Turtles in plastic buckets. Badminton matches at 6 am. Laundry on bamboo sticks... This is not how I imagined Shanghai preparing for my trip. Then we landed and went for a walk...
They didn't call it Red Square for nothing. I mean, it's red. It's really all red - the towers of the Kremlin, the elaborate Saint Basil's cathedral, the state museum, the Resurrection Gate... Yet it's not the color that gave the square its name. In archaic Russian, "red" also meant "beautiful" and beautiful it is!
You are in for a treat - inside are 18 pictures taken at the square this July.
Living in Southern Ontario, I am not exposed to a lot of extreme environments. On one hand, it's nice to know that I will probably never die from a tsunami, a volcano eruption, or a land slide. And chances are my high-rise will never be destroyed by an avalanche, a flood, or a tornado. On the other hand, it's sort of a boring setting to live in. The forests and lakes in the vicinity of 3-4 hours from Toronto seem to be all the same. Yeah, we have Niagara Falls, of course, but after a while the novelty wears out...
That's why it absolutely blew my mind when one summer day last year I came out of a forest trail to a white boulder beach with clear azure water. This water had such an intense blue color that pines felt less natural there than, say, palms. The place had a strong Caribbean vibe. Yet there it was - the biggest discovery of the year, right here in Ontario.
Who said that New York is all about money, sex and stress? It's Spring in New York - my favourite city of all - and love is in the air! True, the Big Apple can come off as cynical, greedy, even soulless, but in the three days that I've spent walking New York's busy streets, I came across many different manifestations of love. Here's some evidence.
About 9pm in Shanghai. Thousands of people are gathering at the Bund to see the famous Pudong skyline in all its glory. There are people everywhere and on the actual boardwalk there is barely any space to move with all the seats long taken. But guess what? They all are about to get disappointed by a seriously weak panorama.
Curious to see what it was - read on!
You are looking at my most favourite Russian salad of all times - Pad Shooboy (literally 'under the fur coat'). It is one of many dishes from all over the world featured in a tasty series Around the World In 80 Dishes. Look for my description of what Pad Shooboy is under #42.
Spoiler alert: you will get hungry!
No matter where you are in the world, at a certain point in life it gets harder to meet new people. So singles resort to online dating, book clubs, matchmaking services and such.
The way Chinese approach this challenge is unique. And here you can see why.
I've never rode in a convertible before. So it was extra special to do it in Havana in a good ol' American car.
Now that the Sochi Olympics are just couple of days away, it's a great time to share these pictures of the very cool-looking Beijing Olympic Stadiums - the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube.
A couple of weeks ago, when the temperature in southern Ontario went down to -37C, there was a rumor that Niagara Falls froze. The rumor was so persistent that it made news around the world. My dad called from Russia asking whether it was really frozen and if so where did the water go. Hmm, I was wondering this myself. Even though we live only 1.5 hours away from Niagara Falls, I've never been there in winter. Clearly - it was time to go.
I have a confession to make: I didn't love Havana. In fact, at times it made me miserable.
What do China, North Korea and Cuba have in common? I didn't plan it this way but it just happened to be that all new countries I visited this year are communist countries. Different shades of communism, of course, but still.
While we didn't end up eating at the famous Ghost Street in Beijing (lines at each restaurant turned out to be enormous, with 30-40 people waiting outside), I sure enjoyed walking there at night. The street is covered with Chinese lanterns and looks really festive, especially after rain when the lights are reflected in the puddles.
Contrary to what the name of this blog suggests, some trips just don't work out. I've had a few of those by now and it's about time to start sharing them. Introducing Trips That Didn't Work - a brand new section of my blog.
This particular trip was a hike to mount Hua, one of the five sacred mountains in Taoism. And even though the trip didn't entirely suck per se, it was a hardass day that almost cost me my marriage. But let me start from the beginning.
When I think of the most famous square in the world, Tiananmen comes to mind even before Moscow's Red Square. I imagine it is the main pilgrimage place for Chinese tourists since both Mao's mausoleum and the Forbidden City are just steps away. Plus who doesn't want to take that iconic picture with the famous portrait of Mao? It's almost like no one would believe you've been there if you don't have that picture...