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Climb a Mountain a Day…

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And you will develop legs of steel! Today we climbed up Mount Tai, a famous mountain near the city of Tai’an in China. Mind you, I’m not super active and my husband is scared of heights, so this shows that anyone can do it! If you allot enough time to rest and whatnot.

Actually Mount Tai has a bus that goes up halfway and then a cable car that goes almost all the way to the top, with some more stair climbing afterwards to get to the summit. That was our plan, but the cable car was closed due to high winds so we ended up hiking up from that halfway point. We started at 11:30 and got to the top at 2… And it was a sweaty, arduous trek. But there was an undeniable sense of accomplishment when we stood there at the highest point – we conquered Taishan!

And then afterwards the cable car was working so we took that down and then the bus back to ground level. My legs are killing me!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

I love taking pictures of food so I wish I had access to my old pictures for this week’s challenge but alas! I will have to restrict myself to the one.

Right now my husband and I are visiting his family in Jinan, China and his mother is cooking for us 24/7! I come away from each meal feeling just a bit overstuffed because they keep urging food on me and it’s so… hard… to resist…

One of my favorite dishes is the pan-fried dumpling (jiaozi) (Japanese: gyoza, Cantonese: gaozi). Because really, who doesn’t like pan-fried anything?

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His mother and grandmother will make all the dumplings from scratch – chopping the ingredients to make filling, mixing and rolling out the dough wrappers, filling and pinching each perfect dumpling closed. They make a super huge amount, all to be boiled and served for dinner. The leftovers are then kept for the next day, when either for morning or lunch they will be pan-fried to crispy golden perfection. So delicious!

A Shanghai Quickie – Pics Edition

China has banned WordPress, making it extremely annoying for me to post because I have to use the mobile app! While the app is great in that it allows me to circumvent the firewall, it is also more limited in terms of features so I think I’ll have to wait til I get home to post more in depth.

It’s been an interesting trip so far with some ups and downs, but we’ve been having a good time! Here are some pics from our short stay in Shanghai – we were only there for one full day and then we took the high-speed train to Jinan the next day.

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A home cooked meal our first night in Shanghai.

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Our room at the Astor House Hotel, right across the bridge to the Bund

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Spring has sprung in Shanghai and there’s plenty of pretty flowers to prove it!

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A view of the water and buildings of Zhujiajiao, a water town close to Shanghai.

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A pavilion among spring flowers in Kezhi Yuan in Zhujiajiao

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Of course you have to get the xiao long bao while in Shanghai!

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A cloudy night view in Shanghai, all lit up.

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We’ve got a ticket to ride… To Jinan!

I have so many more pictures I would love to share but unfortunately it will have to wait til I am back in the States! Next up, Jinan in pictures!

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Originally posted on my other blog because I didn’t know how to switch it on the WordPress app! This was actually from Friday but better late than never 🙂

I am feeling so cool right now because I’m writing this post on one of the free iPads in the Delta terminal! This morning marks the start of our 2 week trip to China and I’m both excited (for the actual trip part of it) and dreading it (13.5 hour flight is so exhausting!). There’s also the imminent language barrier so it’s time to brush up on my very elementary Mandarin!

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Surprisingly enough neither me nor my husband are very tired considering we spent much of yesterday driving down to NYC from Syracuse – although I did take a nice long nap when we got home! We woke up at 4:30 and by 5:30 we were on the road, getting a ride to La Guardia Airport courtesy of my wonderful dad! It was a quick half hour drive and then we were in! We had checked in online the night before (I love this!) so all we needed to do was drop our bags off and we were good to go. Being used to the chaos of JFK, we had arrived super early but at LGA the security check line was insanely short – we were done in 10 minutes and then we were on to the food court! As expected expensive but actually pretty decent.

Delta Terminal D also has a pretty cool lounge area where they offer seating with mini iPads with free Internet usage – quite surprising in this day and age of charging fees for breathing the air and whatnot.
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Chilling with our free iPads before our flight! Also they keep you updated with your flight status at the bottom so you don’t miss your flight while playing with their electronic goodies.

So our trip will be mostly visiting family, starting with Shanghai to visit one of my husband’s cousins and his wife. It’s a little mind blowing to think that the last time we saw them, his wife was pregnant and since then they’ve had a little boy who is now 3 years old! Time seriously flies.

While in Shanghai we will be visiting Zhujiajiao, a water town just an hour away. I’ll admit I’m a little disappointed because the weather is great in Shanghai today (78 degrees and sunny!) but by the time we land it will be down to 50s with chance of precipitation. Similar weather in Jinan, the main city we will be staying in and my husband’s hometown. Why does bad weather follow us wherever we go?!

Still, it’s warmer than the 30’s weather we are used to so I suppose I can’t complain! In fact it’s practically swimsuit weather for us!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lost in the Details

I can’t even think of a good intro for this weekly photo challenge because my brain is so fried! Went to Los Angeles for a conference this past weekend, then came back to three days of work (at 12.5 hours each). We haven’t had time to cook so we’ve been getting Chinese takeout every night and as much as I love Singapore mei fun and chicken with cashew nuts it’s getting plenty old. Another long day of work tomorrow and then we will be flying to China! So yes… I have been pretty remiss. But in any case I had to try to keep up with the photo challenge! Sorry for the ramble!

My Little NYC Details

Travel theme: Roads

Ah, the unsung road! Something we take for granted, but without it travel by car would be nigh impossible (for those of us without 4wd at least!). This week at Where’s my backpack? we are celebrating the asphalt pathways that take us everywhere we need to go.

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A leafy road in fall in Syracuse, NY.

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A road with a view of the mountains in Arizona!

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A dusty dirt road, perfect for those rugged jeeps and SUVs.

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A busy road in Brooklyn, NY – Flatbush heading towards Manhattan.

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A road lined with crystallized trees after an icy rain.

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A snowy road in Syracuse… this is what we have to deal with when winter comes!

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And finally, a road that you don’t want to be on! This looks pretty scary but it was just a truck front being pulled, facing backwards. Made ya look!