A Travellerspoint blog

Global Seoul pt 2

Korea

overcast 21 °C

Seoul is like the Mecca for history buffs. It has many historical Museums, Palaces and monuments dedicated to the history of Korea. I'm pretty sure they spent at least half of our sightseeing tour talking about King Sejong and how he changed the Korean language.

Seoul just like any city, has many boroughs. We stayed in Itaewon, an area known for where the tourists go. We found more english speaking people here than anywhere else in the city. Itaewon boasts an eclectic ambiance where fashion, style and self expression welcome you in with open arms. These streets are lined with fancy nightclubs and excellent restaurants with culinary delights from around the world. A fantastic part of town to stay in if you have the money. And yes, it is expensive. Especially coming from China. Prices in Itaewon are exactly on par with Canadian prices unless you venture to the street vendors and local shops. They are priced like the rest of the city which is significantly less that what we are used to in the western world.

In case you were unaware, they game in Korea. Like for real. They have actual video game stadiums where they host e-sport tournaments for hundreds of thousands of dollars. One of which happens to be my favorite game, Starcraft. Unfortunately we went to Korea during off season, but my lovely girlfriend Erin got some shots of me playing at an Internet cafe in Gangnam :)
Btw, i didnt know Gangnam was a boroughย in Seoul that looked like 5th Ave in NYC. And you KNOW we took some pics dancing to Gangnam style!

I wish I could rate Seoul more accurately but unfortunately perhaps we just didn't see enough. It was beautiful, but from what I saw it left me wanting more. For now, we head on a bus to our next leg of the journey in Busan. We only stay there a night before getting on the Ferry to Japan. In terms of Seoul, it definately has Soul. This city of over 10 million cannot be conquered in only 3 days so I'll have to return...probably in December...When a certain e-sports global tournament is taking place...What a coincidence that would be...

Rob and Erin *peace

Posted by Globalsoul005 00:36 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Global Seoul

Korea and China Recap

overcast 21 °C

Hello everyone. It has been a crazy couple days in Korea, haven't had too much time to do anything at all including writing a blog! I suppose I'll start with my overall summary on China then speak a little about Korea.

The Chinese have a communist government. To live in China as a local is a hard life. The gap between rich and poor is huge and the only way to make money (rich money) is to have a hook up in the government which is extremely rare. To compare it to Canada, this is second world living. I've been to places like Brazil where poverty is extremely high but they are still like Canadian homeless. Here the homeless are different. Common to find badly burned homeless or missing limbs right in the open begging for money. If u are poor and disabled, government gives u a pathetic 500 yuan/month which is like 100 CAD, they just don't help you. The worker bees live to work and work is their purpose.

If u want to leave the country, u have to show 20000 yuan (5000 CAD) in your account (which no one has) to even leave the country on vacation. If you could leave, prices are so expensive to travel they just cannot. So they holiday in their own country. China is behind Canada in many ways like education, health care, freedom. But I believe in some ways they are much more ahead. Freedom of self expression is higher here and people are more resilient because they have to be. It's an incredible country in terms of beauty and for the price you can get by on makes it very attractive to foreigners. Food is spicy 24/7 and soso overall. Accomodations are impressive for so cheap, and people are extremely friendly. It is very safe. I like China and would definately recommend it. The Biggest challenge for me would have to be the survival mode you enter into. Like a gas tank, you eat until you're full, then constantly walking or climbing stairs in hot sun till the tank is empty then its time to eat again. Only options may be pig foot and fish on a stick if you are not by a big city...then back to walking again or hiking etc...No elevators anywhere. If u can get past those challenges along with the language barrier, u probably would have an enjoyable time.

Fast forwarding to Korea, the last couple days in Seoul have been great. Internet is fast...You actually sit on toilets instead of squat over them...Many people speak english...so far so good and Ill let Erin get into it further. For now, I'm gonna have a beer and enjoy this last night in our hostel because tmw we leave for Busan then the next day it's Japan!

