Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Snack Attack Markets and Galleries

Snack and I saw a lot of great art today.

Also, we went to the market.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Culture Shock Attack Jack as Jack Attack Food

Being in a foreign country has been hard recently. I thought I knew what I was getting into, but it's been harder than I imagined being here, not knowing the language and watching the Vikings lose in sudden death overtime! I had a great talk with one of Todd's fellow teachers about food and about how understanding a foreign country's culture has a lot to do with understanding their food. It made me sad to think what conclusions foreigners would come to about Americans, but it also has been challenging in trying to figure out how people here live.

I've been trying loads of street food and crazy stuff. The weirdest-looking so far was some kind of bbq squid thing on a stick. My favorite was going to a little shop where you pick the fresh ingredients and they cook them in a basin of hot water and make a soup out of it for you. I added two things that were totally foreign to me (and somewhat scary), but we knew they weren't meat. It ended up being delicious, and since then I've found out that it was tree/wood mushrooms (elephant ears - because they look like it) and some kind of root whose slices look like wheels! My stomach is strong, and I've really been enjoying the food in China. It's lots of greens and mushrooms in noodle dishes, rice dishes and soups. Lots of tofu and quite a few egg tarts in Hong Kong. Dim sum has been a great breakfast, along with eggs that have been hard-boiled in tea (or some kind of herbed water). It tastes almost exactly the same with a little hint of herbs, but the color of the egg is brown!

I have a lot more to say about China, but my internet time is expiring. Plus, I can't access my blog from China (because of censorship rules), so it feels fitting that I don't blog about it until I leave (since the Chinese can't blog about their experiences while they're there). Solidarity!

ps I'm in Hong Kong right now, at an internet kiosk below my 11th-floor hostel. Hong Kong is high and dense with people.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jack Attack the Wan Chai Trails

Todd met me with a much-needed smile, hug and familiar face at the Hong Kong airport and took me directly to the best Sunday brunch in Hong Kong three years in a row: The Flying Pan. I had Eggs Maharaja (Indian-style Eggs Benedict) with loads of tea and some coffee.

We walked to my friend Jon's pad. He lives on the 23rd floor, and I will be using his guest bed, which will be the first time I sleep in a real bed for 6 days (although since I woke up at 2am to watch the Vikings, I guess my first night of full sleep in a real bed will be tomorrow). No jetlag yet (and digestion has stabilized since the flight), but I'll keep you posted. :)

After situating in my temporary home away from home, Todd and I went for a run along the Wan Chai Trails. You literally walk about 5 minutes from his place through busy, busy streets amid huge skyscrapers, and then suddenly on one block, there are no more skyscrapers but rather just homes and walkways snaking up a very steep hill. 5 minutes later and already out of breath, we started our run along the trail. We headed out to one end (which happened to be the base of a huge double skyscraper aptly named Chopsticks).

Then, we headed back to the other and had gorgeous views of the skyline on the way.

We wandered through the streets, checking out the market, eating egg tarts and tofu, until we finally bought 1 huge bag of clams, 2 fish, 3 broccoli heads, and 4 Tsing Tao (Chinese beer). Then, Jon made some delicious dinner, followed by a nap before the 2am Vikings crush of the Cowboys. Woohoo!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jack Attack Taiwan

Well, after 20 hours of flying and one stop in Anchorage, Alaska, we made it safely to Taipei, Taiwan. I made a few friends on the flight, but mainly I just slept a lot. I did a few crossword puzzles, wrote in my journal and ate two meals and a snack! Awesome service on China Airlines. They also played The Informant (which I though was quite ironic) and Motherhood. I watched Motherhood without the sound (since it was in Chinese). It was kind of fun to make up what they were saying/work on my lip-reading abilities. Alright, well, my next flight awaits (to Hong Kong in like 35 minutes), so bon voyage for now. I'll be in Hong Kong in 3 hours. Pretty stoked!

Oh yeah, and by the way, it was like 63 degrees when we landed at 6:30am. Can't wait for the warm weather.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Well, it took two all-nighters bookending my Night of Mayhem, but I packed for my trip, boxed up my entire room and stored my life's belongings on a bed frame in the basement and cleaned my room. Thanks to all who helped.
Well, I have successfully arrived at my first destination: New York City. I took the bus and the train to meet my friend and her boyfriend for a greasy breakfast and coffee. I saw a show about the founder of AfroBeat (Fela). I wandered around Times Square taking pictures of myself (I wish this were a joke). Starbucks. Dean & Deluca. I took the train to Jersey City. I complained about our incompetent server. And I watched the cat massage video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQXiXMDTY94). Do you know that Letterman interviewed her? This thing needs to go viral, people!
Good friends, public transit and cheap beer. An all-around very New York-y day.

Today, my plan is yoga, pizzeria, another show, and drinking. A touristy day in New York, but that's okay. :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Getting Ready for a Worldwind Trip!

Well, as expected, the process of packing and cleaning my room has been exhaustive. Last night I stayed up all night cleaning and organizing whilst watching Up, which is quite good and possibly deserving of a Best Picture nomination but not the award itself. (A-). Despite my best (yet somewhat distracted) efforts, my room was still quite a mess 48 hours before leaving home sweet Minneapolis at 5am this morning.

Greg's yoga class this morning was challenging on no sleep. There were new moves which were particularly difficult for me. Poses I could usually do with relative ease came very difficult this morning. I was short of breath (possibly due to running in the cold morning air so as not to be late). I ended up focusing on my successes and failures instead of just focusing on my breath, and hence had a really rough practice. Lesson learned, I guess. More sleep and more focus on breath. Is it too late for NYE resolutions?