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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trip to Nanjing and some other things

Wednesday (Halloween!) October 31, 2007

Over the weekend we had a trip to Nanjing, which used to be known as Nanking and some people might have heard that before. It used to be the capital of China before WWII. We left on Friday and had a long bus ride there that I slept though so I don't know exactly how long it took haha. We had a stop for crappy food and snacks and when we got to Nanjing we had a presentation at the Amity Foundation or 爱德 (love - virtue) is the Chinese name. They have lots of programs for people to teach English in small, undeveloped cites in western China and also they train doctors and set them up in these small places too. After we got to the hotel about 5 or so and I had a nap then we went out to eat at a nice restaurant and a walked down the pedestrian street and had glazed fruit on a stick and bubble teas. The next day we got up early and visited Zhongshan where there is a tomb for Sun Yat Sun who was the founder of the Republic of China before the Communists took over. I am surprised though that the communists didn't rip the place down after they took it over though especially since it talks a lot about democracy and a free China with the old flags everywhere. After that we visited some more temples including a Confucian temple and some gardens. After that we walked down really busy shopping streets and had some street food and stayed out till pretty late shopping and walking around the city then headed back to the hotel. The next day we got up early to visit a temple and a pagoda where they have a bone of the man who went to India and translated a lot of Buddhist classics into Chinese. Then we walked along the old city wall to another temple where there were hundreds of people worshiping and praying and went to another pagoda there. After that we went back to the first temple where they made us monk lunch which is completely vegetarian. This lunch consisted of meat balls, beef slices, chicken wings, shrimp, fish, and sausage all made from tofu haha. Along with logs of veggies. It was actually really good and I would rather eat that sometimes than some of the stuff I am currently eating lol. After that we got back on the bus and headed back to Shanghai, but not before stopping off at a famous teapot museum that was kinda dumb and where they sold teapots for hundreds of dollars. So now I'm back in school and counting down the days till I go to Taiwan.

Me and James and Phil and Aliyah and Emily have also finalized our Christmas and New Years plan. Me and Phil will be flying into Madrid, Spain on December 22 and James, Emily, and Aliyah will already be there. Some people (not me) will be going to the Spice Girls concert on the 23rd haha. On Decmeber 25 we will fly from Madrid to Marrakesh, Morocco and stay there for 5 nights. Hopefully we will have a Sahara trek and ride on camels haha. On Decmeber 30 we will fly from Marrakesh to Barcelona where we will stay until January 1 or 2 and then go back to Madrid. Then Me and Phil will fly to Marseille on January 4th and I will stay with him for a while there and we may go visit somewhere else in that time and Oslo, Norway is on the table for this trip... after that I'm not quite sure whats going on yet because I haven't yet heard from my Arabic program if I've been accepted.

soooo thats all for now LEAVE A COMMENT!!!

here are some pictures also from the last leg of my SICHUAN trip that I haven't put up yet... its mostly panda bears haha.
PICTURES! click here

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Trip to Taiwan and Philippines is official!

October 23, 2007
Lisa picked up our passports today with no problem so thats all set. Then I had a nap and made some more bok choy ( its getting better every time!!) and then we discussed our trip. This is now the official trip

November 9 1230 AM Shanghai - Manila (arrive 430 AM :()
November 9 1110 AM Manila - Taipei (Arrive at 110 pm)
November 9 to 16 in Taipei and surrounding areas
November 16 at 155 PM Taipei - Manila (arrive 355pm)
November 16 to 18 in Manila
November 18 8 PM Manila - Shanghai (Arrive after 11pm)

