Back Home, Finally!

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Finally, we're on our way home. We didn't have time to do anything while we were in Hong Kong except sleep. We got in at nearly 8:30 last night and then had to get our hotel room and eat dinner. This morning, we woke up, took our showers and ate breakfast. We had to leave the hotel by 10:00 to go to the airport by taxi. The stores in the mall that we had to walk through to get to our hotel didn't open until 10:00. The railroad station isn't downtown, so we didn't get to do any shopping or see the real Hong Kong.

We left the hotel and all got in one taxi as well as our 3 large suitcases and our 5 carry-ons. We didn't think that it would all fit in one taxi, but it did. As we started driving to the airport, I realized this is the first place we've been that they drive on the left side of the street instead of the right side. The driving here in Hong Kong is a lot more calm like it is in the US. Driving through town, there are a lot of very tall buildings and we also went past a very large harbor. I think it would be neat to have the chance to actually get to see Hong Kong sometime, but I'm ready to get home now.

The trip home was pretty uneventful. Tyler did very well on all of the flights. He decided he didn't like being strapped in about 3/4 of the way through our 13 hour Pacific flight and cried for a couple hours because we wouldn't unbuckle him, but other than that he did great. We ended up getting back to Omaha just before midnight the evening of the 25th. My middle sister's fiance picked us up at the airport and took us back to their house. We talked for about an hour, picked up my nephew to bring home with us and started for home. On the way, we stopped at a 24 hour drive thru McDonalds and ordered a meal.... at about 2:00am. Hey, that's 3:00pm in China! We got home at 4:30 and Zachery and Tyler were awake and ready to play. We let them play for 45 minutes but wanted to get Tyler to bed before it started getting light out. I woke up about 11:00 and we woke Tyler up at about noon. I was back at work by a little after 1:00 to start getting caught up with everything I have missed at the store. Back to real life....

This was the first time that I have ever been out of the US and only the second time I ever flown. I haven't gotten to travel much, but I do plan on changing that. I want to try to take a couple vacations a year. In the short time I have been back, I have gotten a lot of response about this blog - everyone has seemed to love it. I haven't asked if it was because of the trip information or if it was because of the adoption information, but I would love to get more feedback from everyone. If it's the trip information that everyone loves, I will make a blog each time I go on vacation. It's fun to write the stories and it's a great way for me to remember everything that happened as well. I have figured out that 7 - 10 days is plenty for a vacation for me. This 18 days that I was gone this time was just too long.

I really enjoyed visiting and seeing China. It is very different in many ways. I would love to get to see it again in a few years after all of their renovations for the Olympics are done. One of the main things that I noticed that I liked was how all the roads are lined with trees. It made it look very nice and something I would suggest cities do around here. People there are a lot more active. There are a lot, a lot of bicyclists. There are also a lot of people who do morning exercises and use their parks. It's things that you just don't see in the US. The parks are beautiful and always full of people. Not so full that it's uncomfortable, but still busy. The food in Beijing was great, maybe because our guide knew what to order. After Beijing, once we were on our own and in harbor towns, we weren't so excited about the food and stuck more with the Americanized food.

Beijing was wonderful and probably my favorite place in China. However, if you have a way or reason to go to a smaller province, as we did, it is nice to get to see this as well. They are different from Beijing. They aren't as tourist oriented, they are more of the real China. Any place that knows they get a lot of tourism is going to change to accomodate their crowd. If you ever take a trip to China, I would recommend that you have a guide. They know where to go and what there is to do. It's also nice to have some time on your own to explore, but even with our tour in Beijing, we had some time alone. It's nice not to have to worry about finding a way to get to a hotel or how to get different places. In Beijing and on Shamian Island in Guangzhou, there are a lot of people who speak and understand English, but a lot of those who do, don't speak or understand it real well.

What have I learned? Take a trip, enjoy life, see what there is out there.... but don't plan your vacations to be too long. Hotel life and new places get tedious and tiring after a while. I think the best time period for me would be a week to a week and a half. It's also a very good idea to do a little research before you go somewhere so you know some of the customs. We impresseed some of the people simply by handing them the money with two hands, something they always do because giving it with one hand is considered impolite. On this particular vacation, mom did a lot of the research because of the adoption. She is on a lot of e-mail lists with other people who have adopted, so we had a good idea of what we were in for.

Let me know what you think of our vacation to China and what you think of my blog either on my vacation forum or by e-mailing me. Also give me suggestions of where some good vacation destinations would be. I would like to do a US vacation and an International vacation each year and I'll be looking for suggestions. Thank you for reading the blog and I really hope you have enjoyed it!

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