Simon & Martina

If you can’t get yourself to Asia to live the fabulous life of, say an English teacher, just check out one of the over 1000 videos Simon and Martina have made in which they share their discoveries of their old home Korea and their new home Tokyo.

Warning! After watching this I wanted to buy a yukata.

After watching this you’ll want to eat Japanese ice cream. Hard to come by in most places, but a lot cheaper than a yukata.

Here’s some good advice on the protocol of Korean spas, which are worth a visit if you’re in Korea.

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Silent Sunday

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Seoul’s Cafe Culture

When I lived in Seoul there weren’t anywhere near as many kinds of cafés. I remember going to a Barbie™ café, but it ran out of business.

The lamb café was quite close to where I was when I visited in April. Too bad I hadn’t seen this video.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant

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1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts.

Other great photos:

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Silent Sunday

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Hotel Review: Grand Mercure Dongchen

The Grand Mercure Dongchen offers beautiful rooms and good service. I actually reserved a room here by accident. I wanted to book a room at the Mercure by Beijing’s South Cathedral, but inadvertently booked this location.

I found the staff welcoming and the room, a junior suite modern and comfortable. (I’ve stayed at enough Accor hotels this year to get upgrades for each reservation.)

One nice touch was that they printed their hotel guide on scrolls to harken to Beijing’s past.

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The hotel is within walking distance of the Yonghegong Tibetan Temple and the Drum and Bell Towers, but these sites are really, in my opinion, of interest for travellers who’ve already seen Beijing’s most famous sites like the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, and Summer Palace. They’re nice but not essential to see. It’s nowhere near the cathedral I wanted to get to and got lost finding. While I think it’s a lot newer

It’s not very crowded and the cocktail buffet had meagre offerings compared with busier hotels.

All in all, I’d suggest staying here if business brings you to north central Beijing but don’t bother with the Executive Lounge as you’ll probably need to eat more anyway. Room service would be the way to go.

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Charlie

Charlie singing

Charlie singing

This weekend I went to Beijing with some friends, one whose travel style is higher than mine. She doesn’t like to take public transportation so she’s been hiring a driver, Charlie, to take her around. I just wouldn’t consider hiring a driver a $100 or more a day. It’s not something English teachers can afford, though business teachers can. (So become a business teacher if you want to make big bucks.)

My friend arranged for Charlie, her driver, to take us around on Saturday. He picked us up at 9:30 and he was full of energy. Neat as a pin, and jovial as can be, Charlie drove us to the Silk Market, then to “The Village,” another shopping area and finally to the Pearl Market. As he drove he sang Peking Opera songs. He’s self-taught and quite good, or we thought so. He’s really serious about opera and after each song, he supplied a synopsis in English.

Not only was he a fun driver, Charlie was a very safe driver and hospitable. He’s lead an interesting life growing up in village near Shanghai, becoming a “little boss” in a factory, meeting his one love there, teaching himself English and opera and eventually starting a driving business which now consists of a fleet of 12 drivers.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Day

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other great photos:

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Travel Theme: Gray

Longmen Caves, Luoyang

Longmen Caves, Luoyang

Longmen Caves, Luoyang

Longmen Caves, Luoyang

National Art Museum of China, Beijing

National Art Museum of China, Beijing

National Art Museum of China, Beijing

National Art Museum of China, Beijing

Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack? invites bloggers to post photos on a weekly theme. This week it’s “Gray” or “Grey.”

If you want to join the fun, it’s simple. Just follow these guidelines:

  • Create your own post and title it Travel theme: “Gray.”
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too.
  • Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
  • Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS!

blank”>Where’s My Backpack? invites bloggers to post photos on a weekly theme. This week it’s “Land meets Water.” I’ve posted a photo of Jinan’s biggest body of water, Daming Lake. The Chinese like to define and control water with concrete so the meeting is with a wall.

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Silent Sunday

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