Friday, April 29, 2011

In Honour of the Royal Wedding

My current favourite site: (go on & click through, you'll thank me later)
Charlie Sheen has nothing on Kate.

(Thanks to Beau for helping with this one).

oh, I laugh!

In all honesty though, she looks amazing, just like a royal.
ROYAL DEBUT   photo | Royal Wedding, Kate Middleton, Prince William
Congratulations Will & Kate!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Things I Like: Gilbert Blythe

I just had to share, I think Glibert Blythe is a babe.   Melts my heart.   That Anne is a lucky girl!

Carrots, carrots! (the language of love)
look at those dimples

Anne Shirley: You just think that you love me. 
Gilbert Blythe: Anne, I've loved you as long as I can remember. I need you.

Anne Shirley: I promise I'll always be here if you need me. Good friend are always together in spirit. Let's not change Gil, let's just go on being good friends.
Gilbert Blythe: Friends, huh? I thought we were kindred spirits.
[whispers forlornly]
Gilbert Blythe: Please say yes.
Anne Shirley: I can't. Gil, I'm so desperately sorry.
[runs off while a heartbroken Gil looks after her

Gilbert Blythe: [Gilbert has insulted Anne's writing] Listen, I'm sorry. What else can I do?
Anne Shirley: [she hits him with her basket of flowers] Let me get a word in edgewise once in a while, before I pitch you! 

(quotes from here)

Definitely a babe!

Anyone have a favourite leading man out there? I think I love the unrequited love ones, i.e. Mr. Darcy, Laurie from Little Women, Gil. It just twists my heart!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I needed a reminder that spring is on it's way. More than willing to pay $1.49 for that.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The End

Leaving for me was really a mixed emotion.  We had been looking forward to this trip so long, and were heading home into the unknown.  Still though, excited to see everyone and start figuring things out.  Andrew was excited, he is always ready to move forward.  I am more sentimental, and always take a peek back.

Ready to fly
Ladies out there, I have a confession.  I wore leggings as pants a few times on the plane.  Now in this picture I do have my long sweater on, but I got hot so I took it off and I still walked around.  And another time, I just wore a shirt with leggings.  It was a long shirt, but only a shirt.  However, it was the best travel outfit for mixing comfort and style (I do not fly in yoga pants - I do not do much in yoga pants except yoga and sitting on my couch).   But I thought I should confess my fashion faux pas.

The beautiful Beijing airport - best one of the trip by far!

In Calgary, the bitter end ;)

Just a reminder of how far we've come:
Not that far, but a ways!

Thanks for reading, I hope to still write regularly.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I have to say, I have had enough of this weather.  I'm putting it on notice.

It is April after all, but I guess that doesn't mean much.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Beijing - In the morning

This was from a different day, but I wanted to post it.
The street of our hostel on the Festival of Lanterns morning = full
When we left Beijing, we flew out late afternoon, so were able to get up early to go see the flag raising in Tienanmen Square.  This was pretty cool and pretty cold.  We weren't there early enough to be in the square, so had to stand across the road, and watch in between traffic light cycles.  Wasn't bad though.

I loved seeing the older men on bikes and tried really hard to get a good shot.  This is as close as I got
The city comes to life

I noticed this little boy posing in front of the picture of Mao so his mom could take a picture and he was so so cute.  A few minutes later, they came and stood by us and I could not help saying "ni hao" (hi) to him.  We had an awkward conversation in Mandarin and English, and he got shy and and went back to his mom.  A few minutes later, they came up to me, and wanted to take a picture!  It was the coolest little thing, I was so pumped!  And that is why you should put on makeup, even when going places at (literally) the crack of dawn.

I really like this photo, but I need to crop Andrew's nose out of it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Beijing - On the Subway

So for our last day in Beijing and really the last day not spent on an airplane of our trip, we decided to have an awesome day riding the subway! Yes!  Just the way to end things off.  Ouch.  Writing that is making me a little sad, it's the end!

So on our fun subway ride, we went to the Olympic Park to see the iconic Bird's Nest.  We heard it was rusting, so it might not look this good for long.  It was really cool to see, glad we did that, even though it probably took an hour and four transfers to get there, for about a five minute walk around.

The Water Cube - This picture cracks me up because of that man running.  Guess he hasn't heard the Olympics are over. 

Next stop: Beijing Zoo to see a panda.  Another fifteen transfers and an hour and a half later, we arrive there (I may kid about the transfers but oh my it felt like forever). Pay our $2.50 admission and walk in, see the panda and leave.  The zoo was actually kind of sad, it did not look very well kept.  The panda laid there like this the whole time too.  Not very exciting.  But it let us stay on the subway for longer!

After this, we hit up the embassy area, which we heard was a cool place to shop and eat.  Across town.  It was okay, we stopped at the Hard Rock, but nothing special and seemed so expensive compared to the rest of Beijing.

So although riding the subway may sound like a good time (my tongue is in my cheek here), it is not the greatest highlight.  The system is very easy to navigate, quick, fairly clean, and there are constant trains coming in, but they are always full.  Sitting down on the subway does not really happen.  Ever.  Being pressed up against someone you don't know and only really know how to say hi (ni hao) or thank you (shi shen - spelling is interpretive at best for both!) too happens every single time.  This gets a little old, even in 3.5 days.  Considering how cheap taxis are, we probably should have "splurged" on one, and shortened our transport time down a bit.  Live and learn I guess.

