Whew….today we are home again!

We left Seattle and arrive home around noon.  We were able to push our jet lagged bodies until 9 pm and then off to bed!


I would say this was a very good trip.


I have been to the Philippines numerous times.  It is always an enjoyable trip because of the people I know there……it is a sobering trip when you view the abject poverty on every hand.  A people whose dream is going to North America….of escaping the poverty and lack of jobs…..a dream to obtain immigrant status so that their children can have what they feel is a future.  Sadly, they don’t realize that North America is not the exact dream they think it is…..they have to be separated sometimes for up to 10 years before being united again as a family….what a sacrifice.

I would not recommend it as a country for vacation.  The trip is far too long for the few spots that you can visit that are vacation worthy.  For the most part it is not a clean country….except in the hotels, select restaurants, etc.  The streets are trash laden and poverty is everywhere.


This was my first trip to China.  And I was not disappointed in one little way!  It was a childhood dream come true….walking on THE GREAT WALL!  I felt like I was on a literal high.  Very thankful for the experience!

China was not what I had envisioned at all.  It is booming economically….construction cranes dot the city… buildings with beautiful architecture.

Our guide told us that 30 years ago they had 8,000 vehicles.  Now 5 million not counting the 70,000 taxis and many buses.  Whereas the streets were once crammed with bicycles it is now congested with vehicles.  The traffic was horrendous….however it was far more orderly than the traffic in Manila!  It took forever to get anywhere.  Many hours were spent in transit.

I was shocked at how friendly the people were.  I thought they would be inward and reclusive.  It was not so….they were very social…..gathered in parks doing exercise….grandparents with grandchildren……people stopping you to take their picture with you.

Language barrier for sure….but not a barrier of heart.

I would love to return to China without a tour.

I am not sorry I went with a tour for the first time. I feel it gave me a feel for the country, its ways, its currency, its people, its food, its transportation, etc.  I can do it on my own now without much difficulty I think.

There were things I would have stopped to do if I had not been with a tour.   When you go with a tour you have to be respectful of the group and not do your own thing.  Also you are stuck eating tour group priced food.  Not the best for sure.  You are taken where the tour guide gets a kickback…silk factories, jade factories, tea houses…..all places they receive kickback for what you buy.  I must say I enjoyed the tea house even though I knew why I was there.

I wanted to stop and watch the large group gathered in the park to exercise to music….or follow the male voices I heard singing in the park….to stroll all over the summer palace… take the boat at the summer palace to the other side….to research and find the best eating spots….etc.

Next time!