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Yangshou, China Oct 10 2009

5 Nov

View from Hotel in Yangshou, colored pencil and ink Erin Lau © 2009

Yangshou was the destination of our cruise down the Li River. It is a touristy town, but for good reason, it is in the heart of these picturesque rock formations. We rode bikes through the country side, stopping to talk to farmers along the way. There are free- range chickens everwhere! The day was overcast, foggy, I didn’t see the sun much at all in China.


West Street, Yangshou


Li River, China Oct 10 2009

5 Nov

Li River Sights, colored pencil and ink Erin Lau © 2009

The cruise along the Li River takes 4-5 hours. It is a slow boat, that is able to float in water that is only 3 feet deep. The water is clear and green, unlike that of the Yangtze. Conversations are a jumble of German, Chinese, Spanish, English. The bamboo boats, Sampans, pull up alongside the cruise boats, grab hold, and try to sell fake jade to the tourists. Somebody must be buying it.


Cruise Boats, Water Buffalo, and Sampans Erin Lau © 2009


Erin Lau © 2009

Guilin, China Oct 8 2009

5 Nov


Bridge at Banyan Lake, ink Erin Lau © 2009


Early morning, the sound of competing Tai Chi groups, Shakira vs. Chinese Erhu, resonate off distant limestone protrusions. The young versus the old. A tour boat shatters the stillness of this entrancing man made lake. I think I shall return.


Banyan Tree at Banyan Lake, ink                                                                                                                                                              Erin Lau © 2009

Fashion Show aboard Yangtze River Cruise, China Oct 4 2009

5 Nov

Erin Lau © 2009


Erin Lau © 2009

Aboard the a small cruise boat on the Yangtze River, we were entertained by crewmembers in Chinese ethnic minority costumes, and also dress from notable dynasties. This is a sampling of the more impressive models.

Suzhou, China Oct 2 2009

5 Nov

Koi at the Master of Nets Garden, watercolor and ink Erin Lau © 2009

Our first day in Suzhou began early, after disembarking the overnight train from Huangshan, near Yellow Mt. Our guide, Leo, greeted us and we soon set foot on the city’s first bridge and original entrance gate. Suzhou is known as the Venice of the East, because it is crisscrossed by canals, and one large moat surrounds the old city. We visited the traditional Chinese gardens, I remember studying them in school. As I painted these koi fish, a Chinese man invaded my Western space bubble, and watched me paint, breathing onto my sketchbook. He made me lose my concentration. From then on I sought out more private vantage points. But people are always interested in how other people see things, so in a way, I am used to it.

Yellow Mountain, China Sept 29 2009

5 Nov

Misty Yellow Mountain, watercolor and ink Erin Lau © 2009

Our tour guide, Libby, brought us throught the mist to the top of Yellow Mt. by cable car. We hiked along the paths that clung precariously to the sides of cliffs, hoping for the clouds to give way. For twenty minutes, we had clear views, Chinese tourists yipped and yelped out to the crags, but promptly the fog resumed. Monkeys mocked us on our stair climb back to the hotel.

Shanghai, China Sept 24 2009

5 Nov

View from Hotel Bund in Shanghai Erin Lau © 2009

I arrived in China yesterday morning. I wandered the streets alone before my dad arrived. Funnily, being here is like being in a crowded Chinatown that has been transplanted in the U.S., but I realize that’s a naive impression. The major difference is the insane traffic, or rather the pedestrians who navigate it. My presumptions about China have been a little overblown, I was expecting to be utterly overwhelmed in such as city as Shanghai,  pop. 18 million+, I expected the experience to hit me like the shock of a tsunami. But so far that has not been my experience. Its frenetic, and crazy, but navigable. Perhaps my ability to blend in 50% also helps. People do not like to pay attention to rules and codes of conduct, ie no smoking signs and traffic lines. which is ironic despite the utter control that the state has over other modes of expression. (like Facebook and Youtube!). Fittingly, as I checked my email in a Nokia store (couldnt find an internet cafe) a young guy came up right behind me and blatantly read my email. I glared at him, but he didnt flinch. Soon he dissapeared. My activity has been recorded. I am on file in China.

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