Marty. No other words needed.

The Marty Chronicles: Our Journey Ends

Saturday April 12th, 2014

Today’s title refers to both then end of our Yunnan trip, and the end of our trip with Marty. After complaining to his tour company, a new guide (whose name I have sadly forgotten), led us on our short tour of Kunming. 

I think the company felt bad for us, and had us eat lunch at this amazing restaurant. I mean, the place even had ice cubes, it was that classy.

We then walked Kunming’s old streets, once again practicing our bargaining skills as we bought pairs of stone balls (like the ones Josh are holding), a new activity we quickly fell into during our trip.

Yunnan was a beautiful place with interesting people, a great break in the hazy weather Xi’an is unfortunately known for. 

The Marty Chronicles Part 5: the picture edition

Friday April 11th, 2014

Friday was spent traveling from Chuxiong to Kunming, stopping at the “Minority Amusement Park”, a water park, and the “Stone Forest” (石林). Unfortunately, Rachel was sick. She really toughed it out like a champ though, not uttering even a single word of protest or complaint, even on the bus. 

I’ll post some pictures:

Perhaps the highlight of the Yunnan trip was Friday night. First, Zhang laoshi filed a complaint with Mary’s tour company, and two representatives met us at our hotel, where we dished our complains (speaking strictly on our complaints against him as a tour guide, not as a crazy person). Then, Zhang laoshi’s two friends (or kungfu students of a friend) met us in nice Mercedes, and took us out for dinner. 

AUTHENTIC DINNER.

WITH DOG.

Walking into a street shop with these two buff dudes, ordering dog, grasshoppers, bamboo worms, fish, bamboo rice made me feel like I was really living as a Chinese person would. That dinner was by far the most delicious, and filled with genuine laughter, as we ate away our Marty stress to enjoy our last night in Kunming. 

(PS dog is good)

The Marty Chronicles Part 4: AIDS, Poker, and Orion’s Belt

Thursday April 10th, 2014

Marty is Crazy. Capital C. 

Thursday was spent on the bus. Again.

It was something we were (unfortunately) used to at this point. This leg of the trip would leave us in Chuxiong. By 6 pm, we weren’t so sure. 

Our wushu teacher, Zhang Laoshi, was honestly great during this trip. She remained patient with Marty, and even taught some of us Chinese poker. Of course, a game commenced in the bus.

Re-enter Marty.

In an exchange that I wasn’t a part of, nor aware of until Zhang laoshi wrote it down for me soon after, Marty looked at Zhang laoshi playing poker with Mr. Wolf and commented, “If you keep playing poker with different men, you’re going to get AIDs”.

I was shocked when I saw this, and simultaneously impressed Zhang laoshi kept her cool. 

Marty is crazy, Marty is seriously crazy. 

Zhang laoshi showed me her texts with Song laoshi, our calligraphy teacher who also accompanied last year’s group to Yunnan. In her text conversation, she asked if they had Marty last year (they did), and if he was crazy; apparently, whatever condition Marty had wasn’t as severe the year before, as Song laoshi noted his abnormal behaviors, but said he wasn’t quite…crazy.

Marty’s behavior was eccentric, and it quieted us in a sense. Many of us read Wild Swans, using our spare time productively.

We were also able to actually stop a couple of times to take pictures, which resulted in one of my favorite pictures ever:

We started to experience traffic when the sky was light, and it lasted well until 10, 11pm. Stuck in standstill traffic, we got out to stretch our legs. Amidst people walking around, selling food directly to drivers, Mr. Wolf conducted a lesson we could never have learned in Xi’an - an astronomy lesson! We found and identified the Big Dipper, Orion’s belt, and Betelgeuse. I am personally really curious about astronomy, and so I found this brief time under the stars extremely fun.

Back on the bus, our journey was still going on. Bored (and too dark to read Wild Swans), we started a game of Contact (here are the rules!) around 10pm. We took a couple of breaks to bet on when we’d arrive in Chuxiong, but other than that, played for a good 2 hours.

Until we arrived in Chuxiong. Around 12pm. To a hot pot dinner.

Our requests to not eat were not met by Marty, who insisted the poor restaurant staff had been waiting for us. So we ate. It was fine, but at midnight, no one is up for a meal.

Apparently, after we checked into the hotel, a drunk Marty verbally fought with the hotel manager, who socked him twice in the face.

An unexpected, yet to be honest, slightly amusing end to our long, long day.

The Marty Chronicles Part 3: “It’s always fun to wake up to the exploitation of minorities”

(Quote by Mr. Wolf)

Wednesday April 9th, 2014

Unfortunately, Wednesday’s post is disappointing without pictures. And even more unfortunatelyly Tumblr doesn’t like to allow me to upload pictures in China.

