• 29Oct

    Hmmm…. So I saw this outside my friend’s window. Not sure it’s a good idea to stand on a small piece of metal when your 3+ stories high to do work.

    20121030-013715.jpg

    So while standing there is not the best idea…. I’m pretty sure welding the piece that he is standing on while he is standing on it, is an even worse idea, but he does it anyway.

    But I’m not sure if it’s a worse or a better idea than his partner using his hand as a shield to protect his eyes from the welding sparks. But I suppose it’s one way to tan your palms.

    Oh China you really do entertain me daily.

    Lup

  • 20Oct

    It’s really funny to hear people saying “ahoy”, not quite twice like Mr. Burns, but you can’t help but think about that or sailors.

    Anyway, on to the real story.

    The last full day here in Czech Republic and Europe we headed on a three hour train with the hope of finding my friend’s family. He had no phone numbers, hardly remembered people’s names and no addresses. What we had was faith. I didn’t realize that this city, that wasn’t Prague, was going to be so big. I guess I thought it was going to be a small little country town. Instead it was a full blown metropolis. It had two stops for the main train and then it’s own trolley system within the city. Now I realize how crazy this was going to be. Luckily my friend remembered a stop near his brother in laws restaurant hotel and he recognized it as we passed by. We hoped that he would be there or that at least someone would know how to contact him. We walked in the door and asked the first person we saw. Success number one the waiter knew the brother in law, fail number one he wasn’t in. So the waiter asked what we wanted and we told him we were just here to find him. So he went in the back and out came the wife. The two recognized each other immediately and began to talk. She quickly went to the back and ordered up some food for us.

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    (Traditional Czech food of duck, cabbage (a little sweet), and potato dumplings)

    Then she came back out and talked with my friend for a long while. She went into the back again to try to round up the family. After our late lunch we went to his sister in laws house and they met with tears and a warm embrace. It was quite a good moment.

    Later in the night the brother in law joined us with his daughter. They sat and just caught up for the whole evening.

    I have never honestly seen my friend in his element. He’s always frantic, stumbling over words and often awkward. But the moment he stepped into his wife’s brother’s restaurant he was a different man. As we went from house to house reuniting him with his family, he was the center of attention and thrived. He told stories with humor, that were captivating and filled with questions from his audience. Maybe I have no idea what was going on or if he was staying on topic, but based on everyone’s expressions, captivated looks and the repeating of the word “eh noin” and “yo” which seems to mean understand and ok, it seemed that he was right on track.

    We took the last train back to Prague (another 3 hour tour!) and arrived back to the hotel around 4am!

    It was long and tiring but great to see my friend see his family again. They exchanged emails and will hopefully be back in contact with each other. Lets hope that this isn’t the last time that they will get to see each other.

    It was good to get to see the non tourist life of Czech Republic too. It’s always good to see different lifestyles.

    I’m on my way home! It’s been a good week but all good things must come to an end. But at least every end is a new beginning!

    Lastly a picture of the Czech Republic country side. It was very very beautiful. The leaves were just starting to change colors and the landscapes were gorgeous. I highly recommend the train ride through this area.

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    Lup

  • 18Oct

    A few hour flight and I feel like I’ve gone a thousand plus years on the time machine. From Ancient Rome to bohemian Prague. What a difference. The churches got pointier, the statues have color, and the people now speak a language that I can’t even begin to figure out.


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    I’m still trying to find the church to go with steeple. Maybe then when I open the doors I’ll see all the people.

    My first impressions of Prague is that it reminds me a lot of Paris. I guess the architecture designs come from about the same eras so it makes sense. But with the river running through Prague and the bridges plus all the elaborate gothic churches, it’s a better comparison to Paris than it is to Rome.

    The hotel here is amazing. I’ll post pictures of the view when there is better light. But I just watched tv while brushing my hair and teeth, AT THE SINK. I was thoroughly entertained by the B2K boys followed by Lauren Hill music videos haha! Old school!

