A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Hansnally

Catching up Beijing Style

getting behind is easy catching up is hard!

overcast 29 °C

This weekend (18th-19th July) was all about making up for the previous (11th-12th) weekend’s Beijing Belly which kept me from enjoying the summer food and fun! Be aware that to date I have never experienced anything as bad as Beijing Belly, not Cambo belly, TJ belly or even Delhi Belly could compare!

I started the weekend with a mellow Friday night at home and ended it with happy-hour with a girl friend. The Beijing weekend sandwich featured, cycling on my new wheels, the Lama temple, Hou-hoi, lunching, brunching and massage!

Saturday started of with a yummy frappachino – sometimes you just have to cave-in and indulge. With my coffee inducted bargaining spirit I engaged in some tough negotiations for new wheels – after the obligatory back-and-forth, threatening to leave, and wanting a basket thrown in I cycled away feeling that I might have actually gotten a pretty good deal. Next we were on to the Lama Temple and lunch at the Vineyard. It is very hard to find an ounce of spirituality in Beijing and walking through the Lama Temple did not leave me with tranquil pious feeling that roaming through even a small make shift temple in Lao did but it was interesting to see the Chinese influence I saw in Nepal ,stemming form the design and art here. Ready for lunch we headed to the Vineyard tucked away in a nearby hutong. I’ve heard mixed reviews but I enjoyed my salad, tapas and a taste of my friend’s burger and topped it all off with a nice glass of processo.

We made our way to Hoi-hoi next and enjoyed wondering around the Chinese tourist area. Of course I sampled the spicy BBQ corn (which was extremely spicy and maybe not the best idea in 35 degree heat if you don’t want to sweet like a _________ multiple choice fill in whatever you prefer). I really ejnoy wondering around the small streets, popping into the small shops full of anything and everything finally stopping to enjoy the terrace over the water and sipping a Tsingtao was the only way to stay cool.

As we cycled back I was more than content with my new bracelet, which I subsequently dropped in my bathroom and shattered that evening, wooden fan (still intact), and post-cards. It was then I decided that it was time to get dressed up and head out. I clean up fairly well and more importantly quite quickly – fresh and in my LBD I headed for drinks with a friend, it was great to catch up after more than 2 months and enjoy the hot summer night. We kept it low key but it was great to get out in this fun city.

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Make sure not to burn your film - that could a.get stinky and b.not capture the shots that your not allowed to take

Sunday oh lazy Sunday – where better to be lazy than Beijing? Late brunch at a not so spectacular restaurant, coffee at the local haunt, ice cream, onto a massage, happy hour and finally back home. It sounds productive like I accomplished something when I list them like that and want to know a secret? I did because I was relaxed and ready for work this morning – no case of the Mondays what so ever!

Fast forward through another gruelling work week to the weekend of the 25th & 26th. We started the weekend off right with a picnic at my girl friends apartment enjoying the best of what left-overs our respective fridges had to offer. Saturday I played apprentice to a friend who is a chef, assisting in a catering job. Although mostly plating with the occasional chopping assignment – I really enjoyed myself. She thanked me with some nice drinks on the terrace. Sunday the girls enjoyed an Ethiopian lunch with coffee – I don’t know if it was the way the brewed the coffee or the beans themselves but Starbucks had nothing on it! We cycle around for a while and called it a day. It was a great weekend but I don’t even think I blinked and it was over!

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This week was another long one so I decided to treat myself compliments of my friends b-day and take Friday off. This didn’t prove to be the relaxing day I had planned for since my bank card got blocked and all the nice relaxing plans I had went out the window – major bummer. I spent the afternoon getting that straightened out, but for as international as the Netherlands is their banking system is not so international friendly.

Thankfully my friends came around for dinner last night giving me the chance to unwind and prepare some nice food to eat – lounging on the couch eating Mexican, enjoying a glass of rose; not a bad way to end a not so nice day off.

Today is for catching up on the blog, reading, relaxing…the usual. Tonight going to check out a new (to us) roof top bar and then cycle to the Wangfujing night market – I’m looking forward to the market…I’ve been to a few in various countries and so far Thailand has the most…interesting for lack of a better word – we will see what China has to offer.

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Floods near the office (take from the car)

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Beijing weekend

Posted by Hansnally 13:43 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad

Hot in the City

summer time in Beijing

overcast 30 °C
View Continental Commuting on Hansnally's travel map.

If I thought that people cycled slow in the winter summer is a whole new revelation. Who would have known you could get stuck in a traffic jam on your bike! I guess for all of my Dutch friends you’ve realized this much earlier on in your life but for this So Cal girl it was a bit of an eye opening experience. I would not go so far as to call it a pace that people cycle but more of a slow movement of the pedals – gently, oh so slowly propelling the bike forward.

