People are always asking (and we are always thinking) about our next big trip. Well, this one has been sort of forced on us. But who can complain about having to go on vacation? So here is the story...
When we arranged our trip to Malaysia last June, Ryan didn't think he had any fieldwork coming up. Pretty much as soon as we had gone ahead and purchased our tickets to KL, Ryan found out that he had the opportunity to work in Thailand right before and concurrent with our trip to Malaysia. Not wanting to miss an awesome opportunity to work internationally, he called Orbitz and cancelled his ticket. He can use the value of the fare anytime within a year from the date we purchased the ticket (June 21) which is awesome. Here's the big catch though: it has to be on the same airline. And that airline is China Eastern Air. So our options are limited to China and a couple other countries in southeast Asia. And I am also limited by UW's academic calendar. Even for spring break I only have a few days off - since I'll have to grade final exams and turn in grades I won't be done until well into the break. That leaves us with June.
My quarter ends June 12 and our travel has to be completed by June 21. Crossing the international date line would leave us with only eight days in Asia. But we would much rather a quick trip halfway around the world than let Ryan's ticket go to waste!
We've been thinking we would go to Shanghai because China Eastern Air has a direct flight from Vancouver. The only problem is that we don't speak any Chinese and we don't know the first thing about how to get around or what to do in China. Usually I'm not too intimidated by traveling, but China is a whole new can of worms. My closest experience is the one day I spent by myself in Seoul returning from working in Russia. Somehow I imagine that doesn't compare at all.
Tonight we looked into flights to Hong Kong. They actually look quite promising. We could fly to Shanghai and then on to Hong Kong with only a short layover in each direction. A short trip (flight-wise) is an important criteria for our trip (short being relative). And well, Hong Kong is appealing because of the whole language thing. But is a giant modern city with tons of shopping really what we want for this vacation? I have a feeling our bills would add up staying in a city like Hong Kong for eight days.
We ordered a Lonely Planet book tonight so we can start doing some research. I know we have family and friends who have been to Hong Kong so we know where to go for good advice. Anyone been to or traveled around near Shanghai? We'd love to hear what it was like and how easy or difficult it was.
Unfortunately flying all the way back to KL to stay with Ann Marie is just out of the questions for such a short trip. My 40+ hour return adventure did a number on me. Next time I do a travel marathon like that I'm giving myself a week to recover. But we're still hoping that Ann Marie can meet us in China or wherever we decide to go!