IndyJunior © Bryan Boyer

Friday, March 31, 2006

Yangshuo the Town

I'm not even going to talk about the bus ride up to Yangshuo (N24.77830, E110.49108). You can read Jenni's blog about that. Suffice it to say that I was ready to ring the drivers neck and rip out the damned horn!

After a slight search for the area where our hotel was, and being harrassed by pesky touts trying to sell us on hotels, we arrived at the Bamboo Inn! Nice people here. We currently have probably one of the nicer rooms here. And for 70 Yuan per night for the room, we thought it worthwhile to splurge a bit! ;)

This place (street) is really full of tourists. Everything is catered to the tourist. All day breakfasts, eggs and bacon with toast, coffee, night clubs and even an Italian Gelato shop!

But there is still plenty that is China here. Besides all the construction of more hotels for the busy summer months, you can take a walk just outside the main "West Street" and be back into the small store fronts, corner food stalls, and night food markets with live frogs, snakes, and dried squirrel.

Jenni and Ian biking in the street!! Yes, BIKING!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Shamian Island, Guangzhou

Shamian is very surreal. You know you are in China, but on the other hand, you think you are either in a European city or a Chinatown somewhere in North America. Everyone spoke english there, the buildings were very European in style, and there were a LOT of American/European people walking around! It was also very peaceful. Quite different than what we had been exposed to in the preceeding couple of weeks. Nice walks around the park, little traffic, almost NO honking! So weird! Food was very expensive though! Although, when I say expensive, 18 Yuan for a rice dish is what I am talking about, but I'm more used to 6 or 7 Yuan for a meal right now!

Now that we're rested up a bit, we're on our way to Yangshuo in Guangxi province. Took the metro into the city to the bus station and managed to get our bus ticket to Yangshuo.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Shantou to Guangzhou

We took the train (7 hrs) from Shantou to Guangzhou (N23.12485, E113.23849) on our own for the first time! Wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. The train was busy but not so busy that you couldn't move or breath!

Once in to Guangzhou, we had to take a cab to Shamian Island where the hostel was. Again, it was surprisingly easy. Pointing to the book works wonders!

Now since we are in Guangzhou, my Cantonese can help us get around again. Although at some points, I could swear they didn't understand a word I was saying. It was weird though since I could understand what they were saying.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Free Ranging Chicken...Ahhhh Bird Flu!!!!

While taking stroll in Shantou, we came across a bunch of chickens roaming around in the park. I have no idea who owned them but to be on the safe side we stayed away. Although I think the little bugger at the bottom left had his eye on me!

Spy shot!

Jenni actually shot this photo for me as we were riding in a car in Shantou. At first I thought it was a BMW X3 but looking a bit closer, it wasn't. But I couldn't believe the resemblence. It was amazing. I don't think the cars been out for more than a year or two but there's already a look a like made by a Chinese company. If anyone out there knows the make and model of this car, let me know!

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Shantou (N23.35693, E116.67480) is a very small town compared to some of the other places we've been to so far. The area where we stayed was Ang Po (N23.44883, E116.67847), and I don't think it could get more local than that. I don't think there were any foreigners there and the places were so typical chinese (at least I think). It rained most of the time and Jenni's Uncle spent everyday with us showing us the local sites and all. He was extremely generous. We ate all the local Chiu Chow food which was highlighted by a deer horn drink (which was actually pretty good). We went in search of Jenni's family history and I'm sure you can read up on it on her blog.

It was cold. Darned cold. I think people can make a fortune here selling heaters!

From here on, we're on our own. Gonna take the train in to Guangzhou.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Gortex XCR works!

I was thinking I just wanted to get Gortex XCR shoes for the heck of it. But after spending a couple weeks in pouring rain, I can tell you first hand that it works! My feet have not been more dry! Jenni has been converted too and was happy that she bought her shoes with Gortex.

I would definitely recommed it for long trips!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

What Coke costs in China....

Paid $2.40 Yuan for a 600 ml bottle of Coke today. That's about $0.35 CDN! NICE!

Compared to a $5 Euro, 500 ml bottle of Coke I bought in Paris in 2004! Of course that was in a tourist area. A bottle went for about $1.50 Euro regularly. Yes, I got ripped off and I knew it going in. :P

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

You want me to cross THAT street?!?

