small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China

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Travels

What’s on Your 2017 Cultural Bucket List?

It’s a new year! This is the time when we think about goals and plans for the next twelve months. This year, my goals include getting out and exploring the city and culture I’m in. My list includes Chinese zodiac… Continue Reading →

This Global Life: Southern China

  It has been incredible to follow along with Taking Route’s October series, This Global Life. Each day this month, we’ve been treated to glimpses of  everyday life in 31 different countries through the eyes of expats who live there. I’ve… Continue Reading →

Like Turtles? You’ll Love Yuantong Temple

Tucked away between the famous cherry blossoms of the Kunming Zoo and the famous seagulls of Cuihu (Green Lake) lies a relatively unknown Kunming landmark: Yuantong Temple. Despite its proximity to two of Kunming’s most famous sights, Yuantong Temple remains… Continue Reading →

Clean Water, Copper Pot Rice, and Blueberries Top our Reasons to Visit Fuxian Lake

Located about an hour south of Kunming, Fuxian Lake is China’s second-deepest lake, Yunnan’s third-largest lake, and one of China’s only clean lakes. Flanked by some low mountains, and enjoying the same mild climate as the Kunming area, it’s no… Continue Reading →

I’m Writing a Book. For Reals.

Over the past year or so, this blog, and the response from my fabulous readers, has reminded me just how much I enjoy writing. It made me start thinking (again) about something that probably crosses every writers’ mind: writing a… Continue Reading →

Commemorating the End of WWII at the Flying Tigers Museum

China is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. On Friday, a military parade in Beijing grabbed the whole world’s attention. Yesterday morning, on the opposite side of the country, my family and I went to… Continue Reading →

The elusive goal of traveling light

One time. There has only been one time that I have succeeded. And it was glorious. All the logistical stars aligned to make it possible: I was traveling alone, I was only staying one night, and I was staying at… Continue Reading →

Decompression Layovers – Part 1 (Taking Route)

I’m writing a mini-series on decompression layovers over at Taking Route, and the first post is out today. I can’t remember clearly how we first heard of the idea of taking a decompression layover, and I don’t even know what… Continue Reading →

10 reasons Hong Kong Disneyland is better than the original

We just enjoyed a fantastic Christmas present: a day at Hong Kong Disneyland! While there, I was reminded that some aspects of the park are much better than the original Disneyland in California. 1. The lines for rides are ridiculously short… Continue Reading →

13 things I’ve learned about staying at Chinese hotels

There are a few important things I’ve learned over the years about staying in “hotels with Chinese characteristics.” Here are the highlights. 1. Slippers are your friends. As soon as they open for business, the carpet in Chinese hotels is basically… Continue Reading →

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