A Travellerspoint blog

August 2011

Let's talk about beer!!

First, let me thank all our friends and family who wished us Good Luck and God Speed for this trip. So far, so good - karma has been on our side. The sleep gods ....not so much. It's been a bit like at home....it's 0500 and I'm up - Jim's still sleeping.

I thought I'd share some thoughts about drink - a main theme it seems both on this trip and our last. Our last trip we named "Patty and Jim's Eatin' Asian Adventure". This trip (so far) hasn't been much different.
A man and his beer

A man and his beer

The subject of BEER came up when we got home 2 years ago. Do we tend to drink more beer while traveling in this area than we would at home? Yes we do but you'll all be happy to hear that we're not out getting drunk every night. Actually, we rarely even feel the effects. I have to do more research but I think this is more like 3/2 (or even less alcohol content) beer. Also, it usually costs about the same as water...just tastes better. Plus, it's an adventure to try the different regional beers. It's also fun to see what "Imports" different places serve. All you "Bud" fans will be happy to hear that you can get a "Bud" just about anywhere in the world. Two nights ago the Southern Barbarian had Saranac Pale Ale and Brooklyn Brown Ale on their menue.

As for the calories in the local beer,I'm not so sure about the WW points but at least til we get to Wuhan I'm not worried - we're both doing our 10K steps ++++ each day.

Posted by pjburke 15:27 Archived in China Comments (2)

Welcome to Shanghai

Our first few days in China


Airport to guest house..

Arriving in China after 30 hours of traveling, one would think a daunting task, yes and no. Our flight over was painless, long but painless! Jim did his homework regarding our transportaton from the airport and orginally thought that we'd just grab a cab, which would be at least an hour and a half ride. His feeling - there had to be a better way and there was. Maglev!! Maglev is Shanghia's new high speed train which goes from Pudong Aiport to the station at Longyang... at a mere 180mph. Arriving at 2055hrs, getting through immigration and then grabbing our bags, we made the last train with "2" minutes to spare. Eight minutes later we arrived at our first transfer point. Off to "Line 2" on the Metro to our stop, Zhongshang Park station, again arriving shortly before it would close for the night. For a city that is vibrant and very alive, the metro shuts downs just about midnight. ????..but I digress. We had the directions to our guest house (Rock and Wood International Hostel) which indictated about a 10 minute walk from the station. Off we start with our 25 lb (more or less) backpacks. The first portion of the directions, no problem. The last (which should have been a very short walk) took us an additional 20 minutes...a very hot...sweaty...20 minutes. But we finally arrived. (For those reading this blog and thinking of staying at this guest house...do it!!! It's very nice BUT regarding the directions. After you've walked the first 2 blocks from the train station....cross the street, turn left (here you'll walk infront of the gas station) - keep walking past the school and turn right down the very first alley. You'll see the GH a short way down on the left.) We finally made it and checked in. Vivian rewarded our efforts with 2 cold (free) beers. hmmmm. We headed to our room (see photos) and CRASHED!!!

Rock and Wood International Hostel

Rock and Wood International Hostel



We woke up early (0630) but were very refreshed. The bed was comfy, not that it would have mattered. Breakfast at the GH (pretty much western fare) and off to explore Shanghai. We headed to the Bund area, got a little lost but wandered down some interesting streets. Tons of people and we were a little surprised that there are not more westerners. Walked the Bund, took a public ferry across the river and walked around the Financial District. The architechure in Shanghai is amazing (see photos). Austin, we thought of you. I'm really not sure how they build structures with the angles that these building have ....but they do. We made our way back across the river to Huanghe St for dumplings at JaiJai's. There was a line out front so we figured it had to be good. We were the only westerners there and the lady at the door had to get out the English/Chinese menu for us. Everyone sits family style - or where ever there is a seat available. Jim and I joined a guy who was intent on picking up each dumpling delicately, trying not to tear it. He seemed to savor every bite. We were then joined by a young woman. She didn't speak English but helped us get spoons. She watched as we struggled the best we could and didn't laugh too much. For 35 yuan we had 2 (really good) steamers of pork dumplings and 3 beers. After lunch we made our way back to the GH. Still feeling a little bit of jet lag and the heat, so an afternoon nap was in order.

We woke up in time to get dressed and headed out to the French Concession area to a cafe called Southern Barbarian. Cuisine is based on food from Yunnan Province (and we loved their food when we were there two years ago) and it got good reviews on Trip Advisor. The building was easy to find but we walked to the back and thought we were headed into an alley...we were but also the stairs. Food was good. Clientele seemed to be a mix of locals and expats.

The end of our first full day in Shanghai. Off to the Shanghai Museum tomorrow and hopefully more food adventures.

Posted by pjburke 01:18 Archived in China Comments (1)

In transit


Just got off the plane from the first leg of our trip. We are flying Asiana Airlines - I highly recommend it. Also the airport it new and has free internet access.

Next leg - on to Shanghai!!

Posted by pjburke 02:19 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Almost time...

Does anyone really have only 256mg RAM on their computers??? Yes, my Mom. Oh well. Right now, Jim and I are at Peets Coffee Shop in Redwood City getting last minute info for the train from Pudong Aiport to our guest house. Sounds fairly simple. The really good thing is that we get in late, so it will be right to bed. Not really looking forward to the

Posted by pjburke 07:43 Comments (1)

Crunch time...one week (more or less)

I guess we're really going :-)

It's getting down to crunch time. My "to do" list is getting smaller and smaller. I keep wondering what I'm forgetting. Clothes laid out in the 2nd bedroom but then I'll go take something that I want to wear. I have to quit doing that.

Here is our tentative itinerary for the next 6 months and except for a few definites (teaching in China and New Zealand)....it's always subject to change.

We'll be leaving Wednesday 8/24 and head up to Redwood City, CA to spend a few days with my Mom and Bob. Our international flight leaves Sunday 8/28 from SFO. Heading to Shanghai for a few days. We didn't make it to Shanghai on our last trip - it's supposed to be a fun, crazy city with great food. It always comes back to the food :-).

On Friday 9/2, we fly to Wuhan,China. Classes don't start until Monday so we'll have a few days to climatize. No Labor Day holiday in China. Jim will be the float instructor for the three weeks we're there. It's a conversational English program organized by Teaching for Friendship. This program started about 10 years ago and is based here in Tucson. There are no religious or political affiliations. Great group of people. We've had long conversations with teachers that have gone over in past years and there is nothing but positive feedback.

My time in Wuhan is open. I'll be used as a sub teacher if they need one. I've offered to take photos of the different classes. I'm also looking forward to wandering around Wuhan. It's not really a vacation spot. Most travelers that end up there are just passing through enroute to river cruises. It's a huge city (actually 2 or 3 cities that grew together), about 14 million.

On or around 8/23 or 24, we'll be heading to Guilin and on to Yangshou. It's supposed to be a very beautiful area. A friend loaned me the movie "The Painted Veil". (Thanks Maria) It's set in China and the area seemed so lovely, we decided it was an area we'd like to visit. Unsure how long we'll be there. Plans from there are tentative - more or less where the wind takes us. Our next definite is that we have to be in Singapore on 10/28 to catch our flight to Christchurch, NZ.

New Zealand has been a dream destination for a long time. We'll spend a couple days in Christchurch, pick up or campervan and off we go. We'll spend a bit of time in the South Island making our way towards Auckland to drop off the van on 12/15. A few days in Auckland and then back to Singapore on 12/18.

From there....who knows!! Stay tuned and we'll keep you posted.

Posted by pjburke 10:52 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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