Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Beijing Bound.

Finally, the time has come. I'm headed to Beijing for the first time on Thursday night. WE're taking an overnight train (yes, that's how the locals do it!) to save money and to just try it. It will take around 12 hours and we arrive in the morning :) Of course, we're seeing the Great Wall...+others.

Update soon! Spending 4 days there!

Friday, May 7, 2010

At last...the real China.

I am out of the city FINALLY and in inland China :) My mom, aunt and I flew to Guilin and are staying in a beautiful hotel in the middle of mountains and rivers in Yangshuo. What a crazy day we had today! (Friday)

We woke up at the crack of dawn and headed out to the Li River. After the 45min car ride, we pulled up to the edge of the river and took a quiet boat ride surrounded by uniquely shaped mountains. There were no other boats out and we had the river all to ourselves! We even went to the spot where the picture on the 20RMB bill was drawn!

After the relaxing ride, we walked through a quaint town and had an amazing western breakfast. Across was a local famous painter and a musician so we bought some paintings and the musician taught me how to play a Chinese instrument.

Then, we headed into Yangshuo again and got bikes! These heavy-duty mountain bikes were perfect for the rough terrain we were about to encounter. We rode 30minutes along farmland and mountains on bumpy trails leading up to a bamboo raft ride. I can't put into words how authentically chinese this was but we were pushed by 1 man on the back of about 7bamboos tied together with 2 chairs in the middle...thats it.

We meandered down the river (while local Chinese had floating stations in the water trying to sell beer, saying "Hello. Hello. You want? Beer. Good." Then they would ask if we wanted to buy beer for our driver...hahaha. YA RIGHT. There were about 10 random waterfalls that we would go down. The whole front end of the boat would go under the water!! At the end of our 1 1/2 hour ride, we were taking a group picture then all of a sudden, another boat comes besides us and the man slashes us all over with water!! He wanted us to smile in our picture :) it worked.

If things couldn't get any better, our bikes were waiting for us at the end and we rode to another destination point called Moonlight cafe and had the BEST chinese food of the week!! So fresh and locally grown.

Our relaxing morning was followed up by excercise! We hiked up over 800 steps to the top of this mountain which had a wonderful view of the city, mountains, and greenery. We climbed down and took a 1 hour bike ride through the small, intimate villages along the farmlands and locals. What a BUMPY BUMPY ROAD! Our butts were sore!

MORE TO COME! We love it here. Don't want to leave....the air is so fresh and

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chongming Island & MOM and Aunt Diane lai Shanghai!

So by far, this is the best weekend yet.

I just got back from a 2 day adventure to an island close to Shanghai. It took us (20 people from my small group bible study) 2 hours to travel there on a public bus. We first dropped most of our heavy thing in our hotel and then headed out to a National Park.

This national park was unlike any in the States. This had blow up obstacle courses and blow up hamster wheels in water, mini-rides, grass skiing, go karting, ziplining, and much much more. All of these toys were located in a really beautiful forest and river. Since the park was so big, we all rented bikes for the afternoon.

We ended up barely doing anything but playing this volleyball game one of my friends taught us.

After the maingate to the park closed at 5, we could still walk around inside. We spent another hour and 1/2 walking through the beautiful trails in the wilderness and playing Mafia on a bridge. It was a great bonding experience with so many people who didn't know each other.

Then our on-call driver picked us up! (we made friends with this guy who had a van that fit us all in it! We would just call him and he would take us places...if we paid of course.) We went back to our hotel, went to dinner, and the group split as some went back to Shanghai.

The rest of the night was spent near the water in the moonlight singing worship songs to my friend's amazing guitar skills. It was wonderful.

We were all exhausted by the day but decided to continue our night when we got back to our hotel. (6 girls in 2 rooms and 8 guys in 2 rooms). We played mafia again for 2 hours until 1am!! Our group really liked this game...you see true personalities come out :)

"Momma Lindsay" as they referred to me as woke every room up at 7:45am because no one was up at the time we had planned on! haha.

We went to our elaborate breakfast feast in the hotel and played mafia yet again in the lobby for an hour while we waited for our guy to pick us up.

Most of the day was spent at a wetland where there were crabs EVERYWHERE!!! People, as in the Chinese people, would jump off the platforms and pick up crabs to play with! They would collect them in boxes and bottles. To me and the rest of the people I was with definitely thought this was strange and CHINESE-Y.

Of course, with such a crazy group of 14 of us, we would walk around for 20min then stop to play other 'camp game'. Some were drawing attention to us but we didn't care. We already stood out.

So this VERY local island (we didn't see any foreigners) was a great escape from the big city and congestion.


My mom and aunt are in the air right now!!! They are flying here and will be staying for 10 days. The first two days will just be 'Lindsay Tour Guide' days around Shanghai and then on Thursday we are flying to a beautiful city called Guilin and Yangshou. Here there aren't many skyscrapers because it's mostly nature and water. This is supposed to be one of the prettiest places in China :) We're staying until Saturday or Sunday!!

I'm so excited that my mom and Aunt Diane have the chance to visit. A lot of the reason why they can come is because of Christy and Dale Larson. They offered my mom and aunt to stay at their apartment, right downtown in the middle of everything. Housing and hotels are not cheap in Shanghai, especially right now that the EXPO just opened 1 day ago!

More to come on our family time together in CHINA! :)

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