Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Category Archives: China

April 2021

So, I quit my job, and April 30th was my last day which means…I am now unemployed?! Well, yes, but I will be starting a new job very soon!! Excited to be entering a new chapter of my life in China but at the same time a bit nervous because I will be doing something that I’ve never done before – I will keep you updated on the status of the new job in future posts, once I get into it. Here’s a recap of April 2021.

Surprise roses from Mr. Husband just because 😉 All those hinting finally worked 😛

Spring evening in Wuhan, between rainy seasons, having passed the cold pre-spring phase and not yet having welcomed the pre-summer heat. Perfect weather that’d only last a few days…

Three lone green leaves amidst a sea of dark red, after the rain.

Happy birthday – not to me! We celebrated the birthday of three friends in April with cake, snacks, and good company at our place.

In April I continued exploring more coffee/drinks shops. Often I’d grab my laptop, a book, and a notebook, order a drink, and either write, read, or daydream for a couple of hours on a weekend afternoon. Top left: classic latte; top right: iced lemon jasmine tea; bottom left: matcha-flavoured yogurt drink; bottom right: “dirty” coffee.

Another recent food-related obsession is curry and I’ve been trying various restaurants that serve curry rice. Here’s one of my favourites – crispy tonkatsu with curry on rice. The curry was rich and flavourful, and the tonkatsu was juicy and tender. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Cats welcoming guests to a coffee shop by sitting in a very…interesting position XD

Meet-up with a friend who came back to Wuhan for a brief visit. Good food and a nice long chat to catch up.

Event of the month: surprise proposal!! I was fortunate to be involved in the planning and execution of the proposal, which was a lot of fun and full of joy and laughter. Congratulations to the newly engaged couple!!

Here we are in May and temperatures have gone up to 30+ degrees Celsius already on some days. Bring it on, summer…bring it on!!

March 2021

I’m sick again, ugh! Seems like this always happen during the season-changing periods every year, mostly during the transition from winter to summer and vice versa (spring and fall don’t really exist in Wuhan…) It had been raining non-stop for the past week or so and I’m hoping to get better from this cold in a few days. Meanwhile, a bit late but here’s a snapshot of March 2021 😉

Wuhan is known for its cherry blossoms in March but I prefer the humble plum blossoms that could also be found everywhere.

Here are some cherry blossoms but they were not from Wuhan…this photo was taken in Taiyuan in Shanxi province! ZJ had a weekend business trip and I thought I’d tag along for a few days because I hadn’t been to Taiyuan before…heh 😛

Jinyang Lake in Taiyuan, with the West Hills across from the lake. The lake was actually a lot bigger than I had expected, and I would have liked to stay for a bit longer but it was a rather chilly day and the winds were strong. I could imagine it being gorgeous during the summer in Taiyuan!

A lone bell hanging from a temple along the way during my visit to the giant stone Buddha at Meng Hill in Taiyuan.

Coffee for two in Taiyuan, after ZJ’s lunch with his colleagues and my visit to the stone Buddha at Meng Hill. If you see an owl at the bottom of the large pitcher, you’re not hallucinating – it was sitting on top of an owl coaster, ha!

Iced latte at a coffee shop overlooking the Yangtze River in Wuhan. Lately I’ve been spending a lot of free weekend afternoons exploring independent coffee shops around Wuhan, having a cup of latte and either writing or just chilling and daydreaming…

An unusually nice day in Wuhan, with temperatures in the 20s. The parks are filled with people out to enjoy the sun, including ZJ and me and this couple having a rest side by side.

These plush dolls were not in a shop and were in fact in an open area in a mall where anyone could go up and grab one. But the sign says “There are security camers above watching who is stealing the sheep”…so can I take one or not?!?!?!

Finally, a collage of our dear friend Shanshan who, as usual, likes to pose for the camera, whether she did it on purpose or not. I haven’t yet been scratched or injured by her so we’re still on friendly terms…heh.

