*Piper is in rehearsals for Captain Bree (link on sidebar).
*My Kiosk opened, so I'm at work a lot.
-I needed to find employees
-I needed to get everything in order with the kidlets and home (actually this still isn't done).
*We pulled the kids from their Psycho Private School.
-A hard decision that was a long time coming.....you can only put up with so much for so long.
*We had to register them in the neighborhood Public School (our options are few, but we feel VERY good about this decision).
- I am so amazed and appreciative. The school's faculty and staff have been fantastic, they are making this transition much easier than expected for my kidlets. In fact I have gotten much more communication from this school in one week than I got from their old school in over three years!
*Aaron is either at work, in school or studying (this is a constant, but it will all be worth it....he's done in April!).
*Not to mention everything else that goes on in the everyday life at the Salazar home.
So, I'm pretty sure that isn't all of my excuses, but it is enough for you to get an idea of our crazy life!
I thought that I would give you a quick rundown of China, then since we have over 1,000 pictures, I would give you a link so you can look at them. Then, if you have any questions....let me know and I will do a separate post with the answers!! That is if you have any questions!
And, this post will be long since I am covering our entire trip. So, if you want to skip down to the end and just look at the pictures, that is totally fine with me....you will however miss out on my outrageous sense of humor, and my keen ability to describe our many adventures.
We left on Oct 16, we had to meet at the Salt Lake International Airport no later than 6:30 p.m.. Everybody was so excited, the energy was so high. We had a really nice flight to LAX. Once there we had to go to the other side of the Airport (we literally walked for about 20 minutes), to the Korean Air terminals, our layover felt like it was forever, I think it was over 2 hours. We finally boarded our plane, and guess who was on it.......DAVID HASSLEHOFF...not that I am a fan, at all, it was just kind of cool. The kidlets thought it was awesome! They know 'The Hoff' from SpongeBob.
After our 12 hour flight, we landed in Korea. It was about 5:30 (I think) in the morning. We were able to get an Internet connection, so we got to talk to the kidlets, we even got to see them because they were borrowing grammies Mac and we had Aaron's. That was neat. The Korean Airport had the most amazing toilets I had ever seen....little did I know how much I would appreciate that 10 days later.........By this time everyone was tired and cranky and our energy level was very low.
Finally we boarded our flight to Hong Kong and got there in the afternoon. Guess what! No resting time, we immediately started doing the whole tourist thing! And, might I add here that we still had on the same clothes (and underwear) that we were wearing when we left Salt Lake? Not just Aaron and I, but ALL 48 of us.
Things we did in Hong Kong;
*Took the 20 minute cable car ride up to see the Big Buddha on the top of the mountain, it was very cool. Aaron and I paid the extra money to hike up the stairs (I know, a shock to all of you that know me). I need to add here that is wasn't that hot, but the humidity was disgusting. I was sweating SO bad, probably more than the rest of the 47 people combined. I know that you are thinking I am exaggerating, but it is true. I had to buy a new shirt.
*We went to the Market. Very Interesting. This is where Aaron got a stamp, and we got some jammies for the kidlets.
*The city does a light show every night at 8:30. All of the buildings have lights on them. Music starts playing and all the lights start going crazy for about 15 minutes. Very cool, a little over the top.
*Victoria Peak, we went to the top of a mountain that that had an incredible view of the entire city, it was amazing.
*We went on a Boat Ride. It showed us all of the fishermen and the families that actually live on their boats a fish for a living. Interesting.
*Aaron and I had full body massages. I LOVED mine, however Aaron hated his. My masseuse actually walked on me. The following day I got a foot massage.
*We went on an entirely too long train ride that was suppose to be a tour of the city.......Our tour guide scheduled it so he could rip us off.
*One of the places that we ate at put some squid down on the table that was still moving! That is when I knew FOR SURE I was going to struggle with the food.
*Outback Steakhouse! I was thrilled.
We flew from Hong Kong to Xi'an, a nice short flight.
My overall thoughts of Hong Kong;
*Claustrophobic is the first word that comes to mind. So many people, so many buildings, so little room. I felt like I could reach out of the bus and touch the buildings...we were on the highway.
*If the land was not covered, it was green and beautiful.
*I loved that they drove on the wrong side of the road!
*I loved that there was no communication barrier. Everyone spoke English.
*It was pretty Westernized.
Things we did in Xi'an;
*We checked into the hotel and the first thing we did was get Aaron's haircut. Wow. It seriously too forever. And it was like 11:00 at night.
*Terracotta Warriors are pretty neat. The whole story behind them is pretty amazing. The old dude that discovered them 30 years ago was there, but he was a mean old man. We were there entirely too long, but it was still cool. We meet some High School girls from England there, they too were doing a business tour. They thought it was pretty funny that the students with us were all old (25-37) and still going to school.
*This is probably the only 'business' meeting that I will bring up because it was amazing. We went to this Beer Distribution place. Holy Smokes. Talk about a lot of beer. For a little Mormon girl like me it was pretty amazing. I have never seen so much beer in my life.
*We went to the city wall, unfortunately it was raining like crazy, otherwise we would have ridden bikes on the wall. This is where we learned about the Dragon Horse; what it meant, where it is suppose to be in your house, the direction it is to face etc.
*We had 'Chinese Foot Massage' almost the entire group had this done, it was quite funny. Again, Aaron hated his, but I LOVED mine.
*We went to one of the oldest Pagodas/Temples in China, it was eight stories (? I think). We lit some candles in front of it and blessed someone while we did so. And guess what? Again, we paid the extra money to climb to the top, and yes, I did it. There was beautiful views of the city.
