Wuyuan County (China), November 2018

We stayed in the Wuyuan County for a couple of days, known as the most beautiful countryside in China. Located northeast of Jiangxi Province and near Mount Huangshan that we just visited a couple of days ago.  We were ending our China trip that started in Shanghai a week ago.  My wife Linna Wei put together the perfect itinerary for twelve days.The beautiful drying racks in the ancient village of Wuyuan.

Immense sea of golden rape flowers.

We are enjoying a wonderful lunch.

Harvest time.

Amazon delivery.

We stayed in the Hongcun village before and after hiking Mount Huangshan.  The 900 year old village is located in the historical region of southern Anhui Province near the southwest slope of Mount Huangshan.

We stopped here twice for breakfast inside the Hongcun village.

Huangshan National Park (China), November 2018

After a couple of days of playing around skyscrapers and dinning at fine restaurants in Shanghai we took a G series bullet train 417 miles southwest to Huangshan National Park. This was a relaxing 4 1/2 hour train ride. Also called the Yellow Mountains, not because they are yellow in color but the area renamed after the legendary Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) in 747 AD.

Linna chose November to avoid the tourist crowds, but beware it’s colder and you just might be hiking in snow.  We had a bit more clouds then we wanted on this two day mountain visit, so Linna and I already decided to come back.  Next time we will probably take the cable car up for a head start.

By the way, on your way up the mountain, don’t ask how much farther….because you will receive inconsistency replies from one hour to three hours.Huangshan is most well known for its remarkable pines and probably has inspired most Chinese paintings and drawings. Matt Kerby took most of these remarkable pictures.  

Stairway to heaven.

The most famous pine in the Yellow Mountains and probably all of China, the Greeting Guest Pine….maybe 1,000 years old.

Huangshan is known for its 60,000 stone steps, carved in the mountain. We might have hiked up 30,000 to 35,000 steps our first day.  We didn’t utilize any cable cars like most people, but we started hiking from the bottom.

One of Huangshan’s wild monkeys.

After 35,000 steps we reached our Huangshan Baiyun Hotel, yes…there are hotels on top of Mt. Huangshan.  I headed to the bar area and sipped on a cold beer as Linna checked us in.  After climbing all those steps, the private cozy room with shower was the perfect way to end the day.

Shanghai Trip, November 2018

Fall is a good time to visit China, weather is cool and a few less tourists to deal with.  We asked our good friends Matt and Shelly Kerby to join us in China for some site seeing and indulging in wonderful food and drink. We spent two days in Shanghai before moving onto Huangshan Mountain.  

The Freeman Move on top of the Shanghai Tower, currently the second largest building in the world.  Shanghai Tower is 2,073 feet / 632 meters tall.

Linna Freeman lighting things up in front of the Pudong skyline. I started traveling to China back in 2000 and at the time there were only two tall buildings in Pudong. 

Looking down at the Pearl Tower and the famous Bund Street from the Shanghai Tower.

Looking down on the World Financial Center from Shanghai Tower in the Pudong district.  At this posting date, WFC is the 11th tallest building in the world at 1,614 feet / 492 meters.

Sitting comfortably on the G series bullet train heading to Huangshan Mountain. G is short for Gaosu Dongche meaning high-speed in Chinese. China has the world’s longest high speed railway network at 17,000 miles heading to 24,000 miles by 2025.

Matt Kerby munching on Yodi’s hand from Star Wars.

The fabulous Pudong skyline with the the Pearl and Shanghai Tower standing tall.

Our traveling partners, Shelly and Matt Kerby.  Matt is also my professional photographer.  

Having cocktails from the Jinmao Tower looking down on the beautiful Bund Street.

China Trip, October 2017

A short trip to China.

Shanghai Trip, September 2016

This was a short trip to beautiful Shanghai mainly consisted of visiting good friends and dinner out.

China Trip, October 2015

This wasn’t a site seeing trip, but more of a dinner out with numerous friends and family. This trip started in Hong Kong moving north to Xian, east to Shanghai, north to Beijing and then back home to Seattle. I have flown into Hong Kong before, but never spent any time there until this trip. Unfortunately, it was cloudy the 1 1/2 days we spent there. As usual and par for the course Linna and I didn’t read up or book any tourist activities but relied on our natural instincts and just started walking.

We did some shopping in the Causeway neighborhood and then found Hong Kong’s most famous dim sum restaurant – Maxim’s at City Hall. Once we saw the long-line, about as long as some homeless line in Seattle for free food, we knew we should have left our hotel earlier. Our total wait was a little over 2 hours…was it worth it? Oh hell no, but we were committed by this time.