February 2021

I’ve been back from my two-week Chinese New Year holidays for more than a week already but let’s admit it, the holidays could always be longer. This year, Chinese New Year was celebrated in my husband’s hometown, with a brief visit to a nearby city in Hubei province beforehand. The week post-CNY was spent in Guangdong province in the south, close to my hometown. Good company, good food, and good times!

Evening stroll along the river that runs through the urban centre of my husband’s hometown.

Abandoned shack in Xianning, a city known for its hot springs. The graffiti on the door says “Zhang Fengming is a pig”. Hmm, I wonder whom Zhang Fengming offended…

Plum blossoms in full bloom in Xianning! Didn’t have to go to the plum blossom gardens in Wuhan to see them this year 😉

We encountered the plum blossoms along the boardwalk that runs along the Crescent Bay in Xianning. ZJ was probably chewing a sugar cane slice (a whole bag in his right hand) as he commented on the beauty of the plum blossoms.

Whereas we were still in mid-winter in Xianning, we immediately entered what felt like mid-summer when we reached Zhuhai in southern Guangdong province. Sun, T-shirts, and iced bubble tea are preferred here! This rainbow staircase in the Hengqin district in Zhuhai further brightened our day!

Instead of plum blossoms, we saw these bright flowers in Zhuhai, tentatively identified as araguaney by a plant-recognition app. Too pretty – I am in awe!

Not smiling here as we were resting during a hike on Jiangjun Hill. It wasn’t a tall hill but there were lots of stairs going up and down and up and down and…up up up. Do not underestimate even the most gentle hills…!

View of Macau in the distance, from the top of Jiangjun Hill. I had been there several times but Jian hadn’t, and the original plan was actually to visit Macau, but with COVID restrictions, that had to be cancelled. So close, but so far away…

Highlight of any trip to Guangdong: FOOD!! From left to right, top to bottom – 1: stir-fried gailan with beef in Zhuhai; 2: steamed garlic oysters in Zhuhai; 3: Hakka-style chicken in Zhuhai; 4: deep-fried spare ribs with beefsteak plant in Zhongshan; 5: wonton and beef brisket noodles in Zhongshan; 6: clay pot rice with chicken and spare ribs in Zhongshan; 7: steamed chicken feet @ dim sum in Shunde; 8: pineapple bun with roasted pork filling @ dim sum in Shunde; 9: shrimp pork dumplings (siumai) @ dim sum in Shunde. This is my type of food – I MISS IT SO MUCH!!

In the last photo, I mentioned Zhongshan and Shunde (a district of Foshan), which are cities in Guangdong that we visited after Zhuhai but didn’t further show in the photos. These places, especially Shunde, are known as food havens in China and they did not disappoint. With limited time, we were only able to sample a small portion of the local gastronomy offered by Zhongshan and Shunde. This definitely wouldn’t be the last visit…I will be back!!!

January 2021

Happy new year…again?! Yep, it’s Chinese New Year in three days and we’re on holidays. It’s also been over one year since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak and the initiation of Wuhan’s lockdown, and…how things have changed. This January has certainly been a lot livelier than the last, at least here in China. As usual, stay safe, everyone!

It’s sunset time again – this time across from the ancient city wall in Jingzhou, a city that holds an important place in Chinese history during the Three Kingdoms period.

I always find the patterns of branches fascinating and am often surprised by what awaits me when I look up during a walk through the woods. Though most of the branches are bare and leafless, they are such an intricate beauty!

You might think this is a work of Chinese ink painting and you’d be wrong. But it certainly is an amazing art of nature – these are actual shadows of bamboo shoots against a wall in the evening. When I saw this I literally said, “This is so beautiful!!” I had to walk through the bamboo bush to get close enough to the wall for the photo but I simply love how it turned out!

A visit to a museum (Wuhan Municipal Museum featured here) isn’t complete without some imitation art. Here ZJ is the live version of the heroic General Yue Fei – 80% resemblance, at least?