Rob and Erin *peace

Posted by Globalsoul005 07:53 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Bare necessities

Our last leg in Shanghai !

sunny 25 °C

Good morning ya'll,

It's 06:54, and we're sitting in the Pu Dong airport in Shanghai, our final leg in China coming to an end. I've been wanting to write a blog for the last few days; however, it's been go, go, go. Since the moment we left Yangshuo, it's been quite the challenge for us. We purchased bus tickets from the hostel, which provided a bus shuttle to the station. Bus shuttle was late; in turn, we took a cab and got on the wrong bus. Of course, we had to pay for another ticket, which was a measly 25 Yuan ($5 CAD), but obviously irritating. We get to the Guilin train station (after 3 different attempts), hop on an 18 hr overnight train to Shanghai, with a box of "breakfast cookies" to our name. No electricity, everything's dead, we stink and we're tired. We woke up at 07:00 to eat another fish on a stick, with a pound of rice.๐Ÿ˜‘ we sound sexy, right? lol Fish and rice is fine, it fills the belly, but some variety would be nice. And when we don't know the language, who do you think we fight with..? Each other. Train was efficient enough, I'd recommend it, but I'd be lying if I said travelling was fun ALL the time ๐Ÿ™ƒ

Finally arriving in Shanghai, we realize we only have a day and a half to see as much as we can. So, we took the Bund tunnel under the HuangPu River to the Bund and walked the entire skyline of Pu Dong, which was amazing. We took a ferry back, to admire the Pearl Tower and downtown hustle, taking tons of pics with the locals (when does it stop? Lol) oh, and Shanghai loves Rob ! Men are complimenting him on how strong he is, shaking his hand like he's Hulk, or Jesus, or something. Women are mauling him left, right, and centre ๐Ÿ˜‚, literally handing me the camera to take pictures. I keep reminding them, he's not for sale ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ We spent the afternoon at the International IMAX theatre in Shanghai, seeing The Jungle Book. LoL For those of you who know us, you know we love movies, and it was the perfect recharge, especially when it's in english๐Ÿ‘Œ๐ŸผAwesome movie, btw. We decided to go back to the City Central Hostel, buy a 5-Tsingtao test tube and drink it while reminiscing about our time in China. Some of my very favourite moments being, the Great Wall of China, the 2000 steps to Pandora, Xi'an, and my unforgettable 30th birthday in Yangshuo. Not to mention, all the amazing people we met along the way. Shanghai is a very modern city, unlike any cities we've seen in China. It instantly reminded me of Sydney, Australia. Clean streets, big malls, high fashion, and lots of tourist attractions.

Overall, China is a beautiful country. We spent just under 3 weeks travelling through 6 cities, 5 provinces, barely touching the surface. I've loved every new experience, the good and the bad. It continues to strengthen our physical and mental abilities, and most importantly, our relationship. We hope to come home with an even better appreciation for our lives and the things we easily take for granted.
Finishing up this blog, we're on a turbulent-filled, 1h30min flight to...... South Korea !! ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท Rob's pumped for Korean beef and I'm pumped for a new country ๐Ÿ˜†

Join us on the second leg of this journey through Seoul, and Busan ! ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜

Rob and Erin โœŒ๐Ÿผ๏ธ

Posted by Globalsoul005 20:24 Archived in China Comments (1)

Big Bamboo

Li River, yangshuo

storm 17 °C

Went down to raft on the Li river today outside of yangshuo, it's the river and mountain formation found on the 20 yuan bill in China. Had ppl literally lining up for pictures with us. After the photo shoot one of the old ladies in the pictures gives us some tree bark to suck on as a thank you. She spoke no english so I said "bushi shi shi" which is no thank u but she would not take no for an answer. She began yelling in Chinese so I had to suck on her big piece of sweet wood and there was nothing I could do about it...it had a sweet taste but still tasted like wet plywood, pain and regret.

Erin starving and because we could get no nourishment from the sweet wood we walked a couple steps over to the only food stands available which were serving...u guessed it, fish on a stick only. This fish was not the same fish from before. They were smaller and looked more like a raw version that was moderately deep fried. We tried it and both agreed we would take a loss on our 4 yuan investment and eat later. We then got back into the deathtrap van that took us to the river and headed back to yangshuo. We were to get on a greyhound bus to go 2 hrs to guilin, and then board a 16 hr train to Shanghai. Today and tomorrow will be spent travelling for the most part so we won't have much to write home about. All I can say for today is the Li River cruise was amazing. You definitely must visit if you come to China because the river flows through a mountain range that is very specific to this region. 2 cruises are available. One for the Li river and one for the yulong which are about 80 km apart from each other. The Li cruise is done with motorboat rafts that go relatively fast and the yulong has gondola rafts that someone operates. We did the Li for the novelty factor but if you want more peace and serenity, go for the yulong. We finished our boat ride and hurricane-like black clouds rolled in. A torrential rain followed when we stepped off the boat onto the canopied shelter of the docks safe and sound just in time. Another day in paradise.

Rob and Erin *peace

Posted by Globalsoul005 23:11 Archived in China Comments (2)

#freedom30 ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ

semi-overcast 25 °C

We've just arrived at, "The Wada hostel on the river". It's a sister hostel to the Wada we stayed in, in Guilin. We were handed keys to the top floor, with an incredible panoramic view of the mountains, and we're paying 120 Yuan ($25) for the night ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I know.. I'm just as shocked as you.

