September 09, 2011

We were in China!

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On Aug. 22, with much trepidation and excitement, we flew to China. We made it! We made little beds out of a row of 5 tiny seats, Yung managed to sleep through; Emma and Annya managed to nap on top of each other or on us; while we, being great parents, sat mostly through the 13-hour flight.

We arrived at Beijing around 12:30. The Beijing swindlers managed to cheat us 1000 RMB in the first half night we spent in Beijing. We still felt great and flew to Chengdu, my hometown, the next morning. My sister and brother in law picked us up. They have their own car, however, also borrowed another car from my nephew to accommodate our big family of 5. We were greeted and fed by my family in a private room in a fairly expensive restaurant. I found out that this was only the beginning of a quite cushioned two weeks that we were treated as VIPs and we had to fight to contribute a little to the expenses.


The first two days

My family drove us around for a taste of the city of Chengdu. Chengdu indeed has changed beyond my recognition. Three times bigger, newly-built 4 lane highways, skyscrapers with giant advertisement TV screens everywhere. Constructions are everywhere. Big brands, high and low-brow, from all over the world try to insert themselves in Chengdu. We saw StarBucks, walmart, Nike, Apple, Olay, pizzahut, etc. Sculptures,modern and ancient, water fountains in all flavors are views in themselves. To me, Chengdu is like 50 magnificent miles in Chicago putt together, only with 500 times big of a crowd and crazy scary traffic.

BiFengXia. Pandas and the wild animals

We spent the next two days in Ya'an, where my elder sister lives now and where we grew up. The city now has been converted into a city of tourism, where it has breath-taking mountains and cradles for hundreds of Panda bears and a zoo where wild animals roaming around.

We loved everything about it. We loved the green mountains high into the air and surround us where we went, the creeks like white ribbons falling down. We all screamed in delight when we spotted camels and deers when our car drove on the narrow mountain road. From there we never stopped screaming. We saw pandas, a lot of them. Big, cuddly panda, lying on their backs eating bamboos, or standing reaching for little orange cake that people fed them. We went panda kindergarten, saw pandas clumsily tried to climb into a swing made from a tire

Later we took a bus to tour the wild animal zoo. It was a truly a sight to see lions saunter across the street while everyone in the bus went crazy; then there were black bears standing on the "sidewalk", staring at the bus trying to figure what could his dinner; and majestic white tigers and beautiful red-sandy-stone caves, and wolves. I doubt we were ever able to have such an experience in America. We also got to see feed beautiful deers, they were like goats and sheep in a petting zoo here. Also gorrila who is completely fed up with our peanuts. After that, we went to a bird world that is billed as Asian's biggest bird world. True or not, we walked side by side with peacocks, were with reach of glamorous black swans, scary pecans, and a lot of more that I was too overwhelmed and tired to even try to learn their names.

What was more? Circus where monkeys walked on tight ropes, elephants played soccer.

EMei Mount and LeShan Grand Budda

Sensed our interests in natural views and China's rich history, my second sister and brother-in-law pitched in. After our trip to Ya'an, they directly took us the great of greatest mountains, the holy of holy places that was Er Mei mountain.

We had another eye-opening experience. Again, we loved the steep and giant and forever green mountains, the sweet and fresh mountain air. We rode the cable car to the top of the mountain called "The golden Summit", where there sits a beautiful and magnificent budda with 4 faces all gilded in gold, stone statue of elephants circles around the budda. We also visited the three temples (gold, silver and bronze) for the budda.

The next visit was the grand budda in LeShan. The budda is carved out of a cliff in the Dang dynasty (618–907AD). It lies at the confluence three rivers. By then, we were deadly tired, did not enjoy as much the worn-out yet very impressive budda.


What do family and friends do when they get together after a long time? They eat. We eat! My family took us to eat, the very famous hot pot, the one and only Ya'an fish (the fishbone in the forehead shapes like a sword and can eliminate evil spirit), the various kinds of mushrooms that are freshly picked from mountains, the spicy chicken. We ate! Restaurants everywhere. All the very best.

The kids

Weren't we pampered? My sisters pretty much carried Annya wherever we went and bought them clothes, toys.

In a "foreign" culture, Yung seemed to be the least adjusted. He cried a lot and clung to me almost everywhere. Now I got a bad reputation for spoiling the little one. Emma and Annya were appalled by the squat toilets, they simply did not know how to pee or pooh squatting. Language-wise, they have picked up quite some Chinese; Emma had made friends with my nephew.


Without my family around, Louis and I decided to take it easy during our three days in Beijing. Still, we managed to visited Ti'an Men square, the forbidden city, the Olympic park. Quite tired now, will write about them in the next post.

Friday, September 09, 2011
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