Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Last of the China Trip

I'm sure many of you are wondering if I ever made it back from my trip to China. Well, I did! It took me about two weeks of constant sleeping before I emerged from zombie land. And then of course I got sick, so I've been battling that. And now (a month later) I finally got around to blogging about the conclusion of my trip. Last I left off, we were in Guiling. Before we headed to Shanghai, we went to the Reed Flute Cave in Guiling, which was spectacular. Unfortunately we rushed through it, as we had a flight to catch.

Once in Shanghai, we drove to Zhouzhang, which our guide referred to as the Venice of the East. We left our hotel at 5 a.m., so that we could catch the sun rise over the canal city.

We even went on a gondola ride!

And the gondolier sang! (Unfortunately I am still new to video and cannot for the life of me figure out how to rotate it.)

Sadly, the waters around Zhouzhang are incredibly polluted. While we were there, people were throwing their cigarettes and garbage into the canal. Even more disturbing is the fact that people wash their clothes and food in this polluted water.

We ended our trip in Shanghai, which is such an unusual city. In between the skyscrapers and futuristic architecture, there are alleyways filled with drying laundry. It's the hum drum of every day life mixed with the elegance of big city living.

Our last adventure in China was on our last day. My mother-in-law and I decided to venture out by ourselves. With only a map to navigate us, I am very happy to report that I got us to our shopping destination relatively unharmed. But because we love to shop, afternoon quickly turned into night and sunshine quickly turned into rain. We needed to get back to our hotel and quick. Our guide had told us that we could easily catch a cab. All we had to do was hand them this little card that had the name and address of our hotel in Chinese. Well, we followed these simple instructions, and the cab driver started yelling at us in Chinese. He was so angry, he made shooing gestures. Not knowing what he could possibly be saying, Sheryle and I scampered from the taxi.

I wasn't very confident that I could navigate us back to the hotel in the dark. So we started walking and came across this rickety, old moped with a multicolored umbrella duct taped over a seat that looked like it could only safely hold one person. But being the adventurers that we are (and with no other option), both of us somehow got into the one-person seat and piled our bags on top of us. Well, the ride was intense to say the least. At one point we were driving toward a large truck head-on. Yes, head on. And at the last minute our Chinese driver swerved back into our lane. While I was on the moped, I was profusely sweating and questioning whether we would make it back to the hotel alive. When I got off all in one piece, I proudly patted myself on the back for being such a courageous adventurer.

The most hilarious part of the story is not that Sheryle and I were basically sitting in each other's laps, it was that both Sheryle and I argued with the Chinese moped driver when he dropped us off. We both contended that where he dropped us off was not our hotel while he adamantly said it was. Mind you, we were having this conversation in gestures and head shakes. After about five minutes of arguing, we resigned ourselves to our fate and paid the driver. Lo and behold we walk to the front of the building and what do you know it is our hotel! I would love to know what that little driver was thinking about those two blonde Americans! Daughter.

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