Category Archives: Wanderlust

Chasing Pavements

This post is about “Narrow”, Sylvan’s Landry’s Week 23 Photo Challenge.  

Narrow Street View from Beijing
Narrow Street View from Beijing

I had the opportunity of visiting Beijing in October and discovered the charm of this new old city in this old part of the town.

Narrow Street View from Beijing
Narrow Street View from Beijing

This classic part of the city still captures the charm of its old traditional architecture facade and looks in its building.  It is likely endured years of harsh weather elements, but still stand proudly in the midst of this fast growing city.

These streets are narrow and likely designed originally for horse carriages to pass through these stoned paved roads.  Is it functional for today’s transportation standards?  I am not 100% sure but am simply glad that this city decides to keep its history, its traditional feels and looks, and most importantly, its integrity.

Wanderlust about Washington DC

Are you a history buff? Do you love exploring different neighborhoods with their own distinctive architecture flavor? Or are you a foodie who loves to sample different cuisines in the city? Welcome to Washington DC, our U.S. capital that offers rich culture, history, and fun.

US Capital building, Washington DC, USA

Washington DC, is a compact city on the Potomac River, bordering the states of Maryland and Virginia. Having traveled to DC for both leisure and work in the past, I love what this city has to offer when it comes to a diverse life. In Washington DC, fun bars and restaurants are spread out in different neighborhoods from local favorites JRs and Cobalt located in the historical gay neighborhood, DuPont Circle, to its newly developed blocks, Logan Circle, for a variety of nightlife, like the neighborhood bar Green Lantern to hip spot, Number Nine as couple of my favorite spots to visit when I am in town.

I typically stay at DuPont Circle Hotel for its location convenience or Westin Washington DC Center for an easy walk to Logan Circle. Either way, with its riders-friendly public transportation system placed in DC, it is easy to navigate from one neighborhood to many historical monuments and buildings – including the iconic ones that house the federal government’s 3 branches: the Capitol, White House and Supreme Court – but also its museums and performing-arts venues such as the Kennedy Center.

To truly enjoy your Washington DC visit, try to schedule your trip here during spring or fall season for a mild climate experience.

 

Wanderlust About Palm Springs

Do you ever have the urge to get away from the gloomy weather, away from the fast paced cityscape or take a break from a stressful working environment? The city of Palm Springs immediately pops up in my mind as my favorite go-to destination for a relaxing chilled and fun packed vacation.

Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs, California

Located about 100 miles east of Los Angeles and with over 300 days of sunshine, Palm Spring has become a popular tourist destination over the years with great outdoor activities like hiking around Joshua Tree National Park, celebrating its annual cultural events ranged from film festival to gay pride weekend, resting at beautiful and serene resorts for daily relaxation, and enjoying a thriving nightlife that well keep you entertained through out your trip.

There are many resorts and hotels to choose from, like my favorite, The Parker Palm Springs for a luxurious stay, to INNdulge resort for a relaxing visit. If you are a foodie like me, I highly recommend Las Cusuelas Terraz, for a delicious Mexican meal and an authentic local experience.

Hunter's Bar, Palm Springs, California
Hunter’s Bar, Palm Springs, California

Besides lounging around the pool and sipping cocktails during the day, Palm Springs has so much nightlife to offer and will keep you fully entertained. My personal favorite is Friday happy hour at Wang’s In the Desert, a Palm Springs institution where you mingle with locals and officially kick off the weekend at this local favorite joint. If you prefer high-energy spot, Hunter’s is the place to be for fun and people watch. Another must-see place on my list is Copa bar, where you can sip cocktails and enjoy live entertainment from well-known celebrities line-up.

If you enjoy exploring natural outdoor environment, lounging by the pool for relaxation, or drinking the night away with friends, I highly recommend Palm Springs as your next vacation spot for adventures, recreation and fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bear, Bear and Bear, Oh My

In response to weekly photo challenge, Trio.

What comes in threes? Submit an image for this week’s photo theme.

