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Oct. 31st, 2010

Halloween 2010

Halloween is a HUGE deal at Clifford School!  The kids get to dress up and go trick or treating to different classes.  It’s like nothing they’ve experienced before.  This year I’m lucky enough to get a class of second graders that are new to the school (I thought it might be tough year, but it’s been wonderful).  Well, they’ve never dressed up or done the Halloween thing.  So, I got to teach them about trick-or-treating, dressing up, and having fun on that day.  We counted down to the day, and the excitement was incredible.  They couldn’t wait to be part of such a crazy day!  “We get candy for saying trick-or treat?!”  “I can be Spiderman?!”  The day of the school wide Halloween party, they saw a teacher with a pumpkin on his head, ran out of their Chinese class, and just stared, screamed, and laughed with delight.  They were completely enthralled.  Here are some pictures from that day. 





                                               Cecilia and Evita




Jacky Z…he just wants some candy Smile


                                  Jen’s homemade flower costume


The costume parade


The cutest pirate-Luchy




                                               Sleeping Beauty


Lawrence, Steven, Evita, Angel, Nic


Jacky Z, Lucy, Dora, Luchy, Max


Alan, Ella, Lizzy, Alice, Carrie


Florence, Ivy, Cecilia, Emma, Eric


Buffett (he had blush on Smile), Peter, Aileen, Kimmiri, Jacky L


                                            Little Will…so cute!




Lillian in my panda ears.  She loves the book Heidi and wants to learn English so that her mom will take her to the Alps Smile.


Angel and Betty


Allen, Mini, and Me


Richard L and Charles




Jerry                                                       Allen


Richard L, Happy, Lillian, Mini, Chai Kin (the kids call him Chicken and giggle)


Simon, Angel, Richard C, Paul


Michael, Angel W, Betty, Charles


Take 1: Note Allen on the right             Take 2P1000955P1000956

Take 3                                                   Take 4


                                                   Take 5


Aimee, Samyi, Allen, Jerry, Vicky   Take 6


                                           Me and Heidi (my TA)

Oct. 8th, 2010

Thailand…One of My Favorite Places on This Blue Globe

For the Chinese National Holiday (October 1) Clifford gives us a week off.  So, Jen and I headed south to the amazing country of Thailand…for a second time.


                                            From the Airplane


It was raining, so we decided to give Batik painting a try.


Mena (also our elephant from last year) decided to join our class.


Heading out on our safari.  The sheen on my skin is bug spray. LOTS of mosquitos.


Our Safari Truck


What we did on our safari


It started raining, so we put on our 30 Baht raincoats


Rubber Making



                                         Tapping a rubber tree


                                          Making sheets of rubber

Making Curry



                                                         Curry Time



Making Coconut Milk





Training Monkeys to Pick Coconuts



Very funny Miss. Jen


The monkeys turn the coconuts in circles until they break off the tree.


Picking Coconuts                                    He got one!


Water Buffalo




Getting ready for a ride


Water Buffalo Taxi


Lots of mud

Elephant Training






Elephant Trekking







The Giant Buddha on top of the mountain


On the Beach and around the Resort


















Mena decided to give Jen a kiss Smile





One of our favorite places to eat








Hard Rock Café, Shopping, and The Flood










The Canadian Restaurant on the Beach and the Crossing of the “Red Sea”








We got caught in high tide on the beach and had to cross a minor Red Sea.  Keith tried wading up to his knees and then sank down to his waist.  We searched for another way across through the bush then found another opening.  I did great in my shorts until I sank too and a wave came.  Jen got across unscathed, but then got soaked when a wave hit her on the beach.  It was quite a laughter filled night.




sunset 4


Phuket Town-

filled with Temples and we heard the call to prayer


Italian Restaurant Phuket Town

Random Italian restaurant Jen, Keith, and I found


Street in Phuket Town

Street in Phuket Town

Sep. 29th, 2010

Race Against the Clock


61st Annual Chinese National Day Dinner


The People’s Republic of China turned 61 years old on October 1st.  The week before the big day, the government was hosting a very prominent gathering at the Shangri La hotel that was invite only.  Government officials and big wigs were invited. 

