Photos of Ningbo’s Historical Sites

The weather was dark and wet. I can feel how life in the old days would dance with each passing season. During a cold winter rainy day, a family would come together and only venture out to tend their garden patch. Life without cars, without powered machineries they are linked to nature.

Paraphrasing a Chinese idiom “Sleep early, wake up early, good health” acknowledges the people of the past are synchronized to the day and night. In a bigger scope, synchronizing to nature.

My gratitude to Ningbo & Zhejiang Universities, the teachers and the Gangnam dancers. Strings of events have led me to these photos. Life is amazing. Enjoy.


Qian Dao Hu (1000 Island Lake): A Retreat From The City

At the beginning of November, I was ready for a break from the city. I needed to be in a place where there are more trees than people. Luckily, there is a place near Hangzhou — a 2.5 hours bus ride. The place is called Qian Dao Hu meaning 1000 island lake.

The lake is man made by the creation of a hydrodam on Xi’an River. According to the tour guide, the lake’s water is one of the cleanest in China. The water is used to produce Nongfu Spring brand mineral water. This brand is everywhere in Hangzhou and other part of China.

The air seems to be refresher here than the city air but I don’t know why the sky is so hazy. Could it be the cool air and warm water causing a low level fog? I don’t know. What I know is that it makes seeing far difficult and it’s really bad for photography.

Getting around is difficult in this area because there’s not really a good transit system and the places to do things are spread out. I needed a car for the weekend. Luckily, I found a driver and a car for hire for 70 Yuan (less than $11). His name is Mr. Shao (phone number is 13615719677). He drove me to the hotel from the bus station, took me to a local restaurant by the lake (waited for me), the next morning, drove me to the boat dock for my island tour, then pick me up afterwards. The next morning, he picked me at the hotel and drop me off at the bus station. He was very prompt and very courteous.

The hotel room I booked at New Century Hangzhou Qiandao Lake was amazing. It was on the 21st floor with a view the city and the lake. Because it’s the beginning of the low season, I got a deep discount for the room. The room was clean and the bed was very comfy. A nice change from staying in a hostel.

I was lucky to get a boat tour. It was their second last day before they close for the season. I boarded one of the biggest boat on the lake. It took us to the middle of the lake. There, I boarded a smaller boat that took me to various islands. It first took me to the bell tower — the highest spot. I didn’t know that I can walk up to it, so I paid 10 Yuan for a chairlift ride.

After that, the tour scheduled an early lunch on the big boat. The food quantity was massive but lacks variety. Last night I had two famous local fish dishes for dinner, and  at lunch I was served the same two types of fish dishes. Needless to say, that evening, I had no fish for dinner.

In the afternoon, I visited more islands and walked around. The big boat returned me to the dock to end the day tour. Overall, it’s a good tour but I could skip the lunch.

Nice hotel room. Floor to ceiling window with a great view of the city and the lake.

On the top of floor of the big boat after having a fish lunch.

The lake is the source for this brand of mineral water.

Going up the chairlift to see the lake.

A view of 1000 Island Lake from the top of the highest point.

Mr. Shao (my driver for the weekend and his car) and me in front of the bus station.


Xi’an Day 2

The first day in Xi’an, we walked to the Muslim area for some food and shopping. On the second day, we took the bus to see the museum of Emperor Qin terracotta army and his burial site. It’s a whole day activity.

We had to walk for about 30 minutes from our hostel to the bus station. Well, it’s not really a station. It’s a big parking lot across from the railway station on the east side. The bus number we needed to take is 306. The bus starts operating around 8:30am and leaves every 30 minutes (it can leave earlier if the bus is full or later if the bus needs more seats to fill). There’s no advance ticket so it’s important to know where the queue is and to be in it. The money is collected by a fare collector once we’re on the bus. It cost 7 RMB. Once we’re on our way, the fare collector gave a long speech about something. I can only pick out some words but I like her voice. Very poetic.

The museum is about an hour (depending on traffic) away from the city center. Along the way, the bus can drop passengers off to other tourist sites such as Huaqing Hotspring Bathing House.

An adult ticket to the museum is 125 RMB. We used our student IDs (local or foreign) in order to get the student ticket for 75 RMB. A decent saving.

The museum site is big with multiple buildings to protect the excavated areas from the weather. The excavation effort is still on going inside these buildings. It’s amazing how big each site is and combined, it’s more astounding how a fearful mind can create. The army was created to protect and serve Emperor Qin in his afterlife.

After seeing the terracotta army, we took a free shuttle bus (we have to show our museum tickets – don’t throw them away) to the mausoleum of the Emperor Qin. This is another big site that contains more excavation areas of the terracotta army. If you just want to visit his burial site, it’s at most a 500 meter walk straight ahead from the electric cart ticket booth. We decided to take the electric cart to scoot us around to the various excavated areas because we were tired and we didn’t have a lot of time left. The cart’s final stop was at Emperor Qin’s burial site where we had our group photo. A good ending to our tour.

Photos taken by Jiyoon, Jon and me.

Having fun while waiting for bus 306 to take us to see Emperor Qin’s terracotta army. (L-R) Jon, Hyeonji and Anne.

Koreans are popular among Chinese people. A Chinese man asked Jiyoon to a take photo with him at the terracotta army museum. If you’re from Japan, it’s best to keep quiet. Some businesses refuse to take Japanese customers.

Many soldiers lined up to defend Emperor Qin in the afterlife world. Hopefully that other world is more peaceful.

A bronze chariot for the other world.

It shows how deep these soldiers where buried.

Terracotta soldiers wear bright colours. With time, the colours fade away.

Hyeonji and Charlotte terracotta?

At Emperor Qin’s burial site. (L-R) Hyeonji, Anne, Charlotte, Lisa, Jiyoon, John and me.