And now that thats all worked out I can start to work more on my European/North Africa plans. After discussing with Phil and Aliyah this seems to be a good plan to start working on:
Phil and I arrive in Madrid on December 22 and most of our friends will be there already.
Then we will stay there and on the 25th or 26th we will take a bus down to the south of Spain and then catch a ferry over to Tangier, Morocco. From there we will either go to Fez, Marrakesh, or Casablanca and spend some time there. Then on the 29th or 30th of December we will head to Barcelona and stay there for 3 or 4 nights. Then we will hop on a bus from Barcelona to Madrid. Then I will leave Madrid on the 4th and fly to Marseilles with Phil and stay with him for a while there. (We are thinking about going to maybe Oslo, Norway, or Stockholm Sweden sometime in the beginning of January... but thats another story) Then sometime towards the 18th or so of January I will fly back to Madrid and stay there for a few nights before heading to Cairo. :o) It is really confusing and it involves lots and lots of planning and I have to hear back from all of my friends if they like this idea or not... but it seems to work out pretty well as of now.
I still haven't heard from Cairo though if I got accepted to not into the program. They told me middle of November though so I am not really worried, I am just getting too antsy haha... Also I have a spoken midterm tomorrow for Chinese and a written one Thursday so I think I need to study now!!!!!
Leave a comment!! I like to see if people are actually reading this or not haha

(more) Eggplant, bok choy, and new chinese friends

Monday October 22, 2007
I went to class in the morning as usual which almost seemed pointless... But after class I stopped on the way home and got a couple more cooking things and me and Lisa made more eggplant and ate dumplings before she had to be off to class. They were a teeeeeeny bit better than before but not too much better haha. Then the cleaning people came and cleaned the apartment which was really in need of a good cleaning... I don't think my Chinese roommate was happy with how much they were charging though (about 70 cents a room!) so I said I would just pay for it even though his girlfriend gave me a little bit of money later haha. And then after my nap I found a good recipe for bok choy and made that and it was reallllly good and really spicy. Lisa came back just as I finished and we started making some beef and peppers and have another go at the eggplant and peppers. This time we tried to follow a recipe for the eggplant but we didn't have everything so we had to improvise. This time it wasn't too bad, the sauce was a bit runny but other than that it was our first whole meal we made in China haha. After that we went to a little get together for Chinese students and foreign students to just kinda hang out and play games or talk and have some coffee. So there I made about 200 new friends who now all have my phone number and will probably wanna hang out. This will hopefully be good for my Chinese haha.
Also there is an update on my Fall break trip...
When I was sitting in class in the morning Lisa txted my and said that because of all the recent bombings and kidnappings in the Philippines and especially Manila her people think we shouldn't go anymore. So after much debate me and Lisa decided to keep our plane tickets to Manila but then from there fly to Taipei, Taiwan and stay there for about 7 nights, and then after that fly back to Manila and stay there for 2 or 3 nights before heading back to Shanghai. So it all works out in the end and this way I can see more Chinese culture but from the other end of the spectrum and I still get to visit the Philippines for a bit :o)

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Propaganda museum and eggplant?

Sunday October 21, 2007

Today I got to sleep in a bit which was nice and then Lisa came up and we tried to make the eggplant and peppers that I bought at the outdoor market on saturday night. It didn't turn out terrible... but it wasn't very good haha. We put in way too much soy sauce and oil and the eggplant just soaked it all up. So we decided to walk to a market to try and get some different cooking things and foods and we got some bok choy, garlic, ginger, oils, and vinegar and some other things. Total cost for all of that was about 2 dollars not including the oil which was expensive ($1.50!). And then we came back and got ready for our outing to the propaganda poster museum of all the propaganda posters from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. A lot of them were pretty scary. A large portion of them showed some combination of the representations of people or things from the US, Japan, South Korea, and/or Taiwan and how the Chinese people can beat them and kill them. Luckily they didn't seem to work much because most Chinese people here are very very friendly towards us. After that we had a nice dinner and headed back home for studying (or lack of it).

here are some random links about propaganda posters's_Republic_of_China

also if you wanna see more just go to google and type something in and you'll get a lot of hits!

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Trip to Qipu lu!!