Firstly, I'm 30 years old today, so I'm extremely hungover. I'm struggling hard to write this blog, and maybe that's the reason lol OR I'm simply overwhelmed. I have a man who left our hostel yesterday morning in search of a rose๐ŸŒนHe did everything in his power to mime a rose to the locals (use your imagination) lol. People scurried him further and further down the road until he'd said, eggs and bacon will have to do๐Ÿณ He threw a few "old" jokes at me๐Ÿ˜‘, kissed me a Happy Birthday, and we started our day. (O.K by me, I'm still dating a 28 year old ๐Ÿ˜†) Seriously though, I've convinced myself that age doesn't matter. It's where you are in your life, the people you've met, the people you've impacted, and the lessons you've learn. We all know there's plenty to learn in our 20's๐Ÿ˜ I'm just blessed to have made it. I'll keep that nonsense short though, I'm just making excuses hehe

Anyways, someone told us renting a bike was the best way to see the Yulong river. Of course, we had to make it interesting, and rented a tandem. Neither of us have ridden one of these rediculous bikes and it wasn't smart to try in a country like China, where rules of the road clearly do not apply. Garrison and I spent the next hour trying to stay alive, weaving through taxis, and tuk tuks, and mopeds, and whatever else was on the road, roosters? Not to mention, it was a complete bicker fest. Garrison thought I was messing up at the front, when clearly it was his fault๐Ÿ˜‚ You can't blame the birthday girl โœ”๏ธ๐Ÿค— Those things are an awful form of transportation lol Not to mention, it was 25 degrees, no wind, and high humidity. We were sweating buckets. We got lost of course, couldn't find the right bike path and quickly upgraded to 50km/hr mopeds โœ”๏ธ Enough's, enough. We scored two mopeds for 5 hours from a lady who explained all the rules to us in mandarin. Who cares, as long as we're away from that bike. We rode through random villages, cruising around comfortably, taking tons of GoPro footage. 7 hours into our day, we realize we haven't eaten anything since before our torchorous ride. The only food anywhere, were small carts with fish on sticks.. like I mean, a stick through a fish's mouth, down to it's tail. Screw it we said. We ordered up 2 and went all "reverent style" on it. (Chad would totally get this, and he'd probably be proud of me๐Ÿ˜†๐ŸŸ) It was so good๐Ÿ˜‹. Pictures to come.

We had to ride the tandem back to our hotel, somewhat better the second time around ๐Ÿ˜. Garrison pulled out a beautiful card and gift he's been carrying around nervously since Xi'an. Now, I carry it around nervously๐Ÿ˜• Nonetheless, so amazing ๐Ÿ˜˜

Our friends from Guilin, Paul and Anneliese, from Yorkshire, showed up, and the rest is history๐Ÿค— We had drinks and cake galore on the rooftop patio looking over the city, shooting the sh* about all kinds of things. (Side note, the hostel knew how hard Rob searched for the rose that morning, they had two delivered to me). I mean, come on.. there's some really kind people in this world, right? โ˜บ๏ธ All in all, I had an incredible day. I cant express to Garrison just how happy and appreciative I am of him. He is such a great man, and I'm very lucky ๐Ÿ˜˜โค๏ธ

Thank you so much for all the birthday love ๐Ÿ˜˜. We're looking forward to our last 24 hours in beautiful Yangshuo before we take an overnight train to Shanghai. Wish us luck !๐Ÿšž

Rob and Erin โœŒ๐Ÿผ๏ธ

Posted by Globalsoul005 00:34 Archived in China Comments (3)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERIN

Yangshuo

semi-overcast 26 °C

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? I'll tell you when we meet an immovable object. We are starting to feel just that, unstoppable. The more challenges we face, the harder we push. Sometimes things go horribly wrong and we only have ourselves to lean on when it's time to make clutch decisions. I wouldn't have it any other way and couldn't have chosen a better partner to do it with, and it happens to be her birthday. The Big 3-0.

We arrived on a bus this afternoon to Yangshuo from Guilin approximately 2 hrs away. We met some 20 year old Chinese students on the bus that were majoring in English and they helped us catch the bus to our hostel. It was the one with the symbol that looked like a circle inside of a house, God bless those two... Hostel has an amazing view of the Li river from the rooftop and a huge party atmosphere here. We are going to rent bikes tomorrow and go for a 4 hour bike ride around the river, will make sure to take many shots.

