2012 in review

This is the summary of my blog for 2012 and I’m super shocked about all the countries represented, thanks to anyone who read my blog much appreciated!! Hope you have a great 2013!

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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NEW BLOG!

Hey all,

Thank you for following my blog during my travels in China, but I have recently started a new blog at dwhitesdigest.wordpress.com I would love if you came and checked it out. Thanks for the support so far!

D White

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Dad Does China

My 2nd visitor this year, my dad, came for the 1st week of April. I was worried we would be cramming too much into one week and his jet lag would get the better of him, but he was a trooper and seemed to have no jet lag. In fact, I believe I slept more than he did!

So the journey began on Saturday night, he arrived late to Chongqing around 9pm. We settled into my apartment and I gave him the mini-tour of campus. To tell the jet lag what’s up we went to Da Rasta (our local expat bar) for a spring BBQ and he was able to meet all my friends. Was great introduction to my life for the past 8 months. We called it a night and kicked off the rest of the trip the next day.

Sunday he was exposed to his first Chinese transaction (buying train tickets) and his first authentic Chinese meal. I wasnt convinced he fully enjoyed it but it got the job done. Today, was the ‘tour of downtown’ we went to the Chongqing Three Gorges Museum and our city hall two places I had yet to check out. They were extremely interesting and FULL of history. Its truly amazing to consider the significance of Chongqing as a city to China. There is a tremendous amount of history in this city and a range of qualities the city I’ve lived in the last 8 months brings to the table in a crisis.

Moving on…..after our history intake we headed over to hong ya dong (our international paradise for the year), we relaxed along the riverside for the afternoon. After a long but relaxing afternoon we headed back towards my school to meet up with Vince (a fellow Drake graduate) and went to Chongqing’s old town district ci qi kou for the infamous hot pot. Overall, great experience for my dad to see the Sichuan food, and of course the waitress recommended some yummy stomach lining lol.

Monday: We were very productive, and got our workout in, ate at my favorite hole in the wall restaurant (dad’s favorite meal of the entire trip, a simple rice dish), packed and headed to the train station via bus with plenty of time to spare. I wanted to expose my dad to all modes of transportation so we took the train to Chengdu for a day and half excursion. Unfortunately, our hotel was a bit outside of the city center in a little village area called Century City. It was a compilation of international hotels and shopping so at least it was a nice area. We got a massage and my dad was able to experience his first Chinese custom…….AWKWARD ENCOUNTER to say the least….

Tuesday: Was a new day and we started it fresh with Pandas. I was able to see the newborns from my visit 5 months ago and they are so big, they have turned into little toddlers. We stopped by the Main Square on our way back to the hotel for some photos, and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing (napping) and attempting to be productive till we left for our middle of the night flight. Arrived in Xi’An LATE, and the airport of course was approximately an hour away from the city center (where our hotel happened to be this time). A nuclear power plant was closer to the city than the airport (something wrong with this picture). We were located inside the city walls which was nice, everything was fairly close and convenient this time around. We stayed at the Hilton and I swear to you the nicest bathroom I’ve ever seen, this will be my future bathroom someday (I’m obsessed).

Wednesday: Was a busy day for us, but nothing felt rushed for all we were able to squeeze in. We headed off to terra cotta warriors early and unfortunately my dad couldnt fully understand our tour guide so I had to translate a lot of her conversation to him.

Excerpt about the Warriors and Horses via wikipedia:

“Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses”, is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BC and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife, and to make sure that he had people to rule over.

The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots and horses. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits. Other terracotta non-military figures were also found in other pits and they include officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians.

The rest of our day was filled with checking out the bell and drum towers, as well as the Muslim Quarters. We were able to check out some local food and local customs, overall was a great day.

Thursday: We headed to the airport early to catch our final flight to Beijing which we would finalize our trip here. We got situated in the Renaissance hotel, then headed off to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. We walked easily, 10 miles in a matter of 2 1/2 hours it was exhausting day. Not to mention I was walking on an injured Achilles which didnt help.

Again, excerpt about the Forbidden City via wikipedia:

The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost 500 years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government.

Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 720,000 m2 (7,800,000 sq ft). The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

After our lovely day, we continued our exploration to the famous Quanjude Roasted Duck Restaurant, this was my favorite meal not only this week but my entire time in China. We got a few duck dishes that were so-so and then discovered most people were ordering the duck prepared a certain way, so we decided to jump on the bandwagon and give it a shot as well. Which I am SO happy we did because it was unbelievable, by far worth the search for it!

Friday: Our final full day, we went out with a bang, went to the Great Wall it is just amazing to fathom how this was completed so long ago, it was breathtakingly beautiful. On our way to the wall we stopped at the jade market, where we picked up some gifts, I got a jade elephant (meaning wealth and prosperity) as well as a jade snake necklace (my Chinese zodiac), supposedly good for you health. My dad picked up a few treats of his own, a baby dragon and a generational ball both made of jade, as well as a jade bracelet for Michele. All very nice pieces, jade in China is considered the Diamond of the East. On our way back from the wall we grabbed a traditional Chinese lunch, and went by the 2008 Olympic park to see the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube. As well as Dr. Tea, to see a traditional tea ceremony, I bought some teas as I have grown quite fond of tea in the last 8 months here. We finished our night off with the Pearl Market, you can not come to China and not experience a little knock off/fake market. We got some goodies here which include the following; sports watch, tea measuring cup, silk screen, 3 pairs of beats head phones, speakers for my iPod, and a purse and wallet. Overall, extremely successful day, my favorite day of our entire trip.

I was so happy my dad was able to come share a little part of this experience with me, its something we will always cherish and I cant believe how quickly it went by.

Till next time

D. White

P.S. as always hit my photo limit so refer to my Facebook page for all photos:)

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The Familiar

So I have been back in China for about a month now, been keeping busy with my usual tasks; teaching, exploring Chongqing, and watching loads of TV. I have picked up some new usuals such as working out, my goal being to workout for 100 straight days. You might wonder why I continue exploring Chongqing when I have been here for 7 months, shouldnt I have seen it all? Well to tell you the truth Chongqing is sooo massive I dont know that 11 months will be enough.

Enough about my boring daily routines, on to something a little more boring, teaching. Teaching this semester is much smoother and easier than last, I believe its because I know how things work and what to expect from my students. I have had an easier time, having the students participate and actually show up for my class. Im not entirely sure what is so different than last but they seem to love me a lot more, which I have found to be an odd encounter.

Here are a couple emails I have received from a students in the last days to brighten up my day I suppose.

Hi~Danielle.

I’m Black(Ge Qiu is my Chinese name.) 

I would like to recommend a moving Chinese movie named A SIMPLE LIFE to you. 

It’s a movie about family love between two ordinary people while facing illness and death. Actually speaking they are not really connected by fresh and blood, but it describe a kind of love beyond your imagination.

It’s on the cinema these days,but I don’t think there’s a English version. Even though,  I think you can understand it. 

Cause there’s something that transcends language.

Overall it’s worth watching.

And of course an additional email from the same student….she enjoys sharing info with me.

SUNSHINE! ~\(≧▽≦)/~Finally Chongqing’s say goodbye to the rainy days, and spring’s around the corner. The photos are chosen from today’s Chongqing news. Tt’s an article about some beautiful University campus great for hiking. They are in the North part of Chongqing. Most Chongqing’s universities have moved there years ago.You can also rent bicycle there as long as you have an ID card. The ground there is PLANE PLANE PLANE!!! ( ⊙ o ⊙ )!

The cost will be about 3 YUAN for an ordinary one, 4 YUAN for a speed bike and 5 YUAN for Tandem bicycle PRE HOUR. Of course, they normally ask you to pay 200YUAN as a deposit.

The only problem is that it takes a long time to go there, about 1 hour by bus and you also need to transferred at Jianzhuan.

Anyway  ENJOY THE SUNNY DAYS. 

