Thursday, July 24, 2008

Catching up

I am finally posting more about my trip. I didn't mean for it to take this long to get more things up but just haven't really been in a blogging mood :) I am finally adjusted back to right time zone. I think it took me almost a week to get back on track. The first few nights back I pretty much did not sleep. Lets just say I looked I was glad not to be seen many since I looked scary.

I might have some more things to write about. There were some funny things that happened when I could not take pictures so I will post more later. My eyes are getting tired so I am going to be done for the evening. Enjoy the ones below!!

If only we could get to the airport in 8 minutes

This first picture I found online because mine did not look as good. This is the Maglev train that is in Shanghai. It only makes one stop and that is the airport. The station is fairly close to my parents place so one day we decided to take a trip on it....yes, just to the airport and back. It is pretty cool though because of how fast it goes. Once you get on it goes up to 268 mph and you cant even tell your going that fast. It gets you to the airport in under 8 mins. I think it took us an hour to drive to the airport with traffic.

They have these displays so you can see how fast the train is going. We were just about to leave.

This shows our top speed. It was hard to get a super clear picture since we were going to fast.

Avoiding Chinese Food :)

Not a grand pic of me but wanted to get the outside of it. My hair did not love the humidity ;)

So the Chinese food that I get here in Texas is much different than what they serve in China. After my two experiences with food in Beijing and Xian I was done trying the food there. Lets just say that for one of those meals I ended up eating white rice and three rolls. I at least tried the meat but when it was hard to chew and started tasting like fish I was done! Many of you know I hate seafood so I don't want my beef tasting like it. Well once back in Shanghai my parents took me to all their western (which means American) restaurants. There is one in particular that my dad seems to love. We ended up going there 3 times and I think all the people that work their know him. They all smile really big when he comes in the door. It might also mean that they get a nice tip since not many do that in China. Its called Johnny Moos and is like an old 50's diner. It was pretty good, tasted like a regular hamburger which was nice :)

Boat Tour of Shanghai

On one of the last nights that I was in Shanghai we went and took a boat tour of the downtown area. I forgot to take a picture of the boat but my mom thought it looked shady and might sink. I didn't think it was that bad. It actually turned out to be a very pretty evening, my mom said it was strange to see a blue sky with white clouds. Apparently Shanghai has the second tallest building in the world which I did not know. There are rumors they are going to build one ever taller.

The second tallest building in the world....1614 feet tall.

I took this from the car so its a little blurry. I wanted to show how there are buildings everywhere. This is the main downtown but then across the river is the old downtown. I have never seen so many high rises....its crazy. I guess thats how they cram 20 million people into one city.

Aren't Umbrellas for Rain???

So this isn't a greatly exciting picture but wanted to point out something. See all the umbrellas, well thats what many of the ladies use to keep the sun off of them since it can be pretty hot. My mom also said that many of them use it to keep their skin from getting darker. I guess darker skin is a sign that you are from a migrant workers family which means lower economic status. Its kind of funny how in our culture many prefer to have a tan than bright white skin. It can be somewhat annoying since there are millions of people in Shanghai and umbrellas can take up lots of space on the sidewalk.

Pearl Tower

So there is this huge tower in downtown Shanghai that you can go up in and see the city. We were hoping to go on a day that the pollution was not that bad but we didn't want to wait to long where I would miss it. So my pictures are a little hazy. Of course though the day after we went is was a beautiful sunny day....oh well. There are 3 different levels that we were able to look out. It was pretty cool, though as I was standing 1148 feet above the ground I swear the building started to sway. My mom felt it too. My dad thought we were crazy so I blamed it on my inner ear disorder :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I can finally eat!!!

I dont really love to eat here but when your given strange food to eat it sometimes sounds really good. It was on a day when we had to eat chinese food for lunch on our tour in Xian. It was more western style so I should of liked it. One of the problems was the food gave off a bad odor so it made me loose my appetite. The meat was also very chewy and had a weird after taste. Once back in Shanghai I have not had to eat McDonald's. They have better places to go here.

