Banff National Park: Travel Diary 2018

Hi everyone!

I’m back and sheeesh it has been a WHILE! Today I want to share with you a very special trip I went on with my family a couple of weeks ago, Banff National Park in Canada! I also visited Jasper and Yoho National Park, which are very close to Banff, but most of my adventures were in Banff National Park. There was so much beauty in this trip, so I will just be sharing the highlights. If you want to see more of the amazing sights, I suggest taking a trip to see it in person, right in front of you. It truly is an experience you will never forget.


We actually flew from California to Calgary, a large city about three hours away from Banff. The view going from Calgary to Banff was a little preview of the wonders we were going to see inside the park. I mean just look at this!

Canada is so pretty!

After finally getting inside the park, we go on a moderate, yet rewarding hike, and saw some of the beautiful waters Banff is famous for. This is called Grassi Lake Hike, and I definitely recommend it because, in addition to this stunning view, you will also see waterfalls, creeks, and other lakes on the way up to the final destination.

The view at the top was only one of the many attractions on this hike!

Then, after going on a couple other hikes, we went to the iconic Johnston Canyon. I hear that it can get quite crowded during the day, but I went around seven at night, and it was raining pretty hard so we got the canyon mostly too ourselves. The trail is nicely kept up and is built so you can see the water in the canyon very well. Water falls, rocks, and creeks of crystal blue flow through the canyon and make a beautiful sight!

But perhaps the best part of this canyon is the secret cave, pictured below.

Johnston Canyon’s “secret” cave

This is the most captured spot in the canyon so I’m not sure if it is even a secret anymore, but stunning nevertheless. After you reach lower falls, you have to go off trail sometime to get to lower ground, and eventually the cave. YOU HAVE TO GO OFF TRAIL. We were confused and actually missed I think where a lot of people usually access this because we thought there was a trail leading to it. Well there is a mud trail, but not a paved, obvious trail. There are many ways you can come down here though and we found a small muddy and slippery passageway and made it to this cave. So stunning.

The next morning we showed up to Lake Louise at around 10 in the morning and got parking. This is an extremely rare circumstance, as in general, parking spots are VERY hard to come by after 7 in the morning, but since it was raining, we were able to find a parking spot, no sweat. Here is the amazing Lake Louise. Iconic, and totally deservingly so.

Even on a rainy day, Lake Louise is a beautiful teal and crystal clear.

From Lake Louise, you can walk up a tough, but again, very rewarding trail to Lake Agnes. The walk was pretty muddy and took about two hours to get up, but we were met with this stunning view which is supposed to look even better in clear weather. The magnificent glaciers surrounding the lake and the reflections, dancing on the surface, make the whole walk worth it. It even has a little (always busy) teahouse, with everything hiked up each day. It is very cozy, and offers every type of tea you can think of and simple sandwiches, pastries, and soups. I really recommend going up to Lake Agnes because it is simply so beautiful and remarkable.

Lake Agnes, one of my personal favorites!

After we ate at the teahouse and descended down to Lake Louise, we walked around the lake to admire it from every view. I recommend taking time at this iconic lake instead of just snapping a picture and going. Read about its origins and history, take a scenic hike, and access other lakes. You can honestly spend a whole day at Lake Louise if you take advantage of all its trails and its beauty.

Another beautiful and well-known lake was visited by us later that day. We went to the equally gorgeous Lake Moraine! This lake is deeper in color, a little smaller, and low-key, and super picturesque. I definitely recommend stopping by, and even maybe canoeing in it as it’s slightly less expensive than Lake Louise and such a pretty deep blue.

me @ Lake Moraine

The next day, we saw about a dozen more lakes, each more beautiful than the next!

Lake Minnewanka
cascade Pond: SO PRETTY!! it’s small but worth seeing

We also visited the cozy Banff town. This is a really nice town, featuring high-end stores like Lululemon and Patagonia which I find pretty remarkable in a National Park. There is a ton of variety of restaurants, but be prepared to wait as there are usually a lot of hungry visitors. A cool place to stop by at is Cow’s Creamery an ice cream shop, full of quirky cow inspired flavors (ex: Moo York Cheesecake and Cowconut Cream Pie)! I went there twice during my time in Banff because it was so good!


