Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Angkor Wat - Siem Reap, Cambodia

After a few days in Phnom Penh we flew to Siem Reap, Cambodia to visit the Ankor Wat Temple Archeological Complex. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but this was definitely the highlight of our trip. We really enjoyed visiting all the temples, they each had their own unique qualities. There is so much we didn't get to see I hope to be able to visit again in the future.

Our routine for our time in Siem Reap was to visit the temple in the morning. We would have lunch, then head to the hotel for Little O's nap, and after a nap it was time to swim! I'm pretty sure that O liked the swimming best, but I was pleasantly surprised how much he liked visiting the temples.
Our first views of the temple.

The weather was great, but hot, while we were in Siem Reap.
He's tiny!!
On our last day in Cambodia I got up at about 3am to watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat. It wasn't a perfectly clear day but it was beautiful.
I was not the only one that got up at an unreasonable hour to watch the sun rise.
Sorry that was more of a photo dump then an informative post. There were just too many pictures that I wanted to share and this is just a small sampling from our visit.  I highly recommend visiting Angkor Wat if you ever get a chance.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

For the 2016 Golden Week holiday we went to Cambodia. First we spent a couple days in Phnom Penh.

While in Cambodia we often rode around in a  'remok'. A remok is basically a motorcycle pulling a carriage. They were inexpensive and always available. 
A remok - we didn't ride in this particular one, but they all looked similar.
Little O had fun in the remoks.
We visited the Royal Palace a couple of times, at least the grounds. It is still a private residence so it is only open certain hours and the majority of the complex is closed to the public. We went by one day but it ended up being closed. Little O had fun chasing the pigeons. When we finally made it back it was raining.
Although it was hard to read and think about we also visited the killing fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The killing fields are sites where more than a million people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge Regime during its rule from 1975 to 1979. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum was a high school before it was used by the regime as a security prison. There were a few parts of this museum that were very graphic, so J and I took turns keeping Little O company. I did not know much about the regime and what they did. It was hard to see and hear about what happened to the people that went through those doors.
Toul Sleng
Killing Fields
Killing Fields - this building was filled with the bones of victims that were buried at this site.
After a few days in the capitol of Cambodia we went north to Siem Reap. I will write about our visit there in my next post.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Quick trip to Nanjing

We decided to take a quick two day trip to Nanjing. Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu Province and only a one hour high speed train ride away. While we were there we got to see an old ship, a temple, the old city wall, a massacre memorial and a memorial for Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. The pollution as terrible and it was rather cold, but we still enjoyed our visit.
I got a little lost with this dude (this was the half way point) even with all the walking he did great. He was excited to finally get a snack though.
This ship is what we were trying to get to when we got lost.
We left an hour before J, but he got there about 15 minutes before us...I shouldn't have trusted Apple Maps!
This large statue was outside the Massacre Memorial.

This is the old city wall, it is 600 years old.
Fuzi Confucius Temple
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial
So many stairs!
Ming Dynasty tomb
And of course, no trip to a new city would be complete without a trip to a local brewery. Gao Master did not disappoint.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Playing catch up!

Hello, anyone out there? Anyone still listening? I wouldn't be surprised if there is no one, it has been far too long since I wrote anything. I am working on a few posts to get updated. It shouldn't take too long to catch up with the present day as we did not do as much travel over the last year. I just got busy with the day to day life here in China. But, one of my goals for the year is to write more blog posts. So be on the look out for some posts of our past travels and hopefully some present day fun too.

And just in case you have forgotten what we look like here is a photo of us from a couple of months ago:

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Round Houses

In October of 2016 J had to go to Xiamen, China for work. We decided that Little O and I should join J for the weekend to do some sightseeing. J was particularly excited to be in this area because he has wanted to visit the Chinese round houses since before we moved to China.
Round houses are large multi-family communal living structures. This style is unique to the Hakka people from Southern China. The round walled villages were designed for defense, there is only one entrance and no windows on the ground level. Typically the structures were three to four stories tall with one meter thick walls. Each level had a different function - 1st for livestock and the well; 2nd for food storage and the 3rd/4th were for living.
To get to this village we had to get up early for a long/curvy/high speed drive from the city of Xiamen out to the hills. The drive is especially memorable because Little O got carsick...twice! The village was interesting, but overall it wasn't a great day. He also go threw up in one of the round houses, you know the 600 year old UNESCO World Heritage site! Thankfully the drive back to Xiamen was less eventful.
At the village that we visited there was one round house that was a museum (in the first picture it is the largest round building just to the left of the square house) and the others were still being used as family homes.
We didn't have much time to spend in this area of China. I know that J would have liked to visit a couple of the other villages. I believe that there is even a round house that is now a guest house. It would have been fun to stay for a night. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Guilin, China

Last July we spent a long weekend in Guilin, China. This area of China has beautiful scenery that is very different to other areas that we have visited. There were many hills and there is a river that goes through the city.
While we were there we got to see a elephant rock, a temple a night cruise on a canal on a day cruise on a boat to another city called Yangshuo. The picture above shows the elephant rock, the elephants trunk is above my head. We climbed many steps to get to the top of this little hill. There was a very nice view of the river and the city below.
One evening we went on a night cruise on a canal that went through the city. It was really nice. There were so many things with bright lights. Little O really enjoyed it!
A highlight of the trip was going to see the rice terraces. Getting there took much longer than Little O wanted, although he really enjoyed walked through the rice fields. It was a beautiful day. We walked through rice terraces, and a tiny town that is only accessed by foot. We ate lunch outside with an amazing view.
We took a long cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo. It was not the best idea to do with a very active toddler. It was not a hug boat and all Little O wanted to do was run around. There were many pretty spots to look at along the way. It was neat to see the scene that is on the back of the 20Yuan note. Our cruise ended in Yangshuo. It looked like a cute little town, unfortunately we only had a short time to visit.
Little O's favorite part of our vacation was swimming in the hotel pool. He liked to jump in, get out, jump in and repeat as many time as I would let him.