Pictures from a distant land

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Post  fantastica on 7/4/2012, 11:51 am

wait, you were talking about $10,000 US dollars per person for 10 days? or chinese RMB currency?? I think RMB would be more reasonable.

what are the itinerary of your tour program? I have no problem at all w/ mandarin but my children would, so we would prefer some english speaking guides. My plan is to get there on our own, visiting some old relatives, and then join a tour group to see some famous places, then go to a place on our own again, visit more relative, maybe join another tour group to see another set of places. having meals and accomodations all included means you wont likely get taken advantage of by unethical merchants.

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Post  Delight on 7/5/2012, 12:07 am

10,000 RMB, not USD. If it had been USD, I wouldn't consider the price as 'reasonably affordable' Wink

The itinerary of my trip this year was basically: Chengdu-->Jiuzhaigou-->Chengdu-->Zhangjiajie-->Chengdu; a couple of nights in each stop-over and that's about it. At least 2 days of the tour involved flying into and out of China.

If you're planning to visit relatives and do sightseeing on the side, it may be more tricky to arrange the tour package. But know that when you join a decent-sized tour group, the tour company can usually negotiate much better prices for the hotel stays.

If you like historical stuff, Beijing would be a good place to visit. There's the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall etc.

If you like rivers and mountains, Guilin is quite impressive. You may want to check if you can get hold of tickets to watch the outdoor live show 'Impression- Sangjie Liu'. You get performers singing and dancing on water (the 'stage' looks like a huge lake but is actually a bend in a river), with real mountains as 'props'. I didn't understand a word they're singing, and there was some heavy raining and drenching going on, but it was still a memorable performance.
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Post  fantastica on 7/5/2012, 1:25 am

I saw the old movie version of "Liu san jie" which means the third sister of the Liu family (the third daughter of the family). It's a very simple story but it makes me nostalgic.

Did you arrange the tour while you were in Australia or did you get the tour after you get to China? I am thinking about joining the tour for immediate departure while in China. there are supposed to be a lot of tour groups there, right? Does your tour group have a website?

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Post  BlueJazz on 7/5/2012, 1:22 pm

Delight wrote:Thanks for the history lesson behind the 'Ding Hai Shen Zhen', BlueJazz. I thought the term sounded familiar, but couldn't put my finger on where I've heard it before. neutre


You're welcome, Delight neutre I'm glad to introduce Chinese culture to people who are not familiar with it since I'm a Chinese anyway.

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Post  Delight on 7/6/2012, 12:24 pm

fantastica wrote:
Did you arrange the tour while you were in Australia or did you get the tour after you get to China? I am thinking about joining the tour for immediate departure while in China. there are supposed to be a lot of tour groups there, right? Does your tour group have a website?

The tour was mainly arranged by my dad (who communicated directly with one of the higher-position tour guides of the tour company), so I don't know the details. I just turn up and enjoy tonguue . The whole tour and itinerary was organized prior to us going into China.

I believe this is the website of the tour company we went with:

http://www.xdtravel.com/

BlueJazz wrote:
You're welcome, Delight neutre I'm glad to introduce Chinese culture to people who are not familiar with it since I'm a Chinese anyway.

I feel like I should get to know more of Chinese culture and literature, but I can only do so much with 5 years of Chinese language lessons.
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Post  brisallie on 8/3/2012, 10:42 am

So this's the thread to post about those lands far away our home?

Congrats and have a safe trip to all those girls that're travelling into the few days :D take lots of pictures and ENJOY.


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Post  Glorfindel on 8/4/2012, 6:31 pm

Okay, I promised to post some pics from my holiday to the south coast of France (near the Spanish border. Sorry that the pictures are this large, I don't know how to make them smaller.

