The Guangxi province was one of the top places on our “must visit” list when we came to China. We originally aspired to take a full week in the area to visit Yangshuo’s dramatic karst landscapes, as well as the nearby Dragon’s Backbone Longsheng Rice Terraces outside of Guilin. Too many places to go to and too little time… one long weekend would have to do with just a half day in the rice terraces.   If we could go back to the rice terraces, we’d definitely want to spend…

I’ve been considering this post for a while, but given the content I’ve held off. However I realize that there are certain things that unite all of humanity in weird ways and using a toilet is one of them. It’s also a place I’ve noticed some of the biggest cultural differences over the last six months. Odd, I know. Though I think it’s worth sharing. Firstly, the potties may be squatty, but at least you generally have privacy. Though you have to squat over a porcelain hole in the…

We’ve crossed the official 2/3 point in our Chinese adventure and looking back on it, one of our best decisions was to prioritize traveling in China.  Since Chengdu sits near the geographic center of the country and the airport is a major regional hub, we have over 100 direct flights from which to choose.  Many of these are short (<2 hours) and frequent (many flights available per day), so we have found ourselves spoiled with options. We haven’t gone outside of China for the last five months- all…

The greatest attraction about moving to China for me was to experience a different culture and learn a new language. I wondered if by living in China this year, I would be able to learn enough to do things like talk to Chinese friends at work, have a job where I interact with Chinese organizations, or to simply order Chinese food back in the United States using Chinese. Would I be able to walk into the local Chinese restaurant and say: Hello sir. I would like to order the…

Authors Note 1: we were supposed to spend this three day weekend in Jiuzhaigou National Park, which is supposed to be one of China’s (and the world’s) most visually stunning natural landscapes. Our flight was cancelled the day before, though, so we decided to go to Shanghai. Author’s Note 2: We made this trip in March 2014. I actually wrote the whole blog in March also… I’ve just been slow to upload and add the pictures. At this point… we’ve actually now visited Jiuzhaigou too. 🙂 Friday 星期五…