March 14, 2015

The post-race China plan

Well, besides the obvious part of the Great Wall, that is.  I think I've made it clear that I'll be all over that bitch.

But if you know me at all, surely you've guessed by now that Amy and I aren't going to fly over to China, run all over the Wall, and come straight back.  Sure, we're going to torture ourselves with this race, but we're going to make up for it by seeing a few things while we're in the neighborhood.

But China is a pretty big neighborhood, and we only have a couple of weeks to explore.  So Amy and I took on the daunting task of figuring out exactly where we wanted to go after surviving the Wall.  GAH.  As I started thumbing through the China travel guides that our wonderful friend Bo had given us both for Christmas, I got frustrated.  I want to go to all the places and see all the things.  Ah, traveler problems.

After a lot of back-and-forth with each other and with a few travel agencies, we got it together.  While I freak-stressed over the fact that there was no way to see everything I wanted (I know it's ridiculous, but I still want to see all the things), Amy remained completely laid back and open to my travel whims.  We both agreed that Shanghai was not a must-see for either of us.  While I wouldn't pass up a good offer to check it out, it strikes me as an Asian New York-Las Vegas hybrid with nothing but fancy shopping on offer.  I'm sure it's a lovely place, but we're going to be in plenty of other big cities, and if I ever want to shop at a fancy-pants designer store, I can do that here in the US.  But I've never wanted to do that here at home, so why would I want to do it in China?

So here's how the itinerary finally worked out with Amy doing almost all of the leg work with Marathon Tours (thank you, Amy):
  • Fly to Hong Kong a week before the race, flit around and deal with jet lag for a couple of days
  • Fly to Beijing, spend 5 days checking out Tienanmen Square and other touristy stuff, run the race, and recover
  • Fly to Xi'an for some sweet Terra Cotta Warrior action
  • Go to Chengdu and play with pandas.  Freakin' panda bears!
  • Check out Mount Emei, because I'm a hippy that can't get enough of the mountains
  • Go to Guilin and explore karsts and caves
  • End up back in Hong Kong to chill out and fly back to the US.
This whole shebang will take us about 2.5 weeks.  I figure it will be just enough to make me want to go back and see all the things I missed. Maybe I'll even want to go back to see Shanghai.

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