przed: (chinese snake character)
Well, here I am, at the last China post. On our last day in China, we visited Zhujiajiao, one of the canal cities found outside of Shanghai. The weather had cleared up, and we had a glorious sunny day in the town.

This way to Zhujiajiao )
przed: (chinese snake character)
This is the second last main post for the China pictures, and is the last big city we visited, Shanghai. I'd always wanted to go to Shanghai, and even though we only had a couple of days there and the weather was a bit dodgy, it did not disappoint.

This way to Shanghai )
przed: (chinese snake character)
Our second last stop on our tour was our most important: Nanchang, the capital of Jianxi province, and Tonggu, Ros' hometown.

This way to Ros' homecoming )
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From Guilin, we took a river cruise down the Li River to Yangshuo. Our guide told us we'd see 28,000 mountains on the route, which seemed an exaggeration before the trip, but entirely possible once we were on the river.

The Li River and Yangshuo this way )
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From Chengdu we flew in to Guilin. If you've seen photos of rounded, tree-covered mountains in China, that's the landscape around Guilin. It's quite beautiful, and we loved the city.

Guilin this way )
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After Xi'an, our next city was Chengdu, in Sichuan province. We were only there for a day, primarily to visit the panda preserve, but it was a lovely city and we'd love to go back.

This way to pandas and more )
przed: (chinese snake character)
Our next city after Beijing was Xi'an. It's one of the oldest cities in China (which is saying a lot) and has some fabulous historical sites, the most famous of which is the Terracotta Warriors museum.

This way to Xi'an )
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I've been sorting through the darn near 2,000 pictures I took during the trip, trying to find the essential ones from each of the places we visited. First up is Beijing, the city we landed in.

I have to say, I think I'm done with Beijing for the foreseeable future. Apart from the big historical sites (the Forbidden City, the Great Wall), and a few architectural party pieces (the Bird's Nest stadium), it's big and ugly and polluted and impersonal. It's going to be a long time before I want to go back.

But Beijing does have some cool stuff... )
przed: (tt ot5 puppy pile)
There's lots of bilingual Mandarin/English signage in China, but there are times when the English versions of signs is...interesting. Not necessarily wrong, but definitely not what a native English speaker would have come up with.

And then there are signs that are just interesting, and not because of any translation or failure of idiom.

This was to some interesting signage )
przed: (tt ot5 puppy pile)
Next up, a post of ridiculous things we did/saw in China.

Ridiculous things this way )
przed: (chinese snake character)
Okay, here's the first China post. Which!

This way to the pics )
przed: (chinese snake character)
We're home! We flew back in from Shanghai last night, and we all stayed up until midnight, unpacking and getting sorted, in the hopes of getting back to Toronto time sooner rather than later. (Ros and I still woke up at 5, but at least it wasn't 3 like our first night in Beijing.)

Between the fancy schmancy new camera, our point-and-shoot and my iPhone, I've got nearly 2,000 pictures to sort through, but I thought I'd put up a couple of pics from Ros' panda adventure for now.

This was to the panda pics )
przed: (chinese snake character)
Just before we left for China, I was reading John Taylor's autobiography( which is a lot of fun, BTW, and not just if you're a former or current Durannie) and he talks about getting a daily call sheet on tour that would say:
It is March 21
It is Thursday
You are in (insert city here)
It is a show day
You venue is whatever...

I've got to the point in the trip where I could totally use one of those call sheets.

Tomorrow will be memorable, though. We go to the Social Welfare Institute that was in charge of Ros, and meet her foster mother. I'm expecting it to be an emotional day.

It's been a trip of high points. Ros loved the panda experience. We all loved Guilin and Yangshuo, where the landscape looks like a Chinese brush painting. And it's great being back in Nanchang, where we first got Rosalind. We're staying in the same hotel, the Galactic Peace International Hotel--yes, that's really the name--which is mostly the same, though the neighbourhood around it has changed a bit. The dodgy gas station is still next door, but the quaint corner store across the way has been replaced by a sterile chain store. Crossing the street here is still more terrifying than anywhere else in China, so that remains consistent at least.
przed: (chinese snake character)
We're halfway through the China trip, and while the Internet access has been spotty, it seems that China no longer blocks LJ.

