Tuesday, 29 April 2008
Yeah Man, we're really getting into the language here... that's our entire vocab!!! Oh, and Xie Xie - which is thank you (pronounced in Australian as "She Sh!t"!!!)
Somehow we reached our gate at the Train Station, to catch our train from Bejing to Xi'An. Holy cow - there was the entire population of Adelaide in there!!! We were some kind of sideshow at the Train Station with every pair of Chinese eyes watching our every move! NO ONE spoke english there, so we managed to stop 5 different people, at various points, to point us in the right direction of our gate! We managed to make out our carriage no. & bed no.s on our ALL chinese ticket, too! We were very relieved to plonk ourselves down into our little cabin (2 bunk beds and a little table.) We were very fortunate to have and english speaking Chinese couple, who'd lived in Canada for a little while, in the next cabin - they offered to help us get out of the station in Xi'An and get us a taxi. We didn't sleep very well on the train - I was paranoid we'd miss the station in Xi'An! And the "beds" were pretty much a plank of wood with a few pieces of material on it... hard doesn't seem to really describe it! BUT don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining - just describing... it was an amazing experience, and we're so glad we did it. We arrived in Xi'An at 650am. Our hotel there was pretty ordinary. What a snob I am!!! Oh! I forgot to mention, that as we emerged with the huge crowd out of the train station, a man came up to us, and said in perfect english "You want a taxi?" We spoke very good english, and offered to come back later to take us for a short tour of the city. Our Hotel looked out to the "City Wall" - which was just amazing. Its higher than the "Great Wall" and wider too - about 20m high x 7-8m wide (my rough estimation) - with a moat around it too! The taxi man came back after we'd had a shower and took us to Maccas (we were starving!) then took us to BanPur Village (not sure of spelling) - it's the site of a village estimated to have been inhabitated 6,000 years ago! We even saw dead people (their bones, anyway!) H-man was all a bit scared - he's watched too many cartoons where skeletons come alive, and was worried, they'd come get him!!! Next we went to a Pottery place where they make replica "Terra-cotta warriors"... naturally we were persuaded to buy a set at a ridiculous price!!! They are so persuasive!!! Weather is great too. Around 30 degrees.
The following day, I'd booked a tour to see the Terra-cotta Warriors. ABSOLUTELY.AMAZING. It is all you'd expect and more. And you'd be proud - at this momument, I kept my dinner down!!! It is so incredible to be standing there, looking at these figures, that were hand-sculptured so many years ago. I wondered what the people were thinking when they were creating these masterpieces. We also went to the City Wall, where Mr T and the kids rode bikes around it (in the 30 degree heat!). I rested in the "shadow" (otherwise known as the shade, at home!!!) The next day, we went to the airport to fly to Shenzhen... here's where we hit our first snag.
My online booking (and PAYMENT) for our flights... didn't seem to go through - and the "wonderful" (*note: huge dose of sarcasm here*) neglected to let us know. THANK THE LORD, we were there very early, and decided to check with the ticketing counter, whether we needed a physical ticket. No one spoke english, so the girls hunted down someone who could - and she let us know we had no booking. The girls behind the counter rang the "booking agent" and then handed the phone to me. The girl, in very broken english, explained that they could not book the ticket. "I've paid!" I said. She said they refunded the money. I was NOT happy. Thankfully, we were informed we could book a ticket. 4140 yuan (about $600)... CASH. We kept telling them we only had credit... no... cash only. What the?!!! Steam was now coming out of my ears. We were pointed in the direction of a cash machine. We could only take 2500 yuan max out of one card - again, THANK THE LORD we brought 2 cards with us!!! We finally got the cash, and our tickets. *breathe in - breathe out.... it'll all be ok*
We arrived in Shenzhen to a FANTASTIC hotel "Best Western Felicity Hotel". Stunningly luxurious for our tiny $70 something dollars per night!!! We are on the 23rd floor!!! Yikes!!!! AND it has a glass lift, so you can enjoy all 23 floors... I haven't enjoyed it yet, my sweaty hands are clinging to the hand rail, and I've got my eyes squeezed shut) I love Shenzhen! I forgot to say - Xi'An has amazing history, but also has amazing pollution. Really gross. Shenzhen, is lovely! Hardly any pollution.
