Published: October 24th 2008October 12th 2008
I'm in China! Woohoo! Well, actually I'm in Hong Kong that is technically part of China, yet still very different. They have Hong Kong dollars & have different stamps & lots of English everywhere. They also have high tea. The harbor is gorgeous & very foggy most of the time we were there.
It was so great to see my parents again! I know it had only been 2 months, but it was nice being with my loved ones again. I was very excited to be exploring China with mom & dad.
We spent a day touring Hong Kong: the seafood markets, some temples, & Victoria Peak. The next day we went to Macau so dad could do some gambling. It was like a mini Las Vegas -- literally, the Wynn looked almost exactly the same, just shorter! They had a bunch of different table games & the lots of the same slots. I'm not much of a gambler, so I mostly walked around the casinos & shops. Since Macau was a former Portuguese colony we had Portuguese food for lunch.
After Vietnam, Hong Kong was very expensive so instead of $10 massages, here I got a $40 massage (and that
was considered cheap!). This massage was interesting because they had me change into a thick terry cloth robe then put a towel on top of me, then did the massage! It was weird getting a massage with two thick layers of material on. Sometimes it felt like sandpaper.
On our last day in Hong Kong, we took the famous Star Ferry to visit Hong Kong Island & go to an awesome dim sum restaurant recommended by my cousin Megan's former coworker -- best meal we had in China. It's called Fu Sing Shark Fin if anyone is headed to Hong Kong & looking for excellent dim sum.
After Hong Kong we headed off to Shanghai -- another big city. We stayed in a high rise (the city is filled with them), yet could not see more than a mile or two visibility. We toured Shanghai, which included a walk along the Bund. This is like a boardwalk along the water, tons of people (hundreds? thousands?) walking, with a beautiful view of the Shanghai skyline all lit up and all the boats floating by.
We also headed out of Shanghai for a day to visit the water city of Zhouzhang (also
know for their pork legs). We did some shopping here where I got to practice my bargaining skills again (I'm afraid I will get to America & be at the checkout counter at the supermarket and the checkout person will say "That will be $52.43" and I will say "I'll give you $20" =)
Zhouzhang calls itself "the Venice of the East" or "Oriental Venice" (which I came to find out, many other cities call themselves that too) -- and it was beautiful! We took a boat ride (sort of like a gondola) through the canals & our driver sang some lovely songs for us.
We then headed to Souzhou to check out some more gardens! I didn't realize that there were so many beautiful gardens in China! We checked out the Master of the Nets garden (small & peaceful) and then the Humble Administrator's garden (gigantic & peaceful). I am seeing some themes in China -- happiness, longevity & peace. There are symbols everywhere -- especially happiness (which is often times synonymous with lots of children).
After Shanghai we took a break from the big cities for a while and headed to Guilin -- a beautiful little town in
the south of China with lots of lovely mountains. It actually reminded me of the beautiful Halong Bay without the water. Similar looking mountains. We saw a night cultural show called "Impressions" which had lots of people in ethnic clothing singing, dancing, creating beautiful visuals with a spectacular backdrop of lit up mountains!
We stayed at this really interesting hotel in Guilin called the Hotel of Modern Art (HOMA). It is a work of art itself in the middle of a gigantic sculpture garden. We took a fun bike ride around the hotel grounds where we saw sculptures from artists all over the world & a workshop on the grounds where they make the sculptures. My mom & I got to ride on a tandem bike which was a lot of fun too! I did some filming while riding my bike (not the tandem) -- so I'm sure those shots are going to spice up my movie --watch out Bruckheimer!
Next stop Lijiang. I'm convincing my mom & dad to write a blog so as to add some variety to the travel story telling....
There are more photos below