Archives for category: Travel

IMAG1404_0_20130308134039860 IMAG1409_1_20130307230201632_20130308000110850 IMAG1416_0_20130308001731255I brought back a few teas from my trip to Beijing. This one is definitely my favorite. The leaves were bunched up really tight compared to most of the oolongs that I normally drink.  This tea is beautiful to look at and also very fragrant with a strong, almost buttery aroma. It is very refreshing once the leaves fully open up and I especially enjoyed it after the second and third steeping. I really wish that I brought back more of this tea. I guess I will have to go back to China just for the tea!

 

 

This is some seriously potent stuff. Chou doufu or stinky tofu, is a traditional chinese food that can be found on pretty much any street corner of Beijing. I don’t know why, but they love the stuff. Let me tell you that the name doesn’t lie. When you are close up the smell is not actually that bad, but this is the kind of smell that goes the distance.  This stank dish does its damage from about 300 meters away when it initially infiltrates your nostrils… and I guarantee it, this stuff is seriously rank.  I was hoping to try some during my trip, but every time I considered eating it, the smell just put me off my appetite.IMAG1293 IMAG1295Anyways, nevermind the fact that people here are just lining up to eat a food that is made to look like it has mold on it. I’ll stick to some baozi and call it a day.

Here we are at the Beijing snack street!!! Get ready foodies….

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snack street entrance

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meat on a stick… pretty standard yummy stuff

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Baozi is a standard snack that you will find literally everywhere from restaurants to 7/11. I LOVE THEM ❤

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tiny duck

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not sure what this was, but it looked good

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kinda like a burger with gyro style rotisserie meat. They also serve them wrapped burrito style

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more baozi… drool

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grubbin for grubs? blech

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super yummy nut cake things

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scorpions on a skewer

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seahorse and starfish

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had to try it….

Here I go…. http://youtu.be/DYbIV6gtcME

About 15 million people currently reside in China’s fourth largest city. Tianjin, which hosted the water events of the 2008 Olympics Games, encompasses rapid growth on a massive scale. This city is massive, and jam-packed with a similar style build that I saw previously in China. But this city is very different from Beijing and Shanghai because it is not an ‘international city’.  Whereas the capital is home to many government consulates and foreign businesses, in Tianjin seeing a foreigner is a very rare sight. My time spent in Tianjin was extra special, because I got to spend time with Jakes chinese family.

When we arrived, we were picked up at the train station by our hosts and their family friends (who conveniently had a large minivan). We proceeded to get lunch! I was nervous because this would be the first time I got a full dose of eating a meal at a restaurant with China natives.  Going to a restaurant in China is incredibly different than in the US. Main differences: 1. No services with a smile b/s 2. You pay before you eat 3. Lack of cleanliness/everybody just throws their trash on the ground (which means you are sitting in a room filled with food, trash and cig. butts).  I was nervous at first, but once the food came I settled in.  The families didn’t know a word of english, so Jake had to translate everything for me. All of the dishes ordered were really good (except the fish) and I was pressured into eating massive amounts of food by the families… which i’m pretty sure is a cultural courtesy in China. Afterwords I enjoyed a moment of zen when I was told that I had exceptional chopstick skills for an American 😀

Our next stop was the Tianjin cultural street!IMAG0916They told us to wear our bags on our front to prevent theft.IMAG0911 We also ate these Tianjin special treats that were kinda like honey cake but with carmel. REALLY, REALLY YUMMY!IMAG0918IMAG0926 IMAG0924Another unique thing we saw was this guy blowing sculpture animals out of caramel, which I was told was a traditional/ lost art in the region…. you wouldn’t want to eat it though… because the guy had his dirty hands all over the recycled caramel. This girl thought it was pretty cool… I thought it was kinda gross.IMAG0920 We went into a mall to take some pictures. Homeboy on the right was really prepared with a camera tripod and timer set on the camera (standard chinese tradition :P)581255_10151478027756469_2129091530_nThey took us to see the newly constructed historical museums. This whole segment of town was built within just one year (5 massive buildings and a lake).IMAG0948 and we took more pictures infront of this crazy color-changing building.225306_10151478027966469_1549518287_nBefore going to dinner we saw this crazy wedding cake shop that had super-luxury cakes. China is filled with lots of luxury goods, so why not have super luxury wedding cakes? …amirite? IMAG0939 Thats about 1/2 mil USDIMAG0938 IMAG0936Eventually we went to dinner where we again consumed massive amounts of food and then headed back to the train station. From there I got my last glimpse of this amazing city. This is a view of their ‘little italy’, a section of town that was developed under imperial ruling of Italy. IMAG0949 Tianjin is an amazing place to see. Its doesn’t quite fit into the same categories as Beijing or Shanghai because it not a touristy kind of place, but its packed full of huge city and industrial development. Also, I would advise against eating the fish… it kinda tastes like polluted water.

IMAG0629The public transit system in Beijing is freaking amazing. Its new infrastructure puts everything i’ve ever seen to shame. Everything is new, clean, and had large open spaces. I mainly took the line 2 which seemed to lack the usual amount of crazy people that I am used to seeing on a train ride. A trip on the Beijing subway cots ¥2 (equal to $0.32 USD) which beats the hell out of Chicago’s $2.25.

IMAG0627 IMAG0665Just so that you know, its kinda weird being a white dude on a train in China. The effects of being a minority are in full force. One must be prepared for random people to take pictures of you at point blank range, and little kids will be laughing and staring at the mei guo ren (america people). Also, its a fun game to stare back at other people directly in the eyes. They will quickly look away as though they weren’t surprised by your appearance. I had many moments where chinese women were obviously very scared and quickly turn in the other direction to avoid walking near me. HAHAHAHHA….

IMAG0896 IMAG0895Taking the bullet train was another trip and a half. Again the architectural infrastructure was super modern and all of the transit information was presenting in both Chinese and English. We travelled from Beijing to Tianjin, a trip that by car takes roughly two hours. On a bullet train going about 200km/h it took us just under 30 minutes.IMAG0950IMAG0897

Back to the capital. This airport is unreal!Peking Capital Airport

The picturesque Nanjing street in Shanghai is undoubtedly one of the coolest sights to see. The famous walking street is packed with people browsing the luxury goods stores, dinner & snacks, street vendors, bars and other special entertainment.
IMAG0820 wpid-IMAG08231.jpg wpid-IMAG0829.jpgIt is the Times Square of Shanghai

Roughly 1k away from the bund is the yuyuan market which coincidentally has lots of people.

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Among many of the shops, I was most interested with this medicine shop. It contained jars full of dried roots, herbs & spices, mushrooms, teas, and other assorted powders and weird icky looking stuff. Customers would consult the herbalists behind the counter to weigh out and sometimes grind up their medicine.
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I finally found out where the royal jelly gets made.

Ha, jk. Its actually a really bad fake.

fake mini cooper fake mini cooper fake mini cooper fake mini cooper