China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Shipping Purchases Home

In my 26 years of travel in China I have found many wonderful things to buy.  Most of them I have brought home on the plane with me including a 2.5 foot tall hand painted vase.  I have shipped a rug and a special embroidery home but that is all.  My experience with clients shipping purchases home as been good and some poor.  If the item gets broke in shipping you have a claim on it however you do not have the item that you purchased either.  Chinese are experts at packing purchases for travel.  I have brought home silk comforters, pottery, and antiques of many kinds without any breakage either in special packages or in my suitcase.  Rugs and artwork they usually have you sign the item some place on it so that when you receive it you know it is what you purchased.  If not sent by air, ship can often take up to 2 months so one needs to be patient.  I often have bought a second suitcase just for purchases that I have bought for family and friends for the Holidays.  They may be purchased at Bargain shopping booths for little money.  Ask your guide for help. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Kung Fu at the Shaolin Temple

Many people are interested in Kung Fu and I have had to go to the Shaolin Temple and see for myself if it is worth sending my clients to that location.  The Shaolin Temple home of KungFu is located between the cities of Luoyang and Zhengzhou in the countryside.  The photo here was taken with the #1 Shaolin monk.  I was the only foreigner watching the demonstrations.  The Monk needed a volunteer and of course all the Chinese tourists pushed me into it.  The Monk had a small bowl which they use for eating lunch or dinner.  He put it on his stomach muscle and challenged me to remove it.(only once had anyone ever been able to do it)  I saw his skin was moist from all the activity so I thought perhaps if I twist it rather than try to pull it off, it might work.  It did and I was able to remove it.  I thought the audience would cheer but the Monk Lost FACE and the audience remained quiet.  This is a culture thing of course.  After the demonstrations were over, the Monk came out and requested me to come up on the stage.  He then bowed to me and presented me with the bowl.  An act of humility.  I still have the bowl of course and it makes great memories for me.  The Temple is original but has become quite a tourist attraction for mostly Chinese people some Kung Fu followers from around the world. One can take lessons there if you like but the facilities are not deluxe.  In Beijing there is a Kung Fu Show which is more like an Opera if you do not have the time to go to the Shaolin Temple itself.  I send many people to Xian, then to Luoyang where the famous Longmen
Buddhist Caves are located along with the White Horse Temple built in the 1st century as the First
Buddhist Temple in China.  Called that because two months came from India on white horses with their religious books to establish the temple.  From there by car to the Shaolin Temple and then to Zhengzhou to catch a plane either to Beijing or other destination.  The old Jewish Settlement at Kaifeng is not far away too but little is left of the Jewish settlement other than a large Metal Pagoda and a more modern area to remember the Jewish settlement.