Monday, April 7, 2008

Long weekend in Qinhuangdao

So Friday was the grave sweeping holiday here in China, which means the people go visit their ancestor's graves and give them a good cleaning and burn some money for them. Mostly it meant that I didn't have to teach classes. Since we had a three day weekend I was itching to travel so I headed to Qinhuangdao with Ben and three of our friends from the Shiz to visit some friends of mine who live there.

Thursday night Ben and I took the D train (the fastest and nicest train in China) to Shijiazhuang to meet up with Sherly, Emily, Stephanie and Caroline to hang out for the evening. Friday morning all of us except Emily boarded an eight hour train north to Qinhuangdao.

When we arrived in Qinhunagdao we jumped on a bus to go to our friend's Grady and Claire's school. Once we jumped on the bus we discovered that we had gotten off at the wrong train station and that we should have jumped off half an hour earlier in Beidahe. So, an hour and a half or so on the bus later and we finally arrived at their school. By this time we were starving because for some reason there was no food for sale on our eight hour train ride, so we hadn't eaten all day. We headed out for a really good Chinese meal with a bunch of their friends and ate a ton of good food. After that we headed back to their place to clean up and settle in for the night. We all snuggled up and watched Jurassic Park and then called it a night.

The next morning we got going and after a breakfast of champions - Oreos and peanut butter, courtesy of Grady - we all headed out for the day. We traveled almost two hours to go to the Old Dragon's Head, which is the beginning of the Great Wall, at this section the wall meets the sea. It was really beautiful and I got some great pictures that I will eventually figure out how to post on here.

After walking around the wall and meandering down the beach, plus almost cracking my skull open we decided to go get some food. We found a cool Korean restaurant and settled in with our shoes off. We debated eating some dog, but not everyone was game like me so we went with some other dishes instead.

From dinner we went to the Olympic Park in Qinhuangdao. Some of the games (I think soccer and sailing) will be held in Qinhuangdao and so they have a beautiful park with statues and carvings of past Olympic games that was really cool. We walked around the park and took some goofy pictures before we had to head back to the school. We decided to have a marathon "Office" watching party that really only lasted six episodes before I passed out.

Sunday morning we woke up, packed our bags and were greeted with a homemade breakfast of giant pancakes with a delicious apple cinnamon, banana, raisin topping. It was fantastic. Then we made our way to the train station and jumped on our nine hour train back to Shijiazhuang. As per usual we made friends with the people on our train and made our way through some "Chinglish" conversations.

We finally arrived in Shijiazhuang at 7:30 p.m., an hour late, which meant Ben and I had to hurry because our train back to Handan left at 8 p.m. We made it though and got back to school before 10, which was good because I had class at 7:30 this morning.


UB said...

welcome back kid....I missed ya!!
Your our WTTW Erin, window to the world, just like channel 11 back home, and we need to do some catching up, so stop calling me pesky, I take that stuff personal, just get busy, filling us in on life in Han dan, please. Hope your doing well Erin, we miss you.

Mom said...

Hey Erin,
Althuogh we get to talk to and see you weekly (thank God for webcam), it's great to have the blog back up and running. Thank you for taking the time to bring us up to speed and share your tales with us. We all are living through you and so it's like we've all been in hibernation for the last couple of months. Thanks for taking the time and making the effort to try something different. Please know how very proud dad and I are of you and how excited we are for every new encounter that you have.
Keep traveling as much as you can, but be safe. We can't wait to get you back but we want you to relish every minute that you are there.
Love you lots and miss you tons,

Donna said...

At last!!!! I was having withdrawals. I would still check the old blog every now and then with the hope that it was there and updated. I would get the update from your mom, but it just wasn't the same. :)
This blog is just as fabulous. I love your stories. You are such a brave gal!
I am sad to hear about your middle school students. Just know that you have made such great memories for them and left them with a great vision of what America is really like. They were lucky to have had you enter their lives, just like you were lucky to be a part of theirs.
I can't wait to read more.
(I work with your mom. She is the BEST!!!)