I have a date tonight!! I'm so excited! Wonder if he'll put out? :-)
Guess who's going to be spending a few weeks at the hottest little surf spot in the Philippines? Yup, yours truly. Guess who doesn't surf at all? Yup, yours truly. I probably wouldn't have spent as much time looking for the perfect right hand breaks as Ant did when planning our summer vaca, since I'm happy going anywhere, but, much like Darryl Hannah in that movie Splash, I'm afraid if we don't get him into some waves soon he's gonna dry up and stop breathing.
So, I'm gonna try to learn to surf, because if I don't do that I'll end up lounging around in the sun all day, reading books, drinking beer, getting all tan...Hey, wait a minute - that doesn't sound too bad!

Actually, last night I finished the first - and probably most important - step in learning how to ride a wave. Wondering what that is? Picking out the bikini, of course. Duh. So, to give a little sumthin' sumthin' to my male readers, here are the suits I picked out, on bodies that they actually look damn good in (I can hold my own, but I'm no Victoria's Secret model!).

Most of these are going to end up being for tanning purposes only, as I'll more than likely end up in shorts and T's when I check out what it's like to nearly drown myself...er, I mean surf.
I wonder if Victoria's Secret advertises for women with freakishly long torsos? Sheesh. No wonder they have to parade around in tiny bikinis and lingerie all the time. How on Earth would they find normal shirts that fit them? Anyway, if you guys need me, I'll be at the gym...
Monday morning. Bleh. Pouring rain outside. Bleh. Drank all the coffee and too lazy to make more. Double bleh.

I can already tell it's going to be a long week.

Hey, look at me!! I'm on The Great Wall!!! Do you guys wanna know the best thing about The Great Wall? It really is pretty freaking great!!! Hiking on The Great Wall was just one of the many, many, many items on my bucketlist. I don't know why, but I've always been fascinated by it. Probably all those rumors about being able to see it from space, which NASA says isn't true but the Chinese government still insists it's the only item on Earth that the astronauts can see from way up there. I'm not inclined to think the Chinese government is built on the value of honesty, but I'm also not inclined to think the U.S. government and its' various agencies are any better, so who knows? When I grow up and become an astronaut, I'll let you guys know for sure if you can see it or not.
Anyway, I'll stop rambling and get back to the point: I went hiking on The Great Wall! It's a few hours outside of Beijing, so for much of the ride there I was trying not to get my hopes up so I wouldn't be too disappointed if it sucked. I mean, how great can a wall really be? I'm surrounded by walls everyday, and I spend most of my time counting the seconds until I can get away from them. Well, I should've just taken a nap, because there was no disappointment involved. I had assumed it would be crowded, but once we got past the first tower (about 15 minutes in) there was maybe one or two other people that weren't with our group. I had also thought it might be kind of like hiking in Korea, but it was actually quite challenging and probably the most physical exertion I'd had in a long time. They offered ways to shortcut, like taking a cable car ride to the top and a zip line back down, but I passed on both and completed every step of the hike on my own two feet (sometimes with the assistance of my hands when it got super steep). Yay me! It wasn't really too far - probably only 10K, but man oh man, there were some steep hills with zero footing involved. The whole time I was hiking I had about 3 thoughts running through my head, "How the H E double hockey sticks did they build this freaking thing?!?" "I wonder if I'm walking over the part where they buried all the dead people?" and "HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, PEOPLE ACTUALLY RUN A MARATHON ON THIS FUCKING THING?!?!?" They say that The Great Wall Marathon is the toughest marathon in the world, and I gotta say that they probably aren't joking.

Anyway, here's a gazillion more pics:

And, finally, a well deserved beer at the end of the hike, and me later that evening, after some shopping at the silk market and a yummy dinner of all things involving duck and beer - exhausted in a good way, sunburned, and happy, happy, happy!

I'm interrupting my planned post on The Great Wall to tell you guys 2 little things about my life lately.

1. I cannot think of the words in any language to explain how much work has sucked, sucked, sucked this week. No particular reason, just finals to make, give, and grade, lots of last minute meetings ending in phrases like, "And I need it by tomorrow," and those damn 1st graders. I hate 1st graders.

