18 Apr

Moonlight Masquerade Spring Party 2016

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This year the annual spring party was held at Baia Restaurant in Sea World and the theme was “Moonlight Masquerade” The beautiful warm spring evening and Baia’s location on the 3rd floor in Sea World provided the perfect setting to enjoy delicious food and wine, dancing and catching up with old friends.

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18 Apr

Splendid China visit -March 2016

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Splendid China was the first cultural theme park of its kind in China. The park is unique in the way that it condenses so much history, culture, folk-art and customs into interesting displays, including miniature displays of famous Chinese landmarks such as the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, Temple of Heaven etc. There is a wide variety of cultural shows at various times through out the day showcasing traditional Chinese music, dance and costumes and also a historical live horseback battle.
The park covers quite a large area and is mostly flat and easy to get around, for those less mobile there are self drive buggies available for hire. You should allow 2 1/2hrs for a quick visit or about 4hrs to take it all in and enjoy some of the shows. For an additional cost there is an evening spectacular in the large arena those wishing to see this show need to book tickets at the arena early in the day, show starts at 7.30pm.
The park opens at 10.00am and costs ¥180 for adults. Getting there is easy by  metro take line 1 (green line) to OCT and take exit D. There are plenty of places to eat and drink through out the park, although if you do not like traditional Chinese food I would recommend taking a packed lunch and have a picnic in one of the pretty garden areas.
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16 Mar

Visit to Tian Hou Temple and the Left Fort Ruins

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On a beautifully warm Tuesday in March, SWIC member Elaine Campbell led a small group on a tour of Tian Hou Temple and the Left Fort Ruins, both of which are located in Chiwan, next to the port. Their convenient location makes them an ideal cultural destination to show friends and family when they visit.

The temple is a delightful combination of Chinese folk religion, Taoism and Buddhism. There is a beautiful covered entrance to the temple with spectacularly carved 3-D dragon columns. Four brightly coloured giant warrior statues guard the temple entrance from demons. The Main Hall and the Altar to Tian Hou is a visual symphony of colour in the form of offerings, shrines and pictures and unlike many temples we were allowed to freely take photos.

The courtyards contain a bell tour and drum tower, turtle pond, incinerators, an incense pavilion, shrines and a wishing tree. There are also water spouting bowls for you to try your hand at and make sure you have the camera ready if someone masters the perfect technique to create a water spout.

The original temple was built in 1410 under the supervision of Admiral-Eunuch Zheng to honour the Goddess Tian Hou after she saved his fleet of ships in a severe storm. The temple has since been destroyed and rebuilt several times , most recently by the Shenzhen Municipal Government in the 1990’s and repaved and painted in 2011.

After visiting the temple we got back on the bus and with Elaine’s eagle eye (the sign was very faded) and excellent Chinese we manged to get the bus driver to stop down the road at the Left Fort Ruins. After a short walk up the road you can either take the stairs (Nothing like Nanshan Mountain- maybe 150 steps in total) or you can continue on the road which winds around to the fort. Massive tree roots almost appear to hold the fort together and there is a picnic area with marble tables and seating which is well shaded, and has views over the Chiwan Port. If you climb to the top of the fort you will see the original cannon that points out to sea. There is also a statue of Lin Zexu , a former viceroy of the two Guangs and it is likely that his decision to try an eradicate the opium trade was a major factor in causing the opium war.

How to get to Tian Hou Temple:

By Bus – take the #226 from Seaworld

By metro – take the metro to Chiwan stop and walking the remaining 15 minutes.

Entrance fee – 15RMB per person, no discounts for seniors, students or children.

How to get to the Left Fort ruins from the temple:

By Bus – take the #226 from outside the Temple and watch for a very faded sign on the left hand side of Chiwan First Road.

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Entrance to the stairs leading to the fort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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