Nǐ hǎo. Huānyíng nímen dào zhōngguó.
Hello, and welcome to the People’s Republic of China.
Today, the temperature outside will be ninety-five degrees and there will eighty-seven percent humidity in the air.
Head left to go to metro.
Head right to go to Chang’an Avenue.
To celebrate the end of middle school, my family and I went on a trip to China. The trip started in Hong Kong.
Huānyíng nǐmen lái xiānggǎng.
Welcome to Hong Kong. Thank you for choosing to fly with Singapore Airlines. We hope you come again.
Pollution is not bad today.
Skyscrapers taller than my eyes can see,
Taller than my neck can crane
It feels like 10,000 degrees outside.
In the shade, I’ll say about 9,999 degrees.
People swarming around me.
Mega malls housing Gucci and Armani stores that little can afford.
Double decker trolleys, “Ding Dings” cruise the city.
Ethiopian cuisine, Indonesian cuisine, Euro-Japanese fluff pastries.
Hole in the wall diners serve macaroni ham soup and barely cooked eggs.
We stay for three days.
Nǐmen lái yímín fúwù. Qǐng gēn nàgè biāozhì.
You have arrived at Immigration services. Please follow signs to determine which line to step into.
A family of four white people. We go to the line for foreigners.
The lady motions for us to come one at a time.
She opens my passport.
Checks for my visa.
Scans it on a fancy device.
Holds it up to my face.
Hands it to me.
Guilin was next.
Nǐmen lái guìlín. Gēnsuí rénqún chūkǒu.
You have arrived in Guilin. Follow the crowd to the exit.
We see a lady amongst the crowd with a sign that reads “Heidi”
We follow her to the car.
Three hours later, she drops us off at a pier
We pay 10 yuan each for the ferry ride across the river.
A rinky dink golf cart picks us up.
We arrive to a house built during the Qing Dynasty.
Fresh boiled peanuts sit on the table, waiting to be eaten.
Mosquito nets around every bed.
Infamous limestone karsts surround the village of 300 people.
Mystical and mind blowing, just like the classical paintings.
Rainy, foggy, and humid.
7 mile day hike to closest town.
Too hot to function.
Polaroid pictures of Nine Horse Mountain.
Chicken head in garlic rice dish.
Makes my dad sick.
Bamboo boat along the Li River.
Delicious vegetarian dinner.
We stay for two more days.
As a walking mosquito bite, I trudged my way through Chengdu.
Xièxiè nǐmen lái chéngdū. Wǒmen xīwàng nǐ yǒu yīgè yúkuài de jiàqī.
Thank you for visiting Chengdu. We hope you have a nice stay. Thirty-fifth floor of a high rise apartment building.
Amazing view of the city.
Lightning and thunder that night.
Panda research base.
Six week old pandas; recently developed black and white spots.
Teenage pandas, eating their way through life.
Spicy Sichuan hot pot scorching my mouth.
Smokers inhabit the table beside us.
Five ring roads surround the city.
Only certain cars can drive on certain days.
City stretching as far as the eye can see.
Dan Dan noodles, oil so spicy it burns part of my gums off.
Smashed cucumber salad, vinegar so flavorful I want to swim in it.
Everyone stares, white people are such an unusual sight.
Nobody in China has braces.
Metal in my mouth made me another reason to be stared at.
Fish eating the dead skin off of my feet for 10 yuan.
Fluff bread with condensed milk and Skippy for breakfast.
We stay another two days.
The infamous, polluted, overpopulated city of Beijing was next.
Huānyíng nǐmen lái běijīng. Jīntiān wūrǎn yě bùcuò.
Hello and welcome to Beijing. The pollution today is not bad.
Seven ring roads.
Twenty million people.
City as large as an ocean.
Thirty masks, at the ready.
Sky as clear as Hawaiian waters.
Not a cloud in sight.
No pollution whatsoever.
We are lucky.
The fabled Great Wall.
Stretching to eternity and back.
Vertical stair climbs up mountains.
City barely in sight.
Feel the power of all who labored to construct it.
American barbeque for dinner.
Left passports at fish killing restaurant.
Picked fresh veggies for lunch.
Fresh egg and spicy plum sauce crepes for breakfast.
Acrobat show, fifteen ladies in splits on one bike.
Middle aged men with their t-shirts tucked up like bras, displaying their round, hairy stomachs.
We dubbed it the “Beijing bikini.”
A sign on the side of a bank reads
Jīntiān shì yībǎi líng sì dù.
Today is 104 degrees outside.
A mountain of history resides in Tiananmen Square.
We trudge through the Forbidden City.
Hundreds upon hundreds of rooms.
A hand pulled noodle cooking class wraps up our three day long stay in Beijing.
A total of thirty miles in three days.
Nǐmen lái yímín fúwù. Qǐng gēn nàgè biāozhì.
You have arrived at Immigration services. Please follow signs to decide which line to step into.
We repeat the same process we started with entering mainland China.
Boarded the bullet train that would take us from Beijing back to Hong Kong.
The sleeper car was very comfortable.
We returned to Hong Kong to conclude our sixteen day trip.
We took a Ding Ding to our hotel.
After checking in our bags, we headed out to a cat cafe.
A stub-legged cat with a snaggletooth came up to my sister and stared intently into her eyes.
A shaved black cat climbed onto my dad and started kneading his arm.
My mom and I took pictures.
A level 8 typhoon warning was issued.
We watched the display of blinding rain crash onto our hotel windows.
Everything shut down.
Lines at grocery stores went out the door.
Checked in our bags for our flight home at a modern metro station.
Met some friends at a country club they belong to.
Had a spicy dinner and proceeded to board our plane home.
Welcome to the United States of America. We are elated you chose to fly with Singapore Airlines. We hope to see you again soon.