My nightmare trip to Zhiangjiajie, China – 张家界,中国

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I have planned the whole trip to Zhiangjiajie, China for 7 people and got my friend in Hong Kong to book the advance tickets for the high speed train to Changsha and normal train to Zhiangjiajie.  My friend have difficulties to book the ticket as they need a China Visa to get the tickets, she managed to get her friend’s visa to book for us and all we have to do is go to the train station to get our tickets from our e-ticketing.

We have arrived Shenzhen 2 hours ahead so we have enough time to queue for our tickets. we have never expect that 8 counters on each sides of the train station and all the locals and tourists were also confuse about which counters for buying or for exchanging tickets.  My husband and daughter been waiting in the queue for about an hour but still at the same spot.  My sisters  started to worry as our train are going in an hour.

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So I went to check and started to queue at another counter  and my sisters came along to queue so that I can make inquiry where is the exact counter for collecting tickets .  Finally we solved the problem but the locals they don’t heed the advice and queue in this row  due to it was the shortest queue and wanted to buy tickets from this counter.  Lot of locals they just went to the front of the counter and got their tickets there.

We were so mad and frustrated that only left half an hour before the train is going, finally it was our turn, thank to the lady in front  of my sister who wanted to buy tickets and this was the wrong counter and we managed to get her place in queue to collect our tickets.

We only have left 15 minutes to go to the platform and the lady at the counter ask my sisters to get the other to the platform first so that we don’t miss our train. It was so bloody hard as there were so many locals and tourists especially the locals, they are expert in knowing how to-do. For a foreigner , we just learn a lesson that we need to push, force and speak louder and fiercer than the locals then we will able to get our tickets or places in queue for ticketing.

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We managed to get to Changsha, 长沙,in one piece and from the train station got a taxi to our hotel. we managed to get a hotel nearer to the train station so that next morning we can walk or take a taxi to the train station easier.

My plan has gone astray as the next day, we managed to pay extra and got all our e-ticketing in advance but unfortunately  the train been delay for 3 hours then it announced that if possible to arrange or try another method to go to Zhiangjiajie,  we were advice to go and get the train tickets refund as the train had been delay another 2 or 3 hours.  No explanation the reason why for the delay and all the locals and tourists seen to leaving the station.

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I have no choice and got my husband to queue for the refund and I went to look for another mode of travel to take us to Zhiangjiajie.  Thanks to God!!! I met a young tour guide and he said he will tried to get us to Zhiangjiajie and the coach ticket was only 40 rem which was cheaper than online or my train tickets to Zhiangjiajie. Arranged with this guide and seek for his help to guide to Zhiangjiajie and we will pay for his service and the coach he arranged for us.

My 2 days of nightmare seen to change to good luck as he managed to get a coach for us to go to Zhiangjiajie  and his fee was only 150 rem to 200 rem. I have decided to give him 200 rem for per day which was 20 pound sterling  which was a good value for money where he arrange our day trip and also coach and restaurants where we can taste the local dishes.

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We been told by the guide that the train tracks were broken due to heavy rain in Zhiangjiajie for 2 weeks, we were so lucky that it was not raining when we were there.

My advice for those who want to travel by yourselves by trains please give yourself extra 1 day or 2 and don’t do as what we did by taking one train and then check in with another, there is a risk of delay in ticketing  or train and all sort of unpredicted things can be happen.

 

 

 

 

 

Furong Town, Zhiangjiejia, China -芙蓉镇, 中国

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Our tour guide arranged for us to take our breakfast at this beautiful town – Furong Town (芙蓉镇)  also known as Hibiscus Town. In the town  the pavement laid with black flagstones and ancient houses. The  famous movie Furong Town directed by Xiejin is shot here. In Furong Town the local specialty is rice tofu and the genuine shop is in the vicinity of toril. We have our breakfast of the rice tofu and it was delicious. The shop is the rice tofu shop in the movie. The scenery in the town has unique bearing. The stilted houses are set up against the slope.

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The Wangcun waterfall is about 60 meters high and 70 meters wide. Walking behind the hanging screen of the waterfall is like placing oneself in a crystal palace. We have the local tour guide from this beautiful ancient Furong town to guide us and also letting us know the history of this ancient town. Enjoying ourselves walking behind the waterfall and visited the ancient town where we can buy the local specialty and dried sea foods. There is a  tea room where we can sit and enjoy the beautiful view of the waterfall. The tour take about 1 to 2 hours and we are free to walk around the town.

