...and other misconceptions I made 09-08-22
2009 Aug 22

Archive for posts tagged 'Chinatrip'

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
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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June 25th 2014
Li river cruise to Yangshuo

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After a very short night in Guilin (桂林) we took a Li river cruise. We could tell that the scenery was stunning, but the karst mountains along the river were shrouded in haze and rain. So the only good pictures I have are of people on the boat or things near by in the river bank…

Li river cruise

Family picture. With extra (our friend A from Redding).

Waterfall along the Li river

The next picture show the reunion of three girls who apparently were best buddies more than nine years ago. H2, S2, and L grew up in the same orphanage and according to the documents that the families have access to, they loved to play with each other. Nine years later they still had fun hanging out together.

Former room mates

After we arrived in Yangshuo (阳朔) we had some free time and wandered around the main tourist drag – West Street (西街). We found a very decent latte and not one but two German beer gardens, one even with an authentic German named Rainer who had been working in China for a year and a half – and couldn’t quite logically explain how he ended up working in Yangshuo…

Other attractions included an old man with two cormoranes who for a very reasonable fee allowed himself to be photographed with tourists.

Cormoranes

For reasons I cannot fully explain, this is a type of shot of the girls that I love… please don’t interpret this as something like “I want the girls to leave me” – it’s just a very sweet perspective, one that to me captures “growing up” and “being independent” – yet being close to us.

Xi Ave 西街

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June 23rd 2014
Chengdu, Guilin, Yangshuo, and back to Guilin

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Sorry for being tardy posting – the schedule got a bit hectic, I couldn’t get the internet to work in one of the hotels and I still haven’t found the time to process any of the pictures. So I’ll give a brief text summary and do more posts with pictures when I have time…

After all the panda madness the rest of our time in Chengdu was a lot less exciting. We went to a Sichuan Opera in the evening (pretty awesome, especially the face mask and costume changing), we had some “free time” that we spent walking around town, including a visit to a nearby Buddhist temple, we went to a park and had some tea and to a touristy shopping street.

Much as I am happy with this tour and much as we enjoyed all of this, that second day in Chengdu and the flight to Guilin were clearly the lowlight of the trip. Our group was the lucky one – we were on the flight that was scheduled later the one two of the other groups were on, and our flight was almost on time. Still, that meant that we got to our hotel at 11:30pm. K2 had been brilliant in her planning and we had everything we needed to put the girls into their beds with us as carry-on. The other families waited until midnight to get their checked bags.

But the groups that were on the alleged “earlier” flight had it far worse. Their plane was delayed for hours and they didn’t get to the hotel until 1:40am. And the next morning we had to leave the hotel at 8am so lots and lots of kids were seriously lacking sleep.

Yesterday morning we did the Li river cruise. We could almost see how beautiful this might be on a nice day, but with low hanging mist and fog and some rain I think this part didn’t quite live up to the promise. Still, it was fun.

In Yongshuo we checked into our hotel and then we did a Chinese cooking class. I may write more about the “food safety” and “overall safety” issues I had with the class, but ignoring that it was a huge success and the food the kids cooked (with some help from their parents) was delicious. H2 and S2 were thrilled and excited beyond words. It was fun.

Given how little sleep they had the night before (and given that the guides warned us about mosquitos and S2 already had seven badly swollen bites) we decided to skip the evening event and the girls went to the pool instead and we had a reasonably early bed time.

Today we took the bus back to Guilin, stopped at a pearl factory and Elephant Hill and checked back into the same hotel (and in our case, the exact same rooms) as we had two days ago for the really short night.

Today we’ll still do some Chinese painting class for the kids and then it’s already the farewell dinner. Time flew. So many memories, so many wonderful moments, so many new friends (and in our case, old friends we reconnected with).

As I said, I will post more, but we’re just about to leave for the painting class and I wanted to get this up since several people asked and wondered if everything was OK.

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