Guess who just figured out how to get pictures off her phone…
Beijing Airport! I’d just finished watching a documentary about the architect so it was fun to walk around in this work of art. And walk around it, we did. They wouldn’t let us check our bags through until closer to our departure time, the connection kept getting delayed and we couldn’t keep track of the info in the lounge. But we haaaad to sit in the lounge because it was superior to sitting at the gate. Good thing we sat in the lounge because we met a guy on the same leg who pointed out that, in our delirium, we were watching the wrong flight and maybe we wanted to be keeping our eye on the flight that we actually had tickets for. My boss was subjected to his first display of Jen gone in a giggle fit and I ordered a “magical coffee surprise” which turned out to be icky coffee in a sundae glass with an umbrella and a glob of strawberry ice cream on top. Not so magical, but it was a surprise.
Chengdu, China! So I’m meandering across a bridge and turned to take this picture of the hotel (the tall building with the gold emblem at the top. Easily the most gorgeous hotel I’ve ever stayed in. A lady at the front desk had told me that an ATM was a five minute walk away once you go out the door and turn left. I’m kind of a fast walker, I guess and it quickly became apparent that there was no ATM in my immediate future. So I did a h-u-g-e loop and found three on my way back home. The first one had no English options so I kept pressing buttons until numbers appeared but got beeped at everytime I requested money. The second ATM did have Chenglish options, but told me I couldn’t have any of my money. The third ATM was attached to the hotel (rolls eyes – maybe it was a five minute walk from my room if I took the stairs and walked the circumference of the hotel first?) and gave me money, no problem. Got my exercise.
On the other side of the river, nowhere near an ATM…
Above me while I took the picture with the moon. Those lanterns were bright red, but clearly my phone couldn’t cope with the visual extravaganza. Also, I was only gone for about twenty minutes, but passed legions of squares where lots of people had gathered to dance. Young and old, men and women – they lined up as if pre-arranged and did choreographed dances to everything from Chinese pop to Shania Twain. When the music would change, so would the dance. No one seemed to be leading these dances, but everyone knew what was up. Kind of fun to watch.
On our first night, I was allowed to pick where we went & took the team on a death march through an historic district named Wide and Narrow Alleys. Most of the restaurants had this system where you pay the equivalent of $60 and the restaurant feeds you whatever they want. They eat all kinds of interesting things in China, so we had to shop hard for a restaurant with a proper menu and finally staggered through a narrow door, down a dark hallway and out into a busy courtyard restaurant. It was delish. And gorgeous. I don’t have pictures, though.
I do have pictures of the Starbucks in the alley, however…
The next night, we went to Jinli – lots of restaurants, very narrow alleyways, gorgeous architecture, it was really fun. I’d gotten nauseous earlier that morning (after a very fun previous evening) on the bus and hadn’t eaten all day so I ordered a stick of mystery meat from a street vendor, took one bite and had to throw it away. It was chewy on the outside and crunchy on the inside. Nothing known to me could have been of that size and consistency and the unknown did a number on my appetite.
The fence around this led me to believe that it held some significance and should probably be photographed – this was just outside the entrance to Jinli.
Saturday morning we went to the Panda Reserve at Chengdu to cuddle pandas. And get pee’d upon.
Later that afternoon, we boarded this embarrassment of a plane and were shuttled into Taiwan and on to San Francisco! Those pictures to follow. This is taking forever and I have to get work done.