A Travellerspoint blog

Italian Food!

Last night we got Italian food! I got deep fried calamari and angel hair. I made my mom eat calamari because she made me eat chinese yams the other night. My dad had had to ditch because he wasn't feeling good. I ate the most out of everyone by far! I also got some of the best chocolate ice cream i've ever tasted. i'm talkin about rich chocolate that was so creamy my mom even ate some! When we got home my dad was sick and vomiting. Po ended up sleeping over. Po through a big hissy fit about what movie we were going to watch. I wanted to watch the hangover or at least something better then high school musical. We decided on cloudy with a chance of meatballs. About halfway through the movie i almost fell asleep but managed to stay awake. Eventually the movie ended and I got my beauty sleep. Hip hip horray!

Posted by DA Bean 18:59 Comments (5)

photo viewing instructions

We wanted you all to know that we have uploaded lots of photos. Arella's appear on the sidebar of the homepage, but if you click on each of us as individual authors in the sidebar links, you can view lots more shots. Mostly on MamaYo page. once on an authors page there is an option to subscribe to the photos and get an email update when new photos are posted.

Posted by MamaYo 06:49 Comments (0)

Am I coming in clear--calling from the Great Wall!!!

So far yet so close--and man it is cold!!!!

As you can see from Arella's blog we headed to the Great Wall "Dad did you know they can see this from space" was said at least 4 times. Traveling in winter has its ups and downs just like walking on the great wall. The ups are there is hardly anyone around, the downs are it's freezing- and I mean freezing. Anyways the Wall-what can you really say about it! One of those places that give you the surreal feeling of "I can't believe I am really here!" So we start walking along the wall and I remember I have my cellphone now with a china simcard. So after 3 failed attempts with some poor woman answering "wei"(hello in china) I give up--only to think about it 5 minutes later and remember the dialing secret (just so you know if you hold the 0 down it makes a + then dial 1 and the number) so I stop the kids and called Val and Buff just to say "Hey I am standing on the Great Wall of China and thought I would call you" I figured that just doesn't happen that often and I am sure they are telling everyone the same today. Anyways long story short Po and the cold walking weren't going to last but there was a big stretch of stairs up to a perch about 2/3 of the way up the peak--I wanted to do it--Yo knew it and the big kids said they were in so Yo took the bullet and took Po back and let us go. Those 454 steps were a lot and we were sweating, but best of all at one point Arella turns to me and says, "This could be the coolest thing I have ever done with you Dad." Need I say more!
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And to not let my captive audience down a dinner picture!

The Duck

The Duck

Yum Yum!

Yum Yum!

And yes the nightly OK I will do it!!!! (Adrian actually beat me to this one but I did it for the camera!)

The eating of the Brain

The eating of the Brain

Posted by sherpaBen 07:38 Comments (9)

Show me that Great Wall


View Around the World in 87 Days on Arellaskye's travel map.

Great Wall of china. What can i say........It is beautiful. The frigid weather made it impossible for me to not shiver. The best way to warm up is walking 454 stairs. Yep thats right 454! Posa and my mom only lasted 2 towers away from the gondola. I lasted 7 of 'em. They were 300 meters apart btw. I was sweating so much even though it was only about 15 °F. The view from up there was great. The snow covered peaks and steep cliffs. It was sssssooooooo picturesque ;) . After walking to the top. You can go one of 2 ways...... Up 500 more stairs or down 500 of them. Down was our choice :D! Adrian was so scared because he took a spill last year on steep steps like these and couldn't push the memory from his thoughts. Once down we had to walk so far to get back to the gondola, and encounter about 100 more stairs. When we left we all were sssooo hungry. We got back to the city and when to this delicious noodle place. Adrian and I got a bowl of authentic chow mien ( called fried noodles here). The food was divine. Then we went to a humongous "fake" market. Floors and floors of knock off bags and other shtuff. My mom has been on the search for a bigger bag to take as a carry on. We come upon this station with le sport sac and kipling knock offs. The man shows us a couple duffel bags and I end up picking out a purse. We are now starting the paying process. He starts out with 1000 yuan! Almost 150 dollars! My dad say "no, 100 yuan." He then proceeded to tell us that on this tiny bag i picked out there is real leather. Big whoop, leather on a knock off bag. We end up leaving his station because he was making us pay to much. He then chases after us and tells my dad that my mom is crazy for not buying those bags and that my dad is mean! That man is the meany butt here! We end up at another station with the same bags. This time the woman cooperates and we get the same bags( basically I got a different purse cause the other had skulls on it) for 135 yuan. What a deal. After returning to the hotel for some rest we headed out for Peking duck. Let me tell you it is D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! The skin was crispy and melted in you mouth along with the über tasty meat. First and best duck ever!

