Jetlag Day

"Rice and Chicken" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO6400
“Rice and Chicken” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today I returned to work, although as luck would have it, Wednesdays are the day I usually can work from home! Yay! And I really needed it because I was so sleepy, I nodded off a couple times during the day. But overall I did ok fighting the jetlag. However, the creative part of my brain was not operating at high capacity so I busied myself with planning and reviewing other designs.

But enough of that. I rarely mention work on my blog and I don’t intend to start now. 😆

Tonight’s dinner was a simple but delicious chicken and rice meal, with three different types of sauces: sweet chili, soy/oyster, and soy/sesame/cilantro. They were all tasty. 😋

I hope you had a great day!

おやすみ!

Great Wall

"Great Wall" Badaling, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/200 sec, ISO200
“Great Wall” Badaling, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today our tour took us to the Badaling section of the Great Wall. 30 years ago when I visited, I believe we came to the same section, but we started at the main parking area. This time our tour group took the tram up to the top, and from there we were able to hike along the wall. We first completed the easy section to the end, then turned around and went for a bit on the hard section. It was significantly more difficult because of the steepness of some of the sections, but my brothers and I did well.

It was pretty amazing to be up on the Great Wall even if it is a big tourist destination.

"Great Wall" Badaling, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/160 sec, ISO200
“Great Wall” Badaling, 2018
"Great Wall" Badaling, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/250 sec, ISO200
“Great Wall” Badaling, 2018

I thought these instructions at the front of the escalator were pretty funny.

"Instructions" Badaling, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/6.4, 1/850 sec, ISO200
“Instructions” Badaling, 2018

And I always enjoy looking at the ice cream freezers when they have a photo of a beautiful woman on it!

"Cold Treats" Badaling, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/6.4, 1/100 sec, ISO320
“Cold Treats” Badaling, 2018

After our visit to the Great Wall, we went to the Jade factory/market and received some “education” on the tradition of Chinese jade, the meaning behind it, the types of stone, and the quality differences. After the short lesson, we were provided with a pretty huge lunch with plenty of beer, wine, and a super-potent liquor. I sure this was in order to loosen up everyone’s purse strings before shopping in the jade market. 😆

"Strong Stuff" China, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO2500
“Strong Stuff” China, 2018

After that, we checked out the park at the entrance to the Ming Tombs, then drove through the 2008 Olympic area and saw the “Bird’s Nest” stadium, and the “Water Cube” from the bus, before returning back to the hotel.

Since we had a couple hours before dinner I did a little shopping at my favorite two stores: Uniqlo and Muji. I didn’t buy anything, but I always enjoy browsing those two!

And to conclude the day, we went to a restaurant for Peking Duck, where we stuffed ourselves and drank a bit too much! The food was yummy and the company was hilarious. It was a good time, for sure!

"Peking Duck" Beijing, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/80 sec, ISO3200
“Peking Duck” Beijing, 2018

I hope you had a great day! Tomorrow there’s a morning tour and then we fly to Xi’an for the next leg of our journey, so I need to rest.

おやすみ

Arrival in Beijing

"Welcome to Beijing" Beijing, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO800
“Welcome to Beijing” Beijing, 2018

こなばんは。How’s it going?

Well, we finally made it to China! After a 13-hour flight from Los Angeles, we arrived in Beijing at 2:15 pm local time. The weather is beautiful and it doesn’t seem too polluted.

The customs/security at the airport wasn’t too bad although I had a ton of trouble with the fingerprinting machines. They just couldn’t scan my fingers correctly and it took a long time to do. Eventually, one of the officers came by with a wet rag and cleaned the sensor window and it worked fine.

Soon after, we met up with our tour guide coordinator, then hopped into our shuttle (a Buick minivan) and after a short 20-minute drive we were at our hotel.

"From the Hotel" Beijing, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/240 sec, ISO200
“From the Hotel” Beijing, 2018

The rest of our group of 23 arrived at the same time, so after a quick rest, we headed to the attached mall and found a nice restaurant for dinner. Of course our first meal in China has to be Chinese food, so Tak Yong fit the bill nicely! We ordered spicy minced pork with buns, kung pao chicken (to see how it’s prepared in the motherland), and a spicy fish dish. I chose the fish partly because many other diners ordered it, and also because I wanted to see how it compared to the spicy fish dish that I love back in Austin.