There are cool little nooks In back alleyways serving pigeon beak and duck foot. Noticing many chinese cities with block parties like every night. Food, shopping,ย games. People flying drones in the street and selling them. Two people yelling at each other then hugging it out, then 2 more people joining them for a quartet symphony of Chinese spitting.

I love how this culture empowers you to take safety into your own hands. Am I thinking old school? Maybe. U wanna ride in the back ofย a tuk tuk w no helmet? Sure. Triple ride a motorcycle with no leather or headgear? Why not? Take your 2 year old child double riding on the moped handlebars? Sounds like fun to me! Yikes :$ No but seriously...of course rules are in place for a reason but there is a certain rush you get when you survive crossing an intersection on your "right of way" and nobody driving obeys the rules of the road. I would actually be better crossing the street blindfolded.

Starting to get tired from a long day, and an even bigger day ahead so im gonna hit the sack. I wanna wish my travel partner, confidant, and my love, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY today. Here is to the next big adventure!

Rob and Erin *Peace

Posted by Globalsoul005 10:59 Archived in China Comments (5)

Nว hวŽo, Nว hวŽo, Nว hวŽo !!!

Rob's response to all the Chinese street sellers yelling, "Hello, Hello, Hello !!!"

sunny 22 °C

Hey Ya'll !!

I just woke up from our one and only day in Guilin with a nice phone call from my Mama ๐Ÿ˜† You know, you can live X amount of hours away from your family for 6 years and be okay with seeing them every few months, but when you're across the world, all it takes is a familiar voice to start your
day off right. I was telling her she may not see blogs everyday because travelling has a lot of transition periods. We are constantly on the move. Remember, some might think we're crazy, but we're crossing over 7 countries in just over 2 months. We stay for 2 days, we travel for a day.. We stay for 3, and so on. We had just one full day in Guilin before bus'ing it to Yangshuo in a few hours !
Everyone we knew who'd travelled here before had rave reviews about Guilin and Yangshuo. So, I convinced my other half that this was a must-see, and off we went. (He's super easy with the itinerary, as long as he gets to Japan for some d*mn sushi ๐Ÿค๐Ÿ˜ณ). Turns out, all travellers have a similar idea, not to eat sushi, but to visit these places. We booked into this very cool hostel, "The Wada Hostel", and had a hell of a time finding it. It was no one's fault but my own (because I booked it), as I couldn't pull up the Chinese addess without wifi and people simply stared at the word "Wada". Try being exhausted and hangry (aka hungry and angry), in a new city you're not familiar with. Times that by 2 with a boyfriend who held his pee for 2 hours on a bus that got lost for an extra hour ๐Ÿ˜ซ. Rough start to the trip. Let's just say preparation, constant organization, and screen shots are key when you don't have access to the web or food, 24/7. Upon finally arriving, we spent loads of cash on feeding our brains with burgers and fries, along with multiple strong drinks. We met two couples, one from the UK and the other from Ireland (yay for the English, and the Irish ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง) and it turns out, they're all going to Yangshuo for a few nights. Perfect bunch of people to celebrate my 30th with. I won't remember a d*mn thing ๐Ÿป๐Ÿธ๐Ÿน๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ.. Hey, if you don't remember anything, is it like your 29 again? Hehe
Anyways, Guilin was nice. We got on the bus at 2pm, convincing ourselves that we needed to make something of our day. 1 Yuan (pennies in CAD), took us all the way to the Reed Flute Cave, which is super famous for it's beautiful neon lights throughout. Pictures don't do it justice really. We were persuaded by an english speaking Chinese man to take a 15 minute bamboo raft (man, are we easily convinced lol). We thought this 30 year old man was taking us out; instead, he threw his 80 year old Grandfather in there, who's the size of Rob's leg๐Ÿ˜‚) It didn't take long for Rob to step up, because that's almost elderly abuse where we come from lol ! He was pushing over 350lbs ! Sweetest old man though, he was so happy to be with the foreigners, everyone's trying to take pictures hehe Following the cave adventure, We went into the city square. Of course, not to our surprise anymore, the city came to life ! So many lights, vendors galore, people riding around on their mopeds (babies in tow). Music is playing, fashion at it's finest. Chinese women really know how to dress too; even though, they all rock knock-off Christian Laboutin pumps.. ๐Ÿ™ƒ We spent the night turning away the chicken feet, duck heads, and whatever else we had difficultly identifying. All in all, a great night. We spent the next couple hours back at our hostel shooting the sh*t about our days, with the couples we met earlier.

Off we go to Yangshuo in just under an hour. Takes about two hours to get there. We'll soon settle into the Showbiz Hostel, downtown ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ. Hope you enjoyed this read. There's actually so much more to talk about, but I'm sure Garrison will fill you in on the rest !!