October 20, 2007

Last night we just went out to an american restaurant that was waaaaaaaaaay to expensive but it was good to have a good hamburger and french fries, but then after that I just stayed home so I wouldn't spend anymore money haha. So today we got up and decided to go to Qipu lu which is basically the knock off street and its CRAZY. Its a huge long street filled with people and shops and malls full of everything and also there were about 20 people following us trying to get us to buy things. We finally made it to a mall but had 2 people following us still trying to take us to places, one of them gave me his card too haha. We were looking at places but we eventually had 3 or 4 people following us so we went into a store that had an exit to the outside and they waited on the inside exit for us . And the second they weren't looking we ran out and then went back in the front but went up to the second floor haha. And we didn't see them again, but we did have a lot of other people follow us. We had to hurry up though because they were closing soon. I found a place that had some shirts I wanted but they were waaaay to expensive. She was selling them for 85 kuai and or about 11 dollars which is waaay too much because one of my friends was quoted 40 or 5.50ish so I just wanted to leave but she was kept telling me to make her an offer so I told her 30kuai and ill buy 3 of them. But she said no and said something higher and I started to leave and she pulled me back in. She was being really mean and rude though and kept switching between English and Chinese and told me whats the most I'm willing to pay for 3 and I said 150 and she said no so I started to leave and she pulled me back and said ok haha. But by that time I was kinda annoyed because she was being really rude and they looked kinda crappy so I didn't want them anymore and she basically yelled at me in Chinese and said I shouldn't bargain with her if I'm not going to buy anything haha. We walked around for a bit more and then got stalked for a bit more and then left because they closed. So we walked around outside for a while and walked down a street that was basically produce all over the place and lots of random shops with big tubs of fish and crabs and eels. I bought some eggplant and pepper to make lunch tomorrow for haha. I think i got 4 egg plants and 5 large hot peppers for 3 kuai... so about 39 cents? And then we walked down another street that was kinda an ally but it was full of people selling things. When we got to he end I heard a hitting noise and someone screaming... not a good sign. I was trying to find where it was coming from and then I some guy beating someone with something and then I started watching and I realized it was a little girl. We didn't really know what to do but he had a huge chunk of plastic or something and he was holding on the ground and beating her with it and she was screaming and crying. Finally a bunch of other people ran up and got him to stop but he kept trying to beat her more but then finally left and went back to his little stand of stuff he had. I didn't really wanna stay around much longer to see what happened though and we left, kinda sick about seeing that. Then we found a taxi and headed back to the apts and got some fried noodles and hung out for a bit. And now its time to go to sleep so I can get up nice and early for some goooooood studying :o)

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Back to school...

October 10 to October 19, 2007
I have been busy with a lot of homework the past 2 weeks so I didn't have much time to finish updating my posts from my trip and then do this so I'm just going to do the past 2 weeks in one shot because it was a pretty average week.

On Monday we went back to class as usual expect there was a typhoon again so there was a LOT of rain and wind and my umbrella broke so I work a big yellow poncho to class haha then the rest of the week was pretty uneventful, just studying and homework. Then somewhere along the way... I think maybe Sunday Lisa told me that her chinese roommate heard on the news or something that there was an airline offering round trip tickets to the Philippines for 2 kuai... or about 25 cents... So we looked into this and found that they did indeed have them for that much, but then they throw on 100$ in taxes. But 100.25 isn't bad for round trip tickets from Shanghai to Manila, Philippines so basically me and Lisa bought them on Monday but we had to buy them for November 9th and miss class instead of November 10th because they ran out of the cheap ones, but thats fine with me. So Tuesday I had to get up early and meet Yunqi who helped me go to the university to get a letter that says I can get a second visa. Then I had to go downtown to the Shanghai exit and entry something or other and apply for a second visa for me and Lisa. So this basically meant I had to fill out a lot of paper work and then sit there for 3 hours because they only had 2 windows out of 20 open. It was kinda like the BMV, you get a number and wait till its up and then go up to the window and do your stuff. I was kinda annoyed because the lady at the info desk said I needed to be there but then when we went up to the thing he just grabbed all the paper work and put it in an envelope and gave me a receipt... no questions asked so I had to miss more class for nothing, but whatever. So we can go pick them on Tuesday and then our whole trip is set! We also don't have to plan anything out because Lisa's step mom is originally from Manila and is arranging the whole thing for us so its going to be pretty nice.

