Wednesday, July 22, 2009


As most of you know, I recently went to Asia for three weeks for a trip to visit some college friends and, of course, become more of a world traveler. :) Well, I am bursting with wanting to talk about it, but those who went with me live so far I am going to blog about it! And pictures are coming soon on facebook!

Thailand was my first official stop (flew into Beijing but never left the airport). In Thailand, we went to Hua Hin, a beautiful beach on the Gulf of Thailand, for a few days to relax, soak up some sun, jet ski, and ride elephants! We also went around Bangkok, visiting the Grand Palace (amazing!) and some cool temples (saw so many little monks!) and a floating market (people in their canoes selling EVERYTHING). Thai people like color. I like color. I found my happy place. ;)

We went to Cambodia next. We spent a couple days in Siem Reap, where we saw amazing stone temples like Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm. These temples are from ancient civilizations and made me feel like I was in an Indiana Jones movie as I walked through them (they were actually part of the set for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which we promptly bought for a dollar and watched). We also went to the capital city of Phenom Phen, where we visited the Royal Palace as well as an old high school turned prison and the killing fields full of mass graves from the Khmer Rouge's terrorism that killed 2 million men, women and children. This was the devastating part of the trip. They do not shy away from telling you about that terror (that only happened about 30 years ago), but it made me understand and love Cambodia so much more... For a miniscule idea of that time, check this out (Don't shy away from reality. Pray.):
And I totally want to adopt one of the hundreds of street children I saw in Cambodia.

And finally, China! We stayed in Kunming, where we got to see where my friends have been living. We also got cheap pedicures, great food, cheap movies, my hair chemically straightened, went to a 6th grade graduation at a school for village and 2nd children, and had the traditional tea ceremony (yay, Pee Boy!) with a sweet Chinese lady, who was my friend's Chinese teacher. We then went to Lijiang, the most adorable old Chinese town with its little alleyways and cute buildings and so many fun shops (also ate fried bamboo worm and dragonfly, just to gross you all out). :) Took a night bus (thats a whole story in itself...)! Then, we flew to Xian, where we shopped in the Muslim quarter, saw the Terracotta Warriors, visited the Big Goose Pagoda and the Great Mosque, rode bikes around the city's old wall, and got super cheap massages! Then, we took a night train (SOOOO much better than a night bus, haha) to Beijing, our last stop. We saw so much, its easier just to list: The Lama Temple, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Bei Hai Park, THE GREAT WALL (on my list, now accomplished! Oh and taking a toboggan down was so awesome!), Chinese Opera, Temple of Heaven, Pearl Market, OLYMPIC GREEN (Toured the Water Cube...saw THE pool! Also saw Birds Nest, the National Indoor Stadium, and the Television Studio Tower), Chinese Acrobats, Beijing Zoo (Panda exhibit!!!), and the Summer Palace!

That was my AMAZING trip! It felt like I was over there for much longer than three weeks, probably because of all of that being crammed into three weeks. :) But it was so worth it and only made the itch to travel even stronger.

Things I will not miss:

1. "Special price for you! You my first customer! What price you want?" Being white = being incredibly over charged - but you can fight it down, so its ok ;)
2. Jelly Bean Chicken (YUCK! The dog wouldnt even eat it...)
3. Being mobbed by men trying to get us to take one of their taxis/tuktuks.
4. Getting checked for the Swine flu at EVERY border. So, just so you all know, I am very confident that I DO NOT HAVE THE SWINE FLU!!!
5. The healing powers of TIGER BALM. I will not miss it because...WE HAVE IT HERE, WOOHOO! :)
6. Constant spitting. And nose picking. And clearing your nose out. All in public.
7. Carrying a big, heavy pack everywhere in the hotness of the days (though it was WAY better than a suitcase would have been!
8. Stupid old white men with young beautiful Asian girls...
9. Incense and idols with people praying/pleading/worshipping creepy looking pieces of wood and stone...

Things I will miss:

1. New friends.
2. Squatty potty!
3. Being treated like a celebrity.
4. Incredible people.
5. Adorable children.
6. Amazing sights.
7. Awesome food.
8. Pretty umbrellas.
9. $3 pedicures.
10. $9 full body for one hour massages.
11. $3 cocktails.
12. $3-$5 meals.
13. $1 dvds.
14. Mango Steens.
15. Ten mile walks on the beach. Haha. Just kidding, I wont really miss that. ;)
16. Starbuck's new Dark Mocha Frap (because apparently, we don't have it).
17. Meeting people from all over the world.
18. Hilarious signs.
19. Brilliant colors everywhere!
20. The shower, toilet, and sink in one room without separation (it was quite convenient actually, haha)
21. The parks: They were full of people dancing to music, exercising, and playing games. Such a fun atmosphere!
22. ADVENTURE!!! Though I am sure I can find it here too. ;)


tori said...

You darn tooting better bring your Pictures when you visit next weekend!!!


Katie said...

Can't wait to see the pics Kristin!!

marie said...

Sounds amazing ~ I'll be watching for pictures on Facebook.

Sarah Day said...

Kristin, First of all, I'm VERY impressed with how you summarized our trip. I feel like you picked out all of the highlights. Well done! Also, I LOVED your lists at the end. I could agree with every single one of them.

Heather Arney said...

Girly girl, your trip sounds like it was incredibly wonderful!! I'm so glad you could experience those things. You made me smile at, "Jelly Bean Chicken." Ew and Ew! :)

Linda said...

i'm only sorry i couldn't be with you the whole time! i definitely want to go back to thailand... i know i need to go to other places, but really, i just like thailand.