Going into one of the other National Parks I visited, Yoho National Park, we went on an all day hike to Lake O’Hara! This is a hidden gem, and would literally be the next Lake Louise if it wasn’t so inaccessible. You have to book tickets to the shuttle that take you to the base of Lake O’Hara months in advance and they sell out seconds after they go live. The alternative is walking 11 km. And that’s what my family did. We walked the boring, easy, but long hike there. However, the real fun does not start until you get out of the base. From the bottom, we walked 4 more uphill kilometers, reaching this beautiful birds eye view of the Lake O’Hara!

We went up to a higher lookout, but this is a good view of the lakes when we were about halfway up!

We also were able to see the stunning Lake Oberlin after hiking up a little further!

Snow, glaciers, and ice surrounded our trail as we made our way up to this pristine lake!

Lake O’Hara was one of the best experiences I’ve had. If you are moderately active and want to see this wonderful lake, I would suggest doing it, even if you have to walk the 11 km! It’s worth it and you feel like you’ve conquered a mountain after you’ve completed your 20 km total hike and hitch the shuttle back! (You can usually get a ride back even if you have not bought tickets in advance so bring some cash)

Another great lake we saw was Emerald lake, which is close to Lake O’Hara and great to visit if you don’t want to hike the long trail.


Moving on to Jasper National park, also pretty close to Banff. We saw many more sights, wildlife (three bears, a couple dozen cow elk, and a ton of bugs), and even did a star gazing event (cool, but don’t expect seeing a sky full of stars in the summer, when it barely even gets dark).

We went canoeing in Jasper, on top of the cool, crisp water, and surrounded by huge mountains.

Me and my sis having a fun time-jk my mom forced us to take this pic.

We also visited Lake Maligne, Jasper’s “Lake Louise.” We went on a boat cruise to Spirit Island, a remote and sacred peninsula. This is actually the place where Jasper got its fame. It is stunning and the boat ride there was relaxing and informative thanks to our guide!

Spirit Island in Maligne Lake!

Our time in Jasper was short but wonderous, visiting numerous lakes, hiking on interesting trails, and getting about a thousand mosquito bites. I have much more pictures but really then I would have to show you my whole camera roll of 1,000 pictures from this trip.

The drive from Jasper to Banff, or the Icefield Parkway Drive is one of the most spectacular scenic drives of all time. I personally really enjoyed it and seeing its diverse sights. One of the coolest things I saw on this drive was the Athabasca Glacier, a real life, glacier, majestic and glorious right in front of me. Pretty sick. you can even drive up there, like on the glacier, but it’s kind of terrible to do so and melt this natural wonder with the gas from your car and the heat from your body.


Another cool thing we did, was we hiked the Parker Ridge Trail. This was one of my favorite if not MY FAVORITE hike we went on this whole trip. Moderate level, with views the whole way up! We even saw some wild sheep!

My lovely family. Peep the huge glacier in the back!

Finally, one of the last Lakes we visited was Peyto Lake. A crazy blue lake, that looks almost unreal! The best view of the lake is if you walk through the loop trail but then break out to get closer to the lake. This is a more private and peaceful lookout of this beautiful body of water!

No filter or editing, it’s just this blue!


There were so many more fun things that we did and saw, this is just a sampler of Banff National park and its surrounding wonders! I really loved this trip and enjoyed all the beautiful hikes, and stunning waters. The only thing I have to say is: “Come see it for yourself one day!”





