Back from China

June 11, 2017

Yep, you read that right. I've been in China! Can't believe we actually went. An opportunity came up, and we decided to go for it. What an amazing trip.

I walked the Great Wall. Or at least a tiny part of it.

We started out in Beijing, where we saw the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Temple of Heaven. I had arranged a few tours for our group, which was good, as the language barrier is formidable. I got very good at simple requests/sign language!

(We did have a couple scary taxi rides where the driver knew no English, and we knew no Mandarin, and our phone translation app suddenly decided not to work!)

We got to go to a tea demonstration which I'll share later for my tea-loving friends. And you know I brought home lots of tea and a teacup!

After Beijing we went on to Shanghai. I've never seen anything like it. It is huge, with the largest metropolitan population in the world. Well over 34 million people, and skyscrapers that go on for miles.

The Pearl Tower, in Shanghai's financial district. The second tallest building in the world is also here, and my husband got some incredible pictures from the top. (I was shopping for pearls and silk that day!)
Because of my severe allergy to sesame, we took two duffel bags full of food, an allergy translation card (in Mandarin), and my Epipens. I was prepared for not being able to eat on our trip, as I'd read that sesame and sesame oil use is widespread. But, thanks to some wonderful English-speaking tour guides, and accommodating chefs, I was able to eat at almost all the restaurants we went to. 

I did have one experience where I showed my allergy card to a waitress (no translators with us that day), and she ran screaming something into the kitchen. When I tried to question her using sign language/gestures, she burst out laughing. I did decide for that meal it might be safer to avoid the food!

I (kinda) mastered the use of chopsticks.
There were some familiar-looking items.

We took a bullet train down to Guilin (with speeds up to 190 mph), and saw these beautiful terraced rice fields.

And took a river cruise down the Li River to Yangshuo among these beautiful limestone mountains.

Here's an umbrella I got. (I got pretty good at bargaining for goods!) Everyone uses umbrellas in China to protect their skin from the sun. Surgical masks, too, for the pollution, although it wasn't bad while we were there.

We met some wonderful people, and found our trip fascinating. I'm having trouble downloading and editing my pics, but I wanted to get something posted. I hope to share some better pictures and more adventures soon.


  1. Welcome back. What beautiful scenery and amazing sites. So happy you had the chance to go and got back home safely. Look forward to seeing much more!

  2. Sounds fascinating! So glad that you are now safely home. What an odd reaction from an immature young waitress. Glad that you didn't eat there!

  3. Oh and that is a beautiful umbrella!

  4. Oh, my! what a trip! Lovely pictures and glad you are back home!

  5. Wow, the trip of a lifetime looking forward to hearing and off course seeing more.

  6. What an adventure, Deborah! Welcome home! Rosie

  7. I wondered if the waitress was afraid you were going to have a reaction to something already eaten? Weird! Sounds like the trip of a lifetime with amazing experiences. Your photos say a lot, and the umbrella--who could have resisted that! Lovely!

  8. Welcome home, I have missed you. So happy you got to take this wonderful trip. Your photos look amazing. Looking forward to your sharing more. xo

  9. Welcome back to the USA safe and sound! I remember you telling me when we met that you would be going so I figured that is where you've been. What an experience that had to have been...and the photos that you shared are just breathtaking! So glad you had a wonderful time and that you were able to work out the kinks in communication! Looking forward to hearing more about this fabulous adventure. Beautiful umbrella too!

  10. Oh my, Deborah! What an exhilarating trip of a lifetime! You sound like a pro now that you've been there, and your umbrella is so organically simple in design - beautiful! I'm happy for you, and look forward to hearing even more of this trip. The sights are so well captured in these photos. Welcome home, glad you were able to make it all without incident.

  11. What a fabulous trip you've had.
    Your photo's are amazing.

    All the best Jan

  12. Oh yea, I'm happy to hear that you're home, Deborah!! Wow, what a great trip and the pictures are wonderful. Those rice fields look so fascinating! I'm so glad that you were able to eat and didn't have any mishaps with your food allergies. i look forward to seeing your teacup and teas. Thanks for sharing with us. xx

  13. Oh how wonderful!! So glad you had this winderful experience! And those pics were amazing! Looking forward to hearing more...
    Glad your home and safe and have made lifetime memories from your trip!
    Always, Roxy xo

  14. Welcome back, Deborah! Your China trip is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can't wait to read about the tea ceremony. When my cousin toured China a few years ago, he brought us back jasmine pearl teas. I'm embarrassed to admit that we still haven't tried it!

  15. How exciting, Deborah! You shared some amazing and beautiful photos. The terraced hillsides and limestone mountains are amazing, as is Shanghai! Can't wait to see the rest of your trip! xo Karen

  16. Oh, wow! The Great Wall, those mountains, the skyscrapers... just fabulous. Can't wait to see more and hear your stories. Glad you managed your food allergies and survived the taxi rides!

  17. I'm glad you had an exciting time Deborah, wonderful photos from the trip. I imagine being allergic to sesame would cause a problem but it's great you were able to keep yourself sustained.
    It would be fun if North America would use umbrellas for sun protection again, how elegant! You picked up a nice one.

  18. Oh my dear friend, I am so glad you enjoyed your time in China! My, what an enchanting place! Your photos took my breath away.

    I am so glad you're back, safe and sound :) Enjoy your day! Love and hugs to you!

  19. What a fantastic time you and your friends must have had! Friends of ours saw the Great Wall last year and were blown away by it. Those limestone mountains are quite the sight and very unusual. Glad you're back safe and sound and thanks for sharing with us. Have a beautiful day.


  20. Dearest Deborah,
    WOW, you went really the route of the TEA drinking part of the world.
    So happy you experienced this vast country!
    As for the food, guess they have the widest variety so if one can communicate, there must be plenty left for serving you without any risk of getting allergies.
    Pieter was there in 1987 and no doubt, the difference with modern age must be tremendous.
    Looking forward to more of your adventures and pictures.

  21. Are you sure you're back from China? 🤓 You seem far away and I am looking for more pics of your travels.


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