We started in Hong Kong, which is an amazing city, full of markets and back alley stores, one very large Buddha, and an entertaining trolley ride to the top of city. After Hong Kong, we went to Macau, a lovely island that is billed as the Los Vegas of Asia. If you ever go to Macau, ask to be taken to a restaurant called Fernando’s. It looks very rustic and the food is incredible. For entertainment, you can watch the cats that nap on the roof. (We were sitting on the outdoor patio) After three days of exploring that charming city, we took a ferry to the mainland China, and spent a day in Shenzhen, with it’s five story market that contains just about everything you can imagine. The sheer volume of goods and people is mind-boggling.
From there, we moved on to Beijing. Did you know that it used to be called Peking? I learned alot on this trip. The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, my very first Peking Duck dinner; I fell in love with Beijing, and could have spent the rest of my time there. My sister and I were constantly mistaken for twins ( which are good supposed to bring good luck), and we got used to people pointing at us and giggling. They called us twin white ghosts, only in Mandarin. People kept snapping our picture, or asking to have our picture taken with them. After awhile, we stopped trying to correct them and just nodded and smiled. I’ve never been a celebrity before. We decided I must be three years younger, since she didn’t want to be three years older. LOL
After Beijing, we flew to Xian (pronounced She-on) to see the Terra Cotta Warriors. I have to say, they were the most amazing site I’ve ever seen. You couldn’t help being overwhelmed at the sheer size and amazing attention to detail that went in to building this army. I was struck by the sense of history and tradition. We hired one of the government guides to show us around, and she explained how the site was chosen (for its good feng shui) and all about the emperor who built it. His tomb is close by, but had not been opened to the public yet. The Chinese government is being very careful to protect the artifacts and make sure they are properly preserved. If you ever get a chance, Xian is a must see.
After Beijing, we spent a week at her place in Dongguan city. It’s considered small, with a population of a mere 13.5 million people, many of whom live in dormitories at the factories where they work. Although it is an industrial town, with lots of factories, I found it to be a very nice place, with lots of beautiful parks and well tended roads and pulic squares.
I can’t begin to describe how much fun I had and how wonderfully friendly everyone was. They were all willing to go out of their way to help me when I looked confused, or when I tried out the few phrases I’d learned in Mandarin. All in all, I had a great time, and we promised each other we’d make joint vacations a more regular event. Next it’s her turn to come visit me and tour the Rockies!