Hawaii Travel Diary

dear readers,

This post is approximately three weeks over due but… This winter break my family and I went to the Hawaiian islands, a set of tropical islands floating in the Pacific Ocean, about a five-hour flight away from SF, California! Because of its proximity to the equator and being surrounded by the ocean, Hawaii is a beautiful, warm paradise. I’m going to share my week on this beautiful island, documenting my amazing adventures, from clear blue waters, to tropical jungle, to live flowing lava, this was such a productive and fun trip to Hawaii’s big island!


day 1

we arrive in Hawaii (the island of Hawaii-or Big Island) at the Kona Airport. after picking up our rental car, we see that the island isn’t very lush or green, filled with lava rock barren landscapes. Unfazed by the extra terrestrial like landscape, we set out on our one week adventure with hope and happiness.


we stop for some Poke, a raw fish salad usually with rice and other sides served as an appetizer or main dish in Hawaiian cuisine.


We drive up the northern tip of the island seeing it get greener as we drive up, finally we reach the beautiful Waipio Valley. The view from the outlook is stunning.


finally we check into our bed and breakfast hotel on the east coast of Hawaii, a cozy place to stay that also provided homemade breakfast and a nice pool right in front of the ocean.

day 2


started the morning off by visiting the beautiful Akaka Falls. After a short, lush hike filled with exotic plants and mini waterfalls, we reach our destination, the grand Akaka falls!


Next, we stopped by to the Hawaii Tropical Gardens, full of blooming orchids and stunning ferns, perfect in structure.


Afterwards we drove up the shaky road to Mauna Kea, the highest mountain from base to peak in the world to see, I’m not kidding, a mountain of snow, and a gorgeous sunset view. Now I can say that I’ve seen snow, in Hawaii.

the view of the snow from my window

After being SHOOK from the snow, we had to turn back from the mountain because our engine gave out from our rental Jeep and we returned a little bit lower and watched the sunset. It was gorgeous.


day 3

A nice relaxing morning, spent at a local farmers market filled with fresh fruit like flavorful apple bananas, fresh and vibrant rambutan, and delicious Hawaiian street food.


In the late afternoon the real adventure began, a forty minute bike ride and hour hike to see live flowing lava. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but all I could say was my expectations were fulfilled and exceeded. One the way their, lava rocks like these were beneath our feet, swirly and outer space like


Finally, heat began to seep underneath our feet and the glow of lava became visible in the distance. Even though we were tired from the long bike ride and intense walk, we hiked up more lava rocks and eventually reached the beautiful lava, flowing right underneath our feet. This was definitely a highlight of this trip and a once in a lifetime experience.


day 4

We spent the day in Hawaii Volcanoes National park. To be honest, not much of a national park gal, and was not looking forward to this part of the trip, but was actually an interesting experience. I definitely preferred the lava flow hike than this park, but it was pretty cool to hike to the bottom of a crater, walk through a tunnel made by lava, and drive to the free ocean.

we hiked all the way to the bottom of this huge crater! This is the hike to do if you have limited time in the park.

Then, we drove to the west side of the island, the Kona-Kailua side filled with resorts and beaches!

day 5

We woke up bright and early in the beautiful city of Kona, bustling with tourists and activities, we drove out of the city and down to the southern most point of the USA, south point, and the beautiful green sand beach. Yes Green Sand. Hawaii island is home to one of the only four green sand beaches in the world. After the hot windy hike (yes it was long, boring), we reached the most beautiful beach, with blue blue waters and green sand!

after a tiring hike, this was the best destination, a small secluded beach with soft green sand


On the way back, it was getting hot so we hitched a ride with the many locals driving trucks to and from. It was definitely a bumpy ride but also a fun experience, the beautiful scenery on both sides of us as we rumbled along the nonexistent road.