Here's the area we went (we were in the lowest tip of the red part, #66):
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The area we went to (Languedoc/Roussilion) is a very popular touristic part of France. The coast has many small villages with harbours, hotels, beaches and campsites. There's one village (Argeles) that has more than 60 campsites!
Me and my family don't like sleeping in a crowded touristic beach town, so we usually choose a campsite about 20 km from the coast. This way we have the benefit of a quiet campsite near a nice, little village, and still enjoy the beaches and tourist places when we want to. It's a nice balance between getting some rest and culture, and getting some fun and sun. coool

This is a picture of one of the (larger) coast villages: Cerbere.
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Most of these coast villages are turned into beach tourism places, but there are some old little towns as well. There is a lovely village, Collioure, with an old harbour, many small streets, a fortress, an old lighttower, and this old mill that reminds me of 'Don Quichotte':
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Unfortunately we were there late in the evening, so we couldn't take many pictures, but we promised ourselves to come back there again someday.

For the kids' enjoyment (and ngl: for my husband and me too) we spent a day at an Aqualand waterpark, full of long and fast waterslides. That day was perfect. Normally those days at a theme park are quite tiresome for me as mom, but on this day everything went absolutely right. My son (who's 8) was afraid of the slides at first, but once we pursuaded him to try one, he got so enthusiastic he was unstoppable. Razz
It was a family day without any flaw or annoyance, everyone got along and every ride or attraction was great for all 5 of us. I think the moms on this forum can appreciate a day like that: I certainly did. fanny2

On Juli 14th, the French National holiday, there was a parade and fireworks in the village our campsite was at, Elne, a "ball de diables". A bunch of young men dressed up as devils and on their costumes they had strapped fireworks. They danced and swirled around while the fireworks went off, very near to the audience in the streets. It was very fascinating to watch, very beautiful, but a bit scary too (which was the intention). It was an unexpected treat and my children loved it:
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We like visiting old castles and villages, to look at some history (I bet Chris likes it too). This is Mont Segur, far inland. It's high up on a hill, very impressive. This old fortress was the refuge of the last Cathars untill they were slaughtered for their religion by the army of the French King (and the Pope) in 1244:
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One day we took a trip on the coast road to Spain. We crossed the border and went swimming at a beach in Spain. The road to Spain is beautiful, there are a lot of curves and cliffs (the road climbs a few hills), and many breathtaking views on the coastline and sea:
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It wasn't a very exciting holiday, nothing special, but after the last 2 years, with a lot of bad luck for us as a family and holiday-wise, this was exactly what we needed.
My husband and I had some big adventures and exploring holidays before our kids were born, and hopefully we'll have them again someday. But just going to a country where the sun is almost always shining, near the sea, full of flowers and trees that don't grow in the Netherlands (palm trees and oleander bushes!): that's enough for now.

And I'll end this post (lol, I feel like I'm writing a "What-did-you-do-this-summer" essay) with a picture of my 2 youngest children enjoying their first toes-dip in the sea:
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Post  fantastica on 8/4/2012, 9:51 pm

Thank you Marie, for the holidy photo journal. neutre The scenary was beautiful I wish I can be there too - one day. Do you speak French? I assume most Europeans grow up learning multiple languages.

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Post  Glorfindel on 8/4/2012, 10:44 pm

fantastica wrote:Thank you Marie, for the holidy photo journal. neutre The scenary was beautiful I wish I can be there too - one day. Do you speak French? I assume most Europeans grow up learning multiple languages.
My French is bad. I know a lot of words, and I can manage buying food and ordering dinner and such, but it's hard for me to talk whole sentences. My husband can talk French very well, luckily.
And the French themselves talk too fast! They hardly take the trouble to help you out when you're lost for words. And they refuse to or can't speak English. Although there are very nice exceptions. We had very friendly 'neighbours' at our campsite (an older couple), who both talked to me slowly and while using simple language, and I managed to have conversations with them, learning a lot of new words along the way. It's amazing how easily you learn a language when you're 'forced' to have conversations in that language on a daily basis, and therefore get a lot of practice.

In the Netherlands you learn English, French and German in high school (at least, when you go to a high school for the smarter kids). Spanish is optional, and the really smart kids can choose (dead) Latin and Greek as well.
Most Dutch people can speak English, but are not good at French and German.
Because I live 5 km from the German border and watched a lot of German television when I was a kid, I can speak German fluently (as most older people in my area can), although I will probably make a lot of grammar mistakes.