As an active group, we were really excited to go to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, lead by our local tour guide Jack. Jack was of the Naxi minority, and was very informational on our ride to the mountains, telling us about history, dialects, etc. 

At the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, we had to sit through about an hour of the Naxi minority dance, which is where our quote from Mr. Wolf came from. Look, the dance was cool, the costumes pretty interesting, but the thing is, none of it feels real. The whole experience feels fake, like we and the other audience members were visitors at a zoo. Stifling uncomfortable feelings aside, the best part of this performance was that it took place in front of the majestic Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. I have some beautiful pictures, but unfortunately, you might have to wait until I return to America for an influx of pictures.

The rest of the day was spent walking in various parks and parts of the city, typical tourist stuff.

Now Wednesday was the day that Marty’s…weirdness became noticeable. Weird facial movements (that I can apparently imitate very well), random slapping motions, telling Amir that he talks to Hitler, Jesus, Moses, etc (apparently Jesus and Hitler don’t get along very well), all signs of a not-so-normal guy. Now not-so-normal isn’t too bad, but we got our first sign of his rude/self-centered streak when he told Jack (a fantastic guide by the way - extremely accommodating to our tastes) that he was a bad tour guide. 

Who could have known this was only foreshadowing what was to come.

The Marty Chronicles Part 2: “Just Five Hours”

Tuesdays post is short because the great majority of it (aka 11 hours) was spent on the bus. No stopping at scenic spots (and unfortunately I don’t believe toilets are scenic spots) also. 

We originally believed this would be a five hour ride from Kunming to Lijiang, but it turns out, through some sort of miscommunication, that it was a five hour bus ride to Dali from Kunming.

When we got to Lijiang however, I was pretty excited to see Lijiang’s old city. It had canals reminiscent of Suzhou, and a pretty bustling night life which was fun to walk around.

Definitely the best part of Tuesday was learning MAHJONG. I’m a little ashamed I made it this far without learning it, but now we are all very close to becoming Mahjong Masters.

The Marty Chronicles Part 1: “Hotel California”

8:54 PM

I am currently on the plane hurtling through the air towards Kunming (昆明), the capital of Yunnan (云南) province. I think groups in the past took trains, but with the incident at Kunming’s train station this year, we (or at least the travel agent) opted for the plane. 

Today passed incredibly slowly for me - perhaps it’s because I didn’t do much. There was no school (or there “shouldn’t” be - Gaoxin had school) so I relaxed, packing with Diego, doing some online course work, and generally being a bum. But 5:10 rolled around (eventually) and I made my way to Gaoxin to get on the school van with the 8 others and the wushu teacher, Zhang Laoshi. 

After Burger King at the airport and just lounging around, we began to board. The lines moved pretty quick (per Chinese style). Amir, Izzy and I had a nice talk with Zhang laoshi, the wushu teacher. I’m really glad she’s coming with us, as she seems both serious and relaxed at the same time, and is very open to conversations with us. 

The planes boarding process was like bam bam done, let’s fly. We began to taxi as people were standing and getting ready, something not seen in America. 

What am I currently doing on this 2 hour flight?

Listening to <Let it Go> and pretending it’s about my math responsibilities.

The limits never bothered me anyway~

9:40 PM

I like the little boxes of flavorless food this airline gave us. It was nice to taste something bland after pretty much 2 months of new spices. 

I’m kidding but then again I’m really not (but I am)

9:57 PM

I can’t help but think this plane ride is too short. Thinking back on the great experiences on the trains, both the short ones and the overnight, I wish we were able to take a train. 

10:02 PM

I looked out the window to try and see city lights, but saw something even cooler - lightning!

I’ve never seen lightning close up, nevertheless from a plane. I don’t really know how to describe this: maybe it’s simply an indescribable experience or maybe I’m just not eloquent enough to do it justice, but I tell you this, it was amazing.

At first it was just an attempt to look downwards to try and catch a glimpse of city lights (I thought an announcement said we were landing soon), but a quick flash of bright light caught my eyes. Then it was a strike of lightning, off in the far distance. It was a sinister mix of purple and white light against the dark canvas of the night. The bolt seemed so clearly defined that I could see little branches coming off of it. 

And then the sky right next to me was illuminated. Again it was the same purple and white fighting against the dark navy of the night. The clouds were hazily outlined, and cast ominous shadows that’s told me we were now at cloud level. 

This continued for a long time, during which Josh, Mr. Wolf and I (okay, mostly I) oohed and ahhed at this marvelous display of natures capabilities. When we finally broke free of the clouds, I could still see flashing strikes. 

