Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I have returned to North America

I have currently been awake for 22 hours and am experiencing some separation of brain and body in Vancouver. Maybe now is when I should think through my life plan....

I wish they had those sleep pods in this airport. I'd pay perfectly good money for that right now.

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At the Shanghai - Pudong airport

So this will be my last post from China, but I will continue to post about China when I get home and start to post my pictures. This was a fun adventure! I am totally ready to come home now though (for 5 days before we head to Atlanta), and I am not looking forward to this flight! I have drugs though, so it should be fine. I will catch up with you all on the other side of the International Date Line!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Last day

Today we slept in a little (as we have had a bunch of nights of bad sleep and early mornings), went out for some delish Dim Sum (for Nancy's info, we ordered stuff from the Honk Kong Menu as well as from the Shanghai menu), and then went to the Pearl Market. We bought a few choice items and came back home. I packed my bags up pretty well and we are waiting for Morgan to come home for dinner.

I feel like I got the China experience and I have seen a LOT of Shanghai. I really like China very much. It's a crazy place full of things that don't seem like they agree with eachother, but they somehow work. I can say that driving around in the bay area will seem super peacefully after the life-threatening cab rides. To be fair, Alex did warn me that the cab drivers were insane, so I did know ahead of time, but really, never ever get in the front seat. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to come here and stay and see this place!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Quail eggs on a stick

There's a really good post about it on this site.


I realized that I forgot to recap Xi'an! We took the shaking death train (Z trains are no good for sleeping in, for what it is worth) to Xi'an on Saturday night an arrived in the morning. We arranged with our cab driver to come back and get us after he dropped us at the hotel so we could go see the terra cotta soldiers. The facility was beautiful and enormous and well worth being a UNESCO World Heritage site. The soldiers are reall amazing in person. I will post more pictures from my actual camera of them when I return home.

Then we had a really awesome lunch at a small place our driver know that made us a huge plate of chicken and veggies and home made bread and a huge plate of dumplings that were very tasty. We came back to town, took a nap and then went to the Muslim Quarter to have street food for dinner. I tried lots of things, but my favorites were 5 quail eggs fried up on a stick and the glutinous rice pop thing with bean paste and crashed nuts. It was warm and super tasty! We saw the drum tower an the bell tower and walked around for quite some time as the street vendor market stretched for like 15 blocks in every direction. These markets are really crazy. They are so incredibly big, an you really have no idea until you get into them how huge they can be. After that, we headed back to the hotel to get to bed early as we ja to leave at 7 am for our flight back to Shanghai. It was a really cool town and I would recommend it and would go back again!

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The Pearl of Shanghai

This building is some kind of wonderful. It sparkles and shimmers in a dirt if Las Vegas way, but I love it anyway. :-)

We are back from Xian!

We flew back to Shanghai today!

Amber and I picked up my last coat that I had made, along with one for her, had street noodles, went to tea service again, had yum-tastic dinner with Morgan, walked around Pudong (the new part of the city), went up to the tallest enclosed observation deck in the world, rode the subway home, an got foot massage. Fun day!

Tomorrow is my last full day here. Not totally sure what we will do. Maybe go to the pearl market, maybe go see the aquarium, maybe just lay around. I am pretty sure that there will be Dim Sum though!! On Weds I fly home to my lovey, my bed, and my kitties. It's been an amazing trip, but I will be happy to be home once I get there!

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This is what the skyscraper looked like from the bottom

It's so big that you can't see the top from the bottom when looking up. Crazy.

The reason I got a bottle opener...

Is that I was on that building that looks like one, on the bottom level of the top part. There are glass floors so you can see down. The entrance and trip up was like they made resident evil into real life and like you were going through a portal to the future. It was totally awesome. :-)

View from the observation deck of the Shanghai World Finance center

Which is the tallest observation deck in the world, according to my bottle opener.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Beijing Day 2: big things

Yesterday we got up early and met our tour guide for a tour of the Ming tombs and the Great wall - Badaling. Thi particular spot was pretty awesome because it was at the high point of the area. You take a gondola up to about 85% and then climb the rest, which is a crazy steep, but short hike to the top. The view was beautiful And the area was covered in snow, which was pretty awesome because I would not have wanted to be up there when it was hot out! It's crazy to think tht people have been standing on that wall for nearly 3,000 years. It was kind of overwhelming. I highly recommend this experience if you have the chance!

The Ming tombs were also very awesome as they have 13 tombs all from the Ming Dynasty if rulers. Most of the stuff we saw was about 600 years old and it was both beautiful and interesting!

Then we went to see a Chinese acrobat show which was pretty cool but I think would have been more impressive if I hadn't been to see every Cirque du Soliel ever. After that, we headed to a very expensive restaurant where we had a great time ordering all sorts of new things and being laughed at by the staff. They finally assigned us a babysitter to help us through the meal. It was hysterical. I also had a level-up on the sesame ball front. In the US, these are normally warm with some bean paste inside an very tasty. In china they seem to come with a black sesame filling instead, which is even more tasty. Last night, I got one coated in some mystery substance that looked like cinnamon, but was not, and the black sesame paste was liquid and super hot. It was amazing. The Morton's chocolate Godiva lava cake of sesame balls. Yum!

Then for a 2 hour massage that only cost about $40 and off to bed.

Today we are going to go stash our stuff over at the train station, then head back to town to see most sights before we take the train to Xian overnight. Tomorrow we go see the terra cotta soldiers!

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Greetings from The Great Wall!