Oh, and I forgot to mention this in my 'essay': our neighbour invited my husband to play 'petanque' (jeu des boules) a few nights at the campsite.
In France playing petanque is apparently a 'men's game. The (towns') men gather at the petanque field in the evenings and chat while they play, while the women stay at home or admire them from the sidelines. Rolling Eyes
My husband felt really honored to be invited, and all I could do was snigger about all the traditional anti-feminist implications and such. Razz

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Post  fantastica on 8/5/2012, 2:55 am

Pardon my ignorance, but I thought dutch sounds a bit like German, doesn't it? I thought these are very similar languages. I watched couple of very good dutch movies when I was younger. In one movie I saw the word "Vader" and the translation says "father", and I finally understood what "Darth Vader" stands for. Razz

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Post  tanita_mors on 8/5/2012, 5:44 am

Glad you and your family had such a great time. Nothing better then a nice, quite vacation by the seaside with the people you love.

I always though that Dutch sounded like a strange fusion of English, German, French and Spanish to a degree. I used to watch some satellite film channels that were dutch, and unless I was watching, there was no way to tell what the commercials were about by language alone.

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Post  Glorfindel on 8/5/2012, 6:51 am

fantastica wrote:Pardon my ignorance, but I thought dutch sounds a bit like German, doesn't it? I thought these are very similar languages. I watched couple of very good dutch movies when I was younger.
That's why so many German villians (e.g. nazis) are played by Dutch actors in Hollywood movies: they can pronounce German very well, although Dutch and German people always can tell the difference.
But although Dutch sounds a lot like German, it has some nasty different grammar rules, especially when it comes to words like 'his', her', 'its', 'the' and such, and that's where the many grammatical errors come from. But in general those languages are a lot alike, yes.
In the south where I live we speak a dialect that has been acknowledged as an official language: Limburgs, and that's a mixture of Dutch and German. Oftentimes, when I speak Limburgs with a friend or family-member when I'm in the north of the Netherlands (Holland) people mistake us for Germans (which is annoying), and they make fun of our (song-like) accent. dryy

tanita_mors wrote:I always though that Dutch sounded like a strange fusion of English, German, French and Spanish to a degree. I used to watch some satellite film channels that were dutch, and unless I was watching, there was no way to tell what the commercials were about by language alone.
Yes, there are a lot of French words mixed in our language, e.g. 'cadeau' which means gift, and 'paraplu' which means umbrella. And French and Spanish have the same roots.

Ahum, history lesson ahead: Rolling Eyes
The West-European languages are roughly based on 3 original old languages: Old Latin, Old German (Germaans) and Angel-Saks. English is based on Angel-Saks (since Great-Britain is an island, they developed their own language).
The languages French, Spanish and Italian are based mostly on Old Latin. The languages German, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish are all based on Old German.

Dutch is based on Old German, but because the Netherlands have been occupied by a lot of countries throughout history, especially France, Italy and Spain, our language got influenced by and mixed with Old Latin languages. And the Dutch were always traders: they sailed a lot to Great Britain (which topographical is close), and were the main slave traders that brought slaves to the United States. So English is also no strange language to us.
Maybe that's why the Dutch are known for being able to speak other languages easily: we already have a basic vocabulary of a lot of different languages embedded in our own language. neutre

In one movie I saw the word "Vader" and the translation says "father", and I finally understood what "Darth Vader" stands for. Razz
Yup, us Dutch got a big clue and head start in Star Wars with the secret/twist that Darth Vader was Luke's and Leia's father. Razz

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Post  Delight on 8/5/2012, 10:40 am

Thanks for the lovely photos (and the impromptu history lesson), Glorfindel Smile

Such lovely scenery along the coast wub . I'm intrigued by the history of the old fortress where the Cathars took refuge. What was their religion that resulted in their extinction?

What did the petanque game involve, do you know? (chess? boardgame? card game?)

It's great to hear that you and your family had a wonderful time during this trip, despite the slight hiccup at the start.


