my favorite sculpture at the HOMA
man napping....or something to that effect
China is incredible! It has beautiful mountains, rivers, new cities & a gray-ish haze covering it all. We continued through China traveling from Guilin (lots of mountains) to Lijiang (blue sky! yay!) and then to Xian, the former capital and then up to Beijing, the current capital.
Guilin was a beautiful smaller sized city, where we stayed in this super cool hotel, the Hotel of Modern Art (HOMA). It rocked! They had artists from all over the world create sculptures for the grounds. The hotel itself had artwork everywhere. The "upscale" restaurant 'Lotus' was terrible though (just trying to save people money). Hotel = awesome! Restaurant = opposite of awesome! Guilin reminded me of Halong Bay in Vietnam just without the water. Just beautiful mountains that looked like camel humps all over. We took a bamboo raft ride down the river & I was very grateful to have stayed on the topside of the raft & keep myself and my electronics dry. In Guilin we also saw this beautiful night cultural show where they lit up the mountains (bright colors) and over 600 performers danced, sang, held lights & made cool designs. It was created by the same man who choreographed
The Great Wall!
we made it to see the Great Wall of China.....my Grandma's tour guide said it was built to keep other countries out, including the U.S. ... seriously
the opening ceremony of the Olympics (which I did not see because I was TV-less in Africa, but I heard was beautiful).
Next up was Lijiang. Lijiang was a town higher in altitude than the rest of the cities we had visited and was chilly. It was a very beautiful town in the mountains -- fresh air & blue sky! The first time since getting to China -- stunning! The downtown is restored & very charming to explore. We even ate at a Tibetan restaurant (my Dad chose it) & it was delicious. Even our guide (born & bred in the Lijiang area) who had previously tried Tibetan food & disliked it -- really liked it. My dad was very proud to have chosen wisely. Thanks dad! We also visited a mountain village that was off the paved road & had an adventure getting up there. As soon as we were driving through the bumpy dirt road, my dad was stressing out -- talking to the driver ever 10 minutes to ask him, "Are you sure it's a good idea to be driving here?" "Do you think it's safe to drive?" "Have you driven up here before?" And the ever
hilarious, "How would we get out if we got stuck?" Luckily the driver did not speak English, so he just smiled and nodded =)
Xian was a wonderful city where we had our best guide of the trip! She was super nice & enthusiastic. She would also say really funny things -- for example: 1) when she told us about when the Chinese government were deciding where the new capital for China should be & they chose Beijing instead if Xian, she said everyone in Xian was "so sad" and made crying gestures with her hands! =) 2) When she would talk about her dad she would say "Daddy" almost like a 1980's valley girl = awesome!
Xian was one of my favorite places in China for a couple reasons (including our guide), also because it had such history! We got to see 2 different types of Terracota Warriors that were these warriors buried with ancient emperors to protect them in the afterlife -- thousands of them! Super cool! Also our hotel was great! Love love exclamation points!
Beijing was, well, what I was expecting China to be -- huge, lots of people & lots of haze. Oh & lots
beautiful Guilin scenery
from a peaceful ride down the river in a bamboo raft
of buildings built for the Olympics. Did I mention the Chinese seem to love neon lights? They are everywhere -- billboards, buildings, boats, lining the highways! I liked it a lot.
The Great Wall was incredible. What a feat of human perseverance & hard work. It was beautiful. It was cool too because they were filming a kung fu movie on the wall while we were there. Reminded me of my good ol' PA days....it seems like it was only yesterday. And by yesterday, I mean 7 years ago.
Tiananmen's square was awesome -- thousands of people joined us there. There were thousands lined up to see Mao's body at his Mausoleum. My mom had observed earlier in the trip, "Does it seem like there's a billion people here? It doesn't seem that crowded." Well, Beijing was where all the people are. My mom also (wisely) observed that with all the people in China, the one word she would use to describe the country and the people would be 'cooperation' because of how people seemed to cooperate in the streets, walking, driving, in shopping areas & restaurants.
Overall, I loved traveling through China and traveling with my mom & dad
was a true honor & a privilege. Thanks for meeting up with me on my world adventure!
Next stop (after a brief respite in the US) -- Japan! I am meeting my good friend Karen in Japan -- woohoo! I am practicing my Japanese -- moshimoshi! ich, ni, son, chi
I think that's 'hello!, 1,2,3,4...I remember that from my karate classes as a kid =)
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