Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yum, Scorpion!

Nick ate his first scorpion last night at the night market. A couple people from his work were going out and since I have never seen anyone actually eat all the crazy things there we tagged along. One guy bought a stick of scorpions. (There were 3 on it.) They grilled it up for him and he tried the first one. There were 2 left and Nick decided he might as well try the next one. He ate it really fast so I didn't have a lot of time to get a good picture. I think he didn't want to stop and think about what he was about to do, so he ate it real fast before he had time to rethink that decision. The verdict was that it tastes like chicken. He washed it down with a Coke, hoping that would kill any funky things the scorpion might have done to his stomach.

So far today there have been no aftereffects (at least none Nick has told me about) from eating the scorpion.

Trip to Taiwan

A few weeks ago we got to take a short trip to Taiwan. Nick had a few meetings, and I had to leave China for a few days for my visa. The timing of this trip couldn't have been better since Barry and Gail were still there visiting Zack and Amy we got to spend a little more time with them.

We had so much fun. Nick loves Taiwan, but this was my first trip. The weather was definitely warmer than we are used to in Beijing, but I enjoyed it. Taiwan is different from China, but it is hard to describe why. It is definitely not as crowded, at least not during the day. The market on the weekend got a little crazy, but I'm used to that. Another difference was the families. In China they only have one child, and that child is usually a spoiled monster. In Taiwan I saw a lot of bigger families. Many people had 2 or 3 children, and these kids didn't seem quite as self-involved as kids in China. Probably because they had brothers or sisters to keep them normal. Other things that made it different are just small things that I noticed, for instance Taiwan is cleaner for the most part and the internet seemed so fast after being in China!

Before anyone thinks I'm complaining about Beijing by comparing it... Our trip was great, Taiwan was nice and I would love to go back and see more of it someday, but I was also happy to come home to Beijing. There were a lot of things that I had to get used to here, but there are also lots of things I love. Now that we are settled into our apartment here, hopefully we'll have more chances to travel and see this part of the world.

Our first night. We ate at a great little restaurant that looked over the water then took some pictures on the bridge.

The Taipei temple. We didn't get there in time to go in, but we took some pretty pictures outside.

We haven't had this since Dalian. I was so excited. Mango Ice is the perfect way to cool off on a hot night.

Chang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. Apparently this guy was pretty important in Taiwan's history. Nick had to take a picture with his statue for a friend at work.

Nick and Chang Kai-Shek

Stopping to cool off in the shade and feed the fish. Some of them were pretty big and Nick wanted to feed them out of his hand. What you can't see in the picture is how fast he jumped out of the way when they snapped at the cracker.

The Taipei 101. It was the world's tallest building till 2004. It also had the world's fastest elevator. The top speed was 1010 meters/minute. We got to the 89th floor (where the observation deck is) in about 3o seconds.

Us on top of the 101.

The night market. It was a different than any night market I've been to in China. They had lots of carnival games (like throwing darts at balloons) and lots of good food.

Thanks Zack and Amy for having us!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Foot Massages

We walked quite a bit while Nick's parents were here visiting. At the end of the day I was always ready for a foot massage. Gail and I got 2 foot massages in the week they were here. The first was at a little spa across the street from my house. It is pretty convenient and I go there regularly when my favorite place is unavailable. They aren't my first choice, but they still give great, cheap massages.

The second time we made reservations at the spa on the first floor of our apartment building. It is sometimes hard to get in there since they specialize in facials, and the man who gives the foot massages isn't always around, but we were lucky this time. I had a massage from him about a month after moving to Beijing and my feet have never felt so good.

The massage ends with something called "cupping." I didn't have my camera with me the first time and I was excited that Gail got some pictures of it this time. Basically they use a flame to burn the air up in these glass cups, and then suction them to your feet. I had seen this done before when I've gotten other massages and was always curious to try it. It is supposed to help open up channels in the body. It didn't really hurt at all, and I have no idea how much it helps, but it was an interesting experience.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Palace

Our internet connection has been sporadic the past couple of weeks, but I am finally going to post more pictures from Nick's parents visit.

We spent a morning at the Summer Palace. It was my first time there. I loved it. The day we went was beautiful. It was sunny and the air was actually pretty clear. This was following a few really nasty rainy days so it was especially nice.

So here's a mini history lesson on the Summer Palace, then I'll post the pictures. It was first constructed in 1750, but was destroyed and then rebuilt and then damaged and repaired again. It served as a summer resort for Empress Dowager Cixi (probably how it got its name) during the Qing Dynasty. The Summer Palace mostly consists of a large lake and a hill with many different buildings. It was quite a hike up the hill to see them, but they were worth it. I've never seen anything like it. Nick tells me once you've seen one palace/temple in China you've seen them all, but since this was my first it was really interesting.

Friday, July 1, 2011

new hobby

In China-the kids wear buttless pants. This is on Tiananmen square. Dad rolled out the newspaper and the kid got to squatting. Messed up? Yes. my new favorite game is taking pictures of chinese people taking pictures. here is the evidence. love-nick

Forbidden City

Nick's parents came to visit us for a week and I finally got to do all the touristy Beijing things I'd been putting off til we had visitors. The day we went to the Forbidden City was pretty murky, but it kept it cooler so it was nice.

We spent a few hours here and I really enjoyed it. The signs are always fun to read. The English is better than most signs, but still pretty funny and flowery.

It was fun to walk around the City and imagine what it must have been like when it was first built in the 1400s. It is so big it must have taken ages for servants to run between all the rooms.

Here's a few pictures in a completely random order:

I really liked these gutters. I thought they made a cool picture.

You can see how bad the air was in this picture.

At the entrance to the Forbidden City. You can see the famous picture of Chairman Mao in the background.

The Imperial Garden

A Throne.

The lake on the back side of the Forbidden City.