Archive for the ‘wanderlust’ Category

golden hour at the summer palace

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008


Tian’anmen Guangchang

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

View of Tiananmen Square from the top of Tiananmen Gate.

View of Tiananmen Square from the top of Tiananmen Gate.

The Monument to the People's Heroes.

The Monument to the Peoples Heroes.

The Monument to the People’s Heroes.

The Tianamen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace); entrance the Forbidden City

The Tianamen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace); entrance to the Forbidden City.

Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China here on 1 October 1949.

Guijie Street

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008
Tonight’s adventure was to a place known as Ghost Street because the restaurants are open 24 hours. We hopped a bus heading in the direction of our desired location. When a map is posted at the bus stop then it is fairly easy to navigate the city, when there is no such map present well then it’s pretty much a gamble since I haven’t figured out how to read Chinese… not that I haven’t tried. Tonight was such a night. Not far from where we had hoped to get off, the bus made a sharp right and careened onto the freeway! So a couple of miles beyond our destination we finally got off of the bus to find that we we not too far from the Lama Temple which was not too far off from where we had intended to go. Basically a decent walk, but not irreparable. After a few laughs and a heafty stroll we found ourselves on the street we had wanted, easily spotted by its dusting of red lanterns. Needless to say, Ghost St. was a treat for me with my wide angle lens.


Franck had written the name of a fondue restaurant down on a post-it in a decent but fairly infantile attempt at calligraphy, the simplest characters being the most defined.  It was a suficient rendering because in wandering under the canopy of red lanterns we were able to locate the restaurant we wanted by comparing our post-it to each marquee.
After a short wait, we were seated at a small table that had a huge hole in it, in the middle of a crowded room. The waiter came to our table and after realizing our Chinese was limited he rushed off and sent over a girl who spoke some English. We ordered 3 different broths, an assortment of things to toss into the soup and a couple of Chinese beers. After ordering our food Franck laughed and said that I had a look of fear on my face. It was definitely a new experience for me. Albeit overwhelming, the meal was amazing. I liked the spicy broth the best after adding slices of beef, spinach, bamboo (aka panda food) and prawns… which arrived at the table in their entirety!

Chinese beers are fairly cheep and have become a staple of my evening meal. They are always cold or at least colder than sodas, and seem to come in only one size: Big.

an ongoing list

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Fascinations with China: the things I have discovered in my wandering.

  1. People ballroom dancing in the street, in parks, etc… there are some younger looking folks but majority are parents’ age on up to the more elderly folks
  2. The lack of refrigeration for juice, soda, water, etc… if it doesn’t have to be cold it isn’t!
  3. No diapers; well not always. The babies and toddlers have clothes that are split open in the behind to allow for…  well you know.

Teahouse 101

Sunday, October 19th, 2008


Went to the Shicha Hai, a beautiful lake area with shops, restaurants and small parks dotted along the perimeter. Ate an amazing meal of Chinese beers and crispy perch in a foil wrapper with an amazing sauce for the price of a  Starbucks latte. We also found a fondue place that was packed with people that I’m definitely going to try before I leave. Wandered through the Hutongs and the surrounding area. Went to a teahouse and had a never-ending pot of Ti Guan Yin (Iron Goddess) tea. The pot of tea cost us two or three times as much as dinner, but still under $30!


A little bit of home.

Friday, October 17th, 2008

So after all of my roaming…

I was brave enough to go get my hair cut by someone who did not speak a word of English, but I was too much of a pussy to try to order food at one of the many nearby restaurants. I ducked into a Western looking little grocery called April Gourmet that was filled with American and Euro food items. I proceeded to buy myself all of the makings for a good old PB&J. My first meal in China.


Friday, October 17th, 2008

Voyager en Chine

Friday, October 17th, 2008
6am layover in Seoul, Korea

6am layover in Seoul, Korea

My 1st day in China…

I had some anxiety about taking a taxi from the airport because I realized that I had no idea where I was,  where I was going and no real way to communicate with the cab driver beyond hand gestures and head nods. I found the building and was surprised that it seemed so deserted. The neighborhood I am in is being developed and there are construction crews working through the night. I am told it is also the most English speaking area due to the presence of foreign embassies. I find my way upstairs and “voila!” the key works. The apartment is new, moder and has quite a view of the city, I am sure, although right now it is hard to imagine. The sky is gray and dense, but I have been assured that it is more fog than smog so we shall see tomorrow. I now sit here on a French PC searching for the proper keys (different layout than what this American girl is used to) checking email, etc… clinging to whatever piece of my normal life I can get my hands onto. I am off to explore the surrounding neighborhood.