Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chinese New Year Trip

Well, it's that time of the year again: Chinese New Year! (or Spring Festival depending on who you talk to.) This year, according to the lunar cycle, the new year falls on January 26th. Traditionally, the Chinese celebrate the day before to a week after new year's day. This time in Chinese custom is specifically devoted to family togetherness and optimism for the upcoming year. Another interesting aspect of each Chinese year is the zodiac. Each year is characterized by an animal (an interesting story here. This upcoming year is the year of the ox...yum.

As a teacher in China, I am very lucky to have more holiday time. The final exam for all saxophone students fell on January 9th. School will not begin until Febuary 21st, so I have a nice chunk of time for traveling. It just so happens that my girlfriend is from the Yunnan province, so I thought what better place to visit. According to her, the places in Yunnan to visit, are: Lijiang, Dali, Kunming and Ruili. With a little research in my guidebooks and internet sites, I agreed a began making travel arrangements. Our trip will begin January 16th to Lijiang, travel to the aforementioned cities and maybe end up in Hong Kong to do a little shopping.

video

The flight to Lijiang from Chengdu, was quick and very pretty (check out the above video). Upon arriving to the airport, I really needed to use the bathroom. After a short trot to the nearest facility, I found my heart racing and breath short. I knew that Lijiang was a mountain city, but didn't realize that the thin air would affect me so drastically. Now, after two days here, I have grown more accustomed to the altitude difference (it's about 8,000 feet above sea level!) Although, I have been fighting a cold, it's been a pretty amazing experience. Please stay tuned to many blogs to come. I plan to post pictures, videos and stories as they come up here in Yunnan. Wish me luck!

Also check my Flickr site for more pictures.

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