Monday, April 09, 2007

A depart from China

Well, it seems that the website as certainly taken a turn of very little use. (well its hasn't been used much this whole trip). But travelling is hard. Still for those faithful few who still check the website I will load photos from Aaron and I's last trip, as mentioned in my previous post.

Wednesday we set off on a train to Moscow, then Latvia, onto Dublin and home. The end is coming near.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Last stand for adventure

Today marks one month until Aaron and I return to America. The three united trippers - Brandle, Aaron and myself have been remenisencing about all the great things we've experienced, seen, and done over the past 11 months, but also a bit nostalgic about all our friends and family back home and all the good times we've had. I am so glad that I decided to spend this last year travelling but I will certainly be ready to return back home and do something productive with my life. Does this mean my travels are over? I don't think so, I feel that everything I experienced since travelling has added to me as a person, and has really changed how I view the world. BUT the trips not over yet! Far from it, you can see a lot in a month, and to start Aaron and my last month on the right foot we have decided to take an adventure down to Gansu provence to see some Tibetan villages.

As you may have noticed from just about every post one of us has made, we change our plans often, and drastically. Aaron and I couldn't get connecting tickets allowing us to get off at Mongolia and Irkust (Lake Baikal, Russia), we decided to postpone our Trans-siberian trip for a week and see more of China! Here's the break down. Friday is Ryan and my last day of Wushu (kung fu), so after that its hard core tourist time again. Saturday is a trip to the Great Wall (second time for me), then that night Aaron and I are off to Lanzhou and Brandle leaves to South Korea the following day. I hope to visit Xiahe and Langmusi in Gansu provence, which are on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, the highest altitude area in the world, and commonly referred to as "the roof of the world."

These villages remain isolated from the long reaching influence of the Chinese government who have long since tried to change Lhasa, and the Tibetan area surrounding it. Xiahe is still far enough away, that the government doesn't pay much attention to it...

Afterwards its onwards to Xi'an to see the Terracota Warriors and back to Beijing to leave to Russia on the 11th.

Super exited Ryan (Lewis)

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Great Wall of ... No TOURISTS?

Well I arrived in Beijing, and checked into my hostel (Leo Hostel) around 2am a couple of days ago. The next morning I was abruptly awoken (a theme that would continue for a few days) by a girl who just moved into my room, and had only a few days to see the whole city. Its actually quite nice to be around other toursists only here for a few days, because it ensures that I will actually see everything in Beijing rather than what I normally do and think to myself, "Ehhh I'm here 7 weeks, I'll have plenty of time to see that" and two days before I leave the city realize that I haven't seen anything!

So my first day of Beijing was full of seeing Tianamen Square, some of the Forbidden City, Chinese Opera, and of course lots of shopping. Beijing is full of awesome markets, probably the best I have seen in all my travels (though it helps that Leanne, the girl from my room is a shopaholic). On the second day we didn't waste any time and signed up for the "Secret Great Wall of China" tour through our hostel - Leo Hostel. This really was special, we had a private van shuttle about 20 of us from the hostel out to this remote area of the Great Wall which had a good variety of wall quality. Some parts were just rubble, but there were some towers and some parts of the wall still intacted, so it seemed really authentic. Here are some photos.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Great Firewall of China

The Golden Shield project is known outside mainland China as the Great Firewall of China (in reference both to its role as a network firewall and to the ancient Great Wall of China).

Here is a list of websites that the Ryans can't visit.

Harvard Full List

Canada Tibet Society

Tibetan Government in Exile's Official Web Site

Taiwan based news website

Taoism Initiation Page - Online Resources for Home Study and Practice

BBC News (a on and off block)

More topics that are blocked (they can't search these on google, if google works)

I read this horrible article the other day in Time magazine...thats why I made this post, along with some interesting discussions among Malaysia 30% chinese community about China.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I have arrived in Chengdu, which is located in the Sichuan Provence of China, taking the count to two provences I have visited! China is continuing to amaze me, although this city is really big, polluted, and not very pretty. My two new friends - Anda, Abby and I went walking through a park today and decided to stop to watch this small group of people practising some strange type of Kung Fu. Each person stands with their legs in a wide stance, and tries to push the other person over, it looks quite simple from far away but soon they waved us over and we decided to join in. I pushed with all my might and couldn't make this tiny, but sturdy little man fall over. Sure enough after a few attemps he just took one finger and knocked me down. I rolled up my sleeves and tried again, but some success. They were increadibly nice, fun guys (and one girl). This is why I love China, small little things like this seem to happen all the time, I can't get over it, best country so far!

Photos of Anda and Abby fighting, the photos of me, are still on Abby's Camera....

Take her down, Anda Leigh!

Abby giving her best!

Our Master

And the whole group

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Photos from Kunming

Well I talked about Kunming enough here are a few photos, now that I look at it, they look just like any other city, still, but I still love this city, so many parks.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Here at last!

Well I am finally arrived, my most anticipated country of the trip - CHINA! After growing up watching Kung Fu movies, and with an unhealthy obsession from Mongolian Beef, no vegetables (ordered from Chinese Palace), I have been waiting for this moment for a long time.

It's a funny thing, the normal factor that either makes or breaks a country has largely depended on my expectations of that country before I go. This means my favorite countries are inversly proportionate to most people's favorite countries - for example, Laos, which I constantly heard great, amazing things about, I didn't really enjoy that much. However Thailand - which has the reputation of being over touristy, package destination, and not as good as you would expect - I loved!

This made me really nervious that no matter how good/bad China was, it would not/could not ever live up to the expectations in my mind. Well, that's not the case - I love this place! Well, okay, so I've only been here for two days, but here in Kunming, Yunnan, in the south of China, I have found an amazing hostel for $2, and made great friends immedatly. I have had my shoes shined for a quarter, tasted a variety of great Chinese food, and ate Chinese style (everyone shares all the dishes), with some friends, including a local Chinese guy named Lee (or that's what we call him anyway), danced the night away with really shy, funny Chinese girls, and super nice guys who would give out shots of beer every couple of minutes ("Gang Bei!"), watched old men play Mahjong in the park, bartered in Chinese on the street for some new warm weather clothes (new gloves, hat, long johns, and shirt for $9), and even had a spontanious fun conversation about Yao Ming (because I am so tall), and dozens of other crazy situations - AND I'VE ONLY BEEN HERE 48 HOURS!

Ahhhh, I love travelling.


Free Tibet!

Free Tibet.