Coming back home, we watched the sunset (and accidentally stepped on spiking sea urchins) at Kahul’ulu Beach. PSA: it hurts when you step on sea urchins! wear water shoes when exploring tide pools!

day 6


On day 6, we visited some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. First, we took a snorkel tour where we went on a boat and then sailed to a big reef. We water slid off the boat and began swimming. Fun fact: I am scared of fish which sounds dumb but its a real fear! I just am afraid of their slimy fins and little mouths. However, the fish were far away from me, more deep down in the reef, so I admired them from a distance. Another fun fact: my parents do not know how to swim, so even with three pool noodles, a snorkel, and a life jacket each, they struggled in the water, and even being in the ocean for ten minutes, got scared and had to swim back.IMG_0209.JPG

We then went back to the hotel and relaxed for a bit. Then, we drove up the coast and stopped by Manini’owali beach (Kua Bay) which I have to say was the most gorgeous beach I’ve ever seen. Clear waters, soft soft sand, rocky parts too made perfect for adventuring and exploring. The only thing was, this beach was pretty crowded.


Next we drove to Hapuna beach, a bigger and very popular beach, similar to Manini’owali, but, in my opinion, not as good. Still absolutely gorgeous and so fun to run into the clear waves. We kept driving up the coast and made a beautiful little valley right before the sky got dark, stopping for creamy macadamia nut ice cream on the way there, and seafood on the way back.


It was our last night in Hawaii.

day 7

This day was more relaxing, we spent the morning paddleboarding at our hotel’s beach, ate a delicious poke lunch and got ready to say bye to the big island.


First we made a stop at Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park oh the way back from the airport, and were greeted at the beach by sea turtles basking in the sun and swimming in the waters!

This was so cool since I LOVE SEA TURTLES THEY ARE SOSOSO CUTE, and I could see them up close (but not too up close, since law prevents people from going more than 10 feet from them.


Finally, it was time to leave, and now, reflecting on the memories, I wish I could stay there for another week or even longer, as there is just so much to do on the big island, and so many adventures still waiting for me, and such a positive vibe that I haven’t found anywhere else yet.


thank you so much for taking time to read my travel diary! If you have any questions, leave them down in the comments!

I hope you have a spectacular day!




Europe travel diary 2017

dear readers,

I’m back! After 3 weeks of traveling through Europe, I’m back home in home sweet home California. I love traveling because I feel like since we are only on Earth for a relatively short amount of time, why not explore it and maybe find ourselves while getting lost in the vast, beautiful world. Everytime I travel, I see and learn so much and I really wanted to share with you all the knowledge I’ve gathered in the three weeks I spent traveling through England, Belgium, Sweden and Iceland so i decided to share some pictures and experiences from my trip! Sit back, relax, and bon voyage!


London, England

I personally loved London so much! the thing that sets London apart from a lot of the other places I’ve visited is the fact that I would actually love moving to London. London is charming but also street smart. Classic but also up to date. We stayed in London for about 3 ish days.

arriving in London, we got hit by a wave of flocking tourists and experienced locals swarming all over the airport
for that first day, we just walked the streets of London. They were beautiful and filled with character and charm
Next place we went, after a good nights sleep, was Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards. *tip get there early since there is always a big crowd
Here they come!


we stopped for a sweet treat (on the 4th of July) at Crumbs and Dollies
and some shopping time at the BIGGEST LUSH IN THE WORLD. As a huge lushie I was so excited to explore this 3 floor Lush with exclusive products and a spa!
Trafalgar square was actually one of my favorite places because of the many street artists, relaxed vibe, and beautiful atmosphere!
The next day, we got up bright and early for a visit to the Tower of London! if you are interested in medieval European history, you won’t want to miss this stop!
Westminster Abbey was full of history as well. I personally love history so this was one of my favorite stops since you could really feel like you were in Medieval England
We didn’t get to ride the London Eye which I was fine with to be honest since it was a 30 minute ride.
Views like this made London such a magical place for me 🙂


Stratford-upon-Avon+York, England 

We decided to rent a car to get to these places but we got in an accident, don’t worry not a huge one, within our first 5 minutes of driving. My dad was not used to driving on the right side since we drive on the left in the USA and hit a curb, causing our tire to rip and deflate. So we scratched that plan and took public transport, the train! Stratford upon Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace was so cute and peaceful!

