Turbulence, vomit and great views

Wednesday was way hectic and included the worst flight I have ever taking in my life. I stopped in at work for a while before our 2 PM flight which was no good because I needed to pack and did not leave the office until 45 minutes after I should have. Luckily we were able to get on the plane because it was delayed for a while. We were further delayed on the runaway and it was at this point the vomiting started. The woman next to me was pretty nervous and managed to throw up once in a very quiet polite fashion into the sick bag while we were waiting. She followed this up with another nice quiet session as we had hit our cruising altitude. It was at this point that I turned up the music loud and tried to pretend we were already there.

As the flight attendants were handing out drinks we hit the worst turbulence that both I and my father have ever experienced. I thought I was going to die. I had my phone out and was planning on who I could call and approximately how long I would have on the phone with each person. The plane was not only dropping and bouncing up 50 feet at a shot but bouncing sideways about the same distance which is rare. All through this I expected there to be a fountain spewing forth from next to me but luckily enough the woman was too worried about dying to get sick. The most surreal thing about the whole experience was the fact that the attendants continued handing out drinks and standing there smiling when the turbulence got too bad to do that.

After that finally stopped I started to relax and at that exact moment the fountain began. The woman next to me managed to fill up three bags which I had to pass to the stewardess and pass back empty bags to this woman. When she started dry heaving is when I started thinking well this is good because at least she won’t be filling up any more bags. She threw up / dry heaved the rest of the flight and it was not the polite quiet sick of before. This was a full fledged sound that the pilots could here. When the attendants asked me to take off my ipod for landing I almost got sick myself. Motorhead played at loud volumes was one of the few things between me and being sick. Somehow I managed to keep it all down though and even kind of help the woman.

After such a spectacular flight there was a nice reprieve as we were staying at the nicest hotel in Shanghai. The grand Hyatt is beautiful and in the largest building in China. We were staying in the 83rd of 88 floors. We were also on some special level where we got to take advantage of the lounge on the 83rd floor which had the craziest view I have ever seen. You were staring down on towering skyscrapers which would dwarf any building in Seattle or Beijing (Forget about Michigan). The hotel also had no rooms in the middle of the building just a giant atrium that went down 50 some floors. It was when I pointed out this awesome sight that I realized my dad has a horrible fear of heights. He fell against the wall and almost could not make it to the room. The rooms view was just as awesome, we were looking out on the Huangpu just south of the Bund.

After showering and some food in the lounge we headed to Jean George which is one of the premier restaurants in Shanghai. The décor was really cool but the food just did not match up. You expect it to be pretty spectacular with the way people talk about it but it was not that good. Having said that we did end up staying there for 3-4 hours talking and looking out over the river at the view we had just left on the other side. A crazy eventful day with a noticeable lack of pictures. I am getting a camera in Hong Kong though so it will be back to normal soon.

Ming tombs and the Summer Palace, yet again

Tuesday was a busy day. My dad went to the Ming tombs outside the city which apparently are much smaller than the Qing tombs to the East. He said it was primarily one big structure which is pretty different than the Qing Tombs. He liked it but was through it pretty quickly. To kill some of the extra time he had the driver and the tour guide he went back to the Summer Palace and wandered around there. He also ended up buying a nice vase which should get back to him on one piece.

I had a lot of work to finish up before heading out on our trip so I made him sit around at my office for a while. I managed to get everything done I needed to though. Finally we were able to get some food and headed towards the hot pot place near my house. We got a nice table with a A/C fan blowing right on it which was great for personal comfort but posed a slight difficulty for the burner that was cooking our food. After a while we managed to work out a way of keeping it going though. I am going to miss hot pot in a big way.

17 Things in one day

Monday was pretty efficient actually. My dad saw 17 different things by adhering to an extremely strict schedule. I am amazed he managed to get everything in. I finished a decent set of things I needed to get done at work.

We grabbed some food at the Sichuan place up the street and he loved it. It was almost as good as the duck but I liked it much more so it balances out I suppose. After dinner we walked around the area and had cigars. I am amazed yet again at how many things there are tucked away around every corner. We found a whole new street full of restaurants and shops that I had no idea existed until tonight. I really enjoy walking after food now. I think it is really good for you so I encourage everyone to start taking two hour lunches to have enough time to wander around afterwards.

Forbidden City and surrounding areas

Sunday was fun. I got to go to the Forbidden City again which is always a good time. I think before I go home I will probably spend one full day there just walking around the areas I still have not seen and some of the museums they just opened up. This time we got to go up on the Tiananmen gate which provided a phenomenal view of Tiananmen Square and Beijing in general. They security was very tight though. You had to check all bags and there were many cameras watching you. My guess is that they are very worried about people defacing the large picture of Mao which is pretty accessible from the gate or just scattering leaflets across Tiananmen Square.

We headed to a garden I had never been to on one side of the Forbidden City which was a nice change. It was beautifully setup and there was also a memorial to Dr. Sun Wat-Sen who was one of the leaders of the revolution back in the early 20th century. The garden was pretty low key with a lot of people just sitting around and enjoying all the greenery. We did this for a while then decided to head up to Hou Hai for some cold beer.

