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China Trip - 2 Cities + Lakes, Rivers, and Rice Terraces!

China Trip - 2 Cities + Lakes, Rivers, and Rice Terraces!

Aug 7th, 2013, 08:22 AM
  #21  
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 534
We got the dark sauce too. But dipping fat in sugar-it was like eating a savory caramel or the crust of crime brûlée, or something else too delicious to describe!
AtlTravelr is online now  
Aug 8th, 2013, 02:55 AM
  #22  
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 534
General Impressions

What we liked about traveling to China:
1) The people - SOOOO friendly, so excited that we were there. This was mostly in Beijing as we were told that the people flocking to Tiananmen Square were also tourists, not from Beijing - therefore lots of requests to have our picture made with their mother!

2) The food - NOTHING like Chinese food I have here. So much better.

3) The sights - I really couldn't believe I was on the Great Wall. It was one of those "oooh ahhh moments".

4) The ability to travel above our station - see our comments on hotels, etc.

5) Guided/Not Guided tour - we definitely enjoyed having a little of both. And we highly recommend China Advocates for those looking to have a personalized tour.

6) The cleanliness & safety - the city's were CLEAN (except for the air...). I have no idea where they put their garbage - don't ask don't tell? And everywhere we went we felt incredibly safe.

7) Seeing a country in transition - we may be odd, but we don't need to see everything be old, quaint, original, etc. Some call it Disneyfication - I call it moving toward the future in a realistic manner and taking advantage of tourism as a means to do that! Therefore we loved seeing the modern buildings in Shanghai, the GREAT subway systems in the cities, the huge new airport in Hangzhou, the vast number of young people learning English and anxious to say "Hello! How are you" - and their funny reactions when we replied "Ni hao!".

What we didn't like:

1) The weather - it was hot and humid. Let me say it again but imagine me saying it with greater emphasis - HOT AND HUMID! We chose this time as it suited our friends better - when we go back it will hopefully be fall or spring. But we've also been to Italy only in the summer and what's true there is true here - August in Italy is better than no Italy at all. And we actually didn't suffer as much as we thought. If our only time to go back turned out to be monsoon season we'd still rather go than not go.

2) The air quality in Beijing and Shanghai. One very nice person at Raffles asked us to come back in 5-10 years because "we are working toward a scientific solution to the bad air quality".

3) Coming home.
AtlTravelr is online now  
May 11th, 2017, 06:07 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 597
I am not even sure how I got to this trip report, but I am so glad that I did. A wonderful take on a country that I have not really wanted to Visit but this report may change my mind! Great descriptive writing. Fantastic.
Lolazahra is offline  
May 13th, 2017, 07:03 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,086
lolazahra, I am glad you found this trip report. Beautiful. Descriptive writing! I have been to many of these places in China, and really enjoyed reading her trip report. We will be in China, but different places, in 2 weeks. Can/t wait!
KarenWoo is offline  
May 13th, 2017, 09:04 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 225
So happy to hear that you fell in love with the food. And, yes, it is miles better than Chinese-American food, which amounts to defamation of character.

In some US cities, you can get real Chinese food - sometimes made with good wok skills, but I am skeptical about Atlanta.

Although MSG (mono sodium glutamate) has a bad rap dating from the 70s, it is a natural flavor enhancer and glutamates are considerd to provide the fifth taste, umami. (salty, sour, bitter, and sweet being the four primary tastes) It is naturally found in soy sauce, for example. The idea that it causes headaches or other medical problems is now considered bogus, though that belief remains a common myth.

China is vast and contains so many ighlights that are not on the radar of the mass tourism industry. Even a minor sight completely neglected by Westerners might be a highlight if transported to a more convenient spot.
shelemm is offline  
May 13th, 2017, 12:39 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 225
So I looked up what you have access to in the Atlanta area:

I see that Northern Chinese Eatery in Doraville, GA looks promising. Especially the jian bing (crepe with crullers), green beans with onion, lamb noodle soup, pork and fennel dumplings, the #3 special griddle cooked spicy fish or the fish with corn bread and tofu, green beans with onions, cabbage with egg yolk, mandarin meat pie..... Though I have never been there, they are at least serious.

Looks like they make quite a variety of foods there, but the wheat-based foods like the handmade noodles, biscuits, crepes, buns, corn bread and dumplings are going to be particularly northern chinese.
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May 14th, 2017, 12:45 AM
  #27  
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How nice to see that my old trip report has been recently read. It's funny to read what I said about "having low expectations for China and maybe that is why we enjoyed it so much". We are currently in Japan, somewhere we've always wanted to visit. In this case, hoping and expecting more has not proved disappointing!

Lolazahra-I hope you do consider China for a trip and will report back.

KarenWoo-enjoy your trip - which places are you visiting?

Shelemm-thanks for the info on the restaurant in Doraville - we will be sure to check that out when we return home!
AtlTravelr is online now  
May 14th, 2017, 03:23 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 597
KarenWoo -- safe and wonderful travels. Let is know what you discover and uncover this time around!

AtlTravelr -- we have been to Japan and enjoyed it immensely. Of course, one trip is not enough so we will plan a return trip at some point. And I am indeed inspired to begin researching China -- excited in fact. Continue to enjoy Japan.
Lolazahra is offline  
May 17th, 2017, 04:26 AM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,086
We are going to Yunnan Province. Will visit Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Lugu Lake, and Shangri-la.
KarenWoo is offline  
May 17th, 2017, 12:35 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
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Karenwoo - please be sure to report back as that area is on our radar!
dgunbug is offline  
May 17th, 2017, 06:45 PM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,086
Dgunbug,
Yes, I will write a trip report. Although we are usually independent travelers, we are using a travel agent for this trip. There will be only 4 of us: me, my husband, our daughter, and son-in-law. The trip is customized for us. We will have 2 free days to do what we want, and the other days we will have a tour guide and driver.
Our trip is for 2 weeks, and we felt using a travel agent is the best way to see what we want to see in 2 weeks.
KarenWoo is offline  
Jun 21st, 2017, 05:26 AM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 306
I read this timely trip report with great interest. We are going to Hong Kong and China on a tour with Adventures Abroad, a Canadian company in September. I have been to Indonesia and Singapore on a cruise but this is the first time for China. I'm so looking forward to it but possibly not the weather in September it will still be hot I understand. Happy Travels everyone.
Colleen is offline  
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