BootsnAll Travel Network

Lazy post, pics inside =)

April 2nd, 2009

Many Chinese spend their mornings playing cards or chess on a sidewalk. Every morning, I walk by this particular group. Sometimes I get lucky and catch some of them in an upset; which includes cussing out loudly at each other while slamming their cards on the cement lol, but of course it’s all in good fun. This morning was particularly different, hence the toilet, so I had to snap a photo 🙂
My usual breakfast: Shao Mei 3RMB (50 cents)
Chinese “takeaway” for small vendors (3RMB)
Zhongshan Square ~ a big circular park in the middle of downtown. It may not look like it, but it’s supposedly a popular hangout at night especially during the summer.
Sunset near Xinghai Park – they say it’s the biggest park in Asia. I have pictures of Xinghai Park but I’m holding off on them. Why? Because my camera sucks ass, especially at night!! So I’ll spare you all the crappy photos. Working on getting a DSLR…
Picture for the fam 🙂
3392350724_333e250bfb_m-1.jpgI apologize for the lazy post….. but pictures are always nice right? :)Yay for the Chinese holiday this weekend because I have off! It’s rare that I get weekends off so I’m definitely making good use of it. I’ll be heading over to Bingyu Valley, a three hour bus ride north, for the weekend for some hiking and nice scenery. Yahooo!

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Scorpions, sea horses, silkworms!

March 28th, 2009

Bizarre delicacies – Oh how I love thee! Literally. My eyes light up each time I come close to sampling such dishes. Tarantulas in Cambodia, crickets & worms in Thailand, balut (duck embryo) in the Philippines, you name it, I’ll probably eat it. Here’s a small insight of things delicious to the Chinese and, well interesting to Americans…

Fried insects, aquatic creatures (poor sea horses) -Beijing


Oh the choices! I passed on the cute sea horses and went straight for the daunting scorpions. How did it taste? Quite nice – just like chicken, but what doesn’t, right? Cambodian tarantula -like chicken! Thai Crickets & Worms -like chicken! Filipino Balut – like chicken!

Chinese Silkworms – like salted chicken! My favorite Chinese dish so far… tasty little things! -Dalian


For the record, these delicacies come from the southern part of China, so not all Chinese eat this.

In nearly every country, there are various delicacies, that may seem unusual for many but all the norm for its local people. We do eat snails, frog legs and snakes back home, so how bad can a scorpion be?

When in Rome….  it’ll only makes your adventure/experience all the better 🙂 

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Biggest purchase thus far

March 23rd, 2009

With the help of a friend (Thanks Echo!) I was able to find a decent gym conveniently located a minute walk (literally) from my building. So no more “it’s too far, I’m too lazy to drive” excuses for me. Surprisingly, it cost me Y2,600 for a one-year membership. That’s about $375! Back home, I was paying half the cost at 24 Fitness! Why it cost more in China? I have no frickin’ clue. And Y2,600 is towards the cheap end of the stick. Other gyms here can run up to Y3,800. You can bet your ass off that I’ll be dragging my butt to the gym making my moneys worth. As a matter of fact, I’ll probably be going right after I write this blog!

I’ve had a busy busy week. So busy I haven’t had the time to write. Plus, I had minimal access to the Internet so that didn’t help. After a wearisome two weeks of trying to get the Internet set up at home – it finally got done this morning! Thank goodness!

Anyway, so in addition to my students, I’ll be teaching adults as well. I started my first class last Friday. All the adults are women in their forties. Some of them even have their kids enrolled at the school. In spite of knowing that a few of the adults in my class are the proud parents of some of my students (oh the pressure), I felt pretty lax. I found the class to be more conversational in comparison to my other classes. To add to my work schedule, I started tutoring on the side. And in two weeks I plan on enrolling for some Chinese lessons.

Yep, I’m sensing a hectic schedule in my future. No worries though, because then I can 86 “Tiem bu dong”(I don’t know any Chinese) from my vocabulary.


Got China Milk?

March 14th, 2009

I’m not a milk drinker at all. Sure I’ll have it with my cereal/oatmeal in the morning but besides that you wouldn’t catch me with a glass of milk, not even with cookies.  So there I was at the dairy aisle at the supermarket browsing around for some cheese. You wouldn’t believe the price you have to pay for decent cheese here. I went all cheapskates and settled for the cheapest block on the shelf, which I definitely wouldn’t buy again because it tasted nothing like cheese. But anyway, so back to the milk topic… A month in China and not once did I have a bowl of cereal/oatmeal, which meant one thing. I’ve neglected my body of its daily calcium. (Don’t worry mom, I’m still taking my multivitamins and I have my occasional yogurt here and there so I’m not completely lacking my Vitamin D). I stood there at the dairy aisle debating back and forth – milk or no milk? A flashback of the recent China milk scare last year wasn’t helping my situation at all. 

