What’s that? You hadn’t noticed?
Now, I feel awkward.
I understand. I’m sure you’ve been busy. Maybe you’ve had a lot of stuff at work or have some family things going on right now or have one of those social lives that everyone’s talking about — you know, one that involves actual real-live people that you’ve met in person… and not just people you’ve met on Twitter.
Or maybe you’ve been filling your time with other blogs. Yeah, I get it. I see how things are with you — I stop blogging for a measly couple weeks and you find someone else to take my place. Well, fine. Go. Hang out with your new blog friends. (Wait. Stop. I didn’t mean it. Please, don’t go! Please! )
Or maybe you have noticed — you just didn’t want to say anything for fear of sounding like an Internet stalker. (It’s okay. We all do it. Internet stalking is like Pants Optional Alone Time – something we all do, just not something we all admit to everyone… unless you’re like me and have a tendency to over-share.)
I didn’t mean to be so neglectful.You see, the thing is, I’ve been too busy traveling over the past couple weeks to update my blog. I spent all of last weekend in Beijing and all of this weekend in Shanghai.
Yes, yes, I know, some people are capable of traveling and blogging, like, at the same time — this is what we in the travel blog business call “travel blogging”.
But, honestly, do I strike you as someone who’s capable of such a feat? Heck, I can barely walk and, ummm, walk at the same time. (What? Did you think I was going to say “walk and chew gum at the same time”? Do you think I’m on some kind of suicide mission? Seriously, I can’t even keep my shoes on while I’m walking. Just last week, I lost my shoes twice. Twice! Lordy, with sandal-season just around the bend, I’m definitely a goner.)
You see, my artistic process is such that I require a lot of time and space in order to write. And, yes, by “artistic process”, I’m talking about writing this blog. And, yes, when I say “time and space,” I am referring to my couch. (This is what we in the travel blog business call “armchair blogging.” It’s kind of like “armchair traveling” just without the traveling… or the armchair.) Therefore, it’s really hard for me to keep up with my blogging while I’m on the go.
Not only have I been spending great chunks of time away from my muse (yes, I’m referring to my couch again), I’ve been doing lots of stuff while I’ve been traveling. I mean, I had to leave my hotel room and everything! While in Beijing, I participated and performed in the Beijing Improv Festival with the Tokyo branch of the comedy group I used to perform with in Osaka. And, while in Shanghai, I spent the weekend sight-seeing, shopping and shoveling dumplings into my mouth with a Japanese friend who was in town.
Oh yeah, and between my weekend in Beijing and my weekend in Shanghai, I had to go to work… like every single day for four whole days. Sheez. It’s like the universe wants to kill me or something.
So, yeah, I’ve been busy, people.
And I would love to tell you all about it.
But, truthfully, I’m exhausted.
As much as I’d love to blather on about all the fabulous travely things I did and saw and ate and drank during my two fabulous travely weekends, I’m simply too tired. (Yes, I am too tired to blather! Not to alarm anyone, but I’m pretty sure this is a sign of the Apocalypse. Next thing we know, there will be a frog plague and the Unicorns of Hell will show up breathing Sparkles of Death. What? Aren’t those signs of the Apocalypse, too?)So instead of blathering with words, I’ve decided to blather with photos.
This is what we in the travel blogging business call a “photo essay.” Should you not be familiar with the term “photo essay,” don’t be alarmed. You will not need to think very hard, and there won’t be any reading comprehension questions afterwards. In fact, a “photo essay” is not an essay at all but a collection of pictures with some words attached… you know, kind of like a photo album but with a fancier name that makes you feel smarter.
Granted most photo essays on other travel blogs feature really nice pictures — the kind of photos that speak a thousand words with a single image. Unfortunately, most of my photos speak about three or four words — usually something along the lines of “I ate this” or “Look at that” or “This made me laugh” or “Wow, I drank way too many gin and tonics. I think I’ll just start taking random pictures of people’s shoes until I pass out on the pool table.” (Yes, I realize that was more than three or four words, but the gin makes me chatty.)
So, here goes, I present to you photos from my past two weekends of being travely in Beijing and Shanghai. (Okay, so I did include some words with the photos. It’s not like I can totally give up on words. I love words! Words are like gin and tonics. You really can’t have too many of them!)
I ate this.Peking Duck. Every bit of the duck is served to you — from the crispy, delicious skin (which you roll in sweet sauce and sugar and wrap in a small pancake) to the head (which is… um… okay, I have no idea how you go about eating that thing… and I was too full from all the duck skin covered in sugar to even attempt to chomp on the duck head).
Move over, popcorn! While watching the Peking Opera in Beijing, you get to munch on nuts, seeds, cakes and other goodies during the show.
Grilled seahorse on a stick for sale at a street-side stand in Beijing. (Okay, so I didn’t actually eat this. I mean, can you blame me? Just look at those sad little seahorses. Somewhere, a mermaid is crying for them.)
Steamed dumplings for breakfast at Yuyuan Tourist Mart, a large temple market, in Shanghai — because every day in China should start with dumplings… or end with dumplings. Or, you know, involve dumplings in some way.
Hot pot fixings in Shanghai — cooked right at the table by yours truly… and I didn’t even set myself on fire or anything!
Pan-fried dumplings in Shanghai — covered in sesame seeds, spring onions and awesomeness.
Look at that.Drum Tower… or maybe the Bell Tower. (Sorry, I don’t have a good memory for these things… and my memory tends to get worse when addled by lack of sleep and a weekend’s worth of gin and tonics.)
Rickshaws on the street of Beijing.
Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing. As I only had an hour free before my flight, all I could do was wander around the square for a bit and take some pictures. I didn’t get a chance to check out the Forbidden City. (Which, frankly, is not very “forbidden” at all judging from the huge line of people waiting in line for tickets. Sheez, with a name like that you’d think it would be a bit more exclusive!)
View from the Bund, a popular waterfront area and tourist destination in Shanghai, during the day.
View from the Bund at night.
Yuyuan Garden — also a very popular tourist destination in Shanghai. It was especially popular this past weekend as it was a long holiday weekend. The entire garden was packed full of large tour groups, which made taking photos difficult as it required a lot of, what we in the travel blogging business call, “waiting around for people to get out of my photo, already.”
A female drumming troupe performing in Xin Tian Di area in Shanghai.
Storefronts in the hip, artsy Tianzifang District.
Nanjing Road, Shanghai’s busiest shopping street — made even busier with the holiday-weekend crowds.
This made me laugh.
A warning sign at the hostel in Beijing.
The Great Wall of KFC. (Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time while in Beijing to go check out the actual Wall, but the mural at this KFC was almost as good as the real deal… and if I crop out all the chairs and tables I can just pretend all the photos I took at the KFC are from the Great Wall. This is what we in the travel blogging business call “lying.” It’s a technical term.)
Sign at the airport in Beijing. (Well, that clears things up.)
People watching people in Shanghai.
Communist pigs for sale at a shop in Shanghai.
Wow, I drank way too many gin and tonics. I think I’ll just start taking random pictures of people’s shoes until I pass out on the pool table.Okay, so it turns out that I never did take any pictures of people’s shoes. But I did drink my fair share of gin and tonics and had a great time catching up with old friends and making a few new ones (real ones! not just Facebook ones!)… before, you know, passing out on a pool table or two.
It’s been an exhausting couple weeks… and, I’m sure I’ll get around to blathering on and on about it once I’ve recovered and allowed myself a little more time to channel my inspiration. (And, yes, by “channel my inspiration” I am talking about my couch.)