Tag: Golden Week

Indonesia Part I – Jakarta

Indonesia Part I – Jakarta

Almost a month and a half after our Golden Week trip to Indonesia, it’s time to catch up on the blog posts. Thorben already shared a lot of pictures, so here come all the details … and more pictures :).

We planned our trip to Indonesia together with Marlyn (who’s from Indonesia), so our first and last stop was Jakarta, where her parents live. In total, we spent 4 nights in Jakarta and 6 on Flores – Part II coming soon!

Marlyn’s Birthday

Our first full day in Jakarta it was Marlyn’s birthday, so she made the plan and we just went along with whatever she wanted to do. Mostly, that meant eating a LOT of Indonesian food. We started with going to a local market, had some food there and also bought some fruit we had never seen before. Next, Marlyn wanted to eat something that translates to “brain brain” – she said there is no brain inside, just fish and flour. No way to confirm her story so we just went with it 🙂 We also had a seafood omelette and the first of many plates of Nasi Goreng (fried rice). To get to a supermarket to buy some snacks, we took a tuk tuk. Our driver seemed quite excited to take around the only foreigners in sight 😉

After a short rest at home, it was time to eat yet again, so we went to another restaurant for some meatball soup. Also, we picked up the birthday cake, which we had after dinner (yes, more food) at a nice seafood restaurant overlooking the water.

Jakarta sights & food

On our second full day, Marlyn’s dad was our tour guide and took us around Jakarta for some sightseeing and more Indonesian food. We started with noodles and wonton soup for breakfast and then went to a banking museum which was inside a cool colonial building. We also saw Jakarta’s first train station and wandered around in an old market square. During our time in the city center, Thorben and I got interviewed by some students who wanted to practice their English.

The second part of the day, we visited a “mini Indonesia” theme park. They had lots of different buildings, showing the different cultures and architecture of the different islands. One place we visited in detail was the Komodo museum, in preparation for the next stop of our trip 🙂 There was also more food: we had a very late lunch/early dinner at another Indonesian restaurant and then picked up some “martabak”. Martabak could be described as diabetes and a heart attack rolled in one – it’s a giant cake slathered with butter, peanuts, chocolate and sweetened condensed milk, but it was super tasty!

Even more food

After coming back to Flores, we spent one more night in Jakarta. I think Marlyn’s mom was worried we didn’t eat at all during our 6 days away, so she prepared a huge feast for us. I forgot the name of everything but it was delicious!

Overall, our time in Jakarta was really fun, especially since Marlyn’s parents were so nice and took so much time to show us around and feed us 🙂 It was really cool to experience the city more from a local perspective and not just as a tourist.

Golden Week Travels: USA

Golden Week Travels: USA

My Golden Week was quite different from Thorben’s. Instead of exploring a new part of the world, I flew to the US for the 18th time – I just counted 🙂 My trip can be summed up with 3 words: family, food and shopping. In total, I spent over 30 hours on 5 different flights. It was definitely worth it because I managed to see all members of my American family within 8 days.

Fun Fact: My flight to L.A. arrived 3 hours earlier than it left Shanghai because there is a 15 hour time difference between China and the West Coast.

Utah

From L.A. I hopped straight on to a plane to Salt Lake City to see the Utah side of the family. I spent 3 nights at my American grandparents house and got to hang out with 2 of my host sisters, aunt and uncle, and my host sisters adorable kids. 2 of them got Feiyue shoes, which were promptly used at Show & Tell at school: “Look at my shoes! They’re from China!” 🙂

We also had lunch at In N Out. Biting into their cheeseburger for the first time is always magical, as were the home cooked breakfast and dinners I got!

