Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, September 1 – Welcome back to the picture of the day! As a transition back from the Philippines to China, I have some pictures from the Philippines. It is very fashionable for Chinese couples to wear matching outfits, called 情侣装Qínglǚ zhuāng, or literally “Lovers Clothing.” I have seen them mainly on beaches or at vacation spots, but when I did an online search, it seems there are all kinds available. The couple in the striped shirts even have matching shoes! Sometimes, it may also be a whole family, parents and children, wearing coordinating clothing.
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, June 30 – This morning we had appointments at the US Consulate General in Guangzhou for passport renewals for Jim and I and to apply for Leah to get her first adult passport! This is a new location from the one we’ve previously been to, but we found it easily from the metro/subway. You can see from the pictures that it was VERY crowded…but not with Americans, they were mostly Chinese citizens applying for visas to visit the USA. When I first saw the crowds, I thought we’d be there forever! Then I realized that there was a special line for US Citizens, and there was nobody else in line :-) For the rest of the people, things did seem fairly well organized with specific lines for certain appointment times. I learned something new (pardon my ignorance!)…. I always thought that “embassy” and “consulate general” were interchangeable, but they aren’t! There is only one US Embassy in a foreign country and in China it is in Beijing. In large countries though, there can be multiple Consulates representing the embassy. It’s always good to know that when you are in a foreign country and need help, you can go to your country’s embassy or consulate. There are consulates for 27 countries in Guangzhou!
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, June 18 – One of the many things that I was surprised by when we first came to China was the way a world map looks. It makes sense that for those living in the Eastern Hemisphere, that the continents would be positioned differently, but for me, having grown up and always having lived in the USA, I just never thought about it!
Part of living as an expat, or officially “expatriate” (a person who lives outside of their native country), is traveling. Leah and I usually make 2 trips a year back to the USA. It’s a long trip! This time, from our China home to our North Carolina home was actually over 2 days, but we spent Thursday night in a hotel and stopped and helped Katelin at work for a few hours. If we had come straight home, it would have been a 30 hour trip. This post is for those readers who DON’T travel :-) The rest of you are plenty familiar with it all! From where we live in China, we had a car take us to a local hotel where, the day before, we had bought a ticket to the Hong Kong Airport. The first van, after stopping at 3 other hotels to pick up people, took us to a shopping Mall in Shenzhen where we switched to another van which crossed the China/Hong Kong border and took us to the airport. Total time to airport was 3 hours. Check in, eat lunch, go through security, take transit train to correct gate area, walk to gate. About 45 mins prior to departure time, they start boarding: Big planes hold a LOT of people, and it takes time to get them on board and settled in! This time we had a 15 hour flight to Dallas Ft. Worth. About 1 ½ hr in, you get a meal, half way through, a snack, and 1 ½ hrs before landing, another meal. In the rest of the time, I usually watch 3 movies, sleep 2-3 hours, read, snack, and get up and use the bathroom and stretch a few times. Once in Dallas, go through immigration, pick up luggage and go through customs, then recheck luggage. Go through security, then head to gate. We had a 4 hr layover so decided to walk to the other terminal to wake-up and stretch. Once in our terminal, we had some dinner (although it really seemed like breakfast time to us!), then headed to our gate. On the way, we stopped to do some Munzee capping (a virtual scavenger hunt type game, always find lots at airports!). 2 ½ hour flight to Charlotte, NC, collect baggage, catch shuttle to hotel, meet up with Katelin and collapse in room! It was still a 2 hr drive home, and was past midnight, thus the reason we decided to stay the night in a hotel before driving home. So, now you understand why we don’t come home more than twice a year! The day we come from China to the USA actually is a 36 hour day for us with the time difference! We travel economy, top pictures are at HK Airport, shows Leah with the entertainment console on seat back in front of you, and bottom pics are at Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport.
A Visit to Singapore: Today we visited the Gardens by the Bay and really enjoyed it. One of the many areas we visited was the 72 foot high Skywalk in the Supertree Grove. The manmade “trees” range from 82-160 ft tall and are actually vertical gardens. In trying to make some connections with China for my picture of the day, here are some young Chinese tourists posing on the Skywalk, with the Marina Bay Sands, a luxury hotel, well-known in the Singapore skyline, in the background. People from mainland China are the second largest group of tourists in Singapore, only behind the Indonesians.