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  • Beijing, China: Silk Market

    ‘Tis the time of shopping season! During our trip to Beijing, we made an evening of it after taking the subway to get to the Silk Market, a shopping center boasting over 1500 vendors. We went there because colleagues shared the vendors they went to for certain items for a “fair price”. While they did […]

    Beijing, China: Roasted Duck

    I had ill timing in putting up this post, which would have gone well with the Thanksgiving holiday. Anyway, according to the locals, this restaurant was the place to go for roasted duck. Well, if what the locals say is true, then it has to be good! The restaurant (apologies, I don’t recall the name) […]

    Beijing, China: 2008 Summer Olympic Games

    Following the Hutong home cooked luncheon and tour, we made our way to 2 of the arenas/venues where the 2008 Olympics were held – Beijing National Stadium (aka Bird’s Nest) and Beijing National Aquatic Center (aka Water Cube). After the Olympics, the Water Cube was renovated into a water park. It appears that this venue will […]

    Beijing, China: Hutong Homecooking & Hospitality

    Despite this next segment being part of a tour, it was still really neat to explore the Old Beijing town. We took a rickshaw to go through the town. I remember it being a smaller town consisting of mostly local residents living in smaller, and more compact homes. Along the way, we stopped at a […]

    Beijing, China: Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City

    Tiananmen Square is considered to be a large city square that has several distinguished buildings: the Great Hall, National Museum of China, entrance to Forbidden City, and Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall. The Great Hall is where banquets are hosted. The memorial hall contains Chairman Mao Zedong’s embalmed body. We didn’t spend too much time […]

    Beijing, China: Summer Palace

    The construction began in 1750 by the emperor of the Qing dynasty with its main intention to be a garden and park. However, it ended up becoming the place of royal residence. It has now turned into one of the main tourist attraction sites in Beijing. We only had part of the day to spend […]

    Beijing, China: The Finest Handicraft of Chinese Culture

    Considered to be one of the finest handicrafts of the culture, cloisonne combines the skills used to make bronze and porcelain pieces, as well as having a delicate hand of traditional Chinese painting and etching. To paraphrase from the sign outside of the factory, Chinese cloisonne, which translates to “blue of Jingtai”, is more than […]

    Beijing, China: The Great Wall

    The Great Wall section that we walked on was called Mutianyu, considered to be one of the best-well-kept portion of the Great wall. This section was used as a barrier to protect and defend the capital and the royal tombs. The initial construction of Mutianyu began in the 6th century (Northern Qi Dynasty). Then it […]

    Taipei, Taiwan: Food Adventures

    As with many of these mystery trips, food is something I’m on the lookout for to try some local dishes, away from the tourist traps and the familiar food chains. Indulging in the local flavor always makes my list. My apologies for the lack of images. For our timeframe, we only had time for, 3 […]

    Taipei, Taiwan: Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

    As I entered through the main gate of this national monument, I felt like an ant walking up to this memorial, because of its grand scale, in honor of one of the influential leaders of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-Shek. The memorial was officially opened 5 years after his death in 1980. To the left […]

    Taipei, Taiwan: Lungshan Temple

    In continuation with my last post about vendors selling flowers as offerings for the nearby temple, we checked it out. There is no fee, but since Lungshan Temple is popular to locals and tourists alike, be prepared to be surrounded by lots of people if you decide to make the trip. It probably is not the […]

    Taipei, Taiwan: Night Street Market

    Going to the Night Market during the daytime isn’t ideal, but with the timeframe we had, you do what you have to do sometimes. I missed out on the feel of it. If there’s more time next time I visit, I’ll be sure to make my way back to a night market. The one in […]

    Taipei, Taiwan: Taipei 101 Tower

    Our flight arrived in the evening and after a few hours of some restless sleep, Dad and I did a private tour of the city. It was a quick trip to Taipei, Taiwan at the beginning of last September. With our limited time, we went to a few of the main sites of Taiwan starting […]

    Hong Kong: Dim Sum

    What I like about visiting different countries is seeing tasting real cuisine. Their cuisine sometimes changes to appeal to the American palette – whether it be ingredients, presentation, and/or flavor. Even if I do travel out of country, I do like going for, what I consider, the “signature/staple dishes” based upon what I know for […]

    Hong Kong: Shopping Time

    Our last stop on the tour was to the Stanley Market, which I thought to be the perfect place for scooping up souvenirs, especially since you could haggle with the vendors (apparently a hidden forte of mine… I probably got that talent from my mother). Before entering the maze of shoppers and vendors, keep in […]

    Hong Kong: Life on the Water

    Part 2 was going on a boat ride to see Hong Kong from a marine perspective. After all, Hong Kong translates to “fragrant harbor”. So we went on a sampan ride. You may be familiar in seeing these lanterns before. There were these paper lanterns all around Hong Kong, outside of homes and shops. Aside […]