The day of the gathering, Jen and I were informed that the school had tickets and wanted us to join the small group going.  Please note that the we had to leave for the party at 5:15 pm and we were invited at 4:00pm.  We were allowed to leave school 30min. early at 4:30 so that we could go get ready for the very formal black tie event (apparently a jean skirt wouldn’t cut it).  It took 15 min. to get home and 15 min. to get back to school, so we had 15min. to look black tie worthy.  Well, I go into overdrive and jump in the shower…only to find that the water is off!!!!  Ahh!  So I get out and continue to act like a crazy woman.  I did it.  A fifteen minute complete transformation.  It was hysterical to see the bus driver’s face when we got back on the bus (the same one that dropped us off after school picked us up to go back).  He looked shocked and completely confused when we got back on and used his minimal English to say “beautiful”.


                                     On the red carpet.



                                     The food was AMAZING!!

                                      Jen loved the desserts!


                            Clifford School Representatives


                                               The music



Sep. 21st, 2010

The Oxymoron

Here are some tidbits about China you might not know:
  • The government calls itself a "democratic dictatorship".
  • You have to be 18 years old to drink alcohol, but anyone of any age that has money can buy it.
  • If you are entering China you can bring up to 10 grams of heroine, but anymore and there is a mandatory 2 year jail sentence.
  • It is illegal to be homeless.

Sep. 17th, 2010

三年级 (Year Three)

As I sit here eating banana walnut pancakes (gluten free, of course), it is confirmed that China is becoming a more civilized country.  Or, at least that's what the government wants to happen.  It sent out a memo listing things that its citizens should do to make China more civilized.  If only memos could change an entire population.  However, I do have to give Guangzhou a huge gold star.  The asian games are coming here in November, so they are kicking the clean up of the city into high gear.  I was happily surprised to find an actual refridgerated meat section in my supermarket (with the animals already butchered), a clean fruit/veggie stand, and a movie theatre five minutes away that's clean (an actual surprise) and shows English movies.  On top of all that, the biggest improvement has been the pollution.  We've actually see the blue of the sky more than the offical "white" sky of Guangzhou.  Knock on wood... I hope it lasts. 

The Chinese have a saying about traveling to North America.  The saying goes "Only a strong dragon can cross the big pond".  I wonder what they say about an American coming back to China.  I can't believe that it's my third year!  Time sure flies.  I have learned an incredible amount and have had so much fun words can't describe.

So, here's some stories to start off year number three...

First Stop:  Beijing
**Sidenote: my luggage decided it loved LA so much that it wanted to stay a few extra days while I flew my way to China.  So a big THANKS to Jen for letting me borrow her clothes for our trip to Beijing.**

The Great Wall- Mantianyu

This says "We Love Chairman Mao"



Beijing Zoo- 

True to Chinese style :)

Where the zoo tour boat left us on the side of the river. Jen had asked "Does the boat go back to the zoo?" She was told "yes". So, we got on and headed out. When we came to a stop, we were asked to kindly get off because "while to boat came back" our tickets didn't allow us to. Thus began a journey!

The small room where luckily someone spoke A LITTLE english and pointed us to the side of a back road to catch a city bus that would take us into the city to get the metro. It was pretty funny, and we were completely lost. But like I tell Jen, you can always find your way home :)

Forbidden City-
The last time we were there, we were the only ones (because it was FREEZING). This time however, there were thousands of people and umbrellas (it was a very sunny day).


Around the Hotel-

They were still moving!


Beautiful sunset from our hotel window.  Yes, that's a cathedral in the distance.

Second Stop: Guangzhou & Clifford School

"See ID"-

Well, as some of you know, I had both of my external drives die on me on the same day.  A very big, very bad fluke.  Most of my pictures were saved on them, so it was a huge loss.  So, I did some research and found that one of the brands has an office in Guangzhou (amazing) and does data recovery.  So, Jen and I travel to a building that would be condemned in North America and go to the 13th floor.  There is a room that's as big as my apartment that have computer screens from the 80's.  No clean/dust free room like I was expecting.  I hand over my drives to the engineer (who thankfully speaks some english) and he goes to work his magic.  Jen and I wait in the waiting room for the news.  Then he comes out and says he did his best, but the new one is a lost cause.  Then he tries the other one (my old one) and says that he can help me!  YAY!  I'm then told to come back the next weekend to get my data.

