垦丁白沙 Sunset at KenTing BaiSha Beach

Beautiful photography, well worth looking at!

CMYP

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Another highlight of our trip to Taiwan, is this spectacular sunset at the beach. We ride our rented bikes there just in time for the sunset, looking at the map and estimating a nice spot to enjoy the sunset, and we are correct. 🙂

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No model, and my friend was busy taking photo himself, so i just use some random tourist as subject. 😦

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My friend’s persistence. 🙂

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A kid was playing with the wave, running away and chasing them. Took this photo before his father come.

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Since I didn’t bring my tripod for this trip, this photo was shot resting my camera on the rough rugged surface of the rock. I quickly took a few shot before the wave try to engulf my camera, luckily i was fast enough to avoid a big splash, even my friend was shocked how close my camera to be eaten by the wave…

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Chitwan

Welcome back to another blog post,

This week is following my trip on to Chitwan National Park. This was the place on the top of my list before coming out to Nepal due to the huge array of rare animals that are found here. From Tigers to leopards, elephants to the one-horned Rhino which is very rare indeed! They have Gharials, mugger crocodiles, sloth bears, a host of antelope, rhesus monkeys and langurs and a whole host of birds! So this was abject paradise for me as someone that has been in love with nature and animals since I was a small boy.

My only wish was that I had a better lens for the job, only having a 70-200mm as my tele lens was very limiting, so I apologise in advance for the poor quality in shots. I could decide not to show you most of them due to them not being to a standard that I am 100% happy with, but then I wouldn’t have much to show you. Also, despite them being not the best, I am still proud of them and they mark the early stages of my wildlife photography journey.

Upon arriving in Chitwan off of the bus, as always in Nepal you are bombarded with taxi drivers all trying to get you to take their taxi. Along the way to Sauraha where all the hotels are predominantly situated they always tell you that “they have a lovely hotel, and you should go and check it out”. In this case it was a pretty nice hotel. And for 500 rupees a night we had two beds with mosquito nets, a big room and even a bath tub, though it looked like it hadn’t been cleaned properly for quite some time!

All hotels in this area can offer all the usual tourist attractions; forest walks, elephant bathing, elephant walks, 20,000 island visit, canoeing, rafting and the list goes on and on. After inquiring about the forest walk at the hotel we decided to go and check out some of the providers in town.

Unless you are intending on spending some really decent time here (which I would recommend) then for your average tourist that doesn’t have the luxury of time will really only have the option of going through these tour guide companies. This has always been something that I’ve not been that keen to do, I have always liked the idea of trying to get away from other tourists and get off the beaten track. Unfortunately in this case however time was not on my side and needs must as the devil drives. And if I am honest it was not as bad as I had worried that it could have been. I had booked myself in for a half days forest walk which in hindsight I wish I had booked in for every day that I had been in Chitwan for, as this was the absolute best way to experience the environment. Nothing can beat being on your own two feet and walking through the forest in the same manner as the animals you are hoping to see. We also booked for an elephant walk, this was something that was very against doing for the ethical reasons, but it was the only thing that my girlfriend wanted to do. So I said that I would do it with her, this is something that I regret greatly, but more about that later.

At around 5pm on the first evening in the hotel a local guide took us for a tour around the local area, all hotels offer this service for free, and it was a nice introduction to the area. He took us to an elephant holding area which was a bit of a grim place. Lots of adult female elephants changed to wooden posts, one of which had a flesh wound to the top of its head. In a small clearing off to the side of this area he showed us a one-horned rhino that he informed us was sick, and so was wallowing in he cool water. These animals are very important to the local populace as they are one of the key attractions that brings tourists to the area, so they look after these animals very carefully. untitled (6 of 71) untitled (7 of 71) untitled (8 of 71)

 

Moving on from here we picked up the river running through the village an followed it down. From the distance we managed to see the two species of crocodile that they have here, the gharial and the mugger crocodile. Unfortunately I couldn’t get photos due to the fact that they were a LONG way away. Gharial numbers are suffering a bit in Nepal, which is apparently due to the fact that they often travel down the river in to India where they do not have the same protection that they have in Nepal. The mugger crocodile however is a lot more successful here, not being so specialised like the gharial’s that only eat fish. The mugger will eat pretty much anything that it can overpower. This also means that it is not quite so susceptible to environmental changes like the gharial.

