Friday, August 31, 2012


Hi there. So I'm pitifully behind on the blog...still haven't posted about our trip to Thailand all the way back in March! But I'm just going to skip ahead and hope to return to the last few months eventually...

Our July vacation was supposed to start with 10 days in Tibet and Nepal. After 2 days on the train from Shanghai, we were set to explore Lhasa for a few days, then make our way to Rongphu with a short hike to Mt. Everest Base Camp, staying the night at the Rongphu Monastery before crossing the border and spending a few days in Kathmandu. But a week before we were set to leave, the government decided to close Tibet to all foreigners. So in a pinch we were off to Xi'an for four days instead.

Xi'an was the start of the silk road and a buzzing metropolis long before Beijing was ever on the scene. Today its bustling Muslim quarter is one of its biggest attractions--from the smells of good street food mingling with the stench of questionable street side butchers, to outstanding people watching, we found ourselves back among its crowded streets again and again.

Not too crowded by day...
A typical Chinese street scene

Naturally, when you want to by fake artifacts, that includes crossbows!

Who knew there were so many types of dates!

We never figured out what this is...

Click to enlarge...#9 sounds delicious!

He's making edible sugar balloons

One of many local butcher shops

In case the color of the meat doesn't give it away, the stench of this one was unreal

Delivery truck, complete with swarm of flies and pools of blood
Drum tower...marked nightfall in the past

Bell tower...bells used to ring at dawn

Back to the Muslim Quarter--it comes alive at night!

Enjoying our first yangrou break up flat bread, then they serve lamb soup on top.
Yangrou paomo--the best part was the pickled garlic! yum!

Barely controlled chaos...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Saw 10 mantas on this morning's dive. Amazing!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You know urine China....

Last weekend we flew to Hong Kong and back on another of our monthly visa runs. It had all the makings of a smooth, non-eventful trip. After Brian's traumatized retelling of this story, I actually regret sleeping through it! Leave it to China to make an ordinary moment absolutely unforgettable at the drop of a hat, er, cup. Take it away Bri....

On the flight back to Shanghai we were seated behind roughly 4-year old twins, their mom, and grandparents. The disinterested father was across the aisle from me. Mid-diaper change, one of the girls announced she had to go to the bathroom. So rather than slapping the old diaper back between her legs and hustling to the loo, grandma stands her up on her lap, and has her pee in to the cup from dinner service. Talk about having blind faith in the aim of a 4-year old! Can you imagine being the flight attendant on the receiving end of that cup on your next garbage run down the aisle? No? Not to worry, you don’t have to, because as Grandma stands up and goes to walk it back to the flight attendant, she bumps into her seat and spills it....on the father sitting across from me! Poor dad, who was just minding his own business, valiantly ignoring his kids, trying to enjoy a book during a fleeting moment of silence when they aren’t flying through the air jumping seat to seat, and he’s interrupted by a cup of pee dumped in his lap! (Leslie bets the disgruntled mom probably pushed the grandma in his direction!)  Amazingly, he just casually brushed a few not yet absorbed droplets off his pants and went back to reading as if he didn't even realize what had just been poured all over him. Be assured, had the cup landed in MY lap, there would have been a significantly different reaction!

P.S. To Gerard Depardieu: you're most welcome. We bequeath this oui oui tall tale to you and look forward to your attempts to use it as a plausible cover story the next time you fly.

P.P.S. Two weeks ago, I would have laughed at this. Now it just makes me cringe.

One Year Ago:

Thanks Dad!