Weekend trip to a Village

As I mentioned in one of my blog posts from last year (A Summer in China), traveling with Jim is always an adventure. He quickly made friends with a family of a boy he was giving skating lessons to and they then invited us to spend the weekend with the boy’s grandparents in a village about an hour outside of Hangzhou. He was quick to accept despite their warnings about the absence of air conditioning. He did call me quickly after he accepted to make sure it was ok :-). I was a bit hesitant not knowing what the accommodations … Continue reading Weekend trip to a Village

Back in China

One year later we are back in China and I am again going to attempt to post about our experiences. It became difficult last year due to spotty internet connections so hopefully I will have more luck this year. This time I have taken a year’s leave of absence from my job and we are staying in China for a full year. I flew into Shanghai one week ago – Jim has been in China for the past couple of months – and then we took a high-speed train to the beautiful Hangzhou.

Posting from China…

I have been writing about our experiences but not posting so much as the internet connections in the last couple of places we have stayed in Beijing have not been stable and putting pictures up has been impossible most of the time. I still plan to update this once I return home (this Saturday already!) so that we can remember what we saw.

Wandering the Streets … Chongqing

While Jim works I wander the streets of China. In general I am just walking with no clear destination to see what I can see. I use offline maps and often look for green spaces in the city and head towards them. I also like to walk through areas with little shops – mostly just to see what it looks like as I am not much of a shopper. Currently my average daily walking distance is about 10k. So far my favourite walking around memory is still from last year in Nara, Japan. Japan is the first place I had … Continue reading Wandering the Streets … Chongqing

Gongtan Ancient Town

When we arrived in Chongqing we were told that they wanted to take us into the mountains. I had assumed that the ‘Brilliant Resort and Spa’ excursion had been that trip. Wrong again. On Friday we packed everything up and once again headed for the mountains. When I imagine China I think of crowds and cities. The green spaces are beautifully lush and the forests are dense with such a variety of vegetation. Alongside the heavily populated cities are vast green spaces. Nestled within the forests you can see the terraced farm gardens growing corn, rice and other crops. At … Continue reading Gongtan Ancient Town

Going with the flow…

Joining Jim on a working trip is an interesting way to experience a bit of a country. I have the day to explore the area we have landed in while he works, and in the evenings sometimes we do our own thing, other times people have plans for us. I tend to like being prepared for things and knowing what to expect … I am learning to let that go. Frequently we don’t know what the plan is because we don’t speak the language. One day I wandered to the rink where Jim was working. The rinks he work in … Continue reading Going with the flow…

Hot Hot Hot Pot

Chongqing is famous for it’s hot pot. Jim calls it “hot-hot-hot pot”. They place a big pot on a burner in front of you and it has two bowls. The inner bowl is the place to cook the mild food. The outer bowl is filled with a wide variety of hot peppers. There were fridge cases with dishes of food to put into the hot pot including some type of brain (wish I knew whose brain it was :-/) along with other miscellaneous organs, chicken feet, many other foods I recognize and others that I could not… All Photos-2883 I … Continue reading Hot Hot Hot Pot

A turtle on a stick…

On one of my walks around Chongqing I passed by a man standing in the middle of the road holding one of the bang bang jun bamboo poles. At first glance I thought he was directing traffic but dangling on a rope from the end of his pole was a turtle… All Photos-2740 When I got back to the room I looked up “turtle on a stick” and it turns out it is a thing! The construction work will disturb turtle’s nest and people catch and sell them. One day I asked the fisherman whether the turtle was to be … Continue reading A turtle on a stick…

Chongqing: under construction

All Photos-2881 Photo credit: worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/chongqing-population/ Picture credit: http://worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/chongqing-population/ Chongqing is growing rapidly. Currently Chongqing ‘proper’ has a a population of 9 million and it is expected to grow to 10 million by 2025 (http://worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/chongqing-population/). This rapid growth means construction zones are everywhere. There was a subway construction operation going on outside our hotel. I wish I had taken a photo each day to document the progress, because the speed at which they are getting it done largely with manual labour was impressive. One of the most fascinating things to watch is the men who carry construction materials – even massive … Continue reading Chongqing: under construction


We arrived in Chongqing expecting it to be a smallish city as it was not a place we had heard of. We felt a bit foolish when we realized it is in fact a massive and rapidly growing city. Different sites give different numbers but it seems that over 30 million people live here. People in Chongqing tell us that it is the largest city in China – other sources say that it depends on how you define a city and that Chongqing with 30 million is actually more comparable to a province. Regardless it is massive – as we … Continue reading Chongqing