Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: china

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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜›

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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‰

Alrighty folks, time to truly relax and enjoy the long Chinese New Year holidays (it began four days ago for us πŸ˜‰ ). 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 πŸ˜›

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 πŸ˜›

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 πŸ˜‰

November 2020

November is usually a month in Wuhan where the weather goes on a rollercoaster ride…or rather, the temperature goes up and down and down down down down down. Yep, here we enter winter 2020, welcome. To be fair, the first three weeks of November were blessed with some gorgeous sunshine and it was so warm and comfortable that you weren’t sure if winter would ever come. Then it came and it came quickly and suddenly, with temperatures dropping overnight from 20 to 9 degrees Celsius. Not fun, Mother Nature, not fun.

Standing on the pedestrian overpass and looking down onto the busy street, I played around with some light settings on my phone one evening. This was before it got unbearably cold…

Bike sharing is both a godsend and a plague in Wuhan – a godsend when you don’t want to walk and don’t want to take the bus but a plague when you see bikes lined up along the sidewalk, taking up much pedestrian space. It’s reasonable when the bikes are lined up properly and in order but this is not always the case. A lot of times you find stranded bikes here and there, even in the middle of a busy road or just abandoned in the bushes…proper manners, people, please!

Stopping by Ziyang Park in the Wuchang district one evening after dinner, looking across a lake to a pagoda on the other side. It seems to be on sort of an island connected by a bridge, but it was temporarily unreachable. Still, I was surprised that such a place exists in Wuhan. The park looked anything but impressive from the outside, but revealed itself once we stepped inside. Perhaps the Yellow Crane Tower has some competition? Heh.

Obligatory photo of cool cloud formations seen on the way to work. Looks like the heavens are opening up as the cloud curtains make way for the morning rays to burst out.

Ohai there? Met a friend in the commercial area known as the “French-style quarters”, Mr. Red-Dog-With-Sunglasses. Seems like he and Mr. Spinning-Duck-With-Sunglasses, featured in October, could be friends πŸ˜›

There were some very nice fall days in November and the colours of the leaves almost looked like they could come close to the brilliance of a Canadian autumn…almost. Well no, not even close, but they were still beautiful and a reminder to cherish the remaining days of autumn before winter arrived.

Found a chic cafΓ© around my residential area and decided to drop by one leisurely Sunday afternoon for a drink and some quiet reading time. I was reading the Chinese translation of Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel GarcΓ­a MΓ‘rquez and on the last few pages as of writinig this (December 3). Such a good book!!

Got a guitar during the 11/11 sales (equivalent of Black Friday)…finally! I’m surprised it took me that long – 2.5 years after coming to China – as I almost immediately got myself a guitar when I arrived in Glasgow. The lack of space was an issue previously but not a problem now. I had been playing around with an ukelele for a while but now it has a big brother – gotta make sure I don’t mix up the two sets of fingerings!

I don’t cook often nowadays because J is such a good cook, but on free Saturdays I like to cook up something just for fun. This is just a regular meal with nothing too new but it was my first time making curry in Wuhan, and it turned out great! The potato cakes were my third try and still didn’t turn out ideally, and I broke the salmon during a flip 😦 Not perfect, but I’d say overall delicious and I give myself 8 stars πŸ˜‰

We are now in the final month of 2020, perhaps the most bizarre year that I’ve lived and one that has no doubt been a challenge for most people worldwide. The countdown begins – could 2020 be gone any sooner?!

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