Wednesday, September 26, 2007


First up in Europe we headed north to Scandinavia and Finland. It was a treat just stepping outside from the plane and taking a deep breath after coming from Beijing. There aren't a lot of big, can't miss sights to see in Helsinki, but its a great city for biking, walking, and saunas. I also checked out the historic sea fortress, which being Finland was only involved in 2 skirmishes over the 200 years it was operational.

Friday, September 21, 2007


From Hong Kong Mark and I went over to Beijing to supervise preparations for the Olympics. Construction and renovations were everywhere, so I think they'll pull it off next year. We checked out Tienanmen Square and walked through the Forbidden City. We also saw the Emperors' Summer Palace, between the 2 places the Emperor had a lot of land that the citizens were never allowed to see. The Summer Palace also housed the renowned marble boat that the Empress Dowager (Emperor's mother) gifted to the navy while they were in the middle of losing a war.

The highlight of our China trip was spending a day trekking along the Great Wall. Its amazing a structure this big was built so long ago. In the sections we explored the wall followed a high ridge at the top of some hills, and looked like it would have been effective enough that Mark could have defended it on his own. I also found it amusing that they mentioned that it was proved you can't see the wall from space in 2003 when one of their astronauts went up into space. I wonder if they had to rewrite the school textbooks after that.

Next up: Europe

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hong Kong

Mark couldn't pass up a chance to visit the Asian capital of banking, so we went to Hong Kong. We went to the rooftop of the Peak tower on Victoria Peak overlooking the entire area, watched the skyline buildings nightly light show, and climbed a lot of steps in order to see 10,000 Buddhas at the monastery.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Thailand again

That's right, we're back in Thailand for the third time on the trip. Highlights this time include hanging at Ao Nang beach in Krabi, scuba diving in Ko Tao, and treking through the hill tribes near Chiang Mai. Hill tribes have come a long way in northern Thailand, as the one I stayed at had satelite TV so we didn't have to miss the Man U game while communing with nature. Also one of the villages that looked a little more rustic just parked their motorbikes out back to keep them out of sight. We also rode elephants and went bamboo rafting as part of the trek.