Tuesday, June 19, 2012

May 2; getting my party planning on

Day 87
Since we were away for TanG’s half birthday, a decision was made to post pone her birthday celebration for the week after we get back. I eagerly put together invitations for my gurl and Uncle Heys’ half birthday.
We could sense there was excitement in the air as Tanjin and I went door to door to deliver the invites:

May 1; Shopping in Solana

Day 86
Random fact: some yoghurts and cheesecakes contains gelatin. As a pescatarian: bummer.

Today was the last day of the May holiday. As the other girls stayed in to lesson plan, I hung out with my friend, Berney. We went to Solana, a really nice European inspired plaza full of brand name stores, much of which reminded me of home. China is a really cheap country, but when it comes to brand names Canada and China are relatively the same, if not Canada is a better place to shop.
I was even surprised to see an American Eagle Outfitters.

Movie Theatre - yes, that's an advertisement for The Avengers in the background!

We had dinner at one of the many lakeside restaurants. The restaurant we went to was appropriately called Water.

First time lakeside dining =)
seafood spaghetti, yumm

And I thought being back in Beijing meant knowing the area thus NOT getting lost, but we ended up getting lost-ish on the way back to the subway station. Getting lost with a Chinese person? – there’s always a first for everything.

Monday, June 18, 2012

April 30; capital: from the peony's to china’s, all with the best type: friendship

Day 85
We planned our day last night to include precise times, directions, and activation to avoid any unnecessary events. 
In the morning, we walked to Wangcheng Park to admire Luoyang’s famous peonies.  Since Luoyang is actually the peony capital, peony watching was a must see for me. 
Inside the park, there was:
a ferris wheel (wish we had time to go on that),
there were tons of floats and stuff.
boat rides down the river (wish we had time to ride on that),
cable car rides (wish we had time to ride on that),
strange bears that drive the rickshaw. Still trying to figure out the dynamics of that.
an unexpected zoo,

Man feeding the monkeys
You could take a picture with the camel for a price.

The zoo was small and the animals were confined. There was only the most basic furnishings in the cages i.e. a tree for birds, ropes and nets for monkeys play. The zoo, although it provides an opportunity for Chinese people to stare at something to observe animals in real life all in one convenient location, was actually pretty depressing. The monkeys were in a big whole in the ground (reminded me of The Rise of the Planet of the Apes).  there was a lack of control from Chinese people who seemed to have the need to drop their shit in the moneys “habitat”. I don’t think there was special zoo keepers to take care of the animals. It was all pretty depressing...
and of course there were peonies.

yellow peonies
Moving on, we left the park to got to the Longman Luoyang train station.  With no time to get lost and adventure, we opted for the safest mode of transportation to get there: taxi.
There's 7 people in that taxi. Who needs a mini van right?
 I like the idea of traveling like a local and saving a few ice cream cones (RMB = kuai = yuan = ice cream cones. They’re all the same.), but we were pretty exhausted from everything that happened. I love adventure, but it really felt like our life depended o this train ride back to Beijing. 
There are 6 people in that cart thing. 
We arrived 2 hours early for good measure and had our lunch:
      leftovers from last night in ghetto plastic bags
Kris and Cat on the train. Farewell Henan.
Tanjin focused on her book.
Snacks and journal writing.
We boarded the train with great excitement bcause we actually knew what to do once we arrived to our destination: Take a bus, subway, then walk back home. Yes home, to our dysfunctional family. Yes, home to the deserted wasteland Xierqi. Yes, home.

Monday, June 4, 2012

April 29; The night continues…

Day 84
2:00 A.M.
We left the Chinese restaurant and headed to McDonald so TanG could get her chicken nuggets.
I walked in with a swoosh of energy but the sleeping people were a total vibe kill. Bummer, how are we supposed to stay awake for the remaining 4 hours… Anyway, when TanG got her nuggets. she was presented with two magical sauces: sweet chili AND sweet and sour. 
Sweet chili! Toronto take notes
I decided to use the tacky jewels I purchased earlier in the night to decorate my phone.
disgusting. but it'll stay on until it comes off..
5:00 A.M.
3 hours and some naps in between later, we migrated to another McDs. The area around the train station had about 3 KFCs and 4 McDonalds. I'm still trying to figure out the logic in that…

6:00 A.M.
Adamant on not missing our 7:20 bus ride home, we walked to the bus station to get our damn bus. With great success, we got on the right buses and successfully reached the hostel.
city bus
The day begins
After that adventure, we decided to just chill at the hostel with a game of pool and food.

Kaifeng Youth Hostel: mini review (pictures)
  •           The chef is amazing – from what I could tell, it’s a one man team in a tiny kitchen -- The kitchen is the size of like one and a half double beds.
  •          Prices for food are reasonable.
  •          The staff is super friendly. Especially Shan Shan.
  •          Amenities: wi-fi, computers, pool table, laundry machine. I could get facebook on my phone, so that’s a huge bonus.
  •          Neighbouring area: convenient store a few stores down, gorgeous view of the lake that lights up in the night against the city, night market is close by, and bus stops are really close as well.
  •          The not so good: Bathroom. The light wasn’t working for 2 days and it was incredibly tiny for a 6 dorm room. It was literally the size of a single bed... actually that's a tiny washroom even for a single room...
  •      Recommended: highly recommended!
  •          45 RMB a night (with ISIC discount)
Before we knew it, we left Kaifeng and arrived in Luoyang, where we were one step closer to Beijing.
We reached the hostel with ease and as the girls freshened up, I explored the building. There really was nothing compared to our previous hostel disappointingly.
Luoyang Youth Hostel mini review:
  • meeh
  • Staff weren’t exactly friendly nor helpful.
  • Favorite part: there was real showering space.
  • Overall, I much prefer our previous Luoyang hostel over this one
  • 80 RMB for a 8 dorm room (holiday season pricing)
We went for Chinese food for the first time during this trip. As I walked through the doors, the waiter greeted me with a "konnichiwa" and that was the first time someone thought I was Japanese. The lady who was taking our order helped correct my Chinese food pronunciation in the nicest way and I felt like that was the first time someone actually understood me. She understood me and that surprised me because no one in Beijing does… I'd love to take this restaurant back to Beijing...
Tanjin and her naturally curled hair
All that food for 25 RMB (~3 CND)

After stuffing ourselves with food, we headed back early to prep for tomorrow's journey back home. Tomorrow’s a brand new day and I hope something will finally go our way.