January 17, 2014


We recently returned from a trip to Hong Kong and China and, as always, our travels were sprinkled with surprises. In addition to exploring the Great Wall, enjoying a delicious variety of regional food, marveling at the Terra Cotta Soldiers, Tianenmen Square, the Summer Palace, the Li and Yangtze rivers, and all the natural and architectural and historic sites, we constantly encountered the unexpected.

HALLOWEEN Trick or Treat...In both Hong Kong and China, 
we found evidence of Halloween celebrations. 
A street market in Hong Kong offered scary pastries and 
vendors in costume. When we arrived at our hotel in Xi'an, China, 
it was Halloween night. Costumed staff greeted us 
with light-up skull pins left over from a celebration. 

Uniforms, backpacks, phones and vigilant teachers.
FIELD TRIPS  are the same everywhere in the world, it seems. Our first day in Beijing, we visited Tianenman Square and found ourselves touring behind a school field trip. The students' bright blue uniforms made them easy to spot. Ten-year-old chatter and antics are universal!

Muslim Quarter Market

Outside Gullin, we visited a 350-year-old
house where two widowed sisters-in-law 
lived. Their children had built them a
new home, but they preferred to live
here, in what was originally a general's
home. They proudly showed us their
possessions, including a coffin!

Our second day in Xian we visited the
Muslim Quarter of that city, which is on the eastern edge of the Silk Road. We learned that there has been a sizable Muslim population in that region for over 1000 years, a result of the Silk Road trade route.

Widow proudly displays her coffin made by a son.

Wherever we went, people wanted their photo taken with our group's redhead or with our tallest white-haired Gweilo. At the Three Gorges Dam park, several "redheads" got in the act.
At the Three Gorges Dam, a group shot of redheads!

                          Shanghai Book Store's Children's Book Section
Like a giant Barnes and Noble, the Shanghai
Book Store is seven stories of every
imaginable book genre, plus games
and puzzles, stationery and cards, and, of
course, a Starbucks. While we sipped our
latte and herbal tea, we enjoyed Christmas
music. So there we were in Shanghai listening to
Feliz Navidad. Surprise!

We had trouble finding the store and
stopped at a police station for help.
No one there spoke English but we
were able to convey what we were looking for
and a police woman walked us to the corner
and pointed down the street. Surprise!


  1. Thanks for sharing this. I look forward to future blogs about your trip. Hope you were able to get some shots of the Dam itself...in addition to the redheads.

  2. I love it all, Anola, but I think my favorite is the woman showing off the coffin her son made for her! Thank you for sharing. :)

  3. This brings back so many wonderful memories, Anola. Thank you for sharing! I loved China - wish I could go back. William, if you want shots of the dam, I have 'em. LOL Course, they're about ten years old....