September 11, 2011

CHINA

Posted by Louis  |  No comments




Flying to China is no joke. Thirteen hours anywhere is a long time; thirteen hours on a plane is brutal. The kids were able to make beds on the plane and pretty much slept through most of the flight. The IPAD kept them entertained the rest of the way. Mommy and Daddy were too big to get comfortable and stretched out. The only things we could do was try to upload a movie that wouldn't work, eat and use the bathroom.


Eventually we made it to Beijing! The airport was modern and beautiful. Everyone on the plane beat us to the immigration check point since we have three kids and had to make a restroom stop. As we waited in the back of the line; we were then treated like Diplomats and told to enter the VIP line which only had 4 people waiting at the check point. We were then told since we have kids that we wouldn't have to wait in line with the others. So, if you ever plan to visit China make sure you rent a kid. They do come with some perks.

We then cleared immigration. It was time to get our luggage and find a taxi. There was another long line for a taxi. We then pulled out the kid card. It worked again, they took us to the front of the line for the next taxi. Our great experience in China then suddenly came to an end. The taxi driver said that our luggage was too big and refused to take us. They then escorted us to a bigger car and called it VIP Services. He then shows me a card where the rate to downtown Beijing is 480 yaun. This being my first trip to China and Mommy being away for at least 10 years, how would we know the going rate for a taxi to Beijing?

So we get in the car and think we are on our way to Bejing. The problem is that the driver doesn't really know where our hotel is. It is around 12:30 am and we told the driver that our next flight is at 8:00 am. He then said that traffic is terrible in the morning and strongly suggested that we stay at a hotel near the airport. He recommended a 4 star hotel for 480 yaun near the airport. So we took his advice and he took our money. Didn't even give us a discount. He then drives us to the Hotel. The lobby appeared to be clean and nice. I was curious to see our 4 star hotel. I was very disappointed. The carpet was filthy. The only thing clean was the sheets and bathroom. We were only going to be there for 4 hours so we just made the best of it.

We are now on the plane waiting to take off for Chengdu. The pilot said that there will be a delay due to the aircraft traffic. This will be an omen of all the people that we will see in China. We arrive in Chengdu and find another very nice airport and meet my brother and sister in law for the first time. We then load our bags in the car and taken to a private room in a nice restaurant. Grandpa, Grandma and two nephews also show up. The kids are happy to see their grandparents again.

It was nice having real Chinese food. No egg rolls here or the entire trip. Just good spicy Chinese food. My Sister In Law Yan asked if I would like some strong Chinese white wine? Sure, why not, we are on vacation. She wasn't kidding, it was very strong. After a few sips, it became tolerable and tasty. A few days later my Sister In Law tells me we have been drinking vodka instead of white wine. This now justifies the burning sensation in my throat and chest.

After a couple days in Chengdu, my other Sister in law Hong invites us to her home. This was supposed to be a one day trip including a visit to the zoo to see the pandas. So we pack for the one day trip. Big mistake. The one day trip turns into a 3 day sight seeing trip in three different cities. Even though I was forced to wash my cloths by hand to make up for the lack of luggage; we had a great time.

The first day we visited the pandas, white tigers, bears, camels, deer and all sort of critters. The second day we went to one of the highest and holiest mountains in China and visited a Buddha. The third day we visited 100 foot Buddha created one thousand years ago. He was still there watching the same river for so many years. Our one day trip that took 3 days was over. It was time to head back to Chengdu to another restaurant and meet another cousin.

Our trip to Chengdu was now over and we had to say good bye to Chengdu and family. Chinese people aren't accustomed to have much physical contact. Mama Ding is a little more Americanized and came over a gave me a hug goodbye. I basically had to force my Sister in laws to give me a hug goodbye.

We are now headed back to Beijing. The city where the taxi driver robbed us. We are no longer green and have become seasoned tourist. We wont take a taxi without a meter. It was time to flash the kids again. Once again we were escorted to the front of the lines. This time the taxi driver took us and our luggage to Beijing. It was only 92 yaun. Not the 480 yaun that was charged on the first night.

The first day we went to the Forbidden City which is no longer forbidden. This city was built about 600 years ago and had around 9 thousand people living there. It was nice seeing the great halls and gardens. I wanted to see the actual housing area of the city. Unfortunately people still live in the housing area making it forbidden for us.

We also visited Ti'an men square and the Olympic park. At night we would have dinner with some of Mommies old friends. Local shopping was also fun. We also enjoyed a local bike ride tour of old Beijing. Everyone laughed at us and the bike rider. The bike rider toured the 5 of us in his bike and cart. At the end we gave our bike tour guide a nice little tip. He was now the one laughing at the other bike riders. Three days in Beijing wasn't enough to enjoy the city. It also wasn't the same without family.

We are now home again. The girls are still too young to realize where we went. Their lasting memory of China is the restrooms. Yung wont remember anything from China. Some day soon we will return and find a bigger and better China.






Sunday, September 11, 2011
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