Nothing else much happened these past 2 weeks except I found out we have a huge test next week over our whole book which is going to be fun because they haven't taught us very much from it at ALLLLL!!!!! Which kinda annoys me because I'm really worried about the grade I'm gonna get on it. Also I found out I have a test in my other class that they never told us about which is also going to be realllllly fun to deal with. I really don't like how they run the classes here. I have 2 chinese classes and a sociology class. One Chinese class is 4 days a week and sucks. One teacher teaches the first two and one teaches the next and its really confusing because they each do their own thing on different chapters which means we talk about one grammar thing or vocab words and we don't see them again for a week. Also one teacher goes off on hour long tangents ever class and the other spends 3 hours going over every vocab word and all that our tests are is grammar, but neither of them talk about the grammar AT ALL. So I feel like I'm not learning much from here. In our other chinese class it is 2 days a week and also has 2 teachers but they each teach half of it each day. The first teacher is great. She is really funny and keep us awake. The second teacher is the teacher from our other class that spends 3 hours on vocab and 0 on grammar, and surprise surprise she does the same thing in here! We just read each vocab word and give example sentences. Our sociology class is also a joke. All we do is listen to a chinese professor who makes sense less than a fourth of the time and then talk about the stupid papers that make no sense, and its 4 hours long... So no one is happy with that to say the least. So I'll take my tests next week and hopefully I can figure out most of the grammar before that :/

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Day 9 Chengdu BACK to Shanghai!

October 6, 2007
Today we got up in the morning had free time before we had to meet back at the hotel to head to the airport. So we basically got some lunch then walked around and looked at the shops. I went to the place right across from our hotel and before I could even walk across the street I had a couple monks ask me follow me and beg for money. Then when I went in the store they waited for me outside, or found someone else to follow. The lady in the store was really nice and really excited that I could talk to her in Chinese so she was giving me a good deal. They had a mini mahjohng set that was "yak bone" (yeah right) and it came in a nice wooden box and yesterday her husband told me it was 500 kuai which is like 65 dollars so I said NOOOOO WAY, but she told me 160 which is about 20 dollars so I got it and was happy. Then we walked down the street a bit more and got followed by a few more monks who wanted money and I gave money to cuz I felt bad. Then we get to another shop that has the same mahjong set for only 68kuai :o( :o( :o( :o( :o( :o( so I was kinda upset about that for a while and in a bad mood for the rest of the day. We just browsed a few more shops after that and found some of our friends. And then one monk who looked like he could have been only 15 or 16 kept following me and petty my arm saying please give me money in chinese and petting my arm, and he finally left after one of the store owners yelled at him, and then he hissed and ran away. After that I went to a shop that had silk tibetan banners that they hang everywhere that are different colors and have the sutra written on them in tibetan. I bought a couple of these and brought my friend back because he wanted some of them and was waiting outside when a monk came up right behind me and started chanting in my ear. I turned around to look at him and he kept chanting and holding his hand out so I gave him a little money because he was scaring me and then he pulled out a prayer necklace and started chanting louder and pointing to all the banners. Then I showed him that I had bought some and he grabbed my bag and started chanting louder and wouldn't let go, so I kinda pulled away roughly and walked away faaaaasst. We ran back to the bus and headed towards the airport. We got in at 730ish pm and had to wait foreeeever to get our bus back to the apts but it finally came and we headed back and crashed. all in all it was a great trip I think and would looove to go back and visit

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Day 8 in Chengdu, Sichuan

October 5, 2007
Today we woke up at about 8ish and then got ready to head to Leshan Big Buddha. After a somewhat better breakfast we hit the road but it was actually a real road this time so it wasn't bad. We stopped at a rest stop that was actually CLEAN and not a hole in the ground and not covered in nasty and not gross. But what was amazing about this place was that there was a huge everything tea shop outside! They had green tea ice cream ( i had two because they were small haha) and fried tea leaves and green tea pancakes and so much other stuff I couldn't explain. And the next best part was that they had free samples of everything haha, but we had to leave so we didn't get to spend much time there even though I would have liked to. We then stopped at a place to have lunch... it was ok but still disappointing. It was at some park place and we had like 45 minutes of free time and they had a giant ball you get inside of and then you can go out on the lake in it and some people did that but I didn't because I didn't want to wait in line. After that we went to the big buddha and then waited in line in 99% humidity and sun and heat for a while, then we got on a boat and went down the river and drove past the buddha and then looked at it for a bit and took a picture then headed back... kinda lame to drive 3 hours each way for... We then headed back and by that time it was basically dinner and we headed to a hot pot place!!! and they gave us a reallllly spicy and super MA hot pot that was really good. And the best part was we could order whatever we wanted and they just kept brining it out. After a long while here we heading to the famous changing faces opera. It was really fun, they had a couple acts like singers and little skits and things and then at the end they had their changing faces show which is everyone doing their dances and everything and they change the masks they are wearing really quickly and you can't really tell how but I think its under their hats or something. After that we had the night free and I headed out for a night on the town with a few friends. On our way back home later that night they had kids everywhere selling roses. I told one earlier that I would buy one from him if he was still there when I was going home and he was so I bought one. But then all 20 of the other ones wanted me to buy one too, including this littler girl who kept sticking them in my pockets and wouldn't leave me alone. And then another boy was trying to get me to get some too and I said I had already bought one from his friend and then he told me that he had no friends which is kinda sad. But then he opened the taxi door for me and gave me a rose for free and said he would help me out haha. After that we headed back to the hotel and went to sleep for our last night in Sichuan.