    Tonight I had some deer meat and potato dumplings. Ate every bite of it!

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    We watched the famous clock show. It’s cute but I’m glad I only waited 10 minutes for it. The cool part was trying to figure out the lower part of the clock.

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    Not sure anyone knows what time it is.

    Here’s a picture of me with the Czech White House in the background.

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    Tomorrow we are off to my friend’s hometown. Hopefully we can make contact with some of his family.

    Lup

  • 17Oct

    Today I went to a different cathedral hoping to light a candle for my friend’s wife. St. Pete’s didn’t have any candles or candle like things. Today we went to Santa Maria something something cathedral. There you could put money into the candle box and then it was like something you’d see at the fair. Atop the box was about 20 electric candles and after your money went in one would blink several times so you knew which one was yours and then it stayed lit. All very strange. These churches sure made sure that if you wanted to donate that it wouldn’t be an inconvenience to you. They were almost every 15 feet! So we asked where we might be able to light real candles and we got a lecture about how real candles would be a hazard to these churches, after our lecture we were told of a little church just down the street. Success! Real candles! Of course for a cost, but just 0.35 euros each. He lit the candle said a prayer and we completed out quest.

    Next we journeyed over to the Spanish steps. I thought that I was in Italy but I guess these steps were imports or something. They are supposedly famous so here is a pic of me with them!

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    Rome has been nice. It seems like one of those places that you could keep coming back to and still find new things to see.

    Strange enough though Luplup wants to go back to China. If not for anything but to at least restore meaning to my website. LupLup doesn’t belong in Italy but rather China! I’m ready to be able to fully communicate again, but I need to make another stop before I get to go back.

    Off to Prague!

    Meanwhile, enjoy, through proxy, the food of Rome.

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    Breakfast or dessert, why not dessert for breakfast. Some type of chocolate pastry I had my first morning here.

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    I tried my best to go with the more rare authentic Italian meals. Here is gnocchi, a potato dumpling dish.

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    Thanks TopChef tv show for helping me to know more Italian food than just pizza and spaghetti! Here is a seafood risotto. It was really tasty.

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    Alright so I had to try a REAL pizza. The dough was really good. There was nothing special as far as flavor, but it was still really good!

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    An eggplant Parmesan. I enjoyed the breading. It was more like a fish fry batter. Good flavor.

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    Calamari with some type of noodle that I don’t know how to spell. It was an egg flat noodle. The sauce was a butter lemon sauce. Quite tasty.

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    Lasagna. Not the prettiest dish. But really good! It just might have been the best thing I had. Save the best for last right?

    Oh and of course…

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    Gelato. The light brown flavor was good. I have no idea what flavor it was but it was a creamy nutish chocolatish wafer like flavor.

    Fun food! Definitely not Chinese!

    More from Prague.

    Lup

  • 16Oct

    Visiting the Vatican City today was an interesting journey in more than just one way.

    Firstly, it was strange to see so many secular statues of Roman leaders and Roman gods. There was even an animal room. I guess I would have expected those things to be in a different museum, and not in the Vatican. But what do I know. I guess they needed to fill the halls with something. Mostly the Vatican City was like a Disney que trying to space out the tens of thousands of people trying to see the Sistine chapel. We were on an actual three hour tour, yes a three hour tour! After all the corridors and halls we spent all of 15 minutes in the actual Sistine chapel. It was incredible but not really a great experience. It was way too crowded, it’s really hard to get a good look at it because its all really high (with the exception of the Final Judgement) and while in the front part you can’t even take pictures. You could easily spend a full day in there looking at the millions of details that are in each section of everything. It would be awesome to rent out jet packs or hover machines so you could get up and close with it to really see it. But instead you get a neck ache and move on. The more impressive sight was St. Peter’s cathedral. That thing is massive. (Yes it’s the biggest, but there were these little angels on the wall that look all figurine-like compared to the massive columns that they’re mounted on, but then the tour guide tells you that those “little guys” are 2 meters tall!). The most impressive thing were the mosaics that were in the cathedral. They were created to duplicate famous paintings. They are of huge size and with so much detail that you can’t even tell that it’s a mosaic and not a painting.