The following day I was up early to head out for my forest walk, meeting in town with the ranger who would be my guide who went by the name of Mike.  Mike made the forest walk special for me, though we did not see a huge amount of animals during this excursion  (as is often the way) his knowledge of the animals and the environment was enough to satisfy me. Unfortunately for the canoe ride downstream it was not just me and my guides, but a big group of Chinese tourists as well which would have been fine if they had been able to be quite whilst on the boat. The whole time they were shouting at each other and screaming if the boat took on a bit of a wobble. It was due to this that we missed a close encounter with a gharial, as soon as it heard the Chinese ladies it dived in to the murky depths. We did see some beautiful birds though including some egrits and a lovely little white-throated kingfisher.Egrit

 

White-throated Kingfisher

White-throated Kingfisher

Unfortunately we actually saw very little on our short trip through the forest accept for a lot of insects, rhino apples and some footprints of a tiger and a rhino. What we did see however were some spotted deer and many many rhesus monkeys. But despite that it was still an amazing and fun experience, being knee deep in waters on the trail of a one-horned rhino is very exciting. This time of year is not the best time for jungle walks as the elephant grass it about 8-10 feet tall, you could be feet away from a rhino, boar or even a tiger and just never know of it unfortunately.

Mike had said that he reckoned this tiger had been there earler that morning.

Mike had said that he reckoned this tiger had been there earler that morning.

Elephant grass

So named for the fact that Rhinos love them

Rhino Apples. So named for the fact that Rhinos love them

Rhesus Monkey

Rhesus Monkey

 

Rhino print

Rhino print

That afternoon we set off for our elephant safari, and like I said, this was something that I was not exactly excited about and something that I don’t really agree with. However in some ways I am glad that I did go, if for no other reason than to confirm all my reasons for not having wanted to go. Firstly it is possibly the most uncomfortable way to travel I have ever experienced, that may have also been due to the fact that as well as myself and my girlfriend, we were also joined by two VERY ample sized woman who had both my girlfriend and I hugging the wooden frame we were sat in. Also much to my GREAT displeasure I was sat at the back of the elephant facing away from the front, this mean’t that every time we saw anything, I in fact still saw nothing. This left me feeling very hard done by and not at all happy! I did however get to see a beautiful little woodpecker that no one else managed to see. Woodpecker

But aside from the woodpecker we spent a whole two hours on the back of this poor elephant, and we didn’t see a great deal. The only other animal I managed to see was another white-throated kingfisher that looked a little bedraggled.

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So as well as seeing almost nothing or two hours accept the tail of an elephant and being painfully uncomfortable for the duration. My grim suspicions of how the elephants would be treated were unfortunately confirmed, every so often you would here a swish and a loud crack as the mahout (elephant rider) would use his long thick stick to hit the elephant on the head, more often than not for absolutely nothing that any of us could see.

So all in all this is not an experience that I would recommend to anyone and this is something that I would never do again, I was just left wishing that I had carried on my jungle walk for the full day.

The only other thing we did during hour short stay in Chitwan was to go to a place called 20,000 island, we were taken there by jeep with a tour guide that couldn’t really understand English very well at all, and about the only word that he could say was “yes”. He shall forever be remembered by me as “Yes-man”, as that was pretty much his only response to any questions asked. Despite our guide however this proved to be worth every penny spent! You are taken down a muddy track for the best part of an hour, stopping along the way whenever any animals are spotted and going through one or two security check points. Along the way we saw yet more deer and we also saw a small group of children diving off of a rickety old bridge in to the river. We also got much closer to a mugger crocodile which was a very thrilling experience, and it gives you a great deal of appreciate for how big and powerful these creatures are, even though compared to their larger cousins in Africa and Australia they are still small.Mugger Crocodile Doe Spotted Deer Buck Doe untitled (16 of 71) Diving practice

 

You get to the end of the track and the driver turns the car around, at this point I was thinking that we were just going to be returning back to Sauraha, however about halfway back down the track we stopped off at the actual 20,000 lake. I am not sure why it is called this and I couldn’t ask because Yes-man didn’t understand a word I said, however this place was amazingly beautiful, and it holds probably my favourite moment from my time in Chitwan. It was here that I had my first encounter with a Pied Kingfisher, this may not sound that amazing to any one else, but I love birds, and this little bird completely captivated me. I wish desperately that I had a lens that could have really captured its magnificence, but I didn’t and I had to make do with what I had.  It was quite late in the day at this point and the light was fading, these were shot at a moderate ISO and at the full measly 200mm that my lens could manage and heavily cropped in during my edit, so they are not of the best quality.

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The way this bird flies completely captivated me, it would circle around looking for fish in the lake making a very distinct and high pitched kawwing sound before hovering in the air for a couple of seconds and doing a completely vertical stoop and diving in to the water, only to emerge a few seconds later with a small fish in its beak. I was lucky enough to watch this happen twice whilst I was there, and I made my girlfriend and the guide wait for the second sighting. For me personally, this was simply the best moment in Chitwan and I will remember this for a long time. Since seeing this little bird I have thought many times about going back there and spending a lot more time in the area to try and photograph it properly, along with all the other animals, but this little bird is “the one”.