Anne’s (Shakesphere’s wife) cottage was so peaceful and beautiful. Perfect for a nice walk and a glimspe into Shakespeares life!
Mary’s farm is really fun (especially for kids), everyone is dressed like they’re from the 16th century, and there are many animals like this adorable sheep that came up to me

Next, we took the train to York, a town full of history.

these ancient ruins were spectacular!
the York minister was also stunning, we got to climb stairs up to the top to get a full view of York!
the view from the top!
sunset in the Shambles

back to London, and Brussels, Belgium

We made a quick stop back to London to then get on a plane to Brussels, Belgium.

enjoying our last day in London

Brussels was a quick stop, only one day, and then we rented a car to go to other places in Belgium. Brussels was a pretty pleasant city filled with the scent of waffles and historical buildings

the famous ‘Grand Place’
Of course we had to try some belgium waffles!


Ghant, Brugge, etc… little Belgium towns!

Somehow, the little towns we visited overshadowed Brussels with their character! We visited many of them and found that it was hard to communicate since most people spoke only French!


Luxembourg was really gorgeous! I was sick at my time during here but I loved this cute city (or actually country)
The views were seriously STUNNING!


Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm was stunning, I really enjoyed my day and a half there and I wish we spent a lot more time there.

The streets of Gamla Stan, old town. The streets are full of tourists, bright buildings, and character!
Took the ferry to see the city. The blue blue ocean and gentle breeze was so relaxing and added to the scenery!
The vasa museum is a MUST SEE!
I didn’t want to leave Stockholm!


Gothenburg, Sweden

My sister was playing in a soccer tournament in the town of Gothenburg so we spent 5 relaxing and fun days in Gothenburg!

Fireworks exploded, celebrating the opening of Gothia Cup! Hundreds of Teams from every country you can name watched as they sparkled through the sky!
a quick trip to a nearby island was definitely a highlight of Gothenburg! The beautiful island of Bruno was so peaceful and gorgeous!


taking a trip in a boat to the canals and harbor was so fun!


Copenhagen, Denmark

We spent less than a day in Copenhagen since we were catching a plane to Reykjavik, Iceland. However it was a great couple hours in this lovely city. It was rainy but that didn’t stop us from having fun!


Stunning buildings by the river!
The locks of love


Final stop: Reykjavik, Iceland

I was so excited about visiting Iceland! It was so remote and raw but that’s what made it beautiful. It was pretty chilly there, and rained

Iceland is full of gorgeous national parks
the hills were so green. this is the view from our rental car!
geysers galore!


the Blue Lagoon was a blast! So relaxing and a great end to the trip!
the view from the top: Reykjavik from the top of a church!


And then we headed home to sunny California! It was such a fun trip and I’m glad I got to give you a glimpse into it!

how has your summer been?








China Blog (days 24-27) *LAST ONE*

Day 24:

2:28 PM

Dear Grandma and Grandpa,

We came to visit you today. Even though I’ve never met you, Grandma, and only seen you once, Grandpa, I love and miss you so much. You’ve made me think about what I am supposed to do in life, and everything I do, I think of you in my mind. I wish that you both were still here with us. I know that you would be great grandparents because you have raised such a wonderful family. While we think of you each and everyday, you’ve taught us something. We need to respect and take care of our own parents. Everyday and moment counts. This is a lesson for everyone to respect everyone and to take care of everyone and yourself too.

We love and miss you. May you both rest in peace.


Your Grandchildren 

(奇奇 和 妙妙)

PS: I hope you receive the money we gave you.

6:36 PM

My feet hurt! We’ve just finished shopping. I did need some retail therapy. We didn’t get much, mostly just window shopped. a couple books, a present for my friend’s birthday, and a few cute stationary stuff was it. Now, we are planning to go to dinner. I hope it’s delicious!


Day 25: Wuhu day 4

12:32 PM

We are on rough road right now. We’ve been driving for a couple hours now to this place where we are supposed to hike. Ah, finally, smoother ground. It’s actually pretty nice here. Trees surrounding us, dirt roads leading to adventure, little white houses, and a peaceful creek filled with floating lily pads. There is a huge ditch we need to drive through. Oh god, I hope we make it out alive!