    So while I was on my three hour tour, my friend took a fateful trip. He lasted a whole 14 minutes on the tour before he got lost. These tours here are pretty smart they hand out these walkie talkie receivers with headphones so everyone can hear the tour guide without forcing the tour guide to yell. Apparently my friend spent way too much time in one room and couldn’t hear the tour leader, thought his batteries ran out so he panicked and went backwards and lost the group. When I realized that he wasn’t with us I went back down the hall, but apparently he had already frantically went back somewhere else. So there was no choice for me but to run down the hall one more time for another search and then catch back up with the group. Three hours later I am leaving the cathedral area and lo and behold I hear my name called out and there he is. At least he had good enough sense to figure out where the last stop on the tour was and where everyone was going to have to exit so he waited there.

    All in all I saw a lot of paintings, saw even more statues, saw a lot of Jesus, saw even more of Peter, experienced the Sistine chapel, saw where all the Catholic church’s money went at one point (that cathedral was not cheap to build! Or furnish!), and for the most point enjoyed it all.

    Here’s some photos from today!

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    Discus anyone?

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    Hmm let me think about it….

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    Mary did you know?

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    The great work and me! It’s funny to have such a strict area where no photos are allowed (I watched the security guy yell at someone and make them delete all photos from there!) and then a free area in the back where all kinds of photos can be taken. Maybe it keeps the line moving? Side note: it’s not much of a chapel in there. More like a decorated room. Doesn’t look like it will be handles any weddings anytime soon.

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    St. Pete’s Place

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    The hallway to the pope!

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    Here’s an example of the mosaics I was talking about.

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    The Pantheon. Definitely out of place in this quaint little Italian style housing district. It’s like something from the wizard of oz, a tornado hit Greece and this giant building landed in the middle of modern Rome.

    Lots of walking today but I got to see some more great sites!

    Candle lighting time tomorrow.

    Lup

  • 15Oct

    Jet lag was kinda nice for day one. Coming from China to Rome means that everything is 4 hours earlier. So the first night I went to bed at a reasonable hour of 10pm and woke up refreshed at 6am. This is what it must be like to be a morning person! I see the perks. We were out the door by 7:30 and on to see things.

    My morning view out the hotel window.

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    We began to just walk and see where we ended up. Here’s some of the sites, I can’t tell you their names because we weren’t on a tour but I’m sure that a lot of them are famous!

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    Arch dome building place.

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    Now I know that Italians like gelato but this flavor looks kinda gross.

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    Broken building park area

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    I call this: Light at the End of the Hallway.

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    “Are you not entertained? Is this not what you came here to see?”
    I was bummed there were no fights scheduled for today. But it looks like they’re working on restoring it, so maybe next time.

    20121015-203504.jpg

    The “Not so famous but frequently photographed because its next to the Colosseum so it must be important” place.

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    Throw your money over your shoulder fountain.

    Here’s some stuff that I was writing while enjoying my time at the Trevi Fountain.

    20121015-204013.jpg

    He looks like one of those cherubs. There’s something about these cherub’s eyes. This intense look. I’m not sure if its because I’m always looking for gentle eyes amid the plush face and wavy hair, but cherubs always have these mature eyes. As I sit staring at this fountain my eyes can’t seem to see much besides this character and his eyes.

    What a strange place. This fountain at the back of someone’s house, that millions if not billions annually come to see. Maybe it makes those people with fountains in their front yards not seem so bad. Maybe it’s a good ploy to get people to start throwing money at your house.