This pretty much concludes the short stay in Chitwan, I shall include all the other photos below.

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Next week will be the last entry from Nepal and it comes from Bhaktapur, just outside of Kathmandu.

 

Thank you for reading.

–Themanabroad–

 

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Pokhara

welcome back,

This week we are heading on from Kathmandu to Pokhara, a bit of a tourist hot spot in Nepal and for good reason!

Before going to Nepal I had done a fair amount of reading about the place, a lot of what I had read with regards to transport warned of the safety of the local buses, so it was with a little bit of trepidation that I was getting on the bus headed for my next destination.  However it must be said that the bu journey was easily the most beautiful bus journey I have ever taken. Skirting around mountains for the majority of the way, seeing the peaks shrouded in low lying clouds and then looking down to a sheer drop straight in to a fast flowing river was simply breathtaking. However some of the dodgy overtaking left the heart racing at times, and I met a fellow traveler from the UK who was an absolute nervous wreck for the full 6-8 hour journey. With the risk of land slides, travelling around August in Nepal is not the best, but needs must as the devil drives!

Upon arriving we headed straight to a hotel recommended to us by a fellow passenger called Hotel Yuriko, for 400 rupees a night it was an absolute steal! The room was clean, tidy and it offered a lovely view over some farms, for an extra 100 per night you can have a view that overlooks the lake. The family that runs this hotel were some of the nicest people I met in Nepal. Chabi, the proprietor offers advice on any kind of trip you could possibly want, sometimes working as a guide as well. Their 12 year old son was always up for a game of Chess, and their daughters gave my girlfriend and I henna tattoo’s for just the price of the henna. The home cooked food was also some of the nicest food I had in Nepal. All in all, this hotel was a hit, and I would recommend to anyone looking to visit Pokhara to go and spend there stay in that hotel!

There is plenty on offer in Pokhara, from paragliding, to hiking, boating on the lake or renting a bike to explore the outer reaches of the city. Unfortunately my budget was not sufficient enough to do the paragliding, and time did not really allow for any kind of trekking that I would be interested in doing (namely the Anna Purna base camp trail). So for us that left doing some 1 day hiking up to the peace pagoda, visiting the Devi’s fall along the way and renting a bike to explore further around the city.

Going up to the peace pagoda requires boating over the lake, which at a small cost f around 600 rupees per boat, is very little! Especially when you can find other people to pair up with and split the cost! On a good day the view is amazing, and if you are not with loud people then it is very peaceful too! The walk up to the pagoda is very easy and straightforward, we had one of the daughters from our hotel “guide” us up there, but I think that it would have been simple enough to go it alone. The way back down was a little more tricky as she led us down rarely used path, and needless to say that I ended up on my arse on more than one occasion! But it definitely appealed to my sense of adventure.

The views from here to the Devi’s fall were again, truly amazing…I feel like all I am saying in this entry is how good the scenery is, but i cannot emphasize enough on how beautiful this place really is.  According to the stories the fall is named this after some Swiss tourists came, one of which went swimming in the water and got carried away by the strong currents, never to be found again. Thus the fall was named after her. One look at the speed of the water is enough for me to know that trying to swim in it is stupid! This waterfall is aggressive, but it makes for some fun slow shutter speed photography.

If you decide to go down the route of hiring a bike or scooter for the day, you should be able to pick up a scooter for around 600 rupees a day and a bike for 800 rupees. This is something that I would definitely recommend anyone do as it offers the opportunity to see a little more than would otherwise be available.

On  a scooter I managed to easily find my way to the Pokhara old town where they were celebrating ladies day with a big parade through the street, this was a pretty interesting event to witness with lots of dancing and people wearing some very beautiful clothing. I also managed to find another part of the lake that I would never have been able to get to without a bike! So this is something that I would definitely recommend to anyone, all I would say though is to make sure you drive carefully, the roads can be a bit precarious!

All in all, Pokhara is an amazing place to visit, whether you are interested in seeing “real Nepal”, meeting other travellers, trekking or just something relaxing, I would say that this place has something for everyone! It isn’t a popular place for tourists for no reason!

The next few shots were taken from the bus, and you can see the view that we were treated to!

The next few shots were taken from the bus, and you can see the view that we were treated to!

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As you can see, as well as the beautiful views there were also some terrifying ones!

As you can see, as well as the beautiful views there were also some terrifying ones!

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A view of the lake whilst crossing!

A view of the lake whilst crossing!

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Being near the top of a small mountain gives you a much closer perspective!

