We’ve lived in China for just shy of two years now (woot woot!) and I’ve barely seen any of this country. The problem is that the times Terry gets off of work are of course holidays. He gets a decent amount of vacation days each year too but we’ve usually spent those on our trip to the US each summer. And during the Chinese holidays, you leave China. It’s basically expat law. There are literally a billion people in China and they all get the same times off for holidays so that’s when everyone travels. Those weeks are notoriously bad for travel within China – uber-crowded sites, broken trains, delayed flights, etc. So we’ve always just left the country or stayed at home.
But enough was enough. It was time to see more of China than just our city. We have some friends from back in the day who just moved to Beijing a few months ago and we talked them in to coming to visit. We must have done a good job of convincing them cuz they stayed for almost three weeks! 🙂 It was a total blast. Erin and Annie and their two kids were perfect guests and we enjoyed our time with lazy mornings, 24 bingeing, exploring, and just generally having fun. We spent a couple of days in Hong Kong with them (and found a few gems we can add to our list of places to take people) and then we all took off to spend a few days in Yangshuo, China.
Yangshuo is just the kind of place we like to travel to. There were stunning mountains, beautiful vistas, a quaint little town, a crazy market, and some awesome food. We love the outdoor kind of stuff so we were really in our element.
One day we rafted down the river and then biked back to our hotel. Our raft dropped us off in this ancient little Chinese village. There were kids swimming in the river and cows wandering the cobbled streets and old women fanning themselves in the shadows of old stone buildings. Gorgeous fields of flowers lined either sides of the road and we passed farmers and more cows and stopped every few seconds to take another picture of the karst landscape. It was truly enchanting.
One morning Annie and I took a cooking class. It was the longest I’ve left Terry with Sander during the day, which would have been fine if I weren’t Sander’s only source of food. 🙂 I texted Terry as we were heading back to town to ask if Sander had taken the bottle I’d left for him. Terry replied “something like that” – ha! What a good husband. Let’s just say both he and Sander were preeeetty happy to see me. But now I can make yummy Chinese food, so we all win! (My favorite I think was the egg-wrapped dumplings we made – they seemed so intricate but were surprisingly easy and super yummy.)
This was our first time taking Sander on a trip like this (well, technically we took him on a trip to the US and we’ve taken him to Hong Kong lots, but those are different in my mind). I was determined to just be chill about it and not make it a big deal in my head. Cuz you know, it doesn’t have to be a big deal to travel with a baby. I think the things that are hard about it change as the kid grows, but the reality is, I’d be doing the same thing no matter where I was – changing diapers, feeding him, bathing him – I may as well be enjoying the world while I take care of him, right? Course that was not at all the thought I was having as we were dealing with a poopy blowout on the two-hour drive back the train station on some of the worst roads known to mankind (I would have felt bad for making Annie and Erin be there for that part except their 3 year old had thrown up (in Erin’s hands no less) about an hour earlier in the ride lol. It was an eventful drive.).
We went to a street market one evening, which is something Terry and I always enjoy. Terry maybe more than I, mostly because he thinks bartering is some grand game that he must win. Even if we don’t actually want what they’re selling. There were several times he came up to me all excited and asked if I wanted this trinket or that scarf – because they’d started the price at 120 RMB and he’d talked them down to 30 and surely I’d want it if it was that cheap, right?! Ha! We got a few things and said no to lots more and sipped our orange-passionfruit juice and munched on egg waffle balls (tastes like a sweetened waffle but shaped in tiny balls – yum!).
All in all, it was a great first adventure in China. We’d definitely go back, but there’s so much to see, it’s hard to prioritize! The struggle is real, people. 😉