Blogs from China, Asia

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Asia » China » Shanghai » Pudong May 19th 2020

I have never been very good at languages. I took Latin in high school, from the teacher who probably invented it. Then German at U.C. Berkeley, which I enjoyed but could not dedicate much study to. My grandparents across the street spoke mostly Japanese. Since we grew up with them, we have a decent vocabulary, and know the correct pronunciation of much conversational Japanese. And I have studied numerous online Japanese language courses prior to our visits to Japan. I enjoy Pimsler the most, very straight forward, conversational and interactive. No hangups on grammar. But Japanese, German, and English do not compare in difficulty to the five most difficult in the world. What are they? Turkish is the 5th hardest, perhaps most prevalent in its agglutination, in which multiple individual words are pushed together to create ... read more
Mandarin
Polish cheers

Asia » China » Shanghai » Luwan March 2nd 2020

Cancel a trip yet? My cousins cancelled their trip to Japan this month. But I am boarding a plane tomorrow for a short flight to Vegas. What should you do? What is corona virus? Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. Around 80% of people recover without requiring special treatment. The virus, which first appeared in Wuhan, China, has since spread to 53 countries. Of the roughly 84,000 reported cases, China accounts for over 78,800. Older people and those with preexisting conditions – including high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes – are the most likely to develop a severe illness as a result of COVID-19. Well, I definitely would stay out of Asia. And not just because of the Corona virus, but because much of the region is ... read more
Coronavirus
Symptoms

Asia » China » Beijing » Forbidden City January 1st 2020

I will limit my texts here and let my photos take you there. I spent my last day in Beijing to check out The Forbidden City, which is now called The Palace Museum. My hotel was pretty close to this place, so I didn't need to take a train to get there. The opening days are from Tuesday to Sunday, and an entrance fee can be purchased at the entrance gates. This place is always packed with tourists, but inside is big enough to move around. Every house in the village looked the same and it is very well maintained. I counted the animals on the roof of a few houses, it's a trick I learnt from Mike. The Forbidden City reminded me of Andy Liu a Hongkonger actor who played a Chinese television series called ... read more
The giant metal bucket
The Dragon Warrior
The Turtle Warrior

Asia » China » Beijing » Great Wall of China December 31st 2019

In all of my travel experiences, China was the most challenging country I have ever visited. It took me loads of drama to enter Beijing, stay in Beijing and to exit Beijing. Not only the immigration regulations were strict, but the language barrier was also a massive issue. Chinese public security was extremely tight, multiples surveillance cameras were installed in every block of the city. The city is guarded by military everywhere. Beijing got me frustrated at times however, sweet Beijingers made that drama disappear. I spent four days in Beijing under the Beijing 144 hours visa-free program. My travel point began in Beijing city, where I took half of the day to recover from long haul flights. I felt the damn jetlag still linger on the next day. To beat it, I decided to spend ... read more
Spicy beef and flat bread. A typical Chinese dish
Beijing at night
Shopping in Beijing is heaven and a way to kill jetlag😍

Asia » China » Shanghai December 29th 2019

The food in Shanghai is so incredible, it enhances the overall travel experience and can easily be its own memory. That is, if someone suggests recommendations for a culinary trip, I would hands down recommend Shanghai without a shred of hesitation (with the only other town being my beloved Chicago). From local Chinese cuisine to international fare, this city has it all. Everything I sampled, tried, and devoured – from small bites at the local coffee shop to full-on sit down meals at restaurants – was suburb. The combination of tastes and flavors astounded me every time. And what was clear in my experience is that whatever the Shanghainese do, they do it damn well. Let’s start with the coffee shops. I for one adore coffee shops – they are my happy place. And it pleased ... read more
Christmas Dinner :)

Asia » China » Shanghai December 26th 2019

Contemporary China has a fascinating relationship with spirituality: as a country with historically deeply rooted traditions and practices which spread throughout the region, it is also accelerating in modernity at lightning speed. When you are here, it is hard to reconcile China’s historical traditions with its current society. I think the Jing’an Temple (photographed below) is a perfect example of the dichotomy between rich cultural practices and modernization. Though there are a number of religions in China, including Taoism, Confucianism, and Islam consisting about 10% of the population, this blog post will be focusing on Buddhism, which is the country’s most practiced religion (15% of the population). However, it must be prefaced that the vast majority (over 70%) of mainland Chinese are non-religious, which makes it the world’s largest non-religious population. That is... read more
Jing'an Temple
Buddha Art Exhibit

Asia » China » Shanghai December 24th 2019

“The Economy, Stupid.” My fascination with China began with a conversation. I was traveling back to Chicago from attending a wedding in France in the summer of 2017 when I accompanied an old college acquaintance. Throughout our journey home, he talked about how his parents struggled to move to the United States and how hard they worked in their white collared jobs (while facing prejudice in the workplace – go figure, California) to give their children a life they did not have growing up in China. Most of my Chinese-American friends echo the same story. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, a few bad policies and natural disasters led to one of the worst famines in Chinese history. The most conservative of estimates state that at least 15 million Chinese died of starvation (some scholars ... read more

Asia » China » Shanghai December 20th 2019

December 20, 2019 Somewhere over Russia Season’s Greetings! I hope everyone is having a wonderful December, no matter where in the world you may find yourself. I am writing to you on a flight to Beijing, where I will continue on to my final destination of Shanghai, China. Shanghai has always captured my imagination since youth, and a little bit of research into the city proves to me that it is a jewel of Eastern Asia. My hero Anthony Bourdain once said Shanghai makes New York City look like a third world country, and from there my fascination exploded. From what I know so far, it is a juxtaposition of the absolute modern with classical Western art deco architecture. It has former European style neighborhoods, which is in contrast to what Cheryl and I experienced in ... read more

Asia » China » Beijing November 28th 2019

Being a total glutton, I wanted to do another food tour in Beijing. I booked up with Lost Plate for their evening food tour. I had enjoyed their breakfast one and the evening tour would go to a different area. It was also in a different area to the evening food tour I had done with Untour, so there would be no overlap. I like food tours as being a solo traveller, it lets me try many different foods that I probably wouldn't be able to if I was by myself as I wouldn't be able to eat it all and some places aren't made for solo dinners. We met at Lama Temple subway station. Our guide, Isaac, was really nice and gave everyone a beer or water in a special stubbie holder to start the ... read more
After
Barbecue
Barbecue




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