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bday cake for seth, mooncake for me!

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

My handsome nephew/godson Seth turned one today! Happy Birthday Seffy!! Thanks for the pictures Iris – give the little guy a gazillion HUGS & KISSES for me!! I love you guys!


Future heartbreaker 🙂


Well, I finally had my first Chinese mooncake today and I gotta say, I’m a big fan!

Mooncakes are considered a Chinese delicacy. They are round pastries, typically embossed with a Chinese character/design, filled inside with classic Chinese sweets such as, red bean paste, lotus seed paste, jujube paste, nuts, eggs, etc… The Chinese celebrate a Mid-Autumn Mooncake Festival every year in August when the moon is at its full. In China, the full moon represents the gatherings of family and friends. The significance of this festival comes in two forms – 1) honoring the Chinese goddess who lives on the moon and 2) honoring the story of how the Chinese over threw the Mongolians by passing cryptic messages using the mooncakes.

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Savoring my first mooncake, filled with a lotus seed paste, sesame seeds & chopped nuts – Yummers. I had three in one sitting which is probably a little too much; being that these tasty things are rich and heavy. Oh well… I enjoyed eating them…probably as much as my nephew enjoyed eating his first bday cake 🙂

China tips :o)

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Interesting Observations & Tips to help you fit-in ~ Enjoy! 🙂

(Dalian based with a few encounters in other cities)

1. Screw the queues! There are queue lines for a lot of things – subway/bus/train station, super market, some restaurants, shopping malls, banks, etc…. and for the most part, no one follows it! I had a few experiences at the train/bus station of people constantly cutting right in front of me. Eventually, I learned to push and shove my way (not all the time) through chaotic lines. Tip: When in line don’t leave too much space between you and the person in front, because someone is likely to cut in front of you. OR you can screw the lines all together and go straight to the head of the queue lol

2. Pedestrian walkways. I don’t understand why they have these because 1) no one uses them and 2) if you do use it, cars still have the right of way, so you still have to watch out. I’ve had two close calls with a taxi and one actually came close to nipping my backpack in Xi’an. In Asia, no one stops for pedestrians. (I can’t stress this enough). Tip: Jaywalk across a disorderly street filled with unyielding taxis and motorists’ lol – just remember to look both ways

3. Vehicles(cars, taxis, motorcycles) can just about stop anywhere they want and park anywhere they can fit their butts in. Sidewalks are their favorite spots. People on foot must go around the cars by stepping off the sidewalk and onto the road. Then again, potholes and uneven pavement is all too common here; so we’re probably better off walking on the road anyway. The other day, I watched a taxi stop in the middle of the intersection (literally) to pick up some people with luggage. He popped his trunk open and started to load them in one by one. And again all this is happening in the middle of the street during rush hour. The traffic he was causing and the honking from others didn’t seem to bother him at all. Note: Car honking is prevalent, some for good reason and some for no apparent reason. You’ll be crossing the street and getting honks from cars coming at you from 40 ft away. Honks don’t faze me anymore. I don’t even bother turning around.

4. Get in on em’ bootleg DVDs. Watching illegal copies in China is practically normal. You can find them anywhere and at 6RMB ($1) a pop; so who wouldn’t? Tip: Save your dealer’s# because they tend to move shops frequently to avoid being caught. If you’re lucky you might even get caught up in an undercover police raid – that’ll be fun! (well, not really)

5. Eat street char (kebabs) and drop your skewer sticks on the ground! For those who know me I don’t litter. Having said that, I had a really hard time doing this one. Four months in China and my grand total of skewer dropping is at a whopping “5”!! (And I only did it because my Chinese friend I was eating with swayed me to). Still a bit weird for me; so I prefer to keep my sticks on the table or toss em’ in the bin. Anything non-recyclable; skewers, napkins, cig butts are thrown directly on the ground all day, all night. At the end of the night, cleaners come out to sweep the streets and scoop up all the garbage. And this cycle is repeated the every single day. Tip: I guess…do what the locals do and drop em’ skewers! OR Not. You can just opt for the nearby trash bin 🙂

I’m sure as my time here rolls on, I’ll have more to jot down…

Father’s Day shout out to my Dad!! Can’t wait to see you in October! Love you.

Wǒ Ai Nǐ !!

China blocks Hotmail? C’mon!

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

“Two days before the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, China's censors moved today to limit the access of the country's increasingly tech-savvy population to vast swathes of the Internet”. - Times Online

China blocks access to web sites on ... [Continue reading this entry]

Am I really in China?

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

The plan after Nanjing was to catch the train to Hangzhou. But because of the holiday and my ass booking at the last minute – all trains were fully booked for the entire weekend. I was debating whether to stay ... [Continue reading this entry]


Friday, May 15th, 2009

A fairly modernized city yet there's still a small feel of Chinese culture and history (well, at least that's what I got). Due to the May Day holiday, exploring Nanjing was slow to say the least. I swear everybody and ... [Continue reading this entry]

Invincible I am not

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Unfortunately my May Day holiday ended earlier than expected due to a severe case of the flu. Dang, and all this time I was thinking my body was invincible :) haha [chuckle..cough..chuckle..cough] Seriously though, I can’t remember the last time ... [Continue reading this entry]

if you can’t beat em’ join em’

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Complete chaos again at the train station! Fudgeness. I’m not the type of person that would push, shove and cut in front of anyone though now I think I’m going to have to change my ways unfortunately, to “fit in" ... [Continue reading this entry]

I’m a regular

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

So I’ve been hitting up this small Chinese eatery next to my apartment regularly. I remember my first visits being a bit awkward- constant stares, staff struggling to understand the foreigner who sucked at ordering in Chinese, my food coming ... [Continue reading this entry]

Twilight fever in Dalian?

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

English books are hard to come by here in Dalian. Being that this city is home to a huge number of expats, I find that very surprising. According to my colleagues, there are a few bookstores that carry a small ... [Continue reading this entry]

new visa, new acoustic

Monday, April 13th, 2009

A few days ago, a friend and I were at the Chinese visa office applying for an extension. From the visa experiences I’ve had in the past, walking in, I was already expecting a sit down with a not-so-pleasant person ... [Continue reading this entry]