Obviously I'm in need of a new drive, so we head to Justco (a wonderful store that sells name brand merchandise that might actually last).  We find the hard drives and after much debate, I decide on one.  I'm paying with my home debit card that has "see id" written on the back.  After several minutes of the cashier figuring out how to work a foreign card, I sign my name on the slip and start chatting with Jen.  The cashier looks at the back of my card to make sure the names match, and is confused.  So, I show her my id, but she shoos it away with her hand and points to the "see id" and then 
points to the receipt.  Jen, was cracking up by this time, and I went ahead and signed my name as "see id".  The cashier was completely satisfied and we left...laughing. 

"Moths are Evil"- this is the truth and no one will convince me otherwise.

I have a unjustifiable fear of moths.  I have never had an unusually bad experience with them, but for as long as I can remember I have been unusually afraid of them.  Ask my family.  They can tell you stories.

Jen will come to my rescue if there is a moth in my apartment (there is a video of this and it is quite funny), but my latest moth drama happened in my classroom...where I'm supposed to be the grown up.  Now, usually, if I'm in my classroom with my kids, I can put on a brave face.  I can kill spiders or cockroaches (maybe), and act as if it is no big deal, even though I'm squirming on the inside.  But moths, nope.  There is no brave face when it comes to moths.  Trust me, I tried.  This past week, a moth flew into my room.  I can't believe it had the nerve to do that, first of all.  My kids are on the carpet, and I'm in front of them standing up showing them a book.  Then I see it.  It flies over a few of their unaware heads and my heart starts to beat a little faster.  Silently I try to calm myself down and tell myself that I can handle it...as long as it doesn't come near me.  At that instant it made a bee line for my face.  I hate things flying at my face!  I swat, thinking, I hope don't actually touch it.  But I did touch it and then it just gave me the heebie jeebies!  My kids see my face. The girls start shrieking, the boys start at swatting it. The next moment, no one knows where it went.  So, things settle down for literally a minute and I start teaching again.  Pretty proud of myself for not running and hiding while shrieking (which I have been known to do).  A minute later, it comes back with a vengence.  Again, I'm the first one to see it.  Then, some of the kids see it.  Then, the kids lose sight of it, but I know exactly where it went.  That moth flew right up a Luchy's shorts while he was sitting down with his legs crossed.  I was stunned silent.  Within a second my brain was thinking of way to tell this poor boy that he had an evil creature up his pants while still maintaining some sense of control in the classroom.  However, while I was stunnned silent, the boy next to him figured it out and told him. Well, let's just say, I've never seen a kid move like that before.  Obviously chaos ensued, which I completely understood, and the moth finally flew away.  We settled down and move to their tables to do some other work.  I was in the middle of a lesson a few minutes later when  Buffett, bravely gets up, and runs across the room and stomps on the moths.  The whole class cheered and we were all thankful to our hero, Buffett...apparently the only one with some sense :)


May. 27th, 2010

Random Stories

This post is dedicated to some random and funny stories from Grade 2.

I have a wonderful class full of energetic and very sweet kids.  Everyday as they walk in the door, each kid does something new.  Some dance into class.  Others wave and skip.  Others give me hugs.  Others think they are hysterical and blow me kisses on the way in.  And then there is Jason.  Jason decided that he would wink at me everyday ;)  He's the cutest little boy who tries to get away with everything with just a wink and a smile.   Whenever he gets into trouble, he looks at me, smiles and gives me a wink.  

Me and Jason 

Another one of my students is named Tiger.  Tiger is pretty good with his English, and he has a very inquisitive mind.  So inquisitive, he asks a question or makes a comment after about every sentence I say.  He's got a good sense of humor and will often get the class rolling in laughter (including me, even when I should be more focused on trying to get the kids settled down).  Other times he says things that he doesn't mean to be funny, but they just come out that way.  Such as the time I was reading the class the story Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  The students were all sitting on the carpet in the library and I was reading the story and showing the kids the pictures.  The illustrations in this version left a lot to be desired.  As soon as I got to the page with Goldilocks, Tiger shouts in horror "Barbie Monster!"

