Jeff declared the burger “good.” I had a PBJ milkshake which was not only different, but delicious, and if you closed your eyes could imagine the sandwich of your childhood.

After an afternoon nap we set out once again to take a harbor cruise. We walked on the promenade and passed the “Avenue of the Stars” which resembles the Hollywood walk of stars. I saw tributes complete with handprints for Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. At the boat docks we boarded the AquaLuna which resembles a junk complete with red sails. Upstairs was a closed deck with rattan couches with big, comfy pillows. We were able to relax with a glass of wine and look at all the beautiful buildings lit up.

After the cruise we met Brian’s friends, Rie and Eddie, and took a cab to the Temple Street Night Market. This couple were good friends in Tokyo and recently moved to Hong Kong. We browsed the stalls and then had an interesting meal in a Chinese restaurant. We were the only non-Chinese and found the menu and ambience funny. Jeff and I had noodle bowls with meat/chicken. Brian had a rice bowl with chicken and Rie had a crab and rice bowl. Eddie had a chicken dish and ordered a frog dish which was weird looking. We had a few good laughs. Later we parted ways as the young folks felt the night was young and we were ready for bed.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Gilligan's Island

Woke up and had a fantastic breakfast buffet including lox and cream cheese and cheese croissants. It was a fabulous spread of food. At 8 am we boarded a bus for our last tour. What a beautiful morning even though the weather was a little hazy.

First stop was Victoria Peak and we got there by tunnel and a winding road up to the top of Hong Kong. Views are very special and the ride down picturesque. Next stop was shopping at a government approved factory and showroom. I never intended to buy jewelry on this trip, but a multi-color jade necklace caught my eye and Jeff liked it too. It looks great on my neck and I am wearing it proudly.

Aberdeen Harbor was next and we passed some incredible homes and hi-rises along the way. At the harbor we boarded sampans and took a 20 minute tour. Saw the Jumbo restaurant which is a humongous boat which can serve 5000 diners at once.

Back on the bus we passed beaches and more yachts on our way to the Stanley Market. This is a legit place with real merchandise that you can use and wear. Most clothing made in China is called "three generations" meaning you wear it and after the first wash you give it to your kids and after the second wash it is so shrunken that your grandkids can wear it! We all ran into the first recommended shop where they sell genuine Polo shirts for $16. Next we hit a ladies store where I got a complete fall wardrobe. These salesgals were really good and I got several gorgeous outfits and a raincoat which was definitely not on my wish list.

Back to the hotel where we found Brian waiting for us. That is the best part of this trip. He looks wonderful and handsome and we are so happy to be together. We went to lunch at a large dim sum restaurant where we were the only non-Chinese and had a table overlooking the harbor. We had dumplings with prawns inside and an eggplant dish and pork dumplings. So much fun. Afterwards we walked on the promenade(Tsim Sha Tsui) to the ferry terminal and crossed to Hong Kong on the Star Ferry. The ride cost $.50 and took five minutes and Jeff was so happy. On the other side we decided to go back to the hotel to rest and took a taxi.

Woke up and met Laura and Mike for dinner. We all took a cab to the Sheraton which has an oyster bar and restaurant on the 18th floor overlooking the harbor. At 8 pm there was a laser light show and it was beautiful looking out. We had a nice table by the window and spent the entire evening there. The food took forever to come out and they ended up giving Jeff his meal and bringing beautiful looking desserts to the table as an apology. Walked back to our hotel and prepared for bed by watching the gorgeous views from our windows.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

To Hong Kong

Woke up at 5 am again and ate our last breakfast in mainland China. Left the hotel and flew to Guangzhou (Canton) to see the fifth largest city in China with a population of 12 million. Situated on the Pearl River this is a mega city with much commerce and new buildings everywhere. For the record Chonquing is the largest city with 32 million people, followed by 20 million in Shanghai, 18 million in Beijing and then Tangjin and Guangzhou. Pretty impressive with the national total over 1.3 billion people.

Back to Canton which has a subtropical climate and today it is hot and humid. Our first sightseeing stop is the Banyan Tree Temple which is a serene place for Buddhists to pray and there are many locals there. There are several banyan trees and many other trees and plants making it naturally beautiful. Several temples with Buddha’s are on the grounds as well as a nine story pagoda. We enjoyed seeing one hall which had commemorative placards in memory of loved ones. Each card had a photo of the deceased and some information. A nice place for their family to visit.

