Posts Tagged With: gates

DARGAR GANESH FORT RANTHAMBORE

Dargar Danesh has an open courtyard and several beautiful gates to enter the building.

The most beautiful gate was mobbed by people wanting their picture taken, I gave up and photographed strangers to get a whole picture of it.

Each gate is decorative and beautiful. Where else would you see anything like it?

Ellen took my picture in this gate.

And I took her picture in another gate.

A bit of detail shows what I believe is the Hindu  God Ganesh.

Around each gate are beautiful, carved marble panels.

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Here’s Hugo and Kris. They finally got their chance in front of the “peacock” gate, as we began referring to it. It was a crush of people in front of them; I couldn’t get a frontal picture.

I waited long enough for a close up of the peacock gate.

The courtyard is rented out for weddings and other celebrations. An old ex-royal lives here. These men were carrying food to his apartment on the far side of the courtyard. Not long after, I saw him leave in his Rolls Royce.

But on to the hunt. These are the canters, open seating with roll bars.

The first thing we spotted was a monkey of a different color. It never faced us and I never saw another of that color anywhere.

Here a protective mother.

A newborn has little hair.

The road got a bit rough. If you meet another vehicle, someone has to pull over or back up. It was early morning and we were all bundled up against the cold with blankets provided.

Near a lake, a crocodile slumbered on the opposite bank. And, we did see tiger tracks. They eat about every 3 days.

Tigers favorite food the rangers call tiger orderves.

Peacocks are plentiful in the wild. The peacock is the national bird of India.

I don’t remember bird names in my country very well. I usually have to look them up.

Deer are plentiful. If I remember correctly, both males and females of this breed grow horns.

Beautiful colors.

A wild boar.

Another type of deer roams the park. It is called a blue bull. I was never able to catch a photo of one. And we were unable to see a tiger but we have another hunt to try again tomorrow.

Our palace tomorrow.

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THE SUMMER PALACE

The Summer Palace sits majestically over a lake. It is still used by the Empress Dowager and we didn’t go into the buildings but it was the favorite place of  Empress Cixi Putz, pronounced sissy-putz, who died in the late 1800’s.

We were ferried over the man-made lake by dragon boat to a landing where we waited in line to cross the seventeen arches bridge.

I am guessing that later construction in China did not obey the multiples of nine as in older buildings. The Summer Palace,  while still used officially, is a huge tourist attraction with boat rides of all types on the lake, beautiful gardens and in short, a lovely way to spend a day and picnic.

You enter through this beautiful gate.

As always, I had to take a picture of the ornate roof of the gate.

Our group stopped for a picture in front of this beautiful gate. The site is now designated a UNESCO site for its unique beauty and features.

The side of the gate is lined with the stone lion guards. Peeling paint is being scraped; the site repainted in preparation for the Olympics to be held in China for the first time in 2008.

Two  interesting  features of the Summer Palace are the Marble Boat, seen only in the background behind these people and the Long Hall which is not a hall, but a long covered walk way for the Empress to use.  On the Marble Boat, the Empress entertained guests  with a banquet as though they were actually traveling to some exotic place.

The Long Hall is also beautifully decorated. You can see the roof trusses beneath the picture.  The hall has many pictures depicting Chinese History, or famous storied fables to entertain her and her guests. It is lined with benches to rest often since the Empress, (and all women then,) had bound feet. The royal Empresses of old were confined to their Peaceful Garden and Long Hall since it was difficult for them to move about.

It would be fun to hear some of the stories these pictures represent. We were free to wander around the gardens and lake.

There are many bridges of great beauty. Chinese tourists love boating here.

Every bridge is guarded by those marvelous stone lions.

When we first arrived on the Island, we saw workers disembarking from a boat. This woman carries her own big metal “dust” pan and straw broom. The thermos we expect is her lunch. The dust pan can obviously hold discarded paper cups, napkins and other large debris dropped on the walkways and gardens.

These two little girls were well dressed and obviously having a good time. The one child per family edict resulted in more surviving males, by design. Women would line up to have sonograms and abort girl babies. Men grew up and couldn’t find a wife and had to go to Korea, Viet Nam, Indonesia,  or elsewhere to import brides. The sonogram “factories” have been closed and now, through education, people revere and prefer girls, especially in the big modern cities.  Farm families are allowed two children.

Since we couldn’t read Chinese script, we have no idea what significance this beautiful sculpture of a cow had.

At lunch, Viki explained to us that her own grandmother had bound feet, the cruel tortuous practice instigated by the Emperor’s favorite concubine who had tiny, tiny feet and danced for him on a drum. He considered them so beautiful and dainty, that aristocratic women made their own daughters emulate that beauty by binding their feet.  Vicki called it five hundred years of cruelty and crippling of women. Her grandparents were political, meaning outspoken, and were banished to the high country of China near Tibet. She remembers as her grandmother aged how painful her feet were and her inability to walk properly or very far.

All restaurant meals  are served on this giant turntable that takes up the complete center of the table.  We had delicious meals in China  that typically  included sea weed, cabbage, always bok choy, chicken, beef, cucumbers, soup, little meaty hors’ dueovres. Meat is in small quantities with many vegetables none of us recognized; always fish, normally cooked whole with head, eyes and fins attached. Everything came in a tasty sauce. Rice in good restaurants and affluent Chinese homes, is served last. It is only to fill you up if you didn’t get enough primary foods. We all wanted rice WITH our meals and of course, we were accommodated.

