North America, Asia · 26 Days · 164 Moments · June 2017


9 July 2017

Snacks that were left out for anyone to take - the flight attendants are probably resting until it's time to serve the next meal
I caught the pilot taking a break watching a movie in the seat behind me.
Lie flat bed is very comfy - they also provide big fluffy pillows and a big fluffy comforter.
The food that was served was pretty tasty. I had a salad, some marinated fish, potato soup, beef tenderloin, and an ice cream sundae. The tenderloin was very tender and flavorful. The ice cream was also very good.
It's very empty near the front - they don't do free upgrades on transpacific flights.

9 July 2017

Menu for the flight-lots of choices
Boarded the plane! The security right before we boarded took a long time but all they were doing was taking away people's water-they did not check my bag thoroughly, only took my water. They must have preselected some people for thorough screening-i saw a man get pulled aside, they were swabbing every inch of his bag, made him take off his shoes for swabbing as well. I am in seat 5J- the window seat on the A330. They also provided pajamas and slippers as well as an amenity kit with a toothbrush and things. I am told the pajamas are only provided on Delta flights leaving China.
Simon dropped me off at the airport. I went to the SkyTeam lounge after going through immigration. They had some chinese foods like Gong Bao Chicken and a couple different Dim Sums. I also got to take a shower.
Woke up early and took the subway to Nanlouguxiang, another Hutong area with shops. There were lots of cool shops selling postcards and shirts. Also I tried a matcha mojito, which was a little too sweet. We also tried a Chinese brand of orange soda, made with real orange juice. Very good!

8 July 2017

After dinner we walked and biked around the Olympic Park. The stadium and natatorium were lit up-very beautiful.
For dinner we went to Quanjude duck restaurant-one of the most famous (a "household name"). We had duck, duck blood soup, duck bone soup, and other things. All of it was super tasty!
More views of the Summer Palace. We also took a boat ride on the lake.
A lot of people were at the Summer Palace-a royal palace and garden in NorthWest Beijing. It was also SUPER hot
For lunch we had some Xi'an style noodles, fish, and sticky rice cakes.
Went to the Zhongguancun shopping district-also the site of Simon's middle school

7 July 2017

For dinner we had a whole roasted lamb inside of our own private yurt-very tasty, although I was feeling a bit sick
KFC @ The Great Wall - the thing I got was like a fried chicken wrap with cucumber and eel sauce
Took a cable car down the wall
The great wall is huuuuuuuge
Took the subway, a train, and a bus to get to the great Wall

6 July 2017

We found a modern art museum
Lunch in a motorcycle themed British restaurant.
Matcha soft serve ice cream! Super tasty!
Lots of cool art!
It was raining really hard by the time we got to the 798 art district-we had to dip into a convenience store to buy flip flops

5 July 2017

For dinner Simon's mom made lots of dumplings
After lunch we went to the Beijing Railway Museum. They told the entire history of trains in China and had lots of model trains and stations. It was pretty cool, but not as cool as the train museum in York.
For lunch we had some steamed buns and wontons.
Last exhibit we saw had lots of Jade and Buddhist relics.
The next exhibit talked about life in Beijing during the Qing Dynasty
The next exhibit we saw was about Beijing through history.
Went to the Beijing Capital Museum. First exhibit we saw had a lot of cool Chinese art throughout history.

4 July 2017

For dinner we had some steamed dumplings.
Checked out some Hutongs (narrow alleys) in the 前门 area. Also we saw one of the original Peking Roasted Duck restaurants.
Had a very late lunch. Old Beijing Fried Sauce Noodles in 前门
Somehow we found an area of the city with no people!!
There was a huge exhibit just on clocks. Every picture here is a clock. Many were of European origin and sold to the Chinese, but many also were made by Chinese in their own style following European standards.
We were not the only people at the Forbidden City!!! Here are some pictures of the main gates and palaces, as well as the imperial garden.
I find spending my 4th of July with this giant photo of Mao to be very ironic.
Taking the subway to 天安门 and 故宫.

3 July 2017

Went biking at night through the Beijing Olympic Park. There were lots of other people.
Simon came to pick me up from the train station, we had some Japanese rice bowls in the arrivals floor of the station.
Bought a Chinese breakfast food in the train station before I got on the train and ate it as we departed: Rice roll with youtiao and century egg on the inside.
We booked the super early train so I could ride on the brand new model of Chinese high speed train.
Woke up very early to drive to Shanghai Hongqiao Train Station (上海虹桥火车站) My train leaves at 9AM

