A three week G Adventure Tour
16.10.2011 - 07.11.2011
Hello All! I will apologize again for slacking off in the blogging department. And for those of you who don't have Facebook and rely solely on this blog to keep tabs on me I am REALLY, REALLY sorry!
As with my Africa blog I'm going to refer you to my pictures as a guide to what I did over my 3 weeks in China. Below are links to my Facebook Albums:
And here is a brief overview of the tour:
It started in Beijing and ended in Hong Kong. There were 11 of us ranging from 22 yrs old to 77 years old!! Most of the tour we stayed in hotels if we weren't traveling on overnight trains. Quite a change from the camping I did on my last tour! I enjoyed Beijing a lot and found I could have spent a few more days there as there was lots to do! My favorite places were the Great Wall, The Forbidden City and the Pearl Market. The Pearl Market was filled with cheap knock-offs that are really hard to tell are fake. Among a handful of purchases I got some Converse sneakers for $7 and a Chinese silk dress for $15. Most things I offered 10% of the price they asked and only had to go up a bit on a few items. It's all about what you are willing to pay because if you walk away and they will likely chase after you Some of the other places I visited were the Temple of Heaven, the Yonghegong (Lama) Temple, Hutongs and the Summer Palace. The food was great here too!
After 3 days in Beijing we took an overnight train to Shanghai. The trains were small and cramped. I was grateful to be petite and short. The beds were 3 to a wall so each bunk room had 6 beds! I didn't really take much away from Shanghai. I found it to just be another big modern city with lots of expensive shopping. The only place I liked was the YuYuan Gardens in the Old City and walking along the Bund. We also went up a building with 87 floors to check out the view at night.
From Shanghai we took another overnight train to Xi'an. Here we did some Karaoke, biking along the top of the city wall and of course, checked out the Terracotta Warriors. The warriors fascinated me with the sheer fact that these artifacts are soooo old!! I was surprised to learn that only one warrior was found intact. All the other discovered warriors are being found smashed up and the archaeologists are putting them back together. Xi'an is known for its dumplings so I also ate a lot of them here Next we flew to Chengdu. I didn't find anything of great interest in this city but it had sentimental value for me. My uncle was born here and for that reason it was cool to be there.
After only one night in Chengdu we left early in the morning for the Panda Sanctuary, Leshan's 71 foot tall stone Buddah and Mount Emei as our destination. The pandas were really cute and I could have spent all day just watching them eat and play. The 71 foot tall Buddah was in short, HUGE! It is carved out of stone in a rock face on the river. It took 90 years to complete. After visiting the Buddah we set off for a monastery in Emei Shan. We stayed here for 2 nights and it was very cold!! Despite the cold this place had sentimental value to me as well. My mother informed me that Mt Emei was my grandparents favorite place to visit in China. The hike up Mt. Emei was pretty but unfortunately the fog was heavy so we didn't go to the top. We did go to the joking monkey zone though and that was amusing! Monkeys will jump on you and try to steal your stuff. I had a little guy jump on my head and was grateful when he left my hat where it belonged.
A three day cruise along the Yangtze River was next on the itinerary. It was enjoyable as there was a lot of down time. I was in need of some relaxation. The boat took us through the Three Gorges. Surprisingly it reminded me of the Fjords I saw in Newfoundland! My favorite place on the whole tour was where we went next. Yangshuo is an hour south of Guilin city and is surrounded by really beautiful scenery. It has giant limestone karst and there was lots to do! I took Kung Fu and calligraphy lessons. We went on a bike ride, did bamboo rafting, hiking and had lunch at a farmer's house too. One night I went to this cool lightshow/performance directed by the guy who did the opening show for the Beijing Olympics. It was amazing! The food here was awesome too! There were lots of markets as well and I bought Chinese painting so now my art count from the trip stands at two. I definitely did not want to leave this place!
Hong Kong wrapped up the tour. For our last night as a group we took the tram up to the peak to look down on the city at sunset. Very beautiful! Then we watched a symphony of lights on the buildings along the waterfront. After that we went out for some drinks. The next morning I checked out of my hotel and went to meet Chris Ivany, a friend from St FX who is living and teaching in Hong Kong. We spent the afternoon sightseeing - took a cable car with a glass floor up to the big Budda. That evening him, his wife and another fellow X grad took me out on the town to experience Hong Kong night life!!