Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday and Saturday, February 22 and 23rd: Xiamen

After a 4 1/2 hour flight from Nashville to Los Angeles, a 13 hour layover allowing us to rent a car and drive and walk around the beautiful beach and explore Hollywood and Beverly Hills, we left for Guangxhou, China at 10 p.m. On Wednesday, February 20th and after a 15 1/2 hour flight with lots of leg room thanks to bulk head seating, we landed at 5:00 a.m. On Friday. We connected immediately with our final flight to Xiamen, just a 1 1/2 hour flight away. Fortunately we got about 5 1/2 hours of sleep throughout our journey, more than we typically get when flying with kids. Kris'' friend picked us up at the airport and took us to his apartment where we could finally shower and get ready for lunch. We met up with another family Kris spent lots of time with while he lived in Xiamen for two years (2001-2003) and had an excellent lunch with lots of our favorite Chinese local dishes. We walked around the campus where Kris studied Chinese for a year and got to share with countless students during English corners and basketball games while hanging out with students. There have been lots of changes to the campus, but he still recognized lots of places where many memories where made. We then went around his old neighborhood, seeing his first apartment, the front door he had replaced that was still there, his favorite fried rice hole in the wall restaurant which is now under new ownership, the local Buddhist temple covered with tourists from around East Asia who were praying to a god who can not hear or see them, and then up a mountain behind where he lived to see views of the city he has always loved and had a burden for. We went to bed at 8:00 because we were about to pass out due to jet lag, but got about 8 hours of sleep during the night and feel so much better. Today we will meet up with more friends, get train tickets for tonight, go to a nearby island where he spent lots of time, and leave after dinner for Fuzhou. Tomorrow is Gotcha Day!

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