Monday, August 16, 2010

Shanghai - China

As expected, we went to the Expo in Shanghai. That's pretty much all we did in Shanghai. We meant to visit the city with some friends, but it ended up not working out for us. Kevin's family was very worried about us going out by ourselves. So, we didn't. We just went to the expo by ourselves.
In total, we visited about 16 pavilions. 3 major pavilions (France, USA, China). We were able to walk in the French pavilion VIP style, because of my French passport. It was a great feeling to walk in the pavilion and feeling at home, in a foreign country. It wasn't quite home, it was just a bliss to be able to be in a place that I understood, and I could see familiar things.

We spent the whole day walking from pavilion to pavilion. The camera died before we were able to get back to the hotel, so it will have to be in my memory!
The funniest anecdote of the day was probably when we walked in the Nigeria building. There was a man from Nigeria working there (Durr.), and he was "hitting" on every girl walking by. As he saw me, he asked Kevin if he had brought me for him. Kevin replied "No" (which made me blush a little bit) and we joked around for awhile. As we walked out of the pavilion, Kevin couldn't help but comment on the man's. It was fun, and probably one of our favorite pavilion. Kevin and I joked about that moment for awhile.

Sorry the picture is blurry. This is our new Nigerian friend! The volunteers at the Expo have a really hard time. They know nobody in the country, and they spend all day telling people the same thing, or trying to communicate with people who do not speak their language. We talked to a couple who said they were counting days.

It felt the opposite at the USA pavilion. The volunteers were dancing around and making the children's laugh. Their Chinese was very good, but mainly because this internship was given to people who speak Chinese. The pavilion itself wasn't as exciting as some of the other ones. It was a bunch of movies. The main attraction was a movie called "The Garden". The last room was filled was famous American company, which was disappointing. There was nothing about American's architecture or past. The movie is nowhere to be found :/ so you guys will have to do without it!

Sorry for the blurry again! The camera sucked! Well, that's it for the pavilions! If you want to see other pavilions, or know what's in them, leave a comment :D

Next: Beijing!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Huangshan - China

We stayed in Huangshan for just a day and a half. I really didn't like the town much, mainly because it was little, and we were over looked a lot. I think it would have been nice to stay there for just a day.
Huangshan is a farmer town right by Mt Huangshan (obviously). It has a merchant street that has been there since the Song dynasty. There is a lot of pencil stores, Shanghai Expo stores and sculpture stores. The merchant street had a famous restaurant, where we ate a lot of weird tofu based food. I don't really like tofu, so this wasn't my favorite place to eat. Especially the 500 years old moldy tofu.

Yeah, I know. We are dorks <3>
They also have a famous lake. It has a bunch of islands worth visiting. We took a little boat to each island. The first one was an old temple type of island. There was a fortune teller there, so we obviously had to test it out. Kevin is attracted to water type which are represented by big dark skinned women, and I need a strong man who is not like a bamboo shoot. Basically we are the opposite of what we should marry. Good one chinese fortune teller.... good joke.
The second island was the "monkey island". Wild monkeys lived on that island, and they attack people who dont feed them. So we bought peanuts and fed them, also an angry little asian man came watch over us, in case the monkeys decided to take revenge anyway.

Next stop: Shanghai Expo!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mt Huangshan - China

During our stay, we went to Mt Huangshan (or "Yellow Mountain"). It was a regular mountain until someone sprayed the rumor that spending time there would guarantee you a long life. Therefore all the kings went there. The mountain was name Wangshan ("King Mountain"). Over time, Wang turned into Huang because of the proximity in pronunciation. Therefore, it is now called Huangshan!

We climbed over 6,000 steps before reaching our hotel. Once we reached the top of the mountain, we "locked" our love forever on top of the mountain. Quite literary. It is a common practice in China for lovers to buy a lock at a mountain or a high summit and attach it to a chain. Then throw away the keys. Symbolizing the forever love they are suppose to experience. I will keep you posted if it actually works!

This is our little lock. Cute uh? :]

Anyway, after I locked Kevin to me forever, we went to look at the sunset. It was not only beautiful, but there was very little people watching it, compared to the sunrise. We snapped a couple pictures and then went to grab a beer at the terrace of the hotel. The sky was clear. There was SO MANY stars in the sky! Here is the picture of the sunset, and then the sunrise.

The sunset was really beautiful and I wished I had my own camera, so I could have taken more amazing pictures!

There was TONS of people watching the sunrise. We had to wake up at 4:30 AM to go to this little view point. At the sight of the amount of people, we voted against taking the popular spot. I found a little trial walking up to a small cliff right across the view point. It was just me and Kevin and we got some beautiful pictures, along with some tranquility!

The walk down the mountain was a lot faster than the walk up! We decided to take to cable cars, so we didn't have to walk for another 5 hours. Once down, I wanted to stay down!
This is it for Mt. Huangshan, next I will have a little entry about the town of Huangshan!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wuzhen- China

We also took a day trip to Wuzhen. It is about 1h30 mns away from Hangzhou. Wuzhen is a preserved city from the Song dynasty. It is a water city, and therefore you have to get there through boat transportation.