SICHUAN trip day 7! pandas and chengdu!

October 4, 2007
Today we got up early to leave the hotel and head back towards the city where there would be western toilets and nice rooms haha. Before heading back we drove to Mt. Ba Lang to rest a bit which it is 13,000 feet high and that was the highest we went on our trip. We got out to take pictures and use the bathroom and to buy random food on a stick as usual. It was kinda cold so we didn't say for too long. After that we got back on the most dangerous road and for another 20 hours. After many hours and another disappointing meal we got to the highlight of the trip, the "China Giant Panda Garden" in Wolong, China which has 71% of the worlds panda population. I got lots of pictures of them, but you could actually hold a baby one for a few seconds and take pictures if you payed something like 50 or 100 dollars so I passed. They didn't give us to much time there because we had to head back to Chengdu to check into the hotel. We all loaded back into the bus and checked into our realllllllly nice hotel and went to sleep because were are tired from all the traveling.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Day 6 Hiking on Sigunian Mountain (Mountain of the 4 sisters)

The first one is me feeding an apple to a horse on the wooden trail at Siguniangshan, and the second is the old man that was selling goat meat on a stick that was reallllly good, and the last one is the goat roasting behind the tibetan dancers that are at the bottom

October 3, 2007
Today we get up early and take a bus up to the start of the hiking trail to Siguniangshan. We had to rent rain boots because it rained a lot the past few days and it was all muddy and all I had was tennis shoes. So we all wore our rented nasty boots and walked down the 2000 meter wooden trail. It was really nice and it wasn't very cold out which was also nice and the weather was great. We basically just walked on this wooden trail for a while and then at the end of it is where the mud started and there was a LOOOOOT of it, and it was also mixed with equal parts of horse poop. So we walked through the mud for a while then got to a summit of some sort, but some people had harder times breathing and walking in the altitude so they had cans of oxygen for them. When we got there we had a picnic lunch which was kinda gross but it worked. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw smoke and walked towards it and surprise surprise there was meat on a stick!!! It was only 13 cents and sooooooo good I think I had 5 of them. After that me and a few people walked back and rested by a stream and got accosted by a woman trying to take pictures of us with Tibetan clothes who was hitting on me. Then we head back towards the hotel but stopped for some more meat on a stick where we rented the boots.

We got back to the hotel and had our dinner then we had a "surprise" for us afterwords. This was a kinda performance in a tent out front by the girls that worked at the hotel. There was lots of tibetan (and modern and lipsynced) singing and dancing which was fun and they were also roasting a goat (that we saw get killed a bit earlier) and some rabbits and chicken for us in the background while the sang. They also had everyone get up and join and had a few games and it was really fun.

