Back in the U.S.S.A.
A short trip back to the US had us fly into Chicago for a few days before heading to Deer Creek to camp out and catch two nights of Phish. From there we drove down to Johnson City to spend some time with Rachel’s family and then up to Detroit to see Sasha’s. The train brought us back to Chi-town in time to sleep for a few hours before boarding a flight back to Beijing. This rushed and far too short trip home is part of what prompted us to just quit our jobs and hit the road.
Mt. Tai and Confucius’ Hometown
Shortly after returning to China, Sasha took a short trip to climb China’s most sacred Buddhist mountain, Mt. Tai in Shandong province. After climbing 7,000+ stairs, a cloudy day ensured he didn’t see anything. He then checked out Qu Fu, the hometown of Confucius to see the Big 3 – the Confucius temple, mansion, and cemetery.
Backpacking in Sichuan
After a month or so of working, we took our annual contract break and backpacked around Sichuan province in southwest China. We saw cute and cuddly pandas and ate mouth-numbingly spicy hot pot in Chengdu, did some hiking and relaxing in Ping Le Ancient Town, visited some of China’s most beautiful national parks, and did an incredibly challenging three-day trek up a sacred Tibetan mountain.
Singapore and Bali
Another National Day in China provided yet another vacation. We flew to Singapore first, where we got to explore the city-state a bit thanks to an extended layover. From there it was on to Bali in Indonesia to rage with a friend. We lounged on the beach, had some monkey business at a cliff side temple, took in the views of the rice fields, ate suckling pig, and more.
Santa Con Reprise and NYE
We wound down the year in Beijing the same way we had the year before, with a whole lot of silly shenanigans. The guys went as Chinese schoolboys for Halloween, Santa Con was a riot yet again, we raged hard on NYE, and finally we enjoyed couch tour at home with the Phish shows from MSG.