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Dear reader,

 

Kudos to you, I can’t believe you’re reading this.  Even I have had trouble keeping tabs on this blog.  Nevertheless, I promised you another post filled with big news, so here it is: I’m going back home to Minneapolis.  Surprise!  At least, this news surprised me.  Originally, the big news was going to be that I quit my job and planned to start a new blog devoted to environmental news and the rallying of a green community action here in Beijing.  However, after copious  thought, I have concluded to take

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I’m trying to finish up this Shenzhen series before I head back to Shenzhen/Hong Kong for my second visa run of the year on Friday…  It’s already been another three months!  And I’ve already had yet another job transition.  It’s major.  Tell you more about it later.  This year has been quite the ride (just passed the one year mark for living in Beijing!  June 2—also my big brother’s birthday… HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STUART!!!).  Despite all the instability, fretting over my health and longing for people and things I left behind, I am still so happy I moved here.  Living in Beijing has

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I wonder if Anthony Bourdain has ever cried between takes for his No Reservations travel show… 

…Probably not. 

Don’t tell him (because I want his job when he retires), but I had a breakdown on a local bus midway through my third day in Shenzhen.  Even more embarrassing, my emotional unraveling precipitated from a miniscule communication mishap with a bus ticket vendor. 

I told the ticket keeper I

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I will go on.  Or is that 'goon'?

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Me: 'Hey!  I’m going to Shenzhen to write a two-day travel guide for The World of Chinese magazine.  Got any insider’s tips??'

 

Andres: “Yeees!!  Take a bus ride to Hong Kong!!”

 

Yvonne: “There’s not really anything to do in Shenzhen…  I always just take a bus over to Hong Kong.”  

 

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Living in Beijing has transformed me into a history nerd.  Particularly, the city’s old “hutong” alleyways never cease to enchant me.  Hence, when I began noticing a weekly series of hutong write-ups in the Global Times metro section, I was intrigued, but more so jealous. 

Who was this lucky son of a gun getting paid to do exactly what I love to do for leisure?  And why am I not fluent in Chinese like this Yin Yeping so that I, too, may mingle with the hutong locals for some inside scoops??  Bah!  Curse my laowai-ness!

 

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(2011-03-12 11:47)
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Last week I hopped a speed train to Shanxi Province in eager pursuit of a vinegar festival, but only arrived at dead-end upon dead-end instead. 

 

Not just one, but TWO (count ‘em: two!) tourism sites online

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The two-week Chinese Spring Festival has finally come to a close and stories of an Avian Flu comeback are making the news. Yep, welcome back to Beijing everyone!  You're making me sick.  No, really.&nb

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(2011-02-17 21:06)
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The drive to Baoding was worse than crawling through Nebraska.

 

“This is what we call ping ding hua shi donzuo,” Robert’s father said and nodded toward the dried-up farmland on our right.

 

Ping ding a-whatta?

 

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I whiled away the first conscious moments of my third Chunjie day lying in bed and tempting my body to slip back into a slumber.  The 10 or so hours I slept had rusted the wheels in my head and even forming thoughts in English was a tiresome affair.  Eventually, my ears perked to the rustling of life outside my room and I figured I better get up myself…  


'Get up…' one voice beckoned in my head.


'But then what?'

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