Once we got in the city itself, we are left alone to explore. There is a lot of tea shops, and magistrates' houses where we first got off. The city is divided into 6 districts. After walking a little bit, and crossing a couple bridges, we arrived in the shopping district. You can find a bunch of little stores that can sell handmade China dish or tea, or pointless little toys that you can find cheaper in Hangzhou. I didn't buy anything that time, expect for fish food to feed the massive amount of fish before entering the working district.

As you can see, they swimming ON TOP of each other to get the food. It was like no one had fed them in ages. The kids (and Kevin) loved it! It was the highlight of their trip. Shortly after that, we got to make little snack. Unfortunately, I didnt catch the name of the dish. It was mainly flour mixed with water, created a goey substance that they rolled in some light brown powder. It tasted like peanuts.
Here is Kevin beating the flour into the gooey mixture. The snack was actually pretty good! We had some iced tea afterwards, and walked some more. We visited a factory of soy sauce and of rice wine. I hate calling factories, because they are so old school. I took a couple pictures of the soy sauce "factory". It was interesting as we could actually touch and open the soy sauce jar.

There was a lot more to see, but Kevin's little cousin got tired quite fast. So we decided to go back by boat. We did a quick tour of the little town (The west side is still under reconstruction) and went back home.

Next stop: Mt Huangshan!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hangzhou- China

This is the first post about China.
I am going to start with Hangzhou. That's where my first stop was, and where Kevin is from, so it seems appropriate.

I had never heard of Hangzhou before. It has recently turned into a bigger city outside of Shanghai. About 10 years ago, it was still ruled by farmers. Kevin told me a story that his father use to swim in the river, before it got so polluted.
This was barely 40 years ago. It was a hard pill to swallow. In my generation, we managed to pollute and change the life of a little city.

Hangzhou is known for Xi Hu (West Lake). It is a beautiful lake filled with legends and old people playing Majhong, practicing Tai chi, dancing and singing.
We went there at night and during the day. It was beautiful both times. Really peaceful to look at at night, and very romantic. ;)
Kevin and I enjoyed it.
During the day, people stared at me a lot. There isn't a lot of foreigners in Hangzhou, so I was a walking spectacle. People would really stop to look me up and down. I couldn't stop laughing about it.

We also went to the Lingyin temple. It is a famous Buddhist temple on the top of a mountain. We had to take a public for two hours. It was so early in the morning, that I was basically napping anyway.

It was filled with monks who actually had cell phones under their robes. It was quite ironic.
I went to the budda in each temples and prayed for wisdom, long life, love, happiness, and safety for everyone around me and my family.

It was very crowded, and people were bringing tons of offerings. They would climb the mountain with bags of fruits and vegetables to give to the monks.

After the Lingyin temple, there is also the Leifang Tower that we visited. I have no picture of the tower, because my camera got stolen. The legend of the tower is that once upon a time there was a goddess who wanted to live like mortal. She would take frequent trips to Earth. She met a young scholar on the broken bridge (In Xi Hu). They fell deeply in love. Leifang (The godess) stole some buddhist scrolls to become mortal, so she can marry the young scholar.
The monk becomes angry, and so he starts a war with her. Too bad that she can control the lake. She took her army of sea creatures and tried to defeat the monk.
The monk ordered to have locked up in the tower. They buried her under the tower.
Later her son came back and destroyed the tower, freeing his mother. She returned to the heavens, leaving Earth forever.

It was a gorgeous tower, and I really wish I had pictures to show you :/ We could see all of Hangzhou and Xi Hu.

We also climbed a mountain to another Tower. I do not remember the legends being that tower. There was a fabulous view of Hangzhou there.

There was a lot more things to do in Hangzhou but I do not have pictures, and I do not want to bore you with the little details. If you want to hear more, you might post a comment and I will do another post about Hangzhou, including Chong Se, The science museum and the zoo. :]

Tomorrow, I'll post about Wuzhen!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Terribly Jet Lagged

Hey Guys!

I havent updated, and let me tell you why.
I am the luckiest person on Earth. Yes. That was sarcarsm.

First, the laptop I was suppose to use in China broke. So I couldnt use that.
Once I found another laptop to use, I find out China has blocked blogspot.

So I try not to freak out and try to be calm about the situation. Well, I come home and find out that my big laptop (the one I use for EVERYTHING) is broken too. SAME. EXACT. THING.
Some kind of problem with the motherboard and power cord. No idea, but I didn't have a laptop until my dad let me borrow his.
It is SO SLOW. It HATES Blogspot.

(I am not even sure if this will go through)

And to top it all. Someone stole my camera in China, so I have very little pictures.

China was awesome! I had a great time, and I miss it terribly. I am also terribly jet lagged. It is about 6:42 AM right now, and I havent slept yet. I sleep during the day.
Well, in a couple hours i am going to go scouting for computers.

I am off, and hoping this will work!

PS: More posts about China will come soon. I am tired of retyping the same thing a thousand times!