Posted by Arellaskye 01:52 Archived in China Tagged family_travel Comments (4)

We've got napkins again!

Asia is many worlds

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An important aspect of eating out that we totally take for granted--until it's gone. In japan everyone is so neurotically neat about their food and how they eat it, that there really is no need to have napkins at the table. Plus a big cultural habit was the carrying of cute little hand towels in your pocket--so if you need to wipe your mouth you will have your personal napkin in your pocket already. Well this is great if your are so prepared--but what to do if you can't mange to swallow that compulsive brave bite of that unrecognizable and extremely chewy fried tidbit (this happened to me)? Where do I discretely eject it from my mouth???
I'm happy to say that we are in China where dinner comes with stack of napkins--AND i was quick to notice that other chinese families left food all over the table, dropped stuff on the floor, and didn't arrange the used plates artfully on the table. Whew--We're not the dirty, unmannered Americans in the restaurant anymore. It's a lot easier to blend in.
Yes--manners here in China are far removed from what we experienced in Japanese culture.
People are loud, happily smiling, grabbing us by the arm to show things (not really OK with me in the market), giving Posa hugs, and obviously (at least on the road) not that concerned about being considerate of others.

Posted by MamaYo 01:33 Archived in China Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

Travel Blog

I am so Happy when i get comments........they make my day!!
Thanks family for following along!

Posted by Arellaskye 05:37 Comments (5)

Driving in Beijing and the chinese hawk sneeze

Well we made it to China. Our arrival was so easy thanks to our friend Qain. Though he could not be here to pick us up he sent his friend Bo who actually spent a halloween at our house in Berkeley 10 years ago when we would have the big haunted house extravaganza. Bo and their friend Lee(more about him later) drove us in from the airport. As we drove we noticed the speed on the expressway was quite slow even without traffic. Bo said it was because they have really bad driving habits here and to drive fast would be too dangerous. Later we got the true meaning of this when Lee came to pick us up and take us to a restaurant for dinner. There are absolutely no rules about driving here--if there are nobody is following them. It is kill or be killed. Cars making lefts in front of on coming traffic without hesitation--the on coming cars just have to stop and then the left turners will keep coming as long as you let them. Driving into oncoming traffic in the far left to get around to make a right in front of several other cars thus blocking and impeding their way is also a favorite. All the while there are bikes and people just moving through the cracks all at risk because unlike the US CARS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY HERE!!!!! I had read it and heard it but you cannot appreciate it until you see it--absolute chaos. It took us almost an hour to get 3 miles to the restaurant because of pure gridlock from unrelenting drivers in every intersection not metered by a light. They will not give an inch. If I drove here I would be so pissed and stressed--you could not avoid road rage. At one point Lee got out and chastised another driver for blocking the path to an open bit of pavement in a right turn lane---it was out of hand and funny as hell.

Onto the one thing I read about and have found right--the hawking of phlegm. Apparently because of the pollution problem(cars dirty with city soot everywhere) people here have respiratory problems and thus hawk up phlegm at an alarming rate---everywhere!!!!! We were at the hotel bar talking to Bo and a guy was hawking so loud you it shook the whole place. This brings me to the taxi ride home in which the driver rolled down his window in 15 degree weather and just hawk/sneezed right out the window. To this Yona said "That's blog worthy"!!!

