vacation

China Summer 2015 (I)

Last summer, I went on a month long trip to China. I never actually got around to posting about my adventures there, so I decided since I still have the pictures on my computer, why not now?

I’ll probably split into several posts as I have so many images and so many experiences that I want to share. The first part of my trip was spent in Shangtou, located in Guangdong, China, where my dad grew up. Its a rather undeveloped city located in the South near the ocean. The people there still hold onto seemingly conservative or old-fashioned views to outsiders, but are fiercely family oriented and so welcoming to visitors.

The most important purpose of our trip was visiting relatives and family members that we had not seen in at least three years.

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This picture is taken at a relative’s house whose sons owned the apartment building. These are my grandparents on my dad’s side.

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We are picking lychee from lychee trees with my father’s side of the family. One of my grandmother’s good friends owns the place.

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My grandfather’s brother, so my great uncle, owns a farm that grows these special type of beans. If you see the little circular items, those are the beans! they have to be taken out of these large fuzzy pods individually before they can be sold.

Another really important aspect of visiting China is of course the food! Because Shangtou is near the ocean, we ate a ton of seafood. Also, as per custom in China, our relatives took turns taking us out to eat. We ate out almost every day!  One of my favorite places to go is a bamboo restaurant in a bamboo forest. They incorporate bamboo in almost every dish, bamboo from their forest, and everything else there is also locally sourced!

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This is the place behind the bamboo restaurant I was talking about! Another one of its perks is going from inside the bamboo forest to the outside beautiful lake and its surroundings.

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Lots of seafood – one of my favorites is squid!

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Crazy dimsum!

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Lychee is everywhere in the South!

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some random exotic frui

And I can never forget the sights and views! Because of the humidity, you see very stereotypical plants common to tropical places, lotus buds and lily pads, palm trees, beautiful lakes, sandy beaches. Everything is just so so so beautiful.

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more behind-the-bamboo restaurant pictures

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backyard palm trees ❤

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black and white

Winter Break: New York

The day before Christmas Eve, my family decided to take a quick day trip to New York. I am from Delaware, so we woke up pretty early and it only took us around 2 hours to make it to New York.

For the most part, we visited the usual New York sights, Rockefeller Center, the famous ice rink, the Christmas tree, Times Square, the M&M store, etc. Then, at the end, we went to see Wicked on Broadway. We sat in the very last row (ahahah), literally the last row on the third floor, but it was still absolutely amazing. 10/10 would recommend if you ever go to NY 🙂

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the trees near Rockefeller center

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beautiful building lights

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just New York

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Starbucks

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Wicked

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quick food

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the church

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Ice Skating

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far away Wicked experience

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the NY Christmas Tree

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M&M Store

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Times Square

 

 

Food Adventures in China

One of my favorite things about going back to China is FOOD. Here in the U.S., you’re pretty limited by the hamburgers, fries, and the occasional freedom of different assortments of pizza. China, however, has had NO qualms about experimenting with the sketchy and the dangerous. As a result, they have very much a hit-and-miss sort of relationship with food, which in my case is always a hit 😉

I took these pictures of random meals that we had – when my uncle took us out to eat, the final dinner in China, a large lunch on the mountain, etc. Obviously, it’s just a sample, but I would say a good representative of my three week food adventure.

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I believe that this above picture was taken when my uncle took us out to eat. The main bowl in the middle is some kind of shrimp stew (absolutely delicious) and the one on top is rice cakes covered in tomato sauce, which is definitely a new yet equally delicious combination.

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On my last dinner in China, I believe we had these tiny shrimp stir-fried with green peppers and other vegetables and tofu.

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My fave – LYCHEE ❤

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The famous and delicious “tanchupaigu” (sugar vinegar pork) They look absolutely divine do they not?

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A casual pic before our meal 🙂 We all look pretty excited clearly.

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Lunch on a mountain! We drove up to a mountain where villagers have a small restaurant that’s notoriously good. Almost all of the food is made out of organic ingredients – the chicken they raised themselves, the yams they grew, the eggs, etc. Also, if you notice the foil covered items, one of the ways they cooked the food was wrapping everything in foil and sticking it in a hole with dirt and covering it up with really hot bricks (or something like that), and then the food cooks just like that. It apparently gives it a very earthy rich tone to the food. I am afraid not a food critic extraordinaire, so I could not tell the difference, but overall such an authentic and once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure 🙂

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This does not look super promising, but was actually one of my absolute favorite meals I have ever had in China. What it is is warm, soft baked bread in the shape of a box topped with ice cream. The bread inside is cut into squares and cubes, so you add a little ice cream to your bread slice and eat it together for a scrumptious heavenly experience.

Hong Kong

The first stop on our glorious vacation this summer was to Hong Kong. Originally, the plan was to go to Japan and then to China, but then of course things changed around and Hong Kong was the more convenient and cheaper option. We only spent three days in Hong Kong, but we really only genuinely needed one day to experience and see the sights and main attractions.

Our hotel was booked right in Times Square of Hong Kong, which is in essence, the center. Tons of people, tons of shops, tons of couples and little street vendors and glorious businesses all around, we drank in the sights. Because we were so close to everything, the first night, we just walked around and explored the area, stopping to make a nighttime meal at the shopping center.

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The next day, we woke up bright and early for famed Hong Kong Dim Sum! I forget the name of the place we went, but it was interesting because you essentially just served yourself. It was quite a trial trying to figure out how to order and such and my mom had some difficulty adjusting to the fact that most of the people didn’t understand Mandarin Chinese. Nonetheless, everything worked out and the food came out so quickly! Plus it was half the price because we finished before 11!

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Once we finished eating, we went to Hong Kong The Peak! This is one of Hong Kong’s Top Ten attractions and it sure was amazing. We took a trolley up all the way to the mountain and from there, took an immense amount of pictures. There’s also a bunch of shops there and we had some nice old bubble tea.

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After finishing at The Peak, we went down to walk around the Victorian Harbor along the Avenue of Stars.

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Overall, Hong Kong was a great experience! We had a lot of fun and the people were all so nice and friendly, although busy with all of their every day work. I think the only thing I regret is not getting the chance to do some extensive shopping there, but I feel that even in the short amount of time that we spent there, we got to experience most of what Hong Kong has to offer! Here’s to going back to that beautiful place.