Being near the top of a small mountain gives you a much closer perspective!

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it was called a shortcut, when in actual fact it was just a sheer drop off!

it was called a shortcut, when in actual fact it was just a sheer drop off!

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Not somewhere i'd like to swim

Not somewhere i’d like to swim

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This girl was part of the parade celebrating ladies day. The way she was dancing captivated me, it was so beautiful!

This girl was part of the parade celebrating ladies day. The way she was dancing captivated me, it was so beautiful!

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Every day spent in Pokhara was ended and started with rain, if you decide to come in August, bring an umbrella

Every day spent in Pokhara was ended and started with rain, if you decide to come in August, bring an umbrella

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A group of children all trying to catch some little fish. It was very entertaining to watch.

A group of children all trying to catch some little fish. It was very entertaining to watch.

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My girlfriend with the hotel owner, his wife and son. Loved this family!

My girlfriend with the hotel owner, his wife and son. Loved this family!

Well I hope you enjoyed this post about Pokhara! Next week shall be about my short stay in Chitwan National Park. This weekend I shall also be going on a short surprise trip. You shall have to wait and see where though.

So until next week…

 

–Themanabroad–

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Kathmandu

As everyone who reads this knows, I live in China, but recently I went to Nepal on a two week trip. And now that I am back in China, all that I want to do is go back to Nepal, such an amazingly beautiful and cultural place with breathtaking scenery and some of the nicest people I have had the, pleasure of meeting in a long time. I don’t know if it is just the thrill of travelling and that feeling of pure freedom, or if I am taken by Nepal, either way…I feel restless now that I am back.

Anyway, my trip started on an early morning in Guangzhou where I boarded a 5 and a half hour flight headed for Kathmandu. Incidentally, if I had flown out from Hong Kong it would have taken me around 24 hours to get to Nepal, can’t quite understand the logic behind that one!

Upon arriving I had to fill out a form and get my visa upon arrival, and then once past all the laborious security checks I was finally in Nepal getting bombarded by taxi drivers all trying to get me to take their taxi. One thing I felt instantly was that Nepali people are a lot more tactile than Chinese people and will not hesitate to grab you and touch you.

It gets to the point where everyone is pretty much offering the same deal which was 100 Nepalese Rupees to get in to a place called Thamel, the main thoroughfare for tourists and travellers, and also where the majority of hotels are situated.

After a short time of going between a few hotels we finally found ourselves at a place called Hotel Festoon run by a man called Babu Thapu and his brother, at a good price and the rooms being clean and spacious and fitted with a ceiling fan it fit the bill perfectly. The hosts were our first real introduction to the friendly nature of Nepali people, always happy to help very chatty. Anyone that finds themselves in Kathmandu should definitely check in to that hotel, it comes highly recommended.

So we were only intending on staying in Kathmandu for 3 or 4 days, so upon arriving we just had a wonder around the local area and soaked in the atmosphere. One thing that became instantly apparent for me was that Kathmandu, and later I was to discover the rest of Nepal is a sensory overload. The sights, sounds smells, colours…everything combined together to make it an overload on the senses. The colours in this country are just amazing, bright, vibrant and contrasting!

Anyway, we woke up on the second day with the plan of touring around the main Durbar square of Kathmandu. There are three in all, and each one is within a different district of the city, we visited to of the three during our stay, and you shall see the other in another blog entry.

Anyway the weather we woke up to was terrible, the time of year that we went was the tail end of the monsoon season, and it certainly felt like it. We got in a little rikshaw; which is just a bike that pulls a big trailer on the back that the passengers sit in, and headed for the Durbar Square. We found some shelter and then waited out the morning downpour. Durbar square has in excess of 40 temples, and the city Kathmandu is itself named after one of the temples within the square. It was my feeling that individually any one of these temples would have been a spectacle, however when surrounded by all the other temples they all seem to just fade in to a bit of a nothingness that is quite underwhelming. The one temple here that did however stand out to me was the temple of the Kumari, and it was not for any beautiful architecture, but for the Kumari herself. The Kumari is a Godess, and she is chosen as a little girl and spends the whole of her childhood within this temple, unable to leave. No one is allowed to take photos of her, and seeing her is only allowed rarely. We were fortunate in that she made an appearance in the window whilst we were there. The only thing that really struck me was that she looked a bit sad and a bit bored at being stared at.

After pounding the streets for a few hours we decided to go and get some lunch before going to the monkey temple in the afternoon. The food out in Nepal was simply amazing, the traditional meal had is called a Dal Bhat which comprises of some rice and an assortment of curries, usually 2 or 3 curries in small dishes, some pickled curried vegetables, a poppadom and if you are lucky, some yoghurt. Locals eat this with there hands, they pour the curries over the rice and dive right in. I attempted this once or twice with little success and went back to using my spoon. Free refills on rice and any of the curry sauces are a standard, which is awesome if you are a hungry lad After lunch we headed on over to the monkey temple, named thus because there are a crap load of monkeys in this temple…funny that!

