Sunday, February 24, 2008

Vacation in Yunnan Province

We've been back about a week now from our superb vacation in Yunnan province and school will be starting tomorrow morning. I'm going to post the itinerary with some comments but there's almost too much to talk about.

February 9: We flew from Beijing to Kunming.
February 10: Sightseeing at the Golden Temple and the Stone Forest. The Stone Forest was one of the more spectacular things I have seen in my life. It was literally miles and miles of towering rock formations unique only to China.
February 11: Sightseeing at Western Hills (took cable cars), Dian Chi Lake, and Daguan Lou Pavillion. The end of the day was probably the highlight when we went to the Dr. Tea teahouse and tried lots of different teas. It was, of course, a retail opportunity, as if practically everything we have done in China. We also went to the model village which was very interesting. The government built a town specifically for show. They legitimized it by saying the money came from a workshop that exported the local womens' embroidery. Now the guy who owns the workshop teaches all the village children English and French. It's pretty much a win-win except for the surrounding villages that are dirt poor.
February 12: Fly from Kunming to Li Jiang.
February 13: Sightseeing at Black Dragon Pool Park and Dragon Well Village. The only exciting thing from this day was that Christian fell asleep on a bench in the village and no one noticed so there was a bit of a panic. Mr. G and Bob found him no problem and after a piece of chocolate he was feeling better.
February 14: This was probably the highlight of the trip. We did a six hour hike up to nearly 11,000 feet at Tiger Leaping Gorge. It was one of the most intense things I had ever done and the views of the Yangtze from the top of the gorge were mind-blowing. We ate our best meal in a village unreachable by car halfway to the top. The hike ended with 28 switchbacks at an altitude where we could literally walk about 5 steps before needing to catch our breath.
February 15: We just chilled in Li Jiang because everyone was sore and tired from the hike. That night Suzannah got sick with food poisoning.
February 16: Around 3 am it was decided that Suz needed to be taken to the hospital. Jasmine and Ms. Holzheimer went with her. We spent the day sleeping and waiting for her to be released and then once she was we took turns staying with her so Jaz could get some sleep.
February 17: We flew from Li Jiang to Kunming, had a seven hour layover, and then flew from Kunming back to Beijing. On the second flight Caroline got really sick and was taken to the hospital as soon as we landed. The last few days ended up being way more eventful than we'd hoped.

Overall, it was an awesome trip despite two people getting sick. It was really good to have some warm weather and fresh air. The scenery was quite incredible and we were literally hiking in the foothills of the Himalayas.

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