AdventuresInChina PT II: Traumatized by Monkeys, Sleeping in a Monastery, Shooting Stars, & Missed Trains

Stop #4: Chengdu.

It seems that we bounce from heaven to hell back to heaven very often because my-oh-my were we in for a treat in Chengdu. A large, spacious condominium with a panoramic view of the city? Scoreee. Not to mention, a DIVIDED OFF shower from the rest of the bathroom??? Pure. Spoiled.

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Our most luxurious accomodation of our entire stay in China thus-far

Following the best shower of my life (I even shaved my legs :0), we visited their famous panda base. We arrived around 3:30pm, which apparently is too late, because the panda nurseries were closed and most of the pandas had gone inside to rest. Sadness. We still managed to see some mischievous panda cubs though, rolling around in every direction, and that was enough to satisfy me.

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These pandas were one of the reasons I was able to convince my friends to come to China

Since Chengdu is in the Sichuan province, we knew we had to try some of their spicy dishes, since they are known for their, well, spicy cuisine. We went to a hot pot place recommended by a local and while it was very delicious, the spice was nearly the death of us. We had to stop eating, not from fullness, but from pain. Even after we finished, the pain of what I imagine burning in hell would be like, moved from my mouth to my stomach. Continue reading

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AdventuresInChina PT I: Sunsets from the Great Wall of China & Train-Station Hell

Stop 1: Beijing. The beginning of our 3 week adventure in China.

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View of the Forbidden Palace from the top of Jingshan Park

In Beijing, we stayed near the Forbidden Palace, a quite traditional area. I actually didn’t expect everything to be so old-school, from bicycles attached to giant loads of wood, to rickshaws ditched in the alleyways, to endless amounts of family-owned food shops. What’s more interesting is that the area we stayed in was where some members of the royalty actually lived back in the days. Cool, right?

After stuffing ourselves silly with some of the most delicious 包子 (steamed buns) I’ve ever had, we headed off to our whole day adventure on the Great Wall of China. In short, that hike was spectacular. In fact, I’m not sure any other hike will ever beat the experience I had on the Great Wall.

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At Jinshanling, the start of our hike on the Great Wall of China

Maybe it’s because I had no idea what to expect, but the rolling hills in the background already won over my heart from the get-go. After the unexpected 2hr bush-whacking detour, Henry, our guide from the Great Wall Adventure club, led us to the unrestored section of the Wall called Gubeikou. It was wicked to see wild bushes and weeds growing without a care all along the way. The atmosphere was serene, with no other signs of human life but us. No. Other. Tourists. Did I mention this was also a sunset tour? I saw a flippin’ sunset off one of the Great Wonders of the World. While it wasn’t exactly a cheap tour, the jaw-dropping views we got to see, along with Henry’s sweet and attending manner, made it well worth my money. Continue reading

Where Could She Be Going This Time?

I’m partly laughing from disbelief as I write this because I never imagined that this trip would happen. It was never in my plans to go backpacking again so soon, due to my guilt over burning through my piggybank. But after mapping out my next few years and realizing that there’s a high possibility I will be working feverishly to get to my next goal… I began to fear that I would lose my last chance to go backpacking again.

So here I am. Pretending that I have lots of time to pack and making my eyes gloss over every time I walk past my traveling backpack in my house. I got it out of the basement but I had to throw it back downstairs because it caused me so much stress LOL. If useless talents got us degrees, I would be walking the stage to accept my PhD in Procrastination right now.

This time, I’m going to … Continue reading

U.S.A. stop: San Francisco.

When I came back from my trip in Asia this summer, I knew the next country I wanted to explore was the USA. I’m not sure why, but it suddenly started calling my name. Maybe it’s because I’ve never traveled there, but I wanted so badly to just drop everything and road trip around the whole country. Sadly, our Canadian dollar plummeted, and I had to tell myself that my trip there would have to wait.

I never realized how strongly I make my decisions based on feelings because well, that logic never stuck around for very long. I ended up doing a hiking trip to Montana in August, going to San Francisco this past week, and booking a trip to Vegas in February. Woah, slow down there, girl.

#YOLO, right? I hate that phrase, but it has its truth. Life is too short to fret over what you could have done. Life is for living, and if I don’t fill it up with as many experiences as I can, I know for a fact I would be absolutely miserable. I hate feeling stagnant, like I’m not growing. Maybe it’s because I’m impatient, but I always have to be on the move, doing something, learning something. Don’t get me started on people who just complain about their lives and don’t do anything to change it. Thinking about it heats me up a couple degrees. I just don’t get it.

It’s kind of funny how we ended up in San Francisco because we had originally intended on going to Mexico. Long story short, we couldn’t find a good price and ended up booking SF last minute. Heck, even deciding on Mexico had been super last minute. While I’m all for adventures, I’m usually more of a planner than a spontaneous kinda gal, so my sudden inspiration took even me by surprise. It all started with a rant and a joke, ‘we should just go on vacation together next month’. Well, I like that joke because it led me to SF.

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From left to right: view from Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, Sausalito, 16th ave tiled steps

Continue reading