i will take you down. take you down to china town.

WARNING!!! This may be my longest blog post ever. Endurance required!!! The business trip to China with my dad wasn’t ALL business… we had a pretty good time. We went lots of places, ate tons of delicious food, and took way too many photos. So lets start out with Shenzhen… we went to this place called Splendid China. Its right in the middle of the city and contains miniature replicas of all the famous sites in China… and a few cheesy photo ops along the way.

Seriously… this place was really cool. Although I’m nearly 22, the whole time I thought how cool it would be if I could bring barbies, polly pockets, or dollhouse people and play in these things. Some kids never grow up.

Sounding the gong… he just couldn’t resist

They even had a little display of the famous Terra Cotta Warriors. The real deal is located in Xian…but seeing this mini version was quite fun.

One thing about this trip to China that I haven’t mentioned yet is we had our own personal translator of sorts… well not really, but sort of. My dad’s company has some people working for them that live in China, we were lucky enough to have one of those employees come around with us for the trip, meet Alex…

Alex is actually from Xian, where the real Terra Cotta Warriors were discovered, so naturally we made him pose for this photo. He made this trip so wonderfully easy for us and we were VERY grateful for him. Having someone who speaks Chinese DEFINITELY came in handy, especially when it came to reading menus!!!

On another day after morning meetings we spent the day shopping at Lo Wu Shopping Center in Shenzhen. HO-LY MO-LY. I’d like to think that I’m somewhat of a world traveler… I’ve been to several different countries and countless bargaining/street markets. NEVER have I experienced anything like this. If you ever plan to go to Lo Wu…BE PREPARED. It was a total zoo. Especially since I’m a young American girl I was targeted right off the bat. “miss I sell watches” “miss I have prada, gucci…”  MISS MISS MISS!!! OK… that is normal for a market… what made Lo Wu quite unique is that people pestering you will follow you around for hours. Yes I mean hours. They will not give up… you’ve got to commend them on their persistence I guess. But ignoring, saying no, not even looking at them, doesn’t deter them one bit. Quite the experience. So after six long hard hours in Lo Wu… someone needed a break…

And he certainly needed all the pampering for all the walking we’d be doing in Hong Kong the next day. The next day we headed over to Hong Kong with another one of my dads old contacts who showed us around his stomping grounds of Hong Kong. One thing I was dying to do was to go see the Big Buddha on Lantau Island…let me tell you… its worth it. You start by taking a 20-30 minute gondola ride that takes you up to the Budhha.

Now, on the day we went, we saw high wind warnings on the highways warning drivers to drive with caution… now… I start thinking… I’m about to get into this gondola that suspended hundreds of feet in the air on a high wind warning day? Needless to say… I enjoyed the ride up and down… but I may have constantly had the thought in my head as our little gondola swayed back and forth… I’m going to die! I’m going to die!

Oh and did I mention that our gondola had a clear glass bottom? It was actually really awesome… there were hiking trails and waterfalls below. Gorgeous. You can hike up to the Buddha and apparently it takes around four hours.

This place is breathtaking. If you’re ever going to Hong Kong you must do this.

Its quite the hike up to the Buddha in what felt like 100% humidity… It was so windy that day. Every picture I took had hair in front of my eyes or blowing into my needless to say you won’t see many pics of me.

Then we headed over the monastery that was located at the bottom of the Buddha. Stunning eh?… and hey look… I lied… there’s one picture of me!

After the Buddha… we headed over to Victoria Peak… a famous site-seeing spot to view the skyline of Hong Kong.

This is pretty much what every city in China looks like… huge, tall buildings, immense scope, unreal. If you think you’ve been to a big city… you haven’t…. until you’ve been to China.

Victoria Peak is one of those places you get to… you see the view… then you say… whelp… lets go. Thats kind of what happened but I’m glad we went nonetheless… if for nothing else going for the tram is worth it.

Seriously this tram is unreal… I had read about it online but I don’t think anything will prepare you just how vertical it really is. I felt like I was on the sinking of the Titanic. It almost feels like you are going nearly 90 degrees on this little thing. So that was my second thrill ride on Hong Kong… both not necessarily meant to be thrill rides… but we Wheatley’s are easily entertained.

And here’s the view from the bottom as we crossed the bay to head back to Shenzhen. Hong Kong is stunning.

The next day we flew into Ningbo… and check out the view from our hotel… why hello Chinese pagoda.

And look who I found as our peeping tom…

Augustus of Prima Porta was the LAST thing I expected to see out my window… or even in China.

One of our leisure day trips while in Ningo was to Putuo Island… a popular pilgrimage site for Buddhists… on our way we stopped at this roadside restaurant for lunch… now… I had already eaten some interesting things up to this point on our trip… but this place was quite interesting. It was one of those places were you just know you’ll be sick after eating there. What you’re looking at below was our lunch.

A woman who worked there plucked out the fish of our choice and proceeded I to watch its demise. While it was still in the net the woman wacked it to death by smacking it on these here docks. I thought “ok… this is interesting”. I was weary about this lunch, but wouldn’t you know it… this was one of the best meals we had on this trip. The Chinese sure do know how to cook!

After a three hour car ride we made it to the island… and it was worth it!

It was so exquisite. Me and my dad were the ONLY gringos on the whole island… There were thousands of people… to say we stood out like a sour thumb would be an understatement. People were stopping and pointing at us… especially me. haha It didn’t bother me though. They probably were thinking… “are these white people Buddhist?”  “is she that older man’s wife… she’s too young to be his wife.” I think being the minority is a good thing sometimes, it causes you to remember just how different and big this world really is.

I love that I got to see some amazing and pious sites during my trip to China, seeing people worship and pay respect  is something so special and sacred. Even the people we were traveling with at times stopped to worship. I have a great respect other cultures and I always leave wanting to learn more.

On our way out I couldn’t help but take a picture of the SEA of bikes. This picture only shows about 1/10 of all the bikes that were there. Putuo Island is huge… we didn’t even see a quarter of all the sites there are to see on the island. Many people come and stay on the island for days. It was a facsinating place and I’d highly recommend it.

The next day was our last in Ningbo and before heading off to Shanghai we visited an area that has old preserved Chinese Temples. Even the walkways of this place were intensely intricate… okay. If thats not an indication of how cool this place is, I don’t know how else to convince you.

This picture was taken right outside of the temple area… just a regular morning for the locals… just fishing it up.

After a three hour car ride…Next stop… Shanghai

People. People. Everywhere. This is the Temple Shopping area in Shanghai… don’t the the official name… but that’ll do. Its an outdoor open market that was packed to max capacity. I didn’t even think about shopping because it was too insane. We walked around though and that was enjoyable enough for us.

After the Temple we headed over to the Bund… one of Shanghai’s most popular places… there’s really nothing to do there except walk and enjoy the sites. But it sure is a good place to people watch.

We saw the bund before dinner… and we saw the bund after dinner…

I had to take a picture of this… fake star on a building with the real crescent moon in the back.

We only had one day in Shanghai but I enjoyed it thoroughly. The next morning we took the train to the airport and check out our speed!!!!! Thats around 267 miles per hour people!!! To say that America is behind on the times would be an understatement…why don’t we have transportation that is this cool or quick?

In summary I LOVED China. The food was delicious. The cities bigger than I ever would’ve imagined. The people so nice and welcoming. Their malls make ours look like a rotten banana peel. Everything is so new… so cutting edge, even their airports are works of art. And the architecture… don’t get me started. Ingenious. Some of the buildings make you rethink that this is in fact reality not a space age movie. An architect’s dream I’m sure. I left China thinking… man… I had really better learn Chinese. haha. But…seriously.

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