12:42 PM

We are probably one of the first people on this road, according to my mom. We’re pioneers I guess. Sweaty pioneers with a car.

2:33 PM

The hike started off great. It was pretty and breezy. The creek was fun to play and wade in. The trees provided tons of shade, and the hike was easy. It was quite relaxing just to listen to the chirping insects and the trickling creek. Then, it got hot. And uphill. And then we saw the giant, black butterflies. Then, everyone started to complain. It was a beautiful dream, turned into a nightmare. Right now, I’m just glad to be in an air-conditioned car. It feels like heaven.

11:01 PM

We went to Pizza Hut for dinner. It felt good to get some American food in my belly. Right now, I’m going to wind down and take a nice soak in the tub with the complimentary bath salts. I can’t believe tomorrow is our last day in China!


Day 26: Sick/Last (full) day in China

3:56 AM

It’s true, I’m sick. My stomach hurts so much and I can’t even try to go back sleep. I hope I make it through the day.

4:01 PM

The rest of my family is hiking while I stay at the bottom and rest. I’m still feeling pretty icky. I have a fever and my stomach is having pangs of pain. Oh wait, my sister is back! She’s usually the first one back from any hike. The mosquitos ate her alive! Her whole leg just looks like one big mosquito bite!

10:09 PM

I’m going to bed early. I already napped a ton today but I can still barely stay awake. I’m just going to choke down some medicine. See you tomorrow (I hope)!


Day 27: Goodbye China… Hello 12 hour flight!

5:24 AM

We are currently driving to the Nanjing airport. I’m feeling better but still a teensy bit nauseous. This was such a fun trip and I wish it didn’t have to end! Our flight is at 8:25 but it takes like an hour to get from Wuhu to Nanjing. We are going from Nanjing to Beijing, then hanging out in the airport for a couple hours. Finally, we’ll be off to California!!! While I loved China and all the adventures we had, I miss California so much. I’m excited!!

11:57 AM

We are currently getting ready to board our flight! I’m ready to binge watch on all the movies I’ve missed.

Goodbye China!


Don’t forget to check out all the other China Blogs!

China Blog (Days 21-23)

Day 21: Saying Goodbye

12:43 PM

We just left our grandparent’s home. As much as we complained about the heat and the stuffy rooms, we really will miss our grandparents, aunts, cousins, and uncles. Everyone is crying. It was great connecting to our family and getting to spend time with them since we don’t see them often. This might be, well, one of the last times we see our grandpa because he has heart problems. We need to cherish all the time we spend together and not take anything for granted. Now, we are headed to my mom’s hometown, Wuhu. Our flight is at 3:30. Fingers crossed, that we don’t have more airport troubles.

9:46 PM

We are finally in Nanjing. After we pick up our luggage, we are driving to Wuhu. It’s about an hour away. Then, we’ll say hi to family then go to bed. Luckily, we are going to stay at a hotel. No more crowded rooms and early wake-ups for us!

Day 22: Wuhu

8:20 PM

Right now, we are eating dinner with some of my mom’s classmates. Wuhu is really hot. Er, not hot as much humid. The humidity is making my skin so oily and my hair so frizzy. It’s great meeting my mom’s friends and family. We didn’t do much today, but we did shop a little. Vacation without shopping is unheard of! Then, we went to a spa with our aunt. We got our feet and backs massaged. It was so relaxing, especially since the building was air conditioned!

Day 23: Wuhu day 2

9:13 AM

Good morning!

10:09 PM

It’s been a good day. We went to a famous temple then had a nice lunch. I feel like I’ve eaten way too much this trip. I must of gained at least ten pounds! As soon as I get home, I totally need to hit the gym. Anyway, back to today. So after lunch, we went to this park which was really nice. From what I’ve seen, parks in China are much nicer and better taken care of. Next, we went to a museum which was interesting, even if I couldn’t read most of it! I just came from dinner and I’m super full! Oh and I got some shoes! They look sort of weird, but I probably shouldn’t have such high standards since I did get them in a Supermarket. I can’t really describe them but they do make me at least an inch taller! I feel so tall!


