Sep 132011
 
Men in China Tie Up Their Shirts to Show Their Bellies?!

It’s become a game now. A belly-spotting game.

“BELLY!” I shout in delight, and Gareth and Colin turn to look and smile.

“BELLY! DOUBLE BELLY!” hollers Colin, jerking his head towards two different naked-bellied men within fifteen feet of us on the crowded street.

You see, it turns out that in China (especially during the scalding hot summer months), it is perfectly acceptable for men to tie their shirts halfway up their chests and [...Read More!]

Sep 032011
 
Becoming a Celebrity Just by Being a Foreigner Abroad

Want to feel like a famous celebrity with people racing up to take photos of and with you? With teenage girls giggling hysterically when they see you? With eyes becoming wide with awe as you walk by?

All you have to do is hop on a plane and arrive somewhere where the majority of people look, dress, and act nothing like you!

We forget about this, sometimes, in America.

We forget how racially and ethnically [...Read More!]

Aug 302011
 
Chicken Feet: My Favorite China Food to See But Not Eat

My favorite food of China travel to look at, giggle at, and photograph… but never, ever actually EAT, is the popular snack of chicken feet.

And duck feet.

Really, any edible poultry tootsies at all send me into gales of laughter. I’m never sure which foot belongs to which bird, but they all remind me of witches and tickles.

During our visit to Gareth’s Peace Corps site in Yunyang, Central China, we took a trip [...Read More!]

Aug 282011
 
Why China is the Most Intense Country I Have Traveled To

You’ve read my account of the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and other China tourist attractions, but now let’s get into the darker side of my 17 days in the most populous country on Earth.

The reality is that China is the most intense country that I have ever traveled to, and I have traveled to over 30 countries across the globe!

Now, the intensity of China travel is actually good news, [...Read More!]

Aug 242011
 
A 16 Hour Fast Night Train from Beijing to Chongqing

One of the best nights of sleep I’ve had in my entire time in China has been… on a 16-hour fast train from Beijing to Chongqing!

Who knew that the key to a restful slumber was sticking yourself in a metal box hurtling hundreds of miles per hour through the most populous country on Earth?

For those of you who sometimes forget this, China is larger in area than the United States, so [...Read More!]

Aug 212011
 
Touring Beijing's Forbidden City Without Fights or Faints

“Be careful at zee Forbidden City,” our French hostel roommate warned. “Eet eez so big and so beautiful, that after a while you say: too much!”

“But look at that tiny rectangle on the Beijing map,” I protested, pointing to the box labeled “Forbidden City.” “I could walk that in like five minutes.”

The French lass guffawed heartily, said, “Well, just arrive as early as possible in zee day!” and headed off on [...Read More!]

Aug 182011
 
A Delicious China Travel Food: Old Beijing Yogurt

When I think of China, I don’t exactly think “yogurt.” Great Wall + China? Yes. Dairy products + China? No.

How wrong I was!

“I’m gonna feed you something that’ll change your life,” proclaimed Gareth the day Colin and I arrived in Beijing.

Gareth has been a Peace Corps volunteer in China for a year, now, so we figured she might know what she was talking about. We followed her through the hot back [...Read More!]

Aug 162011
 
An Epic Hike on the Best Part of the Great Wall of China

We had been in China for less than 24 hours, the moment we found ourselves high atop the Great Wall of China, giddy with happiness.

At somewhere between 3,800 and 5,500 miles in total, depending how you measure its parts, the Great Wall of China stretches longer than the entire border between the United States and Canada.

This fact not only boggles the mind, but it also makes it tough for a tourist [...Read More!]

Aug 132011
 
What to Expect on a Flight from the U.S. to China

Hello from China, all the way across the world from where I was last week!

In the five days since I arrived here, I’ve already hiked the Great Wall, reunited with my dear friend Gareth who is teaching here through Peace Corps, toured the Forbidden City and Tienanmen Square, taken a 15 hour sleeper train to the center of the country, and (continuously) stuffed myself silly on mouth-watering Chinese food. In short, life is [...Read More!]

Jul 262011
 
Danger and Glory in Everglades National Park of Florida

“I’m not sure we’re going to survive the Everglades,” I gasped, browsing the Official Everglades Website. “Just listen to these warnings. They’re terrifying!”

“Please do not bring pets on the trails. Not only do you put your pet’s life in danger, you put yours in danger as well,” I read.

“I have this image of bringing a tiny yappy dog and having it instantly whisked away in the drooling jaws of a ‘gator!” I [...Read More!]