Archive for November, 2010

Xi’an: Home of the Terra Cota warriors

Jane and I at the Terra Cotta Warriors.

It was nice getting out of the cold of Beijing by heading to Xi’an, home of the Terra cotta Soldiers.  We travelled by train in a sleeper car overnight that had 4 beds.  I can’t say I slept all that well, the thing shook and rattled all night and the china man in the lower bunk snored.  I contemplated whether it would be rude to poke an absolute stranger to get him to stop, but I didn’t.  We made it to Xi’an without really knowing anything about it.

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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is here!  There is so much that we are thankful for… We are thankful that we have a wonderful set of friends and loving family, even if we are not there with them to celebrate.  We are thankful that we were able to go on this trip and that everything has gone well for us on it.  We are thankful that we are moving South on our trip, so the weather is getting better and better.  Jane is thankful for all the shops that carry shoes, purses and scarves…  Im thankful that many of these shops have chairs.

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More Beijing…

I figured I would get in a word or two about Beijing.  As Jane says, the subway system makes it so easy to get around.  The city has 6 ‘rings’ of highway around it, that go out from the center.  Our hostel was within ring 2, so we were pretty close to city center.  Super cheap, but it was pretty apparent we were going on the cheap side just looking at the room.  We were definately in a back packer’s hostel.

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Ni Hao (Knee How) Beijing!

Country #17!

Burrrr, it’s cold here!  Beautiful, sunny, clear blue skies, but dang cold!  First item on the agenda: buy a jacket, gloves, hats, earmuffs, scarves and anything else warm!  That’s truly the first thing that we did.  We found a street market just a few blocks from our hostel and we loaded up on all the accessories.  We considered also buying jackets there, but decided that it was too cold to go fake ~ we needed the real deal, so we went to a real mall and bought real jackets and paid real American prices.  And it was worth every penny!  We’ve been in Beijing for 6 days and no where that we’ve been has had heat inside, even our bedroom at the hostel doesn’t have a heater, so we have literally lived in our jackets, gloves & hats:

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Africa video update!

We have been out of Africa for a while now, and venturing into China, but I wanted to post a few videos we took of some ‘fun’ moments while still in Africa.

So here you go!  Sorry for not compressing them, if you don’t have a good internet connection this may not work well for you.  Let me know for the future though!




You may just want to right click the links and save them locally.

Lesotho – Country #16!

Our 16th Country!

Lesotho is a small country that lies within the country of South Africa.  It is the 3rd poorest country in the world. The Ampitheatre Backpackers hostel that we stayed at offered guided day trips into Lesotho, and since it was windy and rainy outside, hiking in the mountains of Drakensburg didn’t sound like much fun, so we opted for a cultural experience instead.  We crammed into a small van with 12 other people and off we went into another unplanned country added to our itinerary at the last minute. 

Drakensburg, plllllllt!!

We spent the last two days of our South African expedition in an area called Drakensburg.  With stunning mountain peaks and incredible hiking, Drakensburg had been highly recommended to us by several locals as a “must see” destination.  So we drove, and we drove, and we drove some more, and when we finally arrived, we realized that Drakensburg is exactly like Ellensburg, but much, much more rural.  It’s true that the surrounding mountains are beautiful, but unless you have camping gear (which we don’t) you can’t actually stay in the mountains.  You have to stay in the foothills, which are nothing but flat farm land.  It’s a good 1.5 hour drive to get to the nearest hiking trail.  We were literally in the middle of nowhere. Not exactly what we had expected.  But, here we were, and so we made the best of it.  We stayed at a nice hostel called Ampitheatre Backpackers.  They had a fully stocked bar which was the saving grace of being in Ellensburg for our last two nights!  

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Zulu Nyala

We planned to get up early and make a break for Windhoek(Namibia) to catch our flight to Jo’burg(So. Africa) to catch a connecting flight to Durban(So. Africa).  We read in the little manual that the was left in our room to check out the night before if we were paying by credit card.  So, we figured we would try.  The night before we wanted to leave, we went to the reception desk and said we wanted to settle our bill before checkout.  They said it wouldn’t be a problem, and that we could do it when we checked out.  Well, we got up early the next day and tried to check out.  They couldn’t get the card to run, not that it was declined or anything, ‘it just didnt work’.  Of course, they tried for a half hour before we finally had to bail, otherwise we would miss our flight out.  They took an imprint, and we got out of there as fast as we could.  Luckily, we made it on all our flights and made it to Durban as planned.

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Okonjima, cat rehab

Our next stop out of Etosha, was Okonjima Lodge in Namibia, which is both a lodge and a large cat rehabilitation center.  It also makes a pretty good halfway point on the road from Etosha to Windhoek.  It has several Jurassic Park like paddock areas with different critters in them.  What I mean by paddock is a large(several thousand hectacre) natural environment with an electified fence around it(and this isnt your average sheep shocker fence either). 

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A Visit to Etosha

We just left Etosha National Park after spending 4 full days exploring it and we are staying in a place called Okojima Lodge still in Namibia.

Etosha park… WOW… what can you say?  I guess I will let the pictures do the talking.

Our 15th Country!

Our 15th country!

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