Wednesday, April 20, 2011

china: american care package edition

*not pictured a small bag of Cheetos and a Hostess fruit pie for jg

One of the best parts of prepping for my trip to China was getting together a little care package of American goodies for meggie. During all the email exchanges during trip prep I continually asked if I could bring her anything from the US. I always received the same response---nothing! Okay, she did ask for a couple of necessary items that she had shipped to me from And eventually, she did joking ask if I could bring her a diet Mountain Dew.

Well, that request got me thinking......and happened appears above. I just wanted to do my best to take all of meggie's favorites from America. It was so much fun figuring what to take, how to pack it and what meggie would be most excited to get. I was almost as excited to give meggie all her treats as I was to get to China!

When I saw meggie and jg at the airport, jg immediately grabbed my bag. I was so worried he would comment about how heavy it was and question what I had packed. Luckily, I didn't ask any questions so i didn't have to worry about ruining my surprise for meggie.

After we arrived in Yangshou, I could hardly wait to give meggie all her treats. We headed to their apartment to drop off all my stuff before heading to dinner. I started to unpack and give meggie the items she had requested. I then tossed her what appeared to be a hand towel stuffed into multiple ziploc bags and told her she should open it. When she opened it, she discovered the diet Mountain Dew.

I then proceeded to give her the other items pictured above---lots of meggie favorites! One of the best items I was able to take her was some dill pickles. Thanks to Wendy I learned that you can get dill pickles in little individual wrapped snack sizes. It was so awesome to had those to meggie. She is a lover of dill pickles and it is something she can't find in China.

I love that I was able to take a surprise and a little piece of America to my sister living in China. And, my bag weighed about 15 pounds less after emptying all of meggie's treats.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

oh the jet-lag!

As soon as my sister (meggie) and brother-in-law told me they were moving to China, I knew I had to go visit them. I'd never been to China and figured this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Back in January, they moved to the south of China; to a small town called Yangshuo. Sadly, I would be nowhere near the Great Wall, the Forbidden City or the Terracotta Soldiers, but I was going to visit a beautiful area of China.

After what seemed like a week, (but was really only 2 days) I arrived in Shanghai. I had about 17 hours in Shanghai before catching another flight to Guilin. I arrived late at night and headed to my hotel. Rather than change my clock, I figured I could just calculate when to set my alarm. Well, if you know me and math, it will come as no shock that I set my alarm to get up at around 7am (not 9am as I had anticipated). Oh well, I felt great so decided to get up and head out to do some sight seeing.

I wandered down toward the People's Square. It was so interesting to see several groups of people doing various forms of Tai Chi. There were people with fans, swords, scarves and just themselves. It was fascinating to see all the people up and about at that time of day. I wandered over to The Bund. If I was going to be in Shanghai, I had to see this area. It was so beautiful!

After walking through the city for about 2 and a half hours I was getting a bit tired and definitely hungry. I decided I'd better head back toward my hotel. Just around the corner from my hotel was a great area of all sorts of street vendors. I wandered looking for something tasty to eat (I knew my mom would not approve of me eating from a street vendor!) I found this yummy looking sesame filled pancake looking thing (yes, that's its official name). I bought a couple of pieces of fruit from another vendor. Then went to a little store and bought some water and juice to round out my meal. It was definitely delicious!

After packing up my stuff, it was off to the airport for another flight. By now I thought I'd be through with flying, but I guess the thought of seeing my little sister soon was enough to get me back on the plane. I must say, I like flying in China--they don't make you take your shoes or jacket off when you go through security. Quite a change from travel in the US! I couldn't wait to get to Guilin.

After getting my luggage, I walked to the lobby area and witnessed the most beautiful sight! There jumping to look for me was my sister! I was so excited to see her and jg. I was also lucky that one of their co-workers had some business in Guilin and was willing to give us a ride back to Yangshuo. It was only a 1 hour 45 minute drive and I would be to my destination. (for those of you keeping score, I traveled for close to 24 hours to arrive in Yangshuo) As soon as we got in the van, I could wait no longer---I had to give my sister one of the many American treats I brought her--Cheetos!

We headed to meggie's favorite mei fun place for some delicious dinner. Mei fun is a delicious noodle dish, served in broth with pickled radishes and spiced green beans. It was after dinner that things began to get fuzzy--I was exhausted!

Here's an example of just how "fuzzy" I was: On my last night in Yangshuo as we were headed back home, I said I wanted to stop and get a beverage. meggie and jg said we'd just stop at the same place we went the first night I arrived. I thought, great. When we arrived at this mysterious store I had no recollection of ever having been there before. I swore up and down that I had not been to this store, but a different one. meggie and jg assured me that we had been there. We all agreed that my memory was not to be trusted as I could hardly walk straight I was so exhausted.

I had no idea that around the world travel could take it out of you. My brother-in-law was determined to keep me up until 9:30pm (and he barely succeeded!)  I didn't want to spend my vacation sleeping. So I decided that it was just mind over matter to get over my jet-lag quickly. Ha! I had no idea.

**stay tuned for the American gift basket, me v. a piece of limestone and many other adventures. sorry if these posts seem a bit tedious, but i'm using them as a journal of my adventure.

**sorry for the lack of pictures. i'm on the road ,but wanted to start posting before i forgot everything. as soon as i return i'll post all my pictures to an album for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

room with a view

After several hours on an airplane, I finally arrived in China. Now, this is the view from my window every morning I wake up. Gorgeous, no? 

I got to spend a bit of time exploring Shanghai on my own before heading out to Yangshou (where Meggie and jg live) I was so excited to see the two of them waiting for me at the airport in Guilin. Unfortunately, the weather has been nothing but cold and rainy since I arrived. Hopefully it will soon clear and we will do some climbing and exploring. In the meantime, I'm eating every delicious food I can get my hands on, and there's a lot of it here! We've done some shopping and some indoor bouldering. There will definitely be more to share. But for now, just be jealous of my amazing view!