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Post  ColferGirl on 8/5/2012, 2:36 pm

Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures, Marie! Your trip seems to have been really relaxing and pleasant, I'm glad you and your family had a lovely time.

The festival where men strap fireworks to their bodies to be demons sounds so neat! I bet that was spectacular, the picture alone is amazing, and makes me wish I was there watching it too. I'd be afraid of standing too close, in case I got struck by a stray spark.

And the picture of the coastline is breathtaking. wub I love the ocean. I wish I lived by the sea, the largest body of water near me is the Great Salt Lake, which is....surprisingly unpleasant. (Rather pretty when you see it from the air while on a plane, though).
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Post  Glorfindel on 8/5/2012, 2:39 pm

Delight wrote:Thanks for the lovely photos (and the impromptu history lesson), Glorfindel Smile
Couldn't resist, sorry. blushh
Hey, I'm a teacher. Razz

Such lovely scenery along the coast wub . I'm intrigued by the history of the old fortress where the Cathars took refuge. What was their religion that resulted in their extinction?
The Cathars were quite 'modern' in their beliefs. Not everything is known about them, because a lot was destroyed, but they believed that your earthly actions were more important than your words (of prayer). Priests in their belief mostly helped others (like sick people) and there was no emphasis on materialistic things, like money and such. Furthermore the Cathars didn't need a priest as a inbetween man to 'communicate' with their God(s) (I'm not sure about this).
You can imagine this didn't sit well with the Pope and the important priests of the Christian Church, who ruled by pressure and superiority. That's why the Cathars were extinguished.
In Dutch we call a heretic (someone who denies the 'real' faith and gets persecuted for that) a 'ketter', and that's directly related to the word 'Cathar'. My husband is very interested in these kind of religious/history things, that's why I know this. fanny2

What did the petanque game involve, do you know? (chess? boardgame? card game?)
It's a (small) field game with very heavy iron balls. Basically a little ball gets thrown away and the players one by one have to throw their heavy balls as near to the little ball as possible, and maybe hit the balls of their opponents with their own ball, so the other balls roll further away from the little ball. The person who gets his ball the closest to the little ball, wins. You can see that this is a men's game. tonguue
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It's great to hear that you and your family had a wonderful time during this trip, despite the slight hiccup at the start.
Thank you. Yes, this really made up for a lot, and the little hiccup (our car broke down 5 km before our destiny) was telling us once again, that these things are not a given and should be cherished. neutre



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Post  Glorfindel on 8/5/2012, 2:55 pm

ColferGirl wrote:Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures, Marie! Your trip seems to have been really relaxing and pleasant, I'm glad you and your family had a lovely time.

The festival where men strap fireworks to their bodies to be demons sounds so neat! I bet that was spectacular, the picture alone is amazing, and makes me wish I was there watching it too. I'd be afraid of standing too close, in case I got struck by a stray spark.

Thank you.
When the men with the fireworks danced past the sparks were flying everywhere. We were lucky: we were standing just out of range, but we felt some sparks in our faces, and we could really feel the heat. I can only imagine how hot it must have been for those young men inside these costumes.
There were firemen keeping an eye on everything, so I guess it was 'safe', but it was very, very impressive, something I had never seen before.

And the picture of the coastline is breathtaking. wub I love the ocean. I wish I lived by the sea, the largest body of water near me is the Great Salt Lake, which is....surprisingly unpleasant. (Rather pretty when you see it from the air while on a plane, though).
The closest I came to where you live is Bryce Canyon, I think? That was a beautiful, beautiful National Park.

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Post  fantastica on 8/5/2012, 3:58 pm

Thanks Marie, history is one of my fav subject because I am a curious cat (same as Chris) Razz I love when you give history and language lessons. hte more hte merrier! Still waiting for your music lesson though...phr34r

p.s. So what does "Darth" mean? "Dark"?

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Post  Glorfindel on 8/5/2012, 4:58 pm

fantastica wrote:Thanks Marie, history is one of my fav subject because I am a curious cat (same as Chris) Razz I love when you give history and language lessons. hte more hte merrier! Still waiting for your music lesson though...phr34r
It's coming, it's coming, I finally found my mojo.
Patience, grasshopper. tonguue

p.s. So what does "Darth" mean? "Dark"?
I have no idea. 'Darth' is not a Dutch word.