Just as we arrived to the top of the temple (there is a long climb to get there) the heavens opened again and we were forced once again to seek shelter and wait out the rains! And no sooner than the rains stopped than a swarm of monkeys flooded out throughout the temples grounds. These monkeys are not worshipped in any way and if anything seen as a mild annoyance, but being the Buddhist way, they are not allowed to harm them. So they are tolerated and the cause of a attraction for many tourists. The temple itself is actually rather amazing, with a big spire thing in the middle with the eyes of Buddha on surrounded by all these cylinders that devout Buddhists spin when making prayers as they walk around the central spire.

On the way back down we met a lovely girl from Belgium called Charlotte who told about a good place to go and get dinner called the Phat Kath. So that was exactly where we headed for out dinner, and once again I had myself a Dal Bhat, the best one I had in my whole time in Kathmandu I’d have to say.

The next day brought more rain, and this time it was unrelenting! We headed out nonetheless towards something called the Boudda, which is a huge spire type thing with the eyes of Buddha painted on it, this is the largest of its kind and it is pretty awe inspiring, it is surrounded by what looks like bunting, but they are prayer sheets on colourful pieces of cloth. We moved on then from the Boudda and walked for about half an hour asking for directions all the way for a place called Pashupatinath. Whenever someone dies they are bought to this place immediately and there bodies are cremated. Depending on the social status and wealth of the family depends on how grand the ceremony is, when I was there the ceremony going on was amazing. The plinth that the body was laid on was covered in festoons of bright orange and huge amounts of fabric were covering the body. Being in this place was a very strange and surreal experience and felt wrong in some ways, where people were in mourning of there loved ones there were others (myself included) watching in a kind of morbid curiosity. I kept thinking that it must have been horrible trying to go through their grieving whilst a horde of tourists were gawping and taking photos. Needless to say that I did not linger too long here and we made our way off to get some food. That afternoon was spent in a relaxing manner going around the local streets getting some bits and bobs that we wanted before preparing to leave for Pokhara the next day.

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Next week we shall continue with the journey through Pokhara, a rather touristy place, but deservedly so as it is beautiful!

Thank you for reading and I will see you next week.

–Themanabroad–

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Luo Fu Shan

So we are back again to another blog entry. This one being the last one for a couple of weeks, as come Tuesday I am flying out to Nepal for a couple of weeks, I shall not be taking my laptop so there will be a small break.

This weeks entry is focused on a place called Luo Fu Shan (Lwor foo shan) ; Shan meaning mountain in Chinese. As I mentioned a few weeks back, I have been doing some summer work for a friend here and yesterday was the last full day of the summer camp. So we took some of the children to this mountain, we managed to get the children about half way up through blood, a lot of sweat and many…many…MANY tears!  Here in Huizhou at the moment the temperatures are regularly reaching the high 30’s with around a 90% humidity, so as you can imagine it can get pretty uncomfortable! Well climbing a mountain that is covered in forest most of the way is quite the challenge, but in no way was it not enjoyable! And the animals I managed to see just on a brief visit and with a large group of loud children leaves me itching to get back on my own and for a couple of days!

If you can avoid national holidays then coming to this place is truly special. This is my second visit to the mountain, the first being during a holiday and that is something I do not wish to repeat. There were huge crowds and there was masses of litter everywhere. It saddens me to say that the Chinese have very little respect for their environment. But yesterday was a different story, it was relatively quiet there, we saw only one or two other parties on our way up, the trails were relatively clear of litter by Chinese standards and it was very peaceful!

It is really nice being able to get out of the city and get in to the relative quiet of the countryside; I have always been a person who is at his happiest when surrounded by nature, peace and quiet. Sometimes I wonder why I chose to come to China when its pretty much the exact opposite of that. When going to places like Luo Fu Shan it makes you realise that China does have some truly beautiful places, and it fuels me with the thirst to try and see as many of them as I can before they disappear forever. In my few hours I saw a large array of beautiful butterflies, some interesting spiders, literally thousands of dragonflies, beautiful grasshoppers, toads and my students even saw a praying mantis, which I unfortunately arrived too late to get a photo of. The highlight for me was seeing a stunning little Kingfisher just after we arrived. Walking along the side of a large lake, this beautiful little bird perched briefly right in front of me, unfortunately when I lifted my camera to take a photo it flew off. The one that got away!

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This is apparently one of the oldest temples in the province of Guangdong. And it looks genuinely old.

