June 26, 2009
you can view them (with captions) on my flickr page by clicking here.
it’s been a long 10 days and i’ve got tons of stories and video and photos to share but right now i’ve got to get over the jet lag from the past 24 hrs of flying, navigating airports, and canceled flights! will try to start getting the blogs up soon… zzzzzzzzzzzzz
update as of 6.28.09 – i’ll be posting the blogs as of the dates they were written, so scroll down to view them if you aren’t using an RSS reader – or better yet go to google.com/reader to sign up for an easy way to see all new posts from any of your favorite blogs at one time!
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.
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!