Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Flying Home

Finally the day of the dreaed 12 hour flight back to Seattle had come.  We weren't excited for the plane ride, but we were excited that it was taking us home!  So, we got all our stuff and sat at a corner and waited for a bus for about 30 minutes. 

When we got to the airport and to our gate, we were surprised to see a little ceremony going on!  We were flying on Delta's first ever non-stopping flight from Hong Kong to Seattle!  It was actually super exciting!

They had all these important Delta people flying on our plane, so we had to go through some extra security.  I was kind of worried this first flight would be like the first sail of the Titanic, but luckily, we were all safe!

The best part was when they surprised us with certificates and pens of the Seattle Space Needle that light up!

We had quite a bit of a layover in Seattle.  It was about five hours and we were used to it being in the middle of the night, so we all just slept on the airport floor, it was the most uncomfortable thing, and I just wanted to be home.  Then finally we landed in Salt Lake late in the afternoon, and it was so wonderful!  I loved being able to see my family and Justin again!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Our Last Day in China

Today was our last day in Hong Kong, and it was kind of bittersweet.  We've all had such an amazing time, but all of us were just really missing America, and our families.  

For our last day we had a lot going on.  We first took a tram through the city, which was interesting because their trams were two stories, and it was cool to drive through the city, instead of walk!  Haha.  

After the tram we took the subway, and walked through a fancy hotel until we got to the building where we were going to the 100th floor.

When we got to the 100th floor after going up a minute long elevator ride, it was super cool at the top, they had gift shops, a restaurant, and all this tourist stuff.  And the view was spectacular!  We went around the whole building, so we got several different views of Hong Kong!  It also happened to be the fifth tallest building in the world!

After that we rode the subway some more until we got on the other side of the city to see the temple!

Unfortunately the temple was closed a few days before we got there for cleaning, so we couldn't do baptisms!

Instead we just ate lunch there, which was still a super cool experience!

Afterwards we went across the street to the distribution center and Madi got the New Era that she's in, in Chinese, then I got some free church stuff in Chinese, like the YW theme!

After another subway ride and walking through the Hong Kong heat, we got to the Ladie's Market!  Madi and I bought our much wanted I Heart Hong Kong t-shirts!  We also stopped at the Jade Market where Madi and I bought jade rings!

It was then time for us to go to dinner so first we went to McDonald's to get some ice cream!  So good!  We had to wait around for about 45 minutes for our ferry to take us to the restaurant.

View of the city while we were headed to the island.
The ferry ride was very relaxing, and I was so exhausted that I think I fell asleep on the boat.

We had a delicious seafood meal, it was so good!  I especially liked the scallops and squid!

We got some more ice cream and took the boat back to the city.  And that concludes our last day!  It was such a successful trip, I loved every minute of it!  And a huge thanks to our teacher (pictured above) for making this all possible!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ocean Park

Today we spent the day at an amusment park nearby Mr. Anderson's home.  So we walked the fifteen minutes to the park in the heat and humidity, seriously, as soon as we walked out of the house we were already sticky from all the humidity!  Even though it was overcast all day long, it was the so hot and miserable.

Madi and I had only done a few rides, including bumper cars, a swing ride thing, and a roller coaster called the Hair Raiser, which caused Madi and I to black out, when we were starving, and hot.  So, we went to the nearest restuarant, which was probably also the most expensive, to eat lunch.  We both spent ten American dollars on a tiny pizza, and it didn't even come with a drink.  But that's okay, we didn't really have any other way to spend our Hong Kong money.  After lunch we walked all the way across the park just to get an ice cream at McDonald's because we were so stinking hot, and those cones were the most delicious things ever.  

We weren't meeting with the rest of our group until later that afternoon, so we had some time to kill.  So we went on the cable cars, hoping for some air conditioning, or even a breeze.  It was definitely cooler than walking.  And the ocean looked very cool with the overcast weather.  We shopped around a bit, mostly because we wanted the air conditioning.

We even stopped by at the Arctic animals exhibit, and we stayed there a while because it was so cold in there!  It was awesome!  And the animals were cool too.

 It was then time to meet up with the rest of our group to watch a dolphin show.

We were all so exhausted, but we still hadn't seen any panda bears our entire trip, so we had to go to the exhibit!  Luckily it felt good in there too.

We continued to look at different animal exhibits and went to an aquarium before we all walked back to Mr. Anderson's.

When we got back we had quite a bit of down time.  Parker and Briggs were singing Taylor Swift songs to me, then we ate delicious homemade pizza, and had a fresh salad!  It was so good!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hong Kong, Finally!

Today we woke up on our last train!  Even though it was a soft sleeper, this was my least favorite train ride.  It was super rickety, and we kept stopping and it was just a really rough ride, so I kept waking up.  But we weren't getting off until 11 so we had some free time in the morning to do some more chatting with the moms.  

The train didn't go all the way to Hong Kong, we had to get out and on a bus that would take us over the border.  We had to go through immigration and stuff, then we were on our way!  I remember falling asleep and then waking up and we were in Hong Kong, so I took some pictures on the bus ride.

When we arrived at Mr. Anderson's house we started feeling the heat and humidity.  As soon as we stepped out of the bus we were so sticky and gross, it's so humid!  But we got all settled in, and Mr. Anderson's mom made us homemade stew, which was delicious, with some homemade bread, even more delicous, then we had some cookies, which were also very very good.  We were so excited to finally have a home cooked meal!  We then took some taxis to a place called The Peak.  It was a mountian that we just walked around to look at the skyline of Hong Kong, and it was super cool!

After walking around, we took a tram to the bottom and then walked around the city for a long time looking for dinner.

