Tag Archives: Asia

The Beijing Subway, it is easier than you think

We put using the subway off.  We should have started using the subway from day one, it would have saved us from walking miles and miles and miles.  Seriously, pretty positive we walked a marathon every single day 🙂

Anyway, we finally decided to take a chance and try the subway out and realized it is very user friendly and if we go back to Beijing we will certainly use it from day one.

For starters, everything is in English… so you don’t have to memorize characters. It is also color coded which is very easy to use.

All you do is get a card from the counter, put a 20 yuan deposit down, pay 20 Yuan and get to riding. SOOOOO easy. If you need to reload it, you just use the machine, click reload (yes they have English as an option)  and be on your way.

The only tip I can really recommend is that every major station has 4 points, one for each corner of the road. Make sure you know which on you need, it makes a huge difference.

Also make sure you have your passport on you, we went through a few security check points and had to show our passports.   I am not sure if this is a regular thing in Beijing but I can assure you we had to show our passports more than once while in China, so while I am an advocate for leaving your passport locked up and safe 90% of the time, China is a place where you should keep your passport on you.

Also rush hour is jammed, like the whole city of Beijing is on the subway I swear so make sure you are ready to face those crowds.

When I go back to China I will utilize the subway a lot because while I enjoyed walking around Beijing I ended up loosing a toe nail from all of the walking so next time I will use the subway, it is not hard.  I promise.

Oh one last thing, take a picture of your stop just you remember the name, I confused a lot of stops.  It was not a big deal as I obviously made it back every night but this will make your life much easier.

Have you used the Beijing subway?  What did you think?

 

 

If I was you, I would go to Mutianyu

If I was going to recommend a section of the Great Wall I would recommend Mutianyu.  The section is beautiful and lacks people.

In fact, I was asked if I photo shopped a picture of me on the Great Wall because there were no people…  I mean there were people obviously but not crazy crowds

Plus this section is a bit fun, you can take a ride up to the tower of the Great Wall and then take a toboggan down if you are feeling adventurous.   I didn’t choose this route, because truthfully by time this week day came around I was beat & sore… very sore.  I chose to take the cable car both up and down (once again I was reminded just how out of shape I am) If you are super fit, you can hike your happy bottom all the way to the top and back down again, just make sure you give yourself ample time to do this… because this restored section of the wall is large… like really large.  It is hard to explain you really do have to see the Great Wall in person to understand just how impressive it is.

I can say, that if you are wanting to go to a fun section of the Great Wall this is your section.

If you like cable cars?  This is your section.

If you are wanting to go to a restored section of the Great Wall with less crowds?  This is your section.

I am so excited to have knocked another thing off my constantly growing bucket list, but the Great Wall and China were my number 1 bucket list item… so I guess I can die a happy chick now.

Have you been to the Great Wall?

Stay tuned for my favorite Great Wall photos 🙂

Soy Sauce for Beginners by Kirstin Chen

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Country Set in: Singapore
My Rating: 4.5 stars

Summary: Gretchen Lin, adrift at the age of thirty, leaves her floundering marriage in San Francisco to move back to her childhood home in Singapore and immediately finds herself face-to-face with the twin headaches she’s avoided her entire adult life: her mother’s drinking problem and the machinations of her father’s artisanal soy sauce business.

Surrounded by family, Gretchen struggles with the tension between personal ambition and filial duty, but still finds time to explore a new romance with the son of a client, an attractive man of few words. When an old American friend comes to town, the two of them are pulled into the controversy surrounding Gretchen’s cousin, the only male grandchild and the heir apparent to Lin’s Soy Sauce. In the midst of increasing pressure from her father to remain permanently in Singapore—and pressure from her mother to do just the opposite—Gretchen must decide whether she will return to her marriage and her graduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory, or sacrifice everything and join her family’s crusade to spread artisanal soy sauce to the world.

Soy Sauce for Beginners reveals the triumphs and sacrifices that shape one woman’s search for a place to call home, and the unexpected art and tradition behind the brewing of a much-used but unsung condiment. The result is a foodie love story that will give readers a hearty appreciation for family loyalty and fresh starts.

I love soy sauce in fact while reading this book I found myself craving Asian cuisine.  I have never had artisan soy sauce but that being said I would be willing to give it a try and now I am really wanting to go to  a soy sauce tasting.

In short, I absolutely loved this book. When I read the reviews I was concerned I may be on the ones who didn’t like this book but I wasn’t.  I found Gretchen very believable, I felt she was someone that if she was real I would be her friend.  She is going through real situations and they have an effect on her decisions every day and untimely her choices lead her to take a new path in life.

This story was not a story where the main character has a perfect existence she has real struggles, she has real dilemmas.  She felt very real.

I also loved how this book was not about the main character finding love it was about her finding peace in life.  I am finding that lately books are all about a woman finding love and that is what makes her happy not making decisions about her life that lead to her happiness.

She has problems with friends, family and her relationships.

She was flawed, she was raw she was real.  I don’t think I can stress this enough the fact that this character was not perfect is why I love this book, I love the book even more because it wasn’t about her pining over a man.  A

Actually I take that back, she did have some issues she wanted to get back with ex husband but I think that was because she wasn’t ready for change not because he existence was about a man.

I think this book is for anyone struggling to adapy to change and for those that love to eat.   All the talk about soy sauce will make you crave Asian cuisine.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Ah China, the country that has been numero uno on my bucket list since I was young.   I keep telling myself that I am going to go to China to celebrate the year of the dog, but that isn’t to 2018.  Patience is not my strongest virtue.

I am starting to think I am over this waiting game but that is a post for another day.

It is the the year of the Sheep (or ram or goat), and the year that is predicted looks amazing!

Ps google Chinese New year events, people near you might be celebrating in fun and unique ways!

I am personally celebrating by visiting the mom and pop Chinese restaurant down the street from work.  I am also going to make Chinese for dinner.   I may not be Chinese but I love Chinese New Year!

Dragon art  at Alcatraz
Dragon art at Alcatraz

Are you celebrating Chinese New Year?