Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 in China

I did not think I would still be in China for Thanksgiving but as I have always said with this never know what your plans will be or when you will be leaving from your current assignment.  Just before Thanksgiving I was able to get two days in a row off and took a mini trip to Hong Kong.  It also worked out that I did not have to make the trip alone, Tom was able to join me.

We arrived in Hong Kong late Sunday night and hungry.  Since we had been in China for a while (Tom longer than me, but still...) we were definitely looking forward to eating more Western type food.  Tried Outback Steakhouse but it just closed.  Saw a sign for a Thai place that was open til 3AM but it probably took a good 15 minutes wondering around the area of the sign before we figured out how to get there.  Since Hong Kong is small and expanding, they expand up!  Since both Tom and I had been to Hong Kong before, we were not interested in doing tourist things but more so in getting good food and relaxing.  After sleeping in until noon, we ate Subway for lunch, Haagen Dazs ice cream for dessert, walked around the pier area on HK island, and made our way to the Kowloon side to watch the Light Show at 8pm.  The light show consists of corporate buildings which have lights on timers that go with the music along with lasers blasting from the very top - very cool!

Afterward we met up with Tom's friend Maggie who is from Hong Kong.  One great thing I love about this job is the connections you can make with people.  Tom met Maggie when he was working in Belgium.  You meet people from around the world allowing you to be able to reconnect in other parts of the globe as well!  All three of us went to Outback for dinner and then to a midnight movie - Skyline.  The next day Tom and I went to the grocery store to pick up items we can not get back in Qinzhou along with some Thanksgiving dinner things.  We had kebabs for lunch and made sure to pick up Subway again to bring back with us for dinner.

On Friday the UOP crew had Thanksgiving dinner and celebrated Ben's birthday.  We were able to get Parky to allow us to use his projector at his bar so while eating dinner we could watch some football games on delay.  Combine that with the feast we had made equals just like Thanksgiving back home. Turkey did not make it to the table but I think the meat we did have made up for that.  The feast included 2 pigs, 7 chickens, brats, 50 mashed potatoes which were peeled, cut and mashed by hand, sweet potatoes, stuffing, deviled eggs, green beans, and cranberry sauce.  Definitely had left overs!  While we were eating dinner we noticed a few Chinese people with really nice cameras taking pictures of our festivities - which we had no issues with but found amusing.  Brent ended up doing the 'Chinese' thing and just butt into what they were doing so he looked over their shoulders while they were at their computers.  Apparently they spoke good English and he found out they were posting the pictures and story about our Thanksgiving get together on the website for the town called  All and all it was a great Thanksgiving!

Internet connection not allowing me to load pictures into the text at the moment but feel free to check out more pics from Hong Kong and Thanksgiving  HERE

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Little Late on the Update

I know, I know...I have received many reminders from various people that I have not updated my blog in a while.  I thank everyone for your push and sorry it has taken so long.  In the past 2 months a lot has happened which I will try to shortly sum up and then direct you to my newly developed Picasa page in which you can view more photos.

A week after I returned from Hong Kong my parents were inbound for a visit.  I met up with them in Beijing where we took two full days of tours which included the Ming Tombs, The Great Wall (Mutianyu section), Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, a Jade factory, Pearl gallery, and a Silk factory.  The first day in Beijing was more relaxing; we went to the zoo.  I was super excited to see the Panda, which we did.  Perfect timing in a sense where the Panda played in the bushes before climbing a tree to settle in for his or her mid morning nap.  I was a little depressed with the rest of the zoo however because the animal areas were not kept up too well.  It appeared as though the zoo was in it's prime maybe in the 60's but has not been maintained very well.

After Beijing we flew to Xian to see the Terracotta Warriors as well as the Bell and Drum Tower.  Behind the Drum Tower there is the Beiyuan Men Islamic Street Market where you can buy little trinkets and street food.  I recommend going to this street market if ever in Xian.  I also recommend going to the  Defachang dumpling restaurant (on the 2nd floor) to get a course of 18 different dumplings.  The shapes they come in are very cool!

After my parents left I had to work for the next 2 weeks straight...needless to say I was exhausted.  I told myself I didn't want to travel and do tourist things...just relax.  There isn't much in Qinzhou to do so I hoped a short flight to the island of Hainan. There I stayed at a nice beach resort and spent 4 days just reading and napping on the beach, it was glorious!  Got a lot of sun too - no sunburn though!
The crew here used to be around 30 people but recently the customer released more than half so we are down to 13 people.  That being said the schedule has changed so much where I do not really have a long stretch of days to travel to many places.  I am due to a visa trip so will be heading to Hong Kong again soon.  We have been able to make our own fun around here in Qinzhou though.  I was here Halloween weekend; I dressed up as cat-woman and the guys were dressed in toga's - options are very limited here.  We went out Saturday night and were the only ones in costume however the next night, other UOP people went out, and the bar was decked out in Halloween decorations being that it was actually Oct. 31st that night.

Halloween Saturday Night
GXPC Dinner - Remaining Crew (3 people already gone from this picture even)
All and all I have had an amazing time here in China - as I expected nothing less.  Not sure how much longer I will be here or where I will be heading next but I update this as soon as I know more.  Until next time...which I vow to try to not make so long!

View pictures from the past 2 months and before at