This is apparently one of the oldest temples in the province of Guangdong. And it looks genuinely old.

It hadn't rained at all, this just shows you how humid it is there!

It hadn’t rained at all, this just shows you how humid it is there!

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The weather wasn't too great for landscapes, high pollution levels, hence the horrible haze.

The weather wasn’t too great for landscapes, high pollution levels, hence the horrible haze.

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Empty wasp nests, none of us knew why it was there, but i thought it looked interesting.

Empty wasp nests, none of us knew why it was there, but i thought it looked interesting.

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The pleasant view from half way up the mountain.

The pleasant view from half way up the mountain.

Directly below!

Directly below!

Hazy Pollution

Hazy Pollution

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This baby does not look impressed!

This baby does not look impressed!

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All these red ribbons on the trees signify wishes that people have made. It could be a wish for love, happiness, courage...anything.

All these red ribbons on the trees signify wishes that people have made. It could be a wish for love, happiness, courage…anything.

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Feeding the fish!

Feeding the fish!

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Taking these last two photos was a challenge, the shop owner kept telling me to stop taking photos and was trying to block me, perseverance however  rewarded me. Selling this is illegal and hence the fact that they did not want me photographing this. This is just a very small and minor part of the HUGE illegal animal trade in South East Asia.

Taking these last two photos was a challenge, the shop owner kept telling me to stop taking photos and was trying to block me, perseverance however rewarded me. Selling this is illegal and hence the fact that they did not want me photographing this. This is just a very small and minor part of the HUGE illegal animal trade in South East Asia.

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I hope you enjoyed this weeks post.

Check back in in 2-3 weeks after I get back from Nepal.

 

–Themanabroad–

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Enter the Dragon

Last weekend I took a very short trip to a particularly beautiful part of West Lake Feng Zhu Yuan (Fung Juu Yuen),  I call it the Dragon Park as there is a big stone dragon head in the park. Incidentally my girlfriend just told me that the Dragon head cost  60,000,000 Yuan to make…that’s a lot of money!

Anyway, it is special this time of year because there are thousands of blossoming water lilies which look spectacular this time of year. So we got up early and got to the park just in time for opening!

Walking through the gate you are greeted to an array of beautiful bonsai trees scattered around the courtyard, but we went straight through and headed for the flowers. Turning the corner there is a dazzling amount of blossoming lilies and it is a challenge just to find one among the many to photograph.

Shortly afterwards we decided to jump on a little motor boat as my real motive for getting there was to get out on to the lake and sail over to some of the bird islands that can be found on the lake. I love to photograph birds, so this was a pretty good opportunity to do so!

By the time we had got off the boat and were back in the Dragon Park, the masses had arrived, plenty of people sporting some serious camera gear! And a few people who wanted photos with me.

Just as we were about to leave we saw some guys doing some Tai Chi, the leader of the group was absolutely brilliant, just had to get some shots of him.

Just before setting out, this was the view we were greeted by.

Just before setting out, this was the view we were greeted by.

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This is the egg flower, Beautiful! And very sweet smelling

This is the egg flower, Beautiful! And very sweet smelling

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The 60,000,000 Yuan dragon head!

The 60,000,000 Yuan dragon head!

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This guy was amazing, everyone else was trying to follow him, but no one got close to being as good as him! Really nice guy too.

This guy was amazing, everyone else was trying to follow him, but no one got close to being as good as him! Really nice guy too.

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I hope you guys enjoyed this post.

 

–Themanabroad–

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Dong Lou Cun – The Ghost Town

Ok,

so apologies for this blog being a day or two late, as I said in the last blog post, summer over here is a very busy time!

So last Saturday my girlfriend and I went to visit this old town which is about an hours bus ride away from where we live. The town is called Dong Lou Cun (Dong low Tsun).

On first arrival there is nothing overly special about the place, it’s your average poor backwater town. When stepping off the bus there is a big archway and moderately long road to walk down, and this was the road to our destination! We were headed for the part of the town that has been abandoned since 1987.

We walk for about 20 minutes, through what I would say was the poorest part of the town. However, poor it may have been, but dirty it was not! I was pleasantly surprised to see how clean the locals had kept the place, normally everywhere you go in China is dirty, dusty and covered in litter! However here was lovely!

Finally we came across the entrance to the abandoned part of town, another archway. If you were to walk past this with no knowledge of what was on the other side, you’d not think anything was out of the ordinary. However the second you cross the threshold the place is a practical ruin; trees, grass and weeds growing everywhere, buildings crumbling away, roofs caving in, and not another soul to be seen or heard. The only signs of human life we encountered were in the temple which I guess was used during Chinese New Year, and at the far end of the abandoned town there is one house which looked like it might have been lived in. Upon later inquiry we discovered that one man did in fact live there.

