Saturday, August 29, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
WORLD'S GREATEST AND HOTTEST CRAWFISH
This was one of the best and hottest meals of my life. The crawfish were filled with flavor and a very hot and addicting spice. These things made your face burn from your nose down to your chin. Even with the pain you could not stop eating them. Simply fantastic. The crawfish were served in a spicy sauce filled with garlic, ginger and peppers. To accompany the meal we had a huge order of crab and a vegetable dish with mushrooms. The veggies were fresh and also very spicy. The local tap beer here was also great and the perfect companion to the spicy crawfish. We spent several hours consuming our huge pan of crawfish. The huge order cost about US$18. This served three, but could have easily served six. We forced ourselves to eat them all because they were so good. Mad Dog went crazy eating these babies. After I threw in the towel, the Dog stepped up and downed the last fifteen crawfish solo. I cannot wait to return to this restaurant. One of the best meals ever!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
THE WATER CUBE - CHINESE HOT DOG
After being denied water, soda and a dog at the Bird's Nest, it was pure heaven to find hot dogs at the Water Cube. The Chinese way of serving is great. They spread a little ketchup and mustard on the dog and hand it to you. Everyone gets the same dog. There is no choice. This speeds up service and eliminates a condiment stand. The dog was not half bad. As we left the Water Cube a huge rain storm erupted. People were packed into the cube waiting for the rain to stop. Our guide had some umbrellas so we took a chance and ran out of the place to hail down a cab. We got soaked. There was 3 inches of rain on the ground so all of our shoes and socks got wet. We ran across the street and were lucky to grab a cab. The rain stopped shortly thereafter as we arrived at the hotel.
THE WATER CUBE - INSIDE
Once inside the Water Cube you can stroll around and sit in the seats. There is a large souvenir shop and several concession stands. Much better than the Bird's Nest that has nothing. The Water Cube is impressive even without swimmers or divers. The colors are beautiful. You can actually swim in the warm up pool that is adjacent to the main pool where Michael Phelps won his eight gold medals. They play some Olympic highlight videos on the wide screens but it would be better if they showed the actual swimming and diving events.
THE WATER CUBE
The Water Cube is an awesome structure whether you see it during the day or at night. We did both and loved it. The crowds entering the Cube during the day are huge. Ticket lines are long and hot. Once you have the ticket you can jet right in and spend as much time as you want viewing the swimming and diving pools. The Cube is located between the Bird's Nest and Olympic Stadium where the gymnastics were held.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
THE WATER CUBE AT NIGHT
The Water Cube at night is absolutely beautiful. It is a rare architectural wonder that comes to life when the sun goes down. The crowds in the square surrounding the Cube are huge. Streets are blocked off to vehicle traffic so the entire Olympic square becomes a pedestrian area. Really nice.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
THE BIRD'S NEST
The Bird's Nest is a sight to behold. It is an awesome structure. After watching the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics the Bird's Nest was forever forged in my mind and spirit. Being here was a true experience that I will never forget. The world fell in love with the Bird's Nest and so did I. To have the opportunity to walk into the stadium and watch a sporting event was a blessing. We were in the Bird's Nest one year to the day of the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics. The event was a soccer game between two legendary teams from Italy. The sights and sounds were beautiful, but the feeling was so uncomfortable. The Bird's Nest has no ventilation or airflow. It was hot and humid with no air. The seats are small and pressed together with less than 12" isles. You literally cannot walk through the isles unless everyone stands up. The place is far worse than the Swamp in Florida. It was difficult to sit down. Everyone stood up to attempt to get air and not touch the person next to them. They do not serve food at the Bird's Nest. No food, no soda and very little water. They sell a chinese version of Red Bull at a few stands. You would have to wait in line over an hour to get a bottle of the stuff or a water. There are no stands to buy souvenirs. No hot dogs, no beer, no coke, no nachos, no dim sum. NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Everyone who watched the Olympics from their home was lucky. Believe me, you would not want to be in this joint for 3-4 hours. Looks good on t.v., but in reality is a torture chamber.
THE PENINSULA HOTEL
The Peninsula Beijing is a luxury sanctuary in the heart of Beijing. This five star hotel includes their own mini-mall of luxury high end stores. The clientele is upscale Beijing locals and tourists from around the world. While the front desk and concierge are a bit too stuck up, I find this place to be comfortable and relaxing. The lobby bar has music in the late afternoon and evening and after a day or two the waitress knew me by name and drink preference. She brought me a cold towel and the Asian Wall Street Journal daily and treated me with the upmost respect. The upscale shops take up three floors and people are actually buying things. The well dressed Beijing crowd seem to love this place. We enjoyed many cocktails and some sandwiches in the lobby. The prices are a bit high. You can walk two blocks down the street to a great mall with beautiful walkways and outdoor bars. There is a Whole Foods type market where we purchased beer, wine and snacks for our rooms. You can walk to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The hotel has a beautiful spa and large indoor pool.
SHANGHAI TO NINGBO
THE TRAIN RIDE
We traveled from Shanghai to Ningbo by train. The trip began at 5:30 a.m. which meant we had to be up and out of the hotel by 4:30 a.m. This meant basically staying up all night. The train ride took over four hours. We were tired when we arrived in Ningbo but still attended a business meeting and lunch that lasted most of the day. Ningbo is a very nice city. Only wish we could have spent more time here.
Monday, August 17, 2009
While walking around the Pudong area of Shanghai we wanted to visit the World Financial Center which is the tallest building in the City and one of the tallest in the world. The building is spectacular with a huge arch on the top. Truly a sight to behold. In the basement is a food court where we enjoyed one of our best meals in China. The Caesar Salad was the best. A build your own venture with fresh lettuce, anchovies and parmesan cheese. The dressing was light and tasty. The absolute perfect combination for a Caesar. The chicken dish we enjoyed was out of this world. One of the best chicken dishes ever. The chef would not give us the recipe. We met some highly educated liberals from California here. Even they could not spoil this great meal.
I have visited China four times now. After three days maximum, I must eat a Big Mac. The feeling of enjoying an American burger is beautiful. You have to live in the smells and tastes of Asia to know this feeling. In 10 days this trip I consumed three Big Macs. This is more than I eat in a year in Hawaii.