    Hong Kong: Victoria Harbor

    We did a hop over to Hong Kong after Singapore and spent a day touring before heading back home. I had been to Hong Kong before… when I was 6. So, taking a city tour with the mister was on the agenda. At least we had a jump start with the airline serving us breakfast […]

    Singapore: Food Fare

    My last post on Singapore was about the “hoity toity” food experience at the Raffles Hotel. This post will be more on the food finds we got to chomp down on through the city. There is a mix of cultures in Singapore, so there is a lot of local fare available, Thai, Indian, etc. First […]

    Singapore: Tea Time at Raffles Hotel

    Well aren’t we getting a little fancy schmancy. Raffles Hotel is named after Stamford Raffles, the founder of the modern day Singapore. It has been around since 1900, with renovations as time went on. The lobby area used to be opened to the public, but as a high-traffic tourist destination, it has since been closed […]

    Singapore: Pewter Creations

      We got to go through and see a demonstration of how they make creations out of pewter. After the pewter is melted, it is cast in a mold and then left to cool. The next step then is polishing the item. “Each product is polished by hand using a steel blade, fine-grade sandpaper or against […]

    Singapore: City Sights & A Rubber Ducky Race

    When you do get outside to see the sights and bear the heat and humidity, you can see that Singapore is a mix of old and new. Case in point, one of the main buildings you see is this – the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. On the lower left the Art Science Museum. The fountain […]

    Singapore: Fountain of Wealth

    After eating dinner with family, they brought us to the Fountain of Wealth, which is located in one of the largest malls in Singapore – Suntec City. There’s a lot of feng shui elements about the fountain. For example, the water symbolizes wealth, and the way it is flowing (inward), it shows that Suntec always […]

    Singapore: “A Moving Experience”

    In these mystery trips, one of the goals is to hit some of the main attractions the city has to offer. This destination, which was opened in 2008, is called The Singapore Flyer. It looks like a ferris wheel. But, instead of cars, it’s a capsule meant for multiple people to sit and walk around as […]

    Singapore: Largest Display of Tropical Orchids in the World

    I spent New Years Day on a plane … to fly to the other side of the world with a total time travel of 24 hours from Newark, to Narita, to Singapore (the intended destination). What a way to start off the new year with a mystery trip with my parents! At this point, these are […]

    Dubai, UAE: The Seven Star Hotel

    Heading back to the city for the afternoon part of the tour, we encountered an impromptu camel crossing. Maybe it was the camels way of saying, “Hey, did you get your dose of us yet?!” And FYI, the cars were moving in such a way to herd the camels off the road. The city tour did not […]

    Dubai, UAE: A Check Off My Bucket List

    My dad found this site called ToursByLocals, which is a giveaway of what they do – locals giving a tour of their city. Because Dubai isn’t exactly exploding with historical culture (the city being built is relatively new), that was an aspect I missed that I really enjoyed with other trips. To take it back […]

    Dubai, UAE: Best in the World

    Everything Dubai has is the “best in the world”… according to the 2 mega malls we visited: Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, which had this phrase practically etched on to each store window. With the Dubai Mall showcasing an aquarium and the Mall of the Emirates having an indoor ski slope. It really […]

    Tokyo, Japan: Around the Town

    If you do have a chance to check out any local food markets or grocery stores when you’re visiting another place, I find it to be one of the best ways to immerse yourself into the culture – complete with food you’re familiar with in different packaging, labels you don’t understand, and likely some produce […]

    Toyko, Japan: The Oldest Temple in Tokyo

    In Asakusa, we made our way to Sensō-ji, the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. Throughout this district, there are still traditional homes, which is saying something considering the bombing of Japan during the war. Here we are at the entrance gate, also known as the “thunder gate”. On each side of the entrace sits the god […]

    Tokyo, Japan: On Land, Water and Air

    You still need to make the most of it, even on a rainy and gloomy day in Tokyo. One of the stops was to the Tokyo Tower, a known landmark here and a 360 degree observation tower as well as a radio tower/transmitter. And here was our guide that brought us around the city. She’s […]

    Tokyo, Japan: Tea Time

    It really is wonderful being able to get absorbed into the culture and to experience their traditions. One of the stops on our tour was to take part in a tea ceremony here in this historic tea house, entitled Muan, that was built during the Edo Era by a wealthy silk merchant. Once everyone was seated […]

    Tokyo, Japan: Kaye Dreams of Sushi*

    Of course the title of this article is a nod to the movie/documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”. If you haven’t seen it, they had it on Netflix. It is about Jiro, well-known in the sushi world, and it’s about his passion for sushi and everyone’s role in his family and restaurant. It was quite inspirational […]