Adventures In China Part One
Trip Of A Lifetime!
“Hey Amie! Would you like to come on a 2-week gourmet tour of 6 major cities in China with me?”
Be still my 24-year-old adventuresome heart…I didn’t ask about the cost or timing, I knew instantly I wanted to go!
My favorite Chinese restaurateur in Santa Clara, California, made annual trips to China to procure new recipes and even chefs to bring back to his own restaurant. I was addicted to eating his authentic Chinese food, unlike most restaurants I found to be ‘Chinese-inspired’ and if he had hook-ups to the gourmet world, it was sure to be an amazing adventure.
He hand-selected 20 of his favorite customers to join him on a very special 14-day tour throughout northeastern, southeastern and central regions of China.
What would you expect to pay for an adventure like this?
Include the international and domestic air throughout 6 major cities: Beijing, Xi’an, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Guangzhou and Shanghai.
Add 4-star hotel accommodations, a comfy, air-conditioned tour bus, 2 full-time interpreters, done-for-you visas and cut-in-front-of-the-line passage through airports, plus early morning ’til late evening fun-filled cultural events and activities every single day.
But wait…there’s more!
The best part of this grand adventure was the fact it was a gourmet tour. My restaurateur friend had arranged an unbelievably decadent quest for us foodies, as he facilitated the most tantalizing taste-bud journey for us to eat our way through China.
And by no means were we slummin’ it with questionable street food, although I couldn’t help myself but sample a little bit of it. I did, however, forego the large, black roasted beetles.
Every morning I’d awaken in a gorgeous hotel room and begin the day by stuffing my grateful pie-hole with an endless buffet for breakfast. From freshly-made dumplings, to crab legs, sushi, pancakes, omelettes, etc. I did not care how much weight I gained. I was there to eat!
After that, I’d grab my camera and greet fellow travelers aboard the tour bus, and we’d set out for a highly-stimulating day of exploring and eating.
Our guide planned every day so jam-packed with fun, I could scarcely catch my breath the entire 2 weeks, which felt more like 2 months.
Expected bucket list items were checked off, like walking on The Great Wall of China, visiting The Forbidden City and witnessing firsthand the unearthed 40,000 Terracotta Warriors.
Each lunch and dinnertime was its own adventure!
We’d be ushered into the top floor rooms set for celebrities, politicians and foreign dignitaries, and treated by staff as if we were all VIP.
And dine like royalty we did, leaving each mealtime culinary masterpiece by rolling ourselves out the door and back onto the tour bus.
In between exploring famous temples, gardens, tea plantations or heritage sites, we’d enjoy history lessons and visit points of interest like traditional calligraphy lessons, sessions with Chinese herbalists, and watch lavish musical & cultural shows.
Of course our bus would stop often for toilet breaks at all the government stores with fascinating wares to sell us.
I didn’t mind these calculated stops so much, as it was riveting to get my hands on authentic wood carvings, silk fabrics, jade jewelry, and a multitude of other beautiful arts and crafts.
There was a dark underbelly that I picked up on immediately when I first entered China.
Behind the fake plastered smiles on government employees was the deep sadness I saw in the eyes of those living under heavy Communist rule. They were made to wear 7 or 8-digit numbers sewn into the front of their clothes, and many were bused in to endure long working days in jobs they hated from high-rise prison’ish apartment buildings. They were serfs, not sovereign citizens.
Tienanmen Square had a ghostly and foreboding energy to it, especially for those who recalled the history of the massacre that occurred there in 1989.
Perhaps its intended irony that I write this blog about my trip to China 20 years later, and we find ourselves inundated by a CCP takeover of not just America, but the entire world.
Without subtly or eloquence, I can tell you wholeheartedly that as someone whose observed this evil up-close-and-personal, Communism sucks.
Most of the time I filled my mind with wonderful aspects of China, and I experienced a glorious country and people with a long and extremely interesting history.
Enjoy the Photo Gallery below and ‘Adventures In China Part Two.‘
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