amazed

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Img_5956i wish that there was some possible way for me to really capture what I have been experiencing to share here on the blog. What an amazingly interesting and beautiful place… I can remember back, what seems like a million years ago- when eric was on his mission in Taiwan- he sent me a calendar of a really beautiful place in china.  A place that ‘he would take me some day’… (I didn’t take it that seriously, but I thought it was a cool calendar LOL)… needless to say, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to come here. Even with all the travels eric has done within china, he has never been here.  We left the babies with some friends of ours (I am trying to think of what I can possibly to do repay them, or compensate them somehow for such a gift!) and left Thursday after many-a-disaster!
Our flight Thursday morning was at 7:15am. We missed it by 3min. (missed the check in cut off) so bummed. We had to buy new tickets on a later flight – 3:35pm. So we checked in our stuff, and headed back home. I was secretly glad, as I had a few things I had left undone, and it would be good to get them taken care of.  We were riding in 2 taxis and eric accidentally left the entire stack of airplane tickets, passports, residency cards on the roof of the car while the taxi drove off (unbeknownst to us).  About ½ hour later we got a call from the guard desk that 3 passports of ours had been turned in. a rush of horror filled every one of us as we realized what had happened. We COMBED the neighborhood, and all the streets leading from our house out to the main roads. We were able to find the envelops of tickets, and 4 of the 7 passports and boarding passes. But gone were mine, eric’s and cory’s passports and boarding passes… (and visas) and all 5 of our residency cards. About 2 hours had passed, and I was holding onto the hope that we would find them while  at the same time starting to contemplate the ramifications of getting new passports, visas etc.  a daunting task with the upcoming olympics, and clamp down on issuance of visas here in china.  I can’t remember exactly what time the taxi driver drove up, but we were sitting outside plotting our next move to the police station, and he pulled up holding the bag w/ the 3 missing passports.  He explained to us that he had gone back to the airport to pick up another passenger, and when he went to open the trunk, it had slid down into the gap between the window and the trunk.  He had to take his fare, and then return our stuff… wow, so relieved, so thankful. Prayers answered! And I went in and took a nap!
We got back to the airport, and smoothly sailed through security and onto the plane. We had one stop, total of about 3 hours flying time.  My mom has a cute tv series on her I pod that I watch: Samantha who? … I liked it.
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We got into Guilin and had an hour and ½ bus ride to Yanshou… which would have been really pretty in the day. We checked into our hotel around 11pm and walked the streets just a bit. The street our hotel backs up to is lined with bars and night clubs with amazingly loud music blaring from each. Tons of little restaurants and shops…and TONS of red lanterns…so fun to explore… but everyone was tired, and we were in our (hard) beds by midnight.
Yesterday we rented bikes for the day and headed out on our own to head up river. The plan would be to ride along the river bank and then hire some bamboo rafts to bring us down a ways.  The scenery is stunning. When we woke up the place was totally covered in low clouds, and I was thinking that our bad luck was back! But by about 9:30 we could see the spectacular rock mountains covered by lush green vegetation. It’s totally tropical here… we have been sweating and I even got a sunburn yesterday! First sun I have seen in a long time.  We just took it easy riding, and took tons of photos along the way .  we met lots of locals, and saw where they live, saw them working in their rice fields and working, walking their water buffalos and saw the kids in schools and all kinds of really cool authentic china life stuff. It was amazing and so beautiful. Just like in the calendar! 
We were so hungry around lunch, and I was a little worried where we were going to eat…(no handy mcdonalds LOL) and we had passed a few ‘restaurants’ on the way- but I just wasn’t sure if the food would be safe, or what… I didn’t know how the kids would do- or my parents… ( I know eric will eat anywhere) so in the place that we were going to get on the bamboo rafts, was a larg-ish open air restaurant place that had another group eating (locals, not foreigners) and we decided to just give it a go. As eric read off the menu, I was trying to grasp onto SOMETHING I thought my kids would eat. Holy cow, you would have died at the menu items… man, I wish I could remember some of them… but we are talking GROSS, scary, Fear Factor situation.  But there was ‘pork with sour and sweet sauce’… sounded like a possiblitiy.  We also got a couple orders of fried rice. That seemed safe. We got ‘water spinach’ and ‘rice root with pork meat’ and ‘scrambled fried beans’… k, these are the SAFE choices we thought.  But we were delighted when they brought us a big ½ frozen bottle of COKE.  Miraculously, the kids actually ate!  Well, the fried rice, and picked what little pieces of meat  were there…(I avoided the meat).  But the rice root and water spinach were actually delicious! Surprise surprise.. and no one is sick today, so alls well!
We got on our bamboo boats- 2 people per boat- and one guide that had a huge long pole to push the boats along. This was a HIGHLIGHT! It was totally calm, quiet relaxing, and enjoyable to dangle our feet in the  cool water.  Next thing I knew cory was jumping in, then eric and colton were in- and convincing quincy to jump in too! They had a ball swimming along as we floated.  So fun. 
We came back, cleaned up and went to dinner. (pizza this time). And  then went at 8pm to the MOST amazing thing I have seen in a long time… they had a ‘light’ show on the river. The ampatheater for the show is enormous… and it was cram packed for the first showing. There are 600 locals in the show, and the stage is the river and the backdrops are the mountains.. they light them up with different colors at different times… and the people were dancing and singing on bamboo boats, and big floats and floating catwalks…etc.  it was SO awesome. SO beautiful and fun to see!

Ok… I gotta go, we are heading out. Going on a different river. We are told the more ‘beautiful’ one… wonder if that is possible.Img_6147
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**photo credit for night shots go to eric… who has the patience to use a mono-pod. thumbs up babe!

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