Rob and Erin โœŒ๐Ÿผ๏ธ

P.s Shout out to my Grandad and Veronica, I know you've been keeping up with our blogs. Miss you โค๏ธ

Posted by Globalsoul005 18:14 Archived in China Comments (2)

Squishy Bananas

Feng Huang

sunny 18 °C

Hello everyone, we are off to Guilin right now which is in the province of Guanxi. We spent the night in Feng Huang which was a 4 hour bus ride from Avatars' Zhangjijie and we now have a 6 hour ride to Guilin.
We could have either overpayed for a flight from Zhangjijie to Guilin, took a regular bus direct for 12 hours, or bus layover in Feng Huang for a night. I am so glad we did the layover.

The city of Feng Huang is a city constructed on a river that once again, is meant to be for Chinese tourists. It has an Italian feel to it almost like walking down a canal in Venice. Excellent food, shopping and nightlife combined with relaxation, nature and tranquility create the perfect balanced vibe. It honestly looks like something out of a 3D pop up book. And to think, we didn't even know this place existed 48 hours ago.

I decided to go for a walk when Erin fell asleep. She wasn't feeling well and was starving so I went to grab her some food. I met a couple who were from the UK and they had been teaching English in China for 9 months. They said the only criteria you need to teach English here is to be fluent in English. No degrees needed (although they help obviously), no Mandarin needed, you don't even have to be a teacher! After they told me how well they were compensated, I had to stop them there or we may just stay in China. (I'm kidding Mom...)

Hotel was great. Food was great. Prices expensive though. Aside from accomodations, food and drink was on par with Canadian prices here which is very high for this country. If you ever come to Feng Huang, which I highly recommend you do, bring some extra cash. And make sure you stay at least a couple nights. My only regret was us not staying longer. Oh and one more regret...We packed bananas a couple days ago in one of our bags we forgot about. I reached my hand in this morning and felt something Squishy and was happy because I thought i was finding my lost hat. It was not my lost hat.

Rob and Erin *Peace

Posted by Globalsoul005 05:01 Archived in China Comments (1)

Truth be told

Zhangjiajie and FengHuang County

sunny 23 °C

Hey everyone !!

I should speak honestly about Zhangjiajie before we move on. I'm usually very open to other ways of living, believe it or not. I love travelling to foreign countries and immersing myself in new cultures.. this one got away from me though. Maybe it's just 300,000 people in a very small city. We can't communicate with anyone, which makes everything that much more difficult.. or it's the horking in the hotel halls๐Ÿ˜Ÿ, I'm not sure? Turns out, the city itself isn't all that spectacular; however, Avatar was unreal.
We set out to see Zhangjiajie National Forest, and succeeded. The park was amazing, I was obsessed with the monkeys, and we climbed 2000 stairs to the top. That's just crazy if you think about it.. turns out, we could've taken an elevator lol๐Ÿ™ƒ I'll never live that one down hehe.

On a positive ๐Ÿค— I have felt this insane sense of security with Garrison. I suppose it's because we only have each other out here, that it's more palpable, but we haven't really senselessly argued at all. We depend on each other everyday. We laugh hysterically, we enjoy our time together. It's been a great experience (thus far๐Ÿ˜œ)

Rob asked me, if I could go back, knowing what I know now, would I? And yes, I would. All those minor complaints are minuscule compared to the moments we have. It's all in a days travel really.. Avatar was a once and a life-time experience and I would definitely recommend it to those travelling to China - even the hike ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

We're currently sitting on a 4 hour bus ride to FengHuang County, surrounded by unreal views, where we'll have a 1 night transition into beautiful Guilin in the morning ! โ˜บ๏ธ

Fast forwarding 10 hours and we've once again, had an incredible, unexpected night in the county of FengHuang, Hunan ๐Ÿ˜† This place is amazing. We weren't expecting much, just another small city we'd spend a night in anticipating our travels to Guilin.
But this place has so much character, especially our hotel room lol PICS TO COME. Firstly, all the unique stores border around the Tuojiang river, that flows through the entire district. By 8pm, all lights come on bringing the bar scene to life. Thousands of people flood the hutongs. The temples and the centrepiece pagoda reflect off the water. It's almost like we're in another Xi'an, just so much older. FengHuang has over 300 years of history !
Tonight, we spent hours walking around, taking pictures (with the locals)๐Ÿ˜œ, spending money on overpriced beers (comparatively to the rest), and enjoying every minute. It truly was a magical night, one we had never anticipated.

