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Dog Nazis?

Shanghai is a fascinating place with many a things, but one thing is certain: Shanghai DOES NOT equal dog lovers!

A little about my background: Back in the states, we’ve always had dogs in our family and we treat them with love and care. However, after rescuing a pup from one of the dog rescues here, JAR RESCUE, I have been kicked out of numerous parks(whether it’s on/off leash), restaurants forbid them from entering, and when walking on the streets, people act like my poor sweet dog is about to jump and attack them!

Just today, I was walking my dog at the park next to my apartment and it happened again! One of the security guards came up to me and stared at my dog and “shooed” me away! Another time, I had to hide her in a big carry bag so that I could catch a taxi to the vet!???

So, my question is, “Where do the dogs go?”

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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Pets, Uncategorized

 

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Kung Pao Shanghai!

Someone once told me you can find all the World’s Best Cuisines in Shanghai! And speaking of Sichuan, if you want authentic Sichuanese food, look no more! Here’s the real thing! Sichuan CitizenTry it, you might like it:)

Address:

30 Donghu Lu,
near Huaihai Lu
东湖路30号,
近淮海中路

5404 1235

I highly recommend: Spicy eggplant, taro appetizer, brocoli, and kung pao chicken

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Food, Uncategorized

 

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Wild Wild West! ~ cont/Sichuan

Next, I went by train to Chengdu Sichuan to see the Pandas! I never really went far on a train in Shanghai so I thought I’d live out of my shell and take the overnight train to Sichuan. It was fairly easy and cheap to get the train ticket once I got to the train station. But make sure you get the top bunk which is my preferred choice rather than having everyone sit on your bed if your is the bottom bunk. However do be warned that the top bunk is only for sleeping and not much moving as there is only about 2 feet of room above you! I have to say, it was a little uncomfortable at the beginning with 6 people sharing a 4X6 foot space but got used to it after awhile and found myself sound asleep before 12.

It was a 15 hour ride from Xian to Chengdu which didn’t seem like much when you take the late train and sleep most of the way there. When I arrived it was about 2pm in the afternoon. I got out of the train and was immediately sandwiched between minorities carrying babies on their backs and local tourists. There were people everywhere and once I got in line for a taxi, hagglers offered a ride to my hotel for supposedly half the price I would pay. I was almost convinced until they told me they were going to give me a ride in their motorcycle! Oh no, I thought!!! That’s an accident about to happen! So, I decided to stand and wait in the long line with the others and finally got a cab which turned out to be surprisingly cheaper than the risky motorcycle ride! Phewf!

At Chengdu, I stayed at the Chengdu Dreams-Travel Wenjun Mansion hotel. It was a mediocre hotel that was about $25/night which was a good deal, fairly clean, the location was very centralized and there was a huge park across the street which I liked for walking. Sichuan is located west of Xian and well known for their exquisitely complex cuisine. Perfectly stewed ma po dofu, Kung pao chicken and spicy hot pot were some of their specialties! It is the capital of Sichuan province in southwest China. They have a panda breeding center there which houses about 500 pandas that were rescued during the earthquake. This reserve is the only one of its kind in the world that’s located in a metropolitan area. It was really interesting to see the way the pandas live and learn little facts like, “When they are born, pandas are only a few inches long and have to be removed from their mother for protection”, or “Pandas are very calm, and solitary peaceful animals who spend most of the day eating bamboo”. This was a highly recommended place to go in Sichuan.

At night, I went to have hot pot at a famous hot pot place which turned my face bright red and into fire but it was good! And every reluctant bite I took became this decadent saucy concoction in my mouth! Yum!

To end my day, I went to see the Sichuan Opera, which is also the same as the famous Beijing opera with about 8 acts in the show. My favorite was the one with the wife challenging the husband to do different things for gambling all their money away and the changing faces show. This once was a common past time activity for Chinese people until the cultural revolution as shown in the movie, “Farewell my Concubine”. It was different from anything I’ve seen before and was definitely a treat to see. My night ended with a sweet little panda stuffed toy from my tour guide, how sweet!

The next day, I took a more local tour and went on my own to the park. There I was caught off guard by the beautiful ponds, and pagodas. Amidst the old Chinese men playing majong, I stumbled my way into the middle of a group of women dancing and danced the afternoon away!

Also, I went to visit the Wenshu Monastery, Jinli street(food street), and some teahouses(Sichuan is very well known for their green tea!)