*We went to a club downtown that was a lot of fun.
My overall thoughts of Xi'an;
*It was dirty, smoggy and stinky. We could not see the sky or the mountains.
*There were bicycles and scooters everywhere. And I mean everywhere.
*There were a lot of beggars, I thought that was interesting.
*I think everyone smokes.
Things we did in Shanghai;
*We went to the TV Tower, some of you may know this building because of its three balls. It was kind of cool, there was a pretty amazing view from the top.
*This silk factory had a pretty hysterical fashion show. But it was really neat to see how the silk was made, and of course we spent some money there.
*We went to some pretty amazing gardens (again, I can't remember the names. We do have the itinerary, but I'm at work, it's at home), they were beautiful and they lead to a market. We got a couple of things there.
*We went to one of the most fabulous restaurants that I have ever been to, and had one the most amazing steaks that I have ever had. We also went to a bakery that had the most amazing eclair. They were in a mall type thing that all American malls should strive to be like. Except for there was a picture of the Statue of Liberty with "Miami" written under it.
*We went to WalMart! I know, I know, I vowed I would never go, however, I didn't have a choice, everyone went, and don't worry, it was dirty, stinky, messy and gross. It may be the same as the ones here in the states.
*We met at a University that works closely with Westminster and went to lunch with some of the students.
My overall thoughts of Shanghai;
*Much cleaner than Xi'an, but still very smoggy.
*Still tons of bicycles and scooters.
*Again, everyone smoked.
*It seems as though they are trying to Westernize this city.
We took a Train ride to Beijing, and it was great, I took an Ambien and slept the entire time.
What we did in Beijing;
*We went to the worlds largest KFC for breakfast. However, they didn't serve any chicken! For breakfast at least.
*We went to Tiananmen square, however we didn't actually get in because there was a summit going on. There were tons of guards out so it was still pretty interesting. It's amazing to me that Mau Se Tung is absolutely everywhere. What an interesting man. We could have gone the next day, but it was closed.
*The Forbidden city is huge and very repetitive, we just kept going and going and going, but it seemed as though we were in the same place the entire time.
*Pearl Market and Jade Market. We all know I was excited about this! They weren't really that interesting except that I got new real pearl earrings and ring for pretty inexpensive and a pair of real purple jade earrings.
*I think it was called 'The Temple of Heaven' It was pretty neat. We only stayed at the actual temple long enough to look at it, but on the way up it was pretty neat, there was this area where people would sing, dance and play instruments, just for fun. There was also places you had to walk through to get there, one called 'Echo Wall.' Don't worry, it didn't echo, well a tiny bit, we were all looking forward to this boisterous echo, and....nothing. This place has NOTHING! We, have the Tabernacle.
*The Silk Street Jade Market was the most fabulous place to shop! Aaron is fantastic at negotiating. We left with so much crap, it was awesome. about 7 floors full of imitation EVERYTHING. I highly recommend this place.
*The Great Wall of China. Really, this should have it's very own post. This is an experience I will NEVER forget. In fact, I am going to do a Great Wall post. I will do it either tomorrow or Wednesday......I promise.
*We went to the dumpiest hotel ever to watch a gymnastics show. It amazes me how this little gymnasts can make their bodies move like that. It was pretty amazing.
*I know this is what you have been waiting for. We saw the birds nest and the water cube and the other Olympic stuff that was around these two most poplar sites. It was pretty surreal being right there.
My overall thoughts of Beijing;
*It was clean, I could actually see the sky!
*Not as many bicycles and scooters.
*It's pretty Westernized.
*Mau Se Tung is everywhere, and it amazes me that some Americans (that were with us) don't know who he is!
*Still, lots of smoking.
We flew back to Korea, then to LAX, then home. There is a 14 hour time difference, but we got home at about 7:30 Utah time on Oct.27. Jet Lag sucks, but it was so good to be home.
And, I want to share some overall thoughts of some of the things that were constant throughout the entire trip;
*Chinese people have no manners. They fart, belch and hack loogies wherever and whenever. They tell you exactly what they think of the way you look.
*The architecture in China is absolutely amazing! I think America should venture outside of the mundane sky risers and get some ideas from the Chinese.
*I am so incredibly thankful that I can sit on a toilet. I don't squat well, so I didn't! I would literally hold it all day so I wouldn't have to! And, I am so glad that I use toilet paper.
*I think it is interesting that the Chinese don't necessarily believe in a God, or Higher Power. It seems like everything is based on Chi, Numbers and Symbols. Everything has to be facing the right direction. You have to live on a certain side of the city. You need to believe in lucky numbers, like 8, etc....I'm not sure how this is actually working for them.
*They have traffic laws, but nobody follows them. Pedestrians don't have the right of way. When I say that they don't follow the laws, I am completely serious. It doesn't matter if the light is read or green or if there is a Stop or Yield sign, they just drive. I have never been so scared that I was going to die as I was in the taxi's.
*Negotiating is awesome. My life would be so much cheaper if I could only negotiate.
*The English Translators need to do a better job! It was very interesting what some of the signs said.
*I have never been so thankful for McDonalds in my entire life. It was hard for me to even look at the food, let alone eat it! And, they eat the same thing every single day. I can only handle so much rice. And...everything seemed to be fried, in what? I don't know.
*It seemed like most of the Chinese people we met, hated President Bush.
*Whenever you take a picture of a Chinese person they do the peace sign and tilt their head. I tried to show them how to do the Rock sign, it only worked a couple of times.
*Chinese children are the most adorable kids (besides mine...of course) on the face of the earth!!
Here are our pictures!!! Enjoy! China Pictures