Saturday, November 21, 2009

Leah and her 'Rents Visit - Part II: Shanghai & Suzhou

We flew to Shanghai on an early morning flight and caught a cab to our hotel.

Looking out the window, we saw a street packed with people not far from the hotel that we decided to check out. It turned out to be a shopping street that was ridiculously crowded. That's what we get for traveling during the National Holiday. We walked over to the Bund but we couldn't see anything due to construction.

I had some recommendations for restaurants from a friend, so for dinner we checked out Barbarossa. Delicious!

The next day, we took a train to Suzhou for the day.
We walked all over the place and again saw too many people everywhere. The Lion's Grove Garden would have been much more interesting if it had not been so crowded.

We went to an Arts and Crafts Museum which was nice and empty. The Temple of Mystery was very mysterious. We stopped by the Northern Pagoda on our walk back toward the train station.
About this time, we all started to get a little cranky from too much walking, taxis who didn't want to take us anywhere, places being closed, and hunger. After finding a place for dinner, we headed to the train station where we were able to change our train tickets for one an hour earlier since we had seen enough of Suzhou for the day.
Back in Shanghai, we decided to have drinks at the Radisson up the street from our hotel. At the Radisson, there is a rotating restaurant at the top and a bar one more floor up. From here, we had a great view of Shanghai's buildings all lit up.
The next day, we got up early to check out a market in the Xintiandi area of Shanghai. Since we were early, there were only a few others walking around with us and we found some great souvenirs.

We walked over to the Yu Garden next. This garden was again very crowded but managed to still be pretty peaceful. We all enjoyed our walk through the gardens.
Leaving the Yu Garden, we walked on the nine zig-zag bridge, but we didn't know it until we saw a postcard later - it was that crowded! We knew we were walking on a bridge and that we were making turns, but it was a mob of people from one side to the other. Amazing.

In the afternoon, we went to the Shanghai Museum - for free! I am not a big museum person and I have only been to a few museums that really held my attention for a long time. The Shanghai Museum wasn't one of them, but Leah's parents had a great time!

After the museum, we cabbed it over to the French Concession for tapas at Azul & Viva for dinner. I loved the French Concession area and would definitely spend more time here.

Leah and I went for foot massages after returning to our hotel.
The next morning, we got our shopping on at Uniqlo, H&M, and other random stores back in the Xindiandi and French Concession areas. While we were walking around, we ran into the cars and a float ready for a mass wedding. Usually, there are several cars which will caravan for a wedding. In this case, over 40 couples were getting married so there were a few hundred cars ready for the parade to wherever the weddings were about to take place.

We had a lovely Chinese lunch before checking out of our hotel and catching a taxi to the airport for our flight to Xi'an.

More pictures over at flickr.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Leah and her 'Rents Visit - Part I: National Day

Leah and her parents flew over for about a week and a half during my October holiday. They arrived the night before the big celebration so I was glad that I was able to collect them at the airport and get back to my apartment without any trouble. Wait, did I say without any trouble? I collected them fine. We got a taxi fine. But, the taxi broke just as we were getting off the highway. We had to get out and get all our stuff and flag down another one. Then, that one was inches from slamming into a little red car who cut us off. Inches! We did make it home and I swore to them that every taxi ride in China is not that eventful.

The next morning was the National Holiday. We watched the parade on my TV and then looked out from my balcony to see what we could see. I already posted about that here.
After the parade was over, we walked up the street for some lunch. Richelle, Leah's mom, decided that she must try the mashed potatoes with strawberry sauce. It tasted as you would expect mashed potatoes with strawberry sauce to taste - not very good. But the strawberry sauce was tasty with other dishes, so it wasn't all a loss.
After lunch, we headed over to the Temple of Heaven. I was a bit worried that traffic would be terrible or roads would be blocked since the parade had just finished, but instead, we got there in record time and the place was not very crowed at all. It was my first time there as well.
After the Temple of Heaven, we walked across the street to the Pearl Market, but it was closed. So, we rode the subway to Yashow Market. Some of the subway lines were still closed due to the National Day festivities but eventually we made it to Yashow Market, but it was closed too. Grrr. National Day. Since we were already in the Village area, we decided to have dinner at Ganges - delicious Indian food. After dinner, we dropped Leah's dad, Roger, off at the apartment and Leah, Richelle, and I went for foot massages. Early the next morning, we headed to the airport to fly down to Shanghai.


Even More Snow!

We had a few more days of snow last week. We even had enough on Monday night/Tuesday morning that we got a Snow Day and didn't have to go to school! My friends and I decided to go for a walk in Chaoyang Park across the street where all the Chinese people we saw laughed at us. We weren't sure why they were laughing.

There was still plenty of snow left throughout the week at school for the kids to play in. On the field, there were around ten giant balls of snow that kids had rolled up, but they were all so far away from each other that they never got stacked to build a snowman. Obviously these kids need more practice with this much snow.

More photos at flickr.


Friday, November 6, 2009


I know I'm about a month late on posting this stuff but better late than never right?  We had had terrible pollution leading up to the National Holiday.  The night before the holiday, my friend Leah and her parents arrived and I warned them that the pollution has been awful.  But, early the next morning, the skies were amazingly blue and Beijing was ready for the parade!  These pictures were taken in my apartment while we watched the parade on TV.

After watching the parade on TV for a while, we heard some noise outside and saw some of the aircraft on the way to the parade.

Then we heard some more noise and saw the tanks driving right past my apartment on their way back from the parade.  We went down to the street to take some pictures.


P.S.  I am working on moving this site some place else.  I am getting too frustrated with blogger.  I'll let you know where it goes.