Friday, April 18, 2014

Zhoumo kuaile!

As Shanghai emerges from a sleepy winter and before she retreats to an air conditioned refuge in the summer, the city is celebrating. There are so many cool events taking place this weekend:



It'll be hard to participate in all of these, especially with our British-Irish visitors in town (my cousin and his wife). But I was never going to make a showing at Formula 1 anyway (we all remember how I felt about it last year). The beer festival, on the other hand, is a likely contender for weekend plans.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Day Dreaming

It's eery here today. The air is once again filtered by a foggy lens and today, seems to be suffering from a bit of jaundice. With the weather forecasting thunderstorms, I'm not itching to go out. And so I sit here at my regal dining room table daydreaming about trips.

Up next is a mystery. I told Mike that all I wanted for my birthday was to leave Shanghai. He took that and ran with it. Here's what I know:
  • We'll be gone from May 15-19. 
  • The destination requires a layover, somewhere. 
  • We'll be at a beach, somewhere. 
  • We'll spend most of our time there (somewhere) scuba diving! (A very exciting prospect seeing as how I haven't dove in -- omg -- 10 years.) 

Who can help solve the mystery? 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chinglish Part V

You knew it was coming...

I don't know about you, but I'm not rushing to eat at either of these establishments:

They're not terribly confident in China:

Because in China, it's not a guarantee:

Sometimes I feel as if they just place one random English word after another:

This isn't Chinglish, but is it China's version of "the boot"?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Zhoumo kuaile!

Welcome to my 300th post! I suppose I should mark the milestone with some news:
We're going home! 
It looks like we'll be back in the States by the Fourth (of July). Fitting, right?

Emotions are mixed. After all, I've just begun feeling as if I've gotten my groove down. And there are certainly things I'll miss (crepurritos, mostly). But I'm anxious to get back to real life. 'Cause living here isn’t real. It's freelance chump change instead of a corporate paycheck; it's a driver named Bob instead of car insurance bills.

More on the move to come, but in the meantime, we're making our "Shucket list" (Shanghai bucket list) and anxiously awaiting our next (quite possibly our last?) visitors who will be making the trip from London, England.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Top 10 Things I Learned...

...from my various trips to Beijing:
  1. Beijingers aren't as friendly as Shanghai-ers, nor do they speak English as well. Let that be a warning to you. 
  2. There's an extra RMB10 added to your cab fare when traveling to and from the airport -- just in case you ask the driver about it and he yells at you when you don't understand his response (as if yelling in Chinese will magically make you understand the words that are coming out of his mouth). 
  3. The Forbidden City is boring. There, I said it. Instead, climb to the top of Jingshan Park (located directly behind it) where you can get a cool view of the whole thing. 
  4. And when you're at the top, drink a beer or two. In public. Because you can. (But buy them at the bottom where they're RMB2 cheaper.)
  5. You know what's not boring? Walking through the hutongs (old houses) and coming across the Drum and Bell Towers. Be sure to reach the top of the Drum Tower before 4:45 p.m. when they perform the last drum ceremony of the day. 
  6. Those Beijingers know how to roast a duck. Any of these are great: Dadong (perhaps the most famous, with the most number of locations), Made in China (great name, right?) and Duck de Chine. 
  7. Go to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall where it's less crowded and les smelly, and (perhaps most importantly) where you can ride a chairlift up to the Wall and take a toboggan down (really!). 
  8. Wear comfy shoes, bring snacks and let the Wall take your breath away. 
  9. Yes, Beijing is dirty and heavily polluted, but you gotta see the sites so mask and bear it. 
    NG HAN GUAN / AP
  10. And if you absolutely don't want to step outside, there's a way to travel from the airport to the center of the city, eat at Fat Burger (yes!) and get right back on a plane outta there.