Tonghai (English & Español)

TONGHAI

(Versión Español)

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Para llegar a Tonghai desde Kunming, se necesitan menos de tres horas en autobús, es todo carretera y hay poco para distraer la vista. Tonghai es una pequeña ciudad agrícola, a pocos kilómetros del lago de Qilu, al lado del cual todavía hay un pueblo de descendientes de soldados del ejercito de los Mongolos. La ciudad, presa de una campaña de embelesamiento, como tantas otras en China, no es nada del otro mundo. Desafortunadamente, muchos edificios antiguos de la dinastía Qing ya han sido demolidos, mientras que otros están sujetos a reformas de dudoso gusto. Más que nada, el encanto de Tonghai reside en la mezcla interesante de su población y, sobre todo, el atmosférico parque de Xiushan.

Xiushan es un parque bastante grande, lleno de templos en el estilo de las famosas montañas sagradas chinas, situado en el monte Xiushan, con vistas sobre la ciudad y el lago Qilu. La falta absoluta de teleféricos, puestos de souvenirs y turistas, fácilmente convierten este parque en uno de los más agradables y relajantes de China….. Leer mas:
HolaChina: Your Gateway to China

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TONGHAI

(English Version)

The journey from Kunming to Tonghai takes less than three hours, a straight bus-ride down the motorway with very little in the way of visual distractions. Tonghai itself is a small agricultural town, a few kilometres from the Qilu lake, on whose shores a village inhabited by descendants of soldiers from the Mongol armies survives to this day. The town, which is currently undergoing a beautification campaign, like so many others in China, is nothing to write home about. Unfortunately, many interesting old buildings, mostly dating from the Qing dynasty, have already fallen prey to the sledge hammer, while others are undergoing dubious reforms. However, Tonghai‘s saving grace is its interesting population mix and, most of all, the wonderfully atmospheric Xiushan park.

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Xiushan park is a large temple park in the style of China’s famous Holy Mountains, set on Xiushan mountain, overlooking Tonghai city and Qilu lake. Its total lack of cable cars, souvenir stalls and tourists make this park easily one of the most pleasant and laid- back in China…. For more go to:

HolaChina: Your Gateway to China

Yuanyang Rice Terraces / 远阳梯田 2006

YuanYang

During the first two or three months of every year, thousands of professional and would- be professional photographers descend upon this remote town in Yunnan province to take photos of one of nature’s most beautiful phenomena, the changing of winter to spring on some of the most spectacular rice terraces in the world. At this time, the paddies are full of water, and their beauty is enhanced by the shifting contrasts of light and rolling mists that provide stunning vistas. At sunrise and sunset the water in the paddies can take on a myriad of colours, ranging from an eerie blue, to pink, yellow and bright red, thus providing the perfect hunting ground for those in search of the ultimate shot.

Unfortunately, our work schedule left us with no choice but to visit Yuanyang in summer, when the terraces have taken on a bright emerald hue, but are devoid of water. They are still an awesome sight, especially at dawn, but they are no match for those glossy photos, adorning the multiple coffee-table books and postcards that you can find all over town. The locals, who seem to be fairly obsessed with rice paddy viewing, constantly remind us that this is the wrong time to visit and insist that we should come again in February, to see the real thing!

The most popular terrace viewing points are:
Longshubao: particularly recommended for Continue reading “Yuanyang Rice Terraces / 远阳梯田 2006”

Wine and Cheese in Shangri-la

One of the more pleasant Surprises of last year’s visit to Zhongdian in the South Western province of Yunnan was sitting in a Tibetan run wine bar nipppling delicious cheese and washing it down with a pretty decent red wine. Both products were locally made. The cheese, unlike most Tibetan cheeses, was neither sour or tooth shatteringly rock hard. Actually it would go down well at any French or Spanish table. The cheese was produced in a remote mountanious area by a cooperative with the aid of western expertise. In April HolaChina: Your Gateway to China will bring you a full length article on how this unusual business came about. Stay posted!

Taxi Talk 2

The Opium War revisited (Camelia Hotel to the Kunming Bus Station)

Not all Chinese have a positive impression of the British (See previous posting) . This cab driver, on our short ride to Kunming’s Bus Satation, angrily reminded us that China had not forgotten the Opium war and that the time was soon approaching when those countries responsible would be held to account.

His monologue mirrored Chinese history teaching on the Opium War that paints a very black and white picture of villains, the British, and Victims, the Chinese. “You humiliated China and now China is strong again” were his parting words.

I did my thesis on the Opium War at university and know that the issue is far from black and white. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to get a word in before we were dumped at the bus station. Never mind, it was eye opening ride.