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Day 2 - Kaifeng

sunny 39 °C

Friday, July 27th

We started today with a breakfast of ' millet congee ' (similar to a watery porridge), wontons, chinese noodles ( bean jelly - a cucumber and cornstarch noodle dish) and ' bao zi ' ( pork in a perogie dough).

After breakfast we visited the Kaifeng museum which has artifacts, pictures and art work from the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279) where I tried my hand at silk screening.

From the museum we went to the Song Dynasty Summer Palace. This had been converted into a park, displaying the buildings of the summer palace used by the Emporer and his family.

At noon we returned to our hotel room to get out of the hot, sticky weather, since the temperature had climbed to 39 C (102 F) with very high humidity.

At 3 pm, we went to another " hot pot " restaurant for a late lunch where I tried " cow's stomach/belly" as well as beef, " spam ", chinese cabbage, spicy sesame sauce, mushrooms and frozen tofu (bean curd). At this restaurant, we had a single hot pot for the table, divided into 2 sections, one that had spicy water and one that had water with vegetables in it. I ate most of my food cooked in the spicy water.

After lunch we went to " Iron Pagoda ". It is not made of iron, but of red, brown, blue and green glazed bricks and it is 55 meters (180 ft) high (for more information check out - http://www.china.org.cn/english/TR-e/43300.htm ). We experienced a short rainstorm while we were in the ' Bonsai ' gardens. When the rain stopped, Nicole (Mingsi) and I climbed to the top on a dark spiraling stairway with uneven steps to the top where we took pictures out of the small open viewpoints. The steps were solid but they varied from height from 18 cm (8 inches) to almost 40 cm (16 inches) making the climb quite interesting and the narrow walls made it difficult to pass people going in the opposite direction. The low ceilings weren't a problem for Nicole but I had to be careful, especially because it was dark.

There is an internet website that shows most of the places that we visited in Kaifeng. It is http://www.chinahighlights.com/kaifeng/ .

Our next stop is Shaolin.

Posted by hammr 18:22 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Back Home

sunny 24 °C

Monday, August 27

Jeremy and Nicole dropped me off at the airport in Beijing at 6 am. I read a book, I bought something to eat and and I listened to music, in the privacy of my ' Bose noise cancelling headphones ' while I waited for my 4 pm (4 am EST) flight to arrive. The wait was quite relaxing.

Then there was the security check in Beijing, a 12 hour flight to San Francisco, US customs clearance and security check, a 2 1/2 hour layover in San Francisco, a 5 hour flight back to Toronto, a 20 minute tarmac delay in Toronto because a plane was still at our gate, Canadian customs clearance, baggage retrieval and then the 1 1/2 hour ride back home ( thanks for the ride bro! ). I arrived back home at 1 am EST on Tuesday, slept for 4 hours, got up at 6 am and arrived at work before 8 am. I have successfully switched back to EST without the affects of jet lag!

As Jeremy told me, " We have gone where no Hamm has gone before ".

I want to thank Jeremy and Nicole for an awesome adventure. They were wonderful hosts.

We went over 10000 km ( ~ 6300 miles ) and saw a lot of sights. Jeremy did most of the driving and Nicole did the rest. They did an excellent job of driving in the disorganized symphony of driving chaos...no 2 situations are ever the same when you drive in China. If you think someone is going to do something, like pull out in front of you, he already has!

It should be noted that all of the major roads have tolls on them and these are one of the few things in China, that are expensive. I am sure that we spend over $500 in road tolls on our trip.

My trip to China was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to others. If you are adventurous, there is a lot to be seen and done and you can work out your itinerary, preferably with someone who speaks the language. If not, take a tour. Its more expensive, but you will have most of the luxuries of home and you will have the benefits of having someone take care of the details. If you are thinking of doing a tour, I am sure that Jeremy and Nicole could help out.

So after all of the unusual foods, the Terra Cotta Warriors, the Great Wall, the Water Terraces, the beautiful mountains, the red rock canyon, the Tibetan villages, the skywalk, the tombs, the caves, the animals, the people, etc, my journey has come to an end.

BUT WHERE ONE JOURNEY ENDS, ANOTHER ONE BEGINS ! ...... in 2 weeks, Northern Saskatchewan

Posted by hammr 18:59 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

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