Dafne G


Dafne G

This blog was created in 2007 when I headed to Perth, Western Australia for a year-long study abroad program. There are still lots of great stories and pictures from that trip, though I got way behind on my blogging and the stories end abruptly in September, 2007 (I was in Aus until Christmas Eve!)

Although I've traveled a lot since then, I left this blog in a state of neglect for several years. But I figured another school-related international adventure was a reason to get things started again! In August 2011, I packed up my car and made the drive from my hometown of Toronto to the sunny city of Los Angeles to begin my Master's degree at the University of Southern California (USC). As an urban planning major, I wanted to be in a big, exciting city- and the nice weather here doesn't hurt!

Summer 2012 is yet another adventure - I found myself an internship in Beijing, China. Read on for stories and adventures during my two months working and living in Beijing and my month traveling around China!

Quick about me: I'm 26 years old, and I've now been to 16 countries and four continents. I've also lived in five different countries (Canada, France, Australia, the United States and China). I love traveling, though to be honest, I still think Toronto is the best city in the world. Craziest place I've been hands down is Syria. I don't even think I could name a most beautiful or best place because everywhere is awesome in its own weird way 😊

Asia » South Korea » Seoul August 18th 2012

(Yes, the title of this blog entry is a reference to the song by The Killers. I get it stuck in my head when I think of the name of this city.) (Also apologies for the delay in getting this post up, life has been busy since I got back to LA!!) Second last blog entry about my Asian adventure! We landed in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, on Monday, August 13th. The first thing we did was drop off one of our suitcases at luggage storage so we wouldn't have to lug it on the subway. This was an excellent decision. We then got on the Seoul subway. We could tell right away we were going to like it here. First, people here don't push. They wait patiently for people to get off the ... read more
Changing on the guards
Changing of the guards 2
With my new friend

Asia » China August 13th 2012

Not many pictures or stories to end my time in China. I was originally supposed to make one last trip down to Sanya, in the far south of China, while Fernanda saw Shanghai. But when the time came I didn't feel like going to sit on a beach by myself so I made a change of plans and went to Shanghai. We flew into Shanghai the night of the 9th. Fernanda's hostel had no vacancy but they found me a hostel that did and it ended up being pretty nice considering I randomly found it late at night! I passed out that night. The next day I made friends with a girl in my dorm (Palessa) who had also done an internship in Beijing and who also didn't feel like doing anything. We spent the morning ... read more
Random giant chair
Holy crap a drinking fountain in China

Asia » China » Guangxi » Yangshuo August 11th 2012

We arrived in Yangshuo in the late afternoon of August 6th and checked into our hostel to relax a bit and clean up from the rice terraces. We then took a stroll into downtown and had some dinner. It got really busy as it got darker and we didn't walk around too much because we wanted to escape the crowds. The next morning, we inquired about bamboo rafting and booked ourselves in for an afternoon raft ride. We then spent the morning walking the much less crowded streets of Yangshuo before taking a bus out to the raft start point. The raft ride was AWESOME. It was very relaxing - just the two of us and a guy paddling/steering. The views were awesome and we had a couple of fun little rapids to go down (many ... read more
First view of the Li River
The start of West Street
Crowds of West Street

Asia » China » Guangxi » Longji Rice Terraces August 6th 2012

So you may have noticed a gap in my blog entries - August 3rd is nowhere to be seen!! Well, that's because August 3rd was spent first on a bus from Dali to Kunming, then in a taxi to the Kunming Airport, then on a (delayed) plane from Kunming to Guilin, then in a bus from the Guilin airport to downtown, then in another taxi to our hostel in Guilin where we spent about 12 hours of our lives. So not too much to say although I guess I just told you the story of the day anyways!! The morning of Saturday, August 4th, we grabbed a bus in Guilin up to Dazhai, one end of the Longji Rice Terraces. It was about 3 hours on a bus on some winding roads, and the driver was ... read more
Fernanda in Dazhai
Keep a safe view!
Fernanda takes a stalker photo of a farmer

