Guangzhou Day 2

Day 2 in China complete. We spent most of the day tired and hot, but we did find a little bit of adventure.

We only had two things that needed to get done today:

  1. Get train tickets at the train station.
  2. Pick up needed items at the Super Market.

The trip to the train station was just like we remembered, insufferable. We did make it there, but our souring attitudes from our lack of sleep didn’t allow us to maintain the patience we needed to actually buy tickets.

The trip to the Super Market, on the other hand, was a lot of fun. We love visiting foreign super markets, particularly the fresh meat and produce sections. It is alarming how much time we spend just looking at the various products.

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What is this stuff? Who knows?!

We were dead tired after our “easy” chores for the day, so we went back to the hostel, had lunch, and took a much needed nap.

After our nap, we took a short walk through the Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street. It is the main pedestrian-only shopping street in Guangzhou, similar to Nanjing Rd in Shanghai or Las Ramblas in Barcelona. It was a really nice change from our dirty neighborhood location. It was clean, lively, and full of colors. We enjoyed a stroll from one end to the other just reminiscing about the Shop Shop girls in Shenzhen.

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We were in high spirits at the start of our walk, but pretty quickly fell back into tired mode. We slowly picked our way home and stopped at a nice restaurant on the way. It was little more expensive than we would have liked ($14), but it was the food we had been missing and the perfect way to send ourselves back to bed.

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Iron Plate Beef and Garlic Broccoli

We returned home, kissed each other goodnight and fell immediately and completely asleep.

 

 

 

Guangzhou, China Day Two

Day 2 in China complete. We spent most of the day tired and hot, but we did find a little bit of adventure.

I have created a basic routine when it comes to travel. Day one is usually spent sleeping and exploring the immediate area to get ourselves acquainted with our new home. My Day Two travel routine is mostly about getting stuff done. It is the day I finalize any unfinished arrangements, unpack, buy groceries, and make my plans for the rest of the week. Today was no different. Thankfully, we really only had three major items on our to-do list.

Day Two Travel Routine

  1. Get train tickets at the train station
  2. Pick up needed items at the Super Market
  3. Take a walk to minimize jet lag

Pick Up Train Tickets

I try and arrange as much in advance as possible, but in China, it can be a little challenging. Train tickets, for example, are difficult to buy more than a week in advance (unless you want to pay American prices). So, in China, my day two travel routine, almost always includes a trip to the train station to prepare for our next stop.

The trip to the train station was just like we remembered, absolutely insufferable. We did make it there, but our souring attitudes from our lack of sleep didn’t allow us to maintain the patience we needed to actually buy tickets.

Our walk to the station was rainy and cold, finding the ticket office was an adventure all of its own, and waiting in a line that never moved was beyond frustrating. After about an hour of impatiently wondering why our 30 person long line didn’t seem to be moving at all, we finally gave up. “If at first you don’t succeed, have something delicious to eat, take a nap, and try again tomorrow.”

When travel gets hard, it is important to re-adjust.

Pick up Groceries at the Market

My favorite part about my day two travel routine is the trip to the Super Market. It is almost always a lot of fun. We love visiting foreign super markets, particularly the fresh meat and produce sections. It is alarming how much time we spend just looking at the various products.

day two travel routine super market trip with a collage of tropical fruits, large crabs, dried bugs, and dried squid
What is this stuff? Who knows?!

We purchased packs of tissues (a must have item in China), some shampoo, and a few snacks. The 10 minute activity took nearly an hour by the time we finished playing the “what do you think this is?” in the candy aisle, or “name that animal” in the meat department.

We were dead tired after our “easy” chores for the day, so we went back to the hostel, had lunch, and took a much needed nap.

Check us out using the same travel routine in Melbourne, Australia. ♥

Afternoon Walk

After our nap, we took a short walk through the Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street. I like to make sure that a long walk is included in the day two travel routine as it is a great way to reduce the effects of jet lag.

Shangxiajiu is the main pedestrian-only shopping street in Guangzhou, similar to Nanjing Rd in Shanghai or Las Ramblas in Barcelona. It was a really nice change from our dirty neighborhood location. The street was clean, lively, and full of colors. We enjoyed a stroll from one end to the other just reminiscing about the Shop Shop girls in Shenzhen.

Our day two travel routine always includes a walk to reduce the effects of jet lag. Find a pedestrian street and just wander.

We were in high spirits at the start of our walk, but pretty quickly fell back into tired mode. It was very obvious that it was time to slowly pick our way home and have dinner. Dinner was a little more expensive than we would have liked ($14), but it was the food we had been missing and the perfect way to send ourselves back to bed.

Read more about what we ate for dinners in China. ♥

"If at first you don't succeed, eat some delicious food, take a nap, and try again tomorrow." My day two travel routine strategy included this tasty meal of simmering beef and onions and stir-fry broccolli
Iron Plate Beef and Garlic Broccoli

We returned home, kissed each other goodnight and fell immediately and completely asleep.

 

 

 

The Eagles Have Landed

We’re here! Despite a couple of small hiccups, it was a surprisingly easy travel day.

We’re here! Despite a couple of small hiccups, it was a surprisingly easy travel day. Our plane had some technical issues in Seattle causing us to be grounded for the night. It was a wonderful little side trip though. The airline booked us in a decent hotel near by with some food vouchers. We ate well, slept well, and woke up refreshed for the next day.