2 July 2017

Burger King was marketing this shrimp mango burger very hard in the ads in the subway, so I decided to try it. To sweet and I couldn't taste the shrimp. I would not recommend it.
Tried some black sesame ice cream.
For dinner the three of us went to a Japansese restaurant. Had some fried pork tenderloin. Very tasty!
Went to look at Jingan Temple. Very cool Buddhist temple in what is now a very upscale touristy area.
Went to the Shanghai science and technology museum. Some cool exhibits, but way too crowded and a little outdated.
Took the Maglev back from the airport. 18 miles in only 8 minutes! Unfortunately the train only topped out at 300kph even though sometimes it runs at 430kph (we learned later that it only runs at the higher speed for two hours of the day.
For lunch, we had some Taiwanese food. The stewed pork with rice bowl was delicious. Also, they served a lemon kumquat tea that was good.
Tried to go plainspotting at the airport, but were not very successful. We got yelled at by one security guard for being too close to the fence. Another nice security guard let us walk through and employees only zone from the backstreet to the Terminal entrance. Also, we saw a lot of illegal taxi drivers loitering.
We took the subway to Pudong airport. We saw some farms that use the same technique the Israelis use.
Jimmy had a test this morning, so it was just Bruce and I. We started off by biking to the subway station on the shared bikes.

1 July 2017

After dinner we biked back to Jimmy's place using the Shanghai Bikeshare
Met up with Bill and went to a Korean BBQ place for dinner.
Walked around the area near where Bruce grew up. His old house is in a historic apartment district.
Went to the museum located at the Site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Lots of cool Chinese relics, but it had a very propaganda feel.
Walked around Xintiandi, an area with lots of shops and all the buildings are built in an older Chinese style.
We went to KFC for lunch. I don't know how to compare it to American KFC since I don't know when the last time I've had that is, but the food seemed to be more Asian than a KFC in America would serve. Also, they served since Chinese food like the egg tart.
Went to the Shanghai Urban Development Museum. Lots of cool models and blueprints of the city. Also an exhibit on the history of the buildings on the Bund.
Took the subway to People's Square, the center of Shanghai. We wanted to go to the Shanghai museum, but there was a two hour line so we decided to pass.

30 June 2017

Jimmy's parents took us to a Japansese restaurant. Lots of raw fish, including raw shrimp and sea urchin.
Walked around the Lujiazui district in Pudong, where all the very tall budings and upscale malls are.
Took a ferry across the Huangpu river (黄浦江) to Pudong (浦东)
Walked around the Bund (外滩)and looked at the cool old buildings and also some great views of the Pudong side.
Had some fried soup dumplings for lunch. So tasty!!!!!
Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum was very cool! Lots of great artifacts like belongings and records from the '40s. Not too big, but lots of information.
Taking the subway to the Jewish museum

29 June 2017

We went to a ramen place for dinner. I got a darker ramen with lots of garlic in the soup. Very tasty!
I bought this coconut from a vending machine. Pretty cool stuff.
The electronics market at Xijiahui
Went to Xijiahui in Puxi. There was a very old church, unfortunately under construction so we couldn't get a good look.
Finally arrived at Jimmy's place!
Walked around a mall across the street from Hongqiao airport and had some Cantonese food
Bruce's mom drove us from Suzhou to Shanghai. When we arrived in Shanghai we went to Hongqiao railway station (the largest in Asia) to pick up my train ticket so I wouldn't need to on Monday

28 June 2017

Went to dinner at a Taiwanese restaurant. Had lots of tasty food, including Taiwanese sausage and oyster omelet
Walked around a campus in Suzhou where many universities in China put their Graduate schools next to each other. There was also a huge Church on the campus and many people were having wedding photos taken in close proximity to each other. Also, they were filming a TV show in the same area.
Climbed up the old city wall
For lunch we had 三虾面(three shrimp noodles), a Suzhounese dish that is only available three weeks of the year. It was very good. Also, the master chef mixed the dish for us right at the table
We went to the Suzhou No. 1 Silk Factory Museum and got to see the entire silk making process.

27 June 2017

Took the Suzhou subway back to Bruce's place
We walked around the Pingjiang Road Market in old Suzhou
We went to the Humble Administrator's Garden, considered one of the finest gardens in China. It was huge and beautiful, but there were a lot of people
For lunch I had some rice with vegetables cured pork and peanuts, some soup, and some beef
We went to the Suzhou museum. They had a lot of cool artificers from the Suzhou area. Suzhou is a very old city and is considered in Chinese culture to basically be Heaven on Earth.

