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Monday, October 14, 2019

The Beijing Aquarium - Day 58 - Harry’s Computer Fiasco









Yesterday Lulu and I enjoyed the Beijing Aquarium.It is actually in the Beijing Zoo - but there is a separate admission. It is very close to our flat - so it was a quick bus ride. 

We get into the zoo for free as senior citizens. But the aquarium is $8 extra. It was really worth it. The building is shaped like a giant shell with paths leading to different spiraling sections. During the whole time I did e- I was not quite sure where I was. Just when we thought we saw all of it - in an open sesame moment - we were in a giant indoor water  arena where  sea lions - seals - and dolphins performed. 

What particularly impressed me was the jelly fish area. There were different tanks full of different species of jelly fish - it felt almost like a ballet with colors and music. 

Off topic - but since it was here - I had t cover the orange juice machine. They have orange juice machines here that deliver the freshest juice. You watch about 8 oranges being squeezed to make you a 12 ounce bottle of orange juice. You use you iPhone to pay - then watch the action. Finally a glass bottle - perfectly sealed pops out the bottom. You saw the bottle being filled - the oranges squeezed - and the cap sealed.

I am not a big fan of zoos and aquariums. I do not like the idea of animals being caged. But also - when I visit a place - I like to see local stuff - not animals. Brought in from far away places. I can see that in Washington - Tampa - Tallahassee - Philadelphia. Also - shame on me - if you have seen one lion or elephant - you have seen them all :-( When I travel - I like to see man made things - like the Pyramids - the Great Wall - Parthenon - and the Eiffel Tower.

Since this zoo was so close to our apartment - and they let us in free - I said what the heck. I was very delighted with the job they did on it. 

A little bit about my problems on this Day 58 in China. Things are good - the apartment is great - the weather got cooler - the food has been surprisingly good - and cheap. 

My laptop broke. Yeah - waa waa! The keyboard died. It has left me only my iPhone to communicate with you. I went to Apple and it would hav even easy to just buy a new one - but I did not want to buy here. After help from my son - Drew - he found a re-call on my laptop. Apple agreed that they would fix and/or replace it free.I must jump thru their hoops. Tomorrow at 1 PM I take it in for the second evaluation.

Meanwhile I am sitting at the dinner table typing on a wireless keyboard thru my iPhone. Some would say - why not just use Lulu’s - but she needs that for work. We are computer snobs and hate to share. 

My phone is hooked up to t-mobile cellular. It is better than the DSL WiFi in our apartment. Although I have narrow bandwidth - it is dependable - no censorship - no spooling - etc. I could be a walking advertisement for t-mobile cellular in China. Our phone bill is $90 for 2 unlimited iPhone - and they work wherever we go. Text - mail - data - and voice over FaceTime - free. 

It is a little harder sending as many pictures as I like to May when page - and friends. It sends pictures well to facebook. I am very spoiled with the Comcast Cable WiFi at Tallahassee. 

In Tallahassee - when we have a problem -  we just pick up a phone and  complain. Here - when we call someone - they speak Chinese. they have no idea what we want - and vice versa. Example - the other day the electricity went off - I went downstairs - and they said - bill not paid. We called Lulu’s assistant - and she handled it - power on. The college pays all our bills - phone - cable - internet - water -  gas. Yes we have a gas stove and gas hot water. 

Yesterday they was a printed note on our door. We thought it was a delivery notice. There are delivery boxes downstairs - we tried to scan the note - thinking it was for a package delivery. I took it to the office - - - it was the water bill. Again - the college pays the water bill. I was afraid to start a shower :-)

I set up and program to send this email to all of you plus my web page. I hope it works. I used to be able to. Do this and also send pictures. I sent three stories to my web page - but the pictures did not appear. This is a work-around for now. I feel really badly not posting a story every day on my web page - www.harry.everhart.com.

Maybe I should just go to the Apple Store - and buy a new MacBook and a new iPhone 11. Then I would send my old MacBook and iPhone Xmax to Drew and have him sells them. Problem solved. :-) 

In the great scheme fo things - this is no big deal. Our health has been good. Our back surgeries have been transparent - no issues. We are not spending much money - just eating and touring. Our apartment is covered by BNU. All our pays are safely deposited in Wells Fargo at home. My friends JP and George are keeping watch over things back home. We have gotten our passport and residency visas all taken care of - we can now come and go as we please. Our first guest Jan was wonderful. 

Please reply and let me know you got this report and the 2 pictures with it. 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Jiuxianqiao Mountain Hotsprings - Between The Wall and Beijing



After our cool and windy walk along the top of the Great Wall of China - the ladies wanted to swim. After a nice buffet lunch - we went to this beautiful spa resort.

