Oct 042011
 
The Funniest Restaurant Food Menu of My China Travels

Let us preface this by saying, humbly, that if I attempted to translate an American menu into Mandarin, what would result would look like stick figures doing a conga line. Now, with that humility out of the way, please sit back and laugh as hard as I did, perusing this dinner menu from a Chinese restaurant in the Bund district of Shanghai.

So which dish would YOU order?

Sep 292011
 
A China Travel Tip That Could Save Your Life

You know that Green Walking Man icon that indicates (in most countries in the world) that it is safe for pedestrians to cross the road at a designated crosswalk, because oncoming cars must stop?

Take this China travel tip and save a life: In China, the Green Walk Signal actually means… absolutely nothing.

Unfailingly, in the two weeks I traveled through China, I would start to stride across the crosswalk, the Green Walk [...Read More!]

Sep 242011
 
Why the Joyful New England Summer is so Precious

Yesterday was the first day of Fall, the Autumnal Equinox. And for myself and hundreds of other people who knew and loved a remarkable man named Kolajo Afolabi, yesterday was also a fall from innocence into deep grief as our dear, dear friend fell while running and passed away from the resulting injuries.

To celebrate our friend’s life, a life of warmth, contribution, love, and joy, I invite you to gaze at these [...Read More!]

Sep 172011
 
A Vegetarian Trains to Eat Meat in Prep for China Travel

If you are a vegetarian, you are either going to be inspired or disgusted by this article, but either way, you will likely have pondered a similar quandary: What is the best way to deal with vegetarianism during travel to a very different (read: “meaty”) culture?

Colin is a vegetarian and has been for years, chiefly for health reasons: veggies are healthier than meat, especially processed meat. Then we bought our China [...Read More!]

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 102011
 
Badly Ordering Food by Menu Photos During China Travel

You’re hungry, you’re in Beijing, China, and you’ve stumbled into a restaurant where the menu is in pretty Mandarin characters with big pictures.

“Surely,” you tell yourself as you walk in the door, “pictures are all I need to order something yummy.”

Then you find yourself staring at the options on the wall displayed in the lower left photo in this article. Hmm… There appear to be six different choices, each with rice [...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!]