26 June 2017

Went to dinner with Bruce, Simon, and Simon's friends from Beijing. The Suzhounese food was delicious!
Walked some more around the lake.
Had some Shanghainese soup dumplings with Bruce.
More cool stuff at the bookstore.
The bookstore was huge and had lots of cool books, though most were in Chinese. It also had a bunch of smaller stores and a huge stationary store.
Walked to elsite bookstore - a huge bookstore that is popular in Taiwan. This is the first one outside of Taiwan.
Bruce and I went to the Suzhou cultural hub - a big performing arts center and convention center next to Golden Rooster Lake. The performing arts center was huge and also held the Golden Rooster trophy - a big award for Chinese television - since the lake is called Golden Rooster Lake (金鸡湖)

25 June 2017

Finally landed at Hongqiao airport and it was already dark. We had to take a bus from the plane to the building.
Went to the airport lounge at Guiyang airport, then my flight boarded on time but just sat at the gate for two hours. I was seat 32L, the fourth row on the plane, second row for economy class. They served food while we were still on the ground - chicken with rice; edible, but not very good. The guy next to me encroached on my seat very obnoxiously. The flight finally took off two hours late. Apparently cell phones are not allowed on Chinese flights, even in airplane mode, and I got yelled at halfway through the flight.
The kids went to the airport to see me off. Very sad to leave, but also ready to move on. They brought me lots of gifts and were so cute trying to push the cart with my bags
Went to lunch with my host family and some of the students from a fourth grade class
The uncle made me sour soup noodles (酸汤粉)for breakfast

24 June 2017

We went to a sour fish soup (酸汤鱼) restaurant. There was also a show at the restaurant about the Miao minority that live in Guizhou. They also made me sing 传奇 in the open karaoke after the show.

23 June 2017

We went with Justin Fu's host family to a music bar, the three of us sang Hey Jude, but the musicians played it in a bad key for us. Afterwards we checked out the night market - 大排档。delicious but very greasy
I gave the gifts to my host family. They were very excited and liked them a lot
For dinner we went with some second graders and their parents and teachers to a restaurant where we had, among other things, pigeon soup
We went to play pool in a mall with Justin Fu's host family
For lunch we went to a goose hot pot restaurant with the kids, parents, and teachers
We went to a museum about Confucius- luckily there was some English text for me to read because Justin and Paras were unwilling to translate the tour guide since it required knowledge of Chinese stories.
For breakfast we had Chang Wang Mian - a Guiyang specialty (chang = intestines, wang = blood, Mian = noodles): noodle soup with intestines and blood added.

22 June 2017

I went with some 4th graders and teachers and parents to a roasted duck restaurant. The food was very good and my stomach was finally starting to feel better. The kids wanted to teach me English but kept naming things I didn't know how to say in Chinese and I had to keep reminding them to actually show me what they were talking about.
Some photos of Justin and Paras teaching the class
The cafeteria at the school
In the morning I was feeling a little sick so I just ate bread outside of the school

21 June 2017

After the birthday party we went to another kid's house and drank tea, he showed us his calligraphy
After the ancient city we went to a 4th grade girl's birthday party. They were very excited that the 哥哥们could come
More photos from the ancient city
Climbed the city wall for some good views
Food at the ancient town - pig feet, waxberry "soup" (juice in a bowl) sweet congee, and other things
Went to the Qingyan Ancient City - tried "Waxberry" juice-pretty tasty
Taught some more American Football lessons
More morning exercises at the school

20 June 2017

Justin Fu and I went with his host family to drink tea in the city
They took me to TWO places for dinner because I must not have been clear in the fact that I was NOT hungry. We tried some famous Guiyang dishes
This kid was very happy and cute after we gave him this hat for answering a difficult question correctly
We taught one class how to throw an American Football
Lunch at the school
The kids gave me this Matryoshka Doll as a gift.
Participated in the morning stretches and exercises with the kids at the school-I'm not sure how it is helpful
For breakfast, we had braised beef noodles in a restaurant next to the school-very tasty.

19 June 2017

We went to a restaurant for dinner and had a lot of different dishes including pig tendon, Shanghai style beef rib, Guiyang sour noodles, fruit covered in taro, crispy rice, Cantonese Fish, and many other dishes. It was delicious but some was very spicy. We also tried moutai, which is considered one of China's greatest alcohols and is produced in the Guizhou province not far from Guiyang. It was incredibly strong-not a fan.
After school we went hiking through Qianling Park. There was a zoo in the park, with lots of animals including a rare Chinese tiger that was caged because of the wet weather. There were also a ton of monkeys in the zoo-i was told they would steal my phone, but they didn't.
Visited their ping pong room and calligraphy room
Lunch: pumpkin soup, rice, eggs, chicken, tomatoes, beans, kelp, lychees, and a peach
Sat in on the math and Chinese classes
Since it was Monday they had a flag raising ceremony
Walked to the school
Breakfast with the family: dumplings, sausage, eggs, yogurt

18 June 2017

Went to the host family's house. The father works for the government, the mother is a doctor (she wasn't home) and the daughter is in 4th grade.
Dinner: Si Wa Wa (kinda like Chinese tacos) and fungus hot pot
In the city: Ming Dynasty tea house
Had some Guiyang cuisine: Chang Wang Mian, Plum juice
Landed in Guiyang and some of the kids and teachers picked us up at the airport! They even brought us flowers!
On the A320; HX482 HKG-->KWE; Seat 34A (which is actually only the 4th row on the plane.
Took the Airport Express to HKIA