AND take care of your belongings, my cellphone was stolen on a sunny day just like today.╭(╯^╰)╮

I have been invited to dinner nearly every night by either my students and/or co-teachers. I havent accepted all invitations as its nice to have time to myself or strictly with English speakers, but I have accepted my fair share. I have learned more about China’s culture and my speaking abilities have grown tremendously just in the short time I spend with either my students or co-teachers during dinner. I have been able to enjoy my time to a larger amount than last semester, I am not entirely sure what has changed other than its closer to the time I head home for good. I suppose it could be some comfort American food I found at the local grocery store, or the gym I belong to that allows me to be active, or playing sports with the boys and my students. It could be numerous things that have made China feel a little bit more like home.

This week though my internet has gone out in my apartment, they have been able to fix it but just for about 20 minutes at a time, we arent sure as to what the issue is, all we know is the issue is in my apartment not my computer. THANK GOD. All is well though, and time is flying by.

Next week my dad is coming for a visit he will be here for a week, its a short trip but I am extremely excited nonetheless. He is coming to Chongqing to start out his trip and from here our travels will take us to Chengdu (Pandas), Xi’An (Terracotta Warriors), and of course Beijing. We will be extremely busy and always on the move, but thats what happens when you try to see China in a week. Hopefully, jet lag doesnt get the best of my ole man and we can troop on.

Well stay tuned for my next update; traveling with the pops.

DWHITE

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Thailand

To finalize my winter break travels for 2012 we ended in Thailand.

Sarah and I took our travels to Phuket and Bangkok, this was a tie as my favorite country with Philippines. Yes, it can be a tie because they were two entirely different experiences and trips. We began our experience in Phuket, if I had the opportunity I would for sure go back here, it was amazing place. Full of tourists yet had a unique and different atmosphere than most places, everyone is beyond friendly. If you want to do island hopping this is where its at! Probably had the least amount of time here than any of the other places we went to, if I could do it all over again, spend the same amount of time in Philippines (although I could have spent months there), few less days in Singapore, few less days in Malaysia, and WAY MORE days in Thailand.

First day in Phuket we arrived late at our hotel that was pretty nice and grabbed some dinner at Elephant Cafe, was soooo delicious we ate there twice. Then had the best massage of my life, no joke. I would go back just to get another massage there. One hour full-body Thai massage=AMAZING.

Our 2nd day we went elephant trekking and hung out with monkeys it was soo fun and they were adorable. Paid 700 baht for it each, approx. $23. Then transferred to our other hostel, Cheap Charlies, because it was closer to the beach where everything was happening. I got eaten alive again just on my legs this time. Gotta love REALLY CHEAP hostels, it was one night, we could live. We went shopping down in patong beach area, bought some good souvenirs.

Our last day in Phuket, went to patong beach all day and sunbathed, I got a little burnt on my tummy because I walked along the water for a couple hours and forgot where our chairs were lol. I had an aloe vera bath with the actual leaves it was really cool and obviously felt amazing. Then headed out for Bangkok in the middle of the night.

Bangkok was a great city, my only complaint was I felt as though I was being scammed the entire time I was there. The atmosphere was near opposite of Phuket. Our hostel was beyond great though, we stayed at HQ hostel, was my favorite place our entire trip. The beds were extremely comfy and rooms were AC controlled. Restrooms were decent and the common room was great. Movies, video games, and computers for anyones use. They also provided booking all kinds of tours around Bangkok. I ended up doing the Floating Market tour.

Sarah and I sort of split ways in Bangkok, Jordan was joining up with her because I was heading back to the states for a few weeks and she continued on her travels through Cambodia and Vietnam I believe. So our first day we spent together going to different palaces and having people attempt to scam us all day, was real fun! In all honesty it was a great day got to see a bunch of different sights but was annoying people trying to take advantage of us for being Americans/white. Our day was slightly interrupted by a torrential downpour.

Our 2nd day we split ways and that was when I did my floating market tour. Floating markets is famous, essentially it is a long boat floating down a small river and people selling all kinds of things along the shore. This was one of the last location my shopping sprees took place. The rest of the tour included elephant trekking, a small lunch and a snake show (which was one of the most frightening/interesting things ever). Overall, was really happy with my experience and wish I had more time for other tours. Was able to make some German, Australian, and Argentina friends from our hostel, and went out with them to the most famous road in Thailand, Kao Shan Rd. This road is full of the “Chinese” style markets and clubs and bars EVERYWHERE! I will say I finished my trip out with one final bang, and pulled an all nighter, as my flight was at 8am and had to be at the airport at 6am.

