Saturday, March 31, 2007

Update on the Phillips

Just wanted to request prayers again on behalf of my cousin Kory and his family. Whoever is keeping their blog has posted a picture of the US. If you will leave a comment on their blog, they will color in the state/country where you are to show Kory and Jayme just how many people are praying for them and the power of prayer. It would be awesome for them to see the entire map colored. They can use all the prayer and encouragement you might give them. Kanyon is continuing to do well, but still has a way to go.

Day 80 - Cold, Windy Day

It has been cold today here in Tokyo. It was so nice yesterday and I was even in my shirt sleeves. I've just sat down and am sipping some Darjeeling tea to warm me up.

We visited the Fish Market at the harbor, Hamarikyu Gardens, and another temple. Forgive me for not remembering the name of the temple, but you see, I'm all templed out!

The Fish Market was so cool. I enjoyed seeing all the different kinds of fish. It was kind of sad too because some of the fish were still alive and waving their fins on the cold slabs.

The Hamarikyu Gardens were nice as well. I wouldn't miss an opportunity to see a garden, particularly a Japanese garden. We are really fortunate to have timed our trip to Japan when the cherry blossoms are blooming. At the Gardens our guide took me to the tea house for traditional tea.

The temple we went to was something to do with the Goddess of Mercy, and something about fishermen finding her statue in a net and building a temple to her. You can buy your fortune there, and if it is bad you tie it on a rack type thing to do away with it. Now exactly how one does do away with their fortune if it is what is supposed to happen anyway? And if it is a fortune, is it possible for it to be bad?

I have to give the Japanese credit for bathroom ingenuity. We have the coolest toilet in our hotel room. It has a heated seat, and a sidearm with buttons for your choice of washing, either jet stream or delicate rain shower. It also has a dryer. I think I need one at home! They should have highlighted that in Lost in Translation.

I promise I will post pictures, but now I am having problems uploading them for some reason.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Day 79 - Tokyo

We arrived in Tokyo last night. It is an awesome city. I did a little shopping today. I plan to post my pictures of China in the next day or two. We are staying in the Park Hyatt Tokyo, where Lost in Translation was filmed. It is probably in my top two favorite hotels we have stayed in. It is really beautiful.

I would like to request special prayers for my cousin, Kory, and his family. His wife, Jayme was pregnant with twins, Kanyon and Jayde. They were due in July, I believe. They were born earlier in the week, making them 25 weeks old. Jayde died last night. They are doing all they can for Kanyon, but he has a long way to go. You can read the latest by clicking on the Phillips Family link on the right.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Day 72-78 Beijing

Hey everyone! Sorry I have been so neglectful. It seems that the internet works well and is speedy here in Beijing, but I cannot pull up blogspot's website for some reason. Lisa, is manning the blog for me until I get it where I can manage it myself. So far we have seen the Great Wall, The Summer Palace, Tian'anmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven, and toured the Hu Tongs.

Beijing seem more historical than Shanghai, which appears to be more modern. It has been cool in the mornings and nice in the afternoons, which make for good touring weather. We got to see two parts of the Great Wall, one that had been reconstructed, and one off the beaten path that was crumbling. When I say off the beaten path, I mean we were the only ones there. It was amazing to walk along something that dates back to before Christ. The Great Wall is called the world's largest tomb, because many forced laborers died building it, and were consequently buried in the wall.

I have tons of pictures to post, but unfortunately, we will have to continue to wait for them. Thanks for bearing with me regarding the internet/website issues. Our next stop is Tokyo, which hopefully I will have time to update you as best as I can.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Day 69-71 Shanghai

I am going to have to delay pictures and some posts for a while, because the internet is slower than molasses. We got to Shanghai on Sunday and are staying at the Grand Park Hyatt, the tallest hotel in the world. I guess everyone and everything has it's claim to fame.

Yesterday we saw the Jade Buddah Temple and the Yu Yuan Gardens. The garden was spectacular.

It rained most of the day, and was very cold. I broke down and bought a $40 down coat with what I thought was fur-like trim on the hood, only to realize it was real. I was talking to Elliot, a business associate of the family, and I mentioned that I wondered what it was. He replied that I probably didn't want to know. I jokingly said something about dog, to which he replied, "Most likely." I was horrified. I have felt guilty about it ever since. I have a picture of my dog on the background of my computer. She is laying down looking over her back with these sweet, sad eyes. As I was checking my email last night, her sad eyes burned right through me. I feel rotten! I have noticed nearly all the women on the street wearing these coats with fur trim. Then I think about how many women across China must have them. A very sad thought. I may have to get rid of the hood.

I'll post pictures of the Shanghai trip as soon as I can get to faster internet.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Day 65-68 Exploring Hong Kong

Ok, so I created an entire post including pictures just earlier, when the website decided to go down. So my recreation of the blog will be shorter and sweeter!

