In the back of the school store is bulk bins. Inside these bins is everything, from gummi candy, to dried cherries to cookies to dry fish. It’s a snackers paradise. But as the school year winds down, the bulk bins dry up and eventually close, not to reopen again till September. The empty bulk bins always make me a little sad, (cause I can’t get my dried kiwi!) but also means that it’s time to pack our bags and hit the road.
Just like Florida retirees, we head north in the summer and south in the winter to try to experience the nicest weather. This year we’ll begin our travels in Beijing. We’ve been before, but not for a long time and there are a few tourist sites we still want to see. We also want to ‘western out’ and have at least one burger (if not more) and try to buy some clothes that fit out monstrously huge western bodies. (With a size 8½ foot I’m basically an Amazonian she-woman in China.)
After Beijing we’ll head up to Inner Mongolia and take a few trips out to the grasslands and Gobi Desert. Then we’ll head a bit south to Shanxi province which has a lot of history, ancient walled cities and is home of the Yungang Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of over 50,000 buddhas carved into the mountainside.
After that we’ll head back north, this time going through Beijing and hitting up a few places on our way to Harbin.Harbin is the most famous northern city, known for its freezing cold temperatures and Russian culture.Harbin is in the coldest province in China and has a world famous ice festival every winter. Everyone keeps telling us to wait and go in the wintertime, but with average temperatures way below zero (F) I have no interest of going then. Instead Iâ€™ll enjoy the Russian architecture and food at a pleasant summertime average of 85 degrees.
There is one big change this summer, and that is for the first 10 days we’ll have someone joining us: my dad. I’m not a fan of traveling with other people for any extended period of time (like more than a weekend or so) as even my best friend can get on my nerves quickly. But my dad already drives me nuts most of the time, and I might end this trip in a padded room with a straight jacket on. (You think I kid, but we’ll see.)
We have no specific plans, as we like to play it by ear, but we’ll probably be gone for about a month. As usual I’ve packed the blog with plenty of pictures and entries so this space won’t be empty while I’m gone. So please check back regularly and have a good summer!
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