Travels with Elizabeth

Adventures Around the World

Month: November 2015

Xi’an – Terra Cotta Warriors

My cold is getting a little better.   Still incredibly stuffed up in my sinuses and my throat occasionally hurts, but at least I don’t have that warm and sicky feeling.

Another smoggy day.

After a long drive to get to the Terra Cotta Warriors, we were almost there when we got stopped several car lengths back from the entrance toll booth because of a visit by the female Australian Prime Minister.  We had to wait about 20 minutes.  Big black SUVs and limos rolled right on by. Continue reading

Summer Palace / Temple of Heaven

I’m still pretty sick with my cold and sore throat.  Glad I brought some Sudafed and Mucinex with me!  I hope I have enough.  I only brought a couple of nights of NyQuil, so I know I’m going to run out of that.  I’m also going to run out of throat lozenges.  Trying to communicate in a pharmacy here is going to be tough if I have to get more cold meds.

There’s lots of smog today and very overcast.  At least there’s no rain. Continue reading

Ming Tombs and the Great Wall

My sore throat is worse today – definitely a cold.  And I sound like I have a cold – no hiding it now.  I don’t think folks are too happy about it, although no one is saying anything.

Another fantastic breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton.  Love some of the pastries, especially the croissants.  The van picked us up at 8:30 for an early start.

Beijing, Traffic

Beijing Traffic

This driver makes me really nervous.  We all think he’s a maniac.  Very aggressive in intersections, which are chaotic to begin with.  This is a picture at one of the Beijing intersections.  I had claimed the front seat of the van as I tend to get car-sick.  Sometimes being in front is not an advantage, as I could actually see what was going on – pretty scary at times! Continue reading

First Day, China Spree Tour

I woke up to a sore throat this morning – that’s all I need.  Don’t know whether it’s a cold or just all this smog.

Lovely day today – similar to yesterday in that you can see more or less blue skies.

A message had been left in an envelope under our door in our room that we were to meet Mr. Leo in the lobby at 9:30.  We had breakfast, just the two of us.  We were the only non-Asian folks in the place except for 4 others.  I took a gamble and introduced ourselves to Phillip, who introduced us to his wife Sandra, and the other couple, Howard and Pam. Continue reading

Jingshan Park / Beihai Park and Black Sesame Kitchen

Finally a nice day!  There’s still a bit of haze along the horizon, but at least overhead is blue and you can see the sun.  Temps in low 70s = perfect!

This morning we would have to explore by ourselves, but we would need to change hotels early this afternoon to join our China Spree tour.  The latest I could arrange at the Hilton (despite my Diamond status) was a 1:00 pm checkout, so we packed everything up early this morning and thought we take in a couple of Beijing Parks since the weather was so nice. Continue reading

Lama Temple and Peking Duck

I awoke again about 5:00; DH around 5:30.  Messed around the room and had another hearty breakfast in the Lounge.  Headed out about 8:30 by taxi to the Lama Temple.  The taxi ride was quite an adventure.  Traffic signals and painted lines on the road seem to be only suggestions.  Everyone has the attitude “I dare you to hit me.”  Organized chaos, and random actions by all involved. Continue reading

Forbidden City

DH awoke around 4:30, got up and started fiddling with his Blackberry.  He can’t figure out why it won’t seem to work with the new China SIM card.  My Samsung phone seems to work just fine with my new SIM card except I can’t contact DH.  After much fiddling and working with the young lady in the Executive Lounge – who made several calls to China Unicom – we concluded there must be a problem with the fact that our phone numbers are Shanghai numbers.  The symptom is we can call other people and other people can call us but we can’t call each other – the reason we got the cards in the first place.  Much frustration and DH is now prepared to contact the SIM card provider – 3g Solutions on Monday to see if he can straighten things out. Continue reading

Arrival in Beijing

The time change had us arriving on the next day after we left,  about 2:30 after a 14 hour flight.  When we landed and got our bags, we passed through Beijing Passport Control after a 30-minute wait in line and zipped through Customs at walking speed.   Our Hilton Wangfujing hotel driver was waiting outside Customs with one of what seemed like hundreds of name signs.  It was great to have someone standing there holding up a piece of paper with my name on it.  Continue reading

Getting to China

Leaving Home

Our plan was to take a short flight the first day out of Richmond to Dulles, and then take the very long flight from Dulles to Beijing the next day, both on United.  So on the first day we left home at 11:30am and it poured rain all the way to the airport in Richmond.  We parked the car at the Richmond Homewood Suites where they agreed to keep it for 21 days for free – the room is $124 and we’ll stay there overnight upon our return.    Took the hotel shuttle to the airport (in the rain).  Continue reading

Adventures in China

I’m going to start our travel journey with a trip we took shortly after we retired.  I had always been enchanted by the mystique of China.  The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Yangtze River – all beckoned me to explore this fascinating country.  I also wondered whether Chinese food in China was any different than Chinese food in the good ol’ USA; whether silk clothing and embroidery was any finer than that we can acquire in the West; whether the pollution was as bad as we have heard; and whether the Chinese people are happy or seem oppressed. Continue reading