The Glory of English Language Signs in China

One of my great regrets about our year in Tianjin was my failure to capture the brilliance and hilarity that is the English language restaurant menu. It is worth going out to eat for that alone, even if the repercussion of said venture includes the digestion of certain unthinkable delicacies. Well, I don’t have those awesome menu…

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Eastern Qing Tombs in Ji County, China

About a 40 minute car ride from the Huangya Pass Great Wall in Ji County (northern China, outside Beijing and north of Tianjin) lies a vast tomb complex called the Eastern Qing Tombs a/k/a “Qing Dongling.” What are the Eastern Qing Tombs (Qing Dongling)? The Eastern Qing Tombs are touted as the most complete and…

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Eating out in China: Of Jellyfish and Bellyfish

One of the great things about living in Tianjin is the assortment of places to eat. Eating out in China encompasses every conceivable venue: street food, cafes, restaurants …. But the highlight of dining out here remains the simple, unassuming menu. You know, the English ones. The ones with little pictures accompanying awesome captions that…

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Skiing in China

When our tour bus pulls into the Panshan Ski Resort at 8:30 in the morning, I peer out the frosty windows, unsure of what to expect. 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…

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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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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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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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Tianjin’s Antique Market, “Guwan Shichang”

Just to the west of Tianjin’s famous pedestrian shopping street of Binjiang Dao, lies Tianjin’s Antique Market (called “Guwan Shichang”). While the traditionally-styled wooden shops and street-side stands that make up the antique market are often identified as beginning at the cross roads of Shandong Lu (“Lu” means street)  and Shanyang Dao (“Dao” means road), it…

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Ordering Western Groceries in China

When all you have is a bicycle, getting those few western groceries in China can be a challenge.  Especially if you have unfortunate predilections towards real coffee that isn’t instant, Splenda and non-melamine milk. Some stores deliver of course, such as D-Mart or the Good Friends Store, but to see what is actually in stock,…

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