Take you down to Qibao town

If you’re looking for an easy trip from Shanghai but aren’t particularly desirous of dealing with taxis and buses, Qibao is a good getaway. Qibao is a small water town on the outskirts of Shanghai with plenty to offer – provided you don’t visit on a weekend day or a holiday. If that’s all the…

England in China and an amusement park in the middle of nowhere

There are more than enough things to keep you busy! Our middle school recently instituted Inspirations – a week and a half of non-academic courses at the end of the school year. We came up with some pretty interesting options for our students, some of which I’ll detail here for the curious. Oriental Land A…

The final [Shanghai] countdown

After three years of life and lunacy in Shanghai, I am leaving for the wild urban jungle that is Hong Kong. This is the M.O. of a single international teacher; we love ’em and leave ’em because we can without anyone but ourselves to call shotgun on the highway to adventure. I have been done…

Rock the paprikash-ba

I had to have chicken paprikash at least one more time before leaving Hungary. Giving up on the ruin bar search, I popped into Otkert, a reasonable-looking restaurant near St. Stephan’s Basilica. I ordered a big beer and the chicken paprikash, of course. While it was a lot more Metro-looking and fancier than other paprikashes…

Funiculate (v.) – to ride a funicular

Perhaps that word might be in the world’s weirdest English dictionary, but since I’m a language arts teacher, I always tell my students that I have earned the right to make up words, as long as they make sense. My other personal favorite is “splendicular” – a combination of splendid and spectacular, reserved only for…

The pheasantry and rainbows

There is a value in taking trains. The U.S. just can’t figure out trains, but Europe has a monopoly on amazing train rides. I saw long-tailed pheasants racing alongside the tracks, aiming to hide in the brush. I don’t know why I got so excited about pheasants, but I did. You just don’t see them…

Why not wander into some strange caverns?

It was a very cold day, and I was woefully unprepared for it. The weather forecast before leaving Shanghai had been in the optimistic high 50s and low 60s, without much rain. Instead, I got high 30s and low 40s and many days of expected rain. Eger, once the sunshine had fled, was in the…

Up to the castle ramparts before it rains

The jaunt up Kossuth Lajos Utca was a sunny one, cheerful, and beautiful. Honestly, Eger is a gorgeous little city, especially when you come up to the Eger Stream, which moves winsomely through the old(er) sections of town. Just near the castle and the stream is the lovely Marjan Cukraszda, a cafe with dessert-full cases…

Give me a map and a one street town and I’ll still get lost

Eger, Hungary, is known for it’s red wine production, notably the Bull’s Blood ┬ávariety. It’s a dark, rich, gorgeous wine. I embarked early again, nearly forgetting to set my alarm properly to be up at dawn’s first light, and tucked my feet into plastic bags as I was woefully short of rain boots and it…

Veni. Vidi. Paprika.

I’m pretty sure those were Julius Caesar’s immortal words right there. However, the Pick Salami and Paprika Museum didn’t open up until 3 PM, so I still had a substantial amount of time to kill in Szeged. Now I had a very full belly and a map that I always end up reading backwards. I…

Rain, a Hungarian train, and I need some coffee

I became a fan of Xinjiang spices in Xi’An, kampot pepper in Cambodia, fresh-off-the-tree cinnamon in Sri Lanka, and eye-watering Thai chili peppers in Bangkok – of course, I had to visit the home of Hungarian paprika.