Bear.IMG_2692

This trio of bears was set up in front of Marc by Marc Jacobs shop located at Provincetown, Massachusetts.  This coastal sea town is popular among tourists during summer time. With its charming local artist scene, beautiful beach along the coast, and fantastic architectures, Provincetown is definitely the go-to place for a summer get away.

With its The blue, red and white bears set up in front the store, this “trio” of bears further reflects Provincetown’s spirit; it is about Americana, artsy, whimsical, charming and fun.

This Magnificent Site

Tiananmen Square, Beijing
Tiananmen Square, Beijing

This post is inspired from Sylvain Landry’s weekly photo challenge, Monuments.

“Often photography monuments are favorite subjects … They do not move, are massive, as they say imposes and seems to be the guarantee of a good photo … So we photographers, obviously we throw over . This week so I suggest you do the monuments the theme of this SL-WEEK 19 … Anything is possible as long as the scene is recognized as a historic site, this will be the only constraint. So I propose the Chantilly castle near Paris in France” … Sylvan Landry

Tiananmen Square, Beijing
Tiananmen Square, Beijing

I recently visited Beijing, China and was in awe with its rich history, colorful culture, and magnificent architectures.

I finally had the opportunity checking out Tiananmen Square, one of the most famous monument in China, for a brief visit. Since it was Chinese Independence weekend, I couldn’t get out the car and be closer to the site for a detailed visit.  Plus the weather was overcast with pollution, it was difficult to admire Tiananmen Square without a clear sight.

However, I could still feel the energy permeated in the air with crowds of people paying homage to this monument during its holiday time.  Despite not being close to the building, I was glad that I was there to soak up this grande image from afar with respect.

Ode To New York City: My Second Home

Grand Central Station

A Story In A Single Image:  Writing 101 Day 4 Assignment

The energy permeated from Grand Central Station is intoxicating in many levels.  Walking through this iconic site, you can’t help it but feel in awe with this grand historical architect.

For tourists, it is about discovering a sense of history and architecture when they visit Grand Central Station for the first time.  For the locals, it is about getting through the day in this busy New York City transportation hub year round.

To me, this image about Grand Central Station evokes my ode to New York City.  To me, this picture represents a rich history about the city, the intricate architectural construction of this building, the importance of infrastructure created for the city, and mundane routine for many New Yorkers as a way of living.

If you ever visit New York City, take the time, check out Grand Central Station and soak up the energy from this vibrant building.

Travel Tips | Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

This is a great tip if you are a frequent traveller (especially if you travel overseas). Thank you Maggie, aka,Travel Magnolia.

travel magnolia

IMG_5659_0286 What’s Wrong with This Picture?

In a perfect world, all electronics would use a universal adaptor/cord (the EU is moving in this direction with the mandatory cellphone charger standard). In reality, as I survey the pile of cords for the things I can’t leave home without, I am overwhelmed.  Of course, this trip is a bit unusual in that I will be spending much of it in places where I might not easily find replacements, so there are some redundancies. Nonetheless, if I were in charge (pun intended), there would be one all purpose cord, the US would go metric and there would be peace on earth. Just saying.

A quick (virtual) trip to Flight001 solved my organizational dilemmas.  Luckily, I always pack at least 48 hours ahead, so I have time for those last minute purchases.  A shout out to my friend and fellow photographer Sue is warranted, as I waited…

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Alone

Provincetown Pier
Provincetown Pier

This post is responding to Sylvan Landry’s Weekly Photo Challenge, Alone.

This image was taken this summer at Provincetown, Massachusetts.

This beautiful coastal resort town is surrounded by lush beaches and robust harbors.  At this particular landmark, you can walk along rocks in a formation of a long pier and admire this beautiful coast line.

Surrounded by this magnificent landscape, you can’t help but feel small and “alone” because the magnitude view of the massive ocean against the blue sky.

