Tuesday, May 29, 2012


A main motivation for moving to China (aside from the whole job thing of course) was the traveling that we could do while here. Yes, we would be able to explore throughout China (Beijing, Hangzhou, and next up Yellow Mountain and Harbin), but suddenly, places like Malaysia and Thailand were only a short flight away. So when our friends Kat and Stuart asked us to join them for a weekend in Tokyo, we packed our bags and jetted off to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Tokyo Skyline

Shibuya at night

Early morning fish market

Our traveling crew

Lunch at Gonpachi (the inspiration for the restaurant in Kill Bill)

Shinobazu Pond

Entrance to the Imperial Palace

National Garden
 A parade of some sort for the Tokyo Sky Tower, which is on her head?

 Sensoji Temple

 Besides temples and gardens, there was sushi, soba, beer, and an insane amount of laughs. Our final dinner ended with 27 beers and tears of laughter running down each of our faces. Not a bad way to end a fabulous weekend in Japan.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Street Food: Yu Mi Xiang

As you can probably tell from the majority of my posts, I like food a lot. Talking about food, thinking about food, and of course, eating food. And in a place like Shanghai, there are always interesting treasures to be found. Take Sunday for example. Matthew and I were out wondering around the former French Concession when we decided to grab some ice cream from one of the many convenience stores along the way. And that is where we found this gem, Yu Mi Xiang or Fragrant Corn.
 This popsicle consisted of vanilla ice cream coated in a corn shaped wafer

The verdict? Well, we still aren't sure. The ice cream was rich and tasty but there was a distinct corn flavor to the entire treat which we both found a bit unsettling. And yet, in a place where frozen mung beans are considered dessert, this wasn't the worst dessert we have tried. Not even close.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Birthday Celebrations

Last week I turned the big 2-8. And like any good celebration, mine included cupcakes, presents, and acrobats. I had casually mentioned to (or rather incessantly annoyed) Matthew when we first arrived that I would like to go see the acrobats, but had honestly forgotten all about them in recent weeks.

After a fabulous dinner at Dashu Wujie (an amazing vegetarian restaurant overlooking the park near our apartment), Matthew surprised me with tickets to see the Shanghai Acrobats at Shanghai Circus World. I had a moment of panic when we first got off the metro and I saw the building though. You see, I have an irrational fear of clowns and hate to see wild animals in cages. As soon as I heard the word circus, my heart started to beat a little faster. Thankfully, there were no red noses or wigs in sight.

I wasn't able to take any photos during the actual show, but I lifted this one from the website to give you an idea of what it was like.

It was essentially a performance of balance, strength, gymnastics, and juggling with a little motorcycling riding thrown in. I would highly recommend the acrobats to anyone visiting Shanghai, even if all it does is make you feel pathetic in yoga class the next day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Beijing Street Food

You all know I love me some street food. You can find an array of delicacies from tasty noodles, to scorpion, tofu skewers, or even fresh soy milk. But in Beijing, I was the happy recipient of this bad boy.

And yes, I ate the whole thing.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Labor Day Master Class

After my dumpling class last week, I was itching to show off my new found skills to Matthew (especially since he is usually the chef in our house). We had a day free for the Labor Day holiday, so we loaded up on supplies and got to work.

Our dining table full of supplies

We made chicken and Chinese leek as well as chicken and bok choy

 Everything chopped and ready to go

Our wontons

It's a good thing they turned out well, because we currently have over 200 of them in our freezer. I guess I was a little excited about my new found skill.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


A bald Britney Spears. Lindsay Lohan sans underwear. Kim Kardashian without her wedding ring. And me at the Forbidden City. What do these all have in common? Each event inspired a mob of frenzied people to whip out their cameras in order to capture the perfect shot. That's right, in Beijing, I was practically a celebrity.

 Posing with one of my many admirers

I should backtrack slightly and mention that I have had my picture taken before in Shanghai. At least once or twice a week, I will notice a camera or cell phone being slipped out of someone's pocket as I walk by. But in general, foreigners are so common in Shanghai that most Chinese could care less about our presence.

But in Beijing, I was a novelty, especially to the many Chinese visiting from rural areas for the holiday weekend. Add in a tourist attraction and chaos ensued. I was first asked for a photo while waiting in line to buy my ticket. I said yes and within seconds, a line of approximately 50 people had formed to have their photo taken with me. I smiled, I put my arms around men, and I even threw up a few peace signs as was often requested by my admirers. And then someone dropped a baby into my arms. It was like I was a presidential candidate on the campaign trail.  They wanted a picture of me holding their baby. By the end of the day, I had posed for hundreds of photos and my smile was starting to strain.

I suppose this incident has made me into a seasoned professional should I ever decide to run for public office. Or for when I forget to wear underwear in public. Whichever comes first.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

36 Hours in Beijing

We took a whirlwind trip to Beijing during the Labor Day holiday this past weekend. How did we spend our time there?

We first hit up the Beijing Auto show. Seeing as this was technically a work trip for Matt, we spent a fair amount of time here. It was insanely crowded with people, cars, and people standing next to cars.
I entered on an exhibitor's badge. Looks just like me, right?

(side note, yes I am wearing a cat shirt and no, I did not buy it in China. I actually bought this in the US, thank you very much)
While Matt manned the booth for his work the following day, I spent my time exploring the Forbidden City.
The Forbidden City was the Imperial Palace for numerous Chinese emperors, spanning a 500 year period. Unfortunately, I went on a very hazy, and very busy day, neither of which lend themselves to decent photos.
 After five hours of wandering around (yes, there is that much to see), I took my tired feet to the airport where I met back up with Matthew and headed home to Shanghai.

Friday, May 4, 2012


I love dumplings. Fried, steamed, boiled. I will eat them any way I can get them and thankfully in Shanghai, I can get them a lot. But I do worry about what I will do when I return to the US where dumplings aren't available on every street corner.

Enter dumpling class. My friend Jennifer and I signed up for a course through the expat community center in order to get our dumpling making on. Not only was it a lot of fun, I now can whip up dumplings on my own.


At least this is one Chinese skill I seem to have mastered, because my Mandarin is a while other issue.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I had a conversation recently with my sister that went something like this:

Kristin: Blah blah blah. It's just like the people sleeping at Ikea, blah blah blah.
Carolyn: Um, hold up. People are sleeping in Ikea.
Kristin: Well yeah, but that's not what I was trying to tell you.
Carolyn: I don't care. What do you mean people are sleeping in Ikea?
Kristin: Well you know. They just climb into the beds and take naps.
Carolyn: Um, how did you not tell me this before?
Kristin: Oh, I guess it just started to seem normal...

I feel like that happens a lot in China. I see things so often that I start to forget that not everyone is having the same experience as I am, whether it is slit butt pants or sleeping in Ikea. 

So over the weekend, Matthew and I ventured to Ikea just so I could take pictures of the napping that takes place. Sadly, there was less sleeping than normal but I think you still get the idea.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...