We rang in the new year at LAX aka the airport. It was right before boarding our flight. It was a fairly subdued affair with an annoucement over the intercom and weary travelers not really caring about it. It may be the first midnight New Year’s Eve I have seen in years. It was a long trek back to China after that. Now here we are awaiting the Chinese New Year. I enjoy seeing the decorations of red and lanterns around, but it holds no significance for me. The stores will soon close and the country will shut down. If you want to visit China, just don’t come when they are on holiday. I was shocked at how shut down services were last year. I am hoping I bought enough provisions to get by because I don’t intend to brave the stores anytime soon. I don’t really do resolutions so my new year continues on like the old.
We just moved. It involved no furniture, but it was a back breaking day from Hell. Since the move was from one rental to another, it didn’t involve much emotional stress. You don’t get too attached to renting afterall. The reason for moving was that my children had a lengthy commute to school. Although I have now spent portions of my life in various big cities around the globe, I consider myself a small town girl. I do not enjoy commuting long distances and they had what to me was an unacceptably long city commute. At one point, I changed jobs to have a shorter commute from what would be a dream commute to some city dwellers. It was many years ago in Salt Lake City. This is a city of 6 million and that is not big in China. It can get a lot bigger. I am able to bike to the beach regularly now. It has been super fun. It is going to get busy soon, but it’s very peaceful and beautiful right now.
We like to travel, but my husband didn’t want to go to China. The Great Wall was on my life to do list though. Well, when work moved us here that is how I knew I’d definitely be finally seeing it. It is much less commitment to just come on a ten-day tour to China! This portion of the wall is on the border with North Korea. It is in Dandong, China. Most Western tourists will see the wall on their Beijing stop. Beijing is not near here at all. Obviously, I like hiking but some of the stair climbing on this had me scared and breathless. It is not suitable for everyone, but there are portions anyone could do. The stairwells easily rivaled any scary European ones we had climbed up. It took us about 2 hours to do the entire Dandong wall. There was an entry fee of around $10 / 60 RMB per person. It was a really fun day trip from our current home.
Stuff shuts down in China for their new year celebration. We had no idea what to expect. We heard that stores would be shutting down and people would be going home to their hometowns and villages. We figured it was a good idea not to plan on doing much. I tried to get all of my groceries for awhile to avoid holiday shopping. I avoid stores in the USA during holiday times too so I figured it could be a thousand times worse here. My husband worked from home for the first few days of their new year. New Year’s Eve was preceded by random fireworks going off all the time. (Fireworks go off here on any old day too.) We knew it was going to be bad. LIKE A LOT OF FIREWORKS! However, nothing could have prepared us for hearing in one night a total culmination of seeing and hearing more fireworks in one day than in my entire life of +4 decades. AND…. That was just in my neighborhood of about a 10 block radius. We don’t even live in the city center. We worried at times that our house would start on fire and we wouldn’t have anywhere to seek refuge since everyone was literally celebrating. Luckily, we awoke the next day intact. I am very happy all the festivities are over. It was quite the ordeal and the country practically shuts down for a whole month. If you live for fireworks then you may enjoy finding yourself in China for this event, if not, STAY AWAY!!!
When we arrived in China, we had little to do. We immediately checked things out and walked a lot, but it got hot. I walked the dog at night and it felt like a sauna. We preferred to stay inside with the a/c. Then, school started and family walks took a back seat more often than not, but school is out for Chinese New Year this week.
I have been growing tired of my daily walking path. It’s pretty. I walk to the ocean. There are people who are starting to get very used to seeing me EVERY DAY. Ever since school started up around the beginning of September, it became a lot of old folks and some of their grandchildren too. They don’t interact with me. Some are super afraid of my sweet dog. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Soa3gO7tL-c I prefer walking alone. I love it. My path was growing stale though. This week, I invited a friend to meet up and walk the dogs. I had to go near her house and it’s like 40 minutes away. She was busy, but then I figured why not take the dog there anyway and walk there. It was super fun. Totally different and just what I needed. I think I’ll start doing it regularly. Today, I’ll be back to my usual spot though.
Our bikes are in storage while we are in China. All over there are people who ride these really old bikes. I actually wanted to buy one cause I think they’re so cool. I don’t know where to find one that doesn’t have a person attached to it though. So…. the other day, my daughter said she was missing her bike. I knew where to find normal newish bikes at a sporting goods store so I decided to get one for her since it’s her birthday today. It works for me too. The guy thought I’d want a gear bike, but I didn’t. This one looks pretty plain like the local bikes too so #woohoo. Pretty close!
It has been hot here. Sooo hot that I only walk after dark. When I finally go outside, I’m not sure what’s going on as it’s still so hot. Specifically, it had been about 100 with a high humidity factor, but it has improved. It’s gross. Growing up near the mountains, the days can be hot, but nightfall always brings some relief. There are a lot of obstacles here so walking can be hazardous even in the day. Car drivers that don’t care about pedestrians and don’t step on a pot hole. We figured that out before even getting the advice from some Canadians as we had already seen a car crashed into one.
We live very near the ocean here in China, but it took us awhile to make it to the tourist beach. There is a huge Hilton resort, helicopter pad for tours, bikes and watercraft for rent. The usual beach vibe, but with a very Chinese flair. The water was warmish, but the waves were crazy.
This is China. We have gone on a lot of walks. It has been humid. This week I was reminded of our seemingly mundane walks in Oregon daily. How do you keep your kids fit in the summer? We walked a lot. It was free. We would bring some snacks and water and pretty much do it every day. We would usually do one small camp per kid per summer to learn a new skill of choice and swimming, but walking was always free. It could be seen as boring, but being outside moving your body is never a waste. The mundane walks to the park to play quickly turned into teens growing up.