Arizona

The next stop was Arizona to see my host parents and my remaining 3 host siblings. All we had on the agenda for 3 days was eating – Hello Chipotle and Cold Stone! – shopping and hanging out. And we went on a mission to find cool cacti to take pictures of 🙂

California

With 2 days left, my host mom and I flew back to California to see her mom, brother and his wife. The ocean view is so beautiful and the weather was perfect; it was hard to leave the balcony. The chocolate, almond and ham & cheese croissants we had for breakfast didn’t hurt either 🙂 We did manage to do some more outlet shopping, got another In N Out cheeseburger and saw “A Star is Born”. After a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway back to L.A. it was sadly time to fly back to Shanghai.

Thanks so much to my awesome host family for yet another awesome trip. I can’t wait for my 2019 US visit!

Golden Week Travels: Hong Kong

Golden Week Travels: Hong Kong

Last week was Golden Week in China. It’s the week around the National Day and the whole country gets a week-long holiday. Like it is the case for many holidays here, part of the time away from the office has to be made up by working on a Saturday or Sunday. For this Golden Week we had to work from Monday to Saturday and then we had time off from Sunday, October 1st until Sunday, October 8. Not a bad deal really, especially since office already closed at 2:30 on Saturday.

We were warned that traveling is crazy during Golden Week, that everything is super expensive and really crowded and just a big hassle. 8 free days and you don’t have to use a single day of vacation time, so of course we still went. I booked the flights in July already and they were twice as expensive as usual but hotel prices were pretty normal. We originally just wanted to go to Taiwan but because it was a bit cheaper I booked Shanghai – Hong Kong – Taipei – Shanghai. 2 destinations for the price of one, why not?

Hong Kong

We’ve both been to Hong Kong before so I didn’t plan much ahead of time. I just made a note where to buy the Octopus card (can be used for public transport including ferries and can be bought at the airport) and downloaded the metro map. We only had 2 full days and for the second day I booked a Hong Kong foodie tour. Like almost every time we go on vacation one of us got sick. In Beijing it was me, in Hong Kong it got to Thorben (and I was still coughing a bit) so besides that tour our itinerary was really light.

Hong Kong Skyline

Our hotel was on the Hong Kong side of the harbor and we took the ferry across twice to see the skyline, once by day and once by night. I love the Hong Kong skyline, it just goes on and on and on …

At night we went to the “Symphony of Lights” which is a light show they do every night at 8. I don’t think it’s really worth it unless you happen to be there at that time. The buildings are lit up anyway and except for a bit of music and some lasers there isn’t anything extra to see, so I wouldn’t wait around for it again. The skyline by itself at night is really impressive, so any time is great to see it 🙂

Flower Market

We also wanted to check out some of the markets and did the flower market. It’s a street with lots and lots of stores and booths which sell tons of plants and pretty flowers. If we lived in Hong Kong I think our apartment would now have orchids on every window sill. It also smells really good, I didn’t want to leave. Here is the colorful picture overload:

Foodie Tour

I booked the “Central & Sheung Wan Foodie Tour” which wasn’t too far away from our hotel. We had 6 stops on the tour and the group (there were 9 of us) was a mix of people from the UK, US and Australia and Germany of course. Besides eating lots of food, it was fun seeing a bit more of Hong Kong and hearing some interesting stories about the local life and crazy rent prices. The wet market visit was not for the faint-hearted – we saw some freshly butchered fish and the cut up parts were still twitching. Our guide said that to get the freshest fish you buy the parts where the heart is still beating …

We tried Wonton Noodle Soup, barbecued pork with rice, preserved fruits and candy, Dim Sums (which included different dumplings, buns and spring rolls) and Egg Tarts. I really enjoyed the tour and the food. Most of the places we went I wouldn’t have gone by myself and it was great to have someone point out all the goodies I would have missed. So overall it was a fun way to spend an afternoon and it was so much food I couldn’t even think about dinner.

Traveling during Golden Week really wasn’t bad. On Sunday we had no trouble taking the metro and maglev to the airport and the lines at the airport were also normal. Hong Kong was fine as well, it didn’t seem any more crowded than during my last visit. The mystery were everyone was, was solved by our friend Ellie: Everyone was stuck in traffic on the way to the Great Wall 😉