Riding the subway led to one of my favourite stories though.  To get off the subway, you really have to push your way through, as you are jam packed in and they don't stop for long.  Andrew would usually go first, as he is a bit more aggressive and also a lot larger than me (and everyone else).  On one of our last rides, he was getting ready to go and told me to stay close.  All of a sudden, I saw the elastic on his day pack streching waaay out.  Turning to see what he's hooked on, I see a petite Chinese girl being dragged by her scarf across the train car!  I quickly told Andrew to slow down, but being on a mission, it took a few yells for him to process it.  By this time, the poor girl has almost been dragged off the subway by this giant white man.  I quickly unhooked her scarf, tried to apologize (in English), and then we took off.  Sorry!  

Another time, we did see a white couple on one of the trips and immediately wanted to talk to them, but felt a bit shy.  When it's difficult to speak to anyone, after being used to travelling in your own language, you just feel a bit of a connection I guess.  We ended up right behind them in the pack getting off the subway and talked extra loud, hoping they would talk to us.  And they bit!  The lady said that it was so good to hear some English and we had a nice little conversation.  Funny enough, they were Canadians, from Vancouver area, who were originally from Brooks.  Brooks of all places, to meet someone in the middle of Beijing.  Travelling is so weird that way.  

We almost invited them for coffee (they had been in China for five weeks and seemed quite homesick or maybe just hearing English sick) but didn't and had a break at Starbucks by ourselves.  Honestly it felt really nice to just be somewhere a little familiar, and able to sit down and not worry about seeing everything.  Travelling is wonderful, but sometimes you need a little rest!  A bit of shopping and a stop at our favourite place (Wangfujing) got us going again.  

That night was the last night of the Chinese New Year, the Lantern Festival which was a really cool way to end our trip.  From about 6:00 when it got dark, to midnight, there were fireworks going off constantly!  Constant.  And not just little fireworks, big ones too.  You started to ignore them after a while because there were so many.  People just lit them off anywhere, on the side of the street, wherever.  Really awesome and kind of fitting, as our last night in Auckland we saw fireworks too.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Beijing - Ming Tombs

After the Great Wall, our tour made a stop at a Jade Gallery for lunch and a little tour/sales pitch.  It was actually quite interesting and lunch was delicious so we didn't mind!  Andrew and I bought a Happiness Ball, which is carved from a single piece of jade and consists of different layers within each other, that are completely independent of each other.  Really cool but hard to describe. It has all kinds of meaning and symbolism and is also fun to play with.

The Ming Tombs was the next stop and this was a neat way to see some of the older Chinese culture.  However, it was also freezing, and none of the buildings were heated, so we kept it fairly brief.  (Beijing right now is hitting the 20 degree mark, making it the perfect time to go).

Andrew getting some luck from the luck dragon

The most interesting thing from the Ming Tombs was hearing about how the Chinese represented heaven as a circle and earth as a square.  I'm not really sure what they thought heaven would be like, but I guess I always thought of heaven as kind of blue, and it's just interesting to see how we represent the unknown to ourselves.  The tomb part is round, while all the grounds are rectangular.

Side note:  The Olympic Stadium is in line with both the Ming Tombs and the Forbidden City, and has the round Bird's Nest (pics soon) on one side and the square Water Cube on the other to create the proper balance.  Pretty neat!

After the Ming Tombs we made a stop at a silk factory.  The informative tour quickly turned into a sales pitch (surprise, surprise!).  One item that was repeatedly highlighted was their pillow.  This pillow was filled with the  droppings of silk worms, which were not dirty and supposed to be good for you, making it a "poo poo pillow".  I'm not quite sure how calling this pillow the "poo poo pillow" was supposed to be a draw, but the sales woman seemed convinced that we must all want one of these, as they didn't even stink at all.  Missed out on that one.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Beijing - The Great Wall

Life list alert: The Great Wall of China!

Not much to say but that it was great!   and steep.  I think I'll let the pictures do the talking here.

What a cutie - I think I am pretty skilled at taking portraits of him

More Beijing here, here, here

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Beijing - Wangfujing Night Market

The evening of our first day, we went to the Wangfujing (say it just like it's spelled) night market.  Favourite part of Beijing, hands down.  Just so fun!  Cheap, delicious foods, on a stick!, great vendors, and full of atmosphere.   We were always full in Beijing, but not too full to try the next yummy thing on a stick.

Things we did not eat

I had a dream that I was getting some of these candy coated strawberries the other night, so sad when I woke up!  They were delicious.  Deep fried bananas were also amazing.

You could get basically anything on a stick there.  There were even ducklings, wings and all on sticks that you could buy and eat.  I wish we had a picture, I could not handle it!  Also, tarantulas, scorpions, seahorse, starfish, you name it, it was probably there.
I ate a snake for a snack that day.  Very chewy.


Packed, but so fun
Beef, lamb and pork on a stick - everything is better when served on a stick 
We loved Wangfujing so much that we went back there our last evening.  Not that you could tell though, seeing as we wore the same thing every day in China (not much selection of warm clothes in our bags!).

Wangfujing was located in a good shopping district where we got some winter coats.  I managed to score mine for about $16 Canadian (a little small, but I am taller and longer armed than the average Beijinger).  Shopping in China was so great!

One negative about China was the toilets.  Though not as bad as some countries, they were different.  Squatty potties were vary common, and the septic system could not handle toilet paper so it was disposed of in the garbage can.  In many places, you had to get your TP outside the stall and bring it in- this was a quick learning curve!  However I would like to point out a great feat of mine: I spent 3.5 days in China and never had to use a squatty potty!