After spending 20 minutes finding a cab which was bizarre we got to sit in the found cab for 45 minutes to get approximately one mile. You have to love Beijing traffic. Hou Hai was pretty cool. I have never been there during the day and it was worth going to. The lake was beautiful with many boats and people enjoying the nice weather. We sat on the patio and had some beer while watching people paddleboat around.

Then we headed to WangFuJing to grab some Olympic clothes and walked down to Li Qun from there. For someone who works out every day my father complains about walking a whole hell of a lot. In all fairness to him though Aunt Barb complained about the exact same walk going the opposite direction and she teaches yoga. Maybe it is something about lots of exercise making you less likely to walk because you are getting your exercise from other sources.

We had dinner at Li Qun duck restaurant where I managed to piss off the hostess enough that she did not want to bring us what we asked for in terms of food. After a little cajoling though we got what we wanted and my dad loved it. He ate his plate and most of mine. I think he had been pretty starving at that point because he had not been a big fan of any of the restaurants we had eaten at before. The one overly “authentic” experience was a fish jumping out of the plastic bag the waitress was carrying it in unto his lap. I thought it was pretty funny but he was not as amused as I was.

After that we decided to head home.

Too authentic food

Saturday was a good day. We slept late and wandered around Wudaokou where we got some Korean food. This was still not authentic enough even though they used octopus and squid which according to my father are inedible and filler. Personal I am a big octopus fan, at least in Korean food but to each their own.

We went to the Beijing University and sat by the lake with no name and had cigars. It was a nice way to spend an afternoon. Also there was a sidewalk which seemed to be one of the busiest thoroughfares in the university. We kept watching cars trying to pass each other and say lots of people wreck their car bodies.

We then met up with Miao and went to a Western Chinese restaurant for lunch where the food was way too authentic. The beer was warm and the chicken had bones in it. Also there were different varieties of horse on the menu. Regardless it was not a big hit with my dad even though I thought the food was good.

After lunch we headed towards the performance hall and saw a traditional music performance with a woman playing zither and a man playing many types of flutes. It was really good. They mixed up the solo and duet performances to keep you interested.

Afterwards we went to restaurant after restaurant looking for ice cold beer because warm beer just does not cut it. finally we found one and after a couple drinks and some ice cream we headed home and went to bed.

Non-authentic food

I got my dad a driver for Friday so he saw the Summer Palace and Tiananmen while I worked. I met up with him afterwards and we had a nice dinner at the Italian restaurant and some dessert at Green T House. You might be noticing a pattern in my restauranting. It is true I am lazy and usually take people to the same place but if it ain’t broke why fix it.

Of course he thought that the places we went to were nowhere near authentic enough and way too Western. We fixed that in the coming days.

To the airport

Thursday, I picked up my father from the airport and we had some KFC and went home. Not a terribly exciting evening but he was kind of tired from the long trip and I was not a bouncing ball of energy myself.

Back from Cambodia

Side note: I just learned how to use titles so we will see how that works.

Wednesday was a fun trip back from Cambodia. Another ridiculously long plane flight, if you can avoid China Southern you probably should when flying in China. I think they rank far behind everyone else in their ability to get a plane off the ground at an airport.

I unpacked, got some good pizza and a full body massage then passed out. I had tried to fool myself into thinking that I was going to get some work done but that was a myth.


Until Tuesday I just spent time at work and getting ready for Cambodia. Nothing terribly exciting, taking passport photos and watching travel DVDs.

Friday we bought a new camera because my old one met an early death by cab. So if the pictures look extra blurry it is because I am learning how to use it. After that we headed down to Tianton Park and wandered around there for a while. We saw lots of people walking backwards which apparently is a way to get better exercise. I took a lot of pictures of these people but you have to go on faith because in the pics it looks like they are walking forwards.

The first FFV of the day.

Tianton itself.

I took tons of pictures because I wanted to try out my new camera. One was of a hole in the wall where I had to pretty much lie down to see anything. This made an old woman and her daughter almost die laughing watching me. In the park there was also a cool section where people were singing and dancing and playing cards.

Walking backwards.

An OG playing badminton, note the pant leg rolled up.

Possible the best FFV I saw in China. Note the coordination between the color of the FFV and the clothes she is wearing.

A market selling buddhism stuff.

We wandered around the pearl market as well but did not buy much. My taste for that market has fallen the more time I spend in the other ones. It is just too touristy. We wandered around outside for a while picking up a great Chinese pizza but then headed to WangFuJing for drinks. In the middle of the mall they were handing out free drinks of Cointreau which were pretty good I guess, I did not try one because orange liqueur just does not sound good to me.

We then went to RBL and were the only people in the restaurant. We had decent Japanese food and some really good wine. The dinner was a lot of fun and a good way to send my mom and aunt back to the states.

On Thursday they went to the great wall and the summer palace while I stayed at work. No fun. After they got back though we went to Liqun the duck place where we had some good duck. We then walked too far (According to Ms. I run a yoga studio so I am in shape UNLESS you want to walk) to WangFuJing to see the night market. It is always fun to see all the scorpions and what not. We also grabbed some Haegandaez and then got surprise surprise a foot massage and went home.

I gave up my camera for a couple of days so these photos are taking by my mother or aunt who went to the forbidden city and Tiananmen on Wednesday.