I have to say that of all the places I have been too in China so far, this is one of the most interesting and fascinating. Its a real little treasure, and one that is rarely, if ever visited by people. I have no idea why the place has been abandoned for 27 years, but whatever the reason for it, it has made for a very interesting experience and a lovely half day out of the hustle and bustle of the city for a much needed dose of peace and quiet!

Anyway, here are some of the photos that I took whilst there, I hope that you enjoy!

 

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So, we saw all these old ladies on the way to the bus stop, and I just thought that they would make a lovely photograph.

And this guy below is something you see a lot of this time of year, men walk around with their tops pulled up, revealing there somewhat unimpressive midriff for the world to see. I guess it just helps them stay a little cooler in this intense heat!

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Glass along the wall, I guess the locals want to try and keep people from stealing there fruit! The fruit is very delicious, though not quite ripe at the moment. The direct translation of this fruit is, “Dragon Eyes”untitled (5 of 31) untitled (6 of 31) untitled (8 of 31)

Below is the entrance to the abandoned part of town.untitled (9 of 31) untitled (10 of 31) untitled (12 of 31) untitled (13 of 31) untitled (14 of 31) untitled (15 of 31) untitled (16 of 31) These photos (above and below) were taken as you approach what was the temple. The paintings look beautiful still!untitled (17 of 31) My girlfriend told me that below is a list of house prices!untitled (18 of 31) untitled (19 of 31) untitled (20 of 31) untitled (21 of 31) untitled (22 of 31) untitled (23 of 31) untitled (24 of 31) untitled (25 of 31) untitled (26 of 31) untitled (27 of 31) untitled (28 of 31) untitled (29 of 31) Above and below were the only local residents of this part of town that we encountered!untitled (30 of 31) untitled (31 of 31)

 

So this was the abandoned town, there was a bit more that we didn’t get to have a good look around due to time constraints, so there is definitely a second trip required there! I would definitely recommend that anyone coming to visit Huizhou, takes half a day to get out to this small town. It was definitely worth the visit, if for nothing else than a bit of peace and quiet!

An amazing half day out!

 

–Themanabroad–

 

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Street dancing man!

So the summer holidays have really started here for all the children, young and old!

A lot of kids here still have to go to summer camps however. Now I can guess what you are thinking, “summer camp, now that sounds potentially cool. Some cool activities and fun things to do”…WRONG!!!! This was exactly my thought when I first heard about summer camps in my last job at a place called STL (If anyone moves to Guanzhou/Huizhou/Dongguan, do not work for STL…they suck!). Summer camp here however is just more school, accept that it is pretty much every day for the whole of July. So for most of the children over here in China, for half their summer holidays…they study.

Sucks to be a Chinese kid!

However as a foreigner it is a time of plenty! Or at least it should be, the earning potential in the summer is pretty good! I myself have just started my summer work for a loose friend who runs a small training centre out of his own home. However as he is also a foreigner it is a lot more activity based. Anyway, I won’t go in to too much detail, as I hope to show you some photos of this over the next month.

I live on the 29th floor of my building, which is awesome as it has an amazing view of about half of the city, directly below my apartment is a place called Binjiang Park, which I think I have mentioned before. Every night down in Binjiang Park there is this group of street dancers who practice and practice and practice, and some of these guys are pretty bloody good I have to say. They always seem to be able to hold a pretty large audience every night too.

So I found myself down there a few nights ago with my camera and sat down for a little while and got a few shots of them doing there thing, I am quite happy with how they came out.

Let me know what you guys think!

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I aim to get some and get some more photos of these guys when I can sometime, however this last couple of weeks I have not been too well, so it’s been hard getting out.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the photos, just a short blog entry today.

 

–Themanabroad–

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Snake Market revisited!

Hey guys,

So I have been revisiting this snake market in the hope that I would be able to catch some better photos for you guys as I kinda feel like I let you all down a bit after hyping it up.

Well unfortunately I didn’t really catch any extra photos of snakes, but I did manage to get some other interesting little shots that I hope you will find interesting.

Some people may not want to view these photos, some of them are pretty gruesome, distressing to some and gnarly. Be warned!

