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Goodbye for Now

sunny 9 °F

So, it's about 5 o'clock in the morning on the 15th of December, and I, for some reason or another, have decided to spend my last few moments in China writing on this blog. Gotta love procrastination...

It has been an absolute dream to come and live here for 6 months, study some of the time, party some of the time, and wander all of the time. Coming here originally wasn't my first plan, or my second, or even my 17th, but you know what they say about that 18th option, it's always the one that works out best. Well, my Chinese father is gonna take me to the airport, where I fly into Tokyo, and then catch a flight into LA, about 1 hour after I leave. So for all of you who didn't come to visit me, thanks a lot, you were only about an hour away the entire time, jeez...

The study tour was definitely a success, but for whom, I'm not so sure. We first went to Xi'an, where we saw some ancient terracotta warriors(cool), and then had a lecture on Islam in China(not cool. Who wants to do learning on a 'study' tour?). After Xi'an, we then flew into Chengdu, which is in the Sichuan province. After going to a panda research center, I have decided that either: a) I once was a panda in a previous life, b) If I were any creature in the animal kingdom, I would probably be a panda, or c) If there was a breakthrough scientific development that allowed humans to change into pandas, I would seriously consider it. They have the best life. Not only do they eat 20 hours out of the day, but they are treated like royalty, and even get help mating! How cool is that?! After mental updating my life goals in Chengdu, we headed down to Leshan to see a giant Buddha carved in the side of a cliff. It apparently took a single monk 20 years to beg for the money to get the project started, and then once that was completed, he decided to build it himself. Good plan, dude. Guess what? He didn't finish. All bitter sarcasm aside, it was an impressive structure, and I have to admit, his fingernails were well groomed. I'm sure his Buddha mother would be proud. Later, we landed into Lijiang and stayed in an old village-town. I'm not sure exactly what it is, hence the hyphen. It was great to stay there and explore the village-town's winding paths and waterways. We would take excursions during to day around the area, and then return at night. It was fun. At present, that is all I remember about Lijiang, more to come later. We then went to Dali, which was kind of a bummer because that town really sucked. Not to hate on Dali, but it sucked. It was like a knockoff version of Lijiang, just with more hookers and less village-towny vibe. Food was good though, remember writing that down somewhere...

This is where the story gets good. So, we're on our way to Kunming, when we stop for a break, and to get some food. So, everyone decides to get some dumplings, which happens to be my favorite Chinese food. I mean everyone. Low and behold, hours later, the vomit starts to...start (eww, that was ugly), yours truly amongst the trailblazers. So, instead of being able to see the wonderful city of Kunming, I was the wonderful view of the toilet...and the trashcan...and the sink...By the time we got back to Beijing, close to 84% of the people on the trip had gotten sick from those dumplings. All in all, it was a great ending to the study tour, quite memorable.

We had our farewell dinner the Saturday after we got back, so it was nice to see the teachers and all, but I don't really feel that sad, as I will be coming back next year. Actually, that's not certain, but I like to tell myself that so that I believe it's real, just like I tell myself that Santa Clause still exists. Trust me, it's crazy enough to work. Right now, I've got a lot of maybe's and probably's for internships in Beijing next summer, but hopefully things will start to materialize in the spring.

Well, thank you so much for putting up with me throughout the course of this blog, after getting over the shock of the sheer atrociousness of my writing, there was probably some good things to laugh at me about. It's been a long time away from home, and I'm ready to go back, while at the same time am looking forward to my return trip here. I look forward to seeing all of you who are still reading this, so Mom, I guess that just means I'm talking to you. Wow, I just realized that I could of done all of this in an email. Great work, Ben...Anyways, this is the end of my travel blog for this year, but come back next summer for another (un)exciting round of Ben's China Adventures, and see how his (lack of)adventures are the second time around!

Hoping the flight back home was a well-stocked wet bar,
Ben

Posted by bengully 13:04 Archived in China Tagged armchair_travel

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WELCOME HOME BEN!!!!!

by Gong and Bop

hahahahahaha...I always read your blog..and the gongs and bops, and dad, and conrad, and peter...so you have a nice little following....

by Anna

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