Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Summer 2012 Pt.1 - Going "home" ...

Hi! So it's been 2 days? 3 days? since I landed came home and I've been procrastinating on everything including this post but here is it!

When I say I went "home", I meant I visited the placed where my parents grew up. I really want to write a post on this but since I visited so many places and I have so much to talk about ...

Warning: This post will be extremely long. Beware and shit. 

So basically, I left Toronto on July the 5th. I don't know why but every time we travel somewhere, we always seem to buy/get the flight that leaves at 10 a.m. in the morning. The problem is, my parents always insist that we need to get to the airport three hours ahead incase of any issues arise. So I'm forced to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to get ready and help move the three large ass luggage out to my uncle's car as he's the kind man who always drives us to the airport.

In recent years, Pearson Airport has gotten high-tech and they now have some self check-in machine that looks like an ATM machine. This contraption isn't hard to use but my dad has this issue of panicking over the smallest inconvenience and then bitching at everyone around him. So while I was trying to work the machine, my dad was sighing, groaning, complaining, and just being flat-out annoying next to me. Then, for some stupid reason, our luggage stickers refused to print and my dad refused to ask for help. Men. I don't understand why they can't ever realize their incompetence. Or ask for directions. 

Anywho, blah blah...

So we flew from Toronto to Hong Kong ... 
Normally, I'm amazing with long flights and I absolutely love everything about flying. I even love airports. But for some reason, this flight was too damn long for my liking despite the fact that I was fine with it before. I wasn't comfortable; I wasn't able to watch movies, eat, or sleep and it was just ughhhhhhhh... 

Before I go on, let me just stick in a family tree here, so y'all can keep up with my story:

Mom's side of the Family! :)
Click to enlarge!
When we landed in Hong Kong, we took the ferry to Macau where my mom's uncle and my dad's aunt lives. We stayed there for 3 nights? While Macau's temperature is a bitch because it's humid as fuck, I loved staying at my mom's uncle's place. Grand... uncle? He's one of my favourite people ever and I love chillin' with him every time we come back. He may be 70 years old, but if you were to see him, he'd look 60. This man walks at the speed of light, I swear! 

Unfortunately, during my stay in Macau, he was off in Hong Kong as my mom's two sisters, their husbands, and their granddaughters had come down to Hong Kong  from HeiLongJiang (waaaaaay up north) and they needed a tour guide. On the bright side though, Macau's food is so amazing. I swear, everything is like rainbow and unicorns in your mouth.

Oh my god, side story: So I brought two cameras with me back to China/Vietnam. For some reason, my XD card suddenly died halfway through a video recording and now I can't seem to be able to get the pictures out of the card. So until I fix that... no pictures from that camera :'(

[I will update here with tons of food pics from Macau]

A street in Macau
I absolutely love the little streets of Macau; so fun! :)
After three nights, we left Macau for ZhuHai which is just a simple crossing of borders from Macau into Mainland. We stayed there for two nights and I got to visit the underground market, which is one of my favourite places to go to! I didn't take any pics of the place, so let me google y'all a picture...

Zhuhai Underground Shopping Center
If you can see, there's these giant ass stairs that lead you downstairs. There's like multiple entrances but that's the main entrance coming from the border-crossing place between Zhuhai and Macau. The market sells a lot of stuff from belts, sandals, wallets, food, clothing, electronics, etc...

I bought myself a pair of sandals/slippers and a the box-set of Friends and the TVB series "The Mysteries of Love"!

These babies have been with me for almost the entire trip!
So comfy; I love them! :)
"Mysteries of Love" series!
Can't wait to re-watch this!
My "Friends" box-set is currently being copied onto a new set of DVDs so I'll have another set incase anything happens to this one!

