Saturday, August 24, 2013

Escaping Shanghai's Heat

J & K in Moganshan
It's really hot in Shanghai.  We thought we could handle it.  But when you have a record-breaking-summer-heat, it's hard to handle.

So, what now?  Well, one piece of GOOD NEWS:  yesterday marked the end of the 40 day Fu, the hottest part of summer according to the chinese lunar calendar.  Winds from the Tai Feng (typhoon) in Taiwan have cooled us a bit.

Missionary house from the 1920's

 What did we do to-escape-Shanghai-heat?  Besides AC and drinking lots of water, we traveled to two places in China that are supposed getaways from the scorching Shanghai heat.

 First, Moganshan.  Moganshan became a resort for missionaries and a retreat for Shanghai gangsters and politicians. (Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai Shek.)   Go figure!

Gavin and May
 We thoroughly enjoyed our time with our new friends Gavin and his wife, May.  The food was fresh and delicious, the hiking was not as crowded as many Chinese hikes, and the river rafting was like a Disneyland ride, but much more dangerous.

The wildest river rafting ever... sort of like
Disneyland's bumper cars, but in the water.
River guides stand at the side and
 pull you into rapid chutes.
 Moganshan, 2.5 hour drive west of Shanghai, in Zhejiang Province

Ahh...tranquil bamboo forest hiking
It's hard to find any paths in China
without hordes of people

One really can hire workers to carry you on a hike!

Ken decides to reverse the roles

Ken enjoys Weird Rock,
 that's what it's called on the map!

Jeanie and May on a hike overlooking temple

Vats of what else?  Tsingtao beer
Take-away plastic bags of beer are sold around town.
The next stop on our trying-to-escape-the-Shanghai-heat, is the German influenced town of Qingdao.  T Some Chinese even call it "China Switzerland'... NOT!   People come to Qingdao in Shangdong Province, 1.5 hour flight north from Shanghai, for the beaches and Tsingtao beer.

Yep, it's really called Beer Street

Former German governor's residence, 1903
In 1898, German forces took Qingdao after two German missionaries were killed.  Qingdao was under German rule for 99 years.  In 1903, the Tsingtao Brewery was open.  Protestant and Catholic churches were built.

 Qingdao even hosted the Olympic sailing event in 2008.
Protestant Church, 1908

#1 Bathing Beach, most crowded of all 6 bathing spots

Jeanie tries to stay cool

Everyone is at the beach,
even multiple brides-to-be

#2  Bathing beach, bring your own umbrella

Beach head volleyball

We enjoyed Qingdao.  The ocean breezes were cool enough, but honestly, it was still hot.  It's hard to find anywhere in China that can escape-the-Shanghai-Heat-of-2013.

Even with the extreme heat, we are grateful that God gives us strength, and we in turn can provide shade for others.

See, a King will reign in righteousness... each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.
Isaiah 32: 1-2

Next Time:  September Visitors

Monday, August 5, 2013


Suzhou canal

Suzhou- it's been called the Venice of the East because of its many canals. Suzhou is a beautiful, 2,500 year old town in the Yangzi Basin.

Suzhou gondolier

Donne, Ken's colleague

Jesse, Donne's daughter

We take a 40 minute fast-train to Suzhou in Jiangsu Province and meet up with Ken's colleague, Donne, and his family, Danna and Jesse.  Donne is our tour guide and gracious host.

 We enjoy a weekend of exploring the gardens, cobbled streets and the canals of Suzhou. 

Leaning Cloud Rock Pagoda
at Tiger Hill
Built in 10th century
Began to tilt 400 years ago!

When the Grand Canal (canal that connects the Yellow River with Yangzi River) was completed, Suzhou became an important shipping center and China's leading silk-producing city.

We stay in a 400 year old residence,
Pingjiang Lodge
Lotus bud
Haoche! (yummy)  Signature fish dish  

Donne and Jesse 
North temple pagoda
Four elements of a Chinese garden:
vegetation, water, rocks, architecture
Amazing doorways
Ken explores the narrow streets of Suzhou
J and K in the garden

Afternoon rain at the
Humble Administrator's Garden

Portland Oregon's Classical Chinese Garden, now called Lan Su Garden, was influenced by this famous Suzhou Garden. The new name Lan Su is taken from Portland and Suzhou.
In the 14th century, painters, actors, schcolars and aritstocrats
arrive in Suzhou and build villas and gardens

"The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters will never fail." Isaiah 58:11

Our evening ends with a lovely dinner over looking the modern buildings
of Suzhou and Jin Ji lake
Danna, Donne's wife,  and Jesse

Next Up:
Escaping Shanghai Heat