A "taste" of Olivia's big China trip...
So many of you sweet blog friends have asked and asked about Olivia (while she was gone and now that she's back) and about her trip to China -- wanting to hear about it.
You guys are amazing!!!
It is truly like having the world's largest "extended family" when you blog....
Suffice to say, she had a blast but at the same time she had an experience that will stay with her forever.
This photo is of the landscape carved out with stepped rice patties...
She saw things in person that most of us only hear about or read about in our history books.
Below... Tiananmen Square
She had her sensibilities "stretched" as she learned what it was like to be up at the crack of dawn and go non-stop all day -- in extreme heat and sometimes not the greatest of conditions (but really, in so many ways, China was a lot more Westernized than I realized).
Some of those not-so-great conditions you'll see pics of below... (hint, hint: we have NO IDEA how good we have it here in the U.S. in the area of modern "facilities"! )
Some surprising "factoids" about her time in China:
- The architecture is ASTOUNDING! In many ways it is way more "futuristic" (Olivia's words) than the U.S.
- Mc Donald's, KFC, and Starbucks (and other such places) were not hard to find in the big cities (Shanghai, Beijing, Xi'an) and in many cases they were EVEN NICER AND BIGGER THAN OURS!!
- Most of the hotels they stayed in were top-notch and lacked no "Western" amenities (though they did have one hotel that was not so "cosmopolitan" but was full of character and beauty all it's own).
No shabby airport here!
- The airports were great and in all ways, and in general, the society was extremely kind (enamoured, in fact, with anyone from the U.S.), polite, and very clean!
- Watermelon is HUGE in China! It is like their "chocolate" or candy... everywhere they went, it was the "sweet" that was offered. She said they don't really have dessert like we do here -- mainly watermelon!
- Which makes me think of the night Olivia and some of the other girls on her trip invited some of the local teenage girls up to their hotel room(s) to just chat and visit...Olivia shared some Pop Tarts (she packed a bunch of snack foods -- just in case) and fruit snacks with the Chinese teens -- they must have never tasted anything quite like it if watermelon is what they consider dessert! Haha --leave it to my daughter to corrupt the youth of China with her junk food habits (learned from moi....). You make your mother proud, hon! My work here is done... :)
- Things stay open late at night and people are all out and about doing things -- case in point: one night she decided on the spur of the moment to GET HER HAIR CUT! So she's there in this really nice salon, still open at close to mid-night, getting a haircut! FUNNY THING: she said everyone in the salon began to crowd around her to view what to them as a true amazement ... her curly hair!!! She said the guy cutting it barely knew what to do with it since curly hair is not something they are used to working with! By the way... she got one of the BEST HAIRCUTS ever there in that salon that evening!
I had to kid her about that though.... I mean a lot of times, your kid goes off to a foreign country and if they choose to do something "spontaneous" it's more like getting a tattoo or something -- not my kid. She got A HAIRCUT! :)
Oh, and one bit of advice from her to you -- if you EVER go to China and decide to walk the Great Wall --- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CABLE CARS!!!! They're there for a reason! :)
So, thanks so, so much to each of you who so sweetly remembered her while she was gone and have asked and asked about her since her return.
Her body has gotten back on U.S. time schedules and her tummy has gotten back to U.S. "food schedules" -- if ya know what I mean... ;)
Much of the time, things got "lost in translation" when it came to public signage...
This sign was stuck on the front of the cable tv box in one of the hotel rooms, proudly declaring that they offered 50 t.v. channels - all in order! :)
This must just mean "Keep off the grass".
This was a sign somewhere at the Great Wall.... "ticked tourist" was actually meaning "ticketed tourist"...
I supposed they've encountered their share of true "ticked" tourists, too, though! :)
Thanks for looking and thanks for asking about her!!
Love you guys!!!