Tiger is the one asking the question.

Every year on June 1st, the entire country of China celebrates Children's Day.  A day to honor children.  Ironically, on this day, the children have to put on performances to entertain others.  So, I wasn't surprised when Tiger came and asked me to help him with the song he and some other boys had to sing.  I was surprised, however, when he showed me the song they were singing.  The last song I expected to see my children singing in China was the hymn Amazing Grace, but there it was.  So, that's what I've been doing, helping them sing the song that was chosen only because the Chinese teachers like the tune.  Wonders never cease.

My students have to give a little talk once a week.  Each child has to choose three topics and say some things about each topic.  Well, Jason (not the previous mentioned) decided that he would talk about himself.  So, he gets up in front of the class and says, "Me is fat".  After the obvious correction of the grammar usage (which is a constant battle), he moves on to point number two.  "I am......ummmm....".  He gives me the "help!" look and I know he doesn't remember how to say the words he wrote down on his outline.  So I say, "spell the word and I'll help you say it."  He then proceeds to spell with an unsure voice and even more concerned face, "a....d....o....r....a....b....l....e".   Oh my goodness!  I had to hold in the laughter because it was literally "adorable". :)

Tristan and Jason with his quizzical look.

And Jason's had enough...back to his ice cream :)

Taekwondo update:  Jen and I now have our yellow/green belts.  It was pretty fun to break some boards! :)

Me and some of the kiddos.

Jen and I after we broke our first boards.

Catherine and I having a chat.

Jen, Orson, and I.  This kid has the biggest ears I've ever seen.  The picture doesn't do them justice.  He's such a cutie. :)

Mar. 13th, 2010

"G'day Mate"- News from Down Under

January 31, 2010 - February 20, 2010

"How you going?"

I have since returned from my 20 day extravaganza to Australia. It was amazing. Jen and I left with only carry on bags that weighted less than 14kg. It reminded me of my backpacking days. Anyway, we boarded bus 2 (first was the internal Clifford bus) and headed for Macau! Here we went through Chinese customs, left Chinese customs, through Macau customs and onto the Macau side of things. We figured out a way to avoid the 'extra cab' fees and we took a bus to the Venetian Hotel!!! It was a great hotel and we plan on going back to Macau and the Venetian to watch Cirque Du Soliel sometime in May. Anyway, nine hours of walking around the Venetian made us a tad sleepy and a little tired so we headed to the airport. The Macau Airport is quite small so there was not much to do there other than enjoy another two bouts of security and another one just before we boarded the ten o’clock flight to Sydney. Nine hours later we were flying over Sydney and it was beautiful. We could see Bondi beach, the Harbour Bridge, and the Opera House from the air. However, the best part of it was the whole sky was CLEAR, BLUE, and POLLUTION FREE!! Coming from China that is a very beautiful sight one must NEVER take for granted!!!

We were in Sydney for 10 days and Cairns for 10 days. While in Sydney the weather was great, very hot, which did not make nights so enjoyable as out hotel/hostel was a/c FREE but we survived. The two days of rain half way through was a nice break from the heat. We spent our days walking all around Sydney as to avoid the heat at the hotel. We saw a lot and did a ton.

We walked all around Circular Quey (pronounced KEY) (where the Ferries leave from and a big hub of Sydney), Darling Harbour where there is the Imax, the China town, and tons to see and do. Darling Harbour is where you go to get to the Sydney Aquarium which we did. That was pretty neat. IT was fun to see all the native fish to Sydney! They even had a rather large croc. We spent time looking at souvenir stores, malls, and movie theaters. By the way, a movie in Sydney begins at $20.00 and Imax is about $24.00.

We also spent some time at the Featherdale Wildlife Sanctuary. Here is where I had the wonderful pleasure of playing with kangaroos, koala's and seeing Tasmanian Devils, Wallaroo's(white kangaroos), crocs and you name it. That was a lot of fun. I enjoyed feeding and petting the kangaroos. They were a lot smaller than I expected but very tame and really cute looking. They kind of had puppy faces, especially when they eat! We also enjoyed the shopping, though most was window shopping, as my bag was not big enough to bring things home :) But it was so nice to be in real malls, with clean floors and English all around. I could ask any question and have it answered with little to no pause at all!!! How nice. In our walking around we came across markets, neat areas such as The Rocks, the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney botanical gardens (where we stopped and took MANY pictures) and so much more. We were pros at the train system by the end of 10 days!