We met one of our suppliers (for our business back home) today. I asked if the huge building across the road was for shopping, she said no. But when we went over there it is! Instead she took us to the "shopping mall"... Louis Vuitton, Choppin, Porsche, Gucci and all the other hideously expensive shops are!!!! I want the "knock-offs" - not the real thing!!! Think I'll be walking across the road tomorrow, for my knock-off!!!
We are all doing great. Other than, we all have a cold (Mr T had one, then we all shared the train cabin... also shared the bugs!) - we haven't been sick (other than my chuck on the Great Wall... but I don't count that - that was me... not the food!) Our little wheelie bags have been marvellous - and I'm planning on how we can squeeze our stuff and baby's stuff into 2 little baggies for the next trip! We've met 2 families visiting here, from our own city, in Australia - which is AMAZING! And another Perth family were with us on a tour. On of the families from Adelaide were travelling with their 2 kiddies, adopted from Korea. They'd spent a week and half in Korea and one week in China, and were just one their way home. It was so good to speak to people from home!
I'm sorry to bore you with our sightseeing...but it's SO cool! We're having a great time - although exhausting. It certainly a trip that we will never forget.
PS I haven't been able to actually "view" my blog, so thank you, if your commenting, I can't wait to read them when we get home!
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
Tuesday, our first day as tourists in the Chinese capital. Ｉ had scheduled a tour for our first day, but changed it about 3 days before we left home, thinking it might be a bit much to be touring our first day! THANK GOD I DID! We got up at about 730am, thanks to H-man, waking us all up, and went down to an amazing buffet breakfast. our hotel Holiday Inn Temple of Heaven, is fantastic! The service is great, beds are a little hard, and pillows a little too soft - but hey, when in Rome - right?!! The Chinese Sports Institute here have put in some new rule, that in all public pools, swimming caps must be worn - so we had to buy hideously expensive swimming caps from the hotel... all to look like condom-knob-head morons to have a swim! Note: It was NOT hot outside, a chilly 11 degrees - but the indoor pool was lovely! We went for a walk to find "Temple of Heaven" only to wander the streets, with no idea where we were going! We found a local park, where we were definitely a sideshow, then had lunch at a local restaurant, where we were put in the front window... on display! I've since found out - there are no other "International"Hotels in the area!
Wednesday, Great Wall / Ming Tombs tour day! We had to be out front by 745am, so had to be up by 6 to shower & breakfast. Ming Tombs wasn't as "cool" as I expected... maybe I thougth we'd actually see the dead guy?! The Great Wall, was all and more than I expected! OMG! It was soooo steep. I've read it a thousand times in people's blogs/stories... but being there, looking up at it, and then chasing your 6 year old son up it - totally different story!!! We all made it to the top! And if you asked my kids what was there memory of the Great Wall? They'd say with much pride and gusto "My Mum puked at the top of the Great Wall!" Yes, you read that right. I puked. It was horribly embarrassing!!! I don't know whether I'm sooo unfit, that my poor old body, just couldn't cope with the exercise, or whether it was the heights or whether it was the massive buffet dinner we'd just consumed... but one thing is for sure - I left something of me, on the Great Wall!!! Of course our diligent guide, made sure we stopped off at the local Jade and Cloisonne factories! i scored a beautiful jade bracelet for Mothers Day & the kids got a pendant each. I'm sure we were hideously ripped off.... but hey, I got a beautiful piece of jewellry - and longevity, now, right? We didn't get any cloisonne (my hubs is now stone broke!) And finally today, we saw an acrobat show which was absolutely amazing - I highly recommend it, if in Beijing. We got the DVD, coz we couldn't take photos or movie. We flagged down a cab to take us back to our hotel, and hit the jackpot with "Mr Loony Toons"!!! I swear this dude was high! He actually spoke good english, and loved to sing. He'd break into song mid sentence! We filmed him, he was so hilarious. Poor H-man was so tired, he kept asking if the guy knew where he was going!!!