17 June 2017

Dinner: roasted goose and roasted pork, Guangdong fish soup
We took a ferry across Victoria harbour to Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon for some cool views of Hong Kong Island
Taking the Peak Tram back to Central.
Hiked up the peak with Wesley, Paras, Wai Chung, and Ocean. It was raining really hard and we got absolutely soaked, but it was a lot of fun and the view was great.
Met up with Wesley, Wai Chung, and Ocean for Lunch at a food stall (da Pai dong) in an alley while it rained, it felt like a scene from a movie.
Walked through HongKong Park, a beautiful green space in the center of the city.
Taking a tram to Hongkong park. Lots of cool buildings!
Dim sum! Tried a lot of foods like chicken feet, xiaolongbao (soup dumplings), tie guang yin (a kind of oolong tea). So much flavor!

16 June 2017

Dinner: hot pot at a traditional hotpot restaurant (I was the only non-Chinese in the room; including rockfish, sea cucumber, bamboo fungus, and chicken testicle; Pu'er tea and plum juice mixed with iced tea Afterwards we went to get dessert: hot almond soup (sweet with a weird texture) at a restaurant that is apparently very famous
Had lots of fun in the afternoon at ocean park. We saw a show with dolphins and sea lions, went on lots of roller coasters, and Paras won some prizes playing a basketball game. Then we went back to the apartment and tried durian fruit, which I'd never had before. I didn't dislike it, but it is not my favorite. It reminded me a lot of banana.
Food here is very expensive! Got some beef with rice.
Ocean Park! We started off by checking out some monkeys, koalas, fish, sharks, octopus, etc (unfortunately the pandas weren't walking around the panda exhibit). Then we took the cable car to the other section of the park.
Taking the MTR Sai Ying Pun --> Ocean Park
For breakfast, Paras's mom took him and I to a restaurant. I had iced milk tea, toast, egg, and soup with beef and noodles.

15 June 2017

The flight was relatively uneventful-no one ended up sitting next to me. They served Bibimbap. Paras picked me up from the airport and we took the Airport Express and the MTR to his apartment.
Sitting in 34A on this B747-800. I showed up to the gate 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure and the screen said they were boarding skyteam elite, so I hopped on - once again, all the Koreans were in a nice, single file line, and the boarding went really smoothly, but they took away half my boarding pass 😞. The seat has a cupholder that can be deployed without deploying the tray table, and also a remote for the TV. It looks like the movie selections are pretty similar to Delta, just with fewer options. With 6 minutes prior to scheduled departure, the plane is only half full, so it remains to be seen whether anyone will come sit in my row.
Meal with a view! Bulgogi Bibimbap + Milk Tea overlooking the bright blue airplanes
After a long flight, finally arrived in Seoul! Movies I watched on the flight in order of best to worst: Hidden Figures, Mockingjay Part 2, Nerve, Arrival (to be fair I only got ten minutes into this one and I wasn't really paying attention). I made the mistake of reserving the "Asian Vegetarian" meal in advance (by recommendation from Ethan Bennett) not realizing I would be upgraded to Comfort+; the other people in Comfort+ got Bibimbap, I got tofu with noodles. About halfway through the flight they served Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Upon landing, I took a shuttle to the transfer hall where I went through security again - I immediately noticed how strictly the Koreans had us line up, and it was also very quiet, the person scanning the boarding card stood next to the metal detector. I am now in the lounge eating a quick snack and waiting to take a shower. Also: $50,000 note.
Boarded the B767-300ER for DL199 SEA-ICN. I received an UPGRADE as I boarded to the bulkhead window seat in Comfort+ (17A). It isn't possible to have more legroom! Perfect for the 12 hour flight.
The flight was nice and uneventful. I got lucky and had an empty seat next to me. I watched Doctor Strange, which I would give a 👍. We landed and I got to explore the airport. I had to take a train from the south satellite to the main terminal where most of the shops are. Some highlights: nice big windows to see the planes, Project Fi booth with trivia game (get 4/6 questions and win a travel prize-i got a set of eyeshades and playing cards). I tried a Crab Egg and Cheese breakfast sandwich (recommended by Google) that was pretty tasty. Also in the pictures: "Thank you for flying Delta Airlines" in Chinese. Now I'm waiting for my next flight.
Seated in 20F on this B757-300, nice big window right next to me! Nobody has sat down next to me yet, but I bet this will be a full flight!
I woke up this morning at 4:55 AM to get to the airport for my 8:20 flight to Seattle. Upon arriving at the airport, we had to wait at the desk for a while as the agent tried to fix my reservation (Louis M is the hero of the day!) Now I am waiting at the gate, and very excited to start my journey!

13 June 2017