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December 07, 2008

Heading To Guilin

We are having a great time in HK. We went all over the city yesterday, from the shopping districts in Kowloon to the top of Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island. This city is very easy to navigate in, and the transportation here is superb. There is the best metro system I've ever seen, anywhere, right here in HK. We really had a great day walking around, and ended up along the shoreline when it became dark and all of the lights came on across the harbor. Quite fantastic.

Today, we've prepared to head inland to Guilin, to which we'll take an overnight sleeper bus from Shenzhen on the HK/China border. This city is supposedly beautiful, if perhaps a touristy destination. Still, when you're heading into mainland China for the first time, it doesn't hurt to end up somewhere that isn't so rough, that has a little bit of a backpacker's infrastructure. We'll spend some time in Guilin, and see some of the surrounding areas, such as Yangshuo and Longsheng.

We've even talked about heading down to Kunming, and perhaps even look for a visa to cross the border into Vietnam, just to say we've been there. Don't know if that will happen, though. We don't have enough time to really explore like that. We'll likely be back in HK by next Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest.

Speaking of HK, it is a place where one could explore for two weeks just on it's own. We rode the ferry across the harbor, which would also be great to do at night. We rode around HK Island on one of the little narrow double-decker trams. It's been a fun day, and we're already planning on a few things to do when we arrive back next week, like going to the top of Victoria's Peak at night to see all the city lights from above.

At any rate, we're very excited to be heading into the mainland. While HK is new and exciting, it is easy to deal with because English is used quite a lot. In Guilin and the smaller towns, it will be a different story. Nothing more exciting than a new kind of experience like that.

Until next time, be safe.

December 05, 2008

Arrival In Hong Kong

We have arrived in Hong Kong. We got in very late, but I had a reservation at a nice hotel, so we got a good night's sleep and a shower in the morning. We had literally lost December 5. We boarded our plane at 8 am on the 4th, and we got on our bus to the hotel just after midnight on the 6th. The day just disappeared.

We will spend the day exploring Hong Kong, and a good part of tomorrow. We will try to catch a night train or bus to Guilin tomorrow evening, from Shenzhen, China. It is a little difficult because we have to cross the border into China to get tickets. Today will be fun, though.

From first impressions of Hong Kong, it is a very busy city. The streets are bustling with trucks, buses, cars, and loads of people. Fortunately, there is a fair amount of English around, so it's not hard to navigate. China will be more difficult.

Tonight we stay in the famous Mirador Mansion. It is a huge complex of hostels, guesthouses, and other business. The hostels range from dodgy to scary. I booked one in the dodgy range. We will be in Hong Kong on a Saturday night, which is very exciting. It is a city known for it's night life.

We just arrived, so I don't have much to comment on, but it's looking to be a fun two weeks.

Until next time, be safe.

December 04, 2008

Going To China

We are headed to China!

I will do my best to blog from China, and will post all entries on this page. Have a good two weeks, folks!

Until next time, be safe.

December 01, 2008

Finished In Madison

It has been quite a while since I've posted, going on three weeks. Now, it's not that life has gotten that boring, but rather that Wisconsin has gotten that cold. Following our trip to Chicago, where we had spectacularly good weather, Wisconsin's weather quickly declined. We headed to Chicago on a Tuesday; it was snowing that Friday. Since then, there hasn't been a day that the temperature has broken 50 degrees. The sun has made an appearance often enough, usually in the morning, but sunny and cold is still cold. What this means to me is that I haven't gotten out and done anything exciting for the last three weeks. There for more than a week, I didn't even call anyone. Something about cloudy, cold, windy weather makes me very depressed and lethargic, and when I wasn't working, I was finding ways to waste my time without accomplishing anything. From that standpoint, I was very successful. That's not to say I sat on the couch the entire time. Jess and I have spent much of our time off hanging out with other travelers. We have had a very active social life in the last three weeks. We have had a lot of fun; after all, cold weather is best dealt with a tasty beer. It's probably a good thing that we aren't spending the winter here, as I've already gained some ten pounds since arriving in August, mostly due to rich foods, dark beers, and loads of cheese, not to mention three weeks spent inside. I'd be enormous by spring. Speaking of which (leaving I mean), today is the 30th, and we've finished our assignment in Madison. As a matter of fact, I'm writing this in a hotel room in York, Nebraska, on our way to Colorado. As I've mentioned before, we're taking December off. We'll spend the next few days in Colorado with my family before heading to China on Thursday. We'll be there for two weeks, then split the remainder of the month between Colorado and South Carolina before heading to Tucson around January 2 for our next assignment. Our assignment in Madison ended well enough. I was ready to leave as soon as the weather got cold and windy, so it was a little hard to keep showing up for work. I had a few scheduling issues where I showed up on a wrong day or for a day shift instead of the scheduled night shift, which was also frustrating. Still, by the end of the contract, I felt very comfortable with the unit, and actually knew most of my colleagues by name. My unit was a very busy unit, and I was handling it without any real difficulties. That makes me feel good, because I believe that being able to handle this unit prepares me to handle most other units that I will encounter. I've survived what I've heard long-time travelers describe as one of the busiest units that they've ever worked in. That makes me feel good as well. Jess had an even better experience with her unit. Whereas my focus was successfully surviving my experience, she actually became good friends with some of the nurses that she worked with and really enjoyed her time. She has said she wouldn't mind returning to her unit; I would have a hard time with that, I think. At any rate, we're both really looking forward to Tucson. I'm looking forward to seeing friends, and to warm weather. I'm also looking forward to being in a city that from all reports is a very fun place to live. It's going to be in a great experience. This traveling job is really settling in well with us. Now that we have two assignments under our belts, we actually feel like real travel nurses, and it is hard to imagine going back to being staff nurses at any time in the near future. There is just so much to do, to see, to experience as travel nurses, it a little mind-boggling. Until next time, be safe.

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