Tuesday, October 7, 2014
The south and north of China
My adventurous soul has been really happy these past couple of days. The first day here we took a boat ride down the Li river. We had four of us on a little bamboo raft with a Chinese man sitting at the back of the raft with a a beat up engine, propelling up through the water. I loved every second of the ride. Then we headed to our hostel- which was great! We walked around the night market which was right outside our hostel door.
The next day we rented bikes. Our whole group- 15 of us went together! It was so much fun to be able to ride a bike through the beautiful hills of yangshou. We biked for about three hours and then stopped and we all went swimming in the Li river! It felt so wonderful. It was really cool because people around us where on bamboo rafts going down the river and we just stopped and swam. We got some funny looks.
Our last day in yangshou we went to the mud and water caves!! I was so excited to go here because all growing up I had heard about these caves and moon hill from my aunts. It was so much fun locking all of our stuff up in lockers and walking I too a cave in your swimsuit. The mud was so cool and we could not sink in the mud. It was such a strange feeling. After we rinsed off we kept walking in the cave to some hot springs. They felt so wonderful and we could be in them for a half-an-hour and we definitely stayed the whole time. Once we got back we walked around the cool street markets and hung out in the park.
We were in Guilin for one day and it was fun to walk around with Brian, Sierra, Kristen, and Heather. We saw a small glimpse of the elephant trunk hill- because it cost 75 yuan to go in and see it. Lame. Then we walked around and saw two beautiful pagodas. We had a fun night seeing a big lake all lit up and walking around a neat outdoor night market. This is where I got my chop!
Sitting in the guilin airport blasting the little marbles, a Swedish rock group. It seemed fitting to me to listen to Swedish since I am in a foreign country. I find myself wanting to speak Swedish all the time. It is funny to me that my brain reverts to the only other language I know.
I just watched a mother have her toddler pee into a water bottle in the airport. All babies and toddlers have pants with slits in them for the baby to always have easy access. This is definitely a foreign country in every sense of the word.
I am sitting on the bullet train home to nanjing right now. It will take us 4 hours to travel home and I have never been so excited to get "home". This trip has been everything I have ever dreamed of. It just seemed to be one day too long. But, that's life. We flew into Beijing and got to our hostel late at night and opening the door to that hostel is something I will never forget. It was like I stepped back into time. It was set up like am old western bar. En we walked around the corner to our sleeping area and I felt like i had gone back into time again- this time to when Mao had his red army. It was basically a big tent with concrete walls. The bunk beds were nasty. The next morning it was my goal to get us out of there. I have never felt so sick to my stomach when traveling. They also had no where that we could lock up our bags during the day. So, luckily I found another hostel for us to stay at for the last 4 nights. We stayed at Mao's camp for 2 nights and I hated it.
When we showed up to our other hostel somehow they had double booked. So, for one night we got to stay at a really nice courtyard Chinese house. Then the last three nights we stayed in a cute old house. I really enjoyed my time at this hostel. They also treated us to a dumpling making party on Monday night and that was really fun.
Here is a list of what we saw:
Hutong walking street
The lama temple
The summer palace
Had a delicious hot pot meal
The Olympic stadium
The silk market
The Great Wall of China
The imperial palace
The temple of heaven
The pearl market
My ten day vacation has come and gone. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be teaching English here. Traveling and living in china are two very different things. I love being able to experience china in both ways.
The best thing about visiting Beijing was the cute tour guides that we had. The night before I left to china I went to FHE and meet Jonathan a Chinese guy who had just moved to Utah for law school at BYU. He is from Beijing and told me to tell him when I would be going there and he would help set me up with some of his friends to take us around. The first day two girls meet us and took us around. Then the next two days the same girl took us around- she was so sweet and bought all four of us lunch and dinner one of the days! The next day I bought her lunch.
This was an amazing trip and I will remember it forever.