The next morning I had myself my first bowl of cereal and man oh man was it good. And I’m not talking about the cereal – it was the milk! I finished the carton that same day and found myself running to the supermarket every day after for more milk minus the cereal. I get up in the morning and instead of making coffee, (which is typically the first thing I do) I’m taking swigs out of the milk box! Dang, I think I drank more milk than water in the last week. The scary part of it all is when it came down to one evening at home when I paused and contemplated whether to grab my tsingtao beer in the fridge or the milk box right next to it. WTF? For the record, I went for the beer. I can’t explain it. I don’t know what it is. Can it be that because I deprived myself of milk for some time that it resulted in this weird craving? Or maybe…just maybe the milk in China is dosed with some special ingredient making it more flavorsome? Beats me lol Fortunately I’ve calmed down this slight bizarre addiction. If not, I would have easily gained a pound a week at my rate of consumption.  

Random topic? I know I know….  

Me jugging down milk – HA!! Who would of thunk? 

Anyway, Happy Birthday to my good friend Tracy Rebugio! I’m sure your weekend is going to be complete chaos!! I want to hear all about it – I’ll be there celebrating in spirit! I love you and be safe!


So far so good

March 11th, 2009

Four classes so far…. and I think they all went pretty well. I’m going to be honest and say that I was a bit nervous going in.

Wait. Hold on. Minor correction.

I was extremely nervous! I was “what if my students hate me and/or entirely forgetting how to teach” nervous. But being that it was my first day on the job it’s of good reason. Right? 

Teacher, teacher. Where are you from?” 

”How long have you been in China?” 

It was these first questions that alleviated my nerves. My students came in cool, calm, and curious and welcomed me whole-heartedly. Pheeww! And here I was all tensed and worried. They were as much interested in me as I was in them.

I teach five days out of the week with Mon and Tues being my off days. I have a mix of students, Korean and Chinese, ranging from ages 7-15 years old. Most of my Korean students, if not all, have strict daily schedules. In addition to their English school with me, they have their Korean School and Chinese School. Talk about overload eh? In spite of their crazy schedule they still roll in ready and willing to learn.  

So I haven’t worked on a lesson plan in ages. And I never really enjoyed doing them back in my college days yet I find myself working on them every chance I get. Keeping it detailed and thorough at the same time trying to keep it fun and interesting so I don’t bore my students. For goodness sake, it took me five hours to complete my first one. Geez, even I don’t remember spending that much time on a single lesson plan. I’m sure I’ll get better at it in no time 🙂 

Sending love from China  xoxo  


It’s official

March 3rd, 2009

I’m trading in my beloved California burrito


For some dim sum!



I accepted a job in Dalian, a coastal city northeast of Beijing, for a school called E-Plus. The school hooked me up with a pretty sweet studio  in the city. I’m on the 9th floor check out the view:



The owners, Wayne and Jason (btw, Jason is from San Diego. Small world eh? Go Chargers!) have been nothing short of hospitable. My first couple of days in they showed me around, gave me the scoop on good eats, where to shop, etc…Thanks guys! I have training this entire week and my first official English class will start Saturday 🙂 Saaahhweeet!

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So the job search begins…

February 24th, 2009

Currently in Qingdao, home of the Tsingtao Beer! I know some of you guys so well that I know what you’re thinking already and I’m going to save you the time….. my answer is No! I didn’t single out Qingdao because of their mass production of beer. Besides being a coastal city, Qingdao’s demand for teachers at the time of my research was high. If anything, being a major beer producer is just a plus! lol 🙂 I do plan on visiting the Tsingtao Brewery since I’m here. I hear they pour by the bags!

Well, I must say Qingdao is gorgeous! Being by the coast, the air is nice and crisp, a definite change coming from the urban, smoggy, potential health problems cities like Beijing and Xi’an. I got a room in the much older part of town; here you can find narrow cobblestone streets, antique shops, and old historical buildings with much German influences (since being under German rule for 99 years). Local fruit and dried fish vendors are posted up at every corner. On foot I bumped into a beautiful church, which I found out later was St. Michael’s Catholic Church, and ran into three public parks and all this in a half a mile radius. Nice eh? I’m liking this place already! This rusty town is only 15 minutes by bus to the city and a 5-minute walk to the beach and train station. Besides it being really old, it’s a sweet place to settle in I tell ya!

