September 12, 2014

China again

Posted by Xun  |  No comments

Truth be hold, for travel, China is not my favorite destination. One, I have been to China. As a matter of fact, I grew up in China. The vast, deep and intricate inter-personally relationship in China endears, also repels me; Two, I have made America my home, happily raising three kids and building my nest; Three, it is simply too far, too operationally, logistically complicated. It is simply too expensive.

Still, home is home.

The flight

So this summer, our family of five boarded on the plane and flew to China.  Hainan airline, seems to have a knack of dividing (our) families and seating us randomly away from each other, even though the air policy states kids need to be with a adult. Yet, being a People's nation, after a few round of talking (by the air hostesses), we managed to swap some seats and managed to stay close (not next) to each other. We had exactly the same problem and solution on the returning flights.

The flight was long, seats were small, sleep was not quite an option. However, Yung loved his "own" TV set, Emma took good care of Annya, they loved the thrill of taking off and soaring above the clouds and landing. With regular meals/snacks, the kids managed to fly through the whole journey without much trouble.

It actually took us 2 flights to to reach our final destination. Chicago to Beijing, 13 hours? Beijing to Chengdu, 4 hours?

All was good.

The stay

Three years ago, when we were in China. We did a swirl of fun travels. My sisters reached out to their network of underlings and took us to every reachable destinations around Chengdu.

This time, I halfheartedly planned our stay with my sister and brother-in-law, yet none of the plan got materialized. Tibet? Eh, Louis is an American/foreigner, so he would not be allowed into the territory, for fear of instigating terrorism or separatism (or something like that); XiAn, yes, it is nice, but kids probably would get bored 10 minutes after looking at those terracotta warriors buried underground thousands years ago; also it might be too late to book train tickets; Of all of the obstacles, the most insurmountable was that there was only one who can legally And competently drive.

Talking about driving. Traffic in China was obviously a daily thriller, traffic lights just do not seem to work much, every driver was an acrobat somehow always magically knew when to stop at the exact moment (right before the guy on the other lane swerved and raced past you). They always knew to honk at any one any time through any local lanes. I just saw walking elders look warily back at the cars and went aside quietly.

Oh, boy, there were/are always a lot of people on any given day, at any given moment. People sit, talk, have a cup of tea, play MaJiang(a popular game), shop. Chengdu is especially famous for its leisurely lifestyle, it is fully present in the throngs of people here, there, everywhere. People also gather in parks, on the corner of street, dancing with boombox playing.

Fun. When I went to a park and saw people dancing, I dragged Louis into the crowd and "danced".

People also happily relax and sleep in the parks. No, they are not homeless, they are just genuinely enjoying a beautiful day and a beautiful park. We have found that in Chengdu you can hardly ever see a homeless.

Chengdu is also famous for its food, so my mom, my sisters took turns taking us out to dinner, hot pot, spicy chicken, dumplings, wantons.

Louis and I were amused by all of the open market selling fruits, meat, eggs, everything.

We visited local parks, checked out a few "ancient"
towns (they are really new "towns" reconstructed in the style of old Chengdu), shopped for Chinese folk styled little things.


On an impulse, I did manage to get out of the daily ritual of eating, going out, eating again, going out some more, and took my whole family and my nephew (as a helper) to JiuZhaiGou, one of the most beautiful places /nature parks on earth.

The trip took us 10 hours on bus to get there, another 10 hours to get back. We stayed at JiuZhaiGou for a day.

It was all worth it. I loved the myriad of waterfalls, whether running through a terrace of trees or tumbled down over an cliff or flowing over the mountain slope, pearls of water splashing and chasing each other; creeks rushing in and out sight; beautiful lakes of beautiful colors scattered throughout.

Friday, September 12, 2014
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