2019: Tomb Sweeping, Labor Day & Dragon Boat Festival...
2020 hasn't allowed me to experience any of the long weekend breaks that I used to enjoy in China, right now those festivities aren't acknowledged in England so I'll celebrate 2019s offerings. Take me home, take me back to China! From Nanjing to Guilin with a weekend in Shijiazhuang, 2019s shorter breaks during the first half of the year gave me life for certain! Yes!
2019s Tomb Sweeping Festival weekend saw me take the high speed train down from Beijing to the Jiangsu provincial city of Nanjing. Meeting my fellow teaching friend, Chris. We hadn't yet met in person before that weekend but we sure had a fantastic weekend in the city of Nanjing! Taking it to the streets, I was being served some serious Nanjing flashbacks from my first trip to the city a few years previous to that 2019 moment. Never did I imagine that I would be locked down in England one year later in a Coronavirus mess? No way! Scanning some MoBikes allowed us to get into the thick of the holiday weekend, people were out and about just like we were! I wasn't ready to bare all, the Korean Spa experience allowed for some questionable views but I was not complaining! Cocktails and conversations, we enjoyed a few drinks on the first night, the day had us ready to sleep! I felt blessed to be back in NJ, not getting lost had me feeling even more blessed! We kept it real, keeping to the promise for sure! Life was real good!
Refreshed from our slumber, we boarded a public bus towards Yuejiang Tower to see Nanjing from a higher point. Braving the heights we made it to the top of the tower to see views over the city's sprawling skyline that looked mighty fine, we'd be seeing more views later on that day! Chatting to the max, it was amazing to finally meet Chris after we had spoken for such a long time before that April weekend. We really needed to be thinking about food because those breakfast oats seemed like a while away, making it to the Zifeng Tower complex to try some local cuisine. Being a holiday weekend the waiting time was no joke, using our time wisely we took our seats at the Sky Bar within the InterContinental Nanjing. Pouring it up, the bubbles were amazing! Toasting to a weekend in Beijing before the year was up! Yes! McDonald's saved us! Star Club had us getting mad with it! Making those notes saved from North Korea rain, the dancers loved me with those constant tips! Don't get it twisted, I knew what I was doing! 是的!
Labor Day 2019 had been extended to five days from the usual three, with that said I thought I would plan a little trip away to Shijiazhuang City within China's Hebei province. Located less than 90 minutes on the high speed train system from Beijing secured a short turnaround because the autumn and winter would bring me some expensive long haul holidays, I had to be cost conscious. During the actual holiday week I fell terribly sick, with an unexplainable illness I found myself bed bound. Thankfully I was able to cancel my trip for that Labor Day 2019 week long holiday. Returning to good health I found myself in Shijiazhuang City for real, I rebooked and got with the programme! Calling my friend, Fiona to help me book a car from my hotel to a very intriguing location. After a problem free journey out of the city, I found the former site of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Xibapo. It was something else, nothing like I had ever seen in China up until that weekender! Of course I flexed my Chinese speaking skills!
If Disney Parks did communism that would have been that place deep within Shijiazhuang's Pingshan County. I saw Mao Zedong's former residence and was welcomed to a right royal fanfare, some celebration called for the brass to be played loudly! I was questioned by a young Chinese journalist, I had to voice my support to my LGBT Chinese brothers and sisters! Getting back to the city I enjoyed the rest of the day near to my hotel, getting some wine and snacks because 2019s Eurovision's Grand Final in Tel Aviv still went ahead. On the Sunday I checked Chang'an Park, being the only foreigner in that part of the park caused a frenzy in a really nice way! My Chinese language skills were called upon and then some, people were gracious and intrigued so that was all good! The Hebei Provincial Museum got me out of the humidity, the exhibits were interesting. Before returning to the train station I checked out the Rong Guo Fu Mansion, it was quiet and perfectly formed. Thankfully the trip could finally be completed!
2016 saw me visit China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to see Guilin's Huangluo Yao long haired ladies and the breathtaking Longsheng rice terraces. During 2019s Dragon Boat Festival I had booked another tour with China Highlights to see the scenic wonders along the Li & Yulong Rivers. Being back in Guilin City had me feeling all kind of nostalgia, I knew where I was going and that counted for something! Meeting Fiona, my travel co-ordinator and friend from China Highlights for dinner was lovely. Enjoying a few local beers that night was just the ticket as the rain poured on down! 2020, this mess is supposed to be a sick joke? Get out! Driving out of the scenic city into the Yangshuo area of the vast Guilin region served me some seriously lush surroundings. Climbing some steep steps gave me the fear, the views were well worth it at the top of the Xianggong Hill. I was pumped to see more ace sights! Guilin was the gift that kept on giving, those view though! No doubt, I could be persuaded to return again!
Biking along the Yulong River gave me effortless views of the green karst shaped peaks, those up close and personal beauty spots had me feeling like I was in some kind of Chinese paradise! As the day afternoon heated up some more it was time to visit the ancient Fuli Village, I was schooled how to make a Chinese paper fan by some seriously talented craftsmen and women, they knew their art very well! I bought a gorgeous cherry blossom fan, I gave it to my friends daughter as a present because she loved the pink flowers. The rain had fallen the previous day along the Li River, arriving at the nearby Xingping Village, the boat ride wasn't going to happen but the view that resembles the 20 RMB note had me transfixed. The crowds were getting maddening, I needed some rest! Spending the night within the tourist streets close to Yangshuo's West Street had me chilled out. I had no budget, I didn't get crazy! Boarding my Beijing bound flight at the right time, I dodged the rainstorm! Yes, the rain! Perfect timing!
2020, Don't Even Try Me!