More China Adventures

China Blog 1-3

China Blog 4-7

China Blog 8-11

China Blog 12-16

China Blog 17-20

China Blog (days 17-20)

Day 17: Driving Back

12:49 PM

Now we are driving back to Grandma’s. Last night, it snowed. It’s July 7th and it snowed. How bizzare is that? As we drive back, we see green hills, covered in a thin film of powder, snow. And then vast mountains, with huge chunks of ice and mounds of snow, dotting it. More and more snow appears. Some people that we see, also travelers, are in awe. It’s the most snow they’ve ever seen in their lives, and it’s July.

12:55 PM

We’re apparently lost. I HATE OUR AUNT! While we scramble to find the roads and maps, she’s playing CANDY CRUSH. THE GAME CANDY CRUSH! And she stole our umbrellas. Okay, hopefully we make it to Grandma’s before sunset, but at this rate, I doubt it. (Especially if our aunt is just playing Candy Crush.)

1:11 PM

So we are lost. If we don’t take any food/gas/bathroom breaks, we will make it to Urimuqi at 2. TWO IN THE FREAKING MORNING! So we aren’t going back to Grandmas. We’ll stay at a hotel someplace along the way. Everyone’s yelling at each other, which is just wonderful.

Day 18: Home (finally)

7:38 PM

We finally made it home! Basically, we ended up staying at another hotel and it was actually really nice. It was in front of a river that was super pretty and clean! Then, we were back on the road! I actually have a funny(ish) story about today. So we were looking for lunch and we saw these little restaurants on our way. But our aunt said that there would be plenty of restaurants way cleaner and nicer if we just exited the free way and went to a city a couple miles away. We agreed, but realized there were no restaurants open except a couple. Further investigation lead realizing that all the nice, clean restaurants, were indeed closed. So after over an hour of searching, and still empty stomachs, we gave up and went back to the restaurant we first saw. Funny(ish) right? But that doesn’t realy matter. What really matters is, we are home! I’m so glad because I’ve actually kind of missed this place…

Day 19: Urimuqi 

10:34 AM

I just woke up. It’s kind of late, but I guess this is how vacation should be. Today, we are going to explore the city more, embrace the culture. Urimuqi is unique in the way that there are many more cultures surrounding us. Chinese people (known as Han Ren), live alongside Wei (Arabics), Mongols, and Russians. Today, we’ll get a better taste of the very different, but very interesting cultures that surround us.

7:36 PM

Right now, we are eating at a restaurant with my dad’s college friend. He was the one who gave my dad $300 to start a life in America. He’s very nice and the food is great! I’m stuffed, and there are still more dishes coming up. I’m still full from our late lunch. We went to Pizza Hut. I know, it’s kind of weird that we ate Pizza Hut, in China, but we were all kind of missing American Food. One can only take so much rice. To our surprise, it was much better than any other Pizza Hut I’ve been to! There wasn’t just pizza, there was also pasta, paella, cream of mushroom soup, shrimp fritters, and cheese cake to finish it off. And of course, there were icy drinks too: Frappucinos, milk tea, and fruity iced tea. After our meal, we went to the Bazaar! It was a huge marketplace, primarily filled with Arabics. There were little, bejeweled genie lamps, bright scarves, and dried fruit all around. We even bought some lavender soap! It was so wonderful and interesting to learn about other cultures here in China!

Day 20: Family Day

8:32 PM

Today was really fun!!! We spent the whole day with our family. First, we ate a great lunch together, at this really nice restaurant. Then, we went to a park. The park was so big! Way bigger than any park in our town. Next, we experienced the public bus. It is pretty intense. Everyone is standing up and smooshed up against each other. I mean, I need my personal bubble! And the smell! It smells like… Well let’s just say that a lot of people forgot to put on deodorant! The sweaty smell and crowded space was just about to kill me! Finally, it was time to go back home. Now we are chilling out a little, then we’ll probably play some cards, go to the park, watch TV with my cousin, and call it a day. I can’t believe it’s the last day in Urimuqi, I sure am going to miss everyone.