So, one of my nightmares came true yesterday when Jenni's second cousin took us for a stroll in town.

After having a 3 yuan bowl of wonton noodles we walked around for a bit but the time came to go home and we decided not to take a cab. This meant crossing some of those crazy streets you've been reading about in our previous blogs. Yup. We were pretty much screeming like a couple of babies! Go, stop, wait, ok now, no no, stop, please don't hit me, should we go, oh my god, I'm gonna die...ahhhhhh!

Is "" banned in China?

An interesting question. But since I don't have the most mind blowing thoughts, it must be someone else on Blogger! :D

Seriously though, I am able to blog, but haven't yet been able to see my site. Or anyone else's site which is hosted by Blogger.

Too bad. Was hoping to keep in touch by reading friends blogs! Luckily though I can still see comments on my yahoo account so please keep em coming!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Welcome to China!

We decided to take a bus from Wan Chai to Dongguan. Thanks to my sis, we were able to get the tickets no problem. $100 HKD one way. The ride was supposed to be 2.5 hours but for whatever reason, it turned out to be 3.5 hours. Lot's of pushing and shoving at the border....nice!

Met up with Jenni's uncle, who drove us back to their place. They have been super nice to us. Took us everywhere, Humen, Zhaoqing (where my family originally was from), fed us like crazy (Sichuan, Mongolian and a few others I don't know of). Tried turtle and frog for the first time! Not so fond of it. Sauce was good. Turtle was boney and frog doesn't taste like chicken. More like fish!

The driving here definitely needs some getting used to. People, bikes, scooters, cars and trucks all seemingly cross together at the same time. I don't think we'll be able to cross streets here in China. We may only see it from one side of the road!

Unfortunately, it's been foggy here too. Not too good for all the site-seeing we've been doing. I'll attach a picture of the 7 Star Crags located in Zhaoqing. Similar to those in Guilin but not as majestic.

We're heading out tomorrow morning on a 4 hr bus ride to visit a different uncle in Shantou before starting out on our own by the end of the week! Yikes!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Hong Kong & Jet Lag

A 1 hour delay on take off and 15 hours later we landed into a smoggy Hong Kong. Met up with my sister outside and she took us to her apartment in Kennedy Town which is on the west side of Hong Kong Island.

Spent 4 days in Hong Kong eating and adjusting to the time difference. That usually meant we were asleep by 9 pm and awake by 6 am the next morning.

Hong Kong didn't seem to be as busy as I remembered. I guess that's cause we stayed out of the main part for most of the time. We rode the tram into the main part of town, took the MTR to look for our 98% Deet Misquito repellent then took a quick walk around the Hong Kong equivalent of Hollywood Blvd.

The highlight for me was seeing our old flat in Sheung Wan where my siblings grew up. I on the other hand only lived there for a year or so before moving to Canada.

Amazingly enough the flat is still there. Ours was the top left floor. The building our store was in has been rebuilt and now sells tea.

Unfortunately there was quite a bit of smog for the entire time we were there so there's not too many clear shots. Can't wait to hit some sunny days.

Next stop is Dongguan, China near Guandong.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

And away we go....

The past weeks to me have been such a blur. There have been no weekends. Every day was packed with things to do. Car, cats, packing, selling, buying! Happy, sad, scared, excited, nervous! I'm just a mess of emotions right now!

There's less than 12 hours to go before we head out. Soon that hopping arrow on the map will have moved to a different location about 13000 km away!

Again I have to thank all my family, friends and co-workers. Everyone has contributed so much to this awesome experience and I feel extremely lucky to be able to do this! Please keep in touch!


P.S.: After packing and re-packing, the spork and bowl are out! :( And, it turns out that my pack actually weighs closer to 35 lbs, than the previously mentioned 20 lbs! I may be dumping more stuf as we go...

Friday, March 10, 2006

Little man...

I never thought a cat or any pet for that matter could have so much of an impact in my life. Spaz was 6 weeks old when we brought him home from the shelter. Even then he was the last one in his litter to be picked. He had a runny nose and was recovering from a cold.