    What is it that makes these places landmarks? Is it because they’re old? Is it because they’re unique or is it the story and the history? Ever wonder what people will be looking at in 100 years, 500 years or even 1,000 years from now? How many curators will be taking tours around the great arena of Dodger Stadium? Telling of the “giants” slain on the field…

    Today at the colosseum we learned that it mostly looks the way it does today because it became obsolete and so they took all the good stuff and used it to build other things. Historians and visitors wish that it had been seen as a great monument then as we do now. If only it still had all the white stone and marble covering the facade. Ever wonder what potential national treasures we are destroying now?

    I spent most of time at places people watching. It’s fun to see different fashion, hear different languages and see different culture. Some of the best stuff to watch is some people’s complete disregard for other people. Standing in front of people, pushing people aside, walking through pictures or walking into you. Sure a lot of it might be cultured based but it doesn’t make it any less fun to watch.

    That’s day one in a nutshell. Off to the Vatican tomorrow.

    Lup

  • 15Oct

    So I guess I need to change the name of my blog to “Luplup goes to see the world” or something like that. What a crazy journey that God has put me on. In high school, and even college, you see your travel hungry classmates just waiting for a break so that they can go backpacking across Europe, surf in Puerto Rico, walk the Great Wall, etc… I was the kid that was always saying “why would you want to do that?” I believe that at one point I even told my good friend that I would never work abroad. And yet here I am, living in China, having visited more foreign countries and cities in the last few years than I ever had in my other years as an adult. So where’s the kid who doesn’t like to travel headed off to now… She’s about to add Rome and Prague to the list.

    My good friend and I are off to fulfill his late wife’s last wish and light a candle for her at St. Peter’s Cathedral. After doing that we’re off to his hometown so that he can see his home country again.

    And now I’d like to add that while I don’t like traveling, this trip has put a new perspective on traveling. You really haven’t traveled until you’ve been given the opportunity to sit in the REAL seats on the plane, you know the ones in the front. You hardly even notice you’re on a plane until some turbulence comes around or until you need to go to the bathroom (off topic but I find it odd that with everything else being so much better up in the front, why is the bathroom not better? Sure, it’s less crowded, instead of waiting in a line of six, there are only six other people who would use THAT bathroom, but still, not even a little upgrade in there?).

    So for those of you who haven’t had the opportunity yet, what are the perks?

    -drinks in a glass, not just a small dumb plastic cup
    -a center console to put your drinks and various other materials on it so that you don’t always have to have your tray table down.
    -a seat that’s pretty much a recliner that you see at Brokstone minus the massage features
    -fancy meals: having to choose between abalone or lamb or veal or cod
    -ice cream for dessert
    -good snacks for whenever like fresh fruit, Oreos, chocolates, or even ramen noodles.
    -no carts rolling by hitting your elbows, everything is hand carried out
    -a comforter as a blanket not just a piece of fabric
    -a good sized pillow that doesn’t make crunching noises
    -slippers, sleeping clothes (yes a full set, button up top and bottoms) and a vanity kit
    -complementary noise canceling head phones to use for the flight
    -not having to wait in long lines: security, the check in counter and the boarding area all have their own line
    -getting to hang out in the lounge during layovers or before your flight, making that extra time so much less annoying. Free food, drink, wifi and comfy chairs rock.
    -good transport from the plane to the baggage claim area. (In the States this means nothing, but here in China they often make their own gates out in the middle of nowhere. So you have to disembark the plane and then cram onto a bus to take you to the terminal. It’s really lame to be smashed in the back of a plane for x number of hours get of for a few minutes just to be crammed standing up in a bus. The good seats qualify you to ride in a posh van that is only for the front people. No smashing, much faster, and no standing…)
    -your luggage comes out first!

    I’m not sure how many of these things are universal across all airlines or other flights, but it has been pretty much awesome. Basically it’s been fun to be that person that I’ve watched from a distance for so long. I’ve always thought it would be fun to try it and today I got to! So cool. I still kinda can’t believe it. Maybe I’ll stay on the plane and just skip the Rome and Prague parts. Hehe.

    Here’s some fun pics!

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    Fancy pod chairs!

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    Chair control!

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    My “mouth amuser”. It was quite tasty.

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    Artsy pic of my glass.