Everything went off without a hitch the following day. The flight from Seattle to Beijing was a quick(!) eleven hours. We were fed more than we needed and offered beer and wine regularly. I tried the Yanjing Beer, but mostly enjoyed one of my final opportunities to enjoy copious amounts of coffee for the next couple months.

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We landed in Beijing about 30 minutes late, but customs went quickly and we made it to our connecting flight just as it started boarding. We were two of only three foreigners on the plane. The other one sat between Josh and I for some reason. She was… different. Needless to say, we made it pretty obvious that we were not with her whenever we could.

The flight from Beijing to Guangzhou was a very long(!) 3.5 hours, but once again we were fed way more than necessary and able to keep pretty busy despite the fact that we had to power down our cell phones… not just airplane mode… POWER DOWN.

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We landed in Guangzhou just a little past 1:00AM. We hit the bathrooms, the ATM, and grabbed a taxi to downtown. Due to the delay in Seattle, I had to cancel our reservation at our hostel and just showed up this morning hoping they would have space. Thankfully, they did, but in separate dorm rooms.

[I’ll get you all a full rundown on the hostel once my roommate wakes her lazy butt up.]

We kissed good-night at the top of the stairs and agreed to text each other once we got settled into our bunks. Of course, it wasn’t until we got into our bunks that we experienced some of our first issues with the Great Fire Wall of China. I messaged him in every medium I could think of. I eventually got through to him by commenting on one of his beer tastings in Untapped.

I had a short, but nice sleep. I only had one roommate and she did not get in until 4am. Josh and I met again in the morning, got him worked out with Skype messaging (the best way to get a hold of us currently), got dressed, and went on a hunt for breakfast.

There are plenty of things that turn me off to China, but the food is something that just keeps bringing me back. Even just a walk down the crowded and dusty street after very little sleep was punctuated by greatness from all of the sights and smells of the food stalls and restaurants.

We ended up eating at a little hole in the wall place serving up some of my favorite breakfast pastries. Since we are in Southern China, they also had a nice collection of dim sum. Everything was amazing and immediately got me excited for the day.

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Left to Right: red bean paste stuffed sweet pastry, egg and green onion pastry thing, steamed bun, and some pork yummies.

The plan for the day is to run a couple of major errands, but otherwise take it pretty easy. I’m not totally stoked on our hostel, so we are going to head to the train station and book our tickets to Guilin. Then we need to do some shopping to pick up some little things. Besides that, our only other goals are to eat delicious food, meet a couple of the other hostel guests, and maybe/hopefully take a nap.

That’s it. We are safe, well fed, not particularly well rested, but ready to adventure.

Work Update

An update of our work and income for the month.

If there’s one question we’ve been asked more than any other, it’s “How can you afford this?” Most people are a little hesitant; after all, it’s a bit taboo to just ask about someone’s finances. For us, though, it’s not an uncomfortable question at all. We completely understand that this lifestyle is new and confusing to just about everyone, including us!

Basically, this trip is our attempt to follow our life-long dreams and give one final shot at being “everything we always wanted to be” before settling down with a white picket fence and a yard full of dogs and kids. Both of us have goals that we’ve never even tried to reach before, and we found ourselves with an opportunity to really give these new careers 100%. The trade-off is that we lose some stability, for a while at least. For now, these are our jobs, and how we plan to keep on living.

When I grow up, I want to be a travel show host… or at least a travel writer like my heroes Rick Steves and Samantha Brown. I’m writing this blog, spending at least 2-3 hours on social media each day promoting the blog, and planning adventures that are blog-worthy. Right now, my official work title is Travel Blogger and I make money whenever my readers click on ad links on my page. This month, I made $0.57!!! It may not sound like much, but I did literally nothing more than exactly what I wanted to do. As someone who has spent many years getting paid to do things I didn’t want to do, this is a pretty big deal.

WordAds Earnings ‹ The Places We Live — WordPress com
This is my payment summary for the month: $0.57!!!! I’m famous!!!!

Josh wants to be a writer. He is quite a bit more cautious than I am, and therefore doesn’t feel comfortable without having a little bit of “real work” on the side. So, Josh does a little bit of science and freelance writing on Upwork making an average of $200 per month so far. One of his ongoing gigs is translating scientific papers about cannabis research as a PhD news author for CannaHealth.org.

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One of Josh’s first publications for CannaHealth

Josh’s real focus, however, is on creative writing. He is 55,000 words (159 pages) into his novel and has written several short stories and flash fictions. His goal is to publish as many of his shorter stories as possible to improve his exposure and improve his chances of signing with an agent. So far, his publications have been limited to “exposure pay”, which means he gets a place to post his stories where a lot of people will read them, but it doesn’t pay any money. He has been applying for paid publications and has been rejected from a couple, but he has been keeping his head high and continues to submit.

He got his very first exposure piece published last week through The Weekly Knob, a website with over 9,500 followers that “prompts writers to write.” Every week, it provides writers with a random prompt to write about. Last week’s prompt was “Bowling Ball.” The submitted stories must be central to the prompt word and is recommended to be under a six minute read. Josh submitted his embellished story about the time he stole a bowling ball in college and was awarded with Editor’s Choice!

The Weekly Knob
Josh’s first publication on The Weekly Knob

Not including the sale of our car and all of our wonderful Christmas gifts, our income was $216 this month. It is not even close to our goal of $800 per month, but we are trying to remember that we are starting over with our careers. It took us a long time and a lot of work to get the salary we wanted with our last jobs. We are going to be patient and stay determined to give our dream jobs everything we have!