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