Thursday, September 01, 2005


Next we were saw the Ming Tombs (no, not Ming the merciless from Flash Gordan, Emperor Ming, the last of the three great dynasties in China). The weather was terrific, and we were afforded some great photo opportunities of the mountainous region.

Robert, our Chinese tour guide then announced it was time for lunch and we headed toward the Yu Long Restaurant. Oh, but there was a surprise waiting for us! Before we could sit down for lunch, we were given a tour of the government-run cloisonné factory, and shown a demonstration of the steps involved in creating the labour-intensive vases, jewelry and snuff boxes. Armed with this information we were then herded in the government-run “Friendship” store, where we were expected to buy many, many pieces of cloisonné, artwork, silk and chotchkes. Robert said we would eat first and then shop. When we returned to the store we were once again provided with very “personalized” attention, to the point that Nicki perfected her new favourite phrase in Chinese, “Xiexie bu yao,” or “No, thanks!”

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