Next on the agenda was a stroll through an old neighborhood and a stop at the Chen Family Temple. This is a large complex with many rooms displaying Chinese art such as painting, paper cutting, calligraphy and embroidery. Lots of “shopportunities” here. We saw an outdoor barber shop on the street and clothes hanging overhead on lines. A typical day in the hood.

Lunch was on one of the shopping streets in a large restaurant where we were led to the third floor and our last time at a round table with a glass lazy susan. Food was pretty good and the service was good too. I had a nice experience in the bathroom. Most Chinese use the squat toilets and public places usually have at least one “Western” toilet. Usually there is no paper, but sometimes there is a dispenser on the wall near the sinks and I found them mostly empty. You don’t flush the paper, but throw it in a waste can in the stall. Anyway I was waiting in line and four elderly Chinese ladies were in front of me. When someone came out of the Western toilet they insisted I use it. I shook my head to say you go first, but they were adamant and it was so thoughtful of them. Just another example of how kind we found the Chinese to be. A smile goes a long way here.

Now time was really running out and we headed for the river city of Shunde and our ferry to Hong Kong. Sun made a nice farewell speech and gave us instructions about baggage and transfers. We got to the terminal and went through customs and immigration. Our tickets had seat numbers and we all settled in on the large boat with 14 seats across the width of the ship. We had walked past a woman who was taking our temperatures as was done in the airport when we first arrived. One of our men had a slight fever and was detained for a few minutes. He had to sign some forms that he did not have a plague or something like that. We were all relieved when he finally boarded the ferry.

We travelled down the Pearl River and it was very foggy with no views. Two hours later we docked in Kowloon and stepped off into Paradise. A bus met us with our new guide, Kelly, and we set out to our hotel the InterContinental Grand Stanford, which is not the InterContinental on the harbor. We are up a few blocks and overlooking the water with a highway and promenade (Tsim Sha Tsui) in front of us. Jeff and I opted to upgrade our room for the Hong Kong view and it was worth every penny. We are on the 17th floor and look over to Hong Kong with all the tall buildings lit up at night with neon signs. Fantastic views and lots of boat traffic on the water.

Once we were settled we met Laura and Michael and had a great meal at Ruth’s Chris Steak House across the street from our hotel. It was extravagant, but so enjoyable. I had scallops and au gratin potatoes while the other three carnivores enjoyed thick steaks. We all oohed and aahed over the warm bread. Bed time.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Rolling On A River

Some reflections on the Chinese people. There is no regard for personal space with this enormous population. People push and shove and walk right in front of you in lines or getting off the airplane. If you push back, no one cares. Spitting on the sidewalk seems like a national sport and gross! We’ve seen many toddlers wearing “split” pants which is a vertical slit down the rear end. When they squat to pee or do #2 the pants open and voila! It is not uncommon to see these little ones running around with their tushies exposed – no diapers or pants. Occasionally you have to step around puddles.

Kids are a national treasure here as each couple is allowed only one child. The doting parents and grandparents could not be more proud of their progeny. We’ve seen very few dogs and mostly little ones. We haven’t been in residential areas and dog meat is eaten here so maybe pets are kept indoor for their protection. In general the people are so nice and kind on a one to one basis. We always get smiles and moms and dads have their kids wave to us and let us take their pictures. The shopkeepers and street merchants are a different story. They pursue you and harangue you and keep saying in your ear – "four for one dollah"or "cheap for you." Jeff replies “bullshit” which sounds like the Chinese bu shi which can mean no or you’re welcome.
All our hotel rooms have been spacious, clean and well appointed. They have good amenities like toothbrushes, combs, lotions, shampoo and two bottles of water. It is not safe to drink tap water. Most have minibars with snacks, booze and condoms!

Today was another gorgeous weather day and we set out by bus to explore the Li River. It takes ½ hour to get to the boat and we are one of many setting out on the river today. We travel downstream for 4 hours (37 miles) and see truly exquisite scenery. The limestone karst peaks are awesome and remind me of the haystacks at the Oregon coast. Huge stands of bamboo line the shores and we see ducks, pigs, cattle and water buffalo. Lunch is served buffet style and pretty good. All in all a great day. We land at a little resort town, Yangshuo, and walk around the market streets. Had ice cream at an air conditioned KFC.

