China: Reflections on the Great Divide

After nearly two months in China, Sasha and I have holed up in a hotel in Katmandu, Nepal where we’re taking advantage of some unfettered access to the Internet to catch up on the blog and wait for Sasha’s sister to arrive. We’ve gotten more questions about China and what it’s like from friends and family than any other place we’ve visited. We’re still soaking in everything we learned from China — some good,... Read More

The Cost of Admission Used to be Death

The Forbidden City is a place I’ve wanted to go ever since I was a kid.  The day finally arrived and it did not disappoint. We were blessed with good weather. In Beijing that means all the pollution is blown somewhere else (like California). It also means the sky was blue. Go figure. We woke up at 4:30 am to make our way to see the 6:00 am flag raising ceremony. There was goose-stepping under the huge portrait of Mao. Satisfied, we sought... Read More

The Great Wall

A lot on this trip has been planned as we go along, depending on the weather, our mood, our budget, etc… but not The Great Wall. Hiking it was a must from the early stages of our trip planning and has been something that Josh has wanted to do since he was little. Bucket list: check! Most tourists to Beijing visit the Mutanyu or Bandaling sections of The Great Wall that are completely revamped in Chinese newness. There you can get a cable car... Read More

Now That’s a Big Buddha

You should have seen the toe nail clippers. We have seen a lot of Buddhas on our trip. It isn’t uncommon to find 10,000 Buddhas in a single shrine or museum. We see them in stores, hotels and at the countless shrines we’ve passed or visited. It wouldn’t surprise me if we’ve seen upwards 100,000 on the trip so far. But yesterday, we saw a Buddha that stands out from the crowd. It’s official name is the Leshan Giant Buddha,... Read More

In Love With Red Pandas

You may think that there are panda’s running around China like squirrels at home, but you’d be flat out of luck to find any. Seriously. Your best bet is to visit them, like us, in Sichuan province in the city of Chengdu where there is a Panda Breeding Base. It’s not like we’ve never seen pandas before. There are pandas at the Smithsonian National Zoo in DC. In fact, the DC zoo is a partner of the Breeding Base in Chengdu so... Read More