The next stop on my journey through Asia with my mom was Ha Long Bay—a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s roughly 135 miles from Hanoi. Ha Long Bay is a world renowned geological area, featuring thousands of limestone karsts and isles. As you can see from some of my pictures below, it is quite remarkable.
The beginning of my trip with my mom (Mich) began in Hanoi, Vietnam. Aside from the unusual, cold weather and the bed bugs in the first hostel I stayed at, Hanoi was a great city to visit. Hanoi is a bustling city in Northern Vietnam. Everywhere you look there are different shops, cafes, restaurants, and motorbikes.
Hello there! Remember me? You probably don’t since I’ve been gone for so long. I thought I would get back into blogging right when I got back from my two-month vacation, but I ended up being much busier than I expected this past month in Chongqing. I’ve put off blogging for so long that I am actually a little overwhelmed with all the stuff I have to tell you about.
The day was Sunday, January 24th, in Hanoi, Vietnam. I had just awoken from a good night’s sleep, despite being in a 16-person dorm room at the Hanoi Rocks Hostel, to discover something atrocious–BED BUGS. At first, I didn’t realize I had a bed bug infested bed, but then I saw a little bug crawling on my sweatshirt and started to worry. I checked the seam of my mattress, and sure enough, there were two bed bugs and some blood stains. I went down to the lobby right away to inform the staff, and they didn’t seem to think it was that urgent of an issue. After bugging them (no pun intended) enough about it, they finally agreed to check the bed out, clean my belongings for me free of charge, and comp my room for the night.
My favorite part of my first winter break trip with the boys was going to Harbin, China. Harbin is located in the far northeast of China, right below Russia. If you haven’t heard of Harbin before, all you have to know is it is ridiculously cold, it has a lot of Russian influence, and it has an annual, world-famous ice and snow festival during the winter months. Our primary reason for traveling here was to see the ice and snow sculptures. (Please excuse my language and derpiness in the video below 🙂 )
In my previous post, I said that I thought Shanghai wasn’t as good as I remember it being. Beijing, on the other hand, was much better than I remember it being three years ago. Maybe I had a better experience this time around since I never had to take a cab in Beijing (cabs are the absolute WORST in Beijing) since our hostel was conveniently located within walking distance of the subway. The pollution also wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be…we could see blue skies! We still wore our face masks most of the time though to be safe.
Returning to Shanghai after three years was definitely a weird experience. Up until the time I moved to Chongqing, I thought that Shanghai (where I had studied abroad my Sophomore year of college for a semester) was the best city in China. After returning to Shanghai for a few days on vacation, however, I realized Shanghai isn’t really a true “Chinese” city. Shanghai seemed even more western than before, which is to be expected—major cities in China are only becoming more and more western over time.
The last part of my journey with the Fisher’s involved exploring one of China’s most famous mountains—Mt. Huangshan, aka the Yellow Mountains (in Chinese, Huang=Yellow and Shan=Mountain, so it is a pretty literal translation). The mountain isn’t actually yellow though; it gets its name from the Yellow Emperor, Huang Di.
Right as the New Year began, I was off on a new traveling expedition with some family friends from the US. My friends Kaitlyn, Barb, and Nancy—who had been traveling around Northern China for about a week beforehand—met up with me in Chongqing on January 1st for a Yangtze River Cruise through the Three Gorges. (I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but there is a lot to cover.)
If you enjoy watching the embarrassment of others, then this post is definitely for you. What kind of embarrassment you may ask? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.