26 Days in China

G and I arrived in Shanghai on 10/22/2015 and left Shanghai on 11/16/2015. During our 26 day visit in addition to time spent in Shanghai, we also visited Datong, Beijing, Nanjing, Suzhou, and Huangshan. More than half of G and I’s trip was dedicated solely to confirm facts for our book. The rest was to explore China and to show both G’s parents and my parents around Shanghai. Even though both sets of our parents were born in Shanghai and lived there until their 30’s, they no longer recognize 80% of today’s Shanghai despite have visited every several years since the 1990’s. It is no wonder as China is the third largest country in the world with over a billion people mostly concentrated in the cities and has undergone such a huge economic change during the past 30 years that it is a big puzzle to the world and even its own residents.

Myself, I was born in China (Shanghai) and lived there until I was 6 and visited in 1992 (month plus), 1994 (month plus), 1998 (month plus), 2002 (2-3 weeks?), 2006 (2 weeks), 2008(3 month stay), 2010 (1 week), 2011 (2 weeks), 2011-2012 (lived 14 months in Hong Kong), 2014 (23 days), 2015 (26 days). I speak Mandarin and Shanghainese like a native and read Chinese newspapers and books without problems. What I have discovered about China is that the more I learn the more I find there is to learn and that things change so quickly that what was in vogue or the way to do things this year will not be in the next year.

For our 26 day trip I probably spent almost 2 months to planning the trip with Plan B’s and Plan C’s in case Plan A fails. All major activities, all hotels, and all train tickets were purchased/booked in advance. 85% of my meals was planned prior to my arrival in Shanghai because there is too much good food in China to be wasted just eating out at random restaurants and stalls. Despite eating every single meal out for all 26 days, I only gained 3lbs during the entire trip due to walking 203 miles during the 26 days in addition to 25 minutes of yoga a day and weighing myself nightly to keep my weight in check.

Join me as I take you through a 26 day tour of China as seen through my eyes. Below is one of my favorite shots (unedited, shot with my Samsung Note 4 with HDR off) taken during my trip in China. Can you guess the location?


2015 China Trip Day 9/26: Beijing’s Tsinghua University and Xian’r Lao Man Restaurant

It was another beautiful but cold morning in Beijing. (I know that news outlets are constantly reporting on the terrible air quality in Beijing and while it does have its terrible days, did you know that it is not even listed among the top 20 most … [Continue reading]

2015 China Trip Day 8/26: Onwards to Beijing

I first visited Beijing in 2008 right after the Olympics. I had not expected to like Beijing because everyone who had been to Beijing told me that Shanghai is much better. In my opinion each have their own charm and each city is a place I can see … [Continue reading]

2015 China Trip Day 7/26 Part 2: Datong Museums & The Datong City Wall

Datong is a city that has wowed me in many ways: cleanliness, great air quality, public spaces, the nice people. I am shocked at how much I enjoyed a Tier 4 city as I did not care for some Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities that I had visited. In China, Tier … [Continue reading]

2015 China Trip Day 7/26 Part 1: The Shanxi Countryside and Local Shanxi Food

For G and I's book, there was a good portion of it set in the Shanxi countryside. I wanted to see if our research matched reality. We hired a driver and car for 600RMB ($97) to take us outside of Datong to where Shanxi borders Inner Mongolia and to … [Continue reading]

2015 China Trip Day 6/26 Part 2: The Yunggang Grottos & The Fenglin Ge Restaurant

One of the downsides of traveling is that the more I see the more jaded I become. It takes a lot to impress me and make me think this place is worth visiting and even more for me to say this place is worth coming back. The Yunggang Grottos falls … [Continue reading]

2015 China Trip Day 6/26 Part 1: Datong City Center & The Jin Hua Gong Mine Museum

One that I first noticed about Datong is that there is a severe lack of people. Every local I have talked to says that the one child policy is not enforced in Datong. Though if you have more than two kids, you will be fined. Unless your first two … [Continue reading]

2015 China Trip Day 5/26: Shanghai To Datong

Our morning started with a trip to the 7 Eleven next door. The night before when I reached out to grab what I thought was a cold drink was actually hot, not lukewarm but the temperature of a heat pack. I bought the the HK Style Mike Tea for G. … [Continue reading]

2015 China Trip Day 4/26: Shanghai – More Food and The Shanghai Urban Planning Museum

Miles walked: 9.35 I weighed myself this morning, the results were unpleasant. Two days of unrestrained eating caused me to gain nearly 4lbs. G was up around the same amount as well. I needed to cut back on my calories so for breakfast today I … [Continue reading]