I sent out my CV to a few schools this morning and spent the rest of the day site seeing. Tomorrow, I’m  meeting up with Joanna and Beth, the two gals I met back in Beijing. I have an interview set up already with a school in their area – thanks to them. I’m still amaze on how everything is falling into place…quicker than expected but delighted all the same. Then again, I’m jumping the gun because I don’t have the job yet 😉

Wish me luck.



February 21st, 2009

What makes Xi’an unique is the enormous City Wall that surrounds the central block of the city. You can actually walk the entire wall in four and a half hours. The must see…Terracotta Warriors: They say it could be called the 8th wonder of the world. 6,000 plus soldiers unearthed dating back 2,000 years during Qin Shi Huang’s rule. A special attribute to this discovery is that each terracotta soldier is different; no two soldier’s faces are alike. Save the best for last and start backwards: Pit 3, Pit 2 then make your way to Pit 1 and you will not be disappointed. The Big Goose Pagoda at night with an awesome fountain/music show is pretty fantastic. It goes down every night at 8:30–highly recommended and the best thing is…it’s free!Click here for more photos!

cimg7821.JPG    terra1.jpg    cimg7809.JPG 

Great Mosque and Muslim Quarter: Good eats and cheap. I pretty much ate here every day. I don’t know the local names but they come close to: steam buns, loads of kebabs, flat bread sandwiches and heaps of desserts….the huashenggao “peanut cakes” are to die for!  


I didn’t plan on staying here for five days but because the trains were full I had no choice. Though,  in my extended time here, I’ve developed a fondness for this city. I wouldn’t mind settling here at all. Anyway, I’m off to Qingdao…. It’s going to be a long train ride – 20 hours! Yikes! But with a fully charged ipod, a good book and bag full of peanut cakes – it won’t be that bad 🙂     


RIP Dan Kenn

February 20th, 2009

Dan Kenn, London, a friend and fellow traveler – Rest in peace brother.

I met Dan back in Thailand, Sept 08. We, along with three others, also known as the crazy five, spent two nights, three days trekking the mountains of Chiang Mai. Three days with Dan, I can truly say he was one adoring, free-spirited guy who took life as it came and had a good time. One day at the river, I remember asking him, “Why he wasn’t jumping in for a swim?” It turned out that he just got a tattoo done in Bangkok before coming to Chiang Mai. It was after a few beers and encouragement from a few travelers he met at a Khoa San bar that he decided to get inked – spur of the moment kind of-thing I guess! 🙂 But don’t worry Dan had already planned to get one and had an idea of what he wanted to get inked before even coming to Thailand. He just didn’t expect that he was going to get it done on the day of arrival. LOL! 

Dan, I’m happy I got the chance to meet and get to know you in those three days in the jungle. I’ll always remember our late night talks, laughs and drinking games. You will be missed not only by me but also from everyone you’ve touched with your presence.


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Feeling Lucky and “Fresh”

February 17th, 2009

So after two nights in an overly priced single room I finally moved into the dormitory at Y60 bed ($7). Yep I could hear my bank account thanking me right now:) I roomed in with four gals. (Therese Norway, Joanna & Beth PI and Yumi Japan). Two of the four (Joanna & Beth) are English teachers here in China!! OMG, I couldn’t frickin’ believe it – Just my luck!! And it gets better… they work in Qingdao!! Qingdao is one of the two cities I looked into teaching in. They gave me the 411 on getting a teaching job and offered to help me when I get there. Sweeeet!

Last night was Therese’s 24th bday and we celebrated by going out to dinner. At dinner, the girls and I found out what “Fresh” on the menu really meant. We ordered up some fresh shrimps in soy sauce. The waitress brought out a covered dish, placed it on our table and in quickness revealed the dish. To our dismay, the shrimps were alive and kicking! They were swimming in the soy and a few of them were actually jumping out of the bowl and onto our table. LOL! It was great. The shrimps were quite tasty but after my fifth one I couldn’t eat any more. You should of seen Therese’s reaction though–it was classic! If only we had it on video. This is definitely a birthday celebration she’ll never forget. Happy Birthday sweetie!

My six days in Beijing came and went–here it is in a nutshell:

The Great Wall: Amazing! I recommend not going to the Badaling side of the Wall. Too much tourist….it’s impossible to get a shot without having someone’s head in the photo. And this is low season so I can’t imagine being here during the high.

Summer Palace: Breathtakingly beautiful! I think I enjoyed myself more here than at the Great Wall. I’d love to see this place in the summer!

Forbidden City: It’s a city within a city. It’s huge! Another must see when in Beijing.

My Mandarin is slightly improving and I pretty much mastered the Beijing public transportation system. Yay me! Oh and I had myself some fried baby scorpions – they were a bit spicy but overall very good.

Today is my last day in Beijing. Tonight I catch an overnight train to Xi’an with Therese!

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