The spa has pools of different sizes and temperatures. The girls settled mostly into this grotto area with about 99 degree water. Of course the water is supposed to have healing powers - but most of the people in the water still looked old. It reminded me of our trip to Iceland. When I was teaching about volcanoes and geysers - I would show the pictures of hot swimming pools with people swimming with snow around. Everyone was young - pretty - skinny - blue eyes and blonde. When we got there - everyone was wrinkled and old - like us. Same here. Honestly - the prettiest two are above.

A Day In Shanghai Disneyland



Since 1972 until 2019 - I do not think there was a year that the Everhart’s did not visit Disneyworld or Disneyland. It is just good wholesome entertainment that makes one feel good about their family and life in general. So a trip to China would not be complete without seeing Shanghai Disneyland.

Lulu taught her Tuesday class - we then caught the 760 miles - four hour express. We arrived in Shanghai just after 10 pm - checked into out hotel. On Wednesday morning we took the subway to the end of the line - Disneyland. Admission was $42 - we were inside in no time at all. It was not crowded. There were small or no lines for the attractions. The streets were not crowed. The meals and the snacks were good and reasonably priced.

It was sunny and 60s - we stayed until the fireworks at 9:30. Cinderella’s Castle seems much bigger and it is used as a projection screen for a fabulous laser light show. there is also fireworks - but the light show dominates. It was over by 10 pm.

We headed right for the subway - thinking there would be a rush. There was no crowd - the subway left half empty. We were back in Shanghai at our hotel in about 40 minutes. If I did it again I would probably stay right at the Disney Hotel and save time.

Thursday - it was back on the bullet train to Beijing. It was foggy almost the whole 760 mile back at 217 MPH!

We Hiked The Great Wall Of China



The is a smooth section of the wall. Crowded.



On Friday - Lulu hired a guide - car and driver - to take us to the Great Wall of China. Along with the Pyramids of Egypt that we saw in the spring - they are two of the Wonders of My World.  We walked along the top of the wall about two miles - mostly going uphill. It was a very strenuous climb over very poor footing conditions. It was compounded by large crowds - foggy weather - 50 degrees - and windy conditions. Quite frankly my pictures are not that good. Let’s face it - taking pictures of a wall you are walking on top of - is difficult. The fog prevented me from getting many good long shots. I must admit I did a lot of huffing and puffing. I stopped for rest a few times. You can imagine how I felt when we got to the top of the mountain - our guide said we were taking the cable car down. My first thought was why not take the cable car up - and walk the sloped down?


Most of the visitors are Chinese - there are 1.3 billion of them


We left town in a limo - really a new Buick van. Buick vans are very popular here - they look a lot like a Honda van. It was about 90 minutes - to Bandaling - probably the most crowded wall access - because it was closest to Beijing. We got tickets - I do not know if they were free because the guide got them.

Then we mounted the wall. Our guide pointed to the top of the mountain - maybe two miles away. It looked easy. It was not.

A little history - there are 13,000 miles of walls - some of them are over 2500 years old - and mostly earthen. Some have been removed and reused. The classic wall we know today is from the Ming Dynasty - about 1300 to 1600. There are about 5500 miles of Ming Walls. This is the classic wall - about five meters high - maybe 5 meters across. It is really two stone walls with debris filled in between them. Then it is bricked over. About every ⅓ mile there is a watch tower that housed cannons and 30 soldiers. The wall mysteriously weaves back and forth - up and down - like a dragon. You might expect the top of the wall to be smooth. It is not - everything is weathered -  lots of steps. It is a gigantic work of art.

The wall was not just built to keep out vandals from the north. It was used as a customs regulation - to control the Silk Road - also - just a show of power to keep roaming immigrants out. It was build to defend against spears and arrows - today’s weapons would make it worthless.

There is a myth that it can bee seen from the moon. No way. That would be equivalent to seeing a hair from 100 yards away. Some astronauts in low earth orbit claim - 100 miles up - to be able to see it - if you know where to look - and at sunset with long shadows. It is only roughly 20 feet high and 20 feet wide.

We took Jan to this section because it fit into her time schedule. We plan to return - hopefully to sunny skies - hopefully warmer - and yes - we will visit less crowded places - and make sure we take the cable car up and walk down.

After the Wall - we had a great buffet lunch - and then went to the Hot Springs to swim. We left home at 8 and were back at 5. Now that we did it once with a guide - we could easily do it all on our own. You drive to a destination parking lot. A shuttle bus takes you to the wall entry village - you walk about 100 yards to the wall.


The motif is from Ming Dynasty




Members of the Red Army enjoying the day




We ended up walking UP to the towers behind us




The cable cars took us down in less than 5 minutes

Friday, October 11, 2019

Jan Flies Home Today - What A Busy 11 Days We Had - China Day 54

Our old Tamaqua friend - Jan Davis has been here for 11 days. We have been going bell to bell every day. As I type this - Nan and Jan are at the Pearl Market - a world class shopping bazzaar. It is Saturday morning and when they come home around lunch - I will take Jan to the airport.

