Monday, July 20, 2009

La Cheena, as the boys call it.

ok, i finally got this done. there are a lot of pictures, but i think i described them all. china was definitely an amazing experience, it was so interesting to be in such a different place from where i'm used to. it was hard not being able to really communicate with people, and it was frustrating at times, but i had a great time. the food was great (i only got sick if i ate dumplings, which was unfortunate), the people were cool- i eventually got used to people staring and taking pictures or yelling 'hello'' and 'ok ok ok' if  they wanted you to buy something from them, take their taxi, look in their shop, etc. they were really nice and helpful usually though. and staying in hostels was one of the best parts. the toilets on the other hand, were not. i learned some life lessons in those squatters though:
 1. it's always better to overestimate the amount of toilet you need to bring with you. you'll either end up being sick (from the smell, the sight, the food you ate a bit back...) or they won't provide toilet paper in there.
 2. don't squat too high OR too low. you have to find your happy medium according to height and size of the hole. 
 3. chin up! things splash, especially if you've been too nonchalant about #2
 4. western toilets are worth their weight in gold
 5. here, going after a man is actually desirable. they have better aim and make less mess. unless it's on a bus. then you're just doomed to sit and step in wet. that's why you never touch your shoes. 
 6. there's no room to be bashful. everyone's gonna see you, especially when it's a line of waist-high stalls that don't have doors and others have to walk by to get to an empty one. everyone's gonna see you and nobody's gonna care.

aaanyway... 

my first night in china, you might think that we'd go out for authentic chinese cuisine... you know, a good introduction... wrong. kristi wanted to go to this texmex place she'd heard of in beijing... now i regret that i didn't get a dr. pepper at that place. never saw another one in china.
hiking the great wall. we basically were dropped off in the wilderness and had to hike straight up the mountain, about an hour or so, in the noon heat with no clouds, and in the biggest heat wave of china's summer. it was miserable.
but it was cool to see and walk along, and not have any other people or tourists up there- it was like you were actually back in ancient paleolithic times. ha!
she was soooo excited!
and i was sooo done. this is right before we left the group to hike up and down for another 2 hours and instead went back into the wilderness alone down to the road.
our first hostel was on this alley that was completely being torn apart. let me tell you how fun it was to walk through those construction workers multiple times a day.
the bird's nest... about half of it. i really wish i'd brought something that opened down to 18 mm
a pretty (8 hour) bus ride through the country side.
riding motorcycle taxi's through busy xi'an at night. i don't know how these people don't die. they go within a couple of inches of buses, cars, pedestrians, on sidewalks and through construction, it's ridiculous. and cheap. aka best way to go.
the terra cotta warriors. a lot of them were missing heads, but this was a good batch
little horsies.
it's amazing, no to warriors have the same face. how's that for details?
our first really really good chinese meal. i don't know what any of it is, because some chinese friends ordered it for us. (favorite weird food eaten: jellyfish. worst weird food eaten: tie between tofu and baby squid on the plane ride home)
common sight- traditional chinese followed by a skyscraper. 
the rice terraces of Yuanyang. they took over 1000 years to put together and they go all the way down the mountains.


another incredible meal, that cost only a couple of dollars. double braised pork and friend rice and greens and green beans. and the best canned drink that i drank all the time that tastes suspiciously like sweet tea, my vice. my bad. =)
chinese (university) people loooooove their karaoke! there are KTV's on every corner, i swear.  they just rent a room with a sound system and a huge big screen and sing karaoke and drink for hours.
18 hour sleeper train ride. we made the mistake of getting hard seat tickets the first 18 hour ride. this was much better. we even found peanut m&m's to squeeze onto that one bunk to watch gossip girl.
my 4th of july, in yangshuo. i hung my shirts like this as a proud display.
busy west street, this is from our balcony overlooking West street. full of bars and clubs and restaurants and vendors evvvvverywhere. and it was really rainy, so everyone has their umbrellas out. (though they do always, cause the girls hate the sun, they want to be as white as possible, so they don't go outside without umbrellas)
the mountains of guilin were beautiful
this is in the streets of fuqing. people just randomly break into big group line dances. so funny.
a fellow texan, who happened to be plastered on buildings, buses, everything. 
jade dragon, shanghai museum 
a throne, probably like the furniture i'll one day own. haha
sword coins... how would you like to carry those around in your pocket.

the shanghai heat was pretty bad. 
shanghai night skyline, from a riverboat tour
we went to the shanghai aquarium which was pretty cool, except it was so ridiculously crowded, and, pardon my french, but chinese people are horrible at lines, courtesy viewing, following directions, being at all concerned about other people might wanting to see things. i for sure want to go shoot at another aquarium soon.
kristi and a swordfish
my favorite picture. i love seahorses. this little guy was so cute.
i ate jellyfish at my first chinese meal. not this one. 
turtle, turtle
jaws!

shanghai had some great western institutions: like dunkin' donuts! if only utah could get on this ...

we ate at a ridiculously expensive fancy italian restaurant at the top of the st. regis in shanghai. it was the nicest place i've been by far, and it was totally worth the money. we were too self conscious to use the flash in there though so our pictures turned out like this:

we found mt. dew at the tower gift shop, and it was so so wonderful, and great to get away from coke and sprite...

2 comments:

Byron and Tara said...

It looks like alot of great memories were made in China!! I am glad you got to have the chance to go!Love you

c m kynaston said...

wow, so fun. I'm glad to see you had a great trip with your sister. It looks amazing. Great photos, thanks for sharing!

Cherilyn

i see you too...