May 23, 2010

You Asked For It!

So, everyone has been asking about how my trip to China was...and I haven't been responding too much.  Mostly because it isn't fun to tell the same drawn out story a million times and also because who knows how much info the person asking actually wants! as much of this as you would like!

The week/weekend before leaving for China was crazy.  I was planning on getting a ton done and I don't think I did.  I can't even remember everything that I needed to get done.  Friday, when I got into work, my computer crashed.  So I took it over to the IT department to have them fix it.  The computer was there all day and they weren't able to fix very much on it.  They said I'd be able to at least get stuff done while over in China.  Saturday was filled with going to Becky's bridal shower, then off to Eagle Mountain to hang out with the boys from Petaluma and go shooting and BBQing.  Ran home after that and went to Kalais' birthday party...which was a blast!  Came home after that and chilled with my roommates before finally getting started on packing.  I got about two hours of sleep!

I woke up early and headed to Ash's where I left my car and one of her friends drove us to the airport.  The flights were long, but we didn't have any hiccups, which was very nice!  I watched a bunch of movies...Invictus, Extraordinary Measures, The Princess and the Frog, The Cutting Edge, etc.  All of which made the flights go by much faster!

We finally reached Beijing and went out and waited in the area where Carrie had told us to wait for them.  After about an hour passing, we started to wonder what was going on.  I tried calling Kenny from my cell phone, but it wouldn't go through.  Finally Kenny called and asked where we were...and we said we were right where they told us to be.  He said he was right where they had told us to be.  So, after a while of trying to figure out where each other had gone to, we realized that we were in different terminals.  Kenny hopped on the airport express and met us at our terminal.   We took the Airport Express to the subway, where Kenny bought us tickets, only for us to just miss the last train by about 10 feet!  So, we ran out and got a cab and made it safely to their apartment.  We had a fun little reunion and then fell asleep, being pretty exhausted from all the travels!

Tuesday morning we headed out to Tian’an Men Square and the Forbidden City.  While we were walking around, so many people would try to take pictures of Noah and Jack.  It was pretty crazy.  There were some nice people who would actually ask, but others were trying to be sneaky about it.  Poor Noah was freaked out by all the attention!  We walked through the Forbidden City.  It was really intereting to see that as soon as you passed into the next section, it looked almost exactly the same as the one before it.  The buildings were beautiful and the roofs were amazing...when the sun hits the roof, it turns a beautiful golden color!  While in the Forbidden City, we were introduced to the way some people in China potty train their kids.  Split butt pants.  Yeah, sounds exactly the way it is said.  Needless to say, I used a lot of sanatizer while I was there.  We met Kenny for dinner after that and then Ash and I ran over to the rail station where we bought our train tickets for Shanghai.  We got there and couldn't find the place where you had to buy the tickets, but finally got to the very END of the area and there the ticket office was!  The person who was sitting at the English speaking booth said that she didn't speak much English!  But we found out that we couldn't use our credit cards, and we were about 200 RMB short of buying both of our tickets and there were only two spots left on the train that we NEEDED to take to get to Shanghai on time.  So, we ran around to different ATMs trying to get my card to work, since Ash didn't bring hers with her.  The ATM kept on telling me that the pin number was incorrect.  Which, it wasn't.  So finally I used my Wells Fargo ATM card, which I don't keep very much money in that account, but it worked and we got enough money out and bought the last two tickets for the overnight train.  Since they were the last two tickets, we weren't in the same sleeper together, but at least we had tickets!

On Wednesday we were all almost readed to head out when there was a knock at the door.  The Beijing Police were doing a random 'check' on the apartment.  Apparently when you arrive in China and are staying at a friend's house, you need to register with the police within 24 hours.  They had had plenty of visitors before and hadn't registered them, so we didn't think it would be a big deal...apparently we were wrong!  So, Carrie just grabbed their passports and the police didn't ask anything else.  So then Carrie and the boys went with us to the Pearl Market.  Such a different experience shopping in China than in the USA!  We just walked around for a bit and Ash bought a few things.  After that, Carrie and the boys headed home.  Ash and I headed over and went through the Temple of Heaven.  It was really interesting to see the buildings and beautiful gardens.  We also walked through a long outdoor hallway where people just come to sing, dance, play cards, etc.  It was pretty entertaining to see!  On our way back Carrie called us and told us that while they were home, the police stopped by again and that there had been a police man stationed outside the complex, so she was going to meet us at the corner and we could run to the police station to register real quick!  By the time she got downstairs, the police officer had left, but we didn't want to take any chances and went and registered.  After that we went back to Carrie's and showered and then headed to the train station.  We had to wait a bit before getting on the train, but we finally got on the train and I think that the person helping people on the train realized that we were together but not in the same sleeper, so she was kind enough to ask the lady in my room to switch with Ash.  So Ash and I were together on the top bunk.  A family of two parents and a 2 year old stayed on the beds below us.  Everytime the child woke up in the middle of the night, she would start crying, so we didn't get the best nights sleep!  Also got to use my first squatter on the experience!  :)

We arrived in Shanghai that morning and excited the rail station and we were trying to figure out where our hotel was on a map, but it was all in Chinese.  But then we looked to the right and it was about a block away!  Yay!  So we went to our hotel and tried to check in early, but they were full still, so we went and used their bathroom to get ready and then went and waited for our tour guide, Burney, to pick us up.  We ended up going on a tour with Burney, the driver and a couple from France.  Burney took us around to a bunch of different places in Shanghai.  It was all so very beautiful!  Our stops were:  Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai Museum, Lunch, Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai Old Street, Bund, Silk Factory, Xin Tian Di.  They dropped us off at the hotel after our tour was over and we took showers and then hung out for a bit before traveling outside to go see the city at night.  Such a huge difference between night and day!  We headed back to the hotel after that chilled.  We musta fallen asleep, but got a phone call from our tour guide telling us that our time to be picked up was changed.  Both Ash and I were out of it, so when we came too, we didn't know if that had been a dream or if it had been real! 

