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Our China Trip: Chapter 6 – Hong Kong

October 5, 2016

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After nearly a month on the road, we closed out our trip in Hong Kong.  Suzy and I were last there over 20 years ago, when it was still under UK rule. Much has changed since then, but it is still a dynamic and vibrant city.  Victoria Peak provides one of the most stunning vistas of any city in the world. We stayed right on the waterfront, and the girls really enjoyed the nightly Symphony of Lights.  Hong Kong was a perfect way to cap off our trip to China!

 

UPDATE:  Our video from Hong Kong is now available:

 

Check out our pictures from the Hong Kong here. Coming next – Wrap-Up

Previous chapters:
Our China Trip: Prologue – SoCal layover
Our China Trip: Chapter 1 – Beijing
Our China Trip: Chapter 2 – Guilin
Our China Trip: Chapter 3 – Nanning
Our China Trip: Chapter 4 – Yangtze Cruise
Our China Trip: Chapter 5 – Shanghai

Next chapter:
Our China Trip: Wrap-Up

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Our China Trip: Chapter 5 – Shanghai

September 27, 2016

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We were thrilled to travel next to Shanghai – a city where none of us had ever been.  What an exciting place!  It provided a combination of old an new.  Whereas in other parts of China, we saw much relating to the dynasties dating back thousands of years, in Shanghai the most fascinating points of interest concerned the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, prior to communist rule.

Of course, when most people think of Shanghai, they think of the gleaming modern 21st century city. And much has been made of how recent most of the development has been, as shown here.  It did not disappoint, as it is one of the most cosmopolitan cities I have ever been to!

UPDATE:  Our video from Shanghai is now posted:

You can find our pictures of Shanghai here.   Up next – Hong Kong.  Here is a preview, with highlights from both Shanghai and Hong Kong:

 

Previous chapters:
Our China Trip: Prologue – SoCal layover
Our China Trip: Chapter 1 – Beijing
Our China Trip: Chapter 2 – Guilin
Our China Trip: Chapter 3 – Nanning
Our China Trip: Chapter 4 – Yangtze Cruise

Next chapters:
Our China Trip: Chapter 6 – Hong Kong
Our China Trip: Wrap-Up

Our China Trip: Chapter 4 – Yangtze River cruise

September 19, 2016

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After leaving Nanning, we flew to Chongqing, one of the largest cities in China.  It was from here that we embarked on a 4-day, 3-night cruise on the Yangtze River, the 3rd longest river in the world.  With the building of the Three Gorges Dam, the area has undergone many changes over the last 20 years.  We were able to see parts of China that we would have not been able to otherwise.  And it provided the added bonus of giving the girls an opportunity to go on a cruise for the first time, which they really enjoyed.  The staff was first rate, and many of them doubled as performers in the evening shows that included dances and performances highlighting Chinese culture. All in all, it was truly an unforgettable experience, and gave us a good chance to unwind from our hectic itinerary over the last two weeks.

 

UPDATE:  Video from the Yangtze River cruise can be found below:

 

Please enjoy our pictures from the cruise here. Coming next – Chapter 5 – Shanghai

Previous chapters:
Our China Trip: Prologue – SoCal layover
Our China Trip: Chapter 1 – Beijing
Our China Trip: Chapter 2 – Guilin
Our China Trip: Chapter 3 – Nanning

Next chapters:
Our China Trip: Chapter 5 – Shanghai
Our China Trip: Chapter 6 – Hong Kong
Our China Trip: Wrap-Up

Our China Trip: Chapter 3 – Nanning

September 13, 2016

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Next up was a trip to Emily’s and Elisabeth’s hometown – Nanning.  Nanning is the capital of Guangxi province in southern China. The city itself has over 4 million residents, and if you add in the surrounding area, the population swells to almost 7 million.  It was important for the girls to see and understand just where they came from.  The highlight was going to the orphanage that we worked with to adopt them.  Best of all was that the orphanage was able to track down their foster mother for their first 11 months, Yi Feng (pictured above with Elisabeth and Emily)!  For all of us to be able to talk to her and ask questions about their first year was priceless.

Nanning is referred to as the Green City for good reason – it is lush and tropical (and hot)! We enjoyed the three days we spent there. Here is a short montage:

Please check out the pictures from our stay in Nanning here. Next up – Chapter 4 – Yangtze River cruise

Previous chapters:
– Our China Trip: Prologue – SoCal layover
– Our China Trip: Chapter 1 – Beijing
– Our China Trip: Chapter 2 – Guilin

Next chapters:
– Our China Trip: Chapter 4 – Yangtze Cruise
– Our China Trip: Chapter 5 – Shanghai
– Our China Trip: Chapter 6 – Hong Kong
– Our China Trip: Wrap-Up

Our China Trip: Chapter 2 – Guilin

September 4, 2016

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We took the bullet train from Beijing to Guilin, topping out at around 200 mph.  It took about 11 hours (including stops) to travel approximately 1300 miles.  Guilin is an incredibly picturesque city in the southern part of China, best known for its dramatic landscape of limestone hills.  We had been there before when we adopted the girls and wanted to return so they could see it.