Some places I didn’t get to see but recommend are:

 1)   Mt Qincheng (where you can see the huge Buddha on the mountain)

2)   Dujiangyan Irrigation System (oldest 2000 year old irrigation project that diverts water without a dam)

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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Travel, Uncategorized

 

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Wild Wild West! Xian

When we think of wild wild west we usually think of cowboys and horses and standoffs, but in Asia the wild wild west is a land full of minority tribes, wild pandas, white hairy yaks, gorges and abundantly rich soil. Just a few months ago, I decide to take a solo adventure to different parts of China. I asked some local coworkers where the “must see” places were and they mentioned Dalian, Xian, Sichuan and Yunnan. I decided to go in November so it was starting to get chilly and the weather brought me west to venture into the wild wild west! The first place I flew into was Xian. This small little city was surround by a stone wall, a little bit like the great wall of China which you can only imagine seeing in the movies. It seemed like a city of kings and riches who had their palace and city protected by the great wall. It was a place full of history and is one of the oldest cities in China, over 3000 years old. I stayed there for 3 days and stayed at a little 3 star gem hotel called Lemon Hotel which was conveniently placed right in the middle of town. It was about 15-20 minutes walking distance from the popular food street downtown and the bell and drum tower and was easy access for taxis to pick you up to further places like the terra cotta soldiers. I woke up early around 9 the next day and went on a tour around Xian(arranged by the hotel, 500rmb from 9am-6pm for full day private driver). The next morning, I went to see the well known terracotta soldiers which was about an hour and a half ride from the city and upon arrival there were numerous local tour guides who were available to give tours. My driver helped me find someone who knew some english and we went our our merry way! Just being there was amazing and I could imagine myself being there when they buried these delicate regal soldiers. They created and buried these soldiers for the Qin Emperor in 210 BC when he died to protect him in the afterlife. There were 3 giant pits with over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. I spent about 2-3 hours gazing and admiring at these historical figures that were buried and when I went into the museum afterwards I was lucky to be able to meet the guy who found the soldiers! He was an old man selling one of the books he wrote on the discovery and was signing away. Amazing enough, this story is of a poor farmer who was in his 50’s when he found the terracotta soldiers while digging in the well some 40 years ago. And now, he has become a rich old farmer who writes books and meets his fans. I guess miracles do happen:) Afterwards, we drove back to the city and bought these delicious red/orange persimmons on our way back from the side of the road. From what I remember, they were only a few dollars for a whole box of juicy fresh grown persimmons and boy were they good! When we went back, I dozed off a bit in the cab and my top notch driver dropped me back  to the hotel for a little R&R. A few hours later, he came back and took me on a walking tour downtown to see the rest of the sights. We went to the bell and drum tower which was beautifully lit up from the night lights and then went to splurge in the food market street with delicious small eats all around. In a lit up street with friendly smiling faces, muslim po(nan in soup) and flavorful coconut desserts, I felt like I was a little kid in candy store! I even got to meet some other people from Beijing at the muslim soup place which became my touring friends for the next few days! We went to see the Giant pagoda and relaxed at some local bar which was playing chinese guitar music. This was by far, my favorite city to visit, I had even considered living there for about 2 secs:) Loved it!

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Please read on and continue with me through my journey further west! Enjoy:)

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Markets, Travel

 

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Chocolate lovers!

If you are a chocolate lover and in need of some “treat yourself time”after work or dinner, HoF is the place to be. It’s a little shop in the former french concession with a nice chill crowd and the finest chocolate sweets that your heart desires! My favorite is the Mudpie cake with orange coating. In addition, they have champagne, cocktail and a delicious hot chocolate with baileys…YUM!!! Fair prices and high quality desserts, what else can you ask for!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

My new apartment turned into a war zone!

A month ago, I moved out of my apartment into a more affordable place so after hiring Century 21, (a well reputable real estate agency from America) I found an apartment in Huangpu district for 4000rmb. “What a find!!!” I thought but then nothing comes cheap these days… So I hired a moving truck and moved all my things into my new home. It was a spacious place that was just renovated by the landlord. The building was older and very Chinese style(no lights in hallways and security was pretty much non existent) but then after the renovation, everything inside was new, brilliant and clean! I liked it ALOT! After a week of settling in and one day relaxing on my couch while watching chinese cable, needless to say a China experience happened to me.

“BOOOM!!!” There was a loud noise from the ceiling and I didn’t realized what was going on at the moment until heavy pieces of sheet rock fell from my ceiling missing my head by inches. A large part of the ceiling had fallen and there was a huge hole on my ceiling! Being in quite a shock, I called my real estate agency and landlord to come over. I told them that I would not stay there because of safety reason and needed to stay in a hotel while they fix and inspect the ceiling. My landlord agreed.

The next day became another story, I got a phone call from my landlord saying that I had to move out immediately and they were going to break the lease. They also said that they would not reimburse me with the hotel and would only pay the minimun of 4000rmb for breaking the lease!!!

I ended up having to pay for my hefty hotel bill and have no home for my landlord’s poor renovation.

“A new Shanghai apartment turned into a war zone.” Luckily, I was ok.

Have you experience something like this?

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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#1 Street food in Shanghai!

One of the best street foods I’ve found in Shanghai are the infamous potsticker like buns named Shengjianbaos (生煎包)! These fried buns with stuffed pork inside are mainly popular in Shanghai and are the most delicious, might I warn you not too healthy, treats in Shanghai! The best part of it is when you bite into these buns, they have this soupy like consistency similar to that of a Xiao Long Biao but even better with the crispy outside! I’ve heard that Yang’s fried dumpling is a must try. If not, 1221 is a popular Shanghainese restaurant that serves great ones too! If you visit Shanghai, don’t hesitate to pump up your day with a few of these decadent Shanghai favorites!

***Warning: Eat with Moderation!

Picture above is taken from 1221 Restaurant.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Food, Uncategorized

 

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