It is so true that once you spend enough time with a cat, you get to know their personalities. Spaz was a killer I tell ya! He'd wait, and wait, and wait, and wait until his prey either was too far away to reach, or just plain disappeared back to where they came from before he would think about attacking! That's m'boy!

In reality, Spaz is the best little friend you could ask for. He's waiting for you in the morning for his morning pets. He's waiting when you come home for his evening pets. He's talking to you all the time asking "where the hell are my pets?" He's almost mastered fetching a rubber band...

He'll be missed...

Spaz was dropped off at our friends place today. They graciously offered to take him in for the year. Thanks so much you guys! You're the best! Hope he's not too much trouble. I'm sure once he's out from hiding, he'll grow on you as much as he did on me!

Indy Junior....

We stumbled onto this program one day while reading other travel blogs. I thought it was the coolest thing to be able to have all the locations of where you were placed on a world map.

I never thought I would know how to use it, but when Jenni got the program, I tried to figure out how it worked. I don't have a clue how an .xml file works, but for those interested in how these points will pop up, the picture below gives us a clue.

My trusty Etrex Legend GPS. Indy Jr. uses Latitude and Longitude decimal degrees to determine where to place the dot. My Legend just happens to be able to show where we are in decimal degrees! I'll be able to take the coordinates from anywhere we are of interest (Great Wall, Mt. Everest Base Camp, Taj Mahal...) and plug those values into the .xml file along with descriptions and links if you want and voila! A red dot!


A mention also needs to be given to the US Government for sending up all the satellites that we now use for these GPS's and opening them up to the public.

I tell you that after using them in the rental cars in Europe, it's an amazing tool!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Thanks Leons!

A shout out needs to go to the Stonechurch Rd Leons store in Hamilton for graciously giving us free wood pallets so we could put all our personal stufff 6" off the floor of our storage. Nice guys, happy to help. Offered about 10 skids but I only took 3!

I had read somewhere that putting your things on pallets would help air circulation and not cause the things at the bottom to get wet in case of leaks or floods!

Our fingers are crossed!

A Spork in the Road

You come to a spork in the road. How do you know which direction to go in?

The one without the man eating Tiger of course!

I don't know actually. It's late and I'm just blabbing away. We bought these super cool Titanium sporks from MEC one day. Being the Mechie I am, I was already sold at "Titanium". It didn't really matter what it was! I have seen Titanium mugs, alcohol flasks, so much cool stuff...can't wait to get it when I get back. But for now, armed with our sporks and blue bowls, we're ready for anything that comes our way which may be edible!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


I've always wanted to see what I looked like with a buzz cut. Never thought I would have the guts to do it but this trip is the perfect time to try out new stuff I would never try otherwise. Why not right?

So, here it is...#2 on the back and sides, #3 on the top...blended together.

Monday, March 06, 2006

T minus....

There's exactly one week to go before we head out into parts unknown to us. Exploring, experiencing, enjoying.

Most of the furniture is gone. Packed boxes are piling up in our living room. Did my test pack today and everything seemed to fit ok. I'm guessing around 20 lbs total. Will need to do a more thorough test later this week since I missed some things on my pack list.

Lot's of dinners and lots of good-byes this week. Who knows, maybe IJ Events can think of something to do over there.... ;) KS Events will be just as good and I only wish I could be there to enjoy those as well!

Our first stop in Hong Kong is confirmed and we've got a place to stay. I received good news yesterday that my Mom will be there as well now. It'll be good to see her before we head out. It'll be hard to phone but I have promised to try as much as possible. I think though with all the internet cafes and web cams available, we'll be able to talk fairly often.

The Visas been picked up and for the record, we got 90 days for a tourist Visa. Some sites we read said 30 days was max given in Toronto.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Great Friends, Awesome Friends...Our Friends!

How do you know you have awesome friends?

We always have HUGE smiles.

There's always lots of food when we're together!
We always make the most noise!
Tears of happiness are usually flowing.
You'll travel great distances with each other.
You'll follow them into places unknown without a second thought! ;)
Time passes too fast when you're just hanging out.

We are the luckiest people to have the greatest group of friends.

You guys are the best! Thanks so much for the surprise going away party. We're going to miss you all so much but maybe you'll decide that you want to vacation somewhere where we may be and we'll get a chance to see you, laugh it up and show the rest of the world what true friendship is like!