2. JES AND ANT'S DAY O' FUN!!!! Let me tell you guys that for 2 people who don't do much, Ant and I have a rather difficult time spending time together. We work opposite schedules, so when I'm home he's not, and vice versa. He needs way more beauty sleep than I do, so he usually falls asleep a few hours before me. So, I got it in my head to plan a whole day of fun stuff for us to do together, which is a bit more difficult than it seems. First, I had to make sure Ant would participate, which meant he would have to agree to stay in Seoul and not run off to the mountains to go climbing. Luckily, he mentioned over Sam Gyeop Sal one night that the people he usually goes climbing with were leaving Thursday for a trip, so he couldn't go because of work. Sweet! So I picked that date, waited a few days, and asked if he was interested, and he was all, "Oh yeah, I don't mind missing climbing," which, of course, really meant, "I can't go climbing so I guess I might as well do something with my girlfriend so she doesn't bitch next weekend when I want to stay at the mountain Saturday and Sunday." It's cool Ant, I understand.
So, my plan involved being outside for pretty much the entire day, because I secretly snuck off and bought us some new bikes to cruise around on!!! I knew Ant would be so excited and so surprised, and Jes and Ant's day of fun would be AWESOME!!!
And then I woke up on Saturday, and it was POURING. I have never seen it rain so hard for so long. It rained so hard that I was starting to wonder if I should have listened to that voice I heard that told me to build a huge boat and put a bunch of animals on it. I was bummed.
So, this is how Jes and Ant's Day of Not So Much Fun went:

Me: Good morning.
Him: Morning. What's wrong?
Me: It's raining, so Jes and Ant's Day of Fun is ruined.
Him: So, can I go back to sleep?
Me: Fine. Sigh.
Him: snore.

So, what did we do all day? We went to Home Plus and bought hangers and a clothes hamper for our dirty stuff, cleaned our apartment, and did laundry. Blech.

So, I made it back safe (but maybe not so sound?) from China. Actally, I got back awhile ago, but I've just been so incredibly busy with important stuff like eating my own weight in M&M's and drinking gallons of Maxim iced coffee a day to do much blogging. But, I'll try to get caught up because I have China stories and Korea stories and all kinds of life stories to tell you guys, and I'm starting to get emails from friends and random blog readers alike wondering if I'm still alive (I am) and if I've decided to stop blogging forever (I haven't).
And so, since I know you've been losing sleep waiting for it, here is the official report of my first day of China. I will warn you now that there's a very good chance that any word of Chinese origin is more than likely going to be spelled wrong.

My flight to Beijing was pretty uneventful. It only takes about 2 hours or so from Seoul, so I boarded, took a nap, and woke up in China. And, then I nearly got quarantined. They were screening all passengers for Swine flu, and someone must have told them I have a Mexican boyfriend or something because they really screened me. First, people wearing what looked like full hazmat suits boarded the plane and pointed a thing that looked a bit like a laser gun at my forehead. I failed. So they did it again. And again. I always get a runny nose on flights because of the shitty air and freezing cold temps, so there I was, the only foreigner, with a runny nose and a panicky hazmat lady. Everyone else was getting the gun treatment, too, but they were getting it once. My anxiety level was definitely rising, let me tell you. Then, another hazmat dude came over and pointed his gun at my head, they whispered to each other, and he disappeared to the back to the plane. And of course by now everybody on the plane had assumed that the only non-asian on the jet had just infected them all with her nasty foreigner germs, and they were not being kind. Yikes! Finally, as I was beginning to wonder if I did indeed actually have the virus, I said, "AM I OK?!?" And Ms. China Hazmat 2009 looked at me all surprised, the way I would look at my goldfish if it started speaking out loud, and said, "Oh, yes. You're fine." And then she walked away. WTF?!? I was screened and questioned twice more before I was allowed to head to customs! Sheesh!!!!!!
I made it out of customs, exchanged some money, and hopped a bus to Xi Dan, which was as close as I could get to my hostel by bus from the airport. Once I got to the stop in Xi Dan I began walking in what I hoped was the right direction to my hostel. For what may be the only time in my life, I actually didn't get lost. It was probably a few miles of walking in the rain to get to my hostel, but I was walking in China so who cares?!?
Here's a few pics of the hostel I stayed at, which was amazing and awesome and clean and friendly and had a great staff who never ran out of patience, all for about 11 bucks a night.

After checking in, I ditched my stuff and changed into my running clothes and went for a nice long run. I ran through the Forbidden City, which was amazing, and Tianneman Square, which was a bit boring but since I know the historical significance of the place it still felt pretty cool. Since I was running I only had Rockzilla and not Ms. Carrie D. Camera, so I have no pictures of the City or the Square. I'm a bit bummed about that, but I guess now I have a reason to go back!
After my run it took me about 5 minutes to meet the dude in the picture above. Yohance. He's an English teacher in Seoul, too, and he was super cool. We went with yet another English teacher we met to the night market for some food. Everything was gross, and everything was on sticks. Here's a bit of the weirdness:
Snakes on sticks, roaches on sticks, centipedes on sticks, penis on sticks...there wasn't much that I wanted to eat there, but this kid was thrilled:
After we ate we walked around the city and stumbled upon a market, so we wandered through there. Lots of cheap souvenirs and communist propaganda. I didn't buy anything, but it was fun walking around looking at everything.And then it was a few beers and off to sleep, since we were getting up at 5:45 the next morning for our hiking trip to The Great Wall.