Wednesday - Boat trip to Lamma Island

Thursday - Afternoon tour of Hong Kong Island

Friday - Botanical Gardens and Marks and Sparks (Marks and Spencers for winter clothing for Beijing).

Saturday - Chillin' and wishin' for some good Irish pub grub!!!!!

By the way, if you are not a regular visitor to the blog of Jeff and Amy Gearhart (link to the side of the page) you should read their latest post. It made me laugh and my heart smile! If you know them, you are blessed indeed!
Our boat that took us to Lamma Island

Buildings are built in this way to allow for the wind.

Fish Tanks at a restaurant on Lamma Island.

Azaleas a bloom!

Women on Lamma Island. They were motioning to me not to take their picture, so I had to take it behind their back.

Traditional Chinese boat in Victoria Harbor

View of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak.

Dragon thingie at a temple something or other.

Crazy giant statue.

I think this is some sort of African peacock at the botanical gardens.

Orchid Greenhouse


Jaguar enclosure at the botanical gardens.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Day 64 - A Little Taste of Home

Today everyone else went to Disneyland Hong Kong, and I opted to stay behind. I took a nap, worked out, and ran to the mall. I had two particular missions. The first was that I was told there is a grocery store in the mall that has Multigrain Cheerios. WHAT!?! My mouth immediately began watering! That is my most favorite cereal, and quite possibly my favorite meal. I eat them every morning in the states. I get up and pour my milk over them and let them set until they get soggy. Ah, sweet morsels from home! The second mission, I'll get to shortly.

I showered after working out and set out for the grocery store. It was a really nice grocery store, like a small Whole Foods Market. It was really neat to see so many familiar things, British and American. I turned down the cereal isle with anticipation and frantically searched for my Multigrain Cheerios. Honey Nut Cheerios, Raisin Bran, Special K, Kashi, Blueberry Morning. . . no Multigrain Cheerios. I thought that couldn't be right, so I searched again, and again! To my dismay there were none to be found. *Que the sad Charlie Brown music here.* I hung my head and lifted my hand sadly to grab a box of the Honey Nut Cheerios. "This'll do, . . . I guess", I thought.

The second mission was to buy some moleskin. My tennis shoes have rubbed a blister on my heel, so I needed some extra cushion. I assumed before I got to Hong Kong that since it was formerly a British colony everyone would speak and understand English. However, since I arrived, I have learned differently. While I am making my way to the pharmacy I am thinking about how I am going to explain moleskin, given the language barrier. Do they even have moles in Hong Kong? Will they think I am looking for a mole's skin? Maybe I should say it is like a rat, but really moleskin isn't really mole's skin, so maybe the rat approach isn't the wisest. Then I started thinking about asking for a corn or calous pad, but that's not really what I was looking for either. So I decided that I was just going to have to figure it out for myself. I look around and find wart remover pads, corn remover pads, odor eaters, heel protectors, etc. Finally I find something that seems similar to moleskin, it is called Pressure Point foam padding.

So I guess you could say "Mission Partially Accomplished". I am letting my Honey Nut Cheerios soak as I type, and I'll be happy eating them because they are still a little taste of home.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Day 63 - Hazy Day in Hong Kong

I haven't really done much in Hong Kong today. We had school this morning, then I went to the mall connected to our hotel. I bought some postcards and some medicine for my stomach. Maybe the snake wine caught up to me finally!

Anyway, here are a couple of pics of Victoria Harbor from my hotel room. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Day 60-62 Hanoi to Hong Kong

I may be off on my day counter since I got behind. I guess we'll see at the end of the trip.

When we arrived yesterday we set out to tour the city. We got to see Ho Chi Minh's home, and the mausolem where his body is kept. We didn't get to go in and see it because it was closed. We also got to visit another temple, which at this point, I could care less. I've seen more temples and they get less and less interesting. It is gets discouraging after a while.

We also went to the Hanoi Hilton. Our driver got confused and thought we wanted to go to the hotel by the same name. It was comical. The Hanoi Hilton is the POW camp where John McCain and others were imprisoned. It was very interesting. There are pictures all over showing how "well treated" the U.S. soldiers were while staying there. It is funny how some of the "guests" have a different story about they were treated. John McCain was so well treated, he cannot lift his hands above his head!

I need to update pictures, but it is extremely time consuming, so I'll only hit the highlights from Thailand through Hanoi. If you want to see more, well I guess you'll have to come visit me when I get back. Fair enough, right?
We arrived safely in Hong Kong, where we will be for eight days. I will be better able to sit down and catch up on my blog.
Changing of the guard at the Grand Palace, Bangkok
Monk reading the morning news!
Great Palace, Bangkok

Demon guarding the palace.

Buddhist Temple in Bangkok

Guide demonstrating the entrance to the Vietcong Tunnels in South Vietnam.

Oxygen holes of tunnels covered to look like termite mounds to fool US troops.