The finalization of my 2 month excursion ended in good ole’ Iowa with family and friends. Thanks to all that made my Chinese New Year 2012 a memorable one:)

Update on the last month in China will be coming soon, stay tuned.

D. WHITE

Again, if you want to see photos check out Facebook as I have hit my limit on this blog.

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Malaysia

Where to begin….Malaysia I must say is not what I expected entirely. Our trip in Malaysia capital Kuala Lumpur lasted a total of 4 days, probably 2 too many in Kuala Lumpur at least. If I had the chance to go to Malaysia again I would go to the other island opposite of Kuala Lumpur, seems more tropical and a bit more of the vision I had of what Malaysia should have been like. Dont get me wrong I had a great time in Malaysia but it may have been my least favorite of the 4 countries Sarah and I traveled to over break. Why was it my least favorite? Boring is the first word that comes to mind, Kuala Lumpur only has so much to offer and it can be seen in a total of 2 days. The twin Petronas towers China town (of course) and Batu caves are the main sites to see. Giving you a step by step preview of what our trip was like as the previous blogs demonstrated in Philippines and Singapore.

Our first day there we arrived around dinner time and got settled into what was easily our WORST hostel EVER! My bed was held up by a cinder block and full of lumps, was the hottest hostel with the only moving air being a fan, and you had to provide your own toilet paper for the disgusting bathrooms. Now you may ask why we decided to spend our time in a disgusting hostel well hostelworld.com had 30 or so reviews with a total percentage of 88% of the customers being happy. I came to the conclusion that the rest of the customers are delusional and have no clue what “pleasant, clean and comfy hostel” means. Two words to define them in my eyes are “cracked out.” Anywho we luckily had a decent location, in which we located directly across the Reggae Bar a must see restaurant/bar in Kuala Lumpur, the atmosphere and food is amazing. The bar is full of pictures and signs from all around the world, the one I obviously found to be most fascinating was an IOWA state sign, yes I KNOW there was a sign from IOWA of all places (thats what I call a small world). Alongside the reggae bar was Chinatown, which was much nicer or shall I say closer to the China I know and have come to love than the Chinatown we witnessed in Singapore. We did a little shopping picked up the usual things beats headphones, some t-shirts and movies.

Our first full day we walked the city a little and made our way to the Bird Park, it was interrupted by a brief torrential downpour. The bird park was way more interesting than I had expected ahead of time, but it is the largest free flight aviary. One thing I found out on this trip about Sarah that I had no clue previously is how obsessed her entire family is with any and every kind of animals (I guess the exception being cats:) ha). We ended the night with a little introductory shopping experience to the central market (which I would classify as the best place to shop in Kuala Lumpur) for souvenirs and trinkets to take home. Of course, where we consumed over half of our meals while in Malaysia we ended the night at the Reggae Bar.

2nd full day we hired a tour guide we went to natural hot springs (extremely hot) but really cool. They were made of sulfur so very healthy for skin but pretty unbearable to keep feet in for to long. Then went to waterfall where there was a small village having a picnic and get together at the park. It was a very cool experience they invited us to take pictures of them and watch their activities overall was very cool and they were very friendly people. Went swimming at the waterfall and  met two extremely nice Muslim girls that shared some cool things to do and see in Kuala Lumpur as well as elsewhere in Malaysia. Unfortunately, we wouldnt have enough time to explore the rest of Malaysia as it sounded amazing! Was very nice to talk with them, gave us some cool tips. Monkeys everywhere! Was so awesome I love monkeys, quite possibly the highlight of my entire time in Malaysia but for sure that day! Then went to the Batu caves met a two guys Aaron from D.C. and his friend Sherif from Bothell, Washington just outside of where I grew up in Woodinville, Washington. Small world yet again. The Batu Caves are for sure a site to see but if I were to do it again I would have made time to do the spelunking and glow in the dark cave trekking, it sounded extremely fun but unfortunately we werent dressed appropriately. To wrap up our day I had another palm reading just to see how accurate these things really are and even if mine would be the same as Hong Kong. I was stumped because for the most part it was the same. I got a palm reading, face reading and tarot card reading. The following is what I gathered from this particular reading:

