Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces / 龙脊梯田

从漓江我直接去了龙脊梯田。这个附近的梯田都是从元朝开始做的。据说这些的梯田是中国最漂亮 的。我在平安寨住了一个晚上。我觉得这个村子的名气奇怪,因为山上并不是平的。我第二天早上起的很早为了看日出,不过由于阴天看不到太阳。不 管早上的光对拍照片很不错。

Moving on from the Li River, I went to visit the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces. This a region of terraced fields that dates to the Yuan Dynasty and is considered one of the most impressive in China. I visited the hillside village of Pingan and stayed there for one night. I think “Pingan” translates to “flat and peaceful”. The peaceful part might be accurate, but it’s definitely not flat on a mountainside. I woke up early in the morning to see the sun rise. While it was too cloudy to see the sun, the light provided a great opportunity to take some great pictures.

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Li River / 漓江

我从上海飞去了广西桂林。 听说那边的自然风光是中国最美的之一。我先去了阳朔看漓江。我花了两天在漓江旁边骑自行车,还有在漓江山做船。而且我看了张艺模的“印象-刘三姐“。随着往南方走,我遇到的广东人越来越多。他们都很热情,给我他们的联系方式,要让我到 广州的时候跟他们联系。

Following my visit to Shanghai, I headed to Guilin, a city in the southwestern province of Guangxi and what is considered to be one of the areas of greatest natural beauty in China. I first visited the Li River where I spent two days riding bicycles and boats in and around the river. As I travel further south towards Guangzhou (Canton) and Hong Kong I seem to be meeting more and more Cantonese people. They’re all very friendly and tell me to look them up when I get to Guangzhou.

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Shanghai / 上海

After leaving Hangzhou I made a brief stop in Shanghai. This was primarily to visit with some people I know, as I’ve been to Shanghai before and most of what’s there doesn’t interest me too much. I spent some of my time there wandering with friends in Shanghai’s liongs. These are to Shanghai what the hutong is to Beijing, though they’re quite different. I don’t think the lilongs have the fengshui attributes of Beijing’s hutongs. They’re simply alleys laid out in a grid between main streets. They occupy the same space in the city as hutongs, and serve the same purpose (living, business, etc.), but have a different layout.

我离开杭州以后去了上海看 朋友。我上次来中国已经去了上海,而且我觉得有点儿无聊,所以我只是去了那边为了看朋友。我在上海的里弄逛 街跟朋友们一起逛街了一下。北京有胡同,上海有里弄。它们都是原来住和工作的地方,不过它们不一样。我觉得胡同跟风水有关系,好像里弄没 有什么风水。里弄的是格子的布局。

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People Movers / 自动扶梯什么的

Some things are the same, no matter where you go in the world, no matter the language or culture. Escalators and moving sidewalks fall into this category.

Let’s get one thing straight: people movers are there to move people as fast as possible. These are machines which are meant to move people in potentially congested places, where time is of the essence. They’re used in airports, subway stations and train stations. In airports, there are thousands of people, going in every direction and covering long distances, sometimes with tight connections. You need to move them fast so they don’t miss their plane. Likewise in train stations. Subways are mass transit systems. In cities like Beijing they move hundreds of thousands of people per hour. You use escalators to get people in and out of the stations as fast as possible so that people don’t get delayed and trains don’t get backed up.

Here’s how they do it. They take a person’s walking speed, and they add to it by moving the surface (a staircase or sidewalk) on which you’re walking, so that your overall speed is faster than you could otherwise move on your own.

Let’s get another thing straight: people movers are not there so that you can be lazy. They’re not there so that you can stand around and do nothing while the floor or staircase magically moves under you. Escalators and moving sidewalks cannot achieve their goal of moving people faster if you are lazy. They need your help.

I think escalators and moving sidewalks are a brilliant idea, and their use in subway stations is particularly smart. But what I’ve learned through my travels is that nobody uses them correctly. The people mover is dead. It’s a great idea, but it’s impossible to get people to use it correctly, and as a result, I think the whole system winds up slowing down instead of speeding up. With people standing all over the place on the escalator or moving sidewalk, everyone is moving much slower than they would if they walked on a good old-fashioned non-moving surface. Those of us who do walk on the escalators are stymied by the others just standing around (nobody ever stands to one side, as they should), presumably to admire the lovely tiles on the wall of the subway tunnel. I say forget it. If people won’t use it correctly, then take them out and make people walk up the stairs themselves. The people mover is brilliant, but dead.

One more thing. If you do walk on the escalator, but then you stop at the end before stepping off, then you’re like the butterfly flapping it’s wings in Boston which causes a tornado in Texas. You force everyone walking behind you to slow down or stop and this has a ripple effect throughout the system. You are the reason for a train accident on the other side of the subway system. It’s true. It’s called Chaos Theory.