Snake wine. I wouldn't recommend it! Not sure quite what possessed me to try it.

Mekong Delta boats.

Our lunch on the Mekong Delta. It is elephant ear fish, fried with the scales still on it!

Taking it to the streets of Saigon with our tour guide Rose.

Getting pampered in a back alley salon!

Dana and I riding a bicycle taxi in Hanoi. I didn't intend to post two pictures, but for the life of me I can't figure how to get rid of one of them!

Ho Chi Minh's humble home.

Entrance to the Hanoi Hilton

Prison cell.

John McCain's alleged flight suit. Not sure why they would know that for sure.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Update - Day 55-59

Sorry to have left everyone hanging. We have been so busy since Singapore, that I have not had time to really even be in the hotel room. We saw several temples in Thailand, and went to the Great Palace. It belongs to the king, and is where real Anna taught the kings children.

We visited the Vietcong Tunnels and the Mekong River here in the south of Vietnam. We fly out to Hanoi this morning. I will do my best to update with pictures as soon as I can.

Vietnam has been wonderful! I got my hair washed and styled at a local salon, as well as a pedicure with flowers painted on each toenail. The shop belongs to a friend of our tour guide, Rose. She took me and Susan there, with one of us riding on her moped, and one of us hiring a moped taxi. It was the most fun I have had on the trip. It was by no means a fancy salon, in fact, I noticed geckos crawling on the wall, and the water they used on my hair was about the color of beer. I had a face massage while they were washing my hair, and it wasn't the relaxing kind. It was more like a get the blood flowing massage. It actually felt like she was slapping me. Once they were finished washing my hair, two girls attended to drying/styling it, and two other girls attended my feet. Susan and I laughed through the entire experience. (Susan is the wife of a business associate that works for the family I am traveling with.)

Rose also took us to the Saigon market, which was so much fun. You can literally get anything at this market. Loads of fun purses and shoes. I bought a pair of knock off Prada and Gucci sunglasses for a sum total of $9. The part of the market where they sell clothes was a little unnerving because people would grab me by the arm trying to drag me into their little shop area. It was interesting to see everything they had, but I really hate being done that way. I finally got up the gumption to tell people not to touch me. It may seem rude, but I really do not like strangers to touch me, much less drag me around like a child.

Nonetheless, Vietnam has been a fun experience so far. I am anxious to see how the north is different. I promise I will post pictures, but I haven't even downloaded any to my computer since Singapore.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Day 53-54 Bangkok and on to Vietnam

It has been a very busy part of the trip and very difficult for me to catch up on my blog. We haven't been in one place long enough for me to get situated. I promise, I have tons of pics of Bangkok to post, but I will do it later.

We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. EVERYONE, I mean EVERYONE has a moped here. It makes me jealous. I want a moped! Not a new fancy one, but an older Vespa. Either light yellow or light green, with a sidecar for Addy!

I do have a little story to share about shopping in Bangkok. I went into a store that had a cute outfit in the window, a top and skirt. When I went in the girl said to me in broken English "We have big sizes!" I was thinking, "is she talking to me?" The previous day I was shopping and tried on somethings, and from what I could figure a size 6 was the Large. I'm a size 8. I did find a "big" size in the top and skirt from the window that fit and purchased myself a new outfit! The people in Thailand are tiny. I don't mean short, but tiny around. The men are that way as well. So I guess to them I am a giant!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Day 51-52 "Two Nights in Bangkok"

You know you dig that song, and yes, I know it is only One Night in Bangkok. However, I get two nights here, so the world really is my oyster! We got in this morning from Singapore, but haven't had the opportunity to venture out yet. That will be tomorrow.

Singapore was the most beautiful city I have ever visited. It is so clean and foliage growing everywhere. I was amazed to find some of our common house plants growing so lush along the side of the road. It rained cats and dogs there yesterday and I decided that if I was going to see the botanical gardens I would have to do it in the rain. So I set out with my hotel umbrella. I was thinking to myself, if the side of the road looks this amazing, I cannot imagine the botanical gardens.

I didn't have but an hour to get there and back, so I only saw a small bit of it. I was in HEAVEN! The most beautiful foliage I have ever beheld. Why couldn't Claire Maguire have been with me to be my personal photographer. My little digital camera didn't do much justice, but I'll let you be the judge.

Bottom line, Singapore is not a city to miss!!!!!
Entrance to Botanical Gardens. I LOVE elephant ears!!!

Frangipani, although I believe it is also known as plumeria.

Palm Trees in Swan Lake

Happy Turtle in Swan Lake.

Pedestrian crossover

Cool fan palm on the side of the road.

What I believe to be bird of paradise.

Philodendrin (you can buy this variety at Little Red) on the edge of the road.


Side of the road covered in foliage.

Oh, and the new charger brought to me today, works beautifully!!!!!!