The Fashionista

Madelyn all dressed up for church in her ladybug skirt and newsboy hat!

In her new pink Ugg boots.

The night before we left, she ran in to our room while we were packing in this get-up. Notice the black feather/flower on the hat - I love it!

We miss you and can't wait to see you Madelyn!


Woody Hayes

Woody's favorite: reindeer ears with a jingle bell!

Woody in his Party Collar all dressed up with no place to go...


Chinese Food

Being the foodie that I am, I was really looking forward to eating in China. I was not disappointed. I did my best to be daring, with plenty of prodding from Lynne and Sarah. I tried some interesting things, like jellyfish (if you've ever eaten cartilage, you're close), and skipped some interesting things, like chicken feet. But we did our best to photograph lots of things. Additional food pictures from Beijing will be forthcoming, including our lunch in a home in the hutong, as soon as I figure out why Sarah put our Beijing photos in a separate folder, and then hid said folder in a secret location.

Hairy Crab is a Shanghai delicacy, but we never got around to it. As Scott and Lynne's driver, Mr. Wu, aptly exclaimed as he was driving us to the airport, "Agh! Come to Shanghai, not have crab!"

We took Mr. Wu to the market with us one day to explain some of the exotic things. Those he couldn't adequately describe in English, he had us buy. This, the appropriately named "bitter gourd" or "bitter melon" we had warm with fried egg. Fun fact: it helps to lower blood sugar, like insulin, and is consumed to help manage diabetes. Mr. Wu's father eats it daily.

Another of Mr. Wu's finds. We were intrigued at the market by a gray speckled duck egg. He prepared it for us by peeling it like a hard-boiled egg (though it has more of a gelatinous consistency, and is black), slicing it with dental floss, and dousing it in soy sauce. It more or less tasted like an egg doused in soy sauce, and is chased with a Coke. Apparently, the eggs achieve this state after being buried in mud for several months. Mr. Wu read my mind when he typed a Chinese word into his electronic translator, showed me the English word "invent," then shrugged and said "Who? I don't know."

Chicken feet!

Lots of roasted nuts available. We bought a bag of warm chestnuts from a vendor on our way to Yu Gardens.

One thing I learned: the Chinese eat a lot of rice.
On our last day, Scott took us to one of his favorite restaurants, Nepali Kitchen. Not surprisingly considering Nepal's geography, I found Nepali food to be a blend of Indian and Chinese. We tried Chicken Chili (chicken stir-fried with onions, green peppers, and lots of red pepper), beef curry, a delicious sauteed spinach dish, and cheese balls (think mozzarella sticks, but, well... balls). The food was excellent, as was the service. As their business card says: "Smiling Faces Awaits You."

Octopus and something, on a street vendor's cart.

I've mentioned the tang-hu-lars... this one was strawberries. Very good. The yellow sign behind Madelyn is Yang's Fry Dumplings. We ate dumplings on several occasions and these were our favorite. They're placed in a large, shallow vessel with hot oil, then covered, so really only the bottoms fry, and the rest of the dumpling steams. Dumplings also come steamed or boiled, and many places, including Yang's, have windows through which you can watch the dumplings being made.

This little guy sure was fast, but I was determined to do as the locals do, and caught him eventually. When in Rome...


Back from China

Brad here, blogging for the first time in my life. Sarah, Lynne, and I made a decision that gave me executive control of our blog, so here goes...

We had an amazing trip, and I can't thank Scott and Lynne enough. What an experience! I mean, I stood on The Great Wall of China! How cool is that?

For this post, I just want to share some of my favorite pictures from the trip. We only took 869 photos during our week in China, so hopefully I can come up with some good ones.

The sunrise as we leave the Arctic Circle on our flight to China...
Just me enjoying some Milk & Egg Stars.
Who among us hasn't wished we could go to the grocery store and not only buy chickens with the heads still on, but dig through the raw meat and poultry barehanded to find the exact piece we want?
Eatin' tangulars with Madelyn and Mr. Wu. Think candied apples, but they come in lots of different fruits, from oranges to strawberries. Madelyn only eats the candied part. These were tiny, tart hawthorn apples.

Jing'an Temple, in Shanghai. The Buddhist temples are so beautiful and serene.

People doing Tai Chi in Jing'an Park, next to the temple. We walked through about 9 am, and the park was full of people exercising, playing games, singing, and playing the Chinese saxophone (kind of a cross between a flute and a recorder).

Puxi, Shanghai's "downtown," as we cross the Huangpu River on a ferry.

A view of the "Bottle Opener," aka World Financial Center in Shanghai, the tallest building in Asia and second tallest in the world. This was taken from Yu Yuan.

Yu Yuan, or Yu Gardens. This Chinese garden has its origins in the Ming Dynasty, ca. 500 years ago. They've built a bustling, open-air, touristy shopping complex around it, then you enter the quiet, peaceful serenity of the garden, and you forget you're in the middle of a city of 20 million.

I'll sleep on the couch for a week for posting this, but Madelyn desperately wanted aunt Sarah to dress up with her in traditional Chinese garb. Sarah, of course, complied, being the wonderful, loving aunt she is. Madelyn had a blast.