My palm reading: I am stubborn, I’m good with hands for detail-oriented specific things. I must be apart of something very specialized as I take on a leadership role in most cases. I will always have friends to support me but I need to seek their help and let them help me. I push friends and people who get close to me away, I am very scared to trust as I have been hurt in the past. Those who have been in my life will always be extremely important to me but I need to open up more to others and not put as much energy towards them (In other words, need to be more willing to let others in to my life). I am very concise, neat I do not like things to be messy in my life nor of my personal use. I like to talk a lot and always have a lot on my mind. I am very far from my siblings and wish to be closer to them, just not sure they have the time. I think to much and usually find the negatives in things, I am extremely skeptical. I am good with money in that when I don’t have any I can stay at home and enjoy myself but when I have money I know how to use it and have a good time.

Tarot cards: the two categories I chose to know more about were relationships and work.

Relationship: In my past life someone I was very close to left me and never returned. In this life that person may return or possibly already has. If the person presents themselves soon, I could have the chance to get married soon otherwise I will not get married until later around 28. (Similar to my last reading)

Work: I am disappointed in my current situation and do not feel satisfied. I am searching for something else to do but have no idea or direction. I need to sacrifice and work hard to figure out my path but my friends can help me decipher.

Face reading: I am going to have a long life, I will easily make it 78. My forehead says I will have two girls and if I am lucky a boy.

-don’t like commitment

-family is well off

-I want to make good money

-stubborn unwilling to let people in, it is adopted from my childhood

- I had a disruption in my childhood

- importance of friends

- will be unsatisfied in work, always looking for more

- have to work really hard to find what I want to do, so don’t settle in the beginning

- a friend from my childhood has a huge influence on my life and my current relationships

- a friend will teach me something and if I learn from that and accept it someone from my past will come back into my life

So there you have it all my readings, I think this time I agree with most and kind find the truth in what I may disagree with but obviously this guy decided I have a lot to work on lol

Our final productive day in Malaysia we took a walk down to the Petronas Towers hoping to go up but we found out upon our arrival that they only sell a certain number of tickets a day and you have to buy them ahead of time (not a clue this needed to be done but hey not sure how worth it would be to pay to go up and see). Plus we ran into our friends Aaron and Sherif again small world. We got some lunch at a decent sushi restaurant and then went to there baller hotel where where there was a sky bar/pool and it had an amazing few of the towers, which totally made it not worth paying the fee to go up the towers. Aaron and Sherif flew out that night to head back to the states, so Sarah and I were on the mission to make new friends and we did all Canadiens who happened to be studying in Singapore for the semester. The night ended well and we lounged around the next day till we flew out that evening.

I have apparently used my quota for pictures so check out my Facebook for photos. Sorry.

Till next time,

DWHITE

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Singapore

Singapore is the place I had built up the most, because before we had left on our Chinese New Year travels I had met a few people from Singapore who just raved about it. I will say ahead of time we probably stayed a day too long, but Singapore is a beautiful and amazing place. The whole country is so clean and extremely friendly people. Luckily, one of Sarah and I’s college friend Megan’s parents just recently moved there and Megan was still there on her Winter Break from college. Unfortunately, we only got to spend one day with her before she headed back to the states, but it was amazing to see a familiar face in so long. So I am going to give a break down of what we did for 4 days.