During our walk to the renowned Maxim place, we were wondering why there were so many woman hanging around chatting and having lunch in such odd places. Approximately 300,000 foreign housekeepers (maids) are working in Hong Kong and by law they must live in their employer’s house. Every Sunday is their day off which means they are not allowed to stay at home, almost like being thrown out every Sunday. So they end up spending the day outside in all types of weather and seasons. They congregate year-round on Chater Road in the center of Hong Kong Island and it’s closed to traffic. Every place near the metro station Central where there is a few yards of available floor space, a maid will rolled out her carpet and put up camp.

After a few hours in Hong Kong (it seemed liked) we flew off to Xian, which is located in central China. You think the middle of China would be smog free, but for some reason the area becomes unbearable with smog at times. Xian has a population approximately 8 million people and was the starting point for the Silk Road. We spent four days in Xian which is plenty for any city; we spent most of our time visiting friends and family over lunches and dinners.

Another Chinese flight and we were in Shanghai which is probably my favorite Chinese city due to its cleaner air and Shanghai’s magnifignat skyline, great restaurants and of course the famous Bund Street. I had day excursions to Wuxi and Wujiang but was back in my hotel in Shanghai each night. I had a great dinner with my friends Jiapei Qin, Rong Li, Jie Qi Cao and his wife Quane Luan at this new restaurant in Wuxi called the Fusion Club.

I had a conference in Beijing later in the week and I decided to take a train to Beijing from Shanghai this time…and after this experience I will probably never take an airline flight between the two cities again. For the same price you can experience a business class seat with good food and a completely folded out seat versus a cramp coach airline seat in a stuffy hot airplane. The ride was a relaxing 4 ½ hours but I was able to get some work done and squeeze a peaceful nap in too.

Beijing was raining when we pulled into the Beijing South train station, I was actually happy to see the sky filled with grey rain clouds versus the heavy grey smog. This city usually runs well over 250 AQI (air quality index), but during the rain it was actually in the double digits. But it doesn’t take long for the smog index to creep back up, the next day it was already in the three digits.

Shanghai Trip, June 2014

This was my third trip to Shanghai this year and traveling in the raining season worked out just fine for this Northwest Seattle boy. It rained every day I was there which created horrible traffic but also provided clean fresh air.

If you looking for huge views and a hotspot for a cocktail with friends or guests, you will need to check out Cloud Nine near the Bund. You will need to step on 3 different elevators to reach the 87th floor in the Jin Mao Tower, this sky lounge will give you a 360-degree view of Shanghai from one of the highest points in the city. After a cocktail was dinner at Mr. & Mrs. Bund with friends enjoying the French cuisine from Chef Paul Pairet.

Shanghai Trip, April 2014

A trip to Shanghai in April can be a bit cool for most people, but high sixties during the day was fine for me. This was a 6 day visit which is almost perfect for an international trip. I stuck around Shanghai most of the time except for a day visit to Wuxi and Xuzhou via train and car.

Shanghai Trip, January 2014

I started my 2014 travels with a direct flight from Seattle to Shanghai and met up with a friend the next morning. We took a taxi to the fairly new Hongqiao train station located next to the domestic airport and subway station. We took the G-series bullet train up to Xuzhou, China for the day. This city is most well-known has a transportation hub and is located between Beijing and Shanghai.

Any train designated the G series will be China’s new bullet trains. For a business class seat you pay much less than you would a crowed coach airline seat. Even though the train ride is three hours long, you get a non-crowded quiet car with very comfortable wide leather seat that lays flat for sleeping. Plus you get an electrical outlet for your computer or phone that also works with the American plug. You receive a full meal which reminds me of a TV dinner growing up. I highly recommend G series train travel when roaming in China. Please keep in mind that foreigners will need their passport to purchase their ticket.

This was another enjoyable trip with friends, travel and fantastic dinners.

Beijing Trip, October 2013

It’s not every day you get a clean, clear blue sky in Beijing, in fact…we had two beautiful smog free days back to back. But, we were not that lucky on the third day and beyond…it was back to its normal filthy pullulated self. I was visiting Beijing for a few days with a couple of other friends, Rick Massie and Brendan Jackson both from Seattle too.

Besides visiting the usual Forbidden Palace and Tiananmen Square, you must visit the 798 Art District, www.798district.com this place has some cool funky ass shit and you will need three hours or more to see it all.

Of course when dining, one must experience Beijing Duck….which I did three nights in a row!