Having domestic adventures.

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Nanjing June 29th 2011

Finally, finally finishing my blog about China! It is much harder to write about trips as you get farther from the experience, so I apologize in advance if this is vague. I spent more time in Nanjing than I did in any other part of China because bf's mother's family is from there. This experience was like a homsetay because I was staying with an Aunts family. In Chinese cities most people live in high-rise apartments rather than houses because there are just so many apartment buildings. They are sprouting like weeds all around the edges of cities, covered in a green web of building materials. So many Chinese migrate from the country into the cities that these apartments are necessary, and they really drive home the point about how many people are actually in China. ... read more
Yummy Hot Pot
To the Tomb of Sun Yat Sen
Linggu Temple

Asia » China » Hangzhou June 24th 2011

The second stop on my China tour was the beautiful city of Hangzhou, in the province of the same name. Hangzhou is a tourist destination both for the Chinese and for international travelers due to the ancient temples, gardens, and famous longqing green tea. Though the majority of travelers did seem to be from other parts of China, there were quite a few Japanese and Koreans in the crowd. The city is also a Twin City with Indianapolis, Indiana, so it must be extra special. But I personally saw no resemblance between the two cities, and I think that is a good thing. We traveled to Hangzhou via bullet train from Shanghai. this being my first trip by bullet train, I was very impressed and pleased. It was comfortable, fast, and I was lucky enough to ... read more
Tea shop
Downtown Hangzhou
Huapo Springs Teapot

Asia » China » Shanghai June 21st 2011

There are many ways to travel; sometimes you are alone and surrounded by strange things; sometimes you have a purpose and a specific endpoint; sometimes you are simply along for the ride. My most recent trip to China was of the third variety. I was lucky enough to visit with my boyfriend to meet his family and see the city where he was born. Due to these circumstances, I had an amazing trip that I did little to plan. This is actually my second trip to China. For my first trip, I only visited Beijing and I spent a lot of time going to hospitals and tourist spots like the Great Wall. It was fun, but fast and I didn't get to explore much on my own. I landed in Shanghai and was whisked to the ... read more
Traditional Architecture in the Style of Colonel Sanders
I <3 Shanghai

South America » Peru » Cusco » Aguas Calientes December 19th 2010

This is my belated blog entry about my trip to Macchu Picchu. It was beautiful, breathtaking, impressive, and very much fun. We took the trains in one day and hung out for an overnight before heading up to MP for the day. After MP, we spent a day enjoying the tourist attractions of the town, meaning the hot springs. Also, everything in Aguas Calientes costs 15 soles during the off season. In Perú, prices are very negotiable, and in Aguas Calientes, the town you stay in to get to MP, everything costs 15 soles. It is the magic number in negotiations. Any meal, hostel room, or trinket that starts out costing more than this can be negotiated down to 15 soles. Perhaps this was because we visited shortly before the beginning of the rainy season, a ... read more
Morning at MP
Sun Altar
The village houses

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco » Cusco December 17th 2010

It took a border crossing and 18 hours on a bus before I made it to Cusco, a city of rainbows and llamas. Cusco isn't huge, but it has a lot to offer. Vegetarian restaurants, handmade alpaca wool crafts, parks, cafes, tourist attractions and the hawkers that come with them. The dining in Cusco is good, and there is a lot of Cuy available, though it will cost you if you choose to eat it. Cuy is something like a guinea pig which, as I know from past experience, is a tasty dish if prepared right. It is a lot like rabbit, so if you skip it then you aren't missing too much! The Peruanos that I encountered were very friendly, easy to talk to and understand, and, when shopping, very willing to bargain. Speaking to ... read more
La Bandera de Cusco

South America » Chile » Arica & Parinacota » Arica December 11th 2010

This weeks is the final week of my SIT program. I left Valparaíso on Tuesday to return to the home base in Arica once again. Our ISP projects were due on the 9th and with luck and some surprisingly efficient Chilean girls, I had it printed and bound within a matter of minutes before it was due. For me, this was a real surprise because it seems that many times when you walk into a heladeria and ask for a helado, the usual response is "No hay helado." And this is just a basic example. Places that claim to be able to print things don't have paper, or restaurants that advertise pasta don't even have spaghetti on the menu. That's Chile for you. I will probably miss the surprises when I am gone. Maybe. I was ... read more
Plaza O'Higgins, Valparaíso
Cars fo kids

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso November 30th 2010

This past week was very eventful, and on top of all the things that are happening I have to write a 25 page research paper in Spanish and analyze my data. My ISP is over attitudes and knowledge about HIV/AIDS and testing among college students in Chile. I have been handing out surveys to classes of university students who have volunteered tons of useful information for me. Now I get to analyze all the responses and organize it and fight with Excel to make graphs that work for my project. And then write in Spanish. But I think I have experienced a huge learning curve in getting to this point in my research, and I should survive the next week of writing. This research also took me to Santiago, which is only an hour or so ... read more
La Familia cooking Thanksgiving dinner
La Casa at Isla Negra
Iglesia attached to La Universidad de Valparaiso

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso November 20th 2010

Of all of the places I have traveled, I think Valparaíso is one of my favorites, certainly in the top 5. It is hard to say what makes any place so special, and there is a distinct reason to call any one of them special. Maybe, for me in this moment, it has to do with the independence of living in our apartment here. It is not really an immersion experience, but we have been speaking spanish most of the time! But there is more to why I love this city. Everyone I have talked to has been so helpful and friendly, more so than in Arica I think. Also, the whole city is beautiful but also looks like it might go tumbling down the cerros into the pacific at any moment. Then there are the ... read more
Ascensor Barón
Plaza Victoria
El Congreso

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso November 17th 2010

Valparaíso is full of surprises. Everything is a cerro (hill) and so there are houses stacked on top of each other, and between are narrow streets full of blind curves. Stairs and claustrophobia-inducing alleys run between the houses, and suddenly open out onto incredible vistas of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, in the distance. This city has a surprise around every corner, whether it is a cafe, park, incredible view of the Pacific, or a mural of graffiti. Walking on the sidewalk is dangerous because there are sudden drops, uneven stairs, holes and dog poop. Walking on the street is dangerous because collectivos and micros whip around blind curves in the Cerros; they are reluctant to stop going uphill because of the angle and it is difficult for them to stop suddenly going downhill. The quiltros ... read more
Valparaiso as seen from my apartment
La Sebastiana

South America » Chile » Araucanía » Pucón November 10th 2010

The past few days have been unreal, very busy, and very fun. First, there was the village study last thursday and friday. Next, I had several days in Pucón, an adorable westernized mountain town near the Villarrica Volcán. Finally, the arrival in Valparaíso, where I am now settling into my apartment and enjoying an incredible view. But, more on Valparaíso another day because I will have nearly a month to talk about the lovely weather, ascensores, cerros (hills), and playa. Entonces, I will begin with the village study. This was our final assignment for the program, and was basically an ethnography of a 'pueblo' in the area of Temuco. The job of my team was to go to the city and learn about daily life, culture, government, health and anything else we could. I was assigned ... read more
Renato Hauri, Alcalde de Lautaro
Three falls at Los Ojos del Caburgua
Chile is a very dangerous country...

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