Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Voting Results and Christmas

I would like to thank everyone who participated in democracy and voted for a logo, namely Papa and Mama Golze,Sister Golze, New Clark, Xi Liu and Jeremy. The unanimous winner was the first one. And because you all voted and are the only ones who read my nonsensical post, I have provide you all with a special treat, pictures of Christmas Dinner at my place. Traditional Golze made something he calls latkes, he said he invented them. He claims his inspiration was when he was eating hash browns and pancakes one day, and thought to himself, "what would happen if I combined hash browns and pancakes together, light bulb." I don't know where he came up with the name, but he claims it is Minkin, and it means potato boomerang. Joy made green beans and brought hor 'oeuvres. I made salmon, risotto, sweet potato pie and mulled, basically everything I know how to make. Judy made nanaimo bars, and my roommate took the pictures. The feast was joyous and merry.

The first picture is of Traditional Golze making his potato boomerangs. The second picture is of most of the meal and Traditional Golze stuffing his pie hole. The third picture is after we ate all the pie and started drinking mulled wine.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Third time's a charm

So I'm not really sure what Durrell and New Clark's problems were, because my trip to the Mongolian border went off pretty much without a hitch. I was out of my front door and back to my apartment in 29 pretty cold hours, and am good to stay in China for another 60 days. But to be honest, what made the trip really smooth was that on the bus I met an American that had been doing visa runs to Mongolia for two years. So I basically stuck to him like glue for the trip, and made it back to Beijing without any real hiccups.

Dawn in Erlian

This was my first time out to the Mongolian Steppe, which is pretty impressive in its total flatness. With the ground so flat the sky is absolutely enormous, and out the bus window at night it looks like the landscape just swirls up into the stars there are so many. Every once in a while a ghostly wind turbine or high tension power lines stretching into the dark will float in and out of view. Definitely a big place.

Old and new Erlian

Otherwise, there's not much to add to previous posts on the place. It's a cold and quiet place, not really the wild west border town I was expecting, but still fun to see.

Inner Mongolian flatness

Monday, December 27, 2010

Visa tripping

I'm about to head out for a visa run to the Mongolian border. The authors of this blog have not had much success with visa runs to this place, as you can probably remember, but I'm hoping to buck the trend. The weather is fairly nice right now: the forecast for the closest city I can find to Erlian has tomorrow's high at a balmy 15 F (-9 C) and sunny skies. Stay tuned to my Twitter feed for updates during the trip. If all goes well I'll be back in Beijing in 36 hours!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I win the currency wars

Since planning my trip for this past fall I realized that I was going to do the impossible. It took me almost six years, but from my first visit to Tiananmen Square back in January 2005 to sailing through the Three Gorges a few weeks ago, I finally acheived one of my life goals: to visit all the places portrayed on the back of Chinese currency. Along with trying turducken, that's two life goals down. Enjoy the pics and links down memory lane below:

West Lake in Hangzhou

Three Gorges on the Yangtze River

Karst peaks along the Li River near Yangshuo

Potala Palace in Lhasa

Great Hall of the People in Beijing

And a bonus! An old issue of the one yuan bill:
Great Wall of China

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Panoramas Post!

Here are a few panoramas I took this fall that I've only just now gotten around to putting together. Apologies but I don't have anywhere online to put up the original large versions, so the biggest view is if you click through the following links and then click the "Full screen" button. If for some reason you want to see an original, ask real nice and I'll e-mail it to you.

Zoige, on the high altitude grasslands of northeastern Sichuan. Since I had only recently returned to Tibetan altitudes and had the flu, this was as high as I could walk up the hill without passing out

360 degree view of the square in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. The monument in the square is to commemorate the "Peaceful Liberation of Tibet"

Rooftops of Lhasa's old town

My dad keeping it real in Gyantse

Macao at dusk, before the lights come on

Chongqing at night

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Design Genius

Hello Loyal Blog Readers, I need your help solving a problem for a project Joy and I are working on. The project is to put on talks with local artist at a cafe in the CBD. Golze has designed some logos for the talks and they are all good, but we are having trouble deciding, which one fits our theme the best. If you could leave a vote for us in the comment section of our blog or on buzz that would be pretty awesome and helpful. A vote for number one would be the logo at the very top; a vote for number 3 would be the logo at the bottom; and a vote for Q would be the middle logo. Let the wild rumpus begin!