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Don't Forget Your Sun Cream!

CHINA | Friday, 25 April 2008 | Views [2214] | Comments [3]

There’s a phrase heard often here in Leader Land that explains when things go wrong inexplicably, it’s called “T.I.C. – This Is China”. It explains why your hair dryer works one day but not the next, why you can view your email inbox but not actually read a message, and why your favorite local restaurant has been turned into a bus station. This trip had “TIC” written all over it. It started out innocuously enough on the first morning when I took the pax for an orientation walk in Beijing; along the way I pointed out what was my favorite local restaurant during training last year, only to find out it truly had been turned into a bus station. Continue to Xian, where I attempted to take my pax out to the light show at the Big Goose Pagoda; we arrived on time… if it had been summer hours… boo! I didn’t know there were  winter hours, having only been in the summer and we missed it by a half an hour. The following day was the crowning glory: we’d arrived in Xian, it was overcast, everyone set out to their activities, and by evening nearly all of them returned home sunburned. Bearing this in mind, when we went to the Terra Cotta Warriors the next day, it was overcast again, and I conscientiously reminded them not to forget their sun cream incase the clouds burned off again. Yeah, the weather made a fool of me be proceeding to piss down rain the entire time we were there! Good gracious, you can imagine I caught shit for that for the rest of the trip ;-)  One more incident in Shanghai rounded out my reputation as being ”completely rubbish” (just kidding), I was taking the group to the Shanghai Acrobats via the metro. The street the metro is located on is ridiculously crowded, so I thought we’d bypass some of the traffic by taking the road just parallel to the one we needed, then cut over…. can we all see where this is going? The street headed off diagonally, and when I got to cut back over to the other we were detoured again by massive construction! Ai yo! We still made the show on time (barely, thank goodness), but it really didn’t help my rep. :-)  Good thing they all still love me and think I’m the coolest tour leader ever ;-)   (I bribed them)

This group was fantastic. Right from the start they gelled well with each other. For a group this size – 14 people – it’s unusual that they would want to do everything together the way these guys did. And when they all wanted to do stuff together they included me too :-) There were two young British guys on the trip who were so funny! :-D  Another passenger named Liz asked me halfway through the trip, why are we bothering to pay admission to shows and things when we’ve got these two around?? And it’s true, LOL. For example, I was giving Jon a hard time for not remembering his chopsticks one night (this group was rubbish about bringing their chopsticks…) and Jon goes off on this whole explanation about how when I was warning them about pickpockets the day before he had spent that entire evening worrying about his chopsticks in his pocket – never mind the wallet or camera, his concern was for the chopsticks!  Hahaha, yeah right, but it was still hilarious!  And Mark, good gracious, we were on the first train from Beijing to Xian, Mark was eating a muffin, Trudy asks him what flavor the muffins are, and after seriously considering the package (entirely in Chinese) he responds with “muffin flavor”.  Not sure if that was a “had to be there” moment but it was pretty flippin’ funny. These guys also introduced me to proper ‘football’. Lots of my pax talk about football (soccer), but we went and watched a proper game (match) at a sports bar in Shanghai, and it was really quite fun.

My goodness, coming back to China has been so fantastic – after that initial airport drama ya’ know ;-)  When we got to Yangshuo and took our bikes out to Chaolong, early in the evening it was warm and wonderful, I could smell flowers everywhere and hear frogs in the rice paddies… I was so happy I nearly got emotional  :-D  We had such good times in Yanghsuo too, kayaking, rock climing, biking, and playing tons of pool, or “snooker” as the Brits call it. I got to meet up with Ann Thai and celelbrate the Thai New Year by tossing water on her! Oh, I have a new best friend in Yangshuo too – my laundry lady. One of Ann’s pax spilled a glass of red wine ALL OVER ME, and what happens to be my favorite shirt at the moment :-S   I ran full speed down to my laundry lady and she was able to get the red wine out! I love her :-) 

Has anyone noticed the absence of drinking stories so far this trip…? Hehehe, these guys drank more Coca-cola than my last ten trips combined I think! Not to say we didn’t drink at all, in fact we had a really funny night in Longji where I taught them to play “Bruce”… guaranteed, LOL. Oh and there was a night in Shanghai at the Velvet Lounge that was so fun! They played real American hip-hop and dance music! Hurray! Beats the club in Xian by a mile where the locals went crazy to “Country Road”… I kid you not.  We just had such a great time, three weeks absolutely flew by. Good thing a bunch of them are still in Hong Kong for a few extra days, so we’re still hanging out. Yesterday we went out to the Big Buddha, tonight to the light show – yeah they’re awesome and I want to keep them :-)  So shout out to Eva/Elinor, Isabel/Inga, Veronica/Vanessa, Mark/Matthew, Jon/Jesse, Ceridwen/Cynthia, Kadyn/Kevin, Brett/Brad, David/Doug, Trudy/Tina, Kaori/Karine, James/Jeremy, Liz/Erin, and last but certainly not least… Chris/Nigel, LOL.  (long story)

Right, I’m chillin’ in Hong Kong for the time being, don’t have another trip starting until May 12, and nope, I haven’t quite figured out what I’m gonna do during all that time. But I’m sure I’ll have some adventures to report back when it’s over ;-)

Take care all! Love you!

Currently Reading:  Ysabell

Current Injury: NONE!  Perfect season so far  ;-)   Although by the way, the Great Wall did nearly kill me my first time back, just like I predicted. By the 3rd watchtower I almost threw up, hahaha. I really sat at our lunch spot telling myself "Do NOT throw up. This is not acceptable for the tour leader"  LOL  I didnt, just in case you were worried ;-)  Good thing I've got a few more trips to get my fitness back up before I get more difficult climbs.

Tags: good people, good times



Great blog... as usual. Glad I took a chance to see if your wrote one because I didn't get a notice. The kayak picture is beautiful, and so peaceful. Glad you had a great trip.

  Mama Apr 26, 2008 3:05 PM


Lovely blog Jami,thanks for a great trip.

  Mark Apr 27, 2008 9:12 PM


NIGEL? Ugh. I demand a better nickname.

  Chris Apr 30, 2008 1:06 PM

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