Page 5 of soooze Travel Blog Posts

Asia » China » Shanghai November 16th 2009

Due to my current location, I am going to use some codes here, so bear with me. The SF (rhymes with twine glue) hysteria meter is wavering above the halfway to Nutsville here in Shanghai as it seems to be throughout the world. Or maybe it’s just the Suzanne hysteria meter. Lots of hand washing, lots of me screaming "don't touch that" and "keep your hands off your face!" but so far, things are okay. The school is doing temperature checks and we do know several families who have had SF and recovered fine. You may think me crazy, but I am not taking any chances and so I am using coded messages to share the latest info from China. I know I sound paranoid, but I was talking to my dad the other day via ... read more
Emily in her assembly
girl scouts
kids with Lisa

Asia » China » Shanghai November 4th 2009

Two weeks ago we celebrated UN Day. This is what you do at an international school in China. You appreciate that there is a holiday all about unity among a diverse population. Our school has something like 45 countries represented. Of course some countries are represented with larger populations than others. Some countries may only be represented by one or two students. UN Day involves having the students dress in traditional clothing or in their home country’s flag colors. In the case of the USA, some of our fellow citizens wore sports team attire (saw a Cubs fan in the crowds) and others like my kids sported USA flag shirts and other red, white and blue attire. I even played along and wore the flag colors to school to observe the all school parade and assembly. ... read more
Team USA
international food festival
nathan and his pals

Asia » China » Shanghai October 23rd 2009

This week, the weather has been spectacular. That perfect fall weather I associate with the Midwest. Sunny and warm but not hot. No jacket required until evening when it gets a bit chillier and even then, not really jacket weather but light sweater. It’s dreamy. I know it won’t last for too much longer so I’m trying to make the most of it. I’ve had lunch outside 3 days this week and I’ve done some solid walking. On the weekend, we had the chance to visit with some family friends of Mark’s parents. Dave and Kathy had last seen us (Mark and Suzanne before there was a Nathan and Emily) fourteen years ago at our wedding. They were in town with another couple and we met them at their hotel and spent a couple hours together. ... read more
Mark, kids, Kathy and Dave
in Fuxing Park
field trip

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Quảng Nam » Hoi An October 10th 2009

Final entry in the Vietnam series... We flew from Hanoi to DaNang and arrived at what would be the final stop on our Vietnam tour at about 8pm. I arranged for a car to meet us (my new favorite travel thing to do) and we were driven to the Hoi An Trails Resort. I should mention that we had originally booked a different hotel, one that was recommended by friends and travel sites, but it was damaged during a recent typhoon (!) so we had to make alternate arrangements. During the drive from the airport, I spent my time staring out the window and noticed that in every house we passed—and I mean every house—the front doors were open and the televisions were turned on. I could see people sitting on living room floors and also ... read more
lanterns in many colors
in town
street scene

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay October 9th 2009

Prepare yourselves, readers. This is a long one. Might want to grab a cup of tea or beverage of choice before settling in to read this one. Or make it a two part experience. I decided to publish it all as one since I tell the boat trip story start to finish. I hope you enjoy it. When I researched Vietnam, everyone I spoke to said we had to go to Halong Bay. Halong Bay means descending dragon bay in Vietnamese. The area has thousands of the limestone formations that are mini-islands. After doing some research online and seeing the photos, we added it to the itinerary. The pictures online prepared us for the beauty of the area, but being there and being the photographer was fantastic. I felt like I was literally inside a postcard. ... read more
Emily with her decorative oar
sun setting
us in kayaks

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi October 8th 2009

I posted pictures on the previous Vietnam post, so you can go back and check those out too. Just wanted to share a bit more on Vietnam and what we’ve noticed so far. There should be a video here soon...check back if you are an early reader. They take a long time to upload. People are very nice and seem a bit less aggressive than in Shanghai. There are people selling the same stuff as in China but we had no fear or hesitation and we’ve said no more often than we’ve said yes. We have seen many people selling vegetables and fruit by walking around with baskets balanced on their shoulders. Often women, these people take the store on the road and sell things like oranges or sweet potatoes while walking through the streets of ... read more
burning money
money burning
oranges, get your oranges

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi October 5th 2009

Hanoi We are off to a great start on our Vietnam adventure. We arrived a bit after 1am with some very sleepy kids. We all slept on the plane (about a 4 hour flight) and were fortunate enough to have a driver waiting with a "Slaven" sign as we exited the airport. It's all about planning those key details. Especially when traveling with kids. We drove to the hotel, Mercure, Hanoi and arrived at about 2am. I picked the hotel after seeing a pop-up ad for the hotel while researching Hanoi. The lure of the hotel was the fact that it's in a good location, they have a family-friendly policy (kids are free) and the room has a pull out couch so we are not all sleeping in 1 bed or 2 tiny twin beds. These ... read more
tour guides and emily
the tall house
emily makes some gal pals

Asia » China » Shanghai October 4th 2009

During the past week, I was fortunate enough to have my wish for visitors met twice! First, my dear friend Natalie’s parents Diane and Orry came to Shanghai as a stop on their 3 week China trip and I gave them a quick tour of my favorite spots. They were traveling with some of their close friends and it was fun to meet Linda and Nick and bond over being Wolverines. Go Blue! The weather was horrible but we marched through the soggy streets and had a good time even with the bad weather. I impressed myself with my ability to navigate Shanghai as if I had a sense of direction. I whipped out the map on several occasions, escorted my guests to lunch after confirming the location by calling a handy info line for visitors ... read more
posin' in the rain
puddle jumping
60 years - 2009

Asia » China » Shanghai September 28th 2009

The last week plus has really flown by for me. I finished my language class on Thursday. I didn’t know I’d be taking a test, so of course I didn’t study. I think it’s better though. The point isn’t to cram, it’s to assess my retained Mandarin. I did fine. I am debating whether to join a group class after the group catches up to me in a few weeks, or just do private lessons. I have started the kids with a tutor and I am going to have lessons with the same teacher twice a week. We’ll see how that goes. My comprehension continues to exceed my verbal communication skills, so we are going to work on speaking. The kids had their first lesson on Thursday and they liked it. They played games and practiced ... read more
pouring the wax via teapot

Asia » China » Shanghai September 16th 2009

So much to blog, but finding it hard to make time to do it. I think these weekly reviews are working well. Let’s do this thing. Last week was another busy one. I helped out with a new parent orientation at school. While stuffing the welcome bags and talking with the women who were going to be speaking, I was offering my ideas and next thing you know—on the agenda. Darn. I was a bit nervous, thinking it would be hundreds of people, but it ended up being a much smaller group than last year. We had the potential for as many as 200 new parents to attend but it was not that crowded. I spoke about transportation (subway, taxis, buses, trains, etc.) and I saw a few people taking notes which was nice. I was ... read more
well, hello there
sushi combo

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