For more information about the summer palace, click the following link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_Palace

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THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA

We take a bus to visit one of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China. I’m so excited, I can hardly believe I’m going to actually walk on the Great Wall of China. On the way, Vicki gives us a history while we look at the passing scene out the windows. We see the Beijing Romance Club, a matchmaking club, which seemed strange in 2006. Now, don’t we all know about on-line matchmaking?  We see farms, fruit orchards, vendors along the highway lay out their produce on blankets. Highway workers in droves sweep the edges of the roads with straw brooms. I mean straw brooms that look like “witches” brooms. China doesn’t buy machinery to do a task that can be accomplished by human labor, though, that is changing. But what then do you do with a huge population of workers without work asks Vicki?  People don’t drive as fast here and the highway is teeming with people on foot.

The walk up to one of the Great Wall’s entrance places is lined with vendors, since the Great Wall is the biggest tourist attraction in all of Asia.

I took a picture of this camel and was shushed away by the owner. Vicki explained that this man makes his living by charging for pictures taken of his camel, usually with mom and the kids standing near it. I felt bad for my “sin”, but I couldn’t read the sign nor undo the picture. Vicki explained that most of these vendors have been licensed to sell here because they were once farmers displaced by the flooding of the Yangtze River.

We enter near one of the towers built to house the soldiers and their families who lived  there and manned the towers all day and night.  I was stunned to learn that. It isn’t as though the Great wall could be driven to from a nearby city during the 1200’s. Somehow, I thought the wall was its own defense, a deterrent. Vicki took us to an entrance that is the farthest from Beijing city center, and not as busy as others. Notice the dip on the right to take rain water away from the steps.

This gives you an idea of the height of the walls at the top, just over five feet tall.  From magazine pictures and travel ads I’d seen, I  thought of the wall as this smooth brick roadway for miles. It is smooth here.  This section has been restored and looks quite new.

I guess I expected an even structure built in a ring at the Chinese borders, never giving much thought to the undulating terrain of the mountain passes it guarded. It is mind-boggling just trying to see in the distance as it traces the tops of the mountains in every direction you look.

It’s uphill, jagged, stairs both straight and crooked; weathered and broken.

You can hike the wall for days, or weeks. We met a family that backpacked in for miles and found vistas, and wild animals, and broken, crumbling sections of the wall where they could climb down and explore the woods and meadows.

When you look over the edge, you realize that the wall is much taller than it looks on the “inside”.  Here Vicki pointed out the remnants of an old fruit orchard the soldiers and their families depended on when they guarded the border. They had to grow their own food and carry or pipe water to farm on the Chinese side of the wall.  On the opposite side, it was part of their job to cut away all vegetation within 30 feet of the enemy side of the wall. Ascending and descending the wall many times a day, to toilet, haul water, tend gardens, and other tasks,  tests the sense of believability.

This is a spot where soldiers could get out to their work detail off the wall.

In inclement weather, you can imagine how treacherous it would be to patrol this wall. It drains one way and then another. Like castle walls, cut outs were built for the soldiers to fire their arrows at raiders below.  The towers and exits are located I’m guessing about every 300 to 400 feet, or so. Inside those towers, all open to the air above, the families kept warm by body heat and a charcoal brazier, also used for cooking. The feat of building the wall is hard to put your mind around. It at one time stretched 13,171 miles. And, while we were in China, news came that archeologists had uncovered another 400 kilometer section of earthen and stone wall from ancient times. The original wall was started in 200 B.C.   Each section has a distinct character, an individuality,  as one worker differed slightly in his method than another. Hauling and mixing the cement in a remote area, hauling the water, again, it tests the sense of believability. I expect they used horses and donkeys to help with the work. Even so, a monumental achievement.

You can see this section of the wall is  shorter, warmer and sunnier.

This was an emotional experience for me. I felt it was worth the whole trip’s expense just to see the wall. I cast one last look at this impossible place, straining my eyes through the mist to see, as far as I could, this amazing wall etched like a painting  on the mountain tops. I hated to leave.

The website below gives some history, facts and pictures of this one of seven of the greatest world wonders.

http://www.chinahighlights.com/greatwall/fact/

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CHEVY ON A STICK

We are wrapping up our trip to Albuquerque, filled and dumped, did laundry and scrubbed up the motorhome yesterday.  Today we move to Acoma, New Mexico. It has been a nice visit here and I often grab “drive-bys”,  photos of something I see along the road, or sidewalk,  just curiosities, or something that gives the flavor of a place.  I must have taken seven  pictures of this sculpture on an incredibly busy intersection before getting a couple you can actually see  from front to back.

Jim found a website about it. It has been voted “Best of Burque”  several times. Locals  love this Icon and named it Chevy on a Stick.  The story is, during a highway widening, the city that loves tile,  built this thing at great expense and the naysayers objected to it. It is here to stay.

A huge band of colorful tile work decorates the ABQ Convention center. Much of the front entrance and some around a side entrance. Taking photos from a moving car is chancy, but I got a couple of decent shots.

The tile work isn’t limited to city projects.  Many businesses have their buildings decorated with murals and tile works.

I enjoyed that aspect of ABQ very much. When you visit, remember to take a drive  around town just to see the tile work.

And if you are going to close your business with gates, why not make them beautiful? This is just one panel of a gate across a business front.

If you want donations for a food bank, or something important,  a casual way to attract money makes it easy. People don’t often know where to go to give to the food bank.

Jim engaged this “living sign” on a very hot day. She was sticking to the shade. We sincerely thought a person could die of the heat inside one of these costumes. She let us look and it is mesh and quite open on the side. She was dressed in shorts and a halter; still hot, though. We suggested she get a personal fan.

I don’t know why I took a picture is this girl. I asked her first. She looked so forlorn as though she didn’t belong anywhere. 

Until I got a point and shoot camera, I never regarded a camera as a frivolous toy. What fun!

 

 

 

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