Crossing the Moon Lake Bridge from Hanyang to Hankou in Wuhan, on a lovely evening after a birthday meal for the husband…

…and this is the view of Moon Lake Bridge from the 24th floor, where we had the birthday dinner at a home-based restaurant. The view over the Han River is definitely one of the selling points of this small, cozy restaurant!

Happy birthday to my loveliest Mr. ZJ. Thankful for another adventurous year with you ❤

Another meal here, but at a much more local and down-to-earth restarant in Jingzhou. Piping hot dumplings in the midst of winter – can we dig in yet?!

Hello and meow. During my Wuhan coffee shop explorations I visited this chic shop, which sold an item named quinoa coffee. You can’t see it here but there’s actually quinoa at the bottom of the cup…definitely something new for me to try. And this little kitty seemed to want to join the coffee party 😉

Alrighty folks, time to truly relax and enjoy the long Chinese New Year holidays (it began four days ago for us 😉 ). See you in the year of the ox!

December 2020

Happy new year! Just like that, we left 2020 behind, for better or for worse, but we still gotta look back on the final month of 2020. Before that, I just want to present some brief stats for the blog: 9 entries were posted in 2018, 19 in 2019, and 38 in 2020 – a huge improvement! Looking back, there was a period of time when I had way too much free time on my hands because of COVID-19, and a lot of blogging happened then, mainly with the Japan and Norway series. These entries were of course not all posted at once, but they were pretty much written within the same period of time. One of the goals of 2021 is to blog more but I think that’s been a goal for the past few years…I mean, at least we saw some gradual improvement, right? Let’s try to do better than just posting the monthly summaries this year. First post of 2021, here we go!

Catching a fiery sunset in the quiet countryside of Hubei province. I love the silhouette of the trees and houses against the setting sun.

The moon was unusually round and especially bright on the eve of New Year’s Eve (yes, you read that correctly, December 30) and this photo doesn’t do it justice. Maybe even the moon was ready to say goodbye to 2020 for good…

I often take time during my lunch break to walk around outside even during the winter, and here is a random area beside a creek near my workplace. This photo was shot from an angle that makes it look somewhat clean and serene whereas in reality, the creek was full of trash and next to a road where loud trucks pass by frequently. But hey, you could always pretend or hope to be in a nicer place 😛

Headed to the Wuhan Garden Expo on a beautiful day with Mr.J, taking advantage of free admission until the end of the year. The Expo itself was nothing too impressive, but it was pleasant to spend a full lazy Saturday with Mr.J (no group meeting!) outdoors.

Our food explorations happen on a daily basis where every Friday I pick a new restaurant to try. This time we went for Japanese soy milk hot pot (tonyu nabe), which is something that I’d honestly never heard of but sounded great. With the soy-based hot pot we got a side order of fried shrimp and plum wine (along with other items not pictured here), all of which were lovely complements to the delicious hot pot itself ❤

Ohai. I don’t remember if Shanshan here has been featured on the blog before, but there’s always room for more cat photos. In fact I think I took too many photos of Shanshan that day from too many angles…

…and who is that behind the emoji pillow but yours truly?! There was a prize draw for the new year at the office and I picked up this guy from the draw – lucky me 😛

Went trampolining with some friends and one of the activities was wearing a sticky spider suit and jump-sticking onto the spider web…harder than it looks!! I didn’t manage to jump very high at all but Mr.J did pretty well. In fact, he seemed to enjoy his time on the web so much that I wasn’t sure I wanted to help him get down from there.

Happy husband, happy wife, happy to be healthy and with each other through thick and thin. Adios forever, 2020!

I’ve decided to revive Picture Worthy, which has been inactive since 2017, with a new series called “Alphabetical Cities”. Head on over and check it out, and don’t forgot to also take a look at The Food Gallery, which is updated on even-numbered dates. Till next post 😉

%d bloggers like this: