Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Super Angie...Tiff tagged me

6 Facts/Habits about yourself

My Six

1. I absolutely love...this is hard. I can't just pick one thing....Figure Skating! I get so much joy from watching skating on TV, watching it live or just going skating. I love the smell of the ice rink and stroking around. I love to skate fast and hard and do big jumps. I love skating season on TV...its fun to cuddle up with my dh and comment on each skater we watch. His skating knowledge is growing pretty fast--impressive!

2. I don't care if.... my house is spick and spam. I go to other people's homes and there isn't a single thing out of place. You can't even tell there are kids there.

3. I love to .... travel travel travel. My favorite places are: in the USA--Keystone, CO, Grand Tetons area, and Redmond, WA. Outside the USA--Munich, Germany, Tokyo, Japan, and Beijing, China.

4. I play... hmmm.... I play rock climbing? That doesn't even make sense. lol But I do love rock climbing and I love how fit I have gotten since I started climbing. Down two dress sizes!!!

5. I have a horrible habit of.... biting my nails. I think its stress related....

6. I love to....blog. I am so addicted to blogging. I love to re-read what I have written. Its good therepy for me. My kids also love to look at my blog and see all the photos. :)

I tag Emily, Rick and Tara.

-- Super Angie

Monday, October 29, 2007

Super Angie...one last thanks

A special thanks goes to my darling, loving Husband, Rick. Thanks hon for taking the kids and telling me to get my butt on that plane. This was such an amazing opportunity. I am thankful that we can share dreams together and support each other. It was comforting knowing you were praying for me while I was gone.

I love you,
Super Angie

Super Angie...China report. 11...day 6

Tuesday...our departure day. The elevators took WAY TOO LONG...I stood waiting for 20 minutes by the elevators on my floor. They wouldn't even stop! Just kept passing us by. Finally, I walked down to the lobby and then road back up from the bottom, held the door as I grabbed my luggage from my floor's lobby and then continued to ride the elevator all the way to the 22 floor and then back down. Some folks on my tour had to walk down with their luggage...all the way from the 20th floor!!!!

Tom and Master John (our driver) took great care of us, and we arrived at the airport on time. Check in was rather easy, except I had to pay extra because one of my suitcases was over weight. I could have just shifted stuff around to my other suitcase, but there were so many people checking in and not enough room, so I just paid the $26 and that was that.

The flights home were uneventful. I had my aisel seat (YEA!!!!) but there wasn't a phone in the seat, so no calls home or text messages. :( Oh well. It was only 10 hours to LA, which was nice.

I loved this trip to China. The tour group was great. I made some fabulous, hopefully life long friends. Our guides, Alicia, and Tom were wonderful. I loved Tom's passion for his city and also appreciated that he knew and understood that we wanted to shop too. Alicia really cared about each person on the tour and helping them with their shopping needs. Alicia picked the best jeans for me and I really enjoy wearing them--I look so different in "good" jeans. The culture, the people, the shopping, the places...everything was wonderful. (I even got used to the toilets! lol)

How blessed and lucky I have been in my life. I have traveled to 5 continents in my short 31 yrs. (haven't been to South America or Antartica). I have met incredible people and shared my journeys with many loved ones and friends. I am thankful and just dang lucky that my dad's job has taken him to Germany, Australia and now Russia, so I have a reason to visit those places and a place to stay when I go. While my parents lived in Germany, my mom and I had so much fun traveling around Europe. I love hearing about places my dad has been too...he really has opened my eyes to the world. I love learning about my heritage and then going to those places (haven't been to England yet though). I've been lucky to get cheap flights that have allowed me to go places like Tokyo. I am thrilled that my husband and children share a love of traveling--whether its a 10 hour plane ride, or an hour car ride around town, we love traveling together and exploring. I love traveling, plain and simple. I love talking about traveling, reading travel books and watching travel shows. Its in my blood, just like scrapbooking or baking might be passions for others--traveling is my thing.

Lastly, I want to thank The Lord for blessing me with so many things. I don't take my traveling for granted, but realize its a gift from Him. I am thankful that I was born and raised in the USA. I am thankful for my freedoms--especially religious freedoms. I have so many things in my life that so much of the world could only dream about having. I am blessed so much.

One last thing...if you are just now starting to read my blog...you may want to go to the index on the right side and start with China Report 1.

PHOTOS: Tom and I at the airport.
--Super Angie

Super Angie...China report. 10...day 5

Monday was our last full day in China. A big group of us decided to go shopping (others headed to the zoo or elsewhere in town to site see). I saw Sally and Lisa again. Sammy and Lilly had some jewelry waiting for me, so I visited them too. I had a drink at Starbucks (hot chocolate...really warmed me up) and sat with my friends in McDonalds.

I tried on (and eventually bought) the Concubine hat. LOL And then my friends wanted me to try on other hats and they taught me how to pose. It was funny. One of them (I don't know her name) had pictures of a famous Chinese film star wearing the same hat, so she wanted me to pose just like her. We had a great time joking around. It was sad to say goodbye. *crossing fingers I get to return next year!!**

We went as a group to an Acrobat show. I loved the show a lot, but I always have enjoyed seeing people bend themselves up into strange shapes and do inhuman things. My kids would have loved the begining of the show when the dancers came out with a big Chinese dragon. Very very cool!!!

PHOTOS: 1st.Me and Lisa . 2nd: Sally and I. 3rd: Sally wearing the concubine hat 4th:Me wearing the concubine hat and doing a pose they told me to. :)
5th. me posing like the movie star.
--Super Angie

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Super Angie...China report. 9...day 4...part four!!!!

Okay, after a wonderful day of Church going, Rickshaw riding and shopping, I decided it was time for a change. I wanted to be daring and get my hair cut. I talked to Tom, who informed me that right next door to our hotel was one of the most popular hair salons in the city. And just my luck--open until midnight.

I told Bre, who agreed to come with, so off we went.

We entered and made the universe sign for hair cutting--you know, making your fingers look like scissors and then cutting your hair. It worked and we were walked into a room away from all the normal customers. It was very clear that these two American girls were not normal. We were giggling like 7th graders who just got passed a note during band class!! How would I describe what I wanted? We asked for a book (again using sign language). We found some pictures, but were saved by the bell--so to speak--when a lady appeared who spoke a bit of English. I showed her how I wanted my hair stacked in the back and longer in the front. She brought in a cute girl with the style and I said, "yes!!!". Okay, good deal.

Then this guy appeared with a bottle and put a cape on me and a towel and started washing me hair...while I was sitting in the chair. Very strange and different.

Then they walked me over to the washing station and rinsed me.

Then to another room and the hairwasher guy brought in this other guy and he started cutting.

Bre had a blast saying, "Where is the bathroom?" and "My name is____" in chinese. This kept them entertained (Hey look, the silly American girls can say two things in Chinese!!!). Word got around and suddenly we were like two Americans in a zoo---people wanted to see us. The room got packed. I greated them all with a Ni Hao (which made them all laugh).

Then my hair cutter dude started singing along to the radio. So we started singing too. Great fun.

Bre got the idea to give us Chinese name and give the two guys American names. Derek and Mikey. They seemed to like their names and would occasionally copy something we said in English, like "China is a cool" --" Cool!!!" they would say. "This is so Awesome"-- "Awesome" they would say.

In the end, I got a fabulous hair cut and had a wonderful time. What an experience!!!!

Photos: 1st: Me with my cape on. 2nd: washing my hair. 3rd: rinsing. 4th: with Dereck and Mikey.

Super Angie...holy freakin crap. guess what!

So, this is taking a short break from my China report-- I'm not done yet-- BUT I just had to write.

Since March/April when I started rock climbing, I have lost 25 lbs and am now down to a size 8. I have not been that size since Junior high! SERIOUSLY!!!!! OH MY GOSH.

Hip Hip Horray.

--Super *skinny* Angie

Super Angie...China report. 9...day 4...part three!

I forgot to mention that day 4 was Sunday. A group of us went to the international LDS branch in Beijing. We had a wonderful time. I didn't take a picture of the building (if you have been to the ward in NYC downtown where the temple is, you can picture this building--very similar). There was a dairy queen in the lobby. Lots of security to make sure only those with foreign passports went to church (they didn't check our passports, but they could tell we weren't chinese).

We only attended Sacrament meeting, which was very cool. The man who gave the opening prayer did so in German, so afterwards, I went and talked to him. Boy was my German rusty. But none-the-less, we had a good time speaking. He is from Wesel which is by Kleve, where I spent a summer with Knut's family. Very small world. Another lady, maybe Japanese?, came up and spoke German to us as well. Her German was much better then mine. Ah man..I am so rusty. But none-the-less....Ich weiss dass mein Erloser lebt.

The ward members were very much like other international ward members I have met--very happy to have visitors. I spoke to one lady who lives on a compound--sounds like Rosinka in Moscow, Russia. Interesting life. Wish I could join them. There is something so comforting to me about going to church outside of Utah--no offense to my church friends here. I just love it over seas.

--Super Angie
PS...a special message was read at the end of the meeting. I don't know how appropreiate it is to share it here where everyone can read it. If your curious, email me and I'll fill you in.

Super Angie...China report. 9...day 4...part two!

After the fun ride, we took off for Silk Ally to do some very serious shopping. This is where I had the most fun. Its not just because I got jeans for $12 each, and another fabulous purse, but because of the friends I made.

Silk Ally is just like Ya Show Market--big building, lots of floors and escalators, with tons of stalls in side--selling everything you could possibly want. Alicia has become friends with Sammy and Lilly who make custom Pearl jewelry. Talk about GORGEOUS (the girls and the pearls!). Sammy and Lilly had smiles that lit up the place. They were so kind and generous and truely good people. I would go back to them in a heartbeat.

While shopping, I needed to buy some scarfs to take back as gifts. I found a stall and along with Connie and Joan, started to barter. We got a great price and the girl was so sweet. Her name is Sally. I just adore Sally and her business partner. So afterwards, we ran up to Sammy and Lilly and bought Sally and partner a strand of pearls. When they recieved their gift, they were so thrilled that they gave us each a gift. SOOOO SWEET!!! (I went back the next day to Silk Ally to shop and Sally recognized me and gave lots of hugs. I hope she writes me--she has my email addy.)

Next to Sally's shop was a silk shop with Chinese clothes. Joan and I wanted some little kid's clothes, so we started bartering. Thats when we became friends with Lisa. Again...such nice people.

I really miss these friends I made in Silk Ally. Yes, my new jeans ROCK (I look like I lost 10 lbs!!!) and I love all the other things I found there, but these friends were so sweet...I hope I get to return and see them again.

PHOTOS: 1st: Sammy making me something. 2nd: Sammy and Lilly's sign. 3rd: Sammy (left) and Lilly (right). 4th: Connie, Sally, Me, Sally's partner, and Joan. 5th: Sally and I (with her cute scarfs in the background).

--Super Angie

Super Angie...China report. 9...day 4...part one!

After a wonderful day on the Great Wall, we spent day 4 having a blast back in Beijing. We took a Rickshaw ride. TALK ABOUT FUN!!!

Connie and I rode together in rickshaw number 10. Our driver must have thought we were nuts. We had fun saying Ni Hao to everyone we rode past (especially the little kids and other people). We also had a blast with the street sellers. They would ride their bikes right next to us the whole time, rattling off what they had to sell. "Gucci Gucci!" they would yell. Well, we started yelling it back, but giving a ridiculously low price. They thought that was fun and we enjoyed playing this little game together. (In the end, we did buy stuff from them and got a good laugh!)

It was enjoyable to ride through the Hutongs. This is a very old part of Beijing, with tiny streets and interesting housing--all grey. We learned that now it is kind of trendy to live there and some famous singers and actors live there, but the Hutongs are being torn down except for one section that will be spared. Its sad.

We met a man, nick named "Mr. Cricket" because he likes to fight crickets (we saw and learned all about Crickets in his house). It was interesting to go inside his house--Christmas decorations left up from last year (we learned they like Christmas because "the Americans celebrate it").

While leaving Mr. Cricket's house, and walking back to our parked Rickshaws, I saw a darling shop, and being the shopper that I am, I ran inside, found a very cute knitted hat and proceeded to buy it. The shop keeper didn't speak any english and didn't want to take US dollers. Lucky for me, there were two adorably sweet Chinese girls in there shopping who spoke fantastic English and helped me out. I got the hat and off I went.

At the end of the tour, I bought another "Gucci Gucci" bag from the street seller and had my picture taken with him. We were both laughing the whole time!

The Chinese people are incredible. I am so thankful I was able to go on this Rickshaw ride....and thankful I could go to China.

PHOTOS: 1sT: two girls in the shop that spoke English. 2nd: interesting roof lines and bright colors of the Hutongs. 3rd: Elderly folks enjoying the sunshine. 4th: me with my new hat on, with the "Gucci Gucci" guy! 5th: Old truck shell placed over a bike. 6th wash hung out to dry (loved the vibrant colors against the grey Hutongs buildings). 7th: door way. 8th: markets in the Hutongs. 9th: Connie and I sitting in our Rickshaw. 10th: others from our group riding along. 11th: cute building (looks like China town, huh?)

--Super Angie

Super Angie...China report. 8..funny signs

Always a Starbucks...

Look! Its the American Embassy!

In case you are wondering, they are renovating The Great Wall of China!

Don't use your phone on the Great Wall when there is a storm!

Why is it that other countries have such cool signs and pictures?

No joking matter! This was a 4 star bathroom...very important!!

No Striding. But Sauntering is allowed....

Cute Asiana Airlines Sign

LOOK! There ARE things made in the USA that are imported to China!! (found at a McDonald's)

Make sure to leave your Nukes in the car. They aren't allowed at the Hard Rock Cafe!

Cute picture!

Bless their hearts. They do try to get English grammer right.

I have no idea, but thought these big blow up dolls were cute.

With this tour company, you too can learn how to Impress China!

I will continue my trip reports later today, but for now will just post funny photos of funny signs I saw on my trip.

--Super Angie

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Super Angie...China report 7...cheap travel

So, people have been asking me about the trip and how they could go on such a trip...

I did this trip through Morris Murdock Travels.
They have great tours of China for very reasonable prices. My tour was around $1400 all inclusive==hotel, flight, tour guide, enterance fees, most meals. For those who don't price airline tickets, please note, this is very very cheap. ( Sometimes it can cost just that much for a ticket to Asia!!!) My tour guide for this was Alicia Richmond. Alicia will be going to China again next year. Check out her website and Morris Murdock for info on that. Rick, Dallin and I will be going with her on one of her tours next year (had so much fun, I just gotta take Rick and Dallin with), so if you want to go, stay in touch and we can party down in China together! :)

Angie's travel tips: If going on an organized tour isn't your thing (its not my thing for when I go to Europe, but China is a different story and I highly recommend it), you can find cheap flights so you can do the trip on your own. If my family were up to flying next weekend, we could go to Frankfurt, Germany for $260 each way!!!! You just need to know where to look for flights.

"Angie, where do I look for those dang cheap flights?" --visit the webpages for different airlines. Don't just pick United and other traditional American airlines, but also visit SAS, BA, Asiana Airlines etc... dig around on their websites and you will find a spot that allows you to recieve emails from them. Each week or so, you will get emails with fabulous deals (maybe something funny like $39 RT , SLC to Fargo, N.D. or it may be something cool like $400 RT Las Vegas to Tokyo, Japan).

The key is being flexible and willing to fly when the airlines offer something good. Obviously, traveling during Thanksgiving Weekend or Springbreak will cost more then flying the second weekend in March or something.

Anyway, travel is awesome and amazing. Give it a try...sign up with different airlines and you may find yourself on a 747 jetting off 11 timezones away. :)

Cheers and Happy Travels!
Super Angie

Friday, October 26, 2007

Super Angie...China report 6...SHOPPING from Day 2

At the end of day 2, we went to Ya Show market and did some damage. Alicia got us great deals on luggage, which came in handy. You haul it around the market and put all your stuff in it. I got a ski coat for myself and the boys, plus a soft shell coat for Rick, Tyler at the gym and myself. Two purses and my flowered trench coat. What a fun day!!!

"Hey Lady...you want a purse? I can give you great deal"
"$10 US"
"Oh lady...you got to be joking. I give you great deal. $80!!"
"$10 US"
"Lady! Are you serious? Listen, real leather! Lady, give me serious price"
"$12 US"
"No lady...we are friends. I give you special price... $50 Special price cause we are friends"
then you walk away and as you are walking, you haggle some more and then get the purse for $20 or less! LOL Its great fun!

--Super Angie

Super Angie...China report 5... day 3.. part two!

After Ming Tombs, we went to the Jade factory, had a quick tour, ate our lunch fast and then went shopping!!! Jade is so pretty but also kind of pricey. I bought a Ball of Happiness. (Dang it, I didn't take a picture of it. Click on this link to see one). The ball is down at the bottom of the page. It symbolizes your family generations. Very cool. Because I bought a huge one, the lady gave me a great deal on the smaller ones. YEA! (Christmas presents!!!)

