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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international consultants. About living in Italy, the Veneto area near Venice; in Indonesia, central Java. Why we love the southeast of the United States and moved back from Italy. Our love for gardening, the botanical way. Sharing with you our manifold treasures from exotic places and even offering several in my Mariette's Back to Basics LLC Boutique, for others to enjoy. As well as high end silver items from Giovanni Raspini, Italy |  google.com/+MariettesBacktoBasics 
I also do classes and consulting... too much to list here! Check out my google.com/+MarietteVandenMunckhofVedder ABOUT page, where you see my other LINKS and email address; you just scroll down.Thanks!
Love to bring back some romance and quality to the daily life of others... 

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

{Part X of Husband Pieter's Trip to East Asia - Ming Tombs near Beijing, China}

On the way back from Jinshanling Great Wall of China, the bus with the ten delegates and their guide, did visit the Ming Tombs near Beijing.
They got to descend into the 27 m deep Dingling Tomb
Husband Pieter looking very happy, after having climbed the Great Wall and now ending the day with a visit to the Ming Tombs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Front Gate of Dingling, with Pieter squatted down with a cute Chinese toddler...
 They will descend to the Tomb of Emperor Zhu Yijun (1563-1620) of Ming Dynasty, which is 27 meters below.
Here you see the Five Sacrificial Utensils in front of The Soul Tower
For a very interesting 2-½ minute video check here: Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties(UNESCO/NHK) 
Also the video is showing you the beautiful surroundings, aerial views, located south of the Tianshou Mountain
They are looking at a board with the entire region where the tombs are, the final resting place for 13 of the 16 Ming emperors.
Images are from: Zhu Yizhun - the Wanli Emperor click and scroll down.

Being 27 meters below, you will find the marble door with self locking mechanism.
Pieter and the team were told by their guide that the last person had to lock the door and that meant he himself got locked in as well!
Immolation (to offer in sacrifice...)
The less glamorous and cruel part was the offering of human lives.
In the early days, human slaves were a mere personal property that was sacrificed to serve the deceased in the afterlife. This custom died out in China already a couple of millenniums ago; not so much for humane reasons but simply because slaves were too expensive. Qin Shi Huang's terra cotta figures were excellent examples of a substitute for human sacrifice.
Some Ming emperors however still insisted on taking their favorite concubines with them. Human offerings have been found at Xianling, Changling and Jingling of the Ming tombs.
The concubines were normally not buried in the main vault but in separate "wells" nearby. Adding to the cruelty, they were buried alive in a standing position awaiting their emperor in the netherworld. (See photo to the right showing such Concubine tombs, Qingxilling).
click and scroll down for the above info: Ming tombs -General information.

Pieter also did get to see some of the Terra cotta Warriors while at the Ming Tombs.
They were probably brought there, as they also traveled to several big Museums.
These slides got lost too...
It was again unimaginably, Pieter wrote in his diary...
They treated their Beijing hosts for dinner and had to pack because next day everyone had to rise very early for a flight to Fuzhou, more to the south east.
Thanks for visiting and till next part...

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

{Part IX of Husband Pieter's Trip to East Asia - Jinshanling Great Wall of China}

