Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Back Home...

Just a quick note to everyone that I am back home safetly...and that I have loads to update you all on. I will be continuing to use this site, but am just in the process of getting my internet hooked up at my new place. I'll update again soon :)

Hope everyone is having fun at IC!

The Going Away Party

The Going Away Party, originally uploaded by johnnyringo82.

Thank you all again to everyone that attended...it really meant alot to have one last good party with everyone. I miss you guys.

Let Me Introduce the Newest Emperors of China :p

Here's Peter and I just getting ready for our evening 'swaree'. Hahaha, I think that red hat looks smashing on me!

Anyone for Scorpions on a Stick?

I wonder if they're crunchy?

Checking Out...

Chopsticks. Houhai. Dragon Boat Races. Tai Chi. Guilin. KTV. Bicycles. Inner Mongolia. Guo Mao Traffic. Green Tea. Cheap DVD’s. These are all things that come to mind when I begin to think back. The one thing that keeps coming into my mind though is my friends. My experience in China was because of the people I met…the reason I already miss China is because of the people – my friends. I’ll never be able to perfectly recreate this experience…as these two months are gone forever. But as I sit here on the plane flying back to Canada, I am laughing about the fun times, crying tears of laughter and sadness, remembering all of the good times and the bad. I’m trying to figure out how I can put all of these memories into a time capsule that I can keep forever. I make videos, I write in my blog, I take photos…but none of this will be able fully recreate this experience. It’s those snapshots in my mind and the memories of my time in China that will make me laugh about the fun times and cry tears of laughter and sadness ten years from now.

Thank you to all of AIESEC Mainland of China. Especially to the MC Team (Leon, Pierre, Peter, Primrose, Adam, Alice, Kim, Tina, Nico and Yi). All of you have each left me with memories and I can’t say enough great things about your gratitude, friendship and hospitality.

I ask myself – is this the life of an AIESECer? Why are we always putting ourselves through these experiences - Does it make us stronger? How can I possibly move on from something that I have just devoted myself to for the past two months? Will I have similar experiences in the future? All of these questions are floating around in my head right now…and I know they are natural, but I don’t like this feeling of already missing what I have just left and fearing the unexpected future.

Have I become a different person from this experience? How have I changed? As one of the other Canadian CEEDers said, “You see how you have changed when the New You clashes with the Old Life of being back at home.”

Life is an adventure…a learning experience…a rollercoaster ride…a story book…and I am loving every moment of it.

Checking Out…

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Sun Setting on Guilin

Sun Setting on Guilin, originally uploaded by johnnyringo82.

This is the view from atop the Solitary Beauty Peak in downtown Guilin.

Mountains, Moutains and More Mountains!

This is one of the MANY photos I took on the river boat cruise down the Li River...this was the highlight of my trip to Guilin.

Nice Boat :)

Nice Boat :), originally uploaded by johnnyringo82.

This is one of the local fishermen on the Li River between Guilin and Yangshou.

Which Way Is Up?

Which Way Is Up?, originally uploaded by johnnyringo82.

I visited the Reed Flute Caves just outside of Guilin. Thousands of locals used these caves as a hiding place from nuclear attacks during World War II.

Panoramic of Guilin

Panoramic of Guilin, originally uploaded by johnnyringo82.

This is only a partial view of the skyline in Guilin.

Guilin: Super Linda!!!

It’s a Thursday afternoon and I’m sitting out on a patio drinking a Tsingdao and writing my update. With limited internet access, I’m doing my update on my laptop and will post it later once I have internet access again.

Guilin is an amazing city. Take all of the best shops, bars, cafes, stores and restaurants of Beijing - toss in a little local flavour – squish them all into one small city, mix in a whole bunch of limestone mountains, a few lakes and a river and you’ve got Guilin. Instead of having the mosquitoes buzzing around - it’s butterflies…instead of having apartment buildings towering over the skyline – it’s mountains…instead of having everyone rushing to get somewhere or just creating chaos on the streets – people live a peaceful life, not running, not rushing, just enjoying everyday as it comes. This is a city flooded with tourist groups, while solo backpackers often head to a town south of Guilin called Yangshou.

I have woken up each morning asking myself, ‘So what would I like to do today?’…maybe climb a mountain…maybe visit another town…maybe ride a bike…today, as it is my last day in Guilin and I have already seen all of the big sites – I have opted for relaxing on a patio J.

To recap this trip, I have climbed two peaks in the city (Die Cai and Solitary Beauty) to watch the sunset two consecutive nights…floated down the Li River on a river cruise boat from Guilin to Yangshou…discovered life outside of the touristy area by exploring the back streets of Guilin at night…explored the Reed Flute Caves where inside huge limestone mountains are natural stalagmites and stalactites that have formed over thousands of years…ordered various odd snacks from street vendors around the city (my favourite being Red Nose Noodles)…attended a tea and local delicacy tasting (my favourite of which is rose pedals! Soooo yummy!)…met various random backpackers from the UK, Germany and France.

Sitting here on this patio and enjoying the people passing by (and regular ‘laowai’ stares) and thinking that I will be back in Beijing tonight is sad, but I’m looking forward to getting back to the ‘Big City’. This will be my last weekend in Beijing and I really have mixed feelings right now. Extremely excited to get home and catch up with everyone, but knowing that I already miss this country doesn’t bode well for an easy departure.

Special Note: I would like to send my thanks out to the Edmonton Oilers, who I hear have just gotten ahold of Peca and Pronger. Nice additions to the team J

Newest Additions to the DVD Collection: Season Four of 24, Season One of Lost, Monster, Europe Trip, The Aviator, Spiderman 2, Fight Club, Spanglish, Ghandi and The Gods Must Be Crazy.

This Takes Some Serious Skill...

I have no idea how that girl got up their in the first place, but the most amazing part is that they are all spinning plates on the ends of the sticks!

This Takes Focussssssss....

This Takes Focussssssss...., originally uploaded by johnnyringo82.

Ok, so imagine one guy balancing himself on one latter...with a ladder balancing on his head...with a girl standing on top of it...balancing a platter of tea cups.

Trick Question: How Many People Can Fit Onto One Bicycle?

14!!! Count them all if you want proof! Don't forget about the girl riding the bike...you can't see her (How is the poor girl supposed to know where to stear the bicycle?!?)

Cirque de Soleil - Chinese Style!

Peter is a genius! He was looking through my travel book on Beijing and discovered an acrobatics show that they hold every night at the Chaoyang Theatre. Ok, I’m sure you’re all thinking that this is a pretty touristy thing right? Haha, well – you’re right.

Peter, Pierre and myself went to the show and bought the cheapest tickets possible…and to our surprise, we ended up with second row-centre stage seats! We were pleasantly surprised. The show last about an hour and a half and was full of crazy and bizarre stunts only seen in shows like Cirque de Soleil. It reminded me a lot of a low budget Cirque de Soleil show, but the talent of the performers was just as good – if not better…and the stunts were different and unique from what I had seen before.

Although it was touristy, I am so glad we went – it was such a great idea!