|The Shanghai Financial District Skyline|
In three days I will be on my way to China, where I will be visiting Shanghai and Beijing. It's my first time to the Far East and the furthest I have ever traveled (18 hours of flying time). Though there is much that draws me East—ancient cultures permeated by art, religion, and food far different from that of the Western world I have been exploring for the last quarter century—I have never really put much effort into planning a trip. I certainly never expected China to be my first trip to Asia.
The size of China in terms of both population and geography as well as the language barrier were impediments significantly greater than those offered by European travel. The idea of traveling alone (my preferred mode of travel) always seemed a bridge too far, and the idea of traveling with a prepackaged tour group was too depressing and not worth the effort. The cost of flying halfway around the world and staying in hotels was prohibitive too.
Of course, when a friend says 'I'm living in Shanghai and you should come visit,' every thing changes. So now, in three days, I am on my way to spend five days in Shanghai, the Paris of the Orient, and three days in the capital Beijing. So, after months of preparation on both Trip Advisor and Nile Guide (cause I'm that much of a travel geek), here are the highlights of my trip.
|The Great Wall of China at Mutianyu|
Shanghai: The Bund, Old French Concession, UnTour Shanghai's Dumpling Tour, Zhujiajiao Water Town, Shanghai Museum, Yu Yuan Bazaar, Jing'an Temple, Jade Buddha Temple, Dr. Sun Yat-sen Former Residence, Soong Ching-ling's Former Residence, Site of First National Congress of Communist Party of China, and the Huangpu River.
Beijing: Tiananmen Square, Chairman Mao's Mausoleum, Dong Hua Men Night Market, Great Wall at Mu Tian Yu, Forbidden City, Black Sesame Kitchen, Temple of Heaven, Confucian Temple, Maison Boulud, Lama Temple, and Peking Duck.
Needless to say, I am excited beyond belief. There is so much to do and see and experience. I have my new Canon T4i ready to take a million pictures, and I can't wait to share them with everyone.