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The local guide only speak in chinese so it will be quite boring for those who don’t understand the language to understand the history of this town. This ancient town worth a visit as I would love to stay longer at the waterfall but unfortunately only the locals can go down to the waterfall or near but not for tourists.

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Maple leaves

maple leaves

Armed with my camera and busy taking photo of flowers when my neighbor invited me into her garden, she has an amazing beautiful garden. I felt in love with the maple trees. I had seen this beautiful red pointed shaped leave and always want to take photograph of them. The maple tree in her garden is six foot tall and it is raining so I have a happy hour in her garden taking different photos of nature.

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I felt in love with the new ways some of the Japanese photographers taking their photos using the sunlight to create overexposure so that the effect will be one stop overexposure to create  light, fogging, blurring and pastel look to the image.  I wanted to learn how to do as these photographers do with their photos.  So using the micro lens and taking the same image 3 times with different stop – example F11, F8 and F5.6, one is the normal, under and over exposures. When I see them in my computer and love those shots with overexposure  as it does create the image as what those photographers did.

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I will be going away for a long vacation till mid August, taking a long break from all the media to enjoy my holidays with my families in overseas.

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I needed to practice more so that my macro photos will have the perfect effect. At least this is the first step to try to explore and see how it turn up for my macro photos.

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Ladybug or Ladybirds

Ladybirds

At my neighbor’s garden armed with my camera with a macro lens trying my luck to see what I can  get in the garden.  I am lucky to catch a pair of 2 spotted ladybirds mating.  It is an amazing experience to see such a beautiful sight.  It bought me down to earth that Mother’s Nature are so amazing  and if you have the time to spare and enjoy this beautiful nature.

 

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Source from National Geographic

Many people are fond of ladybugs because of their colorful, spotted appearance. But farmers love them for their appetite. Most ladybugs voraciously consume plant-eating insects, such as aphids, and in doing so they help to protect crops. Ladybugs lay hundreds of eggs in the colonies of aphids and other plant-eating pests. When they hatch, the ladybug larvae immediately begin to feed.

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Ladybugs are also called lady beetles or, in Europe, ladybird beetles. There are about 5,000 different species of these insects, and not all of them have the same appetites. A few ladybugs prey not on plant-eaters but on plants. The Mexican bean beetle and the squash beetle are destructive pests that prey upon the crops mentioned in their names.

Ladybugs appear as half-spheres, tiny, spotted, round or oval-shaped domes. They have short legs and antennae.

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Their distinctive spots and attractive colors are meant to make them unappealing to predators. Ladybugs can secrete a fluid from joints in their legs which gives them a foul taste. Their coloring is likely a reminder to any animals that have tried to eat their kind before: “I taste awful.” A threatened ladybug may both play dead and secrete the unappetizing substance to protect itself.

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Nature life is full of surprise and arm with the camera I am not sure what I will see or photo when I out in the garden, woodland or rolling fields.

 

A visit to Moon Lake Park -月湖, Ningbo, China

Moon Lake Park

A visit to Hong Kong  to meet my sisters and friends and to visit  Ningbo, China so that we can sightseeing together.  We booked into the hotel – Orange Hotel which cost 20.00 English pounds sterling a night, a beautiful 3 stars hotel, from the hotel about 20 minutes walk to this Moon lake Park, in Ningbo, China.

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China have an amazing beautiful scenic places  of this world  a must to see but it is  hard to enjoy yourself due to most of the scenic places are full of locals and tourists which make it harder for  personal enjoyment and appreciation of the scenery due to the crowds.  It is a love and hate whenever I visit this country.

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Ningbo Moon Lake, also known as Ningbo Yuehu (月湖), is located in the downtown district. It is a great place for a picnic, stroll, or a paddle around the lake in one of the boats available for hire.   According to historical records, in the urban area of Ningbo the Moon Lake was initially built in 636, the 10th year of the Tang Zhenguan period.

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During the Southern Song Dynasty, a lot of towers, terraces and pavilions were built in the region that form the ten wonderful scenic attractions surrounded with seven bridges and three embankments.