The Great Wall

We went to see the Great Wall the second day we were in Beijing. I have to say I was pretty amazed when I saw it. It is huge and we only saw a small portion of it. I ended up taking over 100 pictures of it so I will spare you all and only post some of them :) We took a cable car up the mountain which I am not greatly fond of. Then we we walked quite a long distance on the wall. It was pretty tiring but it was worth it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Beijing-Day 1

Our first day in Beijing was very busy. We headed over to Tiananmen Square first. If you look at the pictures you might think that the weather was bad. It actually was very hot and sunny. Problem is you cant see the sun because there is so much pollution. That's not fog in the picture :) They are determined to have the air clean by the Olympics but I am not too sure about that.

We then headed over to the Forbidden City which for those of you who don't know its right next to Tiananmen. I don't think I ever realized how big that place is. It keeps going and going into new sections.

Next we climbed aboard richshaws and took a tour of the Hutongs. Its an older part of the city. My dad made some new friends, even though they could not communicate with each other in the same language. If any of you know my dad he can be pretty friendly to strangers. They even offered him a nice drink, not really sure what it was though. Oh afterwards we did go by where the Olympics are going to be held. The pollution seemed to get worse so I don't have any great pictures of it.

It ended up being a good day, just very exhausting. I don't think I had walked that much in a long time. I was so tired when we got back to the hotel that I fell asleep at 8:30....and if any of you know me that well that is pretty early for me.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

More to come....

I have lots of great pictures to post from my trip to Beijing but I am having internet problems so it will be a bit longer. The connections here can be really slow and that can be a problem when your trying to download pictures.

Xi'an Trip

Thursday morning we got on a plane to Xi'an to see the museum of terracotta soldiers. I didn't know much about them but our tour guide gave us some good info. Probably more than I needed to know because I found myself tuning him out. I have a short attention span when it comes to history :) They are very interesting to see in person though. Its crazy how many of them are still intact given how old they are.

Oh this is some mystery food that was given to us for breakfast on the airplane. I have no idea what it all was except for the egg. I really didn't want to eat it to find out. My dad was brave and ate the egg and bean things. What ever happened to peanuts or pretzels?? I guess that's just in the US.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

We are stuck!!!!

So I am writing from the first class lounge at the airport in Xian. Apparently our plane is broken so we have to wait a few hours to catch a new flight to Beijing. I do have one complaint about the airport. The bathrooms here are pretty nasty. They arent the normal kind we are used to in the US. I am sure if you have traveled to other countries you might know what I am talking about. They dont even have toilet paper!! Luckily my mom warned me about all of this but I was hoping I didnt have to experience it ;)

We did have a good day today. We came to Xian to see the Museum of Terracotta soldiers. It was pretty cool so once I get someplace where I can post pictures I will. Now we just have to hope we make it out of this city!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Jade Buddha Temple

This is a picture of part of the outside of the temple. Its pretty big and I was going to get another picture but my dad took off to cross the street. So I wasn't wanting to get left, since the streets are actually very scary to cross here :)

I dont remember what this was called. You are supposed to throw a coin up and try and get it in one of the openings for good luck. My dad and I both tried and missed the first time but got it on the second. So not sure the good luck will come if it takes more than one try ;)

Our visit was cut a little short because it started to rain. You can sort of tell its raining in the last picture. We were also supposed to go see a few more sites after that but the rain didn't stop. Oh well, we will try again another day. I probably wont do any updating for the next couple of days because we are going to Beijing and I am not sure if we are bringing a computer. I should have some good stuff though since we will be seeing things like the Great Wall.

The secret room

I had some interesting experiences today when we were out shopping. We went to this one shopping center filled with many vendors inside. All of them hassle you to buy their stuff which can be annoying after a while. They do not seem to understand what "no" means. They also tell you they will give you a special deal. It usually doesn't turn out to be such a great deal though. It helps having your parents who live here come so they know what a good deal is. One of the things that cracked me up was when you didn't see something you would like they would open some secret back room filled with more stuff. One of the guys just started pushing on the wall and part of it opened....pretty sneaky. I guess they were trying to keep certain name brand things out of sight....even though they are not the real thing.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Don't you want to eat here??

We walked by this restaurant when we were out shopping today. This is one reason why I am cautious of the food I will eat while I am here. You never know what you might be eating. You might have to click on the picture to see what it says.


So my first planned event was getting a pedicure :) I know that is probably not the first thing you think of when visiting a country but it was very nice and relaxing. I am thinking I might need another one before I leave with all the walking we will be doing.