So far - it's been an amazing trip. Hope to post again, from Xian - we go there in a couple of days.
Photo above: "pre-pukage"
*sorry tried to download more photos, but I can't compress them here, so they're not downloading!
Zia Jian (did I spell that right?!!)
Sunday, 20 April 2008
(I just realised, they're all very colour co-ordinated aren't they?!!)
Saturday, 19 April 2008
2 more days til we board that plane! Can you believe that I've packed 4 little baggies, each weighing only 7kgs (15lbs)? 7kgs to get us through 16 days! 3 little plastic baggies with our liquids in, to show at the checkpoint. I'm not taking my straightener... which could make for some scary pictures, but I don't want the airport to confiscate it, or worse, have it blow up in China! And, I've decided not to take my laptop. I'm going to try and use the business centre's at the Hotels. I'd like to download photos to a memory stick while I'm there. So hopefully, I'll be able to get it to read in English, so I know what I'm doing!
Here's my 3 word Sunday
As busy as I am... I can't help feeling "jipped". (ripped off/its not fair/duped) I'm not feeling overly positive or enthusastic about our file collecting dust in China. I've got an awful gut-feeling that we won't be seeing Mini til next year. Which just sucks, well and truly.
I'm totally psyched that we're getting on a plane on Monday morning, to go see the awesome country, that China is... but the closer it gets, the more sad I feel, that this isn't the reason we initially bought the tickets. Maybe I'm all sad, coz its quarter to 1 in the morning, Mr T is snoring, and I can't sleep. Maybe its PMS. Maybe I'm just a loony. Whatever the reason, my heart is feeling sad tonight.
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
I thought I'd have a nice easy week, this week, as we lead up to "the big trip"... no such luck. Have something booked in every day! I thought today would be a quiet one, with a trip to the shops to get some last minute, medicines & cosmetics (and those tiny travel bottles), and make a meal for a family at Church that has just had a baby. But my SIL rang at 1045am, and suggested we switch our movie date, which was scheduled for Thurs, to this afternoon! Holy cooking-frenzy Batman, I haven't even started making the meal, and they live about 25 mins away! So, I put my butt into gear, whipped to the shops to get the ingredients I needed. Threw it together - and had it made in 20 mins! I even impressed myself! Apricot Chicken, rice and vegies.
(oh, talking about cooking, Jodie hoho asked how much 90g is - I have no idea how much is in your "stick" so I'll convert it to lbs/oz for you... 90grams = 3.17 ounces or .198 of a pound) online conversion - is a fantastic site, I use it all the time for all sorts of conversions - bookmark it!
We're seeing Ni.ms Island (with J Foster) - it looks really good.
Now I have Thursday free... I wonder what I can squeeze into that day?!!
6 more days ~ the kids are packed, haven't started on our gear yet, most of it is either in the washing or ironing pile! Bummer... looks like washing & ironing will be my treat on Thursday?!!
Oh yeah - I scared myself half to death yesterday! I was typing up our itinerary (as I've planned the whole trip myself, booking everything online). I thought we were leaving Hong Kong on Mon 5 May and arriving home on Tues 6 May... our flight itinerary said we leave Sun 4 May and arrive home on Mon 5 May!!! Holy cow! We would've missed our flight!!! I'd booked our Dis.neyland Hotel for Mon 5 May as well. We've decided to keep the booking, that way we can use the room, right up until we need to go - as we don't fly out til midnight! I HOPE everything goes ok... I'm starting to doubt my powers of organisation!!!
