Thursday, March 31, 2005

Back from China

My wife and I returned from two-week China trip last week with our new daughter. I've been fighting a cold for the last nine days, cycling thru the various symptoms at varying intensities, sucking down the likes of Day-Quil (what kind of nasty flavor is that supposed to be anyways? Mandarin Tabasco?). Having to deal with all the regular issues of international travel, and adding to that trying to establish a bond with a new infant, is incredibly taxing, but we are ecstatic to be united with such a healthy, joyous child.

As for China itself, we did a bit of sightseeing prior. The biggest letdown was definitely the Great Wall. The part we visited required a long, steep climb, and combined with the cold and crowding, I wasn't able to walk much of the wall (although Melanie went solo far beyond me). The best part of the trip was the Summer Palace, with so many paintings all over the place - very stunning. I could walk there every day of my life. I also enjoyed Temple of Heaven, where the grounds were full of older people (50+) dancing, playing cards, playing their version of hacky-sack, etc. It was quite inspiring.

Our main problem with the stay was the cigarette smoke. Still, with all the smoking, phlegm-hacking, spitting, noise pollution, poor air quality, traffic, food issues, language issues, crowds, and general chaos, one aspect of the trip made it all worthwhile - the women. I've always maintained that Chinese women were the most beautiful, and to see so many over the course of two weeks was amazing. As our trip took us further south (Beijing to Nanchang to Guongzhou), more and more top-quality women appeared.