Day 9: Last day in China

Standing in the middle of the Beijing Capital International Airport arrivals with people moving all around me, greeting each other in a language I couldn’t comprehend, looking at signs I couldn’t understand and with absolutely no clue where the Envision Global team I was supposed to meet up with was; the prospect of nine days in completely foreign territory was absolutely terrifying.

The idea of those nine days seemed to stretch out for kilometers (or miles if you’re from ‘Murica) in front of me. Nine days away from home. Nine days in an unfamiliar city. Nine days with people I didn’t know. Nine days during which I would be completely out of my depth.

But those nine days have passed. Nine days experiencing China in all is difference and beauty. Nine days of attempting to communicate with crude Chinese. Nine days of surviving the smog. Nine days of adventure. Nine days of getting to know a group of amazing people.

Nine days now gone.

The last day in China was bittersweet. Continue reading


Day 8: Old city Shanghai

Shanghai in the slightly smoggy daylight is incredible. Hundreds of high rise skyscrapers shoot up around highways that criss-cross through the whole city. Its called China’s financial capital fpr a good reason. When walking along the streets it really feels like being in the Asian version of New York.


The city and the people who live, work and play here are all westernized to some extent with most of them being able to speak some degree of English (making taxi rides, scavenging for food and hunting for clothes much easier for me).

The diplomacy delegation (most of it slightly crusty from the festivities the night before) attended a talk at the Shanghai International Studies Institute think tank. The speaker gave an in depth talk about China’s relationships, successes, problems and future goals which was interesting enough to keep my sleep deprived eyelids open for the hour and half long presentation.

The bus ride to Shanghai’s old city market area was another story. Pretty sure my mini bus nap involved a significant amount of drool and possibly some snoring. Continue reading

Day 7: Xi’an to Shanghai

Last few hours in Xi’an this morning.

We set off for Xi’ans city wall.

Basically, its a big wall that encircles the inner, older city from the outer, newer city which is home to all the high rise buildings and more modern areas.


A number of us gathered for an early morning Tai Chi lesson right on top of the wall. We looked out over the city while attempting to follow the movements of the Tai Chi mentors who were made up of three older ladies and one old man who liked to shout out instructions in Chinese despite the fact that none of us understood a word of it. They jumped straight into it and performed a whole routine while we tried to follow along. It was pretty much a calamity with us looking like a bunch of new born foals trying to learn how to walk for the first time.

The masters slowed it down for us, going through it step by step until we had some what of an idea of what was potting. At one point, there is a part where you have to stretch your one leg up into the air and hold it for a while. The old ladies were absolutely boss at it. I could hardly keep my leg up for 10 seconds. I was most definitely was close to pulling a muscle. Awks.

Afterwards we were free to roam around the top of the wall.





There wasn’t much to do other than take in the scenery so most of us were chin chilling on the stairs, attempting to get some R & R before the flight to Xi’an. Continue reading