Day 2,3,A and 4 China

After a fun night in Hong Kong, it was time to head to the airport to fly to Beijing. I wish I had another day in Hong Kong because there is so much to do, but China is so big and there was so little time. Unfortunately the 2nd day consisted primarily of traveling. Our flight didn’t leave until 12:30pm or so and we then had about a 3 hour drive to the city we spent the night. Our hotel was a nice 5 star hotel that seemed practically empty and the workers spoke very very little English. Personally, I would have rathered SAS save us a few dollars by going to a cheaper place, but it was very nice and I was able to Skype a little bit with my family, so that was nice. The city we stayed in was very residential and because it was a week day, it seemed very quiet. A few of us did try to go out and explore a little, and we heard there was a McDonalds nearby. Myself and Kevin just kind of wandered around looking for any ATM or McDonalds. After going down a bunch of different side alleys, unsuccessfully asking for directions, accidentally dropping my camera, and getting stared at by every person that we saw, we finally made it to McDonalds. This was actually the first country that I ate McDonalds, but I figured I would do some comparisons. Little did I know that we would actually be served McDonald Big Macs on top of the Great Wall as our lunch the next day. I had a blueberry McFlurry and a mango smoothie. I’m not sure if you can get those in the U.S. After McD’s we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our 2 dayish hiking of the Great Wall.

I got up at 6am to skype because of the 12 hour difference, and even though my speakers were acting up, it was really great to be able to Skype my Dad. We left the hotel at 8am and about a half an hour to a more remote section of the Great Wall. The Great Wall might be a little boring to write about, but I find nothing truly boring about it at all. The architecture, the history, and the endless mountain views in every direction make all of the endless stairs worth it. It is truly a wonder of the world and everyone should make a point in visiting. At lunch we were served McDonalds and local farmers carried our lunches up to us. We were also accompanied by a bunch of ladies mostly in their mid 50’s who are farmers and souveneir hikers, who hike sections of the wall everyday with tourists and then try to sell souveneirs at the end. I met a few of them and they are truly nice, dedicated, and hardworking ladies. Whenever we reached a ledge or an extra high step, they would help everyone up, we also did the same with them. Although I believe that the ladies were truly nice and friendly, their ultimate goal was to establish a relationship throughout the trip so that you will buy something from them at the end of the trip. I did end up buying from them one of them at the end- a book and a panda hat. The items were a little over priced and they were all pretty much set on price so it was hard to negotiate. After a full day on the wall and off, on some off-wall mountain trail, we headed back to the hotel.

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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everybody!

Like Easter and any other holiday, it has been strange this semester. Days of the week do not matter, and weekends do not have any significance. It is either A class day, B class day, reading/special day, or Day 1,2,3,4,5, or 6 while at port. We still do celebrate holidays and they did have an Easter mass this morning, but it does not feel the same. It makes me miss going to Easter Sunday at my church, witnessing the Easter cantatas every year, and celebrating the resurrection of Christ with my family with a coconut lamb-shaped cake, or our Easter family get together. The list could go on and on.

Yesterday was our last day in China. The last few days in Shanghai seemed to take a while, but our time in Beijing and the Great Wall was absolutely amazing and may be one of my most favorite experiences with Semester at Sea. With only having two days in between the last few counties, including upcoming Japan, it has been tough keeping up with all of the reading and assignments, including blogging. As always, I will at least try to get some pictures up shortly!

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The Great Wall

I’m about to go to bed to get ready for another amazing day of hiking the great wall, but heres a few pictures!

See you later!!!

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Day 1 Hong Kong

It is now our third night in China, and while I have some internet (not facebook because China blocks it), I will try to quickly update everyone on what is going on, and so that I don’t get too far behind.

Being the Disney buff that I am, I promised myself that I would have at least one international Disney experience. I am going to be busy on the two days we are in Tokyo, so Hong Kong was the only option. After some friends cancelling at the last minute and everyone else having either FDPs or leaving for big trips, so I decided to go by myself. I thought that it would be extremely boring, but I ended up having a great time.

On the way to Disney, taking Hong Kong’s well organized and advanced subway system, I ran into a family from California, on their way to Nepal for a few weeks. I forget their names, but their daughters had two weeks off from school and the father was some sort of scientist heading up to do some research. I told them about SAS and we got to do some travel talking. I love running into fellow Americans abroad and compare experiences! Almost as much as I love meeting locals!
I had never been to the Disneyland in California, so I saw some attractions that I have never seen before like the Golden Mickeys. I was curious about what Asian adaptions that there would be, and I noticed that there more stirfry and noodle dishes, but there was still a lot of American options. The only other main differences was the mix of Mandarin in the performances and the tour guides on the adventure trips spoke Mandarin. Other than that and the signs, it was your typical Disney! One ride that I really enjoyed was the “Its a Small World” attraction. It hit home even more after seeing so many different cultures how similar we all really are, even though we focus more on our differences. Even though I only had one day in Hong Kong, I’m glad I went and had the Disney experience. The fireworks are always worth it!
Once I got back to the ship, I showered, changed, and took the ferry back over to the mainland. It was my friend Jessey’s birthday that night, so I met up with a few other friends (Halley and Sahana) and made our way over to the Lang Kwai? district. It seemed like everyone from SAS was there. We eventually found Jessey and celebrated properly. I had to get some sleep for my flight to Beijing the next day, so we eventually headed back to the ship.

Its getting late so I’m going to stop with day 1, but Great Wall updates will be coming! In short, the Great Wall is amazing. I thought it would get boring after a while, but every turn is breath taking. Its really hard to describe actually.

Good night! (or whatever greeting it is for wherever you are!)

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China website blog check?

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China in the morning!!!!!!!

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Day 5 Pics: Vietnam

On my last day in Vietnam, I went on a class trip to a university in Saigon to visit the English department and to mingle with some Vietnamese university students. We had a few hours of orientation and the history of English in Vietnam and then went out to lunch with the group. After lunch, we split up, and the two students I was with, who were Kim and (I forget the correct pronunciation of the other one) took me around the city which included the presidential palace, one of their favorite coffee shops, and the post office. Their English was very good, and they were very patient with me while trying to learn a little Vietnamese. I finished the day with some last minute shopping and post card scrambling. I was not able to finish all of my post cards and had to send a few without any messages.

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Day 4 Pics: Vietnam!

Very briefly, this was our last day in Ha Noi and our last night in Ho Chi Minh City. Come and gone so quick.

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Vietnam Day 3 Pics

Here are some quick pictures from Day 3 in Vietnam. We left Ha Long Bay in the morning, (after skyping with my family!) and made our way back to Ha Noi, the capital city. We went to lunch as a group, and I’m pretty sure we had dog for lunch. The rest of the day, we toured the city, and then finished the day with a water puppet show and then exploring Ha Noi at night.

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Vietnam Day 2 Pictures

I know people really just want to see pictures, so I am at least going to get those up for Vietnam because we only have less than 2 days in between Vietnam and Hong Kong. I hope to get up day descriptions as well.

Oh, and I recieved some questions from the students from Myers Elementary School who I have been sharing my voyage with through Vicarious Voyage. I was so excited to receive some of their questions, and I will get to them as soon as I can! If you are reading this, keep the questions coming!


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