We've paid for a 6 hour car ride at 11 tomorrow morning, to Guilin and Yangshuo, where we'll spend the next 5 days.. wish us luck, these drivers are fun ! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Rob and Erin โœŒ๐Ÿผ๏ธ

P.s keep up with the comments. We love reading them ๐Ÿ˜˜

Posted by Globalsoul005 09:53 Archived in China Comments (4)

The early bird works hard for the worm

Zhangjiajie

sunny 20 °C

We are in the infancy of this trip. If the trip were a child we would just be learning to walk. I'm getting used to life not in Canada, Erin however...not so much. She was mad at people spitting in our hotel this morning waking her up. The Chinese have a very certain way they bring up phlegm here and have no shame doing it wherever. Had a hell of a time boarding bus to avatar too.

Go to bus station. Which was really train station. Then go to real bus station which had an info desk that didn't know how to catch bus. They point outside which takes us to dead end. So we ask a cop who points us back to bus station. So we ask info desk again and they point to same dead end again. A cop reluctantly volunteers to lead us the FEW BLOCKS AWAY that we were supposed to go which turned out to be the back of the bus station after all. What a fun morning :)

We finally got on the bus and headed to the national park. It was littered w tourists mostly coming from other parts of china. We paid 240 yuan (50 CAD) to enter the park and began to walk. At first it was like walking through any Canadian park but the intensity gradually worsened, ultimately leading up to a 2000 stair walkway up the mountain which I could only describe as the 8th circle of hell. My misery was worsened when Erin would constantly remind me how much she loves exercise and stair climbing...FML. We literally climbed more stairs than the CN tower today.
Did i mention we took the wrong path for 1.5 hrs before the climb?

Just as we began searching for the defibrillators, we reached the top. Incredible. The view was breathtaking. It was as if you were in the movie Avatar flying the dragons above floating mountains. A well deserved reward for the gauntlet we just walked through. We only came to this city for one thing, and by God we got it.

Was Zhangjiajie worth it? Was the juice worth the squeeze? Did the cost outweigh the benefit? For me, the answer is no AT THIS TIME. Let me explain...

Zhangjiajie is a small city with very little to do outside of the hike (for a non mandarin speaking foreigner). When you actually do the hike, multiple inconveniences make the experience very difficult. The average traveler may get frustrated with the climb and even more frustrated at the exit process. Just when you want to leave, they force you to take several buses out of your way which set us back hours. The view is amazing yes, but you REALLY have to work for it. If you don't mind, then fill your boots. For an average outdoorsman like me, give me the 2 hr hike then show me the elevator to the top!

However, the city is growing due to the fame of this attraction and in a few years they may make the city more foreigner friendly and the hike easier. And again, if you are an avid hiker or stair master you will absolutely enjoy this, especially with the quality views that it rewards you with.ย Overall I did have fun and value my experiences here but I definitely look forward to moving on to the next city, Guilin!

Will attach some amazing views asap

Rob and Erin *peace

Posted by Globalsoul005 04:45 Archived in China Comments (3)

Blue Aliens

Zhangjiajie

sunny 22 °C

Had an amazing past few days In xi'an. Did some festival partying w some cool ppl we met, some shopping yesterday, Erin biked on top of the city wall that stretches for 8 km high atop the city. I can't keep up with that maniac so while she did that I went to Starbucks. Overall we both loved this city and would recommend coming here to all our friends planning a trip to china. This is where the Chinese go on holiday since it is too expensive for them to leave their country. In other words, they spare no expense here. We went to a pagoda water party later last night where they put on a fountain show for literally thousands of people every night. It will be sad leaving this place. I'm finding with this type of travelling we form memories and friendships in each city and it is hard to leave the attachments behind but we know there will be new ones waiting for us on the next adventure!

Tonight we get on a plane to Zhangjiajie, in the province of Hunan. This is where they got the concept for the floating mountains in the movie Avatar. We were supposed to go to the mountain restaurant on the Yangtze river but had to cancel that trip because the only way to get there would be a 12 hr train and too much of a gamble on accomodations.

Looking forward to waking up in the mountains and seeing those breathtaking views. We fly out in 12 hrs so we are gonna leave our baggage at the front desk, probably have a liquid lunch with some friends and do some window shopping before we leave. Wish us luck on our next leg of the journey!

Rob and Erin *peace

Posted by Globalsoul005 18:23 Archived in China Comments (1)

Ride the walls baby

For my bike team back home๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿšด๐Ÿป

sunny 23 °C

Hey friends !!

Another amazing day spent in Xi'an, for a whopping 72 Yuan ($15CAD!). Garrison and I decided to spend an afternoon wandering the streets on our own, for the sole purpose of staying sane hehe j/k I love him, but who wouldn't enjoy a few hours to themselves?