I’m a suburb girl (not quite street smart to be a city girl unfortunately…) and I’ve never really seen this kind of display. I’ve never been hiking or camping, though now I desperately wish to. Josh, Mr. Wolf and I then talked for the rest of the flight about awesome natural things we’ve seen. Sadly enough, I could only contribute sights I had seen off of reddit…

We talked about me wolf sailing from Hawaii to San Francisco and seeing the stars and florescent lights in the ocean, Josh’s amazing night stargazing in Tanzania (which I’ve heard and wanted to go since long past) and my dreams of traveling Iceland (and Northern Europe), seeing the aurora borealis. It felt a little funny, talking about traveling while we were traveling though. And that’s one thing China Exchange has instilled in me: a insatiable desire to go out in the world, too see marvelous sights, meet interesting people, and just explore. 

11:21 PM

Our tour guide is singing a unaccompanied version of <Hotel California>. 

Welcome to Kunming everybody. 

Update update update

Last week I and the eight others (plus our fantastic wushu teacher) went on our school sponsored trip to Yunnan province. Though I’d been vaguely warned of how long the bus rides would be, I was truly unready for what we were to experience.

Truly.

There is a lot to tell and a lot to show, so I’ve decided to update one day at a time: last Monday’s experiences this Monday, Tuesday’s on Tuesday, etc. 

So begins today April 14th, 2014 the beginning of our adventures last Monday, April 7th. 

Without further ado I introduce to you… The Marty Martin Marty Chronicles.

/dun dun dun

Belatedly (as usual) posting pictures from the Gaoxin senior one class basketball tournament. 
My class (class 6 represent!) actually ended up winning the whole tournament, which was awesome. I &#8220;helped&#8221; the cheerleading squad by dancing in one of their routines, a video I&#8217;ll post right after this. 
Really, this tournament is the equivalent of all the sports games at BHS. This is where a lot of school and class spirit emerges - but then again, this is strictly a senior one class event. It allows for students to kind of let themselves go - they plan dance routines, order costumes, paint elaborate posters - I saw it as all of their creativity coming out in a 2 week event.
Belatedly (as usual) posting pictures from the Gaoxin senior one class basketball tournament. 
My class (class 6 represent!) actually ended up winning the whole tournament, which was awesome. I &#8220;helped&#8221; the cheerleading squad by dancing in one of their routines, a video I&#8217;ll post right after this. 
Really, this tournament is the equivalent of all the sports games at BHS. This is where a lot of school and class spirit emerges - but then again, this is strictly a senior one class event. It allows for students to kind of let themselves go - they plan dance routines, order costumes, paint elaborate posters - I saw it as all of their creativity coming out in a 2 week event.
Belatedly (as usual) posting pictures from the Gaoxin senior one class basketball tournament. 
My class (class 6 represent!) actually ended up winning the whole tournament, which was awesome. I &#8220;helped&#8221; the cheerleading squad by dancing in one of their routines, a video I&#8217;ll post right after this. 
Really, this tournament is the equivalent of all the sports games at BHS. This is where a lot of school and class spirit emerges - but then again, this is strictly a senior one class event. It allows for students to kind of let themselves go - they plan dance routines, order costumes, paint elaborate posters - I saw it as all of their creativity coming out in a 2 week event.

Belatedly (as usual) posting pictures from the Gaoxin senior one class basketball tournament. 

My class (class 6 represent!) actually ended up winning the whole tournament, which was awesome. I “helped” the cheerleading squad by dancing in one of their routines, a video I’ll post right after this. 

Really, this tournament is the equivalent of all the sports games at BHS. This is where a lot of school and class spirit emerges - but then again, this is strictly a senior one class event. It allows for students to kind of let themselves go - they plan dance routines, order costumes, paint elaborate posters - I saw it as all of their creativity coming out in a 2 week event.