After a good night’s sleep, we first visited the ancient town of Daxu, along the Li River. We then checked out the Reed Flute Cave.  Formed by water erosion, this 800-foot long cave contains rock formations and stone pillars illuminated by colored lighting, for a really spectacular visual landscape.  We spent the evening walking through Guilin, and traversing some of the 19 bridges that criss-cross the city.

The highlight of Day 2 in Guilin was traveling to the Longji Terrace Rice Fields.  We walked to the Ping’an Zhuang Village, and hiking though a trail in the midst of the rice paddies is something we won’t soon forget.

Day 3 included a bamboo rafting trip on the Li River.  The scenery was incredible, so much so that the landscape is found on the back of the 20 Yuan note in Chinese currency. We made our way to Yangshuo, where we went on an afternoon bike ride through the countryside. In the evening, we saw a riverfront show created by Academy Award nominated director Zhang Yimou (director of the Beijing Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies) that was epic in scale.

UPDATE: Our video footage is now available from both Guilin and Nanning here:

Please check out our pictures from our stay in Guilin here. Next up – Chapter 3 – Nanning

Previous chapters:
Our China Trip: Prologue – SoCal layover
Our China Trip: Chapter 1 – Beijing

Next chapters:
Our China Trip: Chapter 3 – Nanning
Our China Trip: Chapter 4 – Yangtze Cruise
Our China Trip: Chapter 5 – Shanghai
Our China Trip: Chapter 6 – Hong Kong
Our China Trip: Wrap-Up

Our China Trip: Chapter 1 – Beijing

September 2, 2016

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It was a real thrill to spend 5 days in Beijing! Although there is never enough time, we tried to pack in as much as we could in the days we were there. Despite Beijing’s reputation for ‘questionable’ air quality, rain had moved through just before we got there. As a result, the days were relatively clear and sunny – good fortune to start our travels! On our first full day, we went to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and Jingshan Park. There was a real sense of history being there (construction started on the Forbidden City over 600 years ago)!   I’m including some video slideshows of pictures we took along the way:

The next day was a real thrill – seeing the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. From the visitor center, we took a cable car up, and then hiked the wall. What a spectacular view! It was such a nice day that we decided to forgo the cable car down, and hiked back to the visitor center instead. After that, we went to the Olympic plaza, where we got to see such iconic features as the Bird’s Nest, the Beijing Water Cube, and the Olympic torch. All in all, a very cool day.

Day 3 included a tour of the Temple of Heaven. Like the Forbidden City, its origins date back over 600 years. We also took a bicycle rickshaw ride, which, although it’s a very ‘touristy’ thing to do, was a neat way to see the Hutong part of Beijing (characterized by narrow alleys). Another highlight was seeing the temple of Confucius, which was founded in 1302. It was very thought-provoking to see the grounds where this great philosopher spent much of his time. One of the highlights of Day 4 was getting to see the Summer Palace, which dates back over 850 years! We concluded that day with a visit to the Capital Museum, which has among other things priceless Ming vases, as well as cultural artifacts that were over 4000 years old.

 

UPDATE:  Emily posted some time-lapse footage from our rickshaw ride here:

 

UPDATE #2:  We’ve posted video of our days in China here:

 

Please check out our pictures from our stay in Beijing here. Next up – Chapter 2 – Guilin.

Previous chapter:  Our China Trip: Prologue – SoCal layover

Next chapters:
Our China Trip: Chapter 2 – Guilin
Our China Trip: Chapter 3 – Nanning
Our China Trip: Chapter 4 – Yangtze Cruise
Our China Trip: Chapter 5 – Shanghai
Our China Trip: Chapter 6 – Hong Kong
Our China Trip: Wrap-Up

 

Our China Trip: Prologue – SoCal layover

August 24, 2016

This summer, we took the trip of a lifetime – almost 4 weeks in China, to see Emily’s and Elisabeth’s country of origin.  The last time we were there was for their adoption, when they were only 11 months old.  I’m breaking the trip into separate posts, which I’ll release over the next few weeks – starting with our half day layover in Southern California.  Originally, we were going to stay overnight in LA, but our airline Cathay Pacific actually contacted us to see if we could fly out the same day instead – with a free upgrade to Business Class.  Talk about a no-brainer!

As a result, we only had about 12 hours in LA.  After renting a car and grabbing lunch, we decided to hit the beach – Huntington Beach to be specific.  It had been a few years since we had seen the Pacific Ocean, so it was a great way to spend the afternoon.  I’m including a few photos below:

 

Since our flight was around midnight, we were able to camp out in the OneWorld Lounge, which was a great place to chill before the 15-hour flight to Hong Kong (followed by a three-hour flight to Beijing).  Flying Business Class on Cathay Pacific was outstanding. The lay-flat seats enabled us to actually get some sleep, and the food and amenities were great.  We felt fairly well refreshed by the time we landed. After the (relatively) short flight to Beijing, we were ready to begin the trip!

Next up

Chapter 1 – Beijing

Chapter 2 – Guilin

Chapter 3 – Nanning

Chapter 4 – Yangtze River cruise

Chapter 5 – Shanghai

Chapter 6 – Hong Kong

Wrap-Up

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