Tag Archives: China

Shanghai!

It feels like ages ago that we went to Shanghai, probably because it really was.  Who knew it would take me this long to share the pictures?  (Can I keep blaming this procrastination on pregnancy?)

I loved the city, it was great to be in a big city with lots of green space and parks (something we miss the most here in Manila). 

We stayed at the Pudi Boutique Hotel, and I highly recommend it!  It was amazingly comfortable and convenient to a lot of restaurants.

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We pretty much walked everywhere from our hotel, Shanghai wasn’t nearly as crowded as I was expecting.  And seeing trees everywhere was quite the novelty after living so long in Manila.

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Believe it or not, despite being pregnant and dying to pee, it’s amazing your body’s capacity to hold *just a little longer* so you can avoid a smelly squat toilet (I’m leaving Asia in a little over 3 months, and have been successful in avoiding them completely!  It helps that they’re not the norm here in the Philippines).

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It was a short trip, but we had a great time!  I definitely hope to be able to visit again someday!

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A weekend in Shanghai? Sign me up!

Karl has been to Shanghai back on his army days (he was posted in Seoul for 4 years and explored a lot of Asia back then), and it’s always been one of his favorite big cities.  I’ve been wanting to add more countries to my list, and though I’ve been to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, I have yet to set foot on mainland China (I do count territories as separate countries, because they’re so different from one another). 

Well, that’s about to change – we just took advantage of another flight promo, and for less than $220, we are both going to Shanghai!  (Yep, that is total round trip for 2 people – not per person – I’ll miss the travel deals here…)

Next week, we jet off to Brunei, then Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia a couple of weeks later, and July and August are reserved for our trip to the US (only for 2 weeks, but we’ll be going from the east to west coast, we’ll be beat).  Unless I find another great deal, labor day should be our next visit overseas, and I can finally officially check China off my list (though if possible, a stop in Beijing before leaving Asia would be nice, we’ll see).

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Taipei Part 2

I think one of our favorite things about Taipei was eating our way around the Shilin Night Market.

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We saw a ton of tropical fruits including the biggest star fruit ever!  There were stands selling fruits (and I got to eat my favorite guavas – the ones that are pink inside, I can’t find them here in Manila!)…

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And there were stands selling juices.  Fresh kiwi juice?  Incredible!

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And the biggest sausages I’ve ever seen (compare them to the woman’s arm)!  Tempting, but we didn’t try them – even if we shared it would make us too full to explore more!

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I also had my first peak at fried cuttlefish (I didn’t try it, because I still remember when we saw one diving…)

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And I had my first experience with stinky tofu.  The smell was disgusting – in a “I might throw up if I don’t walk very fast now” disgusting.  Karl mentioned he wanted to try it, but even he chickened out when he smelled it.

This roasted sugar cane, however, smelled delicious (and now I wish we had tried it, but one can only eat/drink so much!).

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It was raining like crazy on the first night there, but at least the market wasn’t packed.  We went back for dinner on Saturday night, and we could barely make it through the crowds.   But dealing with rain all day wasn’t fun, but at that point we were used to it!  (And before you ask, that arrow was painted on the road, people on FB was asking if it was photoshopped – why would I photoshop an arrow of all things?  Plus, that’s assuming I actually know how to use the thing!)

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In Taipei I also saw more mopeds than I’ve ever seen in my life – they were everywhere, on the roads and in parking lots!

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And how does one dry their only pair of shoes overnight?  Be creative, of course!  Yay for sturdy AC vents!

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And look at the toilet in our room – see the buttons on the left?  You can have it sprinkle water up your bum (or your hooha, if you’re a girl, yes, there’s a girl setting), you can have it blow hot air to dry you out.  I admit I pressed the girl setting then shrieked.  I didn’t try it again.

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Our breakfast both days was in this hole on the wall place next to our hotel.  Basically crepe, fried egg, cheese.  We are the picture of health.

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Other adventures included having my first encounter with a toilet hole (thankfully, there was a normal toilet behind the next door I looked, so I haven’t tried them yet).

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Going up the Maokong Gondola…

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Maybe next time we should have taken the stairs?  (Who am I kidding?)

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Getting to the top and trying to figure out which teahouse to go to (we went to the first one we saw instead).

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Seeing a spider the size of my open hand…

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Reading Engrish…

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And of course, at some point being able to snap a quick non-foggy picture of the Taipei 101!

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Ah, and let’s not forget the love sign.  I’ve seen it in NYC, and I know they have one in Philly, any other places I should mention?

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I definitely recommend a trip to Taipei!  We wouldn’t be opposed to coming back here (or maybe even living here one day), and next time we would definitely take a day trip to explore more of Taiwan!

My only disappointment?  (Aside from not being able to go to the top of the 101, of course.)  I started a little collection of these little mugs, and visited at least ten different Starbucks and couldn’t find any with Taipei on it, all I saw was full sized mugs (ended up buying Taichung, but I haven’t been there, and definitely would like Taipei instead…).  And yes, they cost a FORTUNE on Ebay…

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I’ll trade a Taichung for a Taipei if anyone has it?

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Back from Taipei!

I’m back from Taipei and have a bunch of pictures to share! 

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I absolutely LOVED the city, its efficiency (even though it seemed like we always missed a train when arriving at the station, we never waited more than 3 minutes for the next one, even during off-peak hours), the organization (people lined up to enter the metro!  There were painted lines on the floor, and people actually followed that.  No pushing, no shoving!), the friendliness of the people (neither of us speak Chinese, but people were super nice and allowed me to make hand gestures and we understood each other out!  People were so nice!), the amazing food (we had delicious street food!), the mixture of city life with lots of park and green space and a more moderate temperature than here (it was on the 60’s, and though it’s not like that all year, it’s nice that it does get like that).

We didn’t have luck with the weather, it was pouring all day on Friday, but we didn’t let that stop us, since we had such a short time there, we sucked it up and explored all day, even before we found umbrellas.  Luckily, I had planned ahead and brought the two waterproof jackets I own, not pretty but highly effective!

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We walked a lot, but also took full advantage of their metro.

I took a bunch of random pictures of the city…

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We saw the Red House Theater (from the Japanese era, and no, it wasn’t that long ago)

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Saw the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall…
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Got pictures taken with statues around the city…

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Visited the Longshan Temple in the pouring rain (it was beautiful, but hard to get pics at night while raining, no?)

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Visited the Huaxi Night Market, a.k.a. the Snake Market – you can get your shot of snake blood there!  And yes, we’re way too wimps for that…

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I took sneaky pictures of HUGE snakes (I really hope those are not the ones that are killed for food).

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The one thing we didn’t get a chance to do?  Go to the top of the Taipei 101 building (currently the 3rd tallest building in the world).  Not for lack of time, but for lack of lucky weather.  Every time we went by it, this would happen…

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And though we were able to get a couple of good shots with no fog covering the building, it didn’t last long.  The line to go up was HUGE, it was raining and foggy, we decided it was not worth it.  If there weren’t so many people, maybe we could hang out, drink a coffee, wait around until it cleared, but with the crowds, we knew everyone was thinking the same thing.  That means we need to go back again, right?

I have way more pictures to share – part 2 coming tomorrow!

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