Later we boarded large golf carts with three seats and a gas engine to tour the countryside. Very cool as we went over back roads and saw water buffalo up close walking with their farmers along the road. Everyone wanted to be paid for taking their photo and kept saying, “money.” One lady appeared with a two year old in a basket and the little girl mumbles, “I want dollar” and pats her tummy. We were hysterical. All the ladies had something to sell and kept saying "four for a dollar." We saw some cool limestone mountains formations and visited a farm house. At one point Jeff sat on a water buffalo and posed with two monkeys at another place. It was all pretty commercial, but we loved it.

Back in Guilin we had our farewell dinner at the hotel and went outside to view the artificial waterfall. I was not impressed, but it was a lot of water. Tomorrow we fly to our last stop in mainland China and then take an afternoon catamaran to Hong Kong. Just e-chatted with Brian and he will fly to Hong Kong tomorrow night and we’ll meet up on Friday afternoon. We will have to say goodbye to our national guide, Sun, who is a real gem. He’s been with us the entire trip and uses local guides in each city. Sun is a class act always watching out for us and quietly keeping us safe and happy. He will fly home to Beijing as we make our way to Hong Kong. A few more wonderful days of this exciting trip.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

You Belong To Me

Got up at 5 am and had breakfast. Left the hotel at 6 am and had an 8 am flight to Guilin. Have to explain that our luggage is picked up by a service along with our passports. We arrive at the airport about a half hour before the flight, collect our boarding passes and passports which are all ready for us and jump on the plane. Every flight was on time all the time.

Arrived at the hotel just after 10 am. Checked in to the Lijang Waterfall Hotel which boasts an outdoor waterfall each evening that is in the Guinness Book of Records for largest artificial waterfall. These Chinese like to be biggest of anything. Jeff rested in the room and I walked around the lake near the hotel and explored. Found some beautiful parks and a small outdoor market with lots of restaurants.

Next was lunch with the group and then an excursion to the Reed Flute Caves. We went in a special entrance for foreign visitors which turned out to be ten minutes in the gift shop. The formations were astonishing and bigger than other caves we have visited. Inside everything was lit nicely and there was a laser show in one huge room. Very impressive!

We left and drove back to town. After resting for an hour or so we walked to a nearby Western style restaurant and had dinner – spaghetti for Jeff and Shepard’s Pie for me. The place is called Rosemary’s and she has made it into all the guide books. The owner herself waited on us and her English was very good. Jeff told her she should raise her prices as we paid $11. for both our meals.

Walked back to the hotel and met our guide Peter to go on a sightseeing boat. Only six of us went and it was one of the best things on the trip. The city of Guilin is surrounded by several lakes that were once moats outside the city wall and are connected now. River boats take night visitors on the lakes and under the impressive bridges that are all replicas of famous bridges from around the world. The whole city is lit up beautifully and there is also entertainment at some areas. There was an opera singer and dancers from ethnic minority groups. We saw musicians playing ancient instruments and a large group of drummers and also a fashion show. It was great! On a sad note there were several rafts with men fishing using cormorants. They chain the birds and then put a band around the bottom off their neck so they can’t swallow. The poor birds dive in the water and catch a fish and bring it to the raft. Then the man squeezes the bird’s neck until it regurgitates the whole fish. Gross! Then the silly bird dives again. I understand at night they remove the band and let the birds dive and eat, but I felt terrible and thought this was really cruel.

Afterwards we walked several blocks to the night market where red tents are set up along a main road which becomes a pedestrian mall. All sorts of dust collectors were on display and absolutely nothing we wanted to look at, but the market was interesting to see.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Soldier Boy

Today we visited the Terra Cotta Warriors. The city is so congested as it is National week and so many Chinese are vacationing and touring. The holiday is actually on Oct. 1st and goes on for the entire week. About 10 times as many people as usual are visiting Xian and the roads are congested as well as the streets and restaurants. We leave early and stop at a terra cotta factory with a “shopportunity” to buy terra cotta warriors and other stuff. We resisted buying anything and were soon back on the bus to the site of the archaeological excavations.

