china is amazing
so like i said, we were the first group out of hawaii, which ended up being very nice. the flight took about forever, but it was well worth it. plus i met some new kids on the flight so it really went by quickly. we took a bus from the shanghai airport to our hotel, which was extremely nice. shanghai is a gorgeous city, and it was nothing like i expected. check out the pictures if i ever have enough time to upload them all.
shanghai was lots of fun. it was quite the experience going to our first restaurant there. we went to this place that was just a walk down the street from us becuase we were all starving and needed to get something to eat as soon as possible. none of them spoke any english and none of usa word of chinese, so ordering was fairly difficult. i just pointed to something that looked good on the menu and ended up with something that i think was rabbit. 7 of us sat together at the restaurant and we all had plenty of food and a few drinks each and i think our bill came to 350 yuan, which comes to about 40 bucks total. we all laughed because it was so cheap. on the way back to the hotel we ran into the beggars. these groups of anywhere from 1 to 15 kids swarm you and ask for money. they seem to have fun doing it but its very sad to see. they would call me daddy and tell me to give them money. they wouldnt leave you alone, so you would have to ignore them or run.
the next day we went out and saw the sights. we went to the Bund district and were fairly disappointed. but then we went to the old city and it was great. so many people were there and i was the tallest by heads and shoulders so i acted as the tour guide. there are a bunch of shops there, and some restaurants which looked terrible. after the old city we went to the jade buddha temple. lots of incense and bowing. the buddha looked pretty cool, but wasnt what i though it would be.
day after that, beijing group a (my group) flew to beijing in the morning. beijing is a pretty disgusting city. it is extremely smoggy and the buildings are pretty ugly. our hotel was not that nice, and it was pretty far away from the parts of the city that we wanted to go out to which was annoying. we went to lunches and dinners as groups which was a lot of fun because they would just serve us every type of food imaginable. i have tried so many crazy foods now, and i can only imagine what viet nam and india have in store for me. we went to the summer palace the first day which was cool. other than that we just went to a crazy lunch place and a crazy dinner place. the next day we did tiennamin sqare, the forbidden city, and the llama temple. tiennamin sqaure is absolutely huge. unfortunately we didnt get to go through the mosoleum where mao's body is displayed, but the group that did go said it wasnt great and they just hustled you through. the forbidden city is great, and also huge. there are 7 different temples and its like a 5 minute walk between them. roger moore was the voice on the headphones which i thought was absolutely histerical. that night we did dinner on our own, and then went out to a club. we had the concierge write down the name of the club where we thought everyone went. but we ended up somewhere else which turned out to be awesome. they must have thought we were movie stars or something cause they wouldnt let us pay to get in (and it was a 200 yuan roughly 15 US cover). they ushered us to a private table and brought us a tub full of drinks. they came over and danced with us and had us get in front on the dance floor and lead everyone else in dancing. it was great. and then on the way out home alone 2 was on on the tv, and 3 kids ran up and asked my friend for an autograph thinking he was maukaly caulkin (however you spell that). the next day was the great wall. it was snowing out, and the wall was super slippery which made it a very difficult task to climb. it was somuch fun though, we were slipping and sliding around. this thing is so steep though, and it was a tough hike. going down people were going down backwards one step at a time and holding on to the railing to stay up. it was really amazing though, and definately my favorite thing that we did. that night, a lot of people were getting a little tired of the chinese food (myself not included, i was begging to try something else new and scary) we decided to go to hard rock beijing. the next day we went to the temple of heaven. the temple itself wasnt anything to impressive after the other things we had just done, but the fun was with all the people there. we had a huge snowball fights with a bunch of the chinese people. then we had a little one with a group of about 40 little chinese girls. they were verycute, giggling everytime they got hit or hit someone else with a snowball. after the snowball war we went to the airport and flew to hong kong.
the drive into hong kong is amazing; impressive like shanghai was. the buildings are huge, and they are super skinny. they dont have to worry about earthquakes here (is what someone told me) so they dont have to use the same arcitexture are we are used to seeing. everyone is very excited to see all of the people that we havent seen since hawaii. it feels like a much longer parting than it really becuase of everything that we have been doing. everyone else went out to the bar district, but we decided to go to a local bar that night which turned out to be a great idea. the bar district is about 45 minutes away on the island (we are in kowlong which is the mainland side), and we are back where prices resemble american prices. the local bar was great though. the 4 of us were received very warmly with smiles and waving from just about everyone there. they came over and talked to us (most people speak decent english here as opposed to beijing) and taught us some drinking games that they were playing. the staff though it was funny to watch us play these games that we didnt really understand, and everyone had a good time. but, as has been the theme of this trip, the weather got crappy today (2/17) so we didnt do some of the things we were planning on doing today. instead we went to the ladies market, and just did a lot of bargaining. you can really get them to go down to a fourth of the price sometimes, but sometimes they wont budge. classes start tomorrow, so im going to do a little work later, and we will see soon when we are leaving for hong kong.