Thursday, March 25, 2010


A word regarding dried cuttlefish....
WTH? in a grocery store in Guangzhou
Oh yeah - nasty. That's the word I was looking for. What do they use this for? At long last, I am updating this blog. I have been to China and back, gained a new nephew, endured the longest day of my life, and... I've hardly cooked a thing! I hear right now that there is a sandstorm going on in China. In fact, it's affecting the entire country, with the northern part getting the worst of it. Looking at pictures of Tiananmen Square on the internet, with the buildings and people mere shadows in the yellow, blowing sand, all I can think to myself is... “I was just there! And I bought a watch!” Yes, I bought a very cool Chairman Mao watch from a vendor at Tiananmen Square. His hand is supposed to wave as the seconds tick by, but, um... he's already stopped waving, and the seconds don't tick by quite the way they're supposed to. Do you think I was gypped? Beijing is a city of 22 million people, and, for a few days, Meg, Russ, Caleb and I were numbers 22 million one, two, three and four. While there, we visited the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square (as previously mentioned). It was amazing to be at the Wall and realize that I was actually seeing one of the seven wonders of the world! (I know there are actually more than seven wonders in the world – in fact, there are billions and billions of us... Awwww.)

Several wonders of the world....

Despite some frigidly cold temperatures, especially the day we visited the Forbidden City, Beijing was an exciting and fabulous place to visit!

Yes, it is forbidden, but they let us in anyway
Watch out if you're a pedestrian, though. According to Chinese traffic laws.... well, it doesn't really matter what they say, because nobody follows them anyway. Pedestrians pretty much never seem to have the right of way; actually, I don't know who has the right of way, but everyone pretty much assumes that they do. Pedestrians don't usually win out in that contest.

A random SWAT team, after helping us push our broken down bus Beijing was also a haven of street food. And I saw a lot of it, but I didn't get any pictures! The night we were planning to go out and actually photograph street vendors, we were so ridiculously chilled from being out during the day that we couldn't bring ourselves to leave the hotel. But I saw lots of things on skewers – squid, octopus, snakes, scorpions and beetles. We were advised not to try any of it, and even though I decided the last day that I was going to go out and at least get some candied fruit on a stick (stalls for these skewers were all over the place), that was the night that we were too cold to move. So our last night in Beijing was kind of a bust, but flying down to the tropical paradise of Guangzhou definitely made up for it.

Guangzhou has about 12 million people and traffic that is just as bad, if not worse than Beijing. We stayed on Shamian Island, which is a colonial British historical area in the Pearl River. After the cold temps of Beijing, it really did feel like paradise. I don't know if I've ever felt so happy as I did the day we arrived, took off our winter coats and walked around in 83 degree weather, admiring the palm trees, the river, and the colonial architecture. (Oh man, I sooo wish I was still there!)

Ah.... greenness!!
The Pearl River in the morning
We spent the majority of our trip in Guangzhou, figured out the subway, managed to not get lost downtown and sampled some delicious restaurants. My favorite was the Cantonese restaurant that Meg and I went to the last night I was there. The lobby of the place was lined with tanks and aquariums – you know, kind of like Red Lobster, right? But Red Lobster didn't hold a candle to this place. Yes, they did have lobsters, and they also had eels, flat fish, shrimp, snakes, water beetles, clams and silkworm larvae, all of which were available on the menu! I decided to play it safe with a pigeon fried rice dish, and Meg opted for fried fish with sugar snap peas (which was divine!). We also got some egg tarts, which I had heard of but never tried. They are going on the list of things I will be trying to make at home! Delicious!

Silkworm larvae at a restaurant....

...and an assortment of creatures on the sidewalk

By the time I was on my way to Hong Kong by myself, I was feeling a lot more at ease and confident of managing all of my travel plans. I mean, Hong Kong only has seven million people! Big deal! And really, the downtown at least was much like any other large city. I even saw an Outback Steakhouse as I was wandering around. My best moment there was standing still for awhile, just watching the traffic and the people, and thinking to myself, 'It's Thursday night, and I'm standing in the middle of downtown Hong Kong.' I don't think I will ever forget that moment.

My best picture of Hong Kong - from the airport

So, after the longest day of traveling I've ever experienced – actually, the longest day of my life, literally – I made it home. Thirty hours of traveling can take a toll on a person. Just the fifteen hour flight from Hong Kong to Newark was what I imagine hell to be like. I really think I would rather be burned alive. It would be quicker, at least. And the biggest news is that Meg and Russ came home with my new nephew, Asher! Here are a couple of pictures:

The happy family

He's still up in the air about all of it

Well, thanks for reading my quick and dirty synopsis of the China trip. I will get back to food in my next post.


  1. Yeah...china post! And imagine that...the wall is still up even after you walked in it's general direction:)

  2. Yes, good thing I didn't visit those terra cotta warriors! They might be terra cotta dust by now! :)