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West Lake / 西湖

This is the West Lake in Hangzhou, west of Shanghai. It’s a man-made lake with an area of 6.5 square kilometres. I have no idea what it takes to maintain a lake like this. I spent two days wandering around the lake, riding bikes and boats. I also visited the lakeside tomb of Yue Fei, a Song Dynasty general, Sun Yat-Sen Park and the Seal Engraver’s Society (this is the association for those who make the stamps or chops that are used to sign Chinese artwork). I’m not sure about the status of that association given that you can get chops made on the street just about anywhere. I guess it’s a matter of quality.

这是杭州西湖。我在那边转 一转两天了。我坐船,骑自行车,还有散步。这个湖是人做的。肯定需要飞九牛之力维修这么大的湖。我也看了中山公园,岳王庙(宋朝很有名的 将军),而且看了西泠印社。我觉得西泠印社很有兴趣,不过因为现在在马路上能随便买令我不知道印社有什 么意思。肯能跟品质有关系。

On my last night in Hangzhou I went to a neighbourhood pub. At the pub there was a band from Venezuela playing. I drank a French liquor called Pernod (anis) and chatted with a group of Chinese and Columbian students. I’m always amazed when I encounter situations like this. It shouldn’t be that uncommon, but I don’t run into it that often.

我在杭州最后晚上去了附近的酒吧。那里一个委内瑞拉的乐队唱歌。我自己喝了一个法国的酒教Pernod,跟中国人和哥伦比亚人聊。我觉得这样的情况很难道,不知道为 什么。我很喜欢遇到这样的机会。

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Huang Shan / 黄山

My first stop after leaving Beijing at the end of May was Huang Shan, which literally translates into Yellow Mountain. I climbed it and climbed down again too. In China, climbing popular mountains like this isn’t like it is at home. There is a staircase all the way up and at the top there are at least five large hotels, and another one under construction. I can’t figure out how they got the CAT up there. I stayed overnight on the mountain and got up early to watch the sunrise.

我离开北京以后直接去黄 山。我爬上了,趴下了。我觉得奇怪因为在加拿大山上没有楼梯,没有酒店。黄山至少有五个酒店,而且正在做新的。我不知道他们怎们弄那个CAT上去。我在山上住了一个晚上,第二天起得很早出去看日出。

I can’t mention my trip to Huang Shan without mentioning the movie Avatar. There are a few places in China with the kind of mountain scenery seen in Avatar, Huang Shan being one of them. At the time the movie was relased, the park managers at a couple of mountains in China were arguing over which mountain was the site of filming, or the inspiration for the film, or something. In the end I don’t know which story is right, but this place fits the profile.

要是看过Avatar的话,你对黄山的风景肯定很熟悉。我听说Avatar推出的时候,几个中国有名的山的经理说他们自己的山是Avatar拍的地方。我不知道谁说的对不过我觉得黄山很像Avatar的环境。

Before going up the mountain I stayed overnight in a city called Tunxi. This was just an overnight, but while there I visited a Ming Dynasty Merchant’s house, so I’ve included some pictures of that.

我上山以前去了屯溪住一晚 上。在那边看了一个明朝商人的房子。我给你们看那边的照片。

Until I get to Guangdong, most of what I’ll be seeing will be nature, rather than history, so I’ll mostly be letting the pictures speak for themselves. Like Huang Shan, it’s going to be quite unique and quite incredible.

我最近看的东西都是自然风 光。我到广东以后可能再看点儿名胜古迹。所以,这几个贴子我要写的少,因为自然风光的照片会自己说出来。

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Among the Fastest Trains / 整个世界最快的火车之一

I’ve heard it said that the new high-speed rail line between Hangzhou and Shanghai, which I rode yesterday coming into Shanghai, is the fastest train in the world. Now that I’ve read up on it, I’m not sure. After all, when choosing between Wikipedia and state-controlled media in China, I’m really not sure who to believe. In any case, it’s up there among the fastest trains in the world.

据说杭州到上海的高铁是整个世界最快的火车。我刚在网上查个究竟,发现了这个问题不太清除。其实,相信中国新闻媒介说的还是Wikipedia说 的呢?我不知道。不管这件事,这辆火车就是整个世界最快的火车之一。

This train, which is Chinese built and looks no different than other high-speed trains in China, runs a 202km route with times varying from 45 minutes to just over an hour. I’m not sure the reason for the variation. It has clocked a high speed of 416km/h, though the fastest it typically runs is 350km/h. I did see the speedometer hit 350 on my ride, which was only 45 minutes.

这辆车是在中国做的。它很像其它的中国高速火车。它从杭州到上海走202公里有时候需要45分钟,有时候需要一个小时多。它最快的速度是416公 里/小时,不过它平时跑350公里/小时。我自己看见了350公里/小时。

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