I looked on Wookieepedia (Rolling Eyes):
Darth was a title given to certain Sith Lords which preceded either their chosen Sith name, or, in some cases, their birth name.
(---)
But the origins of the word are uncertain. It is often thought that "Darth" is merely a contraction of the title "Dark Lord of the Sith", but there are theories that suggest a deeper interpretation.
Well, that should explain everything, now? sw022

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Post  Delight on 8/6/2012, 10:16 am

Glorfindel wrote:The Cathars were quite 'modern' in their beliefs. Not everything is known about them, because a lot was destroyed, but they believed that your earthly actions were more important than your words (of prayer). Priests in their belief mostly helped others (like sick people) and there was no emphasis on materialistic things, like money and such. Furthermore the Cathars didn't need a priest as a inbetween man to 'communicate' with their God(s) (I'm not sure about this).
You can imagine this didn't sit well with the Pope and the important priests of the Christian Church, who ruled by pressure and superiority. That's why the Cathars were extinguished.

The Cathars had priests too? Gosh, do you mean to say that these Cathars had Christianity as their religion as well, but got extinguished for having deviations from the Catholic belief? That's.... harsh.

Glorfindel wrote:
What did the petanque game involve, do you know? (chess? boardgame? card game?)
It's a (small) field game with very heavy iron balls. Basically a little ball gets thrown away and the players one by one have to throw their heavy balls as near to the little ball as possible, and maybe hit the balls of their opponents with their own ball, so the other balls roll further away from the little ball. The person who gets his ball the closest to the little ball, wins. You can see that this is a men's game. tonguue

Oh yeah, men do like playing with their balls suure

And I just made a dirty joke without any trace of shame tonguue

This petanque game sounds a lot like lawn bowling which we have in Australia. The difference is that the balls used are not made of iron, and they play it on a lawn neutre
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Post  Divalicious on 8/25/2012, 5:36 am

Just like I posted in the cat thread, I hope to figure out picture downloading during my vacation. I will be going to NY, and the Smithsonian, and Philadelphia in the next week, and hope to have a lot of fabulous pictures that I will try to share.

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Post  Delight on 8/25/2012, 9:33 am

^ Hope you figure out how to work that SD slot on your computer soon neutre

Looking forward to pretty pictures taken during your trip. Have a safe trip!
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Post  Ireth on 12/30/2013, 6:18 am

Here's some pics from Nepal Smile

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These are pictures of a beautiful river fifteen minutes away from the village we stayed in.

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This is the land around some nearby farms.

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This is a street in the touristy town of Pokhara, where we did paragliding, shopping and eating. I love the signposts here. This is not a good picture though because I took it from the back of a moving truck.

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This is a monastery on top of a mountain/hill in the middle of a lake...We were told it would take 45 min to trek up to it but we took 1.5 hours, quite embarrassing. Oh well, we're not used to climbing on raised ground.            

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This is a view of the Himalayas from that monastery.

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And this is the lake we rowed across to get to the monastery, Fewa Lake. You can sort of see the Himalayas here too.

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This Buddhist stupa is a world heritage site in Kathmandu.

Pictures from a distant land - Page 2 IMG_3125_zps46a990a5

You can see the Himalayas from a distance over here too.

Pictures from a distant land - Page 2 IMG_2725_zps4fa32b95

A last shot of the Himalayas, it's a pity I only had a phone camera, otherwise I could have taken good photos.
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Post  Delight on 12/30/2013, 7:18 am

Those snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas look amazing  wub  Ah, for want of a zoom function on a camera phone...
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Post  brisallie on 12/30/2013, 3:18 pm

thanks for those pictures Ireth. It seems like a place with lot of vegetation, and I'm with Delight, the view of Himalaya looks amazing.

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Post  Buenos on 12/30/2013, 3:37 pm

Gorgeous photos!

Ah the Himalayas are on my bucket list....
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