Our “guide” walks down the isle, collects a 300 RMB deposit from each of us — (a surprise because we’ve already paid our admission fee) — then disappears for a few minutes into the resort grounds. When he returns, he hands us each a blue card and explains that we will use this card to rent our equipment (no extra fee for boots and skis, but jackets, pants, goggles and locker rental will cost extra). When we return our ski equipment in good condition, our guide explains, we’ll be refunded our money for anything not considered an “extra.” Continue reading
Of all the places we’ve visited in China, Dali probably wins out as our favorite.
Located in China’s southwest Yunnan Province — about a two hour train ride south from Lijiang — Dali was once known as China’s backpacker paradise but is said to have lost some of its granola appeal in the last decade. That may be so, but Dali still oozes charm.
When Sam and I first arrived in Tianjin, we were excited to explore the local eateries near our hotel. The trouble was, our language lessons had not advanced beyond basic greetings and naturally, all the shops and restaurants were identified by Chinese characters.
Undaunted, we consulted Google maps, relying upon our Chrome browser to translate the names of various establishments in our area. Voilà! One translation in particular caught our interest:
“Donkey Meat Restaurant.” Continue reading
Harbin was once a thriving Russian immigrant destination and home to around 20,000 Jewish settlers — purportedly the largest Jewish settlement in east Asia. (The last Jewish settler in Harbin was said to have passed away in the 1980′s however.)
Because of Harbin’s diverse past, Russian architecture, Jewish synagogues and some unexpected food choices await. So if you came here for the ice festival and are wondering what else there is of interest, here a few of the highlights: Continue reading
The Harbin Ice Festival is currently the largest ice festival in the world. Located in northern China in a city that blends an eclectic mix of Russian, Jewish and Chinese heritage, Harbin is definitely a destination worth a visit — even when temperatures drop as low as negative 40 degrees, which is, interestingly, the one temperature where Fahrenheit and Celsius are identical! Continue reading
This article was published in JIN Magazine’s January issue, and re-posted on the government’s tourism site, exploringtianjin (dot) com.
Due to word-count limit however, I wasn’t able to provide as much history on Tianjin’s famous Flying Pigeon bicycle as I would have liked. So, without further ado, may I present the article as originally intended:
A Pigeon in the Hand is Worth Two in the Factory
The Flying Pigeon bicycle is touted as the most popular bicycle brand in history. First produced in 1950 by the same Tianjin factory that had made Anchor and subsequently Victory brand bicycles, the 20-kilogram, one-speed, all-black design was created to emulate the popular 1930’s style English roadster. The name “Feige,” which actually translates to “Dove,” was chosen to symbolize peace during a time when war blazed throughout Korea. For whatever reason, “Flying Pigeon” won out in English parlance over “Flying Dove,” and the rest, as they say, is history. Continue reading
Last month, Sam and I visited the Yunnan Province in Southwest China. Our original plan was to fly into Lijiang, hike the Tiger Leaping Gorge, take the bus up to Shangri-La* before flying back out of Lijiang.
(*Funny you should ask: the town of Shangri-La (formerly known as Zhongdian) is named after the mysterious place in James Hilton’s novel, Lost Horizon ! But sadly, we read that a week ago, a fire blazed through the old town and destroyed a quarter of the wooden houses there.) Continue reading
This post will cover my experience applying to the Writer’s Digest Self Publishing e-Book Awards contest, along with the end result which I will get to shortly. But first, an introduction:
Back when I was still in Tonga, I started a micro-publishing company called Penelope Pipp and published two works through the imprint: a memoir penned by Jacinta Tonga called A Remarkable Rotuman Woman and a middle grade fantasy/adventure novel penned by yours truly called Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen. (Text link to Barnes and Nobles. For Amazon, just click on the cover art below.) Continue reading
It has been weeks since a post has gone up, mostly due to laziness, but also due to the strange clumps of vacation time Sam has had to fit in before the end of the year, lest he lose it. Solution? Plane jaunts to Shanghai and another to the Yunnan province in southwest China. Both destinations were amazing in their own way, but one of the unexpected delights of our journey(s) was actually discovered in-flight. Specifically, the oft-hilarious magazines found in those fuzzy, peanut-lined pockets of your Chinese domestic airline. Continue reading