Sunday, August 12, 2012

La Belle Vie

Okay, so I've basically booked my trip back to the States for Christmas and New Year's. I'll be in Denver for Christmas week, and New York for New Year's week. I'll send around some details to those of you that need to know. I'm hoping to see the guys (and girls) in Colorado while I'm out there. And I'm planning to gather with all my east coast friends for some laughs while in the City.

What else is going on? I don't know. I've been enjoying the Olympics. Go USA! I was just talking today about how it's been interesting to enjoy the Olympics around a group of friends who, for the most part, aren't Americans. It's like I take a little pride in watching the US do so well, but it's fun to have the conversations with guys who talk about how great it was that Andy Murray won or whatever. It's cool.

Moving on...
Hangzhou with Richelle. Too short. I wish I had more time. We really had some fun though.  One of the biggest attractions of this city is the lake. There's this whole city, but the most tourist friendly, fun part area is around the lake. Like this:

Or, here's Richelle in front of it with a tower in the background:
So we march around the lake in 100 degree weather, constantly trying to follow the maps that we have while Richelle gets bad directions from a cop who clearly couldn't be bothered, stopping constantly for water like two crazy white people who didn't think to bring our own.  We finally get to this temple where, as my friend J told me in her recommendation, there's a tea house in the back where monks will serve you tea. Here's a shot from the garden at the tea house:
It was so peaceful and quiet back there. We snacked on grapes and tomatoes (sure why not) and enjoyed the tea while just bs-ing and relaxing after walking for hours. It was nice.
This was followed by nearly getting lost on the way back only to be picked up by the coolest taxi driver I've had in mainland China. First off, I'm getting all the info second hand. Richelle's the one who speaks Chinese, fluently. So she's doing all the communicating while I'm in the back blissfully ignorant. So he says he has to pick someone else up but as he gets there he decides not to and tells us he'll take us where we're going because he doesn't want to take drunk people home and he likes us. So he and Richelle are chatting away and she tells me about the stories he's telling her about a time he got fined for something stupid someone else did and whatever. He's teaching her a new character she didn't recognize from the map. When we get there he gives us a discount on the fare because he liked talking with her. I guess a white person who speaks Chinese like she does is pretty rare. It was awesome. All in all it was a fun trip. And I got this telling shot that I hope finds its way back to her friends at school in Texas:


The rest of my shots are here, for the curious.

All in all, I'm in the middle of what should be a pretty wild and fun month. I've been having more great times with M. My sister comes into town tomorrow, and we're gonna tear up Hong Kong. I'll get to see another friend from NYC who's coming in and out of HK on either end of a tour in China. We've got another junk trip on the 25th. And I'm plowing ahead at work. My friends and I are talking about where to go for a long weekend in the beginning of October. I'll talk more about that when we've settled on a place and have more concrete plans. I'd say life is good right now.

As always I miss everyone back home a ton.


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