Tuesday, December 9, 2014

China's Golden Week 2014

This year for October holiday (the week of National Holiday in China), we decided to go to the island of Borneo.  Before this trip, I knew nothing about the island and it had a reputation that I didn't know about.  After our trip, I was texting a friend in the US and she mentioned that her grandmother would refer to the "wild women of Borneo".  Even recent episode of the BBC show, Downton Abbey, Lord Grantham referred to Borneo.

I believe that the island of Borneo is the third largest island in the world.  The northern part of the island where we stayed is governed by Malaysia and the southern part is governed by Indonesia.  After doing a bit of research, I think the former practice of head-hunting on the island might have had something to do with its reputation.  

Our visit at the beginning of October meant that there was a good chance that the rainy season might have already begun.  And, it had.  There were a few days of full sun, but many days it rained.  We were thankful for a great hotel with lots of indoor options for fun because we needed it.
Enjoying some Borneo milk tea.
This look says, "Oh, dad"

Our hotel had an orangutan rescue center.  We were fortunate to see the orangutan's up-close during their morning feeding time.

On our way to the sanctuary...

 Here they come...

Can you see the baby hanging onto the mama?
Comparing our feet to the orangutan.
 The clouds are rolling in and the rain will begin...

Date night.  Jamie and I have decided that going to dinner with fewer than your maximum amount of children constitutes a date night.  LBean and EBean partied at the Kids Club while Jamie, ChinaBean and I enjoyed a nice Indian dinner.
Mmm, Indian food!
We convinced the girls one night to go toteppanyaki restaurant.  They were skeptical at first, but the table-side entertainment and good food won them over.  LBean sighed and said that it was too bad there weren't these kinds of restaurants in Suzhou.  I got to give her the good news that indeed China has it's fair share of Japanese teppanyaki food too.

While the rain came down, we found ways to entertain ourselves.  We enjoyed games in the kids club and it was even more fun because some friends from school happened to be staying at the same hotel.  We took advantage of the activities in the lobby and learned how to make a grasshopper out of a leaf and fold napkins in fancy ways.  The hotel also had a nice open-air game room and we introduced EBean to game Jenga and LBean tried to dominate a game of checkers.

On our last day in Borneo, when the sun broke through, we made a mad dash to the pool before the rain began again.  The water was a bit chilly since there hadn't been enough sun to warm it up, but the girls got over it quickly and enjoyed themselves.

Peeking up at our room!

On our way back to the airport that evening Jamie struck up a conversation with our Maylasian taxi driver.  The driver mentioned that he had been to the US before (I was expecting him to say L.A. or some other major city) and in fact he had been to Illinois.  He shared with us that he had gone to school for 18 months in southern Illinois to earn his FAA pilot's license.  He had been about 3 hours from where Jamie and I grew up. 

What they say is true, it's a small world!