Lady Bugs, Plastic Bottles and China!

Hello to the blog sphere!

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Bruce and I being introduced to the Warrior Clan

 

I am sitting inside, cowering from a 39 degree day. I’ve cleaned the house, washed the clothes and potted in the garden, so now I think it is the perfect time to sit on my derriere and put some photos and words into a new blog post.

The South Gate of the Xi'an City Wall.

The South Gate of the Xi’an City Wall.

On the 6th of October my husband and I boarded a plane to fly to Hong Kong. This was our stop over on the way to Xi’an, China. I have always had a fascination with China. I love to watch the movies, eat the food and admire the art of calligraphy. I have also read some wonderful fiction books based in China, back in the days of Emperors.

On the top of the Xi'an Wall

On the top of the Xi’an Wall

Anyway I digress, sorry. So we arrived in Xi’an in the afternoon of the 7th and were soon ferried to our hotel. We had 36 people in our group, and over the 14 days we got to know them very well, and what a lovely bunch they were.  The accommodation was great, like a junior suite, with separate lounge, bathroom and powder room. Plus a bar area in the lounge room. My husband is tall, 6’4 in the old measure, (for aussies), and was relieved to have a shower head high enough for him to get under.

The only way to get around the wall, bugger the bikes lol

The only way to get around the wall, bugger the bikes lol

In Xi’an they still have the wall and gates that protected the old city from attack. We got to walk on the top of this wall and it was great to see how huge it was and imagine what it was like back 1000 years or so… that’s the thing with China, they talk in thousands of years, mind blowing to an Aussie who only has barely 250 yrs of settlement history. At least we do have Aboriginal history, but it’s not as easy to see like in  China. Everywhere you look there are historic buildings mixing with modern.

Inside Pit No 1 of the Terracotta Warriors

Inside Pit No 1 of the Terracotta Warriors

Side view of the same pit

Side view of the same pit. Those little black clusters on the other side are people walking down the sides

We also got to see the Terracotta Warriors, one of the things on the top of my to do list. You can’t imagine the scale of the area until you are actually standing in there looking at this vast building, full of ditches revealing what lay beneath the ground for 100’s of years. Was a highlight of my trip 🙂

Some horses in Pit No 3. These are full size horses too

Some horses in Pit No 3. These are full size horses too

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An Archer, fully restored

After Xi’an it was an overnight sleeper train to Beijing. We were in Beijing for 5 days and could have stayed longer! So much to see. The place is enormous, 22 million people live here. That is all of Australia in one city, just mind boggling. We went on the Wall, number 2 on my to do list, tick.  OMG the stairs… need I say more lol. In fact China is full of bloody stairs. By the end of our trip we were all saying on no not more stairs… no wonder they are all so fit.

This was on the ceiling of a shopping centre in Xi'an. It changed several times and was very popular with the kids and adults

This was on the ceiling of a shopping centre in Xi’an. It changed several times and was very popular with both tourists and locals

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Another change of scenery on the ceiling

We went to the Summer Palace, just beautiful, the Forbidden City, enormous, The Temple of Heaven, where we participated in a Thai Chi lesson, and went to the Olympic Park with the Bird’s Nest and Ice Cube buildings. So much to see….

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These were the first steps we encountered on the Wall, easy…

Then we went around the corner and this is what met us.. lots of stairs, disappearing up into the fog...

Then we went around the corner and this is what met us.. lots of stairs, disappearing up into the fog/smog…

After Beijing we then flew to Yichang to board a cruise ship and spend 5 days on the Yangtze River. We went through 5 locks that took us up 122 feet, that was quite an amazing thing to experience, very clever. Just think of Jurassic Park when you imagine the ginormous doors that opened at the end of each lock.  Anyone who knows me will know that I am not a water baby. I get sick in a spa, I know you can stop laughing now… anyway this part of the tour was a bit nerve wracking for me as I was petrified of being ill the whole way. I used some pressure point bands on my wrists and took a quell morning and night. I am relieved to say that I didn’t get sick! Not once, not even a little 😀

We got into some period dress, that headpiece got bloody heavy

We got into some period dress, that headpiece got bloody heavy

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I don’t know what that concubine is up to but she is about to feel the wrath of my fan… lol

Our trip finished in the city of Chongqing, where 32 million people reside… yes not a typo, 32 million. It was mind boggling to see row upon row of 30 story high buildings as far as the eye could see, in all directions. An amazing experience and one I could do again just so I could linger a little longer to see more …. Some of the group went on to Shanghai and we have had emails from them to say it is well worth a visit. So this is still on my to do list…

We purchased this trip through Scoupons at an amazing price. The travel agency was SNA and we were a little worried it would be cheap and not so cheerful but it wasn’t. The whole trip was excellent and, apart from the smog which can’t be controlled, was well worth the trip.

Some beautiful gardens in China

Some beautiful gardens in China

Another garden. As you can see, they love red and yellow

Another garden. As you can see, they love red and yellow

Trying to look like I'm holding this large basket of flowers

Trying to look like I’m holding this large basket of flowers

Now it’s back to sleepy little old (Ha! only 150 years) Norseman, population now 803.  Just how I like it 🙂

 

The Thai Basil in it's bottle

The Thai Basil in it’s bottle

Mint in a bottle

Mint in a bottle

I could have done a separate blog on my plastic bottle recycling but I don’t think it would come out before 2015 (yikes that’s too soon already) so I’m throwing it in with China.

So what do we call a group of lady bugs?

So what do we call a group of lady bugs?

Passionfruit futures

Passionfruit futures

 

Unfortunately Norseman doesn’t do recycling. When I first got here it was the most disappointing thing about the town. It hurts me throw, what I know is recyclable, away. So in an effort to salvage some of our recyclable goods, I have been trying to use what I can for my little garden. I saw a terrific tip about cutting out a piece in the side of drink bottles and using them for plants. I like to drink sparkling water and as a result have some bottles… the first one I made has some Thai Basil in, I have had recipes with this in, so now I can happily go and pick some. Norseman is fairly remote and doesn’t always have what you need for recipes. The second one I have put some mint in. These popped up in my grass so I have repurposed them into a bottle garden. I also use egg cartons to grow seeds in. Once they get to a good size you can rip each little cell apart and bury it in the ground with the seedling.

Well hello there Mr Bug

Well hello there Mr Bug

When I was taking pictures of my bottles I spotted some little lady bugs and thought I would throw them in with the blog too. I am fortunate enough to have heaps of these crawling over our passionfruit vines. Hopefully munching naughty bugs for breakfast, lunch and tea 🙂 Wish they ate mozzies… and flies for that matter. They are in mega abundant supply this year.

Hmm time for the garlic and cayenne pepper spray. Something is munching my rose leaves

Hmm time for the garlic and cayenne pepper spray. Something is munching my rose leaves

I hope you enjoy my ramble through China and some gardening shares as well.

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