Published: March 19th 2010March 18th 2010
travelblog cover shot
why does no one reccomend my blog, look at these great pictures!
I have a story to finish. I saw my parents in Beijing. What a weird and fun experience that was. Mom and Dad thank you for coming to China. I had an amazing time. I thought it was so cool for me to be able to share my experiences here with you. Xie Xie!
I landed in Beijing and quickly met up with my crying mother (what a surprise). We took this vacation during the middle of Chinese spring festival. Spring festival (Chinese New Year) is the biggest and most important Chinese holiday. New Years Night is equivalent to Christmas Day in importance except Santa brings fireworks.
Fireworks literally shook our hotel windows the entire first night we were in Beijing. People outside in the streets were setting of fireworks EVERYWHERE. There was not a city block that did not have a group of people lighting off fireworks. I’m not talking about the type of fireworks you buy at Walmart. These are the type you would see at the City of Toledo 4th of July display. Unregulated and completely unsafe but really really cool.
We would hear fireworks everyday of the two weeks my parents
The Chinese priests at the temple were doing new years rituals
were in China. People set them off the entire festival, but nothing was quite like that first night driving through Beijing on New Years Night.
We went with a Tour Company. Travel Guide China or something, I don’t know, I wasn’t paying attention. Seriously the tour guides we had were great though. Very informed, welcoming, and attentive to our needs. In China we saw the Forbidden City, Imperial Palace, Great Wall, Buddhist Temples, many cities, and LOTS of restaurants. My parents became more cultured, I practiced my Chinese.
The pictures say it all, so I’m going to keep this brief.
My parents are troopers. They ate scorpions, camel, and spit out bones right on the table. They both made me proud watching them hike all around China. On the Great Wall, down in the Terracotta Pits, exploring the caves of Guilin, they were adventurers. Fearless in whatever pursuit I took them (I had to be the guide for part of the trip).
Dad managed to learn more Chinese than I learned in 8 months. Unreal. I’m sure he could also now give a lecture on modern Chinese history. Any questions about Mao Ze Dong or current
I dunno, I just like the picture. Inside the forbidden city.
political hierarchy in Beijing can now be directed to him.
My mom will be making a Chinese cookbook in the near future, as well as releasing her own book detailing her version of the trip on amazon.com. Mom was more prepared for this trip than any other moment in her life. Had the plane lost an engine, she’d a had a spare in her purse. I now am the proud owner of a lifetime supply of loperamide (anti-diarrheal) just in case.
One funny Anecdote.
I can speak Chinese. My parents cannot. Sometimes it better that your parents can’t understand.
The Bus station in Guangzhou was crazy. I had to lead my parents by myself from Guangzhou to Zhongshan. I have never seen it so crowded with people before and I’ve been there at least a dozen times. After buying tickets we had to try and find the correct gate to make sure we boarded the correct bus. The station was a madhouse, people everywhere, long lines, constant noise and confusing announcements. I had taken this bus a number of times, but due to the volume of people, they had changed the traditional gate number I usually
cooking on the street, smelled great (to me)
use. During the chaos, the pushing, and the shoving we managed to board the bus. I was pretty sure it was the right one. All of the tickets read Zhongshan, I thought.
Off the bus went, plodding along. My parents sat together directly in front of Me. We chatted calmly about the unending nature of the city. Meanwhile I am having a side conversation in Chinese with the lady next to me about where the bus is going. I asked a lady “where are you going?” She replied with a city that I didn’t want to go to. Oh no, I was about to have a panic attack. I’m taking my parents to the middle of nowhere in China. Do I tell them now we are screwed or do I wait until we get there and act confused. I rephrase my question “where are WE going?” She looks at me for a moment “WE aren’t going anywhere”. This isn’t helping. All the time I am still joyfully holding a conversation with my parents about the fascinating view. “Oh yeah, the city just never ends does it”. I try not to indicate we are on the fast track to lostville
Inside the Forbidden City
Lots of people, always, but strangely... we went during slow season
China hours away from help. A few apologies and clarifying later I learn we are headed the right way. I’m just happy they never knew... untill now.
The Great Wall was beautiful and not underwhelming as I have heard people say in the past. My parents meeting my girlfriend was far less terrifying than I had imagined (for me at least). I think I speak better Chinese than I give myself credit for. Leaving the final day was sad but I was so happy I had to the chance to see my family.
The pictures are coming in 2 blogs. The first is of Beijing and Xian. The second of the Guilin, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. The second blog will contain a few stories but is mostly a photo drop. Pictures will do the talking. Thanks for tuning in! Thanks Mom and Dad! I wish everyone a happy Chinese New Year, Zai Jian.
There are more photos below