My family currently lives in a small rural town in North Carolina, USA. In May 09, our 9yo daughter and I first traveled to China with my husband for his work . We returned home and traveled to Alaska for 3 weeks to visit my sister and her husband. In Sept 09, we returned to China for our second trip, and will be returning again.
Many people have asked me to share about our journeys, so I plan to do that here.
Update: It is now June 2011 and we are back in China for the 7th trip. We have learned so much in our time here...we are retruning to many places we have been before as well as continuing to go to new places.
November 11th 2010
We had enjoyed the zoo so much the first time we went, we decided that we would return to see the things we had missed. I like that the Chinese name literally means "animal garden." It's a wonderful zoo all except the pet area. It was extremely depressing! There were mostly dogs, many different breeds, but in small rooms with no toys and many did not even have water. I will NOT return to that section! I think one of my favorite areas is the Goldfish Area. There are so many different kinds of funny looking fish! We also got to see the giant panda in it's large enclosure, but I unfortunately there was only one. We also enjoyed two tiger cubs that were in a room together. One was sleeping, but the one that was ... read more
November 6th 2010
This is an AMAZING show! For our visit to Shanghai for Leah's birthday, we went to this acrobat show in the evening. It was held on the 4th floor of the Portman Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Nanjing Rd. These (mostly) young people are VERY good at what they do! I'm sure they work like crazy to get to that point, but you can see it in their performances. This is more of a "classical" show compared to the ERA show which has the motorcycles, but, the action was non-stop and we never got bored. I definitely recommend seeing this!... read more
November 6th 2010
We enjoyed out first trip to the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium so much that my daughter requested to go back for her birthday. This is a beautiful aquarium with many interesting species, large viewing tanks, and quite a few large tunnels. I will let the movies and pictures tell the rest!... read more
October 29th 2010
Yu Yuan or Yu Garden is the best known garden in Shanghai. Yu means "pleasing and satisfying" and yuan means "garden". This garden was first built in 1559 and covers a five acre area. It was opened to the public in 1961. Compared to the other Chinese gardens we have visited, it seemed more like a maze, meaning it had many small areas and seemed harder to find our way around. It did make it quite interesting though as you were never sure what might be around the next corner or through a door. The things that stand out to me as being a little different about Yu Yuan were all of the little carvings on the rooftops and the Dragon Wall throughout the garden. We were with a friend when visiting and didn't take quite ... read more
October 15th 2010
We traveled to West Lake (Xihu, pronounce she-who, xi is west, hu is lake) in Hangzhou from Oct 4th through 7th, over the Chinese National holiday when Jim had some time off. This was our first time taking the train anywhere in China. A friend helped purchase the tickets ahead of time and it all went very smooth. When we arrived in Hangzhou, we somehow missed the exit for the taxi line, and when we found it, it was WAY TOO long. We knew that our hotel wasn't very far, so we hired 2 pedicab drivers to take us. It was a fun ride! Definitely something that everyone visiting China should experience. Pedicabs are the modern "rickshaws" of the cities. We had booked reservations at the Da hua Hotel, by a Chinese friend's recommendation, and it ... read more
October 2nd 2010
We have visited the area of Haiwan Beach before, but this trip was the first time we went horseback riding there, so I thought I would post some pictures. It was very crowded because this was during the Mid-Autumn, or Moon Festival. This is a Chinese Resort area about half an hour from where we live.... read more
July 10th 2010
For those of you regularly reading my travel blog, you may be getting tired of reading about the World Expo. If that's the case, you'll be glad to know that this was our last visit until the fall, when we hope to make one or two more trips. I'm a few weeks late posting this, as our actual trip was on July 8th. Before going to the Expo, we looked really close at the map to see what the largest areas we hadn't been to so far were and we mapped out our route. The only problem was - for some unknown reason (since I don't speak much Chinese), the taxi driver wouldn't take us to the entrance we wanted to go to. So, we decided to do our route backwards, which worked out OK. We ... read more
June 29th 2010
On June 25th, we took our 3rd trip to the Expo. We're getting the hang of everything there now, and it helps knowing what to expect. The main difference from the past two times was that the entire day was rainy! I think I preferred the rain over extreme heat though, even having to dodge all the umbrellas! I was impressed that the pavillions handed out plastic bags for your umbrellas as you entered. We are never quite sure exactly which entrance we will be arriving at because the driver has been taking us so far, then we switch to a special Expo taxi which is "supposed" to get us closer to the actual entrance. Well, after finally getting an Expo taxi after 25 mins, I realized after getting dropped off (at Gate 8) that there ... read more
June 17th 2010
On our second visit to the Expo on Saturday, June 12th, we entered near the China Pavillion. It's hard to explain how massive this pavillion is compared to others. In the pictures, look for people at the base and you will get an idea. After entering, we walked around looking at the exteriors of the pavillions. The lines were all very long, so we sat to decide where to go and a young Chinese man came up to us and gave us 2 "fast pass" tickets for the Taiwan Pavillion! We had about 45 minutes to wait to use them, so we walked around the area a liitle more before returning. We still waited in line for close to an hour, but it was worth it. The Taiwan Pavillion has a large Sphere Theater inside of ... read more
June 16th 2010
On our previous visits to China, the riverside Promenade area of the Bund in Shanghai was completely blocked off due to construction. The construction has now been completed, so we decided to visit again and had a gorgeous day. We had made reservations for a dinner cruise on a big, fancy, "Dragon Boat." We were dropped off late in the morning on June 5th, supposedly near the cruise boat office so we could pay for our tickets. Well, we couldn't find the office, asked a few people for help, the Chinese pointed, so we headed in that direction and still found nothing. The other English speaking people we found knew no more than we did. We finally decided to head the opposite direction where we could get some lunch. We enjoyed walking along the river, all ... read more