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In 833, Magistrate Wang Yuanwei of Maoxian County (the present Ningbo) decided to build water conservancy projects. Under his leadership, channels and weirs were built and water from Lunshan Mountain was led through the waterways into the city and two lakes, the Sun Lake and the Moon Lake thus came into being. During the Northern and Southern Song Dynasties, Ningbo had gradually grown into a flourishing metropolis and a city of strategic importance that was close to the then capital city (Hangzhou in the South Song Dynasty). As the waterways within the city had been successively dredged, a crisscross water network, with the Moon Lake as the heart, was formed. It was well known with its “three rivers plus six canals with a lake at the core”.

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In the past 800 years, the Moon Lake has been an important academic spot, well known in south China for its fine education tradition and many historical celebrities and poets in China like He Zhizhang, Wang Anshi, and Sima Guang often gathered here to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Moon Lake.

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I was totally enchanted by this town  there are so many tourists attraction, nice posh shopping centre to shop and food stalls with amazing beautiful cook foods at a cheap rate. Fully recommend to anyone if you have time or happen to be near this city just take a day or two to see the beautiful scenery in this town.

 

 

 

 

Growing Nigella damascena – Love-in-a-Mist

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My neighbor invited me into her garden, she has different types of poppies growing in her garden without planting them.  After taking some photos of the poppies, there were the deep blue flowers caught my eyes. It was the Nigella Damascena or well know as Love-in-a-Mist. I love the fern like leaves which look like a nest below the flowers. If you see this beautiful flowers you will see the unique  and unusual shaped petals and leaves.

 

I enjoyed two hours happily snapping my camera at her litte paradise garden.

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Source from Gardening more informations on this beautiful flowers:

Nigella earns its common name of Love-in-a-Mist with a tangle of ferny, fennel like foliage that form a mist around the flowers. I’m not sure why anyone would call Nigella Devil in the Bush. Nigella flowers start off as interesting puffs, open into rich toned, straw-flower like blossoms and change into equally attractive seed pods.

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Once you see Nigella in bloom, you will always recognize it by its unique mist of airy bracts and foliage. The foliage is ferny, the flowers are fluffy and the seed pods are intriguing. Best known for the vivid blue blossom variety, Nigella also blooms in purples, pinks and white.

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Design Suggestions:

Nigella is a wonderful cottage garden plant and a great filler. The airy foliage makes a nice complement to broader leaved plants. The flowers keep well as cut flowers. The seed pods can be dried and used in arrangements. To dry the pods, cut while the pods are still green and somewhat fresh. Tie the stems into a bundle and hand upside down to dry. You can cut the seed pods in half to display the interesting seed chamber structure.
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Growing Tips:

Nigella does not like being transplanted and does best if direct seeded outdoors. Seed can be sown from early spring, throughout the summer and even in fall, in climates with mild winters.

Choose a site that gets either full sun or at least morning sun. Nigella is not particular about soil quality, but it doesn’t like to remain wet.

To sow, simply scatter the seed and rake it in. You don’t really need to cover the seed with soil, but it does need to be pressed down slightly.

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Maintenance: Nigella is a short lived plant and probably won’t make through an entire growing season. For a continuous bloom, repeat sow every 4 weeks. Once your plants have begun to scatter seed, you won’t need to continue sowing.

Cutting and deadheading will keep your plants flowering a bit longer, but you’ll sacrifice the seed pods.

A Happy Father’s Day – 2014

 

ImageSalute to all the fathers and wish all of you have “A Happy Father’s Day”. It is a day to celebrate with the families members to show their appreciation that men are as good as women as parents to all our children.  A day for children to show their love to their fathers and say “I love you”.

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My father died when I am 10 years old even though he was always in my heart and treasured times when he was ill I had to look after him for the last few years. He was not rich or successful but he had a heart full of love for all his 6 children, he tried his best to earn enough to feed us and clothed us but we do not have all the luxuries keepsake or toys for our childhood.  All of us were always bellyful and well dressed and all of us squeezed into a two room bedrooms village home.

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A Happy, Happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers in this world. A small token of my photos to show my appreciation for this great man and for all the fathers in this world.

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