After that we headed back to our hotel and played mahjong all night which was really fun... im starting to get the hang of it haha. and here is a video of a circle dance they did that they tried to get me to do but I didn't really want to haha.

here is a video of some of the dancers

here are pictures! mostly of the mountians

Day 5 Tibetan Jiaju village and lots and lots of high altitude driving on even worse roads (if thats possible)

The first picture is a random bathroom on the side of the road, the second is of normal road conditions for most of the trip, the third is a picture of the road and scenery from the bus, and the last is the yak butter milk tea

October 2, 2007
Today we get up and drive up the mountain to Jiaju Tibetan village which is basically just a small tibetan town that has been turned into a tourist attraction, but its still fun. We went to a house and looked around it and saw how the traditional houses are. Then after a bit of looking around they made us their traditional yak butter milk tea which tasted a bit like warm skim milk with barley and a lot of salt... yum... and they also gave us some little barley cakes to go with it. We didn't stay for very long though because we had to get a move on to Siguniang Moutains (Mt. Four Sisters) which was high up and far away. We left the village and headed to a Tibetan hotel for lunch which was ok but still not very spicy. It was fun at the end though because all the servers came in and sang and danced for us. After that we headed off our our trip of more and more and more terrible roads of getting stuck in the mud and having to stop and help other cars out of the mud so we can get by ect. ect. We also passed through so many small villages that looked like they may have never even seen a foreigner before.

I think the whole trip was about 9 hours and not one minute of it was on a paved road or anything so it was a nice 9 ours of crazy rocking back and forth on the bus. It was so bad you couldn't even do anything but talk or listen to music and deal with it. I heard form someone on the trip too that this was the most dangerous road in the world and I'm not surprised from how it looked from all the falling rocks and everything. The bridges too looked scary, like they would fall and collapse if we drove over them but they seemed to hold just fine.

After a long long long long time we got to our village which I think was about 11,000 feet above sea level and checked into our Tibetan hotel for 2 nights. It was a really tiny town and nothing really to do except hang out at the hotel cuz it was so late. Also it was realllllllly cold at night that high up and it was actually a little hard to breath cuz everything was a walk uphill. Also the hotel didn't have heat which was fun. And they had "western style toilets" which was basically a western toilet over a hole... so it didn't really work, but I wont get into that. Also the shower and the toilet leaked on the floor because the shower was kinda a stall with a floor but the drain in the shower just opened to the floor and kinda flooded the bathroom cuz the drain was on the other side... nice. Also you couldn't walk barefoot in the room because you would probably step on something and get a disease because they don't vacuum or clean. So the first night we just went to sleep because we were all tired from the rough trip and to get up early to go hiking on the mountains.
PICTURES!!!! click here, same as day 4 pictures, tibetan village, and danba
Pictures of Tibetan village and trip on the way to siguniang mountains and the mountains

Day 4 Heading to Danba Tibetan Town

the first picture is of the bridge that Mao crossed in Luding (but we had no time to go on it :o() and the second is infront of my hotel at Danba, and the third is a large portion of our dinner that was too 麻 for us to handle.

the October 1, 2007
On this day we got to sleep in a little and then drive to Danba, it was a little bit uneventful since it was mostly driving all day. Lots of bad roads and driving through small towns and "唱山歌". We stopped in a small town called Luding to get some snacks and water since where we were going next they wouldn't have much of that kinda stuff. I guess Mao and his army crossed a chain bridge in this city sometime during their civil war. We only got to spend a half hour there though because we had to get to a tunnel ( i think they said it was the longest in asia?) before it switched direction ( they make it one way during holidays and switch direction for long times) or else we would have to wait like 4 or 5 hours and would miss something else we were doing. Before we went in the tunnel we stopped yet again to take more pictures, but they also had a lot of vendors who were selling fruit and nuts and things and they had some dried kiwis which were really good. Then we went through the tunnel and came out the other side into the mostly Tibetan area of Sichuan. Mostly this whole time I got lots of scenery shots. We stopped a few more times to get pictures and look at road vendors and then drove down lots more bumpy roads and through more small towns and maybe got stuck in the mud a few times.

