In Pursuit of Donkey Meat

(The below article was first published in JIN Magazine’s February 2014 issue) 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….

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Things to Do in Harbin, China

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…

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Harbin Ice Festival

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…

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A Flying Pigeon in the Hand is Worth Two in the Factory

*This article on my experience locating and purchasing a genuine Flying Pigeon bicycle in Tianjin, China 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…

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Yunnan Province: Lijiang, Shuhe and Baisha

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…

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Poor Juliette Binoche

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…

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The Forbidden City, Beijing, China

The Forbidden City, like the Great Wall or the Terracotta Warriors, is on every top-10-things-to-see-in-China list.  Oh, fine.  Probably not on every list, but close enough. I think the first time I was introduced to this landmark was when I saw The Last Emperor waaay back in the day.  The scenes of the Forbidden City,…

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Xi’an, China: Ten Things to See and Do

Xi’an China is probably best known for being the base from which to see China’s famous Terracotta Warriors.  What isn’t as well known is that Xi’an (formerly known as Chang’an) ranks right along with the likes of Rome and Constantinople as one of the 10 Ancient Capitals of the World … and, and … the…

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Terracotta Warriors: How to Get There, What to Expect

Sam and I have been in China four months now!  One-third of a year!  One hundred and twenty-two days!  Basic greetings, conjunctions, taxi directions, numbers 1 to 100 and bartering banter learned thus far in Mandarin! And for me, this also coincides nicely with having finished my draft of The Orphan of Torundi! To celebrate our…

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Tianjin’s Shopping Paradise: Binjiang Dao

Tianjin is well-known for its shopping.  Malls are everywhere here, and that is no exaggeration.  Sam and I marvel at how so many stores and so many mega-buildings — with new shopping malls going up every month — manage to stay in business.  If I were sixteen with some cash to blow, I’d be in…

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