We were on our way to China. Pretty often I flew via Dubai. But somehow I never managed to have a stop over. This time it should be different and we have made a stopover in Dubai for a few days. It was the right decision.
Dubai has a big creek. It extends to some extent inland.
As an architect, it was of course a must to have a look at the Burj Al Arab. Unfortunately we could only look from outside.
But even outside it is worth seeing.
The Jumeirah Mosque is interesting because you can enter it even as a non-Muslim. And for the non-Muslim, there are extra guides that explain what people are doing and why.
And the same thing again by day and with light.
The Sheikh Zayed Road is the epitome of Dubai. Not so long ago everything was still wilderness. From this perspective one must pay respect to the Dubai people. But the price to pay is gigantic. Even if the salt water is desalinated there remains still a residual amount in the water. Since everything has to be watered the environmental damage is enormous.
But until then they built on Sheikh Zayed Road. Not far from here just the tallest building in the world is built. Yet it is not sooo high. But even now it is already impressive.
Shanghai is impressive. The city has developed rapidly in recent years. Nowadays it is hard to imagine how it looked a few years ago.
Especially in the Pudong. Only 15 years ago there were swamps and fields. What a change.
Unfortunately there are not many old buildings left.
We went on to Beijing. Or, as it once was called Peking. But those days are over.
The Forbidden City is worth seeing.
Unfortunately, the Chinese are not that accurate with the restoration. Care is taken only on appearance. More or less at least.
But when you consider the history, what is all happening in the Forbidden City, it is quite impressive.
Just outside, but still easily accessible by bus, there is a section of the Great Wall. Also, this section was largely destroyed, but was restored again.
Pingyao is another example, if restoration is done for tourists.
Is quite OK. But if you look behind the facade...
…it is not all gold that glitters.
But when you have a look at it the scale is impressive.
In early years it must had been impressive when a countryman came into town and is suddenly standing in front of such a wall with such constructions. You feel very small.
Afterwards we went to Xi'an. And clearly, why do you come here? Correct, the Terracotta Army.
Despite the level of restoration they are fantastic to see. And the sheer number of warriors is impressive.
Special pieces are placed behind thick glass.
Even despite the Terracotta Army Xi'an is a pleasant city.
Finally we had enough of the huge cities and vast amounts of people everywhere. So we went to the countryside. More precisely, in the southwest near Laos.
There is the Tiger Leaping Gorge. A really great valley. We trekked always along the river. Sometimes high up, sometimes down next to the river. Definitely a highlight of our China trip.
After trekking went to relax.
Lijiang is a perfect place to relax.
The next big city is never far away. In this case, it was Kunming.
So let's get out of here. Back into nature. After a ridiculous two days bus ride we arrived at the Yulong River.
Just after we arrived we rented a few bikes and explored the area.
The area is made for cycling.
The region around Guilin and Liangjiang is famous for the landscape.
Again, soak up the atmosphere.
Then it was time to say goodbye again.
Final look at Yangshou.
It got touristy as hell.
Well, Lijiang is also touristy. But as Lijiang is much bigger it does not feel so touristy. As Suzhou is much smaller it felt really intense.
There is no escape.
If so many people, then go for the real thing.
For example, on the Nanjingdonglu, Shanghai's number one shopping street.
Back in Pudong.
It is really impressive that the people achieved in such a short time.
Indeed Shanghai is an absolute megacity.
For its size I can not imagine living there. A big city is OK. But that's just a little bit too much.
A view over Podong.
From above you can experience the full scale of the city.
A change in perspective might help. In front of all skyscrapers the ocean liner seems to be tiny.