...and other misconceptions I made 08-05-18
2008 May 18

Archive for June, 2014

June 26th 2014
Almost home

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staying awake

The long flight is behind us, we’re at SFO, waiting for our flight to Portland. The girls, as usual, were excellent travelers so far. They each slept about six hours on the flight from Beijing and have been reasonably cheerful and remarkably cooperative. Everyone is tired and exhausted. We had an amazing trip but now we are ready to be home…

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June 25th 2014
Beijing – our last 28 hours in China

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… for this trip – because I’m sure we’ll be back.

After saying goodbye to many friends at the airport in Guilin we took a morning flight to Beijing. I wasn’t able to get tickets back home for today (the downside of traveling on miles sometimes), so we have one more night at the Lido Park Hotel and are flying home tomorrow instead.

We enjoyed wonderful dumplings for lunch and instead of doing anything big and touristy decided to walk a couple of blocks to a very cute neighborhood park, Si’de Park (四得公园). It has a sports theme with a 900m running loop and some fun activity equipment which the girls of course had to try…

Girls in the Olympic Rings
leg workout
Ellipse trainer

The park is very well maintained with beautiful flowers – and was surprisingly empty. Very few locals around. We had the girls walk by themselves which clearly worried a grandma who started running after them – until we managed to explain to her that they were with us.

A Lilly in the park

I always take lots of pictures when traveling with my family. I’ll close this sequence of posts about the Homeland Tour for our girls with a picture of the most wonderful woman in the world. K2 did 95% of the planning, organizing, packing, managing… basically everything on our side of the trip. The organizers did a great job setting this up for all the families. But the reason this trip was such a huge success and so much fun for our family is simple. My wife is amazing.

K2

June 25th 2014
Back in Guilin

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The next morning we took the bus back to Guilin. After a stop at the “Pearl Museum” (meaning: pearl factory shopping opportunity) we checked back into the Bravo Hotel (this time for more than 7 hours) and then headed to Elephant Trunk Hill – one of the “must visit” places in Guilin.

To be perfectly honest, it seemed like an OK photo op and not much more. But hey, I’m not complaining about those… It was a good chance to get another family photo (among others).

Family at Elephant Trunk HillS2, L, and H2

The girls also attended one more cultural enrichment class – this time Chinese drawing. The teacher was a very talented artist, I’m not sure just how much of that he was able to convey to the girls, but they seemed to enjoy the class. And I can see why the Chinese organizers of this tour wanted to add it.

Chinese Drawing Class

Finally, yesterday evening, we had the Farewell Dinner. Local kids ages six through nine performed some entertaining music and dance numbers – quite impressive given their age and clearly showing lots and lots of hard work. Some of our guides sang songs for us (displaying remarkable skill at singing) and some of the groups put together performances as well.

We sat with our friends from our adoption trip and had a wonderful evening. We delayed the “goodbyes” until this morning as all three families headed to the airport for different 8am flights.

June 25th 2014
Cloud 9 Cooking School

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The other highlight of Yangshuo was Cloud 9 Cooking School.

girls at work

The girls got to prepare four Chinese dishes. Using woks on gas burners, seriously scary cleavers and some cooking and food safety techniques that would earn the facility a nice long conversation with their insurance company – if they were located in the US.

But don’t mind that – the results were amazing. Truly delicious dishes, cooked together by our family. And those dishes ended up being our dinner. Just awesome.

cooks and their dishescooks and their dishescooks and their dishes

The pictures don’t come close to capturing how excited and happy the girls were. Well, maybe this one does.

H2 is happy

This was definitely one of the absolute highlights of the trip – and maybe the best of the “cultural enrichment” activities.

The evening event (a local performance of folk song and dance on a stage right on the river) we skipped. Too tired, too many mosquito bites. We needed a break.

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