Being in foreign countries is great and all their fantastic rituals are the lifeblood of travel. And the hits just keep on coming!!!!

Posted by sherpaBen 04:56 Comments (7)

Beijing............. Bee sting.............. Hot spring!!

if you think of a rhyme post it as a comment....

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View Around the World in 87 Days on Arellaskye's travel map.

Hello..... Long time no blog : ) ..... Where to start? Today we arrived in Beijing. Much to be compared with The Big Apple ( NY )!
It is HUMONGOUS! So many building. So tall. The most interusting part is the driving. There are laws about driving, but nobody obeys them. WWYD if a car is comming down your lane going the wrong way? We did that. Also the traffic jams. At one point on our drive to dinner 3 miles away ( took us 1 hr ) we got completely stuck, boxed in on all four sides by silly people driving stupidly. Also on the drive we encountered 2 more jams of simmilar causes. Dinner was AMAZING! For once in my entire life on the rode I was brave enough to try everything we ordered! We started out with a bunch of food. Lamb, Veggi salad, cornbread and pork steam bun ( or should i say baked bun), and spare ribs that were so sweet it was like candy. Then for the main course we had this delicious pork. It was steamed and braised with dates. It had a sweet stick sauce coating it. I would trade it for candy any day! With full bellies we then had to track sown a cab. That took forever! Now we are back at the hotel getting ready for bed.

Love,
Boomer

Posted by Arellaskye 01:19 Archived in China Comments (12)

Sayonara Japan!

last thoughts of Japan...

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Next stop Beijing. We are in the airport waiting to board the next flight to China. I think that japan was a nice introduction to Asian culture for the family. The last few days in Kyoto were such a stark contrast to our time in Tokyo.
Three aspects stand out:
There is a height restriction on all buildings in the city so as you navigate around you can always see the mountains on either side of the valley. This also keeps the feeling of openness, even in a city of over a million people.
There are over 2000 shrines and temples in the area--you can imagine the influence of that--plus that there are so many different sects of buddhism and shinto existing together as they have for over 1500 yearslarge_P1000106.jpg

This city was spared bombing in WWII. It maintains a very old fashioned historical atmosphere that is unique in all of Japan for all people from here and for tourists from other countries. The main industry is tourism, Other than that there is the second most prestigious university here as well as the main medical research center. Thsi brings a very international flavor to the university area (where we stayed).
There was so much so see and experience in this country. I never got to go to an onsen (hotsprings)--or go see the mountains--I am looking forward to another visit.
I mentioned that the people are polite--after a week I did start to see the downside of being "proper". I missed the casual friendliness of smiling at strangers in passing. Never was I able to illicit a spontaneous grin from a passerby--only the much older women would try to engage with Posa. Of course she became even more shy as we went along. It wasn't bad to not get smiles, just something warm that I missed. I suppose it was more important to us bc we are isolated by language here. Any small connection with others feels so good.
The only other aspect of Japanese culture I would like to understand more is the gender issues of this country. I have only glimpsed the slightest outsider version of what it means to be a woman here in these modern times. I talked with all the ladies we met here and I heard the same thing. A woman can have a career or a marriage--and that the husband is "king" at home. Maybe bc we are here in such an environment I was particulary sensitive, but I think it was not unusual that everynight I dreamed I was an angry woman yelling in public about having to do something or clean up something. HAHA. ANd of course I found myself dealing with my son who was yelling at me that i wasn't listening and doing what he asked...right now! Bc I was lazy?!! KARMA!? And what of the marriage relationship where the woman has to guess what the man is wanting without him having to communicate the feelings directly? Feels like an ancient habitual cloak That I'm happy to leave here.
Wonder what lessons China will bring?

