Monday, August 20, 2018

China - Part 2

As promised - PANDAS!!  Aren't they adorable??

Our daughter got to sit with a panda. He's about 1 year old.

I think Day 6 just may have been my favorite day on the tour.  We spent the morning at the Panda Reserve in Chengdu and were able to see many giant pandas in a beautiful park setting.

In the afternoon, we went to a city park to experience the culture.   We drank our jasmine tea, had our ear or neck shoulders massages,watched games of mahjong, ate some beautiful sugar treats and observed the activities of the locals.  I loved it all!

In the evening we attended a traditional Sichuan Mask Changing Opera.

By Day 7 we were exhausted and quite happy to have our day of relaxing  in the "City of Relax" as our guide called it.  We were able to sleep in and enjoy a leisurely breakfast and then head into the city of Chengdu before we caught an evening train.  We went to a spa where we all 4 had massages and did some shopping.

Massages are not like they are in America!  Sharing a massage room with another couple gave "couples massage" a whole new meaning. lol   Thankfully all massages were fully clothed.  I opted for just a foot/leg massage.  My husband had 1/2 hour of foot/leg and 1/2 hour of full body.

While shopping I stumbled upon 2 things I love - Pandas and the red phone box that reminds me of my beloved England.

Day 8 was another favorite day.  We took a river cruise on the Li River and saw the beautiful countryside of China.

Our river cruise ended in Yangshuo where we had Tai Chi lessons, the girls had cooking class and we saw a water and light show that was directed by the director of the Beijing Opening Olympics.

I loved that Yangshuo was definitely a Chinese tourist destination, and that while there we had time to truly observe our cultural differences.

Our last day was spent in Guangzhou after the official tour had ended.  It was more of a time of personal memories and sightseeing as Guangzhou is where the American Consulate is and where I had spent time with both girls as babies. I wanted them to see where we had walked together when they were infants. We were blessed to have another family from our trip to share that time with as well.

 We visited the hotels where I had stayed many years ago - the Victory Guangdong Hotel.

And the elegant White Swan hotel which has been remodeled.

We walked to the local park. 
 I adore the sculptures spread throughout Guangzhou.

And I'm pretty sure there were marching drills the day I walked along this promenade on the way to the Consulate both times I was here before.

In my International Travel blog post, I briefly discussed group or individual travel.  While in general, our family style veers more towards individual travel, for China  a group tour was definitely the way to go for us.  We enjoyed the camaraderie of our shared interest in the group (all families who had adopted from China) and the assistance and expertise of all the local tour guides who knew the language and culture.  Both of these aspects added greatly to our enjoyment of and confidence and comfort during a trip to a country with such a vastly different language and culture.  

We have been dreaming about this trip for many, many years and are so happy it is now an incredible memory.  

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