Category Archives: family

你好 – nihao pt. 3

Check out some pics (thank you image uploader for working finally!)

In front of the entrance to the Forbidden City

Playing the ‘tourist’ in the courtyard of the Temple of the Heavens

Before the great trek at the Great Wall

The Summer Palace
A few of the tasty treats at a food market in Beijing
My cousin and my niece
Of course we had some. In fact, we had some everyday we were in Shanghai – about 5 days worth… yum
The Canada Pavilion @ the Expo. If you show Canadian ID, you get to bypass the crazy lines! Definitely worth it as the line was about 2 hours long.
Similar looking to the rice terraces in Bali… except these are tea trees and we’re in a city outside of Shanghai.
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你好 – nihao pt. 2

It was my first trip to China (excluding my foray to HK a few years back) and I must say that it was pretty incredible. My mom and I flew into Beijing and hit the ground running. Over the next 2 weeks we visited: the Forbidden City, Tienanmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, the Great Wall (Badaling section), Bird’s Nest, the Water Cube, Xiemen and Quanzhou (to visit my mom’s cousins and aunts), Shanghai, the World Expo, Suzhou, Hanzhou and Wuxi. Phew, it’s exhausting to even type that out!

We did the tour thing in Beijing and Shanghai and I’m not quite sure that I would do it again. In theory, it’s a pretty good idea. Pay about $200 for a hotel for 3 nights, 3 square meals a day and explore a city and its main attractions. You get to meet a bunch of people (some cool, others not so much) and make quick friendships. However, you’re constantly on the move and always on someone else’s schedule. I like to take the time to explore a city on my own – do what I want to whenever I want to and that’s virtually impossible when you join a tour. Plus anyone who knows me knows that I take my sleep quite seriously… and I wasn’t quite happy with the amount that I got during the tours 😛

It was also really nice to spend some time with our relatives. It was too bad that they didn’t speak English or Cantonese and that I didn’t speak Mandarin or any of the other 4 dialects that they all spoke quite fluently… it made for a lot of non-verbal communication – some of which I’m not 100% sure they understood.

Ps: If I had to choose between Beijing or Shanghai, I would definitely choose Shanghai. While Beijing has all of the popular attractions, it was really dirty and old fashioned in its culture (not in a good way). I was expecting a more modern city after the Olympics but that wasn’t the case at all. Shanghai, on the other hand, is a very typical Asian metropolitan city. However, it has a certain charm and vibe that I didn’t find in Jakarta or HK – closest comparison I think would be Tokyo. Lots of glitz and shiny lights but also a lot of Chinese culture mixed with international flair. It has a really unique vibe and pulse that I quite enjoyed. I guess it also helps that my mom and I had a few days to really explore Shanghai on our terms and on our schedule… that probably had a huge factor in the city charming us both.

Also, I’ll upload photos as soon as the image uploader on blogger starts working again..

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My Alaskan Adventure…

A couple weeks after I got back from Bali, I was fortunate enough to go on a cruise with the fam (cruising as sort of become an annual thing with the Chan clan). Last year we went on an Caribbean cruise to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Maarten. This year, we opted for the exact opposite and went to Alaska!

Lemme tell you, Alaska is a beautiful place. The landscape and scenery is out of this world! One morning, we woke up fairly early (and braved the freezing temperatures) to sight-see as we were passing through Tracy’s Arm’s Fjord. I felt the most amazing sense of serenity here. The water was a rich green/blue color that was highlighted by blue icebergs. The mountaintops were glistening with snow while waterfalls plummeted miles down to the Fjord. Everywhere you looked you could see old growth forest. Every once in a while, you can make out the fin or a tale of a humpback whale. And despite being on a 2000+ passenger cruise ship, you couldn’t hear anything. It was like the whole world stopped on its axis for a few minutes. I know I sound like a sappy Hallmark card but I can’t help it – it was absolutely wonderful! Actually, the best word to describe it was majestic. Alaska is absolutely majestic!
Btw: even though Alaska is a beautiful place, I would never go there again on a cruise. We were bombarded with the exact same shady jewlery salesmen, shops selling junk and tourist traps in all 3 ports (Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway)! Thanks but no thanks.
Freezing our butts off
The next few photos are all ones that I snapped as we were going through Tracy Arm’s Fjord

in Ketchikan
Holding 6week old Huskies
What did I tell you, isn’t Alaska majestic?
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