When a friend says, “I’m coming to China.” You say, “Let’s meet in Shanghai.” Let the fun begin. For me, a last jaunt on this side of the world.
We checked off a wonderful tourist to do list. We rode the Maglev Train from the aiport. We visited the Bund, Yu Garden, the gorgeous and quiet Longhua Temple, the ornate and busy Jing’an Temple, and the Tianzifang neighborhood. We strolled through parks, watched dancers and taiqi groups, talked to people, took pictures with them, received welcomes, recommendations and good wishes for our stay. We sat in a small room and had our feet massaged by perfect little hands while watching “China’s Got Talent”. We ventured over to Suzhou and Zhouzhuang, two of the gorgeous water towns west of the big city. We ate noodles, dumplings, and street food, and even a little Mexican food just for a change. My friends visited the financial district for a journey up in the bottle opener and views of the second tallest building in the world (Shanghai Tower, 2073 feet, 120+ stories). We walked in the rain, and then some more rain. It is Shanghai, after all. Enjoy.
For more about the Shanghai Tower, check this out. http://n.pr/1H9Aopn
Last month, I was back in the U.S. for about a week. I spent time with my independent eighty-six year old Mom. I saw friends I’ve loved for more than twenty years. I lit piles of stuff on fire with my brother. I enjoyed blue skies and a warm afternoon stop at the local dairy bar. And I had the privilege to travel to the fabulous city of Chicago with three teenagers (two nieces and a nephew).
We made a museum tour, tried some excellent pizza (at my favorite, Gino’s East), ate plenty of other great food, enjoyed that gorgeous skyline and the bluest skies, and learned a little more about each other. Such a lovely trip. Enjoy some pictures.
Those little people
And that yellow
There was a trip to Beijing in March. In addition to our spectacular morning at Panjiayuan, we also ventured to 798 Art District, Lama Temple, and the Drum Tower. Wow! I love an exhausting day of walking and discovering in a big city.
What Do You See
Panjiayuan is a fantastic spot in Beijing. I love it. I love looking and talking and not understanding half the conversation. I love it when they courteously compliment my negotiating skills when they still have made money off this foreigner. I love not knowing what everything is, like a lot of places I go in China. This visit to Panjiayuan, I thoroughly enjoyed with a fellow pottery/porcelain/curiosity lover. We looked – we asked – we wondered – we loved – we bought – we love. Thank you, S, for a morning memory I will carry with me a very long time. Enjoy.
Where to Begin
Blue and White
Dolls or Models
I’ll Take It
We had avoided many destinations in China during the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year). We had heard and seen the throngs of people who travel during that time. This year, being perhaps our last in this big country, we have quite a few cities left on our list. So we took a chance and got lucky.
Suzhou is a city in Jiangsu Province, just west of Shanghai. It is in the Yangtze River Delta, which lends itself to beautiful views on many canals and ponds. It has more than two thousand years of history and is sometimes called the Venice of China or Venice of the East. The meticulous gardens are, together, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with those in the other water towns along the canals.
It was a quick trip down to Shanghai, then a full day along the canals, and a trip back to the tundra the next day. On our water town excursion, we spent a rainy morning and midday in Suzhou, then went on to an overcast Tongli and, finally, some sunshine in Zhouzhuang. It is a touristy area, yes, but lovely, just like all the pictures I’ve admired for so long. And, because it was the weekend before the Chinese New Year, perhaps many other travelers were with their families. I hope they had a lovely time because we certainly did.
Enjoy some of our views in the water towns.
The Long View
New Year Greetings
View at Pan Men
Stones and Buildings
I love a blue sky. On a recent trip to Beijing, we were lucky enough to have a few days, including one on the Great Wall. Living in China, or anywhere, one must appreciate the blue sky when you’ve got it. #gooutside Enjoy.
The Great Wall
A Few More
Haircut, two bits
That blue sky
Check this or this to see how pollution is effecting China. For a different perspective on Blue Sky, check out this from South Carolina.