If you have been following - you know my MacBook laptop failed. The keyboard will not work and I cannot put my password in. Alibaba just delivered an $18 wireless keyboard. I can use it with my iPhone. It is a nice workaround. This is the first story I am typing on it.

We have had good weather for Jan - it has been mostly sunny and warm. Yesterday on our trip to the Great Wall and Hot Springs - we had foggy and cooler weather - 50s. It has gone from 90 to 50 in nothing flat.

We took Jan to - Tiananmen Square - Forbidden City - Lama Temple - Military Museum - Summer Palace - Mao's Tomb - Great Wall - Red Theatre - Hot Springs Spa - Pearl Market - Much Shopping. We ate at lots of different places. She sampled one of my McDonalds Chicken Cutlets.

We wish she could stay longer. There is so much more to do.

Our next visitors are JP and Wanda Brown. They have also visited us in Berlin and London. They are great guests too.

I cannot believe we have been here 54 days out of 150. We passed ⅓ the way without looking back. In the future - Nancy speaks at Japan - Korea - Vietnam - and Nanjing. There have been more requests but they are hard to fit in.

The weather went from tropical to temperate quickly. We have enjoyed warmth - air conditioning - and sunshine. Now comes Philadelphia weather - we hope.

At 12:30 - we are off to the airport.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Home in Beijing From Wonderful Disneyland Trip

Tuesday evening after class we got a 760 mile bulletin train to Shanghai. We stayed in the Marriott downtown there.

All day Wednesday we spent in Disneyland. Thursday morning was another bullet train back to Beijing.

I am sorry my stories have slowed down - but we are trying to squeeze a lot in for Jan. We love that she would come over and spent her time with us. The web page can wait.

Also my laptop broke down. I am writing from my iPhone.

Some people worried about trouble. Nothing could be more wrong. The three of us our having a great time.

I have posted some stuff to Facebook.

I will try to get my laptop fixed or get a new one. It is slow typing on this phone.

Today - we gave a guide and car going to the Great Wall and Hot Springs. It is 8 hours straight with the guide. I have tons of pictures to show.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

The Summer Palace With Jan and Nan - China Day 48



Saturday was such a pretty day in Beijing - China. We are in the middle of their Golden Week - the celebration of the 70th year of the new Republic. Even though China's history is traced back 4500 years - The People' Republic of China is relatively young.

Our good friend Jan Davis flew over to spend some time with us. After 48 days of just Lulu and me - it is nice for Lulu to have another English speaking girl to pal around with. Jan is the perfect one. Years ago - when they were both young Tamaqua mothers - they had play group for the kids. It was also a chance for some much needed adulting for the mothers.

Jan's husband Dick was a long time friend of mine. We both left Tamaqua years ago - but you never leave Tamaqua or not be a Coal Cracker. After they sold the Davis Funeral Home in Tamaqua - they headed to Arizona to work in the funeral business there. They raised a family - and thanks to the Internet - we reconnected years later. Dick died of cancer a couple years back. Jan still lives near Phoenix AZ.

After a 12 hour flight from San Franciso - Jan arrived at 3 PM. We met her at the airport and took a cab to our apartment. We went outa little bit - had supper - and all settled into bed at 9 PM. At 8 AM - Jan was up and ready to go - not a hint of jet lag. As I type this - Jan and Nan are out at a shopping bazaar. They have not missed a beat. It is like they were going to the Hometown Auction. I was left at home to do the dishes - laundry - vacuuming - and mopping the floor.

Getting back to the Summer Palace. It is about 7 miles northwest of ur apartment. After a $4 cab ride - we were at the main gate. We presented our passports - which gave us automatic free admission. I still am not sure it is because we are Americans or over 60. There are lots of people from all over China - for the celebrations. It was crowded by our standards - but the crowds are very docile. It is mostly families - parents with grandparents - and one child. It is not long the law that you can only have one child - but it has become the custom. China is a middle working class country - of long hours - and grandparents watching the child. Extended families in one house.

Everyone was doing the same things - walking the paths - up the hill to the Summer Palace. Some were renting boats to paddle on the lake. We walked up the 200 foot tall Palace Hill two times. We eventually found the main entrance.

The Summer Palace was built around 1750. It was used by royalty to escape the city heat. In 1860 - the British and the French burned it down. In 1885 - it was rebuilt. In 1925 - it was turned into a public park. Normally - it is pretty empty. This day is was packed. Luckily the 60s temperatures and clear blue skies made it nice for walking.

At 1 PM - we stopped a little court yard and bought lunch. It was very interesting. It was basically chicken and rice. But it had a heating system built in. You opened it - pour a liquid on a small push and it gave off tremendous heat. You put it together like a double boiler. It kept boiling while you ate. After lunch we continued on our quest.

The Palace had a covered portico along the lake that was 1/2 mile long. This day is was a long line of people

The girls just got back from the market - I am writing this story - and did not take my bath. In one hour we are leaving for a Kung Fu Show. So I must run.