My Far East Trips

Update is overdue!

I’ve been back home several weeks, but not quite in the mood to write new posts. For reasons I don’t know. Fatigue, perhaps.

Well, as today is supposed to be the end of the world, according to the Mayans, I think I should at least wrap up a bit about where I traveled in the last two months, so that at least my blog readers know I had not fled the earth two months ago.

In my last post, I posted two photos; the first one was taken in Thailand. In a small canal-clogged village called Amphawa, about 80 km southwest of Bangkok. I was with my wife and daughter on a 5-day self-guided Thailand trip (September 25-30). We traveled, besides Bangkok, the ancient Siamese capital Ayutthaya, the Amphawa floating market and the beach town Cha Am.

Bangkok

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From October 18 to 21, I traveled to the Hakka homeland between Guangdong Province and Fujian Province in South China. The Hakka people are a branch of the Han people in China who have their own dialect and social customs. One of the things that are unique to the Hakkas is their Tulou, huge fortified communal houses. The second picture I posted in my last post was taken inside one of such Tulous. Some of those located in Fujian, and that I visited, were inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 2008.

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On my way back from the Tulous, I also stopped at a valley at the border of Guangdong Province where the rice terraces were very photogenic.

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In the last week of October, I took a trip to the northern part of Shaanxi Province in north China. While it is generally an over-cultivated (and therefore heavily eroded) area, there is still some pristine landscape such as the red  valleys in Jingbian County which in a way resemble the “Waves” in Arizona, USA.

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Before I flew home in late November, I took one short trip to the Sze Yap area, the “Four Counties” where most early Chinese immigrants in North America had came from. This area is now a well known tourist destination for the Diaolous (heavily fortified western style houses or mansions) built by these immigrants after they had earned some money abroad. Like the Tulous mentioned above, these Diaolous were so fortified because they were located in bandit-infested areas. Also like the Tulous, the Diaolous have become a World Heritage Site.

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When I was not on the road, I stayed in Hong Kong, with my daughter who works there. It is a crowded city, but it also has numerous enjoyable hiking trails, which is one of the things that made my stay in Hong Kong quite pleasant.

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This wraps up my brief on my recent Far East Trips.

Well, December 21 is passing with the world still thriving with life. It seems the Mayans are mistaken. Happy Holidays, everyone!

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