2/4/10: Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Japan
This is the first regional summary that hasn’t covered one continuous period of travel, but we honestly had no idea what to with this hodgepodge of stereotypical Asian countries, so we’ve decided to throw them into a stew of leftovers and see how it tastes.
Top Five To-Dos
- Pet baby pandas at the Shaanxi Rare Wild Animal Rescue and Research Center (but only if you’re lucky)
- Spend a few hours in a traditional Japanese hot spring
- Ride a major metropolitan subway during rush hour and see if you’re able to get off at your stop
- Experience historical China, including climbing the Great Wall and viewing the terracotta warriors
- Visit one of your best friends who happens to live in East Asia
Top Five Don’t-Dos
- Visit Beijing in the middle of winter
- Breathe in the cloud of smoke coming from most Tokyo Pachinko and slot rooms
- Eat Mexican food – authentic food in this part of the world is cheap and scrum-diddly-umptious
- Buy the 3-day MTR all-you-can-ride tourist pass in Hong Kong
- Attempt to look online at cute puppies in Beijing, the government doesn’t allow it
Top Five Things We Learned
- It seems that every major attraction in China has a greatly reduced student entry price. If you’re traveling with a student card don’t get too excited though – the discounts are for Chinese students only the IYTC card doesn’t work in China.
- The underground mall in Taipei is more confusing than a Nebraskan corn maze. Every stall looks the same as the one before it, and every turn you make moves you one step closer to never seeing the light of day again. Be sure to drop bread crumbs behind you, or you will get lost in Taipei’s underground mall.
- It seems like every Tokyo tourist spends some time at the famous Japanese hot springs. Who doesn’t want to sit naked in the tub with countless same-sex strangers? Allen Iverson be wary: at most of them, a tattoo means no bath for you.
- We’ve been to Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City, but we quickly found out the populations of these cities pale in comparison to the major metropolitan areas we’ve visited recently. From Hong Kong to Taipei to Beijing to Tokyo, big cities in East Asia will redefine your definition of crowded.
- This one doesn’t really apply to a lot of people other than my brother and me, but we shouldn’t pretend to be Chinese in China like we do in America. Real Chinese people can spot a halfie from two towns away.
Kevin and Zhou’s Top Five Favorite Pictures
- Total days: 23
- Days over budget: 8
- Days under budget: 15
- Total dollars under budget: $249.29
- Combined number of meals eaten at Popeye’s in the Hong Kong airport: 3
- Combined number of fast food meals eaten anywhere else: 0
- Friends and family members visited: 16
- Number of times Zhou slept in while Kevin went sightseeing: 1
- Times Kevin spoke Chinese to a stranger (other than saying “bu yao”): 2
- Square footage of bedroom in JGH Hostel in Tokyo: 36
- Combined length of head massages Kevin gave baby pandas, in seconds: 150
- Estimated wind chill at the Great Wall: -40 degrees (Celsius and Farenheit!)
Picture of the Day: Sydney tourists apparently become so dumb from all the surfing that they need direction as to which landmarks to take pictures of. There’s one over here!