June 17, 2009
i will try to post these journal entries for the day they were actually written, since i wasn’t able to post in china. here’s the first installment – feel free to sign up through any RSS reader, or check back for more. will try to get the rest up soon…
the doors to the bus closed and i instantly felt like my adventure had begun. it’s always interesting to see your hometown through a tourists’ eyes and the #19 bus was most definitely a way to get the full impact. through waikiki via kuhio avenue, i glanced up to see the hotel towers overhead and hungover, badly sunburned tourists walking the sidewalk below. everything seemed slightly artificial – manufactured happiness, almost like disneyworld, mass-produced aloha spirit for your convenience. but as i rode through in air conditioned comfort, suitcase by my feet, i didn’t mind a bit. i was leaving waikiki and headed for the airport, ready to get on with my adventure.
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June 16, 2009
i’ve always been pretty good at packing light, but after last year we really got it down to a science. since this is a short trip, i’m just bringing a carry-on. it’s my first chance to use my fancy red brookstone dash suitcase. it’s really small, 17 inches, but i definitely fit everything i needed into it, with room to spare too.
well, i guess this is it… tomorrow morning i’m catching a bus to the airport, and that’s that! hopefully i’ll be able to write on the road from internet cafes, but if not i’ve got trusty old pen and paper with me as well. we’ve got an 8 hr flight to tokyo, then 4 hrs to beijing, and we’ll overnight there. the journey begins now! =)
June 14, 2009
it’s official – yesterday i spent about 2 hours going through all the details with a travel agent in order to get our tickets booked for china. we leave on wednesday!
i’m normally a fan of online travel sites for booking and tend to enjoy doing my own research and travel planning. but in this case, because the trip is so short and for a specific timeframe, i decided to go with a travel agent who can lend her professional expertise to get all the details right. first, i asked for recommendations from my facebook friends and came up with a short list of agents to call. we had also used a “consolidator” company last year to handle our RTW tickets, so i sent my contact there an email as well, and waited to get back the various price quotes.
in the end, i went with aki at IACE travel, who found us a good deal, handled our hotels and all of my little requests, and eventually sent me the itineraries last night. if you’re looking for a good travel agent (especially for japan/asia) i’d highly recommend her – their office number in honolulu is (808)923-7070. aki was knowledgeable, helpful, and prompt to respond whenever i had a question.
we’re off to a great start… 3 more days and we’re off!! =)
June 11, 2009
a while back, i started a list of “100 places i want to go before i die.” and i just realized that in the next couple of weeks, i might get to check off a couple! yay!
i’ve always wanted to see the great wall of china, and i had it at #6 on my list. so i’m trying to figure out a way to work beijing into our itinerary for the trip to guilin. it actually shouldn’t be much of a problem since we will have to overnight in beijing (or shanghai) on the way to guilin anyway because of the way the flight schedules work out. i’ve been trying to coordinate it with joe, but hopefully i’ll be able to stay in guilin for a couple of days (possibly heading down the li river to yangshuo as well), then head up to beijing for a couple of days, where i can see the great wall, the forbidden city, the bird’s nest stadium from the olympics, and all those other things you think of when you think of china – or at least beijing.
and then of course, there are the things that you can’t “see”… the things you have to feel, taste, touch, hear… i am so excited to just soak up the experience of BEING in china. i don’t really have an itinerary, per se, but i’m hoping to get a chance to practice my mandarin, possibly see if i can find a cheap cooking class, and jess gave me a mission of finding something cool to take a picture of on her phone (that she is nice enough to lend me for the trip – thanks jess!)
i listed “china” as #46 on my “100 places” list, but it’s just too huge to say i’ll check it off in a 10 day trip. but i’m going to see just how much i can squeeze into my first visit. someday i’ll have to come back when i can come at a more leisurely pace… =)
June 8, 2009
apparently, china’s quite afraid of swine flu taking to the skies. a few days ago, i saw a world travel watch bulletin about china’s new policy where arriving passengers can be quarantined for up to 7 days if a passenger on their plane is suspected of carrying the H1N1 virus. looks like ray nagin, the mayor of new orleans, is being held in a hotel in shanghai in quarantine due to a suspected case of the virus. cross your fingers that the same thing won’t happen to us!
we’re still waiting for our visas to come back, but if all goes as planned, we should be leaving next tuesday! =)
June 5, 2009
i’ve never been a good student in listening comprehension. they say everyone learns differently – some people learn by doing, some by listening, some by reading, and i’m most definitely a visual learner. one of my favorite things about travel is getting to pick up pieces of new languages and cultures. but the difficulty for me in learning new languages is that (especially with a tonal language like mandarin) it’s almost impossible to learn just by reading the words on a page.
June 2, 2009
joe runs a small but steadily busy restaurant on maui known for it’s hamburger steak, a local plate lunch specialty. he’s extremely proud of his recipe (“none of the ingredients is ever frozen, all fresh!”) and works 20 hour days 6 days a week in order to keep up with the business. i asked him when he has time for sleep and he told me “two hours enough, i’ve been doing this for five years already!”
joe and i have had a few phone conversations and the more i talk to him the more i am getting to know his personality, and you really can’t help but like him. he’s a great guy. he laughs constantly, and has a great sense of humor. he’s full of energy and especially proud of his recipes and his restaurant. and he’s really excited and nervous for this trip because he may be going to meet his future wife!
May 31, 2009
the universe works in mysterious ways.
after months of trying to scrape by and make ends meet while paying off my last RTW adventure, i’ve found myself suddenly in the middle of planning for a new one! next month i’ll be heading to guilin, china and I couldn’t be more excited!
January 20, 2009
this morning my dad, my brother and i met in front of the tv at 6:45am, bleary-eyed and still half asleep, sharing a quiet excitement to watch obama’s inauguration. i cried a few times during the speech and had moments of being choked up, feeling so PROUD to be american. i am truly inspired, and excited to help and do my part to make our nation and the world a better place!
on a side note though, watching bush’s departure was poignant and right up there with my favorite moments of the whole spectacle. congratulations PRESIDENT OBAMA!
January 17, 2009
first of all, some background.
to get to the reason i started this list, we’ve got to travel back in time to 2005. i had just turned 25, and i was having my quarter-life crisis du jour when i decided to make a list of 30 things to do before i turn 30. the original list included things like buying an apartment, running a marathon with my dad, and skydiving. well, the marathon i’ve done (3 times! woo hoo!) but a lot of the rest still looms uncompleted, and i’ve only got about 14 months to go! the biggest problem for me is that i’ve had to reassess my list quite a few times in order to keep up with my current status as a travel-holic (for lack of a better term).
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