Woah sooooo…..I didn’t plan on not being able to blog or update my Facebook page for the past 3 months (definitely facepalming right now for not thinking ahead). For those that don’t know, I traveled extensively in China this summer, starting from late May all the way up to two days ago when I got back to the US. As a travel lover I can’t begin to express my joy and completely ecstatic feelings about being on the move and all the wonderful places I saw and the exotic-looking food I got to eat but as an avid reader and blogger, I’m truly bummed that I wasn’t there for you to post about book sales, freebies, reviews, etc…NOT the greatest moment there so!!! This blog post will basically give you a recap of what I’ve been doing the past 3 months along with some interesting reviews/rants, and a smashing giveaway (if I do say so myself hehe) to end this all with a bang!
Of course one of the first things I did was hop on a plane (two planes to be exact) – one from Texas to Istanbul and the next from Istanbul to Hong Kong. Prior to this trip I hadn’t been on a plane for a few years so I was pretty giddy to the see the view:
Once I arrived in Hong Kong I didn’t go anywhere in the vicinity just yet! My family and I rushed to get to Shengzhen (1 hour drive from HK) to meet up with friends and then we had to take a train ride to get to JiangXi, a big province down south so my younger siblings could start their summer school studying. It haven’t been on a train for almost 8 years so I went picture crazy once I boarded (though I’m only showing you guys the nicer-looking pic hehe):
We arrived in a smaller city within the Jiangxi province – Wanan – where my aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa on my dad’s side lived. Not many people have cars here; they either walk, take the bus, have a motorcycle or grab one of these electric-powered vehicles that I have here:
My brother stayed with two of our cousins and went to summer school for a month while my sister went to a bigger city an hour away from him – Jian – and lived there with another aunt and uncle. My siblings are both younger than me and aside from visiting all the hotspot areas in these two places, I traveled between the cities to visit my siblings. Oh and I forgot to mention I had a HUGE candy craving so I hit the largest supermarket there was in these two places – check out their candy section:
Not quite what I was looking for (no Skittles, Starbursts, or Sour Belts) but it was interesting and fun to try out new candy. OH fun fact: did you know that most Chinese candy is made from either vegetables or fruit? Hardly any artificial products.And then sometime in mid-June the entire family (I’m talking not just my parents and siblings, but two of my aunts and uncles and my cousins) went down to the countryside and we picked these rare mountain berries only found in China (they are SO GOOD!!!!) Kinda taste like strawberries and blueberries
I picked a whole bunch *yay* and got myself some mosquito bites in the process *boo*
Once June flew by and my siblings passed summer school (learned a lot of Chinese) our traveling reallystarted! We said goodbye to our wonderful family in Jiangxi and headed out to my aunts and uncles on my mom’s side to Beijing – TONS of great tourist locations there! First place we visited was the Great Wall. Okay let me be honest with you and say that it was not as great as rumored to be. I mean the wall itself was a beautiful relic to check out but it’s so hot and there are SO.MANY.PEOPLE. it killed most of the fun for me. Though one of the highlights of the Great Wall fiasco were the adorable mountain bears!
Oh and this one’s my favorite! I got to feed it and the little cutie just sat there with its mouth open waiting for food:
We also hit an amusement part and that was so fun!! I barely took any pics – either I was waiting in line, eating like a glut or going on crazy rides. My dad took a pic of this water ride I went on. It’s the moment where a ton of water cascades on the boat:
There’s this art store I checked out and I lugged this lovely painting all the way from the east back to Texas:
(It’s more exotic-looking in real life hehe)And OMG the food!!! Cannot believe I haven’t touched on that one yet! Here are just a few of their scrumptious dishes:
(This is Koren style noodles. Reminded me a little of Hot Pot where you dump a bunch of veggies and select meat in a pot that’s steamy hot with peppers and eat! It’s delicious.)
(I was salivating when I saw this!!!! It’s steamed shrimp – love seafood!!)
(My sister’s birthday was in early July so we celebrated in Beijing! It’s a three layer marble cake with ice cream as the middle layer. YUM!)Oh and I visited the local bookstore! Not a whole lot to choose from (most are textbooks and Chinese stories) but I did see the entire Hunger Games series translated to Chinese:
In early August, I had time to do a few things I’ve been meaning to get to ever since I got to China. First was go rafting in the rain (very exhilarating) and then go on a zip line:
(It went down at a super fast speed – I was screaming all the way down and taking pics the entire time haha)And then take a gondola ride. Those things look cool on TV but they’re pretty scary to ride. Thank goodness there was no heavy rocking back and forth. I still screamed the whole ride down though
OH! And this fast-speed train ride in a tunnel I went on was pretty cool. Here’s a pic of my dad and younger brother in front of me:
As late August arrived I went back to Hong Kong to get ready to fly back to Texas *YAY* but before that I went shopping for more souvenirs and visited the night lights show only available to see in Hong Kong:
And after two days, a few hours, and a nasty bed-head I arrived back in Texas. Tired, cranky but also super relieved to get back to American food, world of air conditioning, and BOOKS!
That’s me there!
Part Two: The ReadingI was pretty busy traveling around but I was even busier with reading!!! I can’t go anywhere without my iPad and I read some pretty amazing books as well as some crummy ones this summer! I was able to post reviews on Goodreads so I’m including those links along with purchase links. I don’t think I have to say this, but all reviews contain my personal opinions and are not meant to attack the author. Some of these books hit a nerve or two so some of these may be a little ranty. Just FYI.
The giveaway will be similar to the Follower Appreciation Giveaways I had where the winner chooses a paperback of their choice from the list provided. Since this is 3 months worth of books, this giveaway will consist of 3 winners each receiving any paperback of their choice from any of the books above in Part Two. It’s a huge list so take your time choosing
As usual this giveaway is open internationally as long as Amazon ships to your country!**Note: If there is no paperback option available for the book you choose I will gift you an ebook copy. Some of these books haven’t been released yet so if you choose one of those, you will receive the paperback as soon as it’s released.**