Thursday, July 15, 2010
Welcome to Shenzhen!
As many of you probably noticed, I've been on a 10-day hiatus from blogging. That is because I left Wuhan to visit a good friend in a city called Shenzhen, just beside Hong Kong.
Meet Wang Yuwei (a.k.a. Derek):
Derek is a really good friend of mine from Kansas. He lived a few doors down from me in the dorms at K-State last year. He invited me to visit his home before I go back to the U.S.
He and his family treated me so well while I was with them.
The past 10 days have been so packed full of adventure that I could never tell you everything we did in just one blog post. So, I will have to settle for a few short blurbs and pictures.
Derek took me to a few different theme parks. One of them highlighted the different minority groups in China. Each minority group "village" featured that culture's architecture, clothing, food, dance, etc. People from each minority group performed, usually dancing and/or singing.
One thing about these performances is that they like to pick volunteers to participate and make fools of themselves. I'm glad I wasn't picked.
That would have been really embarrassing.
I mean, you would think they would always pick the tall, strange-looking American in the crowd of all Chinese. I must have hidden myself well.
Can you imagine having to wear way-too-small clothes and flail around to try to impress a girl?
Or what if they picked you to do something in front of 200 people, promising that you won't get wet...
...then you end up being drenched with multiple bowls of water? I can't imagine what it would be like to spend a whole day at an amusement park with a soaked shirt, shorts, underwear, and socks.
But thankfully none of that happened.
We also went to a really neat park that had miniature replicas of famous places in China. It was a beautiful place.
Later, Derek and I had some free time. So we decided to fly to France.
The Eiffel Tower is bigger in person.
But we soon got tired of France, and Egypt wasn't that far away.
Actually, let me tell you a little secret. We didn't really travel to France or Egypt. I had you going, didn't I?
There is a really cool theme park called Window of the World in Shenzhen. It has "small" replicas of famous world landmarks. I say "small" because some of them, like the Eiffel Tower, seemed very close to the actual size. It was really impressive. And when you take a picture of many of them, you can't tell that they are fake.
We decided we'd better fight at the Colosseum.
In honor of my brother, I even sang opera at the Sydney Opera House.
I'm belting out a high B flat.
Derek thought that being in the African portion of the park made him stronger.
These different amusement parks also had very good stage shows for free. I've never seen a real Broadway musical, but I would guess that some of these shows could be shown on Broadway. We also went to an ancient Chinese war re-enactment on horseback. It was really neat.
But we didn't spend all of our time at amusement parks. We played basketball and tennis and badminton together with Derek's parents and their teacher friends. I watched my first ever 3-D movie and my first ever 4-D movie. I was really impressed.
On the weekend, Derek and his parents took me to the beach. We spent two days there.
I loved the mountains just off the beach.
And of course we swam a lot.
Since I didn't bring a swimming suit, I had to buy one there. Unfortunately, Chinese guys don't use the shorts-like swimming suits most guys use in the U.S. Instead, they use speedo-like swimming suits. That was another first for me. Now I will be coming home with a new swimming suit I probably will never wear again; but, on the bright side I do think it made me swim faster.
After going to the beach Derek and I spent our last day together at an amusement park called Happy Valley. This is a pretty standard amusement park with roller coasters, rides, over-priced food, etc. It was fun and tiring.
So now I'm back in Wuhan with a sunburn and many good memories. I won't be here much longer. My plan is to leave on July 21.
Stay tuned for another blog post before I leave.