    More to come from the actual trip!

    Lup

  • 14Oct

    WeiWei celebrated her 7th birthday the other day. It started off kinda rough though. Her birthday fell on a Saturday this year so we were excited that we could spend the whole day playing but her school had a make up day scheduled.

    But in China it’s funny, when there is a pending holiday coming up like 4th of July or Columbus Day, and you’ll get a day or a week of vacation, at the schools they try to make up as much of the missed time as possible by adding classes on Saturdays and Sundays! So you get that holiday day off but you sacrifice some other day for it.

    This birthday was going to be WeiWei’s first birthday party. In China it’s mostly the old people who celebrate birthdays. More like a “congratulations you’re still alive” party instead of a “it’s your special day” party. It was also going to be the first time for her sisters and parents to see a “Western” style birthday party. There were balloons, presents and cake. All things that the young generation is starting to embrace but its just starting to trend. WeiWei’s older sisters used to receive a red egg on their birthday when her parents remembered that it was their birthday.

    With my dad coming into town a few weeks ago, that meant there was a bunch of princess stuff to wrap for gifts along with things that others brought. She had quite the pile.

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    When it was time to open them she proclaimed in a very attitude filled voice, “which one am I supposed to open?” We informed her that they were all hers and she could pick. To which she replied, “how am I supposed to know what’s inside them?” Every gift was a seemingly hassle to open and if there was a box under the paper she’d state, “aww another box….” Such a funny kid.

    20121008-181045.jpg

    See what I mean! Haha.

    She was good about giving a kiss and saying thank you to everyone who gave her something. Here she is with her cute new hat.

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    When it was time to blow out the candles she was working hard to try to find someone else to do it for her. It was going to be hard work! Luckily we were able to persuade her to do it herself.

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    Funny kid, fun day! The only problem is: have I created an expectation now? What will next year need to be like? Hehe. All I know is that maybe we’ve created an attitude monster!

    Lup

  • 10Oct
    Uncategorized Comments Off on Quick Pic #19

    I passed. Maybe I should apply for the bomb squad since I am now officially explosion proof.

    20121008-175705.jpg

    Lup

  • 08Oct

    The other week I took and adventure up to ShangHai. In the past I had only ever been to the airport and never anything more. I never had any interest in the city, that is until my dad was called there for work!

    He was in town for a week so I knew I HAD to see him on his first trip over. It is so cool how Gd works. I thought that there would never be anyway that my parents or family would ever come over here to see China. I knew that China in general had little appeal to my family and I’m sure that my stories don’t really help to encourage anyone to come, so I never made any expectations or hopes for any visitors. My parents always said that me getting to come home for Christmas was a much better deal than having to go over there to see me. I agree. A lot of the families that are over here don’t or can’t go home for Christmas. To some, they are married with kids, so it can get costly to go home plus they have the advantage that their family is there WITH them. For others, they come from a small family where Christmas is nothing exciting or special. No Christmas trees decorations or any of that fun stuff, so to them celebrating it here is just as good. And still for other friends here, they have made “new family” here and would rather spend it here with their closest friends. For me, I love getting to see my family on Christmas Day! So I’d much rather come home too. That time is too precious to me. So back to the point…. With me coming home for Christmas there was really no chance for my folks to head out this way! But now that my dad should be making multiple trips a year out here, they’re starting to talk of not just going to Shanghai but maybe even coming down south to where I am! So cool!

    Anyway, had a great few days with my dad. I was really proud of him. I was worried that the differences would drive my dad crazy but he was really accepting. He said he wasn’t quite used to the crazy driving and that he had several eventful rides. But he also did things like try duck tongue and walk around town. It was a short time, but really good to see a face from home over on this side of the world!

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    Here we are at the Bund with the classic Shanghai skyline in the background.

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    We visited this building that had a “miniature” model of the inner city of Shanghai. It was huge! It’s crazy how many buildings make up this city and how many people live there.

    Fun times!

    Lup

   

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