The (not so) Forbidden City


We were so ready. We had rented a van. We were all rested up. We had picked out our warmest clothes. We had gotten our snacks packed. We were going to the Great Wall.

The next morning we woke up to a massive wind storm. The Great Wall is on top of the mountains…I don’t know about you, but it blowing off the Great wall doesn’t sound so fun to me. Huh.

We weren’t going to the Great Wall….

So we settled for the next best thing, the Forbidden City. We packed into the van and off we went. Continue reading “The (not so) Forbidden City”


The Summer Palace


After a day of rest from traveling across the ocean, we decided that it was time for Grams and Papa’s first adventure. We didn’t want to start out to big with something like the Great Wall, but then again didn’t want to waste our precious days on anything non-significant. We decided on the Summer Palace. Continue reading “The Summer Palace”

Two Special Visitors!

IMG_6786.JPGHey guys, guess who came to China for a visit? That’s right, Grams and Papa Haas! After 2 or 3 months with out seeing anyone from back home they were a sight for sore eyes. (Plus who doesn’t love a visit from Grams and Papa!?) On September 20th, they arrived (having survived their own 15 hour plane ride) with two huge suitcases full of goodies that we had requested from good ole US of A. Here is a picture of most of what came out of the suitcases full of loot they brought with them:

img_3356      img_3358

It’s funny how some of the most common place items were received with so much excitement after being without them for three months! The kids have been playing non-stop with the Knexs they brought too. It’s like we get Christmas twice this year! We had so many fun adventures with them through out their stay and went to many of the iconic sites. Stay tuned to hear of our great adventures!


A Birthday Trip to Lishu

Can you remember a time when you went on a special trip by yourself? Well on August 31 I was happy to learn that I would be going on a”father/son” trip for my birthday. My Dad then stated that we would be going to Lishu {Lee-shoo} (the part of China that they call the “roosters head”)  We would be going for the Black Soil Forum [a soil conference].It was six hours on the “bullet train”– first class! We didn’t get to the hotel until after 10 pm.  After checking in we went up to our room and realized it was a “Luxury suite”!


Here’s the “living area” in our suite!

Our room was on the seventh floor about six windows from the left side.Also we couldn’t open the windows because of all the wind.

img_5791-001Everyday, three times a day, we had a buffet of about  fifteen dishes. There were always new dishes that were served.


One of these I tried was squid. I liked it.


The first day ,which was also my birthday, Dad gave one of the presentations on this stage.  I got bored listening to all of them, but at least there were tasty refreshments!

img_5810-001Later that night there was a traditional dance. There were also many other dances performed.

img_5853-001 The conference only lasted a couple days.  Before leaving for home we went on a five hour tour of different research areas. The massive building in this picture is the new research station.

img_5933-001 On are way to the train station we saw this interesting observation tower.  Our train left to go back to Beijing at 2:30 pm.

I had a great time on this trip to Lishu and spending time with my dad .If you ever come to China I suggest going to visit Lishu.

— Isaac

One Last Stop: Yangling

Before moving on to our latest adventures (which include the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, an old Hutong neighborhood, and the Great Wall), we want to wrap up our posts from our travels south that took place last month.

After leaving Xi’an we took a quick bullet train west to a city called Yangling.  Tyson was invited to visit a young professor at Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University.  While Tyson collaborated with Dr. Hailong and met with other faculty at Northwest A & F, the kids played outside in the area surrounding our hotel (which was located right on the university) or we took a walk to the massive amount stairs leading to the campus entrance.  We ended up needing three hotel rooms to accommodate our whole crew (most rooms only had twin beds).


Here’s a picture of Audrey in front of the steps leading up to campus.  I think we’d all be in better shape if we had to take these steps every day to get to class or work!  The kids had fun having me time them running down and back up again.  We often would visit an outdoor fruit stand and buy a pomegranate or another fruit and sit and eat it while “people watching”.  Wait . . . take that back.  Other way around.  We were mostly the ones being watched.

20160907_171355-001 Annie and Eli picking out what fruit we wanted to buy at one of the many stands available near campus.

Lena, a lovely graduate student Dr. Hailong had arranged to accompany us as needed while staying in Yangling, took us to the city’s complex of museums.  We had the chance to go into the “Insect” Museum, the “Soil” Museum, and the “Animal” Museum before the group was all “museumed” out.

img_3263 Our group with Lena, our gracious guide and new friend!

The “Animal” Museum’s taxidermist must have still been in training when he/she worked on these specimens!

Tyson was excited to see “soil” get it’s proper recognition with it’s own museum.  Part of the museum was dedicated to soil classification and some samples of them . . . of which we found one soil classification we had never seen before:  “White Zombie Territory”!

Our favorite museum was probably the “Insect” Museum.  Besides the usual bug displays under glass, we were able to see these elaborate butterfly mosaics made with real butterfly wings!  They were very beautiful.


Like I mentioned before, this trip was not all fun . . . but some work as well (for Tyson anyway).  Here’s Tyson giving one of his seminars on campus.


The last night we were there, we were taken out for supper.  We were told that we were going to a “farmer’s house” for supper.  Thinking we may have a meager meal of rice and vegetables, I had prepared the kids not to complain and to be thankful for whatever was offered.  Well, we didn’t get the whole story, but it’s our assumption the “farmer’s house” was actually just a restaurant (maybe he lived in the back?).  We were served more than 22 dishes at this meal.  Our favorite thing served was a kind of fried flat bread.  As you can see from the picture, we didn’t leave hungry AND no one was complaining about not finding anything to eat!

We headed back to our apartment in Beijing via bullet train Saturday morning after starting our journey on Monday morning.  We had a good time (although quite worn out) and are glad we adventured to visit another part of China. All of us were glad to sleep in our beds and be back “home” later that evening.  We would anxiously wait for our next excitement to come to this overseas experience . . . when my parents (aka Grams and Papa) would come to visit later in the month!

Thanks for reading!


The Heart of Xi’an: The Muslim Quarter


Maybe it was the illuminated drum and bell towers. Maybe it was the busy hum of the food street. Or maybe it was the excited hush of back road shops. Whatever it was, it made the Muslim Quarter in Xi’an one of our favorite parts of China. The excitement and diversity we found in the heart of this city made quite an impression!  Continue reading “The Heart of Xi’an: The Muslim Quarter”