Tuesday, March 4, 2008

extra pictures

Here's a few extra pictures that don't seem to really fit into any of my recent blogs, but I want to share anyway. Especially since I'm avoiding preparing my classes and studying Chinese (I'm hopeless).

The first two photos are in Laos: Noam and Tal after we climbed to the top of a "mountain" (hill) to see a temple and enjoy the view of Luang Prabang. It's a classic pose, for those of you who know my two boys. Second picture is me and Tal at the royal museum in Luang Prabang - was very impressive but also subdued in a unique way. Boys seemed to enjoy it (Yoni was at our hotel for his turn with the stomach flu) even though they often don't have much patience for museums. I think we're standing in front of the royal chariot, the monarch was carried through the streets in/on this for festivals. Unfortunately, after you do so much sightseeing it's hard to remember what was what when reviewing the pictures.

And here are some pictures from our recent trip to Beijing. My family at the summer palace and Yoni and Tal with our Fulbright-Buffalo friends in front of the famous "marble boat". It doesn't float , yet the construction of it drained military funds to a critical level.

While Yoni was in meetings the boys and I made it out to the Great Wall again. In November we were at the Great Wall in Jaiyuguan - the far Western part of the country, and here we are in Mutianyu, about 1.5 hours outside of Beijing. Even though they look a bit grumpy we actually had a glorious day; about as clear as Beijing gets.

Next picture is from a diving competition that we saw in the National Aquatics Centre - one of the venues for the Olympics. Was a very impressive structure and quite exciting to be there - but the toilets are definitely Chinese. I'm sure the athletes will manage. We were lucky to be in Beijing on the right day to see the semi-finals of the competition. The Canadian came in first (yahoo), Chinese were second and third. Unfortunately, I had forgotten our camera that day, so the guy we were sitting next to sent us this picture. Our camera could never have captured that.

Beijing made a huge impression on me this recent visit. When we first arrived in China in August, we flew straight to Beijing. And I remember being impressed with its growth (we were last there in 1993), but still very much feeling like we had arrived in China. This trip to Beijing, after living in Xi'an for 6 months, was totally different. Beijing felt so cosmopolitan, so international. We ate Persian food, felafel, and even enjoyed a kosher hamburger. Felt like everybody spoke at least some English, and when Tal needed to receive his third rabies injection following the monkey bite in Laos . . we found a Western medical facility (650,000 foreigners live in Beijing) that was charging VERY Western prices.

And the last picture is Tal and Noam on our overnight train from Beijing to Xi'an. We travelled on the eve of the lantern festival and there were fireworks EVERYWHERE. People were throwing them out of buildings, on the roads, you name it. Beijing felt like one big firecracker. We got an amazing view from the train, and arrived in Xi'an in time for breakfast. Very comfortable.