Sunday, September 30, 2012


Hi everyone! I apologize for not updating for quite sometime. The last two weeks have been quite hectic and crazy filled with packing and arrangements as Marc and I prepared for our big move to the coastal city of Dalian in northeast China. Marc got a new post in the city and last week we said goodbye to the city we've been living in for the past year, Hefei. We are now about to embark on new adventures, new food trips, and take a closer look at the culture and landscape of northern China. I am excited to explore new discoveries and hope you will continue to follow me as I continue my amazing journey in and around China. 

For now, here are two snapshots I'd like to share with all of you from my walk around the city yesterday. The weather in the city was a wonderful 18 degrees Celsius, sunny and filled with blue skies. These are some old early 20th century buildings taken in Zhongshan Square, Dalian.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Recently, I have become fascinated with Chinese opera, the popular form of musical theater and drama here in China. I have yet to see a professional one performed on stage, hopefully one day when I get to visit Beijing (the home of the famous Peking Opera). Despite not having seen one except on the streets or on TV, Chinese opera is amazing to me on so many levels. It is an ancient art form, going back as far as the third century and yet is still immensely popular among Chinese people today. There are 368 different forms of Chinese opera but the best known is Peking opera or Beijing opera as it is known today. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), this was the main entertainment of the time.
Chinese opera being performed in public
1912 Bar Street, Hefei

Chinese opera focuses intently on acting with body movements, gestures and footwork to express certain actions. The characters are well-defined and the elaborate make-up designs and masks are some of the highlights of Chinese opera. Face paint and mask colors have different meanings. They express the general character/ personality of the role and their emotional state.

An elaborately painted face in Beijing Opera
Photo: xenin, SXC
White is evil and treacherous and usually the villain (contrary to being viewed as a pure and good color in the West). Red is brave and loyal and usually the protagonist character. Other popular colors used are green (impulsive and violent), black (rough and fierce), blue (steadfast and loyal) and yellow (ambitious and cool-headed).

Beijing opera performer
Photo: xenin, SXC

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Here in China, I find myself with so many beauty products to choose from that it can often become overwhelming at the drugstore when staring at all the products on the shelves. So, I tend to choose carefully and I try to go for the more natural products as much as possible. One Chinese drugstore brand I’m particularly obsessed with right now is Doctor Li.
Doctor Li Whitening & Softening Toner 200ml (US$6)
Doctor Li Refining & Purifying Facial Cleanser 100g (US$2)
Doctor Li skincare products are made from natural plants with unique formulations that solve different kinds of skin problems while giving great skincare benefits. Hailed as a perfect combination of traditional formulation and modern science, their products are now sold in more than 3,000 retail markets in China, making it one of the most popular brands in the country.
I really love their facial cleansers and toners. The cleansers are creamy and won’t dry the skin while the toners feel very light and fresh. Doctor Li products are available all over China in drugstores and most supermarkets.
Doctor Li Nutri-Feed Skin Toner  Anti-acne (US$6)
Doctor Li Pore Refining & Freshening Toner (US$6)