After this, we set off for the trip of a lifetime...to visit the Great Wall of China!!!!!!!!!!!!

I started crying when I first saw we were approaching it. Amazing, simply amazing. Took my breath away. I highly recommend visiting it. Again, like standing on Red Sqaure, or seeing the Opera House in Sydney....so fantastic!!! I will let my pictures speak for themselves.

Photos: 1st: Joy and Rodger hiking the wall... look how happy they look! 2nd: steep stairs. Check it out. The wall is soooo steep. I can't believe Maddie and Colton basicly ran up the thing (and Connie too!!). 3rd: Me and Young (I don't know how to spell her name. She was our tour photographer. She made an awesome DVD for us of our trip as well as printed up great pictures of us. I love the one she took of me on the wall. I don't have it scanned yet though, so its not posted here.). 4th: Uneven steps. 5th: The Great Wall...a gorgeous view! 6th: the locks. You are supposed to buy a lock, have it engraved, lock it to the wall (with your loved one) and then together, throw the key into the woods. I didn't do it because I hope to come back with Rick next year. The great wall was a bit sad for me actually. Everyone had a partner to walk up it with except me and I was missing Rick the whole time. 7th: Me posing (doing the Japaness "peace" pose they all do). Love me hat and my coat and my new red Purse! YEA!!! 8th: another view of the wall....

--Super Angie

Super Angie...China report 5... day 3.. part one!

I woke up early on Day three (well actually because of Jet Lag, 5:30 was pretty much the norm) and headed down to the park nearby to do some Tai Chi. Dave and Joan and I met up, and then found Connie in the lobby, so together we all went. Dave and Joan do Tai Chi back home, so they were totally excited to go.

We found a group of older ladies who we joined. They were thrilled to death that a bunch of Americans had joined their group. A friendly smile and a Ni Hao were all it took to fit right in. After that group, we found another group with music...us ladies jumped right in and started doing the little dance while Dave took photos (THANKS DAVE!).

I really enjoyed watching the guys who were hanging out under the trees in the park . These guys were doing, what I think was Kung Fu like Rick and Art do. It was really spectactular and I really wished I could have beamed Rick right over...he would have loved it. So, honey, I was thinking of you the whole time! On the other side of our hotel, I found a group of ladies doing stuff with fans. I joined them a bit and they told me I was Beautiful. They were so wonderful. I can truely say, I love these people!!!

We started the day by visiting the Cloisonne factory. What beautiful but totally expensive stuff!! The factory tour was interesting. The buildings were totally Soviet. (Connie who has traveled a ton in Eastern Europe thought so too. "This looks like Russia" she commented) I took a picture of the door, wall and ceiling in one of the rooms so you could see how run down it was. Very much like Eastern Europe. :( I bought a few things (again, Christmas presents so I can't say what) and used the awful sqauter toilet...but when you gotta go...

Then we went to the Ming Tombs. Along the way, we passed by tons of fruit stands. I enjoyed seeing the pumpkins. (Love Pumpkins!!!) At the Ming tombs abunch of us bought Chinese straw hats. I LOVE my hat. Seriously, its one of my favorite things. I plan on wearing it on hikes. I took it on the airplane with me...I am so cool! lol The Ming Tombs were cool, but not so fantastic that I would go back (if I had a choice). But the hat was fun to buy there. :)

Saw lots of Communist style Statues around town...made me think of Moscow or Budepest.

Photos: 1st: Connie and Dave doing Tai Chi. 2nd: Me (in blue coat I bought at the market...I forgot to blog about that...will do that in a seperate one) dancing. 3rd: Ladies with Fans. 4th Cloisonne Factory--notice how run down it is. 5th: Joan and I at Ming Tombs (sorry photos are out of order). 6th: Fan Ladies (aren't they so cute!!!!) 7th: group of us at Ming Tombs with our hats. from Left to Right: Joan, Alli, Me (in new coat from Market), Bre and Sam 8th: Cloisonne Factory workers. 9th: Communist Statue. 10th: Ming Tombs 11th: Pumpkins for sale

--Super Angie

On Belay

On Belay
Brennan Top Roping

Climb On!

Climb On!
Dallin top roping