Oh and the Beachs!! We did in fact go to Bondi and Manly Beach! They were great. Each had it's own ups and downs. Manly was fun because it was pretty much a family oriented place with lots of stores, places to eat and a really nice layout with water stations, walkways, and clean surroundings. Manly is also where we choose to do our surfing lessons. That was fun but because the 'rips' were so bad our instructor spent more of his time telling us to stay sardine close together (making it very hard to surf) instead of teaching us 'useful' ways to surf. I got up on my board once, but was quickly thrown off when a fellow student ran into me with his board. That, along with a jelly fish sting, made it for an interesting lesson. But it was fun none the less. Bondi beach was a shock. It was quite a dive with run down buildings, graffiti, and a setting that would leave one thinking this was not Australia's most famous beach! But it is. Who knows why? Funny thing is most Aussies don't even know why it is as famous as it is. In fact, one man at our hotel told us that up until 15 years ago Sydney's main sewage line ran right into Bondi!!!??? Leaves one wondering why it is famous. But none the less the waves huge, strong, and so much fun to play in. We did each beach twice so we got our fun in the sun!

On our journey's we also found a place called Watson's Bay which had a huge cliff and inlet with water crashing up on the rocks. We could look out over the Sydney Harbour, and we watched the Sailboats come in. This is one of my absolute favorite places in Sydney. There is a trail to walk on next to the cliffs, and the water crashes with such force. It was stunning! Jen was very hot, and didn’t take away the same love for it as I did. She, however, enjoys the pictures of it when we are in a air conditioned room. :)

Some other fun but random things we did was visit the Hillsong Church in Sydney and met a former professor’s daughter for lunch. We also visited the Sydney Olympic Village where I saw the name of the guy who helped teach me to swim because he won a gold medal there for pole vaulting. I forgot he won at the Sydney Olympics. We just happened to come across his name on a large pole outside that has the athletes that won placed on it, and I told Jen, “I know him!” She didn’t believe me for the longest time, but I think I finally convinced her.

Side note: I have to talk about the food! Delicious!!! Oh my! I love Australia for it’s food. There are TONS of gluten free choices. We found a little sidewalk restaurant at The Rocks called D.A.R.E. They specialize in gluten free food. I ordered a wrap and FOUR desserts. Chocolate brownie, banana bread, chocolate carmel bar, and my favorite, raspberry coconut pound cake. I enjoyed these little slices of heaven throughout the day. It was a good thing we did a lot of walking. :)

After ten hot days in Sydney, we were ready for A.C. So we boarded our plane to Cairns. Cairns is the home of the Great Barrier Reef. The Bay Village Inn was a nice hotel with a wonderful pool, AC, and a free upgrade on a room. We were about a 20 minute walking distance from the main area where the public pool is, the main hub and the mall. They have built a beautiful boardwalk along the water so you can walk and stay dry. BUT NO SWIMMING in the water because there are crocodiles and jellyfish!! While in Cairns we went white water rafting. We upgraded to the extreme version that allowed us to float down the river, water surf, rock jumping (which lead to some MAJOR bruises on my part) and enjoying crazy rapids. It was well worth the money!. We also went on the boat to the Great Barrier Reef so that we could snorkel and scuba dive. That was super fun, a little scary at first but I quickly got used to it. It was fun sitting on the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef. What an experience! We also enjoyed snorkeling on the reef. The colors are amazingly beautiful and vibrant. The fish are so unique, and the amount of life down there will never cease to amaze me. While the Reef was amazing, I did not do so well with the boat. First time being seasick! Why not at the Reef? I did two scuba dives and one round of snorkeling (all that was allowed), but when I was on the boat….it was not pretty. The boats little dingy boat tied to the side of the main boat didn’t think it was pretty either. After throwing up 9 times and finally getting back on solid ground, 3 hours later I was finally back to normal. Good thing we did not do the overnight boat!