On Wednesday, Amber had an appointment, so I went to the fabric market to pick up my coats. 2/3 were done and the last one wasn't, so I will go back Monday to pick that one up (hopefully). The two i picked up turned out beautifully! After that we got ready and headed to the train station to go to Beijing.

The train was much nicer than expected! I'll post some pictures that I took with my real camera when I return to the states, but it was clean and quiet an although wee had someone else in our room, it was pleasant enough.

We arrived in Beijing this morning, dropped our stuff off at our hotel, and went to the summer palace, which was huge and beautiful, then Tienenmien Square and the Forbidden city. We didn't get to go into the paid part of the forbidden city a it was too late in the day, but hopefully we will go back and be able to go inside on Saturday. Then we went to a restaurant famous for their Peking duck, which is what Beijing is famous for in general, and had some. It was delish! After dinner, we went walking around and found a gigantic area for shopping of all kinds and meandered around for a while checking that out. It was beautiful and I tried this very strange dessert thing that appears to be tiny apples skewered and soaked in hardened sugar. Maybe that's not why it is at all. Whatever it was, it was good! :-)

Tomorrow we are to get up early to take a day tour to the Great Wall and to the Ming Tombs! I am excited!!

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Yu Garden

I got kind of obsessed with temple dogs at the markets today!

Looooong day of shopping!

First we went to the fabric market again by accident because we thought we found another one, but turns out it QA the same as where we had already been to where we dickered down a bunch of warm clothes for Morgan to wear in Beijing. I didn't let amber be nice to them and I had a mission and totally jammed through there and got good prices. We then went to a second market that actually had fabric, but it was very low quality and they didn't have the fabric I wanted so I didn't get any. I think this trip is a bust for fabric, although I did get a meter each of 4 really nice brocades at the silk factory that are someday destined to be corsets.

Then we went to a big market thing that totally is made for westerners to get a chinese vibe, but it feels so silly to me, but we had a lot of fun an got a bunch of neat stuff. I got some neat art things as a small souvenir etc. We also went to the tea market and got tea toys and a bunch of tea. I hope it's good!

We had some dinner and sesame balls and came home after a long day of shopping!

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Manic Monday

Today we took it easy and did some decision making for the rest of the trip and then went to tea. For THREE HOURS. They take their tea drinking seriously here. For real. Our tea girl was super awesome though and we chatted while we tried a couple of different types of tea.

After that, we made a trip to Jing'an temple to see a gigantic buddha and see the largest sitting jade Buddha in China. The picture here is that Buddha. The monks were doing their thing so we only peeked inside to see the big Buddha.

After that, we went to get Morgan and have dinner. We came home, watched a movie and headed for bed. Tomorrow we have a big day if running around planned. I will report back tomorrow night!

Sooo... No trumpet playing on this street?

This was found inside a hair salon

What on earth does this do????

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Night cruise

Last up, we went for a cruise on the river to see Pudong and the Bund by night. This city really songs at night. The buildings, which durring the day in the smog look kind of monotonous become sparkling jewels in the sky (good, too, since the smog is so thick that there are no stars).

After that, we had some fabulous noodles for dinner and then went for foot and ear massage, which, at one point, involved putting a paper cone in each ear and lighting it on fire. It was one of those things that you try because you can...

Temple Run

Last on that part of the trip, we visited a couple of other temples that were vet beautiful. These are some general idea pictures of that.

The silk factory

Then we went to the silk factory to see what there is to see. It was fascinating seeing the whole process and it is no wonder that silk is so expensive!

More pictures later, but here's a little taste. 

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Today we went to Suzhou (pronounced Soo-zjo) on a long day tour. The pictures here are from the humble general's gardens. Humble in China doesn't mean the same thing. It means "not interested in politics" so the emperor doesn't have to worry about him. Cuz this guy is anything but humble in the American sense!!

I have better pictures of everything on my camera, and can upload later, but I took a few snaps just to show you what it's like.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

After the markets...

After the markets, Amber and I went back to the apartment, synced up with Morgan and then got dinner with some friends of theirs from Morgan's work. Then the men went for a beer while the ladies went for massage. You can walk in for a massage here until 2am. Awesome.

It was absolutely pouring rain, so we got soaked on our way home, but it was nice to have rain again...

Tomorrow we go visit a silk factory!

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Marriage market

After we spent all of our money on coats, we went to People's Square Park and looked around in the marriage market. People come from all across china and put the stats of their kids, grand kids and clients up for other parents to look at. Then they compare stats and hopefully set their kids up on dates. Tye grandparents come with umbrellas and put signs up on them.I love the shot of the guys just perusing the umbrellas.


Today we went to the fabric market (there's not really actually fabric there - mostly they make you clothes), where I am having a couple of jackets made. Just outside are some street-food vendors. We got pot stickers, bread, spicy potatoes, fresh made noodles and some juice and sat across the street to enjoy. It was absolutely delish.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Friday was my first real day able to do anything functional, so amber and I went to The Bund, to see the views of Shanghai and the Pearl. I cant tell from sending email what order these will come out in, but there's a view from the Bund, some of the old architecture on this side of the river (reminds me a lot of Buenos Aires), a shot of the Pearl during the day, one of People's Square walkway, which is kind of like times Square or Picadilly Circus, and then my duck ramen for lunch (Nancy would be proud!).

After that, we went to get train and plane tickets to go to Beijing and Xi'an and then had some yum-tastic Indian at the Pearl Market. That place is crazy. There's just stall after stall of people selling millions of Pearls. Im not actually very into Pearls, but I'll probably go back when I have more time and check it out a little better. After dinner we went to a DVD store. That was pretty awesome. ;-)

Today I think we are going to go to the fabric market. We'll see how that turns out!