Friday, July 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Our hostel is awesome and HUGE! we're about a 2 minute walk from the beach right in this adorable part of town with lots of restaurants and beach bars. We sat on the beach all day (with sunscreen) and tomorrow, we arranged a tour through our hostel. We're leaving at 7:45am to go to an island over by 'James Bond Island' and then we're snorkeling, going to Monkey Beach (where you can see live monkeys roaming around), kayaking, island tour, lunch and then in the afternoon, we're doing an elephant tour!!! I can't believe it. We got the entire package for next to nothing USD. This country is great.
Okay, well that's all i can write now. Internet is not the greatest here so I don't know when i'll be able to post again.
We saw Transformers yesterday in this crazy movie theatre. The seats rumbled and it was so loud and big. Overall a horribly stupid movie but the ambiance was really cool. Went out for curry last night and today we're going to another island around HK.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I am currently at the Shanghai airport waiting to board my plane to Hong Kong (at 9:10am) due to arrive around noon. We are staying at a hostel downtown which happens to be right next to Ellen's friend that we're meeting. He is going to meet us for dinner around 6pm and show us/talk to us about the city. Tomorrow night and the night after, we're staying in a different hostel in another part of town. Both hostels said they have internet access but I might not have access to WiFi or Skype...so I'll keep you posted.
Shanghai has been interesting. It wasn't at all what I had expected. Maybe if it was the last stop before home, I would have appreciated it more but I just didn't like it. I feel bad because everyone else I talk to LOVES Shanghai but it didn't do much for me. The city is HUGE and at night, it looks like Vegas with all of the neon lights. We spent most of our time outside of the city in Wu Zen, Suzhou, and Hungzhou with one day downtown Shanghai (it poured and was awful.) While I love China and definitely want to come back soon, I feel like the big cities are still growing on me. I like it better out in the mountains, by the lakes, in the gardens and away from the crowds of people. Hong Kong may be different as it is more Westernized and will hopefully have better food options for me. We're still not sure what we're going to do during our time here but once we learn the public transit system (which I guess the subways are spread out like an octopus?) we should be good to go anywhere.
We leave for Thailand (Bangkok) the night of July 7th. We are due to get in around 11:30pm but since it's so late and we don't want to be walking/driving around looking for a hostel, we have decided to spend the night at the airport. We are taking the earliest flight out of Bangkok in the morning (July 8) to go to Phuket - southern Thailand where all the beaches/tourists are. We are spending 2 nights there and then going to Koh Samui (a small island northeast of Phuket - also busy with beaches and tourists) and staying there for 2 nights. It was cheaper for us to spend an extra day on the island than fly to Bangkok for 2 days (bummer, right?). So we are flying to Bangkok for the day on July 12 and then I leave to come home a little after midnight that day (technically July 13). So the beach is only a few days away!!! I CANNOT WAIT.
Other than that, nothing much is happening. I'm excited to find food that will not upset my stomach. I'm getting kind of sick of muffins and dinner rolls. I guess it's better than nothing, though. HAPPY 4th OF JULY!! Hope you all are doing well and I can't wait to come home in 10 days!!!!!! yahoo!!
Friday, July 3, 2009
Apparently, one of emperors was going to either die, be killed or be exiled, and he escaped from Forbidden City without anyone knowing and hung himself on one of the trees. The tree he died on has since died also but has been replaced. Anyway, that's beside the point. We climbed to the top of this landing and could overlook all of Beijing (BREATHTAKING!!!) and on one side of the pagoda, you could see all of the Forbidden City (I can't even describe it.) IT'S HUUUUUUUUUGE. I knew the city was big because it took us like 3 hours to walk through it when we went to T-Square... but to see it from up high... all the gold roofs.... it was crazy. The Forbidden City is so large in size and covers so much land, that you can barely see T-Square right in front of it (which would be the far end if you were looking from where we were today). This picture really doesn't do it justice, but my camera batteries both died before I could get a better shot. So just trust me when I say it's MASSIVE and nearly impossible to imagine. But it was freaking AWESOME.
One of the details on all the roofs of the pagodas and temples. It's outstanding... the work that is put into the architecture. This park is absolutely incredible (and nearly free to get into!). I can't wait to come back to China and visit it again. I could spend an entire week just taking pictures in this park alone.
A picture of a pagoda on the water.
This one is of a giant marble wall of dragons - I think there are 9 different dragons but I will have to get back to you on their significance.
More pictures of Beihai Park. Usually, you're not supposed to take pictures of the Buddha but there were no signs in the cave saying photography was prohibited, so I took pictures. I thought you'd be interested in seeing how the Chinese (the real Buddhists) depict the Buddha compared to the Western interpretation. It's all very fascinating.