Went met up with Megan for lunch in Holland Village at a Mexican restaurant it was soooo good, it made our week without a doubt:) Holland Village was filled with lots of places to shop and lots of American style restaurants, we were traveling on bare minimum so no shopping for us! After lunch we then walked around a bit then headed to Haw Par Villa, weird statues and set up of punishment of hell it was a very bizarre place but I guess cool in its own nature.  To finish up our first day we then went to Megan’s family’s town home the rest of the afternoon to relax and hang out in their very nice home. Her parents have lived in Singapore for 7 months now aka gave us some great advice as to what to see and do for the rest of the week. Her mom ended coming home and we chatted for a long time before we headed to dinner in little India for dinner I got opeh and shark fin soup with crab meat (essentially tasted like egg drop soup with a fishy soft yet crunchy thing aka shark fin in it)

We decided that Singapore was going to be a relaxing and laid back place for us since there are not much things for sightseeing, so for  the second day we relaxed day and lounged around most of the day. Went to little India again, ate some delicious Indian food a grew fond of India food on this trip its a very popular cuisine in SE Asia. We went to Vivo City Mall which is one of the largest malls I have ever been in, and we watched the movie Contraband with Mark Wahlberg and was surprisingly good movie as I hadnt heard anything about it. If you havent seen the movie yet I highly recommend it.

Our 3rd day we went to Chinatown which was pretty cool and definitely cool because it was right before the Chinese New Year and was all decorated and lots of festivities going on. For dinner we went to the Marina Bay (downtown) which was beautiful and I now see why people are so obsessed with Singapore, plus there was huge mall, like I sad before one of the largest malls Ive ever seen this is by far the coolest and biggest Mall I have ever seen! Its been awhile since I have been to Mall of America but I would debate its bigger, and without a doubt liked this mall way more. Was the prettiest and nicest mall Ive ever been in, ate more Indian and Singapore cuisine. Finally went to Marina Bay Sands Casino, Sarah got lucky and won 85 dollars on the slots I lost 16 lol. Big gamblers I know:) You can just call us High Rollers…

Our final day we lounged around on Sentosa Island on the west coast and got our dose of Singapore Slings (we had to of course:)). Sentosa Island is cool but most definitely a tourist trap, there is a lot of cool and fun things to do like Indoor Skydiving, Cement Sledding, Beaches, etc. but all were fairly expensive or at least out of our price range so we settled for the drinks:) Then finished the night off in Vivo City Mall where Sarah did end up doing some damage and shopping a bit, one last time before we head out to Malaysia the next day.

Lastly, want to talk about our hostel Betel Box Hostel which was one of my favorites on the entire trip. The bedrooms were nice, and the lounge was a great place to hang out plus tons of things to do and tours to sign up with. The location was on the far east side of the island away from most the touristy things but truly I still loved the location gave us a perspective of the entire Island.

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Blogs on Malaysia, Thailand and Recent weeks back in China still to come….

D. White

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Philippines

Sarah and I began our 1 month travel across SE ASIA on January 4th, 2012 in Manila Philippines. Taking a midnight flight from Hong Kong to Manila. The cab ride to our hostel was about a half hour, and was able to see a little of what Manila looked like, I can surely say it was nothing I expected. It was fairly dirty and lots of slums in most areas, lucky our hostel was in a decent area yet I cant say as though I felt 100% secure with the area around our hostel. We stayed at 1 river central hostel for a couple nights where we met the owner Garrie, and his friends Cee Devon and Hardy. Garrie took us around Manila, he seemed as though he was very connected. One of the best parts about our travels thus far was everyone spoke English. Hardy and Garrie took us to see some local rock bands play. Our hostel was fairly nice my only complaint being the loud noises from the street.

Our only adventure in Manila was to Tagaytay to see taal volcano. We had about an hour bus ride to Tagaytay where we then took a boat ride across a large lake, to then do horseback riding up to the volcano.

One of the best things we found on our entire trip was a 24 hour spa, Wensha spa where Sarah and I did a foot and body massage for 25 usd. We were allowed to stay and get massages and an all we could eat buffet for up to 8 hours! It was so good that we went there before we left for Bohol and the day before we headed to Singapore to end our trip in Philippines.

