Saturday, March 26, 2011

My trip to China, and other wonderful things!

Wow, I have so much to catch up on! At the end of January I went to Beijing, China for 1 week with 3 of my friends. Ellen and I went to Seoul earlier in the day so we could go to Itaewon (the Westernized part of Seoul) to get some yummy food and hit up an English bookstore called What the Book. So after a 3 hour bus ride we arrived in Seoul and took the subway to Itaewon. We went to a small restaurant called Petra, thanks to a suggestion from my friend Alana. Anyway, the place was super cheap and amazing. I got a falafel wrap with vegetables and tsatsiki sauce. It is really nice to go to Seoul every once in a while and get different food. In Andong, where I live...there are not very many options. Although today I went to an Italian-ish restaurant with my friend Jinsuk and got seafood carbonara and it was actually not bad. I will never understand why their garlic bread is sweet though.

So after going to Petra we went to What the Book and browsed around for about an hour and a half. I swear I could spend all day in a bookstore its kind of a problem. This bookstore is also nice because it has a lot of used books as well. So me and Ellen took forever trying to figure out what books we were going to buy...I just settled on one so I didn't have to lug even more stuff to China with me. We then made a trip to Starbucks which is a necessity when going to a bigger city, they don't have one in Andong. Mmmmm...peppermint white chocolate mocha! After that we hopped on the Subway for 1 hour to Incheon, where the airport is located.

We stayed the night in Incheon at a hotel so we could catch our flight the next morning. Our flight to China was only 1.5 hours so we got there by noon. We then took the subway all the way from the airport to our hotel in downtown Beijing (about 1/2 hour). Our hotel was directly next to the subway station which was nice. Sadly when we got to the hotel they had lost or never received mine and David's we had to sit in the lobby for 3 hours until they figured it out. Once we finally got to our room, it was pretty nice and I was thankful that everything worked out.

The next morning we woke up at 8am to meet our tour guide for The Forbidden City, The Summer Palace, The Temple of Heaven, a silk factory and  a pearl factory. It was a very long day but everything was amazing. We also had a very good Chinese meal with lots of vegetables...I think it may have been the best meal since I have been to Asia. There was this one dish with scrambled eggs and mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Most of our time in Beijing was spent walking around and checking out the city. I spent a lot of time in grocery stores because there was so much American food. I found a grocery store that reminded me of my Food Co-op back home, lets just say Ellen and I were in HEAVEN. I was able to pick up many things to bring back to Korea such as beans and lentils that I cannot find here. Clothing is also very cheap in China so of course I had to go shopping. I went to a park on Chinese New Year where they were having a HUGE festival with thousands of people. There were vendors everywhere selling all different kinds of food and everything rabbit because it is the year of the rabbit. I am talking rabbit masks, rabbit socks, food shaped like rabbits....rabbit craziness. I found a vendor that was selling beautiful scarfs for the equivalant of $3.50 I bought about 10 of them!!!

A few days into our trip we planned to go to The Great Wall. We had to wake up at 6am to catch our shuttle. We went with other people, one girl who was a teacher in Korea as well, such a small world. We were so smushed in the shuttle it wasn't the most comfortable ride. We sat like sardines for about 3 hours, and when we arrived the wait was well worth it. We hiked for about 1.5 hours up because we stopped to take so many pictures, and 45 minutes back. We didn't spend that much time there, but it was beautiful and the highlight of my trip to China. There were barely any people there so we had the whole wall to ourself it seemed like. The view was beyond breath taking...and it was hard to take it all in. It wasn't until the next day that I had registered in my mind where I had just been. I never thought that I would see The Great Wall in my lifetime. Overall my trip to China was wonderful. The people are caring and welcoming, just like in Korea. I am sooooo happy I was blessed with the opportunity to go.

 Our delicious meal, and the yummy egg dish.
      Stretching Silk at the Silk Shop

The Temple of Heaven

America: written in Chinese by a cute little man with a water paintbrush on the sidewalk.

Me, Eddie, Ellen, & David on The Great Wall

The Great Wall

The Forbidden City

Roots Reggae Bar ~ So thankful for live music!!

At Ditan Park on Chinese New Year

A fruit called Boboboboeeee or something like that, delicious.

Ellen and I with our aloe and coconut drinks from the grocery store.

The year of the RABBIT!

Just enjoying a Tsingtao with David, fun night!

Being in Korea has allowed me to experience other cultures, and is giving me the opportunity to travel.  I leave for Taiwan on May 5, 2011 for 5 days. I am ecstatic, and cannot wait to go surfing and lounge around on the beach all day. Also I will be coming home from  June 29- July 17th. Can't wait to see all of my wonderful friends and family especially during the best time of the year in Washington, SUMMER!!!!