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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Checking off the bucket list

It was fast, it was furious, and it was fabulous!  Our trip to China is something I have wanted to do for years. I have hinted, I have begged, and I have whined!  Finally my perseverance paid off, and I was able to travel to China with the hubs, son, and daughter-in-law.

I had mentioned that I wanted to go to the Great Wall, see the Terra Cotta Warriors, and visit the Forbidden City.  I was told that these things are spread out, and that it would take several trips to see the things I wanted to see.  Well, when my son gets an idea, just stand back, and let him go. (He's like his mama in this regard)

I was able to visit all of the things I wanted to and so much more, thanks to our business connections in China. It was a dream trip, one that I can't believe, even as I review the photos. We spent only two nights in each of the five cities, but there was so much packed into each day, it was exhausting and exhilarating all in the same trip.

We visited Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.  Traveling is one of my passions, and to visit such a far away place was nothing I could prepare myself for.  I don't speak Chinese, nor do I read it.  Most Chinese don't speak English, nor do they read it. If it weren't for our traveling companion John, I know this trip would have been a much different experience for us. Being Chinese, and speaking English was just the ticket we needed.  He helped us through the airport, and was invaluable when security noticed something in our son's checked bag.  It turned out to be a bullet..actually two. One spent, one unused, a leftover from a hunting trip and hidden in his backpack under granola bars and Gatorade.  After they took his passport and boarding pass, I began to sweat.  We are visitors in this country, and not even the police carry guns in Beijing. Now, we are at their mercy.  John accompanied security to some place away from us, and after 30 anxious minutes, John returned alone (scared the poop out of me) to tell us everything was fine, and our son would be coming out shortly.  I had visions of going on the Today show, crying, and showing photos of his big blue eyes, and pleading with Hilary to come get my boy out of Chinese prison.  Guess my TV debut will wait, as we were on our way, a little shaken, but non the less, on our way.

In addition to my wish list, there were so many wonderful additions...a summer palace, a hot springs spa that ancient Emperors used, panda bears, museum's, and walking streets and seeing how the people lived.  As time goes on, I may write about specific things, but for now here are some pics from the trip.

Forbidden city

This city was built for 20,000 & took us two hours to walk from back to front. Amazing!

non weaponed police...except for billy clubs

I have always been drawn to Asian children...so adorable

one of many busness dinners where we were over fed

Olympic stadium.  Sasha was an alternate to the Olympics

I was prepared for pollution, but still sad that photos are so hazy...still an amazing place.

These were amazing. I loved the history I learned. Wish I'd had a timeline of the different dynastys.

a little culture...opera no less

The pandas were an unexpected pleasure. Such a wonderful morning spent with them

the little ones are so active...both were in bamboo heaven

no more rickshaws, only pedi cabs in China today

so surprised to find Oregon Beer in China.  The owner came out and took our photo, as he was impressed we were from Oregon.

If they have wheels, they will put them to use, moving, or selling things

silly times

Duchess gets crowned

blue skies in Hong Kong!

view from Hotel

picked our dinner

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