We spent the majority of our week in the Philippines in Bohol on the island Paglao. We arrived early morning exhausted, found resort to stay in hotel with hut right on the beach. So we decided to catch up on sleep and relax in sun first day. The next day we slept in and decided to go snorkeling, saw crazy stuff one of the most venomous snakes in the world, it was a black-white banded snake (scary!). Sarah loves reptiles and was intrigued by the snake, before we knew how venomous and dangerous it could have been, I on the other hand couldnt get away fast enough. Also saw tie dyed star fish, there were star fish everywhere! Few crabs and clams that we actually saw open and close, bright blue starfish were by far one of the cooler things we saw.  Later that night we walked the beach at night and had an unbelievable seafood dinner for very cheap approximately 24usd. Among the things we ate were squid, lam bay crab, vegetable skewers, clams, and large prawns all was extremely delicious. One of the funniest things that happened to us the whole trip happened within the first few days, a monkey that lived on the resort stole my glasses, seriously it was hilarious, he couldnt get enough of them. He claimed ownership pretty quickly and loved looking at himself in the reflection from the shades. I ended up getting them back no worries:)

Baricagas Island is where we did all our scuba diving in the Philippines. We completed three dives the first day, Sarahs ear was bothering her so she didn’t do the last dive. Unfortunately was by far the best one! Swam with sea turtles, touched a lot of coral and was able to play with some creatures, such as sea cucumber. One of the coolest things was playing with finding nemo’s home, the coral is so amazing the feel of it, is something hard to describe but truly amazing. That is why I love diving so much, all the wildlife and the diversity you find is never ending. There are millions of beautiful things and for the short 45 minutes  you feel apart of it all. Our dive master was John Rambo he was extremely nice and really fun to dive with, met Chinese group that was terrible at diving but I suppose we could give them a break as it was there first time. When they went out with us for the day I was amazed at how well Sarah could speak Chinese, it was cool to see the progress we both have made in the last 6 months but hers was astonishing at how much she knows. On the last dive I got stung by some coral on my wrist and it killed, lasted for a few days but found the cure was some lemon juice! But I lived and on top of that got some killer tan lines!

Went scuba diving the next day and did three dives again. First dive fairly uneventful, dove with Chinese man from Guangzhou (not very good like I said). Second dive was the strongest currrent ever was such a workout, almost used up all our oxygen lol, third dive was a night dive and was quite the experience. Love night diving its so surreal. Plankton and wildlife coming alive at night, basically its all the exciting wildlife aside from the fish. Then swam up to the shore from our night which was also quite the workout. Overall extremely successful day, have I mentioned how much I love diving?

Our last full day in panglao went on a tour of Bohol. Rey our tour guide took us to all the sites for 2500 pesos approx. 50usd. Then there was additional entrance fees to everything which we were not informed of but honestly wasnt that expensive in the grand scheme of things, overall ended being a good day. We started out at blood compact where Philippines and Spainards first made peace. Then to the second oldest church made out of sea coral stone, was a beautiful catholic church that actually had a service going on. Then off to the chocolate hills we went it was really beautiful, for some reason reminded me of sound of music hills. Then went to see the smallest monkey in the world a tarsier, they were really cute. Apparently, if a human touches a tarsier they commit suicide. Went to a butterfly garden, saw some butterflies mating was pretty neat I truly wondered how it occurred, I will never wonder again lol. Then went to an Eco garden where the worlds largest python was, was so gross and massive of course Sarah loved it, she says it was one of the highlights of the trip for her. Probably could eat a human was massive….ick! Laid out on the beach and relaxed the rest of the day.

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Most people asked me what my favorite country was and I dont know as though I can say one for sure, but Philippines rates high on the list as it was relaxing and beautiful country. The people that we met are what truly makes the experience and some of the nicest and greatest people of the trip came from here.

Stay tuned to the rest of the 2012 tour.

D White

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Fill The Gap….

Alright Alright, I know its been a looooong time since my last post but internet access has been sparse. I have finally gotten back into a schedule, after traveling for the last 2 months. This blog post is an insight to the beginning part of my trip in Hong Kong and Macau over Christmas and New Years.

My traveling began around Christmas time, when my brother Kevin, came to visit. He was on college winter break, he arrived at one of the craziest times in China, Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve traditions are insane in China, they buy inflatable bats and once the clock strikes midnight they beat each other with them. Here is a little taste for ya.