On Friday we woke up early and got ready before heading out on our second tour.  We had a huge breakfast in the hotel were we drank our body weight in apple juice!  Maggie was our tour guide and we had about ten people on the tour with us.  We went to:  Net Master Garden, Ancient City Wall, Grand Canal, Suzhou No. 1 Silk Spinning Factory, Lunch, Zhouzhuang Water Village, Boating on Waterways.  It tooks us about an hour and a half to get to our desitination.  It was awesome to get out of the city and see different things.  The Water Village was basically like a chinese version of Venice and was beautiful!  Our tour guide was so cute and told us so many stories and it was quite obvious that she had a little crush on our tour guide from the day before!  After the tour, they dropped us off and we went to get dinner at McDonalds and then headed back to the train station.  We boarded our train and we were in our beds first and then in walks two old Chinese guys.  They smelled like cigar smoke and we thought we were going to be sick!  When the air turned on, the smell got better and we were able to sleep. 

We got into Beijing early Saturday morning and headed back to Carrie's place.  We got there and took showers before heading over to Carrie's branch's Ward BBQ.  It was so fun to see the different people who are gathering in the Beijing branch for one reason or another.  After eating, Ash and I went and walked around the Silk Market for more shopping.  We didn't really see anything that we wanted, so we headed back to Carrie's. 

On Sunday we were able to go to church at their branch.  Carrie's friends were nice enough to give us a ride to the office building where they have church at.  It was interesting to walk into an office building and then get to the area where they have church and have it actually look like the inside of an LDS church building!  We went to Primary with Carrie and Kenny since that is their calling.  It was fun to watch them teach their class and to remember what primary is like!  We went home after church and ate and then Ash and I headed over to the Olympic Village.  We took the subway there and we were able to see the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube from the Beijing Olympics. 

We woke up on Monday and got ready to head out to see the Great Wall of China!  Kenny called a driver for us and he took us out to the wall for 75 bucks for the entire day!  It was great!  The drive out to the wall was absolutely gorgeous!  Everything was so green and beautiful!  We got to the great wall and bought our tickets and headed up.  Ashlee is in much better shape than I am and so I lagged behind a bit, but it was nice to take it all in!  Such a surreal feeling knowing that you are standing on something so historic and famous!  It was also fun to be on the great wall exactly one year and a day after my roommate, Sherstin, had been on it.  Turns out Ashlee is a rockstar because everyone wanted their picture taken with her...that was really funny to watch!  We walked all the way up one side of the wall and then turned around and came back.  We started up the other side, but we were pretty tired at that point and only went part way up before we headed home.  We stopped in the stores on our way out and each got a Great Wall tshirt.  When we got back, we decided to go get massages!  What a good idea, right?  Well, we get there and we don't know exactly what is going on, but they put us in a room and we all got massages together...afterwards, we checked out our backs and our backs were bruised like crazy!  Felt good though! 

Our last day in Beijing was pretty chill.  We went back to the Pearl market and finished up the rest of the shopping that we had to do.  I mostly bought jewelry and a couple bags.  Ash's roller luggage's wheel broke so she purchased a new one to take home with her.  We spent the rest of the evening just hanging out and chatting it up.

On Wedneday morning we took a taxi to the airport and we were able to find our way around to get onto the correct flight.  I watched more movies and slept a little bit and we had smooth flights back to the states.  We got into the San Francisco airport and found out that our flight was over booked, so Ash offered to stay longer and go to Petaluma for a few days and I headed back to Provo.  I was greeted by my roommates and a welcome home dinner with our old home teachers.  I slept pretty soundly that night!

So, now I'm back and trying to get into the swing of things.  I started having a cough on Wednesday and by Saturday and Sunday it has turned into a full blown cold....something fun for me to have brought back from China!  Now I'm trying to think of the next place I want to go....any suggestions?!


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you and Ashlee had a good time. The two of you were very brave. Loved and enjoyed the pictures. Thanks for sharing cause Dad and I will probably never get there. Thanks to Carrie and Kenny for taking such good care of you:)

Callie said...

How about BOSTON to visit me and Andrew? We're going to try to stop by and bring Bride Wars back today. We'd love to see you before we leave though. We'll call you.

karlie said...

Tampa, Fl...=)

AWESOME pics! What an adventure! Looks like a sweet trip! I would have like to do some shopping there...=) What a great post!
love ya!

Anonymous said...

tampa and/or delta. :)

ok the pic of you peeking out from the rocks is the best... cute!!

and i have learned NEVER to get a chinese massage... what the BRUISES?? not special!!

looks like you had fun love! get well soon. xoxo

Rach said...

How does Arizona sound? Hee hee...It looks like you had a great time! Fun adventures.

Cindy said...

London, BABY!

(And take me with you)

kp said...

somewhere with me dummy

Mark and Shauna said...

Okay, so yesterday I tried to comment and it wouldn't let me... so here's hoping this will work.

First, the amazing South Jordan, UT of course!

It looks like you had an amazing trip! Love all the cute pictures!

Mark and Shauna said...

YAAAAY! It worked!

GrannyG said...

Your trip sounds incredible; I think you are both so brave to just take off and do all that stuff. Thanks for the nice report; I saw Ashley between our church meetings on Sunday and she told me you had a great time and loved seeing Carrie's two boys, whom we don't see much at all. Katie is in Moscow; try Russia next!