Pictures from yesterday&#8217;s outing at Tianzhu Mountain in Shanyang, Shangluo China (天竺). It was one of my favorite experiences with my family to date. 
They originally planned a longer weekend trip as it is Qing Ming Jie (清明节 or Tomb Sweeping Festival), but because our CHEX group leaves Monday afternoon for Yunnan, we couldn&#8217;t go. 
In fact, I preferred this: first time riding a cable car followed by a gorgeous hike up the mountains (and by hike, I mean climbing stairs). We hiked a good 3 hours up, ate snacks (I destroyed a bag of sunflower seeds on the way up and down), then started our descent. While walking down steps is easier than walking up them, I wasn&#8217;t too keen on what I imagined another 3 hours hiking down. But then the coolest thing happened. We rode this stone slide - literally a slide made of smooth stone - until we were 300 meters from the cable car station. It was definitely my favorite thing about yesterday - we tied this cloth to our waist and legs (to keep clean), donned gloves, then whooshed down much like a water slide. A funny thing happened when I kept on hearing little clinks on the stone. I thought it was little rocks until my sister, who was in front of me, said, &#8220;Your sunflower seeds!&#8221;
I had stashed huge handfuls in my pants pocket and forgot to zip it! D&#8217;oh.
It was an insanely awesome day, with fresh air, exercise, and sunflower seeds.
Pictures from yesterday&#8217;s outing at Tianzhu Mountain in Shanyang, Shangluo China (天竺). It was one of my favorite experiences with my family to date. 
They originally planned a longer weekend trip as it is Qing Ming Jie (清明节 or Tomb Sweeping Festival), but because our CHEX group leaves Monday afternoon for Yunnan, we couldn&#8217;t go. 
In fact, I preferred this: first time riding a cable car followed by a gorgeous hike up the mountains (and by hike, I mean climbing stairs). We hiked a good 3 hours up, ate snacks (I destroyed a bag of sunflower seeds on the way up and down), then started our descent. While walking down steps is easier than walking up them, I wasn&#8217;t too keen on what I imagined another 3 hours hiking down. But then the coolest thing happened. We rode this stone slide - literally a slide made of smooth stone - until we were 300 meters from the cable car station. It was definitely my favorite thing about yesterday - we tied this cloth to our waist and legs (to keep clean), donned gloves, then whooshed down much like a water slide. A funny thing happened when I kept on hearing little clinks on the stone. I thought it was little rocks until my sister, who was in front of me, said, &#8220;Your sunflower seeds!&#8221;
I had stashed huge handfuls in my pants pocket and forgot to zip it! D&#8217;oh.
It was an insanely awesome day, with fresh air, exercise, and sunflower seeds.
Pictures from yesterday&#8217;s outing at Tianzhu Mountain in Shanyang, Shangluo China (天竺). It was one of my favorite experiences with my family to date. 
They originally planned a longer weekend trip as it is Qing Ming Jie (清明节 or Tomb Sweeping Festival), but because our CHEX group leaves Monday afternoon for Yunnan, we couldn&#8217;t go. 
In fact, I preferred this: first time riding a cable car followed by a gorgeous hike up the mountains (and by hike, I mean climbing stairs). We hiked a good 3 hours up, ate snacks (I destroyed a bag of sunflower seeds on the way up and down), then started our descent. While walking down steps is easier than walking up them, I wasn&#8217;t too keen on what I imagined another 3 hours hiking down. But then the coolest thing happened. We rode this stone slide - literally a slide made of smooth stone - until we were 300 meters from the cable car station. It was definitely my favorite thing about yesterday - we tied this cloth to our waist and legs (to keep clean), donned gloves, then whooshed down much like a water slide. A funny thing happened when I kept on hearing little clinks on the stone. I thought it was little rocks until my sister, who was in front of me, said, &#8220;Your sunflower seeds!&#8221;
I had stashed huge handfuls in my pants pocket and forgot to zip it! D&#8217;oh.
It was an insanely awesome day, with fresh air, exercise, and sunflower seeds.

Pictures from yesterday’s outing at Tianzhu Mountain in Shanyang, Shangluo China (天竺). It was one of my favorite experiences with my family to date. 

They originally planned a longer weekend trip as it is Qing Ming Jie (清明节 or Tomb Sweeping Festival), but because our CHEX group leaves Monday afternoon for Yunnan, we couldn’t go. 

In fact, I preferred this: first time riding a cable car followed by a gorgeous hike up the mountains (and by hike, I mean climbing stairs). We hiked a good 3 hours up, ate snacks (I destroyed a bag of sunflower seeds on the way up and down), then started our descent. While walking down steps is easier than walking up them, I wasn’t too keen on what I imagined another 3 hours hiking down. But then the coolest thing happened. We rode this stone slide - literally a slide made of smooth stone - until we were 300 meters from the cable car station. It was definitely my favorite thing about yesterday - we tied this cloth to our waist and legs (to keep clean), donned gloves, then whooshed down much like a water slide. A funny thing happened when I kept on hearing little clinks on the stone. I thought it was little rocks until my sister, who was in front of me, said, “Your sunflower seeds!”

I had stashed huge handfuls in my pants pocket and forgot to zip it! D’oh.

It was an insanely awesome day, with fresh air, exercise, and sunflower seeds.