Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer 2011, Xi'An, Friends, Hong Kong's Best!!

Xi'An's Terra Cotta Army, Xi'An Shaanxi Province, China

June marked the end of the school year, departure of our much loved neighbor Colleen and her family, the end of soccer and baseball seasons and beginning of summer!

To celebrate a successful academic year, we went for a long weekend to Xi'An, first capital of the Chinese Empire and home of the Terra Cotta Warriors Army. It was a great weekend to learn much about the history of China and get a little more immersed in the traditions and life of the locals. We rented an appartment from a Chinese family and spent the weekend in a local community, visited the Cave Dwellers and Peasant Farmers. Who knew that 30 million Chinese people - in the Shaanxi province alone! - have been and still live in caves... Generations of families live in these naturally air conditioned dwellings since centuries. It was fascinating. We also travelled a day a few hours away from the tourist center of Xi'An to beautiful countryside of agriculture and small villages to visit a peasant painter: Li Fenglan whose art survived the Cultural Revolution and whose enthusiasm and joy of life was infectuous. She loved seeing the children: typically only adult groups venture this far into the countryside. So she whipped up a painting for them of two chicks and lychees.. Her husband was adamant it would be worth millions (of Yuans) after her death!... Resulting in a small donation on our part of course. But what fun that was in any case.

The rest of the summer went by in a flash with Lara Zaller from Atlanta's AIS, and her family spending a weekend with us, Natalie Caron, my Montreal college rommate visiting for a couple of days and Marie-Claude, my Ministry of Tourism co-worker and long time friend spending 10 days with us. Thanks to them, we re-visited most of Hong Kong's great sites and re-discovered how much this place has to offer. It was exhausting and fun.

Hong Kong at night during the Symphony of Lights - from Avenue of the Stars!

The kids have kept busy with Surf Camp, Adventure Camp and Baseball Camps. We are still planning a visit to Ocean Park and maybe HK Disneyland which we have not visited yet, before school starts September 2nd. Also trying to find a local cruise of the HK outlying islands for a couple days in August.

It is life as usual at the Huyghes, looking forward to September and a short biking trip to Guilin/Yongshuan on the River Li.

Thinking of all, keep in touch!

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