I thought it was delicious! The broth was clear, but there was plenty of red pepper and peppercorns to give it some heat, and the fish filets were tender and flavorful. The other dishes were yummy as well, and the portions were large. Three dishes were perfect for the four of us. My only complaint would be that the service was kind of slow and they brought out our rice after all the other dishes, so we couldn’t enjoy it together. However, our waitress was patient and did her best to translate using her phone and another little electronic display to communicate.

"Dinner" Beijing, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/50 sec, ISO6400
“Dinner” Beijing, 2018

After dinner, it was still early evening so we strolled through the mall, then outside for a bit. The evening air was a nice temperature, but the city air has an unhealthy smell to it. Maybe because we are in the heart of the city and also it was the end of the day, but let’s see if the air is the same tomorrow morning. Will be interesting to find out.

"Late Commuters" Beijing, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/20 sec, ISO6400
“Late Commuters” Beijing, 2018

I hope you had a nice day!

またね~

Vacation Begins

"Waiting" Austin, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/280 sec, ISO200
“Waiting” Austin, 2018

こなばんは。How’s it going?

Well, today was the first day of my long vacation. The first leg of my trip takes me from Austin to Los Angeles via Long Beach Airport. It was a smooth flight and I arrived at my brother’s place in Redondo Beach in the evening just in time for dinner. That’s when the festivities began, with a flight of beer at HopSaint Brewing Company, then a drink at my brother’s fiance’s neighbor’s birthday party. After that, we went for a couple more drinks at Hudson House and then back home. What a fun night, and a nice way to start the vacation.

おやすみ

"Burger Time" Redondo Beach, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/40 sec, ISO6400
“Burger Time” Redondo Beach, 2018
"Fun Photos" Redondo Beach, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO400
“Fun Photos” Redondo Beach, 2018
"Airplane" Long Beach, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/7.1, 1/600 sec, ISO200
“Airplane” Long Beach, 2018
"Sunset" Redondo Beach, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5, 1/1250 sec, ISO200
“Sunset” Redondo Beach, 2018

Kombucha [snapshot]

"Kabocha" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: OLYMPUS E-PL9, 20mm, f/4.1, 1/125 sec, ISO6400
“Kabocha” Cedar Park, 2018

This evening we hosted a birthday party for a good friend at our house. As usual, it was a potluck so there was plenty of yummy food. We made a few homemade pizzas which were fun for the guests to make, and we have a lot of leftovers so I am happy! ❤️🍕

Our friend’s husband made individually bottled kombucha, which is the photo above. Truth be told, I didn’t get any photos of the party so I am borrowing one of Mariko’s pics. You can see in the caption that it’s not from my usual
Fujifilm, but from Mariko’s Olympus. That’s a really nice camera, actually.

I hope you had a nice Sunday!

またね~

Nacho Time

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO640

こなばんは。How’s it going?

Yesterday at the request of my sons, I had made a bunch of carnitas in our InstantPot, which we used as filling for burritos. Since I made so much meat (4 lbs!), there were plenty of leftovers so we decided to have carnitas again tonight, but this time we made nachos. The layers (from bottom up) were tortilla chips, refried beans (with water added so they were pretty creamy), cheese, carnitas, sauteed jalapeño and onion, more cheese, then repeat. Pop the casserole dish into a 350° oven for 15 minutes and they are done. For the finishing touches, we topped with cilantro, diced jalapeños, and sour cream.

By the way, do you know the origin of nachos? I didn’t until a few weeks ago. It’s very interesting! If you don’t know the history, here’s the Wikipedia article on Nachos so you can learn as well. Enjoy!

I hope you had a nice Sunday.

またね~

Chanpurū チャンプルー [photo]

"Champuru" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO800
“Champuru” Cedar Park, 2018

Yes, chanpurū is delicious!