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Not much of a cage for this little fella below! untitled (2 of 27) untitled (3 of 27) untitled (4 of 27)

No matter how many times I told my girlfriend that these were eels, she kept calling them snakes. But rest assured, these suckers are eels.untitled (5 of 27)

Ok, so opposite the eels we found this old boy cutting up a tortoise, we didn’t catch him killing the animal, but we saw him dissecting it. I have to say, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of meat on this little thing. My girlfriend found this hard to watch, and she is a local.untitled (6 of 27)

This below was the top shell.untitled (7 of 27) untitled (8 of 27) untitled (9 of 27) untitled (10 of 27)

This below is a wasp nest, they use the larvae and also some adult wasps to make an alcohol. They steep these in a locally brewed alcohol which is apparently good for men and their libido.untitled (11 of 27)

These shots below are something I never thought that I would ever see in a food market, a porcupine and badgers…not strictly legal over here we didn’t think. As I was shooting this the owner of the stall kept asking me to leave and stop photographing, but I felt like I just had to get photos of this and share it with the world. These people really do eat ANYTHING.untitled (12 of 27) untitled (13 of 27) untitled (14 of 27) untitled (15 of 27)

Eggs covered in…something to add flavour, no idea what and neither did my girlfriend.untitled (16 of 27) untitled (17 of 27) untitled (18 of 27)

I love these shots of this street sweeper in the below shots, he was a real character and seemed to love having his photo taken.untitled (19 of 27) untitled (20 of 27) untitled (21 of 27) untitled (23 of 27)

 

I hope you guys enjoyed these photos.

 

Stay tuned for more photos shortly from China.

 

–Themanabroad–

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West Lake and the Old University

So we are back to that time of the week once again where I whitter on and on.

This week I want to show you some photographs of a beautiful place here called West Lake, and in the middle of this West Lake is where the old Huizhou University used to be situated.

Now there are a few “West Lakes” in China, apparently the most famous of which is in a city called Hangzhou (hang-jo). The West Lake in Hangzhou is supposed to be huge and also stunningly beautiful, when i eventually get round to visiting Hangzhou I shall of course show you photographs of the place. But for now you shall just have to settle for China’s second greatest West Lake here in little old Huizhou. In case anyone was wondering, West Lake in mandarin is Xi Hi (See-Hu).

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It is beautiful during the summer time, or even more so in the Autumn time being able to go boating on the lake, especially in the evening when it starts to cool down.

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The small pagoda/temple thing in the background is the oldest one in the city, people used to be allowed to go in apparently, but that is no longer so!untitled (3 of 12) untitled (4 of 12) untitled (5 of 12) untitled (6 of 12) untitled (7 of 12) untitled (8 of 12) untitled (9 of 12) untitled (10 of 12)

I love all the people that you get around this place, for example the family in the picture below with the matching t-shirts, pretty funny.untitled (11 of 12) untitled (12 of 12)untitled (2 of 12)

In this area of West Lake you get lots of these men who keep the whole area clean and tidy and keep all the water nice and clean. About the only part of the city where they do really make a real effort to keep it clean.untitled (3 of 12) untitled (4 of 12)

This woman above was just chillin’ like a villain on this hot summers day and she turned round just at the perfect moment.untitled (5 of 12)

This is a very romantic place to come with your girlfriend, you get a lot of couple sitting out looking over the lake.

And a lot of poor people like in the picture below taking empty plastic bottles for recycling. China is full of contrasts!untitled (6 of 12) untitled (7 of 12) untitled (8 of 12) untitled (9 of 12) untitled (10 of 12) untitled (11 of 12) untitled (12 of 12) untitled (35 of 36) untitled (36 of 36)

So from now on in the pictures below is the old university of Huizhou, they moved it a long way away to a rather dumpy unattractive campus, but this campus was just not big enough to accommodate for all of the students. Seems a real shame though that it isn’t used for some of the classes. At the moment it is just an abandoned place where you get people dancing, playing and generally just walking around,untitled (23 of 36) untitled (24 of 36)

This picture below is a good example of something China does a lot of. They create a lot of these places and try to make them look like they are naturally occurring things, Such as this tunnel that they are building.untitled (27 of 36) untitled (28 of 36) untitled (29 of 36) untitled (30 of 36) untitled (31 of 36) untitled (34 of 36) untitled (25 of 36) untitled (24 of 27) untitled (25 of 27)

Wouldn’t you have just loved to have studied on a campus like this! I know i would have!untitled (26 of 27) untitled (27 of 27)

 

This part of the city is a hugely popular area, and its not surprise why really when you look at it. It is one of the few very well maintained places, and one of my favourites to go to.

The only problem at the moment is that it is so stiflingly hot at the moment that you just don’t want to go anywhere. I woke up at 6:30AM a few days ago, went in to my living room to see that it was nearly 30 degrees.

I hope you enjoyed this blog entry.

I now also have a facebook fan page that you can follow, so please search for themanabroad for that, and I also have twitter and tumblr if people want to be kept up to date via those social networking formats.

 

Thanks for reading once again,

 

–Themanabroad–

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