The Peanut Lady

This Sweet Lady I call the “Peanut Lady”.  I was on the Li River cruise awhile ago and all of a sudden we turned and ran up onto a bank at a small village.  We let off a group of people who needed to catch a bus on the road near the village.  While we stopped many sellers came down over a small bank to sell us trinkets. Several of us got off the boat while we were there and so many villagers swarmed down on us.  In the very back trying to manage getting down the bank was this sweet elderly lady.  She was selling peanuts!  Helping her family out which is the custom of the old people to contribute to the family in some way.   I waded through the crowd and went up to her, leaned down and asked for “One bag” of peanuts.  She had them hanging on a twig.  I rolled up a large bill and put it in her hand so she could not see how large it was.  She smiled and accepted it without knowing the value.  She seemed happy just to sell a bag of peanuts.  That bag and this photo of her hang on my wall next to my desk to this day.   I have it there to remind me that we all must be Contributors to our family, friends and community and then we all Gain By It.  I have learned many lessons of kindness in China; something we could all do with so little effort.
                  Click on the photo for a full screen view

Luoyang Longmen Buddhist Caves

There are several locations for Buddhist Caves in China and at Luoyang East of Xian about 2 hours by fast train are the famous Longmen Caves.  Luoyang was once an ancient capital in China before it moved to Xian and now to Beijing.  The White Horse Temple located there was the very first Buddhist Temple constructed in China during the 1st century.  Called the White Horse Temple because two monks rode white horses all the way from India to establish the temple.  The Grotto and caves were constructed from the year 494 taking over 200 years to finish as they are today.   The art is mostly constructed at the Grotto as you can see as well as in shallow caves hollowed out of the cliffs.  Some have been damaged by art hunters as well as the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution.  Many heads were removed and are in museums in both Europe and North America today.  During the last 30 years some restoration work has been done and continues.  You may click on the photos to get a full screen view of them.  Caves at Datong and Dunhuang in the north are also excellent places to view Buddhist caves.  Dunhuang on the Silk Road has the best preserved caves and art with over 700 caves in which they have been covered with wooden doors to preserve the art which has never been damaged.   Unfortunately they do not allow cameras on the grounds so I do not have photos to post.    For more information email us at  interlak@eskimo.com   We have traveled China and Tibet for the  past 25 years and planning private tours for our customers for over 25 years. Click on the photos for full screen views.

Wolong Panda Preserve Closed Yet.

The Wolong Panda Preserve was destroyed during the large earthquake in 2008.  The Pandas were transferred to Bifenxia Park near Ya’an in Sichuan province however you can see Pandas in the very large Panda Breeding Center just outside Chengdu which is more convenient to tourists.   They are presently rebuilding the Wolong Preserve which may be ready for tourism in late  2014.  The main problem is the road leading to this area was destroyed and it is taking a long time to rebuild it in that remote area of the mountains.  The photo here with me and the Pandas was taken at the Wolong Reserve in 2007 when I was working in that area.   Keep watching my blog and I will have more information as it becomes available.   My Chinese Associate partners are in Chengdu so I talk to them on a regular basis and will be in Chengdu this fall and will be checking that area out as I do every year.  For more information feel free to email me for other information on touring China too.   interlak@eskimo.com      Dave
                           For a full screen view click on the photos

Money Exchange

The exchange rate is running just over 6 yuan to the $1.00 U.S. or roughly 1 yuan equals about .16 cents. If there is any radical change I will post it here.  In the larger cities you may use your debit or credit card at Cash Machines or most banks.  Cash Machines may not be available everywhere.   In the smaller cities, countryside or non-tourists areas this often can not be done.  If you are going into the countryside or remote areas be sure to take enough Yuan with you as you may not be able to exchange foreign currency or use your debit or credit cards.  Cash is King!   Hotels will exchange foreign currency usually with a very minimal charge or send you to a near by bank.  I have found a few hotels who now have cash machines in their lobbies.  When in the large cities carry enough local money to cover yourself for about 3 days.  In the remote areas you may need to exchange money in advance enough to cover yourself for the time you will be there.   Department stores, hotels, and factory stores usually accept credit cards.  Only a few larger restaurants accept credit cards so plan on having cash for most restaurants.   Tipping is not needed as there is a service charge included in the cost of the meals.  If you do tip for special service it usually goes to the restaurant owner.  For more details on money exchange continue to read my blog or email me with any specific questions not found here.  Email:   interlak@eskimo.com     My name is Dave.