We're in Chengdu today, home of the panda preserve, and it seems my panda-holding poll was moot, because they've just increased the panda-holding fee to a ridiculous amount. So there shall be pics of the little girl with a panda, but not me.

Otherwise we're having a great time, though there is possibly too much history and Chinese food, and not enough playgrounds or donkeys for Ros.

I can't post pics until we get home, but there have been tons of pics taken. The new camera is awesome, and now I'm wishing I'd pulled it out sooner.

China Day!

Mar. 9th, 2013 06:40 am
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We're packed up, and the limo has been ordered for this morning. Our flight leaves at 2:30, but given that it's the first day of March break, we're aiming to be at the airport three hours early.

The Great Firewall of China blocked LJ the last time we were there, so I don't suspect I'll be around here until we get back. So have a lovely two weeks, and I'll see you on the flip side!
przed: (chinese snake character)
I don't know that I would have even thought about paying to hold a panda, except I've always remembered Neil Gaiman's post on his blog about his adventures in holding a panda, recommending it as a possible solution for world peace and harmony.
przed: (tt ot5 puppy pile)
Things are coming together. Our Chinese currency arrived at the bank today, and I'm mostly packed up. I've also finally started playing around with the digital SLR my mom gave me for Christmas 2011 so I can bring it on the trip. (Yes, I'm pathetic.)

One of the things I'm now mulling over is our visit to the panda preserve in Chengdu. Our plan is to let Ros hold a baby panda, but should I? (On the one hand, you pay nearly $200 USD for the privilege. On the other hand, the funds go to the preserve, one hopes, and when else am I going to get the chance to hold a baby panda?)

So, whaddaya think?

[Poll #1900874]
przed: (chinese snake character)
I can't believe the trip is coming up so soon! Here's hoping the Chinese currency I ordered arrives at the bank in time. Otherwise, apart from the pesky packing, I think we're good to go!

I did my daily check of projected temperatures in China during the trip. The range is now from 0 Celsius (Beijing) to 30 Celsius (Guilin). So it's going to be big fleecies to shorts in the space of a week.

przed: (chinese snake character)
I dashed down to the Chinese consulate office at lunch today to pick up our visas. I got out of the office, visas in hand, in seven minutes flat. Yes, I timed it. I was morbidly curious as to how long it would take. It was all rather anti-climactic after the effort it took to get to this point.

We are now T minus 15 days to China! AIIIIEEEEEE!

And because we're going to have to figure out what to pack real soon now, I did a quick online check of the weather in all of the places we're going to be. (That would be Beijing, Xi'an, Guilin, Yangshuo, Chengdu, Nanchang, Tonggu, and Shanghai.) So far, the temperatures range from -5 to 20 Celsius. Bringing the right combination of clothes is going to be...interesting.
przed: (dalgliesh headdesk by agentxpndble)
Things have been a bit hectic lately, and one of the things keeping me running this week has been the process of getting our visas for our China trip. The form itself is complicated with obscure instructions and the PDF form wouldn't always save properly. I think ended up filling out and printing off the bleeding thing about ten times. And then I tried to drop the application off.

Wednesday. Get up at 5 to get to the consulate early. Get to the consulate just after 7. Good news: there's no line up. Bad news: it's closed for Chinese New Year.

Thursday. Get up at 5:15. Get to the consulate for 7:30. Good news: am first in line. Cool side benefit: talk to the woman who's second in line, who gives me a recommendation for a charming shopping district and restaurant in Chengdu. Bad news: of all the documents I've brought, I didn't bring Ros' adoption papers. Which of course is what they want to see.

Today: Get up at 5:30. Bring every piece of paper on Ros we have, along with 3 photocopies of everything. Get to the consulate for 7:45. Good news: am second in line. Better news: I've got all the right paperwork. Best news: I can pick up the visas next week!

Here's hoping there's no unexpected surprises when I go to pick the visas up.

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