Sunday, December 27, 2009
The next day, we headed into the city of Cebu, where we explored Fort San Pedro, a 500-year old Spanish fort, and a basilica, busy with people celebrating Christmas, before boarding a bus to the town of Moalboal, 90 kilometers and about 2 1/2 hours away. The bus ride was an adventure. The scenery was incredible - sea views and mountain landscapes - but the company was equally interesting. We were squished in with dozens of other sweaty bodies (it was in the 90's that day), many of whom had hopped on to sell snacks and other goodies, and at least one excited rooster. (Beyond roosters being common in rural areas anywhere, cockfighting is very popular in Cebu, so we got used to seeing men walking with their roosters to the local arenas.)
Once we arrived in Moalboal, we hired a tricycle (a moped with a sidecar) to take us to the little resort that would be our home for the next two days. The resort only had eight rooms and was right on the coast, so was absolutely idyllic. The highlight there was definitely the snorkeling (I know that we already posted about this, but it was so great that we'll both be talking about it for years. I only wish we'd had an underwater camera! It was like "Finding Nemo" in real life!) But, we also took plenty of time to enjoy the food, beer, people, and sunshine.
Our last night there, we walked into the village of Moalboal to check out the public market and wharf. And, on our last morning, we went to an orchid farm to see a huge variety of flowers (and, for whatever reason, caged monkeys and exotic birds.)
All in all, an amazing trip - what a luxury to have this experience! I've included a few pictures in this post, but if you have time and interest, there are plenty more on our photo site. Look here: http://hsinchina.shutterfly.com/ for the photos (three albums) and here: http://hsinchina.shutterfly.com/videos for a few videos from our trip (one from the Noche Buena celebration, one from snorkeling, and one from our tricycle ride to the orchid farm.)
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
yesterday morning, after flying all night, and have been taking it all
in since then.
Yesterday, we stayed in a hotel on Mactan Island, near the city of
Lapu Lapu. (The first picture is the view from our 18th-floor sea-view
room!) Today, we took a shuttle bus into the city of Cebu, did a bit
of sightseeing with our luggage in tow, and then hopped on a bus to
the town of Moalboal. (A 2-3 hour ride across the island of Cebu,
including incredible sea views and a trip up and down the island's
small mountains.) We arrived at the very small resort (only 8 rooms)
where we're staying for the next two nights and, tonight, we were
treated to the traditional Filipino Christmas Eve "Noche Buena"
celebration. This included lots of food (including the unlucky pig in
the second picture) a sangria-like drink, and observing some
traditional singing and party games.
Other reminders of Christmas have included decorations and groups of
Filipino carolers (all with a guitar for accompaniment.) Without
those, it would be even more difficult for this Midwestern girl to
feel like it's really Christmas in 80 degree weather!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
There are two things that I (Jeff) have become an undesired expert on – infections and antibiotics. The latest installment of "What's wrong with Jeff?" deals with the wonderfully complicated and ever so necessary ear. Here's the recap of what has been an interesting two weeks. It started with an ear ache that slowly turned into my gradual loss of hearing in my right ear. I took ear drops from my school's clinic, attempted an assortment of home remedy solutions, had my ears professionally cleaned (which was both awesome and gross), and gradually came to the awareness that I had a serious problem. I went to a hospital near the school, and even though there was a wonderful international wing where everyone spoke English, I decided to head upstairs and chat with a Chinese doctor in the ENT room. After looking in my ear he prescribed my three days of IV-antibiotic injections. He said it was bad. After my three hospital visits, my ear felt better, but my hearing felt worse. We decided to stop by after my third IV and see the doctor. Good news for those who love this stuff. He proceeded to use a mini vacuum to suck out of my ear the nastiest things I have ever seen. On his final vacuum, he went in deep; got something and pulled it out…I could hear again!
Memories to last a lifetime.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
There are decorations for Christmas popping up all over Shanghai. Predictably, they mostly seem to be around shopping centers and Western hotels and restaurants. This flashy blue one caught my eye the other day, both for its blueness and for its proximity to the Jing'an Buddhist Temple (the lions and building behind it.) Between the temple, tree, huge office and apartment buildings behind them, and large shopping center just out of the picture, this little corner illustrates some of what is so fascinating about this city.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
The north gate of our school sits at the intersection of Baise Lu and Longchuan Lu - we've had to perfect the tones of those in order to direct taxi drivers to the right place. (There's another Baise Lu in the city, but with different tones.) Baise is always hopping, but especially so in the morning. These are a few pictures we took last week, as we ventured out for street food breakfast. Among other things, you can see our jianbing being made - it's a flat, crepe-like pancake, filled with egg, scallions, and crunchy dough. Delicious! I love being able to step out our gate and right into a neighborhood hub of activity. A few more pictures here: http://hsinchina.shutterfly.com/2060.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Kites seem to be big here. Wherever we've traveled, we've seen people flying (and selling) them. Some of my favorites were in Xi'an, where paper kites were popular. Less delicate, but at least as impressive, was this man's kite. He was flying it in Shanghai's Remin (People's) Square this past Saturday. Though he looks pretty relaxed in this picture, this seemed to be a pretty elaborate ordeal. The large wheel strapped to his chest (held on by a large strap around his back) held the kite string, which was more like fishing line in this case. The kite itself took a while to spot, as it was up at least as high as a helicopter might be. Wow!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
From there, we decided to satisfy some of our post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas urges to shop, doing so by heading down Nanjing Road (pictured), one of China's biggest shopping streets. We topped the day off with a visit to Shanghai's Pearl Market and all-you-can-eat Indian food. All in all, a good day!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
We'd been holding off until after Thanksgiving to start the Christmas season here, so were excited to do so yesterday. Jeff started the day with Christmas music and proudly sported his Santa tie to work. After work, we started decorating our apartment - thanks to a box of goodies Jeff's mom sent from his family. We now have a little tree with some pretty presents under it (thanks BWMK!) and our stockings have been hung with care (thanks J&A!) It's fun to have some homey holiday spirit here!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
This picture was found online - next time, we'll bring our own camera.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Here are a few shots of laundry - the first is from an apartment building that we pass on the way to the metro (about a 10 minute walk from our place.) The second is from our trip to Suzhou. And, the third is our own washing set-up: the washing machine and drying rack are in the corner of our bathroom.