China

Hold on to Your Butts: It’s Gucun Park, Shanghai

dinosaur totem pole

Gucun Park in Shanghai is also known as “dinosaur park.” Walk through dense forests of leafy green plants. There’s a rustling in the leaves. Something is lurking in the forests just beyond the shadows. Water ripples in your cup as heavy footsteps come closer. Then the leaves part. It’s a giant, animatronic tyrannosaurus! Also, a …

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Shipyards and Strawberries on Chang Xing Island

Our Chang Xing Island adventure started with a message from the boss. “We’re going to Chang Xing Island next week. We booked a hotel room for you.” That was it. Was it a business trip? Was it a vacation? How long were we going to be gone? What were we going to be doing? What …

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Guyi – Shanghai’s Secret Garden

Guyi Garden is a lovely classical garden just an hour north of downtown Shanghai. It’s not as famous as some of the other nearby gardens, but that makes it feel all the more special. Avoid the crowds and relax in Guyi’s classical splendor. One of the best things about China is its classical gardens. Stone …

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The Oriental Pearl Tower – Yesterday’s Future, Today!

The Oriental Pearl Tower in all its glory

The Oriental Pearl Tower is arguably the most iconic representation of Shanghai’s skyline. It may be the most iconic representation of modern China. Huge reddish-purple spheres held up by three massive cement columns tower over the Pudong River. The tip of the tower reaches up into the sky like it’s trying to reach the future.

Moganshan – Prepare to Meet your new Auntie

golden yellow rice in front of Moganshan mountain, Zhejiang, China

Thick stalks of bamboo tower overhead. The tops sway back and forth in the breeze. Birds are chirping. The air is brisk and refreshing. An old tractor, possibly built before the revolution, putters down the mountain pulling a trailer of freshly cut bamboo stalks. Stalks of vegetables lay on the stone walls alongside the road, …

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Gang of Four: A Market of the Senses

Some dramatic lighting for Gang of Four in Shanghai

I’m not talking about the rulers of the Chinese Communist Party during the Cultural Revolution. The Gang of Four I’m talking about is the late ‘70s British post-punk band. They’ve been a favorite of ours for a while, and the album “Entertainment” is probably one of the best albums. So, when we read that they …

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Beijing: Surprisingly Gritty and Interesting

Beijing-forbidden city from above

The thing about Beijing that struck me the most was how gritty it all was. Gritty to the point that you could taste it when you walked outside. There’s a constant layer of dust that settles in to your mouth with each breath. I don’t say this to disparage Beijing in any way. It’s a …

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Linhai and the Pretty Good Wall of China

City Wall, Linhai, Zhejiang, China

Linhai is a small city that seems to be off the radar of most Westerners. It’s a mere three hours on the fast train outside of Shanghai, between Ningbo and Taizhou. The summer rainy season left the surrounding mountains full of bright vibrant emerald green that stood out against the grey sky. So much green, …

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Hong Kong: the Human Race in Concrete

Hong Kong Skyline

Humanity piled on top of humanity. Stacks of human beings in concrete towers, some of which look like they’re on the verge of collapse. There is a bright and shiny Hong Kong. This is the Hong Kong that most people think of. Glitzy glass towers where billions of dollars are traded back and forth in …

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Suzhou: The Pleasantest Place in China

a canal in Suzhou, lit up in the evening.

Ah, Suzhou, the Venice of the East. Or maybe that’s a bit Eurocentric? For all we know, Venice is the Suzhou of the West. Either way, Suzhou is only a half an hour away from Shanghai and makes a pleasant weekend getaway.

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