After the good two hour drive up into the mountains, north of Beijing, seeing extreme poverty and shaggy mushroom houses without any production due to the cold, the Jinshanling Great Wall of China came in sight!
One of the World Wonders...
In Pieter's diary he wrote: 'There are no words for being able to stand here on this enormous wall and for climbing up. Got exhausted!!'
The team was lucky that they got to see the Great Wall Section at Jinshanling as that proves to be the BEST!
I bet it can't be fully grasped until you're actually ON it...
Would have loved to be there too!
How pleased Pieter was for having his lined Parka to wear in the cold areas of China!
It was quite a climb up into the mountainous area, some 130 km or 80 miles north of Beijing.
Here you can see Jinshanling's Great Wall Section - the most popular for hiking. Clicking the link also lets you see a video for getting a more real idea. 
It weaves like a snake across the mountain... and that for 8,852 kilometers!
Good that those trees were bare so the view of the Great Wall was visible!
Everyone's excitement grew...
The bus is snaking through the mountains and coming closer and closer...
Yay, almost there!
Can you imagine that this got already started in the 6th century?
Read more about the history of Jinshanling Great Wall by clicking on this link.
Parking the bus and getting off!
Do you see the wall above these buildings?
Those poor locals are having their handicraft lined up for sale...
A cute Chinese girl, warmly bundled up in a beautifully hand knitted dress with cap.
Getting our tickets...
Do you see the snow to the left?!
Yep, on March 26, in 1987 it was still very cold.
Climbing up and looking down at the road and parking area, again snow to the right.
Stopping to catch your breath and making photos from each other...
Just being in AWE of this enormity and without having been there it is beyond comprehension...
Taking another much needed rest!
Feeling so blessed!
Pieter was in top condition in his 50s.
Quite a privilege.
YES, Pieter really did and he got exhausted but it's worth it!
On the way back to the Kunlun Hotel, the team did visit the Ming Tombs near Beijing... so stay tuned and thanks for visiting!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

{HAPPY EASTER 2016}

Wishing all my readers, worldwide, a Happy Easter weekend!
May the sun shine in your part of the world.


My handmade Organdy Ribbons for decorating Easter Eggs... 
Closeup...
Egg warmers made by my sister-in-law Elly Van den Munckhof.
She and my brother Harry, are one of my most loyal blog readers!

Lazy chick from our German son and his family...

Fond memories all together!

HAPPY EASTER 2016!

google.com/+MarietteVandenMunckhofVedder

Friday, March 25, 2016

{The Most Valued TEN-Letter Word... "FRIENDSHIP" - Maintain it}

We have come to the final Quote, now containing TEN Letters...
One that is very dear to all of us and does nurture our soul.
The Most Valued TEN-Letter Word... "FRIENDSHIP" - Maintain it


YES! Let us ALL cling to FRIENDSHIP and be an ANGEL to someone...
Just like this angel does on the silver alphabet letter F

the "F" is one to wear as a charm on a necklace or hung on a silver keychain (available at my online boutique as well) on a tote or handbag.

This Italian Giovanni Raspini 925/100 silver Alphabet Angel "F" is available for only USD 35.00 with FREE shipping worldwide:




Alphabet letters are available on my website Mariette's Back to Basics ←just click.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

{Part VIII of Husband Pieter's Trip to East Asia - Countryside North of Beijing, China}

It for sure was a big eye opener for traveling North of Beijing, some 2 hours by bus into the countryside. That's the only way to get to know the people. Not a much used route for the average tourist but for the People to People Citizen Ambassador team it also was a purpose to visit mushroom growers in that area. Now I'm talking about the white button mushrooms.
So once again leaving the city of Beijing and seeing the scenery change...
This is what you see in the countryside! POVERTY...
For sure this has not changed that much since March 26 of 1987!
Leaving the city of Beijing behind, lots of construction going on everywhere.
It sure is a country with lots of bikes, at least in the flat areas.
The woman on the bike is looking at the team's bus...
Kind of greenhouses...
Never easy to take pictures from a riding bus... but yes, that are plastic covered greenhouses.
So that are the Chinese market gardeners...
Here comes the horse power into the picture!
Brick homes but it does not look very affluent...
Vegetable gardens alongside a little river...
Yes, we are slowly going into the mountains!
Poor horses... and poor people.
It is a smaller type of horses what they use.
Little villages seem to be kind of walled in...
Very dreary looking villages with homes that only have windows on the sunny side...
Passing this village and climbing up into the mountains...
It makes one very quiet for seeing such extreme poverty and knowing it gets bitter, bitter cold in this area with lots of snow!
Stones everywhere...
It looks like they build a wall from those stones...
What you see here are MUSHROOM HOUSES...
But there was no production due to the season still being too cold.
It does hurt to see such extreme poverty where people struggle to make a living...
You see the outhouse at the top left?
Oh my!
That will make your butt freeze off...
These pigs seem to be quite happy!

To be continued with a visit to Jinshanling Great Wall...

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