Our adventures together in Chongqing came to end on the 26th and we headed to Guangzhou, China. Guangzhou was incredibly nice and clean, yet there was not much to do as a tourist. Luckily we were only there for a day. The city was very relaxed yet large, our hostel was nice yet might as well have been sleeping outside. It was beyond freezing in our room, I hardly got any sleep because of the temp. Guangzhou was our entry city to Hong Kong. We just relaxed and got some AMAZING massages, although Kevin wouldnt say the same, he didnt like the massage.

The next day we took the speed train into Hong Kong. Our residence for the next week was Chungking Mansions, quite the interesting assortment of hostels. It was beyond sketchy when we arrived, if you didnt know any better you would think we were in India. Although, Chungking Mansions are hostels stacked on top of each other, it has one of the best locations in the city. Nathan Rd. is where I think its all at in Hong Kong, right next to the subway and in the middle of the “scene”.

Now on to what we did in our days in Hong Kong. Some of the sights….we saw Ladies Market, Temple Street Market, Tian Tan Buddha, Ngong Ping, Macau and Victorias Peak. We kept busy every day Ladies Market and Temple Street Market are great places to get the replica stuff, among some of the things we purchased were Beats head phones, artwork, clothing, and jerseys.

Tian Tan Buddha in Ngong Ping is a whole day event, it was pretty cool, I believe it is one of the largest buddha’s in the world. Also on the top 100 things to see in life. You basically wait in line for half the day, and take a cable car ride to the village of Ngong Ping. Then its a cute little quaint village in where the buddha and the village are the sites to see.

Victorias Peak was about a half a day event but could easily spend a day at the top of the peak, in shops and restaurants. We were lucky and got to top just before sun went down, so we were able to  see all of Hong Kong in the day and night was a beautiful sight. We ate at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Factory, was also amazing to have an American meal in the last 6 months.

We were also able to take a day trip to Macau or what some people like to call “the Vegas of the East”. I quite honestly wasnt all that impressed with Macau, but Im also not into the history sights. Macau is full of history and few casinos. The casinos are casinos but not nearly as extravagant and full of show as the ones in Vegas. We wanted to skydiving off the Macau Tower, the highest bungy jump in the world, but expenses didnt allow for that luxury. Not only is it the highest but also one of the most expensive.

Obviously, being in Hong Kong for a week we came across the New Year. We decided to get a river cruise boat for the night, through dragon pearl cruises. Kevin unfortunately ended up feeling sick and spent New Years in our hostel, and I stayed on the boat to not fully waste all the money we spent for tickets. It was officially the worst New Years Ive ever had, New Years is not a holiday to spend alone I for sure found that out. The fireworks on the harbor were beautiful though, not as big of a show as I had expected but definitely worth the boat ride.

Here are some photos from Kevin and I’s trip.

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Lastly, we went to see a fortune teller in Temple Street Market. I have gone to many fortune tellers in the past none have seemed to be true, telling all “fortunes” that are vague yet you can connect to yourself in some way. This one was different, he knew remotely everything about me from my age, to what I did for a living, events that took place in my past it was beyond creepy. He had done the same for Kevin. Overall I was amazed by his accuracy. Here is what he shared with me in a brief summary.

I’m very friendly which introduces me to lots of people and things in my life. I will be very successful in my future career, will be in my job for a long time. I will be able to make much impact and get a great promotion, because I will love what I do. I do not like change therefore will be hard to compromise job security or other important parts of my life. I will get married around the age of 30 because I am not very open minded and need to have security in my own life financially and job wise before I can open up to anyone else. There will be many opportunities for me to meet someone in the coming years, but I am too afraid of commitment and over evaluate all relationships. Family and friends are extremely important to me, my mother is someone I always think about and always will, eventually my husband and children will hold the same value to me. I am a home body and love being surrounded by those I know and love. I should be studying still as I have a lot to grow and will make me very rich, studying is an important part of my life, as one day I will be helping others study. I’m very mature for my age and possibly too independent in which has made me strong headed. My health is ok but I’m either a heavy smoker or need to exercise more. I have very very good fortune, and will be very wealthy some day and live a prosperous life.

Stay tuned for more insight on the rest of my adventures

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2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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