We also experiencd the Carins night zoo which provided an all you can eat steak and chicken buffet and a tour of the zoo at night. We got to watch a 5 m croc jump from the water and eat a chicken off a stick. The sound of his jaws snapping shut was so loud that it was a tad scary. We got to feed more Kangaroo's, enjoy some Aussie Billy Tea (with Eucalyptus leaves) and do some country dancing.

We also had a few rainy days so we enjoyed two movies: Shutter Island and Law Abiding Citizen. It was fun to go to the theater and see totally English movies that are new releases! Fun, Fun!

Well that is all. We are now back in China and the school semester is well underway! Don't think there will be any more trips other than to Macau as we thought Thailand, Bali and Australia was enough on the bank account. So here we will stay.

Here are some pictures to enjoy!  The pictures of the Great Barrier Reef will come in another post.  There were too many pictures :)

Leaving China:

Glenferrie Logde: No A/C

I didn't know kangaroos liked ice cream?

Surfing Lessons:

Bottle Jelly Fish:

St. Andrew's Cathedral:

Sydney Aquarium:

Sydney Opera House:

Botanical Gardens:

I love unique looking roses!

The Gap (Watson's Bay):

Bondi Beach:

Yes- that's me being tossed around like a rag doll

View From the Ferries:


Boardwalk: Crocodiles!

Cairns Night Zoo:

Japanese Beef: YUM!
Courtesy of Jen's parents.  Thanks!

Bay Village Inn with A/C

Rafting: Tully River

Landed in the chair position...twice!  OUCH!  Finally got it the third time :)

Raft Surfing:



Jan. 29th, 2010

Happy 25th Birthday!!!

The week of my birthday was full of new adventures and reconnections with old loves.  

January 23, 2010
New Adventures:

Sushi, Kimba, Tofu wraps, and Chinese dumplings with our TA's.  

Dianna, Jen, and I making kimba (California rolls)

Jen and I making pork dumplings

Heidi, my TA

Cherry and Violet (FaFa-flower)

They gave us the cooked corn and asked us to pluck it...aka...take each individual kernel off the cob using your fingers...no knives! The western girls got a good laugh out of this one! Then we had to mash each kernel. Quite time consuming. What happened to bagged kernel corn and blenders?!

Another great moment. Jen and I brought fruit salad to go with the food. I couldn't think of a side dish for sushi and dumplings...other than rice :) So, we open the salad and think "ok, let's spoon it out into bowls". NOPE! Out came the toothpicks! Heidi, got toothpicks so that we could use a toothpick to pick out a piece of fruit. Mind you, I chopped the fruit into very small pieces because I thought we'd be using spoons and bowls. Silly me ;) Again, the western girls had a good laugh and the TA's continued looking at us funny for how we prepare and eat meals.

The finished kimba

Old Loves:

Bacon wrapped chicken breasts, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, and monster cookies!

After our adventure with the Chinese food, a bunch of friends and I went out to Paddie Fields for my birthday dinner. I consumed the previously mentioned food and LOVED it!

Then, my dear friend, Jen, surprised me with a batch of monster cookies and candles. Everyone sang happy birthday, and I made a wish...

January 27, 2010
Birthday Day!

Jen made me oatmeal with a candle on the top and sang happy birthday to me with Michelle on Skype. Then it was present time!

I got three turtle neck shirts, a fleece jacket, a portable mouse for my computer, and a hair wrap...to add diversity to my otherwise "white" life :)

It was a grand day at school. Jen brought her kids up to sing to me, and my children couldn't get enough of the happy birthday song :)

Another wonderful year gone; looking forward to a fantastic year ahead!

Jan. 18th, 2010

Christmas In Bali....New Years in Hong Kong

On the road again...
December 24, 2009

On the bus to the airport in Guangzhou

On the plane (Singapore Airlines-WONDERFUL airline)

In the Singapore airport

Singapore airport- Can you tell we fell in love with this airport!? We will definitely be returning to Singapore!

We arrived late and found out that we needed to buy a visa for 105,000 rupiah. Needless to say, that was a bit difficult considering the money changers and ATMs were outside of the airport. So, we gave our passports to a security guard, and he let us out to get money. After a long line full of Russians we finally got our lonesome baggage (the only two left next to the conveyor belt) and headed out.

