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Archive for January, 2003

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Island Of Mindoro,Philippines

Friday, January 10th, 2003


After the cold nights in China, we were looking for warmth so we flew from Hong Kong to Manila in the Philippines for a couple nights and then took a ferry to the island of Mindoro. We found a fan room on the beach about 40 feet from the water where we did as little as possible other than reading, hiking and eating something other than Chinese food! At the end of a week we took the ferry back to Manilla where we stayed a couple nights and then flew back to Hong Kong to catch our flight for the States…missing Chinese New Years in the bargain!


Wednesday, January 8th, 2003


Bob and I said goodbye to Jana who would leave later in the day on a train to Shanghai and then home from Hong Kong. The next day we took a train to Zhangjiajie in Hunan Province.

At the Dragon International Hotel Coffee shop…Little Santas and Christmas trees hanging everywhere…like Cinco de Mayo at home…no one knows what the day really celebrates but it is an excuse for a party…Kenny G on the stereo as usual…Old Lang Syne and Winter Wonderland. Our waitress, Liu Wen Qin, is a smiling friendly 19 year old…”excuse me, can I ask you some questions?”…absolutely we say…where are you from…where is your tour group…you are by yourselves? And we quickly become friends. She is from Hubei Province near Yichang…has two sisters one of whom she lives with in a room costing 120 yuan a month ($15) with the husband of her sister and five year old child…the child having a heart condition, she said. When she gets off work at 11am she leads us to the bus that will take us to Zhangjiajie Village in the Wulingjuan Scenic Park about 40 minutes away…by ourselves we never would have found the bus, one of many that all look alike.

Zhangjiajie Village

The Park is truly stunning with craggy cliffs and columns rising out of sub-tropical growth…the winter fog sitting low in the narrow canyons-a place that would be wonderful for hiking in the summer. Lonely Planet said the best hotel in the village was Minzu Shanzhuang, a thatched, Tujia-run (a Chinese minority group) hotel…but this was winter and it had snowed the night before. We buried ourselves under blankets and hot water bottles because the heater was lousy…and quit altogether during the night…

Back in Zhangjiajie City early the next morning we stumbled off the bus to the welcome-warm smile of Liu Wen Qin at the Dragon International Hotel Coffee Shop…glad for a place to park ourselves for the day until the train for Guangzhou at 6pm. We walked the streets awhile…a bookstore…Diary of Johann D. Rockefeller sitting right next to a book about Mao Tse Tung….in the window Bill Gates” Theories of Management and “How To Win Friends And Influence People.”

Since it was winter and hardly anyone was in the hotel, we spent most of the afternoon speaking English with Liu Wen Qin…Bob teasing her and loving it when, laughing delightedly, she finally catches on. He’s good at flirting with Asian girls 😉 When it was time to leave we paid the bill and by the time we had our backpacks on she had disappeared…the rumor that the Chinese hate to say goodbye apparently true…my throat getting a catch as I write this.

We settled in for what Lonely Planet said was a 24 hour train ride south back toward Hong Kong in a hard sleeper. But 6am the next morning, after only 12 hrs, we were awakened by the train attendant…we are here, she said…Guangzhou…Guangzhou!

After a night in Hong Kong we flew to the Philippines to warm up on a beach. Then we flew back to Hong Kong to catch our flight back to the States.

This is the end of our first year of travel around the world.

Yichang & Yangtse Dam

Wednesday, January 8th, 2003
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif As we were checking into our hotel, Joe Peng, 30-something young entrepreneur that was with us on our trip up the little gorges showed up with four of his travelling friends: "Most ... [Continue reading this entry]

Off The Boat…Where?

Tuesday, January 7th, 2003
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif Back on the boat from the little gorges tour, a woman appears at our cabin her little English she says "I have a hotel for you...a bus will pick you up and take ... [Continue reading this entry]

Down The Yangtze

Monday, January 6th, 2003
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif Side Trips on The Way At 6:05am a tour guide knocked at the door...follow me, follow me now, he says! We saw the ghosts...a series of temples in the dark of morning called the ... [Continue reading this entry]

You Can Always Fool a Foreigner

Sunday, January 5th, 2003
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif Down the Yangze River From it's origins in Tibet through Tiger Leaping Gorge to Chonqing every Chinese calls China's longest river Chang Jiang and at 6300km is the third longest in the world. From ... [Continue reading this entry]

Email From Paul In Ruilli

Sunday, January 5th, 2003
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif Before we left Chongquing Jana and I got an email from Paul, one of the Ruili kids. Jana and I were both very touched that these kids considered spending time with us ... [Continue reading this entry]

Chongqing China

Friday, January 3rd, 2003
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif This is San hilly there are no bicycles, colored lights...lively with people walking through the pedestrian malls that fan out from Liberation Monument at the center...originally built to commemorate Sun Yat Sen's death ... [Continue reading this entry]

Panda Research Base

Wednesday, January 1st, 2003
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif An early morning one-hour ride on Sam's Guesthouse bus took us south of Chengdu to the Panda Research Base where China is trying to keep the Giant Pandas from disappearing into extinction. It ... [Continue reading this entry]