We then got to Danba and checked in our hotel that wasn't thaaaaat bad but once again the toilet acted as the drain for our shower, which was also not warm water, but actually boiling and it would switch between boiling and freezing almost every few seconds. We only stayed here for one night though. We had free time in Danba so we went down to the shopping area naturally and went shopping. I ending up buying a nice chinese chess set. Its made of out real (haha yeah right) leather as the guy says, and each of the pieces is also made from leather and the board and the case and its blue. I think I paid about 8 or 9 dollars for it so not too bad. I also bought one of the Tibetan spinners that has the sutra inside that I really wanted. We then went back to the hotel and hung out a bit before going to dinner. We went to some random place on the side of the road and we wanted to eat outside so they brought a huge table from inside and put it outside for us. I think there were about 10 of us total. We got a bunch of dishes like normal but they were 麻麻麻麻麻麻麻 to the extreme. I couldn't even eat the mapodoufu or the fish, even though I didn't really want to. The eggplant was good though (as usual). All in all it was a great dinner and fun being out with everyone. Then after that we headed to the internet cafe for 20 minutes only cuz they were gonna lock us out of the hotel and I manged to check my e-mail even though it took all 20 minutes to load. We made it back just in time and then played charades for a while until we got yelled at for being too loud because you can hear EVERYTHING even if its a whisper through the walls in that place. Then after that I had a boiling/freezing shower and went to sleep to get up in the morning early to check out and head to the Jiaju Tibetan Village with the Tibetan families. There are pictures below to see!

here are pictures!!!!!!!

Sichuan part 3!!! (Hailuogo Glacier park fun and Hot Springs with flesh eating fish)

the first picture is me and my friend jamie in the flesh eating fish and the second is on the ski lift ride to the glacier, and the third is my roommate Yuki and his girlfriend in the flesh eating fish

September 30, 2007
We get our wakeup call and go down to breakfast which is another dismal array of watery rice with some pickled things and a hard boiled egg, luckily our teachers bought us some instant coffee though to get us through it. We then hopped on the bus to get to the other bus station (which took less than a minute to drive to so i dont know why we we didnt walk...). We waited there for a bit then hopped on a bus to go up to the top part of the mountain where the glacier was. the bus ride was kinda scary because they were driving are really high speeds around narrow corners going up. There were also a lot of buses on their way down so every time there was a turn or a curve (or someone in the road or on the side of the road or he for any reason the bus driver wanted to which seemed like every 3 seconds) he would lay on the most annoying horn I have ever heard, and it got old really quick. Everyone in China honks their horns A LOT even when they don't need to.

Anyways we got to the top of the mountain and had to hold off all the Chinese people from cutting us in line to get on the ski lift to the top. The ski lift was really nice because you could see everything there on the way up, but it was also a bit scary. Once we got to the top of course they had meat on a stick like everywhere in China, and I got some and it was gooooooooood, They told me it was goat meat, I hope they weren't lying haha. We then hiked for a bit, only like an hour or so and that was fun and got to go up and touch the ice and sit up there for a while. After that we got back on the honking bus and headed down towards the hot springs (we weren't really supposed to know we were going there cuz it was a surprise but we all already knew it). Before we went there though we ate a a restaurant which of course was again highly disappointing for what was I was hoping for :o(. After that we had a tour of the springs which was basically a huge pool and mini hot tub looking things that have hot springs water pumped into it. They also had one pool that was filled with thousands of little fish that eat all your dead skin cells when you get in and I thought it was disgusting but I ended up doing it anyways. It was really strange at first and tickled a lot, so for the first 20 minutes or so I couldn't stop laughing but then it felt nice and I think between two trips in I might have spent almost 2 hours in it. While we were there they also gave us soft boiled eggs which were basically slightly cooked eggs that you drink, I didn't have any... Then as we left I of course accidentally locked my glasses in my locker and forgot which locker number it was so that was a big ordeal trying to find which one it was and having to ask the girl at the desk for a bunch of keys to try.

After that we got back on the honking bus and headed back to the hotel. When we got there we had dinner at our hotel which was probably the worst dinner of the whole trip, so I didn't eat much and got a lot of grilled eggplant and goat on a stick which was a lot better. So we got that and walked around for a bit and looked at all the same stores of tibetan stuff then found the same little kids as before and talked to them for a bit and then headed back to the hotel to play cards for a while. Then we got bored and got some not so good tasting ice cream ( but it was only 13 cents so whatever) and then went to sleep for our next long trek to Danba Tibetan town.

below is some pictures

pictures of the glacier and hot springs!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Sichuan trip part 2! (Chengdu to Moxigen and Hai luoguo )