I packed my money belt with the 100 Yuan bill ($20CAD) I had left to my name.. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ at the time.. hehe, and asked the front lobby what I should do with my own 3 hours. She told me about the city wall, and off I went. I was so intrigued by this wall the day before, while passing it in the car, I had to get closer. Better yet, I had to ride it ๐Ÿšด๐Ÿป If not for my bike team at home, because I'm missing out on our first group ride, then to get a d*mn workout in, and get a different perspective of the city๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ

It's actually the coolest thing. This wall runs 8km around the city in a square. It houses the city centre, which like I said before, is bright, and loud, and incredibly fun. The wall is old, and medieval like, and lights up at night๐ŸŒŸ

I walked approx. 20 minutes south to the wall. Turns out, I can actually get a student rate over here lol Sounds hilarious, doesn't it? Instead of paying 52 Yuan ($11.60 CAD), I paid 27 Yuan ($5.60 CAD) Thank you OttawaU !! haha Seriously though, every dollar counts when you're running loose for 2 months ! I paid 45 Yuan ($9.00 CAD) to rent a bike, and spent the next hour crushing 8km. I'm not going to lie, the stones were uneven (of, course), and it's actually a difficult ride. By the 6km, I was asking where abouts I was ! It was getting hot as hell, and everything was starting to look the same haha (a tad overdramatic) ๐Ÿ˜Ž

None the less, I finished it. It was such a cool experience. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Xi'an. Waking up today, my wrist are sore, my ass and legs feel like jelly, and I'm tired. ๐Ÿ’ค

I have nothing to complain about though! Sadly, we leave Xi'an today, but continue on via. plane tonight to ZHANGJIJIE National Forest in the province of Hunan, to witness the inspiration behind Avatar !

Hope you're enjoying the reads ! We're really enjoying communicating with our friends and family this way. Thanks for following us on our journey through Asia!

Rob and Erin โœŒ๐Ÿป๏ธ

Posted by Globalsoul005 18:17 Archived in China Comments (0)

We're letting ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ 's eat our feet !! ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Xi'anโค๏ธ

overcast 16 °C

Hey Ya'll !!

I'm so pumped to write up this blog, I couldn't wait for the morning! It's 00:57 exactly here in our "Facebook Youth Hostel".. LoL so youthful we are๐Ÿ˜‰, and we just got in from an unreal day in Xi'an ! I'm not sure how many people visit Xi'an as part of their must-sees on this planet, but man, am I ever glad we did. If not for the hustle and bustle of the city, the stunning Bell Tower, the malls, the shops, and the nightly entertainment, then for sure, the 8th wonder of the world -- the Terracotta Warriors.

How about we start there, because there's so much to talk about. I'll tell you what I took from our tour, so you know I'm learning something along the way ๐Ÿ˜ The Terracotta Warriors are a collection of sculptures depicting the armies of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. These sculptures were buried with the emperor (when he died) back in 210-209 BCE, and their purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife. In 1974, local farmers discovered these sculptures ๐Ÿ˜ง and to their surprise, there were 1000's more to be found. The army men ranked at different levels, the Emperor, the Generals, the Officers, and the Archerers, and they all have very distinct characteristics that differ them from one another. It's an incredible site to see. โœ”๏ธ Ok, one thing down.

Secondly, we had a very kind, young tour guide take us out today and she was so honest about the Chinese culture and way of life, I feel I need to share with you some interesting facts she discussed with us. Again, this is just based on her own life, and experiences.

- Chinese people would rather live somewhere else
- There's a huge gap between the rich and the poor
- Government charges exuberant amounts of money to travel outside the country. They require a 50,000 Yuan deposit, just to guarantee return home.
- Up until 2011, couples were only allowed to bear 1 child (population control). They can bear 2 children now.
- CHEATING is against the law. If the spouse chooses to report it, jail time is possible ๐Ÿ™ƒ
- Gay and lesbian communities are not openly accepted in China.
- Interest rates for a mortgage are "VERY high", saving's account rates are "very low".
- We live a "suffering life", she says.
- Without being prompted she also says, "people want to live in countries like Australia, and Canada"

These are only a few.

And on that note, let's all just take a moment, and be so thankful to be living in such an beautiful, well-rounded, developed country. ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ These people work so hard to live everyday. I truly respect and admire their resilience.

As far as the night life goes, it's pretty amazing. We made a conscious decision to stay awake tonight lol. We hung out with some cool dudes, Mickey, and Ryan, from San Fran and Winnipeg, AND we let ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ 's bite all the crap off our feet for half an hour !!๐Ÿ‘ฃ You'll have to see the vids.. when I can get on Instagram again!๐Ÿ˜‘๐Ÿ™ƒ

Overall, today's one for the books. I'm feeling very blessed and happy to have these experiences with Garrison.

