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Uncle Louie Recap

This year Louie Yi, Lotus Travel’s founder and President did a special “Uncle Louie” tour during June.  In addition to this group experiencing beautiful sights of Guilin; reminiscing at the White Swan; seeing the many Beijing cultural sites and visiting orphanage locations, this group also shared a special anniversary with Louie.  They honored him with a surprise cake during lunch on the 15th anniversary of his immigration to America.  He shared with them his reflections on this poignant day of remembrances, and told them how the “American dream” became true for him. He shared how since he was a little child he had this dream, and in his life has gone through several tough situations which have helped him gain experience and persistence.

Click here to see Louie’s letter of reflection on June 24, 2009.

The serious tone didn’t last long, as when it was time for Louie to cut the cake purchased in his honor, he opted to have some fun with it, as our photos reveal!

While not every tour at Lotus Travel is an “Uncle Louie” personally escorted tour, we understand your needs and desires and provide a high quality, personalized service to our families and strive to make EACH tour a specialized, memorable experience.  Here are some highlights in photos and comments.

Uncle Louie Tour:  June 2009

Client Comments from this tour:

Favorite part of trip:  Watching my daughter absorb the culture and develop a greater understanding of her land of birth was the most important part of the trip for me.  She came away feeling very comfortable and positive, yet she also has a realistic view of China, rather than some vision she would have had without experiencing it herself.

Favorite part of trip for my daughter:  Visiting QuZhou for her SWI visit.  Despite being unable to enter due to concerns about H1N1, she developed a greater sense of belonging and gained some information that we had not previously known. 

Surprises:  The extent to which our kids were able to get involved with hands-on activities was a wonderful surprise...learning to string and knot pearls to make their own bracelets, making a terra cotta warrior from clay to bring home, paper cuts, etc.!  As a teacher, visiting a third grade classroom was a very special surprise. 

We appreciate Louie's careful attention to all aspects of the trip for the sake of the children, as well as his flexibility.  At no point did we feel rushed along the way, and I appreciate how well he understands the importance of this experience for the children.  From riding a zipline across the Li River - which we asked to have time to do when we saw it - to sharing personal insights and experiences, we felt the trip was personalized for the interests and needs of our group.
Maxine Miller

I could go on for many pages describing the highlights of our Chinese Heritage Tour with Uncle Louie. While everyone enjoyed the typical tourist highlights (The Forbidden City, The Great Wall, Xian Warriors, Li River Cruise, to name just a few) I would like to describe (sic) what made Louie’s tour extra special.
The morning that we spent in the kite maker’s shop in Beijing was a special treat. How often do any of us have the privilege of watching one of the top master craftsmen of the world? The children and the adults were equally entranced, as he carved and bent animal shapes out of bamboo to produce objects of both strength and beauty.

A great surprise was the visit to Hu County, where each family stayed with a Chinese farmer family, and the children learned to make dumplings. 
We had no idea what to expect, and were nervous because of the language barrier. With the help of a picture dictionary, our experience at playing Charades, plus a lot of laughter, we soon bridged the language gap and had a delightful evening.  My wife will never forget being pulled from our room in her pajamas to join our children and the local townspeople dancing in the town Square! The next morning, we were all overwhelmed by the affection shown to us at the local school, where our children sat with the local children and were taught paper cutting.  The personal connection that we felt in that little town is as memorable as the greatest of China’s wonders.

Speaking of wonders, I cannot neglect to mention the pandas in Chengdu, certainly one of the high points for my daughter, Anna. We started our tour earlier in the morning than usual, so as to see the pandas at their most active. 

 We were not disappointed, as the panda cubs rolled around, ate bamboo voraciously, and seemed to mug for the camera.  Needless to say, Anna continues to collect all things panda, inspired by the performance of the real thing.

In Guilin, we encountered one of the most purely fun activities, completely by accident. While preparing to climb Fubu Hil, we came across a zip line swing, which carried people across the river. With temperatures nearing 40 degrees C, we were thrilled to have a cool and exciting way to play.  Children and adults alike screamed with delight (and maybe a little fear!) as we zipped across the river, one by one, and retuned back on a small raft attached to a cable.

The most memorable part of the trip for Loretta and me must be our stay in Hangzhou, with our side trip to Anna’s orphanage in Yiwu.  Despite the scare of the H1N1 virus, which prevented us from seeing the children at the orphanage, Louie and our local tour guide, Wendy, were able to secure a meeting for us with the orphanage director.  He listened appreciatively as Anna carefully recited a short speech in Chinese, which she had rehearsed for weeks.  Not a dry eye in the room! Seeing her original home is an experience that Anna cherishes now, and will cherish even more as she grows older. After that day, we were able to relax and enjoy the beauty of Hangzhou, our absolute favorite destination in China. From the serene beauty of the West Lake to the vivid colors or the Buddhist Temple, to the rich, green landscape of the tea plantations, Hangzhou is a city that beckons you to stay and savor its charms. 

In Shanghai, two memories stand out.  One is the excitement of the market, where all of China’s goods can be found.  Our family still howls with laughter as we remember hearing, “Fake watches, fake watches” and “One dolla, one dolla, one dolla! …Two for ten1”  The other memory is the poignant moment at the Buddhist Temple, as the monks, in their flowing long gold silk robes, filed into the temple and conducted a short service before our eyes.

I am, of course, just scraping the surface.

Mitch Edmondson
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