Oct 14, 2018 - my global perspective
My Global Perspective Ryan Wuhrman Prior to visiting the far East, the only exposure I have had to Asian customs was in my Mandarin class at Palm Beach Day Academy and an occasional visit to the Panda Express down the street. I used to despise taking this class when I was younger and often made fun of the language with my friends, “Hurry up! We are going to be late to ching-chong-chinese”; middle school was nearing when I began to change my thinking and realized how learning Chinese would set me apart rather than being one of the millions...Jump to full entry
Oct 14, 2018 - guangzhou part 2
What a whirlwind 36 hour experience Hong Kong Island provided. My adrenaline was flowing as the intensity of that city grabbed my brain and took me away from the routine in Communist China where the people are so simple and pleasant. We were impulsed with tons of shopping (LuLu Lemon/Brandy Melville/Lush) and many modern conveniences! I am happy to have returned to another full week of 12 "spinny" table meals, 11 more tennis practice sessions, 6 fitness sessions and 2 massages. Guangzhou and the tennis academy my dad is working at and I am...Jump to full entry
Oct 11, 2018 - Transit day
A pretty quiet day today, which was just as well for us. Four of our group finished their tour today, and departed for the airport after breakfast. Two more were due to fly out during the afternoon, while the remaining six of us had a flight to Xi’an in the evening. So our day was focussed on flights and nothing much else. Ray woke with little relief from the back spasm that bothered him for most of yesterday and Angela had a badly irritated throat. So we decided to take a walk to see if we could work out the spasm and find a pharmacy at...Jump to full entry
Oct 10, 2018 - Pandas and history
I happened to wake very early and went up on deck to see what was around as we approached Chongqing. The river had changed considerably as we had travelled overnight - it was much narrower, heavily trafficked with cargo vessels and the smell indicated we were in a heavily industrialised area. It was not attractive enough to linger, so I went back to bed! When we did wake for the day, we were already docked and the morning light was promising a much sunnier and clearer day than we had experienced as we sailed through the Three Gorges - ah...Jump to full entry
Oct 9, 2018 - Amazing Shibaozhai
A wet morning greeted us today, which was a real disappointment as we were about to visit the Red Pagoda at Shibaozhai. The pictures we had seen of the Red Pagoda - in brilliant sunshine, naturally! - were extremely impressive and we had hoped to experience the same. Sadly, we had to settle for merely awesome! So, we donned our raincoats and set out right after breakfast. It was only a ten minute walk from the dock to the bridge across to the Pagoda, but the street was lined with vendors and hustlers. The latter were mainly concerned...Jump to full entry
Docked this morning in Badong and left immediately after breakfast for our tour along the Shennong Stream, a tributary of the Yangtze River. We boarded a smaller sightseeing boat and soon after leaving the skyscrapers of Badong behind, we entered the first of several deep gorges. Unfortunately, the weather today was nowhere near as clear or sunny as yesterday, so we did not see the Shennong Stream at its best. The steep sides are heavily wooded with only occasional signs of human habitation - a few houses and some fishing boats - until we...Jump to full entry
Oct 7, 2018 - hong kong
Rumor has it that Hong Kong is one of the most amazing cities in world. From the moment we stepped outside the train station, I was in shock. There were so many skyscrapers and people that I thought that I was in New York City except for the fact that they were all built into the side of a mountain. Hong Kong is made up of three areas: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and New Territories. We were heading straight for Hong Kong Island and the word renowned Victoria Peak Tram. Due to the 2 hour wait, we postponed our ride to the top until late...Jump to full entry
Oct 7, 2018 - Three Gorges Dam and more
We have decided that we will not let our trip be defined by last night’s little setbacks. With that thought in mind, we turned our attention to the day’s activities, the first being our optional tour to visit the Tribe of the Three Gorges. We have learnt that the first of the Three Gorges, Xiling Gorge, is actually cut in half by the dam. Our boat is moored in Maoping, above the dam, and our tour was to visit Stone Tablet Village, a traditional village of the Tujia ethnic minority, located in the lower part of the gorge. It took around 50...Jump to full entry
Oct 6, 2018 - guangzhou/star river tennis academy
WHOA, holy overwhelming…!!! My dad and I were standing in the middle of Guangzhou’s biggest train station, in the third largest city in China (19 million people) and we were totally lost. The Tennis Academy sent a driver to pick us up, but there was a problem, he wasn’t at the station. I don’t speak Cantonese (which is what he spoke along with many others residents in southern China) so we had to find someone at the information desk to assist us with locating him. He appeared with a great big smile and within 30 minutes we had arrived at...Jump to full entry
Oct 6, 2018 - The Yangtze, at last!
Interesting, entertaining, and fascinating; tiring, frustrating and dramatic - every one of those adjectives could be used to describe parts of today! it turned out to be a pretty long day, what with activities, a drive and boarding our vessel for our Yangtze River cruise. Also, the end of today marked the halfway point for our Odyssey to China and an end to our long coach adventure tour across China. From here, it’s Trains and Boats and Planes - just not in that order! Jingzhou is one of the most historic cities in a country steeped in...Jump to full entry
Oct 5, 2018 - The long ride is nearing its end...
A pretty easy day today. Before setting off for (yet) another coach ride, we took the opportunity to take a brief stroll beside the river, across from the hotel. Our drive to Jingzhou was only around three hours - not much more than expected - and we arrived at a city centre restaurant for lunch at a very civilised 12:30. In the restaurant, we were on the second floor balcony, overlooking the main dining area, and had a very good view of a Chinese wedding in full swing. As we have learned over the last several days, holiday periods, such...Jump to full entry
Oct 4, 2018 - The ‘Real’ China!
One thing about these long coach rides - they provide plenty of time to get up to date with the trip journal! As I write, we have just left a comfort stop, more than three hours into our drive. Frank estimates we have another two hours to go and we just saw a board showing that Yueyang is still 125 kms away. One of our perceived positives of doing this part of the trip by land was that we would be likely to see more from a coach window than from a boat in the middle of the river. However, it does not seem to have worked out quite that...Jump to full entry