North America, Asia · 41 Days · 25 Moments · February 2018

Matt's tour through China

4 April 2018

The Po Lin Monastery was pretty big (about 7 total buildings) but didn’t allow pictures inside most of the buildings. A lady handed me some incense to burn, which was kinda cool.
There were drums, statues, cows, and of course, a giant Buddha. The inside of the Buddha honored dead men and women.
On Wednesday, I went to see the Tian Tan Buddha. It is the largest Buddha statue in the world. These are just the views from my cable ride up. I’m not a huge fan of heights, but these views were pretty cool.

3 April 2018

Later on Tuesday I was able to tour HKIS (Hong Kong International School) and see their athletic field. Apparently when they sill had grass they would have “Cobra days” where they had to cancel practices because of cobras... there is a beautiful water reservoir near the school with a National Park to walk through as well.
On Tuesday, I got to experience the beach in Hong Kong’s less populated areas. We had some amazing views of islands in the area, as well as the other side of the Pacific Ocean. I’ll admit, it’s a little different hearing people say “if you look to the east, you’ll see the Pacific Ocean.”

2 April 2018

I was able to go to Hong Kong Disneyland, which made me feel very close to home. It is very similar to the one in Anaheim, just with more Mandarin everywhere. The public train that takes you to Disneyland has been refitted with Mickey Mouse heads for windows and has characters inside. It was still Easter season as I was able to see many characters as eggs throughout the park. We were able to spend all day on many of the rides, and I think Grizzly Gulch was my favorite location. At night we were able to see a light show parade in downtown Disney which was very well done.

1 April 2018

For spring break, I was able to travel to Hong Kong and see the city there. It was amazing, and the first night I got to see a Chinese Junk out on the water.

31 March 2018

After seeing Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall, we stopped at a restaurant where I tried Peking Duck for the first time. We also ordered a fish that tasted amazing as well. I had to try the duck head after most of the duck, but overall it tasted like chicken.
After the Great Wall, we were too late to make it to the Forbidden City, but I did get to see the monument to Mao near Tiananmen Square. The monument to Mao was weird in the sense that so many people were there and taking pictures of it. I happened to be one of those people as well, but it was weird because it was right across the street from Tiananmen Square. I got goosebumps when I thought about the horrible things that happened in the Square in 1989. It was a little polluted that night, so the last picture shows my view of the moon. There were no clouds that night, but we could barely see the moon because of the air quality.
On Saturday, Jon and Liz McDaniel were kind enough to take me to the Great Wall of China. There were a ton of people there that day because it was pretty nice out. It was very humbling seeing how large the Wall was and how far it really stretched. No matter how far I tried to see, it still kept going. After seeing it in person, it’s still hard to visualize the entire thing is thousands of miles long. Most of it is still in pretty good shape, but walking up the older parts was a little challenging at times. It makes sense why it took hundreds of years to build. I was very blessed to have the opportunity to see the Wall, and I am glad I did.

25 March 2018

Last night I was able to eat at two different restaurants. One served sushi on a moving tray. The chef would make the sushi and you could grab it as it passed by if it looked yummy. Once we finished there, I was treated to some soup at a nearby restaurant. They heat up a base broth and I get to add whatever I want in the soup. Once it’s done cooking, I get to enjoy some delicious soup 👍🏻

18 March 2018

On Sunday, I was able to head back to the Super Brand Mall. Along the way, I found an old machine gunner nest from the 60s that was sealed up so nobody would rob the bones left inside from a dead soldier. Once we took the subway over to downtown, we stopped at Din Tai Fung for some soup dumplings. Those were delicious and I was extremely full after eating 10 of them. If you look to the left, they gave us directions on how to eat dumplings because they saw I was a foreigner.

17 March 2018

On Saturday, I was able to travel through different markets that had things from animals to older telephones that still worked. We got to pet a couple dogs and check out the place where they were groomed. After that adventure, we went to LifeHub to play pool for a while in their giant pool hall. Once we played 10 games or so, we moved downstairs to the arcade to play some more games. There was a Las Vegas machine that made me laugh and feel right at home.

10 March 2018

We finally made it to the Bund where I got to see across the river. Unfortunately, most of the buildings turn their lights off around 9, so we got there just a little too late. The view was still fantastic, and I will be coming back to see the skyline in it’s full, well-lit glory.
As we walked towards the People’s Square, we stopped by a Japanese grocery store and found these HUGE bottles of sake that the people living in the area really enjoy.
I was able to eat dinner at an American-type restaurant across the river in Shanghai. It had an interesting sculpture out front that was a cross between an elephant, a shark, and another animal.

7 March 2018

Even though it’s cloudy today, I have a great view from my classroom of the soccer field. After school, I was treated to a Chinese foot massage which helped after a long day.

5 March 2018

This will be my classroom for the next 8 weeks! I was able to work with a few groups of students and they are all awesome. Looking forward to getting to know them all! I was also able to snap a couple photos of the cafe where students hang out, as well as a small door under one of the staircases labeled “Harry’s Room” for all you Harry Potter fans.

4 March 2018

We took the Shanghai subway to a “fake market” where I can get things for really cheap prices. I saw Red Bull in a different can, and was able to head over to a local market. It had live and dead seafood including shrimp and crab. I was also able to see dried duck. On our way home I saw another cool thing the government set up for Chinese New Year.
I was able to view the Huangpu River in downtown Shanghai, as well as some of the skyline buildings across the river. It’s high tide season, and some of the water is running off into the walkway.
I was able to visit downtown Shanghai today, which included a Disney store, Pearl Tower, the Shanghai Tower (2nd largest building in the world), and was able to score a Bubble Tea from the Super Brand Mall.
Some lanterns left over from Chinese New Year.
My first authentic Chinese lunch consisted of dumplings, spring rolls, and sweet & sour chicken.
This is the apartment building I’ll be staying in for the next 8 weeks.

22 February 2018

Finally got my Chinese visa! I’m excited to travel there on Friday the 2nd!