After I finished teaching at Chengshifuxiao in Chengdu, I was extremely lucky to have my parents and sister visit. I was so happy when they arrived that I kept crying at the airport even before they came through arrivals! I tried to distract myself by going to a nearby restaurant and stuffing food down my face but then became once more overwhelmed when they came through the gate, haha.
My parents and sister came to spend a week in Chengdu and a few days in Hong Kong.
Chengdu - we spent time touring around the city. I showed them a large local park (people's park) which always hosts many bands playing traditional Chinese songs, and has little tea gardens scattered around.
We went to Jin le, an ancient street full of old style stalls which sell really nice things - paintings, ceramics, jewellery, calligraphy works, wooden sculptures etc. The place is really nice to walk around and there's lots of little bridges over streams, and good luck fabrics have been hung over the branches of trees. It looks great at night. Jin le is by a Tibetan restaurant which has great character and yak meat, so we went there beforehand.
We visited the panda place for a while, and Claire had her picture taken with a panda! There's also a lake full of koi fish which we fed after seeing the pandas. On the way back the taxi driver was an idiot and tried to completely rip us off - luckily I can hold an argument in Chinese fairly well, that showed him :)
One of the best parts of their first week in chengdu was our trip to Mount Emei. I'd been there before on a mission to climb the beast with Nic and Sophie, but had to stop due to heavy snowfall which made the steps impossible!
This time, I got the bus up to the top with my sister and parents. It was like a winter wonderland up there - icicles glistened on the little huts and temples, chipmunks bounced in the snow in search of food. The peak of the mountain hosted a few Buddhist buildings and a large golden statue of a Buddhist god. Peaceful music came from an information building which was used to explain the holy events which occur on the mountain. Monks are scattered all over and hold many ceremonies.
On the way back down, we saw giant monkeys which are like beasts! I say 'giant' because they're so big in comparison to the scrawny little ones that are slave entertainers to some poor men in chengdu. One of the beast monkeys chased a man which was pretty funny coz the man had been teasing it. Serves him right!
Stayed in Minshan hotel, which was really posh. It had an all you can eat buffet too, big bonus.
We stayed in the teddy bear hotel for two nights, very cosy place. It was a great trip.
When we got to Hong kong on the weekend, we stayed in a hotel on harbour view. The first night - we spent it on Victoria peak, which is a great spot for viewing hong kong. There's also a great 'Bubba Shrimp' restaurant where we ate. With me being a shrimp lover, this was so good!! Got a tram back down to the city afterwards.
During our day time, we looked around the shops in Kowloon and Central. We caught a ferry around the harbour too. One day, we caught a bus to Stanley market - where we saw so many posh apartments, mini beaches and general sun-seafront type stuff. Dad and I wanted to check out Ocean park so we went there for a couple of hours, it was so much fun!!
The next day everyone but me wanted to do more shopping so we decided to go our separate ways for a few hours. I took a ferry to see the Giant Buddha, Lantau island. Also climbed a mountain with really great views of the island. Then met up with my parents and sister later on for a meal in Soho area. The last night in HK was lovely :)
I really enjoyed seeing my parents and sister, had such a great catch up too. Glad I saw them here - especially as I made a very last minute decision to stay on to travel in China to make the most of my gap year. Its made me appreciate sentimental things so much more. Looking forward to going back to England, but for now, I'll make the most of china!