Posted by MamaYo 16:49 Archived in Japan Tagged family_travel Comments (5)

I forgot to mention....

....that since we decided to pack light we told Adrian that he is going to have to wear his clothes more than once--well he took it literally and only changed his clothes once (2 pairs of socks)--today when we told him we needed to wash the clothes he was in..lets just say his underwear-well I will leave that one up to you the reader.......goodnight and see you in China!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by sherpaBen 04:17 Comments (3)

Does it taste fishy at all??

This is the quote of Japan. When we ask Arella to try anything to eat she says " Does it taste fishy at all?" and anything she doesn't like "Tastes fishy". We also know she read that they make the broths using fish flakes and such thus making all noodles with soup "fishy".......

Posted by sherpaBen 03:42 Comments (3)

Paris, Florence, Kyoto

Well it is the end of a mellow day for us here in Kyoto. We decided to take an easy day, catch up on some homework for the kids, Yo busily playing with the css and coloring the blog and finally doing the wash- thus the name of my post. There we were Yona and I in the coin-op reflecting on the foreign country laundries we have visited. I am sure the list is going to grow. We took one trip into the city today to get our momento from Japan - our own chopsticks. Yesterday we did the city with a guide. Yuko was nice and gave us lots of information (a little long winded for the kids) but it was nice. Kyoto is very different than tokyo and we took a long tour through some shrines in the eastside hills and almost forgot we were in a city. We made the right choice this time to stay out until we ate dinner so that we didn't have that pre-dinner crash and the post-crash argument to get out to dinner. Tomorrow is a travel day, up early to catch the 6:46 train to Kansai Airport for our 10:25 flight to Beijing. I am sure that will be an adventure. When we were washing Yo asked if I liked Japan and if I would come back. The answer is yes and yes- besides having to bite the head off of a fish, eating a chicken liver skewer and not being able to read most menus - I would love to come back. And now for your viewing pleasure last nights mystery food pic:
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Posted by sherpaBen 01:27 Comments (2)

Adrian's Photos from Kyoto

bitten by shutterbug--long scroll down!

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Posted by MamaYo 19:13 Archived in Japan Tagged family_travel Comments (9)

A message from the Bean

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Since all of my fans out there are begging for me (haha) i've decided to blog. Kyoto has been pretty boring. All we do is go to shrines and temples (zzzzz). The food has been ok. I think we walked 6+ miles yesterday. When I woke up I felt like my feet had had their first layer of skin peeled off. I thought Tokyo was more fun because we took the subway and didn't have to walk as far. Also, Harajuku was awesome. We got mini hello kitty waffles with custard inside. I never thought biting off hello kittys head would be so tasty! Speaking of tasty, food for me has worked well (against expectations). I've tried a bunch of stuff (again, against expectations). Overall, Japan has been awesome goodbye for now! Above are some of my choice pics from yesterday--I took them of course!!!!

Posted by DA Bean 16:00 Archived in Japan Tagged family_travel Comments (3)

Tokyo Shmokyo Lets Go To Kyoto

Another adventure in the train system today but this time it was for keeps because we had actual tickets for the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto--now where do we go for this one. Then what tickets do we put in???? Finally we get to the ticket entry station and a guard helped us put the kids with the kids and adults with adults (we had to put both the fair ticket and the seat ticket in together- how was I supposed to know)!!! The train was fast--so fast it made me nauseous to look out the window, actually the same way I feel right now after once again taking one for the team to figure out what we had ordered at dinner--this time it was chicken liver on a skewer- where was Val when you need her. As for Kyoto it is quite different than Tokyo--we are staying at a B&B house (actually the owner lives elsewhere so we are in a two bedroom house all to our selves) on a little alley by the university. It feels mellow, it feels fun, it feels real--not just staying in some big hotel. I will submit the picture below to say "This is my kind of town!"
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Posted by sherpaBen 03:44 Comments (8)

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