So far my favorite aspect of summer would be the BBQ corn – I just can’t get enough, I just can’t get enough. The dancing in the evening on all the corners throughout Beijing is warm and inviting, I’ve not given it a go yet but then again I’ve only been back for a week. And my of course it would not be summer without the men with their flopped up shirt, shorts pulled high, and belly sticking out. Anyone who has traveled in Asia in the warm seasons has bare whiteness to this – however it sticks out slightly less in let’s say rural Cambodia than it does in bustling Beijing. Finally, it is quite interesting to stand under an awning waiting for the person in front of you to open their umbrella before they step a single foot into the sun. I nearly ran this unsuspecting woman over and poked my eye out at the same time after grocery shopping.

For those of you who know me – you know my strong aversion to umbrellas and inability to negotiate one properly. However, for the record I did finally (yes after almost 4 years of living in wet countries) break down and by one in Montreal – I’m not giving up looking good for wearing my Northface rain jacked any longer Floris and David would be very proud. I’m all grown up I carry my navy, duel pain umbrella with pride…but just not in Beijing in the summer.

Over the weekend we went on a little adventure to check out swimming in Beijing – we went for full luxury at the Westin and thoroughly enjoyed looking out at the third ring road while lying at the pool, we even enjoyed the saunas…even though the outside temperature and conditions this weekend were close already. It is hard to find a kid free pool and even harder to find a nice outdoor pool – the later being due to the worship of pale skin but the girls are on a mission to find both. I will keep you posted on the Great Pool Quest of 2009.

Other than the swimming pool adventure I took my colleague that was in town from NL out on Friday and helped him celebrate his b-day. We went to this new place (yes the one I had already been to once last week) is has this super nice terrace outside and great live music inside – he thoroughly enjoyed his Beijing B-day (his words not mine!)

Yesterday was a super lazy yet actually productive Sunday…yes I know a paradox of sorts but manageable and 2 points to me for being able to multitask! Last night, I watched this amazing move Bubble (check it out on IMDB) but please don’t tell me how it ends – the DVD stopped working 15 minutes before it was over, major bummer.

All-in-all it was a the relaxing weekend that I needed, and to be honest I’m looking forward to a few more of these after the last “holiday” I am referring to it in quotes because it left me feeling far from refreshed and relaxed. YES I know it was self inflicted but you gotta do what you gotta do! Don’t worry we are already planning the next holiday but I think it will be quite the surprise.

Posted by Hansnally 17:20 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad

Back in Beijing

who turned on the oven?

sunny 37 °C
View Continental Commuting on Hansnally's travel map.

I arrived back in Beijing Friday afternoon and since my flight was delayed I didn’t have to go straight to work! Yippee! Instead I got settled into my new digs.

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Thankfully I have A/C because it was around 40 this weekend and quite a difference from almost frosty NL (it was only 4 the first night I was back there).

It was a nice weekend easing back into Beijing. My boss, his wife and my colleague took my colleague and I on a ride to the wall on the back of their Harley’s which was really cool! We had some excellent food at a great spot facing the wall.

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Sunday was mellow my colleague that is in town from NL and I were going to check out this art museum but unfortunately it was closed so we just relaxed and enjoyed the afternoon and fully enjoyed a yummy Vietnamese noodle bowl Pho Bo!

Now just back into the swing of things at work…full swing about 200 k/hr

Posted by Hansnally 20:24 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad

Oh Canada!

Clean and green

semi-overcast 12 °C

Montreal reminds me of Sweden, beautiful, green, fresh air...birds singing and basically the opposite of Beijing. Apparently they do have amazing summers here but late May early June is a bit too early. Nonetheless still managed to have a great time exploring the city, discovering Atwater market, and of course shopping.

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First stop - China town (I was getting a bit itchy being so far away from Beijing)
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Saturday we enjoyed the park even though the wether didn't exactly cooperate
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Enjoying the afternoon sun at the roof top bar
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Relaxing at the roof top bar
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Olympic stadium - Montreal
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Tulips in the sun botanical garden
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The Rattan park of Montreal

Definitely enjoyed seeing my partner in crime again and discovering his new city. Looking forward to our next mini-adventure in San Diego/LA!

Posted by Hansnally 16:26 Archived in Canada Tagged family_travel

Viva Bremen!

only took 2 years to get me back

sunny 12 °C
View Continental Commuting on Hansnally's travel map.

Some pics from my weekend in Bremen it was great to see most of my friends that still live there and see my dear friend from the UK that was a special treat! I had wonderful hosts and a great time with the sun shining the until I travelled back I was very fortunate.

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And now off to Montreal in an hour!

Posted by Hansnally 09:44 Archived in Netherlands

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