Travel Thoughts

The past few trips I’ve taken, there’s been a weird transition between finishing up a vacation and sliding back into my normal routine. I’m caught somewhere in between. Before, it seemed so clear cut - “Ok vacation is over, now back to work,” and there I was, back in my normal routine as if I had never left. But over the past few years, I’ve started to become aware of my thoughts and dare I say it, feelings concerning the trip I had just taken.

I think it’s because after I finished my trip through Egypt, I knew that would be the last trip with my good friend Jarrett Wilde - we’ve been through something like eight countries together. Similarly, having just finished traveling with my brother, someone who I’ve seen once in the past six years, I find myself reflecting on our recent trip, much like I did with Egypt.

Did I do everything I wanted to do? Did I create a good travel experience for him? What would I have done differently? Did I say everything I wanted to say to him, not knowing when I would see him again? Was I a good travel partner and, more importantly, a good older brother?

Through all the trips I’ve taken, this trip was especially significant because I not only got to share my life in China with my brother but also travel to new places with him, allowing both of us to explore Macau and Sanya together for the first time. Plus, how often is it that you get to celebrate your brother’s birthday on an island in China?

Though sparse, I’m grateful for the time I get to spend with my brother, and I hope in the future, we’ll find more opportunities to experience new places together. Happy birthday, Mackenzie, and thanks for an awesome two weeks!

Macau

Macau is great. “Oh, it’s so tiny, it’s boring!” - Don’t listen to the haters. Macau is beautiful, and it has the same charm as Hong Kong and Taiwan, without being too overbearing. And yes, the Portuguese influence is alive and well. Everything is written in Portuguese and Chinese, and there were several Portuguese/Chinese restaurants throughout the city or region, or country, depending on your politics. 

The language thing was confusing. I initially kept speaking Mandarin but found that most people either had a super strong accent or didn’t speak it very well. I finally asked a lady at 7/11 what language people preferred, and she said: “We’re like HK, Cantonese first, then English, and maybe Portuguese if you can find someone.” 

Casinos. There are a ton of casinos in Macau, and although as extravagant and glamorous as those in Vegas, they are very, very different. First, Baccarat dominates about 90% of the floor space, along with the 3-dice game. Additionally, through a series of visits to various casinos, not all of them serve free alcohol. Some only have beer, some will only serve you if you have a ‘casino card,’ some will serve you but only every 30 minutes, and others will kindly shake their head and offer you tea or cola. 

Macau isn’t Vegas, but it’s fun, full of culture, and interesting to see thousands of Chinese people gamble sober. 

Sanya

As far as beaches go, sure, Sanya has one, but is it better than literally any beach in Southeast Asia? Hard no. I’m not sure what to say besides: Sanya is too Chinese and strangely enough, overly-catered to Russians. Everything is in Russian - the signs, restaurant menus, the people on the street offering massages even speak Russian. It was unexpected.

Additionally, the beach we went to had a large loudspeaker system that would play a Chinese mandolin song for about 15 minutes and then dive into a 5-minute speech in 5 different languages telling you to be careful in the water and to not leave your keys and phone unattended in case of “bad thieves.” It sort of ruined the relaxing aspect of laying out in the sun by the beach.

Shoutout to Atlantis Aquaventure Water Park, which was super fun. Both my brother and I hadn’t been to a waterpark in years, and it was awesome to re-experience that sense of adventure and adrenaline again. Our flights were in the late evening, so we had a day to kill after checking out of the hotel, and for anyone in the same situation, I’d highly recommend spending the day at the waterpark. 

Sanya

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Macau

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Day 4: Chilled in morning, went back to Mr. Shi’s and then took a taxi to airport to catch flight to Macau. Got in at 9pm. Went to gym, changed, then made our way to the MGM. Played slots and won 400 yuan. Placed it all on black and doubled it before headed back to hotel.

Day 5: Did some sightseeing around Macau. Hopped on a ferry to Shenzhen and flew to Sanya

Beijing Bros - Tiananmen

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Beijing Bros - Great Wall

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Day 3: Woke up early and went to the Great Wall (Mutianyu). It rained, but it wasn’t busy at all. Visited a jade workshop. Saw Ming Tombs and then did a tea ceremony. Bussed back into Beijing, then went to Ghost Street for hot pot. Loved it. Had some beers at QS, met up with Jaime, chilled in his courtyard, then someone suggested Sanlitun. Did a lap around Sir Teen nightclub, then had a drink on Migas rooftop before calling it a night. 

Beijing Bros

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Day 1: Got into Beijing. Checked out Houhai. Went to pool bar for some beers and several games of cutthroat. Met friends at Sidestreet. Chowed down on dim sum at Jin Ding Xuan. Decided that KTV was good idea and sang for several hours. 

Day 2: Had an early lunch and then cruised down to Jingshan park. Went to Nanluoguxiang walking street and did some jewelry shopping. Visited Llama Temple and then got in a quick workout. Went to Mr. Shi’s dumplings for a late lunch. Chilled for a bit and then had roast duck at Indian Chef Roast Duck Shop in Andingmen.

Xinhua News Agency Celebration

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Tree

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Everyone In China Right Now

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Peruvian Food In China

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Frozen Prisco sour, lomo saltado, and ceviche. Overall, the food was ok, but what really stood out to me were the prices. Lomo saltado, a staple of Peruvian food, was more than $20 in China when it would be no more than $3 in Peru. Would I go here again? Probably not. Hard to justify the prices and quality of the food compared to the real thing during my time in Arequipa. Had good interior design and good salsa music - although I wish it had more of a grittier style restaurant feel instead of trying to be “high-class” Peruvian food.

Without Question

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Chinese food is delicious and anyone who disagrees is a liar

Black And White Beijing

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Food Festival in 798

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Despite not taking any pictures of food, there really was a food festival. Everything outside just seemed better to take pictures of.

Friend’s Birthday on Great Wall

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Dinner Dinner

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Taobao Find Of the Day

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Cartoons of Beijing

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Found these on WeChat and thought they were super well done.

Chinese Food

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Summer Almost Over

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Bei Bei Beijing

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Less than a month until my brother arrives, along with millions of Chinese people all coming to marvel at the capital and take part in the 70th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. Oh joy…