I've been complaining all day about how tired I am and how I need to get to sleep and I've been sitting at home for well over an hour now screwing around on the Internet, looking up travel information and trying to make the perfect summer mix for my mp3. Unfortunately, said mp3 is currently not working and I have to make a trip in the morning to get it repaired. I have a growing list of other things I also need to get done this week before my travels take over and I spend the summer seeing sites, taking photos and living out of a backpack.
Jon and I spent a good chunk of time hashing out details for our summer travels and it looks like I'm going to be gone for pretty much the next month. The plan as of right now is to leave Sunday morning for Beijing (5 hour train) and hang out in the city for the afternoon. Sunday night we'll leave for Hohhot in Inner Mongolia (8 hour bus) where we will stay until July 9, at which point we will leave for Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia (20-some hour train). We'll stay in Ulaanbaatar for a few days to go to the Naadam festival of manly sports. Then on the 13 we will leave for Beijing again (30-some hour train), once we arrive in Beijing we will take a train back to Handan (5 hours). If all goes according to plan we will have about 36 hours in Handan, which should be just enough time to wash our clothes, upload our photos and get a good night's sleep before heading off to the next leg of our journey.
We'll leave on July 17 for Zhengzhou (2 hour train) where we'll fy to Guilin (2 hour flight). We'll stay in Guilin for three days before heading to Kunming (19 hour train). There are some Drakies in Kunming and hopefully we will be able to hook up with them or at least get some pointers on what to see and do while we are there. From Kunming we are flying to Chengdu (1 hour flight) where we will stay for approximately four days with a one day side trip to Lushan. Our days in Chengdu have to be flexible because we have to wait there for a permit to go visit Tibet. Once we get the OK to head to Lhasa we'll jump on a plane (2 hour flight) and head to the Dalai Lama's home for a week, which will (fingers crossed) include a trip to Mt. Everest. After all this we will jump on a train to Shijiazhuang (44 hour train) then take another to Handan (2 hour train). If all goes according to plan, this is China though so I won't count on it, we should be back in Handan on August 5. This will give us enough time to once again do laundry, upload photos, repack and head to Baoding to see David and Amy on the 8th before going to Beijing from August 9 - 18 to watch the Olympics.
All in all it should be the summer of a lifetime and I'm pumped to get it started.