– Nice hotel close to NanLuoGuXiang – Beijing Traditional View Hotel. Also try the Indian restaurant and visit Pottery Workshop just steps away.
The 1st graders at school have a little trouble with certain parts of English grammar. For example, when they want to say they ate too much, or that they like something a lot, they say, “I ate so many lunch.” or “I so many like it.” As teachers, we find ourselves using this phrase to express the same gleeful satisfaction. On my December trip to Jiangxi Province, someone may have asked, “Isn’t it beautiful?” Yes. So many beautiful.
Before and After
Come on in
Wonderful hostel for about 150rmb/night: Jingdezhen Youth Hostel at the Sculpture Factory – http://www.yhachina.com/
Fantastic Guide & Driver (and he can show you the best coffee in JDZ): http://www.tojingdezhen.cn/home.html
Helpful Webpage to learn more (Thanks, Time Out Shanghai!): http://www.timeoutshanghai.com/features/Travel-Weekend_breaks/8873/Weekend-break-Jingdezhen.html
Beautiful shop and residency available from The Pottery Workshop (shops located in other cities too): http://www.potteryworkshop.com.cn/Jingdezhen.asp
Beautiful retreat to visit and residency available from Sanbao: http://chinaclayart.com/index.html
A little solo trip to the ceramics capital of China warmed my soul. Porcelain, pottery and perfection – oh my!
The talented people in Jiangxi Province began making ceramics about 2,000 years ago, during the Jingde period of the Song Dynasty. The classic blue and white started here. THE blue and white … in the 14th century. They also invented a red underglaze. The celadon is abundant too, and pure white. The Chinese regard the kilns as famous. This area has produced wares for imperial families and royalty around the world, and a few things for me.
Enjoy the first post on this beautiful place.
Across the street
Roll it and pat it
Mao and more
Blue and White Base
I have already written about our food experiences in Seoul, and I have a bit more to share.
What a gorgeous fall weekend we had with friends. The colors on this glorious fall weekend were amazing. We talked, walked, toured, ate, drank, walked some more, bought, ate some more, and had a fantastic time together.
Most of these photos were taken at Changdeokgung Palace on our tour of the secret back garden, and there are some other spots too. As I settle in for another couple of months of winter, I thought it would be nice to revisit fall. Enjoy.
In November, we made a weekend trip to Seoul to meet friends. In addition to palaces, bright lights, pottery, and fall colors, we enjoyed a great food. T and I made a Saturday morning stop at Butterfinger Pancake in the Gangnam Neighborhood for a most amazing breakfast, then all four of us enjoyed Suji’s for an early Sunday brunch. It is the most important meal of the day, after all. We had some Korean BBQ, a stop for fruit tea, and even found a little Mexican food at Julio in Jongno. All good.
Special thanks to Daniel at O’ngo in Seoul for the fantastic street food tour. It was delightful to walk around with some who knows Jongno and Insadong and knows where to go for Korean comforts and filling treats. We had quite a few stops along the streets, as well as an underground market that would have been completely missed otherwise. It was a wonderful afternoon with dear friends and good food. Enjoy.
Deep fried ginseng
Spice it Up
Korean Crispy Treats
Noodles & Fried Stuff
Plate of Fried
O’ngo Food Communications for tours and cooking classes – http://www.ongofood.com/taste-tour/food-tours-in-seoul/
Julio Mexican Cuisine – Jongno 02 730-5324. Other locations in Gangnam & Hongdae. www.juliokorea.com
Suji’s Deli & Restaurant – Add a cinnamon roll to your order. http://www.sujisdeli.com/
Butterfinger Pancake – Check out the Yummy Yak for their review and perfect directions. http://theyummyyak.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/seoul-butterfinger-pancakes/
And don’t let me forget the stylish hotel, Small House Big Door in Jung-gu. What a great location and easier on the pocket book than so many others in this great city. http://smallhousebigdoor.com/shbd/
Brew 3.14 – Daniel’s other business – For a review and a great blog about Seoul Food, click here http://afatgirlsfoodguide.com/2014/08/27/brew-3-14/