China (days 12-16)

Day 12: Urimuqi day 2

6:01 PM

So maybe having no good wifi connection is a bad thing. It puts everyone in a bad mood while we wait forever for things to load. Today was pretty fun though. First, we went to a fair nearby. I was surprised by how many rides there were, after all, last time we went (5 years ago) we didn’t see any rides except for one. There was a really fun roller coaster that we went on but it was really short. We also went on a water ride which was also pretty cool. It came with plastic rain jackets which we thought we wouldn’t need but after we came out, we were glad we put it on. The water splash was so fast and hard that it blew off my raincoat hood which I was tightly holding on to. We were so soaked! After drying off, we walked around in the city. I went to a nice salon to wash and style my hair because there is no shower in my grandparent’s house. Yesterday we just went to our aunts, but her place isn’t the best either. The shower is old and doesn’t really give hot water, or in some cases, any water at all. Got to go, catch up later!

Day 13+14: Urimuqi and beyond

4:09 PM of Day 14

I was way too tired to blog yesterday, so sorry. It was pretty chill, we just stayed home and relaxed. But I have good news! Okay, we are finally getting out of Grandma’s house today (and for the next couple nights). YES! YESYESYESYES! I mean I love my grandparents, but I haven’t really a good sleep since we’ve gotten there. For one, Grandma wakes up super early (at 6) and talks super loud. And I mean SUPER loud. It sounds like she is screaming 24/7. Second, my mom, sister, and I share this one stuffy room. It’s tiny and hot. My dad’s got it worst though. He has to sleep on the couch in the living room and is always awoken super early by Grandma. He’s sick right now and super spacey. I mean he overfilled my sister teacup with tea and 5 minutes later I asked if he knew where the tea came from that he spilled and he shook his head very crazily. I REALLY hope he feels better. Next, there is no wifi and showers at Grandma’s. This is a little inconvenient for obvious reasons. That’s why we have to go to our aunts to surf the web or shower. Finally, there is absolutely NO PRIVACY. The house is small and Grandma likes to just poke her head in randomly, even if one of us is changing. Anyway, we are on a road trip with our aunt’s family. I’m glad to be able to finally have some privacy and a good nights sleep. Right now, we are on the road! I’ll keep you updated.

Day 15: On the Road

11:34 AM

I don’t exactly know where we are, or where we are going but it sure is beautiful! Right now we are grabbing a quick lunch/brunch so I’ll just share some pictures from earlier today.unnamed.jpgunnamed.jpg

Day 16: Nalati 

9:28 AM

Finally I found out where we are! We’re near Nalati, a park full of beautiful scenery and meadows. Today we are going on a hike. I’m actually super tired because our hotel’s bed was really hard and uncomfortable. Hopefully, it will be a fun, relaxing hike!

It’s so beautiful here! The meadows and grasslands are so green and natural. Turns out we aren’t doing much hiking. Instead, we are on a bus that takes us to different parts of the park. Here is a picture of the beautiful landscape


11:20 AM

Right now, we a taking a quick break. I actually lost my sunglasses on the bus because I thought we were going back to it but we are at the last stop. We are waiting for my dad who is checking if my sunglasses are somewhere on the bus. Just enjoying the view with my family and it’s quite beautiful!

This stream is made from mountain snow. It’s been melted then trickled slowly into this stream. That’s why it’s so clear and clean. There are white dots in the back, and they are actually houses. Well little tents that some people call home. Okay I’ll talk to you soon, apparently I’m hogging the iPad.

1:48 PM

It’s cold and rainy…. My feet are numb.


Other China Adventures:

China Blog 1-3

China Blog 4-7

China Blog 8-11