From Jamie's Philippines Pics

We have also had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places in China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bali. We have archived all of our travels and living experiences abroad; and if you wish, you can read about our adventures by finding the archives on the right of this page and by checking our Photo Album.

We appreciate all of our family and friends who have stayed in touch and emailed us with encouraging words throughout the year. We hope you will continue to keep us in your thoughts as we continue our adventure of living abroad teaching at an international school. For those who have stumbled upon our site, check out the "About Eric and Jamie" section on the right for more information.

Thanks for checking us out!

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
- Mark Twain

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends."
- Maya Angelou






Skype: "ericandjamie"



Friday, May 21, 2010

Griffey's Adventure Back to the USA

From Shekou March 2009

Griffey was picked up at our apartment at 2:30 on May 21 and taken across the border of China and into Hong Kong. He left Hong Kong airport on a KLM flight to Amsterdam and arrived there later the next day. He stayed overnight in an Animal Hotel at the Amsterdam airport before flying to Atlanta in the morning.

My parents have agreed to take care of him until we can get home, so they met Griffey in Atlanta on Friday afternoon, but the animal customs had closed at 5:00 and Griffey's plane arrived at 5:15. My parents had to stay in Atlanta for the night and Griffey was boarded at the airport.

I just got off the phone with my parents, and they finally received Griffey on Saturday morning about 9:30. So, Griffey left me at 2:30 pm China time on Thursday and arrived at 9:30 am Saturday Atlanta time, a total of 55 hours, including 2 plane rides across Asia and Europe and the Atlantic Ocean and kennels stays in Amsterdam and Atlanta.

Not bad for a beagle! Griffey has now traveled completely around the world!

I miss him already, but it'll be a month or so, and I'll get to see him again.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Holiday - Day 10 - Shanghai EXPO


Another early morning as we wanted to try and be at the gates of the EXPO just as they opened at 9:00. We arrived at the Metro Station that leads directly to the center of the EXPO at 8:50, plenty of time. Apparently, the entire city had the same idea as thousands of people waited at the metro station gate that also served as an entrance into the EXPO.

We had planned to try and see as many of the country pavilions as possible in two ways: just seeing the outside and the ones we really liked, go inside and view. We first went to the center of the EXPO and the China pavilion, an enormous upside down pyramid. We didn’t go into this one because we figured that half of the Chinese visitors would be there. So we headed to the Asia area and toward the pavilion of our future home, Saudi Arabia.

IT WAS PACKED. Probably the longest line of the entire EXPO, and we have no idea why. Perhaps they were giving away free gasoline, but we found out later that it was the 2nd largest pavilion behind China, had a desert and sea in it, and the largest cinema screen (1600 square feet) in the world. Hundreds of people had lined up there and we were told it would be more than 2 hours. Instead of waiting (we only had 6 hours total), we decided to walk around the other pavilions and try to find shorter lines. There weren’t any. All of the lines were at least a 45 minute wait. We finally made our way to the Africa combined pavilion where you could just walk in without a line. It was pretty cool and brought about some interesting discussion about certain countries and continents’ wealth.

We walked around Europe and the Americas. We were very unimpressed at the US pavilion. As you can tell from the pictures, some countries went all out on the outside of their pavilions to make them look appealing. The most boring person in the world must have designed the US pavilion. Again, the lines for these amazing country pavilions were so long that we didn’t take the time to go in them. We didn’t want to waste time in lines. We did hungry, so the first place we thought of to go eat (except the US) was… you guessed it – MEXICO. Apparently, many of the Chinese had the same idea the Mexico pavilion was also pretty crowded. We waited in line mainly just to get in to the restaurant inside. We were vastly disappointed and they must have been taking tips from Disney World on what to charge for crappy food.

We then walked to a close up view of the China pavilion and around some of the others, tried again at Saudi Arabia, and decided to try one of the theme pavilions across the river. The EXPO was divided into 5 zones: A, B, C, D, and E. We ended up going through all of them in a whirl, but we figured it would take someone 3 straight weeks going 8 hours per day actually see all of the pavilions. Our last stop was the “Future” pavilion, which was very cool as it discussed the various new technologies that were going into future city planning.

We are very glad that we went to the EXPO even though we didn’t really get to see much of it. Just being there was a great experience and something we won’t forget. We only wish we had more time to spend there in order to truly enjoy it. We envy our friends who live in Shanghai as they will have 185 more days to experience it.

As this vacation comes to close, it will be our last one of our adventures in China. Our plan is to visit Hong Kong at least one more time and Macau again. We might make a trip to Guangzhou too. We are running out of time. I have written a list of all of the places we have visited and seen in the last 2 years. I’ll be posting it along with some cool statistics in a few weeks. We actually get a lot of people who read this blog who are searching QSI and Shekou. Nice to know someone reads it.

Be sure to check out the pictures of the EXPO and remember that this was only a small fraction of it.
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Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Holiday - Day 9 - Suzhou


We woke early so we could catch an early train to Suzhou, a city only 40 minutes south of Shanghai via the bullet train. Great train and seats on the short 40 minute ride. We immediately visited the North Tower Pagoda and had a great view of the city from 9 stories up in this giant pagoda.

We had read that getting a taxi in the city was very easy, so our goal was to simply take a taxi around the city of the various gardens. No problem. Well, it was difficult all day to find a taxi where sometimes it would take us 20 minutes of waiting trying to hail a cab. We walked all the way next to the Suzhuo Museum which was designed by I.M. Pei. Unfortunately, the line was way too long as it was wrapped through the walkway for more than 100 meters. We decided to move on down to the Humble Administrator's Garden, but again, the line was long and the price was a bit too steep. We hated to miss this one, but there are literally dozens of gardens all over the city, so we figured we'd be able to see others.

We did find a cab to take us to the central part of the city where the famous canals are. They were nice enough, but we weren't blown away by them. I guess we had in our minds an ancient area like all others in China except on water, but it just wasn't that impressive. We walked down a little more and finally found the Lingering Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These gardens were beautiful and I strongly recommend you check out the pictures we took around these. We had fun posing with the flowers, bonzai trees, and rock formations.

It took us forever to find a taxi to take us to our lunch destination. When we finally did find one, the restaurant we wanted to go to was closed. We opted for a nice Italian restaurant instead. It was about time to go, we headed toward the train station where we finally found a bus to take us. We stopped by the Suzhou Silk Museum, an excellent museum that took us through the history of silk in China, including the Silk Road. The highlight was seeing actually silk worms - see video.

A 40 minute train ride back to Shanghai, a quick shower, and we headed out again to the Yu Gardens for dinner. Took some cool pictures of this place at night and we ate some great and cheap sushi. We ended our great but tiring day by checking out the Shanghai skyline once again along the Bund.

As I type this, I am planning our day tomorrow at the EXPO. Check back for I'm sure some outstanding pictures of the pavilions and the 2010 EXPO.
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