We arrived late at night to our abode, the Ayodya Resort. After our car was checked for bombs (more on that will come later), we entered the secure resort area. The resort had beautiful grounds, but left much to be desired in service we later found out.

Christmas Day! December 25, 2009

Jen and I had our own Christmas morning. It's on video...for those willing to suffer and watch. We had brought presents that we bought on a shopping day at JUSCO in Guangzhou. (JUSCO is our new favorite store...imagine it...quality goods and clothes that fit...it's like a little piece of heaven on earth). Ok, I digress. Back to Christmas. We read Luke 2 (a family tradition of mine) and opened our presents. Then we enjoyed a nice buffet breakfast with food that we would actually eat and headed out to the beach. The beach was beautiful and the water was perfect with great snorkeling.

**Some fishing boats for Dad :)

We enjoyed the surf, sand, and sun for a few hours and then decided it was time for a bit of an adventure...


Take off

In the air...100 feet high. It was beautiful. I could see the other side of the island, the blue water stretched on forever and the mountains stood tall to one side. I could have stayed up there all day.

Landing- they give you a red glove for one hand and a blue glove for the other hand so you know which rope to pull to turn when you land. They yell at you from the ground and say red or blue.

After para-sailing, our kind driver asked if we wanted to stop off at the local market. So, we did! We got great deals on stuff that was priced WAY over the market prices in the other shopping areas.

For Christmas dinner, we went to Bali Collection (a shopping and restaurant area in the secure resort location). Jen and I found a cute little restaurant and went decided we would eat there. We ordered salads for dinner and it's a good thing because the power went off while we were waiting for our food. Apparently it happens the section B of the Bali Collection every night. Whoops...so we had Christmas dinner by candlelight. It was pretty funny!

After dinner, we returned to our hotel to call our families because it was Christmas morning their time. In order to complete this task, we needed a converter like I've never seen before...

December 26, 2009 Christmas Beach Party
On the 26th, we enjoyed the beautiful beach all day and did some snorkeling. That night was a delicious Christmas dinner beach party. I paid 759,900.00 for a meal :) That of course is in Indonesian money. The money thing was hilarious. We were millionaires because their money is worth so little. I never dreamed I'd pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for food.

December 27, 2009
Another day at the beach and pool

Herbert and I(Jen's hermit crab that she found on the beach)

December 28, 2009
Submarine Tour

Made in Canada- All of the tour guides proudly stated when they found out Jen was a Canadian.

On the boat to the sub

We went down 117 feet.

December 29, 2009

We loved para-sailing so much, we did it again. Then headed for the beach and pool.

December 30, 2009

We left Bali, and headed to Hong Kong. We were glad to leave especially when they charged us 115,000 rupiah just to leave the country. Once again, had to exit the airport and get money. We had fun, but will not be returning back due to some interesting happenings and the fact that we found out it's a hot spot for terrorist attacks on foreigners (hence the bomb checks).

Hong Kong...felt like home. We were so happy to be there and had an amazing time. We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Times Square, so we were right in the middle of the New Year's Even action, and the perfect location for shopping, food, etc.
December 31, 2009
We spent New Year's Eve shopping for shoes...

eating XTC ice cream (my favorite place in HK because it has dairy free ice cream)...

eating Mexican food at Taco Loco...

walking through crowds...

taking in a movie from the front row (Sherlock Holmes)...

and celebrating the New Year!

January 1, 2010
We headed to the Peak for shopping and a bit hiking.

The tram to The Peak

Then we explored the Mid Level Escalators that travel from the ferry dock up the mountain.

Riding the Mid Level escalators to the top (approx. 40 escalators) which surprisingly ended on Robinson Road. Then we had to walk down :)

Got a hair cut!!! A new experience in China.

January 2, 2010
On the road again...
We headed back to mainland China via ferry and found our way back to our apartments...in the soaking rain.

Random pictures:

A REAL gingerbread house. It smelled so good!

Playing with the surfboards.

Sneaking into the Westin

On the beach at the Westin

Walking around Bali...

It was a great trip. Up next...Australia!

Dec. 12th, 2009

Christmas Card

Merry Chirstmas!

IKEA picture-year 2. This seems to be becoming a tradition. December 2009

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