In Shanghai I had the pleasure of staying with my buddy Mike who I don't think I had seen in two years. He's been living in Shanghai for work (Ecolab) for the past two years and will likely be there for two more. Catching up with him was definitely the highlight of my time there.
Shanghai is a huge mega-city of 25-30 million people. It is also very international because it is the main business hub of Communist Red China.
Mike has a lovely 2-bedroom apartment in this centrally located building:
|Mike's Apartment in Shanghai|
The iconic skyline of Shanghai was all erected in the past 20 years or so. They tell me that the land across the river in this picture was just farmland in the 1980s.
|Kirk. Shanghai. The Bund.|
My new favorite breakfast is being made by this lady as Mike looks on, drooling.
Here's what it looks like when done. Flaky, crispy, crepe-like outer that contains a minimal amount of spicy paste, small hot dog of some sort, greens and some other paste. There's not much to it, but it's really tasty. Costs about $1.
Other amazing Chinese food is xiao long bao, seen here. They're delectable little dumplings, with a little meat and hot (temperature-wise) watery sauce inside. I ate this sampler platter and then ordered another full platter of the spicy maroon one.
|Xiao long bao|
|Getting high in Shanghai|
Tea time. One Saturday in Shanghai I took a tour about an hour outside of town to tea country. That's actually fog, not smog, and I think it's one reason the tea grows so well here. This is longjing green tea, a local specialty that was in season. Met a nice Colombian guy who was also going to Hong Kong and we connected there for the hiking trip you'll see below.
And then I got high in Hong Kong, another city with a broad and towering skyline. A cool thing about Hong Kong is that is includes a collection of islands. This photo is taken from the top of Mt. Victoria overlooking the main business district. Gorgeous view. There's a nice hike that circumnavigates the peak and allows for this perspective.
|Getting high in Hong Kong|
Most people are familiar with urban Hong Kong, but you don't need to travel far from the business center to get out into the country. Mike and I went to a small fishing town and saw the catch of the day from the pier.
|Catch of the day in Hong Kong|
|Cliff jumping with new friends in Hong Kong|
I didn't take many pictures in Bangkok, but here are some highlights.
Bicycles and butterflies. What could be better than that?
On a biking/boat tour we went through a market. Here are some of the famous chilis that make Thai food so delicious.
Boat from the boat part of the bike/boat tour. The water is shallow so they use a engine (not sure why it's so gigantic) with a propeller on the end of that long stick, maybe 20' back of the boat.
Buddy Shanghai Nick pointing to the spiciest food either of us had ever eaten. It's a bean salad at about 4am after a good night of drinking in Bangkok. After eating it I was running around looking for a surgeon to amputate my tongue. We did not finish it.
Bangkok was a lot of fun. Shanghai Nick is a co-worker of Mike's from Ecolab and I met him in, you guessed it, Shanghai. Late nights, too much booze, and very little actual sightseeing. But I'd go back to Bangkok in a heartbeat to explore it more and see the sights. It has a river and canals and some crazy architecture and many great little drinking neighborhoods. All for a very reasonable price.
And now, your moment of zen..
I write this from charming Chiang Mai, a kickass city in northern Thailand. I'll be staying here for the next 6 weeks, working on updating my business website and enjoying the greatest food on earth. I'll also be enjoying the fantastic value of living in Thailand: mouth-watering meals for $5, hour-long thai massage for $7, daily yoga for $5, room at an apartment building with pool and gym for $10/day. Smell ya later.