Asia » China » Yunnan » Dali August 6th 2012

Our final stop in Yunnan province was the city of Dali, another of China's ancient cities. What I most wanted to see was Erhai Lake, China's third largest. Other than that, it didn't seem to offer much that Lijiang and Shangri-La didn't already offer - it had an old (walled) city with shops and restuarants, etc. In order to get to Dali, it was an 8-hour bus ride from Shangri-La. We left early on August 1st to make the trek. We thought that for such a long bus ride they'd give us a nice bus but we thought wrong. Thankfully our travel agent in Shangri-La (who was the same friendly Tibetan who organized our tour) got our tickets early and we were assigned the front two seats on the bus. Of course, this being China, some ... read more
On the boat deck
The boat next to us
Erhai Lake

Asia » China August 3rd 2012

I've been in China for a looong loooong time now (2.5 months but who's counting?) And there are an increasing number of things that I miss about home (which can be either Toronto or LA, these things are in both). So as I count down the days until my triumphant return to North America (16 days but again who's counting?) I'm thinking about all the things I want to savour when I get back!! I made this list rather quickly so there's probably lots of things I missed...I'll add comments as I think of them! Here's this week's list: 1. SALADS and generally fresh, uncooked vegetables that haven't been boiled then doused in a million pounds of oil and spices. Seriously I'm sorry to all the lovers of Chinese food out there, I'm SO SICK OF ... read more
...or LA...
...I miss you!!!

Asia » China » Yunnan » Shangri-La July 31st 2012

Picking up where my last entry left off, we had a nice bus ride from Tiger Leaping Gorge up to Shangri-La which afforded some incredible views. We had a quick stop for pictures and also to buy some nuts and dried fruit from a local vendor. We arrived in Shangri-La fairly late so we had showers and went out for dinner in the town. Shangri-La is a great option for people who want to experience Tibetan culture but don’t have the time/permits to actually go to Tibet (getting a permit to Tibet requires 5 people from the same country…so random…considering I don’t even have 1 person from the same country as me that would be hard…plus Tibet is kind of out of the way.) Anyways, we were immediately charmed by Shangri-La and pleased by its COLDNESS ... read more
View along the way 2
Fernanda and some Tibetan ladies
Dancing in the public square

Asia » China » Yunnan » Tiger Leaping Gorge July 30th 2012

Saturday, July 28th was the start of an epic adventure – we hopped on a bus at 7:30AM and headed up to Qiatou, a village on the edge of Tiger Leaping Gorge. At Qiaotou, we dropped off the bulk of our stuff and began the 5.5-hour hike into the gorge. Tiger Leaping Gorge is the tallest gorge over the Yangtze River and the views from the top are just spectacular. Unfortunately, getting to them means dealing with a fair bit of hiking – which for about the first 2 hours is a strenuous uphill climb. For this reason, there aren’t a lot of Chinese people up on the top trail – most of them take buses along the road at the bottom. But we’re tougher than that!! The first two hours or so were quite brutal ... read more
Away we go!
Chinglish signage
A horseman joins our group

Asia » China » Yunnan » Lijiang July 29th 2012

On July 26, we flew from Chengdu to Lijiang, in Yunnan Province. Our flight was in the afternoon so we were able to sleep in which was really nice. As soon as we arrived in Lijiang, we knew that life was about to get much better. The sky was blue, the hills were green, and the airport was incredibly cute and clean. Lijiang did not disappoint. It’s the oldest city in China and we were staying in the cobble-stone streets of the old town. Our first night we went wandering through the old city, stopping in random shops and sampling some snack food. We saw the historic waterwheel and the main square. We even saw some dancing! It was really, really nice. An interesting fact about Lijiang is that the old city isn’t walled. The story ... read more
Fernanda in Lijiang
Dafne in the streets of Lijiang
Roofs and mountains

Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu July 27th 2012

Monday, July 23rd, we left Xi’an and flew to Chengdu, in Sichuan province. We arrived in the morning since we had a very early flight and checked into our quaint, hippy-ish hostel which is awesome. We then decided to take a long lunch to discuss our travel plans for our time in Sichuan – so we had some Sichuan hot pot. Now I knew coming in that Sichuan was known for its spicy food. But this hot pot actually killed me. I bought 2 iced teas in preparation, plus I had some leftover tea from the morning, plus they served hot tea. Not enough. Not enough. My mouth was on fire. I was dying. DYING!! I bought a yogurt after to calm the pain. All I can say about my future from that point is: it ... read more
Fernanda seems more positive about the hotpot
Oh god this looks spicy
Enjoying the hotpot...

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