Anyways, we visited my mom's other uncle in Zhuhai. He recently got Cancer, but he's managing and it was nice to see him again! Although I love my Macau great-uncle more, this great-uncle is also a sweet man. He also recently published another one of his books. It's all boring texts, but I mean... it's still cool :)

On our last night at Zhuhai, we also had dinner with his step-daughter at this place where all the damn dishes had some sort of mushroom in it. Worst meal ever. But meh? It was free, what can you do? That night, my Uncle Dong left to go back to his work. Since he's a chef at this little restaurant, he wasn't able to take time off and join us all on our vacation. It was such a disappointment for me since my favourite reason for visiting China was to see him. He's honestly the coolest guy and I miss him so much ..

The next day we took a 2-hour bus to Guangzhou where we boarded a train to Tianjin which is where my Cousin Nina and her husband live.

I would have pictures of the train cabin we were in but it was on my XD card...

Anyways, the train ride was hell. It was 26 fucking hours of my life wasted and I was uncomfortable. The washroom was so disgusting cause I gagged every time I walked in. I couldn't eat since I didn't want to have to crap which means going to the washroom. I was bored and I got my period.

When we got to Tianjin, I was so ecstatic! The hotel had internet connection! We stayed for two nights and the night after, we went to eat at this hotpot place. The place was really classy and beautiful and really fun. They also had these guys who would do like noodle-bending shows.

Video of noodle-show will be uploaded later.

From Tianjin, we took an hour train to Beijing to board another train to Mudanjiang. Another ride of hell. A god damn 21 hours. Same crap I had to go through before. From Mudanjiang, we took a two hour bus to Jixi!


Jixi is basically where all my aunts and uncles live. So they were technically back home. Whenever I go back, I live at my Grandma/Uncle Bo's place. It's a super tiny apartment, but it's really cute. Unfortunately, the program is... there's only water two times a day from 4AM-9AM and then from 4PM-8PM. So everyday, before the water stops, we fill up buckets and buckets of water to wash our hands, flush the toilet, and do other chores. You also can't put toilet paper into the toilet, so after you wipe you have to dump the paper in the garbage. I know it's gross and it can be a bit of a hassle, but you get used to it. Also, there's no shower so we had to go to a public shower place. It's kind of gross if you're not used to it since it's a bunch of naked women showering... but I mean, you do what you gotta do.

Me being a fat derp and watching TV.
Mom, Auntie Ching, and Grandma in kitchen/balcony
Derp faces, hehe :)
We stayed at Jixi for about 20 days. Most days were spent eating at fancy restaurants since family members all wanted to take us out since we only come back every couple of years. I spent most days out shopping, at relatives place, or just at home watching TV or watching dramas I downloaded to my Netbook which I brought back with me.

I had a lot of nice pictures of fancy dishes and other cool stuff but again, no functioning XD card.

While I was at Jixi, my cousin Tiffany bought me these:

Hair clips!
I thought they were so cute, so I had her tell me where she got them and I went back for more!

I picked out some more hair clips and Uncle Bo bought them for me! :)

While I was at Jixi, they were showing the China version of Hana Yori Dango. I thought it was a pretty good series and ended up buying the DVDs! I'll be watching these when I move into Waterloo!

"Let's Watch the Meteor Shower" DVDs
So a couple nights before we had to leave, we went to Jixi's ... park? I don't exactly know how to describe it but it's this large-ass open space where people go got night strolls. A lot of middle-aged or old men and women like to gather there and dance. It's a really pretty place!

People dancing ..
Baby Ngo the blur (left) and Baby Ming (right)
Oh my gosh, I wanted to take her home. Loveeee her.


Pretty view! o:
Baby Ngo and Baby Ming joining in the dance lines! :)
Giant center with poles...?
Apparently those poles represent districts or something...

Bridge that lights up with beautiful lights!
Another beautiful bridge!
Fountain! Water show starts at 7:30PM every night :)
Long row of statues
Videos of the above scenery and dances will be uploaded later.

We left Jixi a couple days later. Uncle Bo's friend drove us from Jixi to Harbin at 4AM in the morning. It was a 7-hour car ride. We got to the airport around 11:30AM and then boarded the plane to Guangzhou. My great-uncle from Macau came to visit us at Guangzhou the next morning. My dad's uncle and his cousin also came from Shenzhen to see us. That night, Uncle Bo's friend in Guangzhou sent his people to take us out for dinner. It sounds kind of weird, but it was as if we were some high-class people. I mean, some businessman sent his men to take us out for dinner. Fancyyy...