This is an amazing day to actually see the warriors in person. The site was found in 1974 by farmers digging a well and so far about 7000 warriors and horses have been unearthed. This was the tomb and chambers of Qin Shi Huang, a Ching emperor, and his actual tomb is still untouched. This army of warriors guard the tomb and each figure is unique. There is a complete army each with a different face, hair and hands. Amazing. Over 700,000 workers were drafted to create this project about 219 B.C. Kudos to the archaeologists who have been working here reassembling the broken pottery that was found and once more putting the army together.

Lunch at a restaurant on the grounds and then back on the bus to drive 1½ hours back to the city and a short visit to the Provincial Museum. We viewed artifacts from the Ching and Tang dynasties and they were very advanced while Europe was in the dark ages. Dinner at the hotel was so good! Had the buffet and really enjoyed eating Western food with a fork. Back to the room to pack our bags for an early departure with a 5 am wake up call.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

So Long Mom

Got up early and off the ship at 8 am and on the bus to see Chonqing. This is a huge city of 8 million and building going on everywhere. We drove around and stopped at the Stilwell museum, This four star general was sent to China by FDR to handle the war in China, India and Burma. Unfortunately he and Chiang Kai Shek didn’t get along and he left China after two years. Also visited the Flying Tigers museum paying homage to the heroic men who flew over the Himalayas to keep routes and supplies into China. They were paid for every Japanese plane they shot down.

Had lunch at a nice restaurant with mediocre food and enjoyed walking around the street market. Saw a man purchase a good size turtle. Poor thing had a hole punched in its shell and a string attached for easy carrying. Guess it is soup by now.

Went to the airport and flew to Xian. Xian was an ancient capital of China and a beautiful walled city complete with a moat. First stop was to stroll on the wall and it was delightful. At night it is lit up and wish we could have spent more time. Checked in to the Hyatt Hotel and it is very nice. After a quick shower we head out to the Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show. Jeff had an itchy throat and decided to do dinner in the hotel and relax. I joined the group for what turned out to be a spectacular evening. The food was good and presented beautifully. The show was great and the costumes were spectacular. It was staged in a Las Vegas style room and we had good seats and a great night out.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

I Enjoy Being A Girl

We sailed all night and arrived in Fendu early morning. We ate another buffet breakfast and I’m really getting tired of all the food. Yesterday I limited myself to a hardboiled egg and tea and today I had one fried egg and tea. I did go to Tai Chi at 7 am and really enjoy it. We are tied up next to two riverboats and had to walk through their lobbies to get to the pier for our morning excursion.

The city of Fendu was flooded by the dam project and the residents were moved to the new city built across the river on higher ground. We visited a ghoulish temple complex(City of Ghosts) by climbing up a long staircase from the docks and then using large golf carts to town. We went up on a chair lift to the temple where there were many levels and lots of places to burn incense and pray. There are tests there to determine if you are a good person. One place you stand on one foot on a brass mound for the count of three. Women stepped over every threshold with their right foot and men with their left and make sure not to touch. Lots of skeletons and ghouls in the area that resembled hell. Reminded me of the dias des mortes in Mexico. Lots of building going on here and a four star hotel is being built on the top of the mountain.

Came back and ate lunch. Hamburgers and french fries to Jeff’s delight! This afternoon I played Mah Jongg with Laura and Mike. We watched some Chinese players and they basically play gin rummy with the tiles. The cool thing is the electric table which shuffles the tiles and delivers them up through a slit in two rows in front of each player. Afterwards Jeff and I had massages. Mine was great, but a little rough and my neck was sore for the next two days.

Riding along the Yangtze is such a special experience. The river is wide, muddy brown and full of trash. We did see one trash boat plucking out some stuff, but it seems an endless task. Along the way are these new cities on high ground with vast complexes of apartment buildings. On the water’s edge are farms and we see a few cows and livestock. Terraced green areas are farms with two story houses as the farmers do pretty well here. We passed a few industrial sites that were vast and wondered what is going on in there. There is lots of traffic on the river with barges going up and down, many transporting coal. Lots of tourists on the riverboats. Many small boats ply the waters too and ferries go across delivering passengers to small towns and villages.

A nice farewell dinner and then back to pack.