I'm off to bed to try and kick this nausea. Hope I didn't bore you with my history lesson ๐Ÿค“

Happy reading peeps!

Rob and Erin โœŒ๐Ÿป๏ธ

Posted by Globalsoul005 19:20 Archived in China Comments (2)

Waking up in Xi'an

overcast 18 °C

Its currently 6am in Xian and we are both lying in bed ready to start the day so i figured drop u guys a line. Yesterday we got on a train in Beijing heading southbound to XI an which is 2 provinces over in Shannxi. Was about a 6 hour train ride on a bullet train going 300km/h, pretty cool and super fast and elegant. Great way to see the country side of China on the way down. We noticed that there are many industrial sites and power plants along the way to xi'an, miniature communities and half constructed cities with buildings that were empty like scattered ghost towns. Some villages we would pass would be on the top of a mountain overlooking a picturesque ravine down below with 30 new buildings being constructed right next to it. We couldn't help but wonder what xian would be like when we arrived...

We got off the train and took about a half hour subway ride to our district which was by the Bell tower in the heart of xian. Let me preface by saying up until now we have been living in a beijing hostel basically in a run down alleyway where expectations were low. This place could not be more of an opposite. Everything is so beautiful here. So much money goes through this city of 8.5 million, you could just feel the energy getting off the subway. Starbucks on every corner, cartiers, hublots, fine dining, extravagantly refurbished new age temples lit up with millions of Christmas lights in the middle of a times square looking block was just the beginning. Street performers and thousands of shoppers peppered in the streets give this place a festival feeling 24/7, we decided to head directly for the pizza hut.

I made sure not to go near erins food because she was starving and I feared for my safety in her hypoglycemic rage. We inhaled the pies, got in a cab and made way to our hostel. The Facebook hostel is just outside the heart of the action, but a 5 min walk back into the vortex of fun. Did I mention the hostel costed us 25 CAD (TOTAL) equivalent a night? Clean, and well maintained is all we need and so far so good. I love the customer service in this country and Canada would do well to re learn this basic business attribute.

We head to the terracotta warriors in about an hour so I have to get ready. We are probably going to extend our time in xian so we can explore some more! Take care guys and we will message soon.

PS we cant recieve any messages by fb srry!

Rob and Erin *peace

Posted by Globalsoul005 15:06 Archived in China Comments (0)

Roasted duck tongue??๐Ÿ˜ฃ

Travel day on the train to Xi'an (See-Ann)

rain 17 °C

Okay, so I'm sitting here eating my 9th OREO for the day, because all OREO's taste the same, and it's the only thing that'll guarantee a sugar rush that I can find, AND I refuse to pay for the whopping 45 RMB ($9.00 CAD) coffee they're offering me. Some would say I'm not broadening my horizons, but no coffee is worth $9.00 and expensive drinks have really weighed us down the last 5 days ! (cough, cough .. Tea๐Ÿ™) I did eat some sort of crepe/egg/canned ham spam thing this morning with a banana... LOL That was 7 hrs ago.
Rob just got back from his attempt at finding us food on the train to Xi'an. Apparently, he hand-motioned to the lady at the food counter for some
chips. She handed him a bag of roasted duck tongue ๐Ÿ˜‚ He politely refused hehe.๐Ÿ™ Liquid diet it is !๐Ÿป

We just left the Beijing West Railway station, and let me say, it was more of a culture shock than 6 stops East. Immediately leaving the Subway, You could see and feel that smog people talk about. I couldn't see in the distance, only the 1000's of people hurrying by. Police stood on podiums with large guns (Don't know what kind, but they were large). I was actually more intimidated walking by them๐Ÿ˜ฌ

This railway station was huge, and quite amazing actually. They have giant stickers on the floors guiding you, big billboards on the walls. There's no way you can get lost. I had to post about the train station because both of us walked in saying, "whoa" ๐Ÿ˜ฏ. I highly recommend the train across China. We are sitting comfortably in economy class, reclined seating, fairly comfortable. Nice washrooms, drinks.. and food.. on board. This one way trip cost us just over 500 RMB (Approx. $100CAD) 5h40 min. day of travel๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ and it's rainy.. so that's good ๐Ÿ˜†

Thanks for all the support everyone ! Hope you're enjoying the reads ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜† Can't wait to see what Xi'an has in store for us.

Rob and Erin โœŒ๐Ÿป๏ธ

Posted by Globalsoul005 05:31 Archived in China Comments (1)

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