06.02.2007 - 16.02.2007
View Around the World 06-07 on TulsaTrot's travel map.
- **Photos for this blog entry will be added when a willing and capable computer presents themselves. Please be as patient as possible and try not to pee your pants waiting to see a video of Nadine and her Buddha belly***
Staring through Moon Hill
Greetings all. No video of Nadine's belly this week, but we do have a video. What might it be of this week?
Travelling south of Guilin, we went to the green, quaint town of Yangshuo. Now when you initially think of a town in China, you automatically congers up images of a town being 1 to 4 million, while a Chinese city being at least 10 million or more, but the town of Yangshuo wasn't that big, not even close, at least not yet.
Our greeting to Yangshuo was interesting. Several times in our trip, we have been dupped by touts, but in Yangshuo, we outsmarted a scamming tout. The Cliff Notes version is that a tout waited at the bus station and latched on to us and told us of a great hotel and what a great deal it was. Along the way to the hotel, I asked two Israeli guys where they were staying and how much they were paying, just to size up the local prices for a room. While we looked at a nice room, this tout sat down and began writing out a receipt at the end of the bed, rather than downstairs at the lobby desk. Very odd. Maybe he had intentions of staying with us for the night too. After realizing everything was a little strange, we packed up and hit the road Jack. At a more reputable hostel, the owner warned us about a guy wearing wire glasses and guilty of ripping off tourists, the same guy we were just talking to, but he didn't get us!!!
We took advantage of the time in Yangshuo to chill and wander the cobblestone streets and enjoy some excellent food. And everywhere we ate, literally every place, we had a great meal, not a single sorry dish, and all of the juices were freshly squeezed.
Walking around Yangshuo, my eyes spied several basketball courts and teenagers running around with a basketball in hand creating my goal for Yangshuo, play some ball. In my search to find a court and a game, it got to the point where I followed kids holding basketballs. Yes, I was stalking Chinese kids. Their response was one of bewilderment. Why was this tall white man following me? Is he working for the government? Did I forget to share my lunch with someone? Why is he still following me? RUN!!! Eventually by happenstance, I found a game with players that were actual adults. This is after I had reached the point that I didn't think I would find a game. I didn't follow anymore Chinese teenagers around town after I got to play a couple of games. My remaining basketball needs were fulfilled with Nadine as we played pop-a-shot 4 times a day in the city square.
Not a bad view on our bike ride
Nadine and baby got some exercise as well, but Nadine did all the work while the baby just sat back in its' comfy womb-chair. We rented some bikes and went out to the Chinese countryside and to Moon Hill. At Moon Hill, it's not a rite of passage to pass through the cave and moon someone, but the thought did cross my mind a couple of times. It's actually a large domed-shaped hole at the top of a mountain and perfect for photos of the green rice paddies below.
Now Yangshuo is a great place, but we had places to get to before leaving on a jet plane, and we couldn't linger too long and the next stop was Shenzhen.
Hammer Pants in Action Overlooking Hong Kong
To reach Shenzhen, we took a form of transportation we hadn't taken before in our travelling experiences, a true sleeper bus. On the bus were three rows of small, narrow, short beds. Each one was made for a passenger to sleep while travelling overnight. Great idea in theory for most Chinese folks, but for me it proved to be too narrow for my wide shoulders and too short for my long legs. Instead, I threw the blankets down in the aisle and slept there in a mummy position.
Shenzhen took us back to the reality of China, large skyscapers, loads of people, rather clean, and shopping galour. We believe that shopping happens to be the #1 Chinese pasttime. Everywhere you go, people are running from shop to shop with a big plastic bag in hand. We bought a couple of dvds and later found out one was dubbed into Russian. Anyone want a russian movie? I'm sure if it was Внезапно повернул назад Гора, my Pepper friends would be the first to ask for it.
From Shenzhen, we crossed the border to ultra-clean, ultra-modern, and a slight reminder of home in the city of Hong Kong. We've enjoyed this city, a little change from the majority of cities we've visited in Asia. We took advantage of the city to enjoy some Burger King, come to daddy Whopper Jr., the quick and efficient public transport, and some great sushi.
Downtown Hong Kong at day and at night
In Hong Kong, we rode a required tourist trolley up to Victoria Peak, the perfect lookout point over downtown Hong Kong Island and all its' neon lights. We did this, not once, but twice. Once at night and once during the day.
Four days was too much time for us in Hong Kong, so one day via a high speed boat, we ran over to Macau. While Hong Kong used to be an English territory, Macau used to be a Portugese territory, while New Mexico is still a territory of Texas. That last point is a little known fact, but it is true, and we can still secede from the Union. Back in Macau, there was a notable Portugese influence in the architecture and language. All signs were in Chinese, Portugese, and English. Just as often you as you would hear Chinese spoken, someone on your other side would be speaking Portugese. And just to balance it all out, I would start speaking really loudly in English to even it out. Yes Nadine, I do want to have lunch.
I guess I haven't given Nadine enough kisses
Firm like mutton and was anyone looking?
Across the news, you constantly hear about SARS and other diseases, but there is one that is affecting a large number of my peers, pregnancy. Like no other time in my life, friends are catching this quite regularly and the result is an added member to their family. It is only contracted by women, unless you happen to be the Governator from California. I know of 7 friends off of the top of my head who are pregnant or just had a baby. So many congrats to our Peruvian volunteer friend Rene and husband Tim who just had a baby boy, Hoksila, and Anna who we know from TU (University of Tulsa) who had Gabriel. It seems that almost every month until October, someone we know is having a baby.
After 5 months and 3 days in Asia, Nadine and I are about to embark on a new stage of our trip, Southern Africa. For 26 days, we will run around South Africa and Lesotho experiencing a new continent and people. Should be fun and hot. Remember it's the end of summer here.
Congrats to Aunt Jane and Hien for both correctly answering last week's question. There were two correct answers, one for Nadine and one for me.
We hope all are doing well and healthy. Until next entry, you stay classy readers.