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Our China Trip: Chapter 1 – Beijing

September 2, 2016

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It was a real thrill to spend 5 days in Beijing! Although there is never enough time, we tried to pack in as much as we could in the days we were there. Despite Beijing’s reputation for ‘questionable’ air quality, rain had moved through just before we got there. As a result, the days were relatively clear and sunny – good fortune to start our travels! On our first full day, we went to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and Jingshan Park. There was a real sense of history being there (construction started on the Forbidden City over 600 years ago)!   I’m including some video slideshows of pictures we took along the way:

The next day was a real thrill – seeing the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. From the visitor center, we took a cable car up, and then hiked the wall. What a spectacular view! It was such a nice day that we decided to forgo the cable car down, and hiked back to the visitor center instead. After that, we went to the Olympic plaza, where we got to see such iconic features as the Bird’s Nest, the Beijing Water Cube, and the Olympic torch. All in all, a very cool day.

Day 3 included a tour of the Temple of Heaven. Like the Forbidden City, its origins date back over 600 years. We also took a bicycle rickshaw ride, which, although it’s a very ‘touristy’ thing to do, was a neat way to see the Hutong part of Beijing (characterized by narrow alleys). Another highlight was seeing the temple of Confucius, which was founded in 1302. It was very thought-provoking to see the grounds where this great philosopher spent much of his time. One of the highlights of Day 4 was getting to see the Summer Palace, which dates back over 850 years! We concluded that day with a visit to the Capital Museum, which has among other things priceless Ming vases, as well as cultural artifacts that were over 4000 years old.

 

UPDATE:  Emily posted some time-lapse footage from our rickshaw ride here:

 

UPDATE #2:  We’ve posted video of our days in China here:

 

Please check out our pictures from our stay in Beijing here. Next up – Chapter 2 – Guilin.

Previous chapter:  Our China Trip: Prologue – SoCal layover

Next chapters:
Our China Trip: Chapter 2 – Guilin
Our China Trip: Chapter 3 – Nanning
Our China Trip: Chapter 4 – Yangtze Cruise
Our China Trip: Chapter 5 – Shanghai
Our China Trip: Chapter 6 – Hong Kong
Our China Trip: Wrap-Up

 

Our China Trip: Prologue – SoCal layover

August 24, 2016

This summer, we took the trip of a lifetime – almost 4 weeks in China, to see Emily’s and Elisabeth’s country of origin.  The last time we were there was for their adoption, when they were only 11 months old.  I’m breaking the trip into separate posts, which I’ll release over the next few weeks – starting with our half day layover in Southern California.  Originally, we were going to stay overnight in LA, but our airline Cathay Pacific actually contacted us to see if we could fly out the same day instead – with a free upgrade to Business Class.  Talk about a no-brainer!

As a result, we only had about 12 hours in LA.  After renting a car and grabbing lunch, we decided to hit the beach – Huntington Beach to be specific.  It had been a few years since we had seen the Pacific Ocean, so it was a great way to spend the afternoon.  I’m including a few photos below:

 

Since our flight was around midnight, we were able to camp out in the OneWorld Lounge, which was a great place to chill before the 15-hour flight to Hong Kong (followed by a three-hour flight to Beijing).  Flying Business Class on Cathay Pacific was outstanding. The lay-flat seats enabled us to actually get some sleep, and the food and amenities were great.  We felt fairly well refreshed by the time we landed. After the (relatively) short flight to Beijing, we were ready to begin the trip!

Next up

Chapter 1 – Beijing

Chapter 2 – Guilin

Chapter 3 – Nanning

Chapter 4 – Yangtze River cruise

Chapter 5 – Shanghai

Chapter 6 – Hong Kong

Wrap-Up

Pure Michigan

May 29, 2016

Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  Earlier this month, I spent a weekend with my friends Tom and Patty in Traverse City, Michigan.  It included a visit to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  Although it was chilly, we had a lot of fun, as we do every year when we take our ‘annual’ trip. You can find a photo album here.  UPDATE:  I added a short video of Lake Michigan here.

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2015 blog in review

December 30, 2015
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The WordPress.com stats folks prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. Traffic was down slightly from year-to-year, but the blog was viewed by people in 16 countries!  Click here to see the complete report.

Working Girls

November 27, 2015

Both Emily and Elisabeth got jobs over the holidays,  Emily at Target,  and Elisabeth at Michael’s. It’s hard to believe they are old enough to work!

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Sufjan!

November 8, 2015

Suzy and I attended our first concert in a while – Sufjan Stevens at Cobb Energy Center.  Some of my mediocre cellphone pictures are here, and here is the setlist.  What a great show!

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Sweet 16

October 6, 2015

Emily and Elisabeth celebrated their 16th birthdays over the weekend,  which is almost impossible to believe.   Their aunt flew down as a surprise to spend the weekend with us.  They wanted to keep things low-key,  so we had a birthday dinner at PF Changs,  and on Sunday went to see the Falcons win at the Georgia Dome.   Here are some pictures:

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Baseball!

August 2, 2015

This summer, we were able to get to four major league stadiums to catch games – Turner Field in Atlanta, Comerica Park in Detroit, Miller Park in Milwaukee, and Wrigley Field in Chicago.  And we managed to see the home team lose in each location!  Here are some pictures from the games (you can click on them to enlarge):

Turner Field, Atlanta - May 3, 2015

Turner Field, Atlanta – May 3, 2015

Comerica Park, Detroit - June 13, 2015

Comerica Park, Detroit – June 13, 2015

Miller Park, Milwaukee - June 15, 2015

Miller Park, Milwaukee – June 15, 2015

Wrigley Field, Chicago - June 16, 2015

Wrigley Field, Chicago – June 16, 2015

More Biking Fun

May 29, 2015

I took a bike trip to southern Ohio over Memorial Day weekend with my friends Tom and Patty. The weather was spectacular, and we had a really good time.  You can find some pictures here (some pictures are courtesy of Patty).

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Texas Roundup

April 12, 2015

This year, we decided to visit Austin and San Antonio during spring break. Suzy used to go there often for work, and they are two of my favorite cities, but the girls had never been there before. It was a nice getaway, and we all had a lot of fun.  You can see some highlights in the short video below.  Or if you have an attention span longer than one minute, you can check out some photos here.

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