CITM 2007 Hosted Buyers Trip to China
Hosted by China National Tourist Office, Toronto, Canada
Air by China Eastern Airlines
October 29th, to November 7th, 2007
 

November 2nd was our post CITM tour and we started this off with a tour to the Stone Forest.

The Stone Forest is known as "One of Earth's Natural Wonders". The Stone Forest is located in Shilin County, 85 kilometres southeast of Kunming. Covering a few hundred square kilometres, stone peaks rise abruptly from the ground in numerous layers like bamboo shoots, forests and pagodas. The roads wind around between the peaks, taking visitors to ever more unexpected and beautiful scenes. Research by Chinese and overseas geologists have proved that the Stone Forest is over 270 million years old. The area used to be an ocean. During the Long Geological Period from the late Permian Period 230 million years ago to 2 million years ago, the ocean subsided and giant rocks appeared. During this time the rocks were gradually worn away by water, forming the strange rock forms seen today.

Wandering in the Stone Forest is a unique experience .The stone mountains form strange shapes, the peaks are like poems and pictures, like the vertical "Lotus Peak," the majestic "Rhinoceros Admiring the Moon" and the graceful "Pavilion Observing the Peaks". The layers of mountains seem to be pressing forward; the curious shaped rocks excite people's imagination. In the depth of the Stone Forest, numerous lakes are like bright mirrors reflecting the rocks and peaks.

Among all the scenic spots in the Stone Forest, the rock of Ashima in the Small Stone Forest is the most famous. The rock of Ashima resembles a girl of the Sani people, a branch of the Yi ethnic group, with a kerchief on her head, and a bamboo basket on her back. The shape and expression are both surprisingly lifelike. Ashima was a beautiful girl in a Sani folk tale. She is a symbol of the hope for freedom to choose who to marry, and a happy life for the Sani people. This is a story of a young couple who fall in love, but cannot marry each other. It was first written down in the 1940s and performed in Kunming. It has been published several times, and was filmed in the 1960s. The national dance drama "Ashima" is on the list of the top Chinese dances in the 20th century. Since then "Ashima" has been translated into eight languages including English, German, French, and Russian and has shed its beauty throughout the international community.

The Stone Forest area is the home of the Sani Minority, a branch of the Yi Tribe (reputed for their diligence, valor, wisdom, exquisite embroidery and melodious songs and graceful dances) who also offer cultural performances nightly.

After that we enjoyed lunch at a local restaurant featuring Peking Duck and while there got to see some beautiful artwork with the painter demonstrating how he did it. Then through the countryside and past vegetable growing fields (that one picture is bundles of spent material that they tie up and use for kindling) to a local village. By the front door hung ropes of corn drying in the air. Now I was impressed with this village and how all the ladies got together to showcase their exquisite embroidery and carpet making. This village passes down this craftsmanship and some of the women work at the shop while many work from home so that they can look after their children. I was so smitten by one piece that I just had to buy it. Look at some of the pieces here…they are simply beautiful. The ladies were so sweet too and just so happy to show us what they could do. The finest work takes years to learn. My piece was of a lady and usually when they use the threads they are 16 strands, but when doing things like faces and hands they use only one strand. This village workshop can actually take pictures you send and make them into these works of silk. If you are nice they will even offer you a cup of jasmine tea…don’t say no! it was so refreshing!

After this we visited a more commercial and touristy village but equally enjoyable. There I found these gorgeous dahlias, plus fruits, teas and even some fellows dressed in fatigues pushing a wagon…


November 3rd
We had an early morning transfer to the airport for our flight to Nanning where we were greeted by some of the local minority groups. Do you see the pink buses? Those were what we traveled in…very comfortable, and I found this fellow working at the airport tending the beds.

The region is home to a great many ethnic groups who account for nearly 40 percent of the region’s total population. For many groups singing is a part of their life. They not only entertain by singing, but they find love, welcome guests and keep their culture alive. In 2007, Nanning was awarded the UN Habitat Scroll of Honor. This is given to recognize individuals and institutions instrumental in improving living conditions in urban centers around the world. Over 38 percent of the city is green.

We visited the Guangxi Museum - Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is in the west part of South China. Its capital is the city of Nanning. Nanning (Southern Peace), was founded in 214 B.C. The Guangxi Museum displays botanical and zoological specimens, historical relics, and Taiping history. It also boasts the largest collection of bronze drums (over 300) in China. These drums were awesome! One of them is called the King of Bronze Drums and it is from the Han dynasty. Some of them had these wonderful little animals around the tops of them. There is a fascinating article on drums here if you care to read it…
http://www.hawaii.edu/cseas/pubs/explore/han.html

Then we went to a beautiful garden called the Guangxi Ethnic Cultural Garden where we got some time to just wander…little did I know that there would be so many weddings this day. Look at the gorgeous dresses the brides are wearing…the other thing I want you to see is the delicate carving on the table. I believe this is a table for taking tea at. I am sure someone will let me know if I am wrong.

Then lunch and off to visit a garden full of cycads…then a special dinner and another evening of wonderful entertainment…
Accommodation : Liuzhou Hotel

Note from Tom: you will note some of the small pictures are turned sideways - thankfully the full size appears correctly - please forgive us but there seems to be no apparent reason  

 

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row