(<--our hotel in Moxizhen... little did I know it would only get worse from here... they were supposed to have western toilets but only had squatters haha and the shower was a pipe from the wall with a hole in the middle of the floor)
(^^They attacked us as soon as we got
out of the bus, trying to get us to buy
near rotten fruit for way too much, haha,
i gave the little girl some candy
and she left me alone... until later that night when
she tried to sell me them again)

September 29, 2007

We woke up pretty about 730ish and then went down and had breakfast which consisted of some rice in warm water and spicy pickled cabbage and other things put in it. They also had some bread and hot milk... yum
We then left for our hotel in 磨西镇 (Moxizhen, i tried to find a map of it but i couldn't, i guess its just that small haha) about 9ish. The on the way there the roads started getting questionable, but nothing too bad. We stopped at a random restaurant in a little city called 天全 (Tianquan) but once again the food was unspicy and disappointing :o(. We then continued driving up and up and up into the mountains and stopped a few times at random bathroom places which are usually a small building that you go in that has a trough if you're lucky, if not its a tent with a hole in the ground, and you have to pay to use them, usually 5 mao or one kuai, so thats about 7 - 14 cents. Before we went in a huge tunnel ( i think the longest in asia ) we stopped to take pictures and we got some dried kiwi slices which were really good because that area is known for its kiwis. After more driving up and up we got to the hotel after 7 and were free to find out own food, but once again it just turned up to be unspicy :(. The city itself was kinda boring, mostly lots and lots of little shops that all have the same things, usually consisting of jewelry, yak horns or other things made from yak (meat, carvings from bones, hats from fur ect). It was interesting though because most of the people in the town were Tibetans and a lot of the shops had Tibetan things. So we just walked around after dinner and bought a few souvenirs and then went back to the hotel becuae we had to get up early tomorrow to go hiking for a bit at 海螺沟 (Hai luogou) Glacier Park.

here's a link again to a lot more pictures if you wanna see them

here are pictures to see if you want to see them of this part of my trip! just click here

My Trip to Sichuan Province Pt. 1 (Shanghai to Chengdu)

September 28, 2007

We all met in the lobby around 7:30 (i was a little late though because i forgot to set my alarm... oops) to take a bus to Pudong International Airport to fly 2 and a half hours or so to Chengdu which is the capitol of Sichuan Province. I bought a a bag here to use for the trip which probably wasn't a good idea and it broke before we even go to the airport haha, lucky I didn't have to check anything and I could hold it shut until we got to our first hotel. The airline was a lot nicer that I thought it would be too which was a plus, I didn't see much of it though because I passed out almost right when I got on haha. We arrived in Chengdu at about 1:30 and met the Beijing students from our program and went to our first hotel. On the way there the Beijing leader teacher, Han Bing, told us what was ahead of of for the next week and a half which included lots of mountain driving, Tibetan villages, among other things. We got to our first hotel and checked in. It was pretty nice except for some reason bathroom basically had windows for walls and you had to pull a curtain over it to block anyone from seeing haha. We had a few hours of free time but that was basically spent in Carrefour (kinda like a French Walmart) standing in line because me and Lisa each and to buy a new bag to put our stuff in. Then we had to wait for another 20 minutes while they figured out how to use our credit cards haha. We went for a group dinner at a restaurant but I was kind of disappointed because Han Bing told us he was gonna tell all the restaurants not to make the food spicy because he didn't want anyone to 拉肚子 (diarrhea) on the trip haha. Me and Lisa were both kinda upset because we were both looking forward to spicy food so much. After that Yuki, Masako, Lisa and I just walked around Chengdu looking in expensive shops, then back to a bathing suit shop so they could get one for part of our trip. We also saw a huge statue of Mao with fireworks and crazy lights... almost a bit scary. After all that went back to the hotel and Yuki taught us a Japanese card game that we played for until 2 am haha, and then we went on a snack run to a 24 hour convenience store before finally going to sleep.


Also I have a lot of pictures but they are on on Facebook, I haven't gotten around to finding another photo site but here are a lot of pictures from one of my friends that anyone can see

sometime I will get around to it and then you can see all mine

my pictures are up to see!
click here for my pictures!