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We’re in Guilin for the moment, headed to Yangshou tomorrow to do some volunteer work with rural kids and cruise the Li River. Just a few hours ago Tom was reading The China Star, an English language newspaper that the Sheraton slipped under our door. On page 5 under the story “Experts refute new bird…

In the Search for Fairies One Finds Only Waterfalls…and a Few Yaks

We hopped off and hiked as often as our little people could handle it but took great comfort in the fact that motorized transport was never more than a few hundred meters away.The Chinese take this park seriously and make a point of stopping and photographing themselves at each and every landmark. A few guidebooks had warned that their habit of hopping off the bus, snapping a picture, and hopping immediately back could mar the experience for enlightened Western outdoor enthusiasts but since the number of tourists was relatively few, we found it charming and were periodically guilty of the same behavior…. We saw only four other Westerners at Jiuzhaigou and no one spoke more than a few words of English, yet we felt at home and knew that people would bend over backwards to make us happy…. People literally drown her in hugs and offerings of fruit, nuts, and tchotchkes, which is overwhelming given that at home and in Australia and New Zealand, she was just another child who people frowned on for climbing on things that shouldn’t be climbed on or throwing a fit over snack food at the grocery store.

My, What a Big Buddha You Have

We arrived at our hostel in Chengdu around 9:30 am. Not wanting to lose a day I signed us up to make the two hour trip to Leshan to visit the world’s largest Buddha. Our new friends Chris and Helia joined us as did a British couple, Noah and Elaine, who are on a 9-month…

Hostels Here We Go

When I first heard that we would be staying in hostels during our journey I was extremely distraught. I would much rather be staying at a hotel than an old run down hostel with people partying all around. But there was no way of convincing my dad not to. I knew that eventually I’d have…

Hard Sleeper Farce

After the debacle of our exit from Xi’an, we were excited for a fun train ride to Chengdu. We were confident that sharing the 6-berth hard sleeper cabin would be better than being scattered throughout multiple soft sleeper cabins. We were encouraged when we boarded. The train was clean, the beds were relatively comfortable, and…

Xi’an the Black

It’s strange how we form our impressions of places. There are millions of towns, villages, cities, forests, rivers, oceans, and mountains for us to visit, yet with the exception of those few places we live, we rarely give any of them more than a few days to wow or disgust us. Poor Xi’an. While I’m…