Beijing Realness: Part 3, Nine Interesting Facts About Beijing

Traditional Chinese Town in Beijing
Traditional Chinese Town in Beijing

In my opinion,  it is important to understand basic local culture and its rules as ways to travel safely in a new place when you are in a foreign city.  From this trip, here are some interesting local facts about Beijing:

  1. Ring roads:  Beijing is one of the few cities having “ring roads” (beltway) as its main infrastructure.  There are a total of six ring roads (Sixth Ring Road is the newest and remotest from central Beijing).  For example, the Olympic stadium, Bird’s Nest, is located close to Fifth Ring Road.
  2. Pollution:  Being one of the industrial cities and the main transportation hob, air pollution is real.  It is the main reason why people wear “medical mask” around streets due to the thickness of haze, not because they want to imitate the late Michael Jackson for his fashion trend.
  3. Traffic:  Car has the right of way, not pedestrians.  I learned this immediately because cars would not stop for you to cross the street.
  4. Iced water:  Getting bottled waters is easier than having a glass of iced water in restaurants.  It is not within Chinese culture to serve iced water to its customers. Instead, they opted “warm water” as the norm to hydrate the body.
  5. Burping:  I find it disgusting but it is culturally acceptable to burp in public.  I have people burping around me in the street, loud and proud.
  6. Smoking in the bathroom:  Smoking is not allowed inside the building.  However, many people take the short cut and headed to the bathroom for a quick fix.  So don’t be alarmed and catch people smoking in the stall when you try to use the bathroom.
  7. WeChat:  It is the most used app in China for its multiple functionalities.  Besides using this app to communicate with each other, you can also transfer money from one user to another user for its convenience.   So it is not a bad idea to download this app prior to your trip.
  8. Cash/ATM:  I had a hard time finding the right ATM machine to get instant cash. Check with your hotel concierge and your personal bank for the right ATM recommendations.
  9. Uber:  There are Uber service in Beijing and it is under China’s Didi Kuaidi partnership for this new venture.  By the way, taxi cabs don’t take credit cards so it is important to have enough cash on hand if you need taxi services.
Tiananmen Square, Beijing
Tiananmen Square, Beijing

Hopefully you find this information interesting and useful!  At the end of the day, it is all about using common sense for a safe trip!

Beijing Realness: Part 2, The Food

Traditional Chinese Breakfast
Traditional Chinese Breakfast

Food plays an integral part of any culture and sometimes it is how people identify the country by its famous dishes.  Obviously China has many delicious and well known cuisines from each of its regions, so it was a treat for me to taste many authentic food when I was visiting Beijing.

For breakfast, we started out with “congee” (rice porridge), simple salted vegetables and the “infamous” 1000 years old egg (preserved egg with salted flavor, not real 1000 years old egg) to jump start the day.  If you prefer sweet, there was warm soy milk with Chinese donuts to satisfy this craving.

Traditional Chinese Dinner
Traditional Chinese Dinner
Shui Mei, Dim Sum
Shui Mei, Dim Sum

Dumplings were everywhere in Beijing and we had the opportunity eating this treat with other delicacies like shui mei.  The size of shui mei was bigger compared to what we have in the states.  The pork with chives, mushroom was substainable and juicier.  It was definitely a yummy dish.

Squids with Green Vegetable
Squids with Green Vegetable
Fried Oysters
Fried Oysters
Crabs
Crabs

Seafood was surprisingly fresh and not too “fishy” for my taste.  Chinese prefer cooked oysters to raw ones so they are flavorfully prepared.  Crabs is in season from October to November.  Our hosts loved the tender meat from the recent harvest and consumed five of them in one sitting because they were simply delicious.

Peking Duck
Peking Duck

I am not a duck person when it comes to its meat (it could be dry and hard to chew sometimes).  However, this Peking duck was mouth watering and the best duck meat that I ever had in my life.  The crispy skin melted in my mouth to start with and the meat was tender, the whole meal was beyond yummy.

Needless to say, I felt that I gained at least 10 pounds from this trip but it was all worth it with this divine experience.