Saturday, 12 April 2008
Saturday, 5 April 2008
A friend of ours has 2 Spo.odles, one girl (4yrs old) and one boy (8 months old)... well apparently about 5 weeks ago, they got "jiggy with it"... and now 4 yrs old girl is up the duff! So, we were asked if we'd like a brother or sister for Chewy! And Mr T said YES!!! Can you believe it? The guy that was never very impressed that Chewy joined our clan, and here he is accepting another pooch?!!! So, in 12 weeks, we may have another puppy! Yikes... another puppy? I don't have very fond "puppy" memories of Chewy. He chewed through my vacuum hose, wee'd and poo'd everywhere, dug holes everywhere and chewed anything left laying on the ground!
Here's my 3 word Sunday (brought to you on Saturday!)
16 more days!
Speaking of brother or sister... it appears ours (Miss M & H-man's bro/sis) is on the slow-go again. Forecasted cut off for this month is 9th January 2006. Yep, they've allocated 5 whole days. Not feeling terribly "revved" up about this. We're down to 44 logged in days, ahead of ours. 44 loooooooooooong days. 44 divided by 5 allocation days = 9 more months to wait. My hopes of Mini being home for Christmas are looking pretty dim. Congrats to new families, but don't mind me, whilst I go sulk in the corner.
Wednesday, 2 April 2008
Tuesday, 1 April 2008
From Chelley: Have you started packing with your new swish suitcaes?? No... we're only packing 3-4 outfits each... I figure that won't take long!
Hows your feelings about being in China knowing that you are so very close to your little one! Trying not to think about it, it'd send me crazy if I dwelled on where she might be, and how old she might be etc... we'll know in due time. This is purely holiday trip. (at least that's what I keep telling myself, until I think about it being our child's "birth country"!)
The tours that you are doing this trip you wont do again when you go next time??? No, probably not. Australians don't tend to go through Beijing, as it's at the top of China, and we're kind of, under China! And I desperately want to see the Great Wall. We'd only see the Terracotta Warriors if Mini was from Xian. And we're not taking the kids on the "Mini" trip, so we wouldn't bother with Disneyland. One place we know we'll definitely visit on the "Mini" trip, is Shanghai, so I purposefully, left that off our itinerary this time.
From Pu.g Mama: btw, can't you grab a kid while you are over in China? while you're at it, grab me one too!!!! You certainly aren't the first person to suggest this!!! Somehow, I think that might affect our chances of being seen as "responsible, eligible, good parents"?!!! I reckon, they'd notice the big lump, under my shirt (or heaven forbid if I tried to stuff one down my pants?)!! **I am kidding people... just incase you fancy ringing my social worker** I am happy to wait. Tell a lie, I'm not happy about it, but we will wait!
From Anonymous (who I'm pretty sure is my friend J?!): Hope you plan on blogging your trip! ?
I don't think this was really asked as a question, more of a demand, but I'll answer anyway! I wasn't going to take my laptop, but most of the Hotels were booked into, have internet, so I'm considering trying to squeeze it in. Then we'd have a dvd player and I could blog/fiddle when we're sitting around doing nothing (which btw, isn't scheduled on any day!!!) Plus I have a "thing" about downloading photos off my camera. I hate having heaps of photos on there... its my pet hate. I download daily, usually. I mean, what if someone steals your camera - then you've lost all that good stuff.
On a completely different note:
I bought these fancy new shoes about a month ago (actually I bought them for myself for my birthday). They are fancy "Stegmann" German Made shoes. They are 100% leather, and even smell like leather! Apparently they're a "special" brand, my neighbour "oooo and ahhhh" when she saw the brand. They were on special, I thought they were funky, I bought them. Anyway, even when I tried them on briefly in the store, they rubbed on my heels. I tried wearing them with bandaids on my heels... ouch, still killed me. Today I wore them again with bandaids and socks (ewww....) it certainly isn't a look I would normally go for, but I have to break them in, coz I bought them solely to wear in China! (pun intended!)
I think I made progress today. They did rub a bit, but didn't give me a blister. Maybe I should wear them around the house with Mr T's big thick work socks on?!!! Nice. I really like em. THEY WILL BE COMFORTABLE, DAMN IT!!!
(It was 14 degreesC (57F) in China today... I hope it warms up a little before we get there... 20 more days!)