Sunday, May 25, 2008

Guest Blog #7 - Mark's Parents

Ah, we are enjoying our day in Xitang and will post all of our Shanghai and Xitang stories for you in the future, for now another post from my parents...

Today we got picked up at 8:30 after another great western breakfast. We headed up to the Great wall again, this time the Badaling Section.

But first we stopped at a Cloissanne Factory.They showed us how they make the vases by soldering two pieces of copper together. Wow, what a concept. Next we watched them glue the fine copper coiled strips to the vase per the design of the master craftsman. They use a special glue made from vegetables. Then they fire the vase to set the glue. Next they showed us how they paint the vases using different colors, which can be picked by the painters. The vases are painted & fired 6 times. They showed us an oven with some vases they were firing at 800 degrees. Then they showed us how they polish the vases, first with flint for the copper, then garnet and finally with charcoal. Finally they use a special super secret process as a final coat. Then voila, you have all this beautiful stuff that you can buy in the gift shop.

Next we went to the Great Wall. Again we took the gondola ride up. This wall section was much steeper and much more crowded. The weather was hazier so it was harder to take good pictures. We only stayed an hour. We enjoyed the other section better but where ever you see if from, it is very impressive.

Ah, then we got to stop for lunch on the way back to Beijing. Oh the restaurant was in the back of the jade place. We got to see them grinding different objects and teaching us about the quality of Jade. Of course we got to go through the show room on the way to lunch. Then Chinese lunch.We told Amy no soup. Sure enough no soup but 6 different dishes. Chicken with peanuts again (not as good), chicken with pineapple (very good), dumplings (did not try), dried beef (very dry), pea pods (good), cucumber slices, rice and water melon.

Next we stopped at the Summer Palace. Very interesting. Lot of walking followed by a boat ride across the lake. More walking. Got back to hotel about 6:00.

Tonight we walked down our street. It turned into a pedestrian only section with a huge number of high end shops. We passed on the Rolex watches etc. We ate hot dogs with smoothies at Dairy Queen in some huge mall. Also went through a small flea market type section. Just about every booth person came out to say Hello, please come in and look. Some even grabbed onto you. We managed to only buy one thing.

Tomorrow we fly to Xian. Did I mention we did a lot of walking today?

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