Oh yeah, one of the guys looked like Zico from Block B. I was pleased. He was cute. His name was Anson. Hehe.

Then after two nights, we left Guangzhou to go to Vietnam where we stayed for a week or so. My dad hasn't been back to Vietnam for over 30 years since he left during the war? Communist shit? I don't know, but I can tell he was super happy to be back. We stayed at his cousin's place which was this like 5-story mansion?

In all honesty, I didn't really enjoy the stay that much? I mean, it was nice being in a super big house and it was nice having wi-fi. It was great having a fancy bathroom to myself, TV channels that showed K-pop and American shows, but I mean... when I go back to Asia, I really just want to stay at my grandma's place.

While my dad's aunt was nice and all, she kept talking a lot and I mean... I just don't like talking. She was a sweet old lady and I didn't want to be rude, but shrug. No one's as awesome as my grandma? The food in Vietnam was pretty good though. Granted, they put mint leaves in everything and I gag every time I eat that crap... but otherwise, good food. No pics though, hehe.

View from balcony

Their chihuahua... annoying little thing :)
I really wished I had taken pictures of their home; it was absolutely stunning. If you've ever been on Tumblr and seen those fancy pictures of bedrooms and kitchens, that's how their home looked like. Beautiful.

Street of Vietnam
View from front of home
To be honest, I hardly left the house when I got to Vietnam. It was too damn hot outside and the streets were a bitch. I mean, every time I tried to cross the road, 80 million motorcycles came at me and I was forced to wait for the next crossing opportunity -_-

I did, however, go to Saigon. It was really pretty there and we got to tour the ... Vietnamese version of the White House?

Smallest elevator ever?

Helicopter on balcony.

Broadcasting center.

Forbidden staircase? o:

The stupid motorcycles -_-
Anyways, did I mention that hair dye in Vietnam is super cheap? It costs like $12CAD in Toronto but I managed to get it for $5CAD in Vietnam. Bought two boxes! I'm thinking of dying my hair later on today!

Also, like a couple stores away from where I stayed was this cool little store that sold anime and k-pop stuff. I bought quite a bit of crap there ..

Buttons, Poker cards, Phone chains! All B2ST :)
B2ST Midnight Sun Cup
Then, we flew from Vietnam back to Guangzhou. From the Guangzhou airport, we got on a two hour bus that took us to Shenzhen. My mom's friend, who's practically like a little brother to her, picked us up and took us to our hotel.

We stayed there for two nights. The second day, we went out and bought a bunch of shit. Well, my mom did. I ended up getting a Totoro bag which was super cute!

Blurry pic but there's a Totoro as a zipper! :)
Totoro's on the inside of the bag too!
Shenzhen was such a beautiful place! The night before we left, we went to this beautiful night market place! It was close to this music hall which had bridges and water fountains and omg, so prettyyy... Stupid me though, I didn't bring my camera.

The best part of Shenzhen though wasn't the Totoro bag or the pretty scenery... it was the fact that Uncle Dong came out to chill with us! I think that was the best part of the month and half I spent in China; the couple of hours I got to see my uncle.

On the 18th, we took a 30 minute ferry from Shenzhen to the Hong Kong Airport.

Got myself this at the HK Airport:

Winnie the Pooh coin pouch

15 hour flight and I was back in Toronto!

I have a ton of other crap to upload. I'll do that as soon as I have the chance or when I stop procrastinating. Hehe. 

TL;DR: China was a blast despite major piss-offs along the way. I definitely want to go back again next year before my sophomore year in university. My camera's XD card is being a little bitch, so as soon as I get that fixed, more pictures and videos will be uploaded.

Alright, I'm gonna go do other things. Thanks for reading .. if you did, haha. BYE!

- eggtart

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