Well, I returned from China two weeks ago, and I’m finally going to blog about all my experiences there…so this post is going to be really long. Let’s start with…
I woke up at six in the morning, so that I could get to the airport by 7:30 a.m. because our flight left at 9:30 a.m. Well, actually, my teacher wanted my mother and me to be there by seven, but my dad and thought seven thirty would be fine so…that’s when we showed up at the airport only to find the check-in and security lines very long. The check-in line took about forty minutes to get through and the security line was even longer, so my mom and I were starting to get worried, but, thankfully, the security line only took about fifteen minutes to get through, so we reached the gate with over an hour to spare. So, we boarded the plane and took off. Now, I usually get minor motion sickness on airplanes, so I don’t like them very much, but I felt fine through all of the plane ride (which was about three and a half hours long because it was only to LAX). That is, until the descent. Whoever piloted the plane did a horrible job. The landing was so bad that it made my minor motion sickness turn into major motion sickness. I was very happy when I finally got off that plane, until the group and I had to start running through the airport to catch our next flight, the international one, because the flight in DFW was running late. Fortunately, we caught the flight because the airport people were helping us (I mean, I’m pretty sure they halted the flight just so we could get there). So, all of us were tired from running, and we had to find our seats. All of the seats were separated from each other, except for my mother’s and mine…we sat next to each other. We sat in between this old Chinese couple that couldn’t speak very much English (they were actually in the wrong seats, but they wouldn’t understand if we told them). The old man sitting next to me was nice. We made small talk, very small talk, over each other’s families. So, it was about three or four hours into the flight when we had our first meal, and it was chicken with noodles, vegetables, a roll, and some peach cake thing. It wasn’t very good, but I was hungry, so I ate it all. Well, about an hour after that, I started to feel really sick. It just felt like I was getting motion sickness, so I shrugged it off. During that time, the old woman sitting next to my mom finally got some sense and decided that it would be better if she sat next to her husband. So, my mom got the aisle seat, and I got the seat next to her (that made it a lot easier for getting up to go to the bathroom). Well, anyway, my sickness started slowly getting worse, and I felt like I was about to vomit. I held that feeling inside because I didn’t believe that my body was actually capable of vomiting (the last time I got sick was about six years ago and since then even if I felt I needed to throw up, I was never able to). My stomach was feeling a lot worse, so I got up to go to the bathroom and…I threw up everything I had eaten that day. Well, after getting it out of my system, I felt a lot better, and it was just in time for the next meal! So, I ate part of the next meal and threw it up also. Thus starts the beginning of my horrible plane ride. For the next seven hours, every five to ten minutes, I had to get out of my seat, go to the bathroom (which almost always was occupied) and throw up. It was so horrible! I tried to drink water twice, but I could never keep that down. I tried to eat ice, but I couldn’t keep that down. When there wasn’t anything in my stomach, I would still gag and something would force its way out. I was so dehydrated and so miserable because it seemed as if the plane ride would never end. A couple of times I had to run to the bathroom and try to keep my gagging under control because there was someone using it. On once such occasion, I ran to the bathroom (which really wasn’t far from my seat) and it was occupied. At this point, I am actually gagging and throwing up, but having to swallow it because I couldn’t do it all over the floor. Well, as I’m gagging and looking sick as a dog, another person, a Chinese woman, comes to wait for a bathroom too. After a few seconds, one of the bathroom doors opened, and she just walked into the bathroom before I even had the chance. That was so rude! But, anyway, after the long flight landed…
We start day two. We landed at the airport in Shanghai, so that we could catch another flight to our destination, Nanchang. I was still sick when we landed in Shanghai, but I managed to keep down some sprite and water for about an hour and a half while we waited for our flight. The flight to Nanchang was delayed and the airport would give us no information as to when it would arrive. I slept for most of the time waiting, but I think the flight was about 1 ½ to 2 hours late. Everyone waiting at the gate was pissed. One guy even went on a rampage, cursing at the desk people and all. It was entertaining. After his rampage was finished, however, he was escorted out of the airport, which sucked for him, but it was good for us waiting because very shortly after that, the plane arrived. The man may have used to wrong method, but it certainly worked. So, we make our way to the plane, and, luckily, I had two seats all to myself; so I could sleep and temporarily forget about my sickness. The plane landed, and we took a thirty minute van ride to the woman’s apartment in which we were going to stay. All of us were dead tired when we arrived at the apartment, and we went straight to bed.
I was sick in the early hours of the morning, still not able to keep anything down. I finally fell fully asleep at about 5:30 AM and two hours later I woke up feeling a little better. I ate some waffles and drank a lot of water and was able to keep those down. I wasn’t hungry for the rest of the day, though, I was still a bit nauseated, and I was lacking energy because of my dehydration. Nevertheless, I went to lunch with everyone where we had our first Chinese meal (which I ate only a piece of, just to be polite; it was quite disappointing, though, not to be able to eat because I was so excited about eating real Chinese food). Here it is (looks delicious, huh?):
After that we took a trip to Ba Yi Square,
Across the way from Ba Yi square was a bread place called Vanilla, which also sold tea, ice cream, and smoothies. My mother bought a passion fruit sorbet there. It was really good. We also went to some super market (some people call it the Chinese walmart), and there were many interesting things for sale there:
There were also snakes, turtles, and frogs for sale. Although I would probably never eat them, I liked getting to look at them. Following the trip to the store, we went back home, where we prepared to go to dinner. Since I was tired and wouldn’t have been able to eat anything, anyway, I stayed home while everyone else went out to dinner. I slept the whole time. I only woke up briefly to take a shower and have prayer time with my class. So, by the time I woke up the next morning, I had gotten about fifteen hours of sleep, which was much needed.
