India was challenging. India was frustrating. India was exhausting. India could be heartbreaking. India was very, very dirty. And it was all worth it. Travel in India comes with a learning curve. The longer I was there, the more I learned how to be a traveler in India. And if you go, you’ll be ahead of the game after reading about [Read more…]
The language issue was a challenge during my trip to China. And I did have some culinary frustrations. But China exceeded my expectations in so many ways. Perhaps my expectations were needlessly low. It didn’t help that my phrasebook had some helpful expressions such as, “What time does the hot water come on?” and “There is a rat in my room.” I read so many warnings about China before my trip. I was sort of expecting the worst. But those [Read more…]
Southern and Eastern Beijing
Welcome to Day 7, the day I fell and hurt my back. I was afraid the rest of my trip could be in jeopardy. It was also the day I paid an emperor’s ransom for some goofy pictures of me. Despite some mishaps, it was on this day that I realized Shanghai might be a fabulously cosmopolitan city, but Beijing is where it’s at when it comes to must-see cultural heritage sites. The Forbidden City is just the beginning.
Temple of Heaven
Back again at Shanghai’s high-speed train station in the morning, I wanted to get something other than another croissant like I had there on Day 2. I found something labeled “Picnic Ham and Cheese” at a bakery. A ham & cheese sandwich is about as Chinese as a croissant. But it’s something I wouldn’t normally get, so I went with it. By the second bite, I knew something wasn’t right. It was slathered with mayonnaise. I don’t do mayonnaise. So I had to toss that.
At Shanghai’s high-speed train station in the morning, I had the obligatory first croissant of the trip. (Plain, not the standard chocolate.) But it’s not because I was dying for a croissant. It was basically the only thing I could order. All of the major train stations I went to had food concessions on the upper floor. There were many fast-food type options. But I didn’t see any English anywhere. I went to a bakery, and the croissant was the only thing that I could be sure I knew what it was. So, I had the first croissant of the trip.