On our walk we passed the church building in Hong Kong!  It's kind of an interesting place, 14 stories high in the middle of the city!  They have church everyday in Hong Kong because there are a lot of Filipino maids that only get one day a week off of work, and a lot of the time it isn't on Sunday, so everyday that have church so the maids can go whenever they don't work.

Finally after going to three different McDonald's and deciding that they were too busy, we finally found one that we ate at!  It was delicious.  I even started to dip my fries in the ice cream sundae that I got, just to see if the Chinese would think that was weird, or if they would start doing it!  I don't think anyone was paying attention to me though.

We then walked around the city some more until we came to the place where we were watching the laser show.  They put on a laser show every night, so of course we had to watch!

After the show we had to take a ferry back to the island that Mr. Anderson's house was on.  Then we had to take another taxi.  They are pretty weird here because they drive on the opposite side of the road.  But the best part of Hong Kong is how American it is!  They have western toliets and English signs!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Hiking, Tai Chi, and the Reed Flute Cave

Again today we woke up pretty early so we could go on a hike before it got super super hot.  I think we  should've gone even earlier, because it was soooooo hot!  The hike was an hour away from our hotel, so we loaded the bus and had a short nap on the bus until we got to Mt. Lao Zhai Shan.  

We seriously had to do the 1159 steps.  Up then back down.

It didn't take us too long to get to the top, but I was exhausted.  I think all this physical activity we've been doing while we're here has really worn me out.  But, I did make it to the top, 1159 steps, and a really sweaty shirt later.

After we all hiked back down and had some ice cream, we went back to the hotel to shower and pack up all our stuff for the train tonight.  We then split up and half of us went to a tai chi class, and the others went to a calligraphy class.  Madi and I chose to do tai chi, even though it was scorching hot.  But, it was a lot of fun.  Our instructor was a cute older guy, that was super flexible.  He was really funny too!  He only taught us the first ten steps of tai chi though, because he said we weren't ready for the rest.

We then had to drive back to Guilin for the train, but on the way we went to a cave called the Reed Flute Cave.  We walked around in there and their formations had a lot of funny names and neon lights shining on them.  They also projected a video of a ballerina dancing, and a video on the evolution of the earth.  But the cave was nice and cool, a relief after the China heat!

We then ate dinner, they fed us some french fries, pizza, the delicious carmelized banana stuff, and other Chinese dishes.  Then we visited a really fancy hotel so that we would use the fancy bathrooms before going to the train station.  Our train was delayed so we ended up having to wait around for awhile, but we were entertained by the moms, so it was fun!

This time we were sleeping in the soft sleepers, so we had a bigger and softer bed, only four people in the compartment, and a door that we could close!  We also had our own control to the lights in the room!  So Madi and I shared with the moms because we love them so much!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bike Riding and Rock Climbing in Yangshuo

Today we started a little earlier than the other days because we wanted to start our bike ride while it was still cool outside, because it is HOT in Yangshuo.  Mr. Anderson said that the further into the trip we go, the hotter and more humid it'll get, and I have defintely felt that.  So I was okay with starting early, and the weather was perfect for a bike ride.  We started right outside of our hotel then biked a ways to get into the country part of Yangshuo.  

We stopped at a couples house to see the more traditional house in Yangshuo.  The old couple was adorable, and they were so excited to show us their home.  They showed us their kitchen and bedroom, and their coffin.  When the mom turns a certain age, the son will buy their coffin, so they just had that sitting in one of their rooms.  They also showed us the machine they use to make soy milk!

 Then after a few flat tires were repaired, we continued our bike ride through the country.  We went over a river, and through quite a few rice fields.  Yangshuo is beautiful!

The next stop we made on our bike ride was to a girls English speaking school.  We talked to them for a little while and they were so excited to meet us!  They were practicing their English on us, and they were really good at it, we kind of tried to speak Chinese, but I'm not very good at Chinese, and they just wanted to speak English.  We also went and played some games with them.  There was a lot of screaming and giggling going on, they were all so cute and excited!
These girls were seventeen, I can't even believe how much younger they look though!
 We then had to say goodbye and there were several pictures taken.  This guy (I think he was one of the teachers) asked if he could take a picture with my glasses because he thought they looked so cool!  I thought that was the funniest thing ever!

 To finish up our bike ride we had to ride through the city for a while.  That was the scariest thing I've ever done.  The driving is already crazy enough, so when we had to bike on the road there were so many people almost running into us, people were honking at us and speeding past us.  At one point we had to cross a very busy road, that was life threatening.  One car didn't even stop, we had to hurry and get out of it's way.  Thank you America for safe roads!

We ate some lunch and then went rock climbing, even though it was burning hot outside!  Luckily at the base of the rock we were climbing, it was covered in shade so it wasn't that hot until we started climbing the wall.  I seriously haven't sweated that much in my entire life.  It was so stinking hot!

But it was a really cool thing to do in China!  And I climbed all the way to the top!  I mean what American teenager can say that they've been rock climbing in China?  Very few, my friends, very few.

 When we got back to the hotel we had quite a bit of free time after dinner.  So we went shopping of course!  Yangshuo was pretty much our last opportunity to shop, so we had to get all of our souveniers before we left!  Madi and I had so much fun!  It was getting dark so they put on all the lights and lasers and there was music, so we were dancing, and were super hyper.  We bought some cheap dresses, a sunproof jacket (we thought they were rain jackets), and ate some delicious gelato, which I actually managed to drop mine in the middle of the street so I had to carry the scoop of gelato all the way to the hotel because China has a lack of garbage cans!  My hand hurt so bad after that, because it was so cold! Overall, Yangshuo has definitely been my favorite city, it's a really fun place!  And Madi and I had such a fun night!