As I said, the sleep was much needed, and the next morning I woke up feeling refreshed and very hungry. This day was going to be filled with much activity, also, so I was very glad that I would be up to it. In the morning we went to Jiangxi Normal University to converse with students who were in English class, so that they could practice their English speaking. Now, Nanchang isn’t really a tourist location, so whenever foreigners are there a lot of stares and excitement arises. When we entered the first English class at the university, all of the Chinese students cheered for us. They were SO excited that we would be speaking with them. It made us feel like we were celebrities. There were a great many pictures taken, also. Every Chinese student wanted to have a picture with every American student and adult. It was such fun! (Here is some classroom activity):
After speaking to two classes, we went to lunch, which I actually got to eat! It was hotpot and so yummy (I ate from the spicy side, which wasn’t as spicy as it looks, it was very delicious, though):
After eating we were able to take a little break and see some of the backstreets of Nanchang, where many of the people lived:
We also got to ride on rickshaws, which was SUPER fun:
After that we truly had a break for about thirty minutes, and then we went to speak in an English Corner (a place where the Chinese people go to practice their English). Since we were foreigners and rare in the city, everyone flocked around us. We each had our own little circles of people and everyone asked so many questions. One university student who particularly touched my heart was a girl by the English name of Dala. She was very sweet, and she even offered to take me for Chinese tea. I really wanted to go, but I had to refuse because my superiors would not approve. Well, since I couldn’t go, she decided to go and buy some tea for me. She returned from buying tea right as I was about to leave the English corner, and, not only did she buy tea for me, she bought tea for all three of my classmates. Her act of generosity for a person she had never met before that night left a powerful impression on me. The tea was very good, too.
This was our most tiring day. It was much like the day before, except this time we were talking to four 2-hour English classes that day. All of the classes were very talkative, and it was tiring to talk to them all, but very fulfilling. It was quite enjoyable.
When the last class concluded, the English teacher in the university (which were also Americans) led us to the new Jiangxi campus (which was much nicer than the old campus), and we ate dinner in the cafeteria and visited their apartment. We went home and slept after that.
This day was a calmer sort of day. We were finished talking to the English classes, so we went to a local park and did some shopping. Here are some pictures of the day:
The next day was a Sunday, so we fellowshipped with some other fellow Americans in the morning. We ate lunch after that at a really good restaurant (but, unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of this food). The English teaching couple offered to take the girls to their apartment to fellowship with some Chinese sisters, as they are called (JieJie, I believe, because they were older than me). We went and had an amazing time.
It was really sad to leave them, because it was our last time to see them before we left, so the Chinese girls cried, and we all hugged each other goodbye. We went to have dinner with our group after that and met a nice, young Chinese couple.
This is the day that we actually go to do touristy things. Bright and early (or shall I say “dark and early” because it was cold and rainy) in the morning we set off on a train for Longhushan Mountain. Oh! Before we got on the train, we ate at McDonalds. Everything at the Chinese McDonalds tasted the same as the American McDonalds except for one thing: it seemed like they used Kraft American Cheese on their sandwiches instead of whatever we use over here, I think it;s American also, but it tastes different and better than what the Chinese use. Anyway, we went to Longhushan Mountain and saw some pretty sites:
I took two videos at the mountain. One is of our raft leader singing us a mountain song, and the other is the coffin raising ceremony:
When we got home, we wanted to order some Papa John’s pizza. Interesting fact: In China, in Nanchang at least, when you order delivery, if you live more than five miles away from the site of the restaurant, the person ordering must pay for the taxi fee of the one delivering. Weird, huh? We ordered the pizza, but than a few minutes later found out that they didn’t have what we wanted and only had two medium pizzas left. We called back and said we wanted the two medium pizzas, but they said they had already sold them. Ordering pizza in China is a lot different from ordering pizza in the US. We were disappointed but just settled on eating cereal since it was so late.
This was our last day in China that wouldn’t be spent on an airplane. First, we took a look at Teng Wang Ge (we didn’t actually go in because we wanted to do some last minute souvenir/gift shopping):
After that we ate some more hotpot, and then went to ride on the Nanchang Star, one of the biggest Ferris wheels in the world:
We went to Nanchang University after that (it was big and beautiful; like a small city), toured a bit, and then went to an English Corner again. This time, because everyone was so tired, we only stayed for about half an hour. We ate Chinese dumplings (so delicious!) after that and then went to Vanilla again and then went home, thus concluding our adventures in China.