Well hello there work, love and play! I was finally able to check off some of my most intriguing cities in China since my very first arrival here. So during our most recent travels with my bf's CBA team we got to discover some of China's biggest cities and their hidden gems all while having other friends and coaches around to share all the excitement! Having the opportunity to go to Guangzhou, Foshan, Shanghai and Chengdu and have access to locals that will properly guide us on where to eat and what to do was simply incredible because we got to just enjoy it so much more instead of having to do a great deal of researching!
Taking trips like these around China while living here can be rejuvenating in so many ways. It's a chance to get out of the routine, have a fresh pair of eyes rather than focusing our energy on the daily frustrations and challenges faced, it becomes a positive way to get out of our comfort zone and see more of what China's got to offer with it's long history of culture, philosophies, and the extremely fast development in the country. It was so fun to support the team and check out different arenas in between our adventures like tea tasting and shocking our taste buds with spicy Sichuan cuisine.
E S S E N T I A L S
So there are two pieces I've been obsessed with for a long long time now and always want to take with me on all my travels, my black and baby blue leather jackets from Zara, they're light yet warm enough in case it gets cold, I can throw them over a casual day outfit, workout or night ensemble. AND of course, who doesn't like to have some fun with a playful biker jacket? My ultimate choice on shoes lately, are of course my white Adidas Stan Smiths that are just so comfy for plane rides or walking around. BUT guys what really has me so excited is this very special new addition, my first qipao dress that was custom tailored. I got this traditional chinese style dress in cotton rather than typical silk (so I can wear it for several occasions) at a qipao store my friend took me to in Dongguan.
TIP: There are plenty of qipao stores around China but make sure that if you are purchasing one it's the proper fit as the slit cannot be too high and definitely can't be too short showing too much leg. I was told it should only be worn fit to perfection with ones body. Pricing can vary depending on fabric, style, tailoring, etc. I got mine for about $60
S T A Y I N G H E A L T H Y
As many of you may know we are not big meat eaters since coming to China because of the prevalent production of meat replicas and other foods so we make the biggest efforts to stay healthy and knowledgeable on what we consume. With that said we will always seek for better quality restaurants and of course trust in our friends for recommendations.
One of my favorite places to eat in Guangzhou is Sultan, a delicious Turkish restaurant that never disappoints with a ton of vegetarian options, oh and it's right on a bar street (xing xeng lu) with loads of other Turkish restaurants, bars, the W hotel right up the street and the Canton tower just a 5 minute cab ride away.
In Shanghai there are juice bars, organic super markets with health conscious restaurants all throughout especially in the french quarter. My favorite spot was Hunter Gatherer, it lifted my spirits and reenergized me with a good hearty bowl after a long night out. You can get your grocery shopping done here and also sit in their cafe and grab a meal or get some work done on your laptop through a coffee or juice. BUT if you want to try some of the best famous Shanghai dumplings head to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on the bund for a Dim Sum brunch at Wei Jing Ge. The entire hotel is photogenic but the restaurant itself is just on another level with a lovely ambiance and impeccable food presentation.
In the motherland of spicy food (Chengdu) we gave hot pot and other Sichuan staples a try but then there was Element Fresh at Tai Ko Li, this place truly believes in delivering exactly that! They have everything from hummus, to brown rice korean bowls, chinese tacos and have an endless amount of teas and smoothies. This place is great for any meal as it's located right in the heart of the luxurious outdoor shopping mall, with unique bars and a gorgeous ancient temple just right beside it.
V I B R A T I O N S
Sharing this experience of living abroad with my love has made our bond even stronger. We face daily struggles and misunderstandings that a difference in culture and language can bring but when we come together and balance each other's energy, say yes to life and the opportunity this universe sheds on us, we accept it and simply live in the present. Feeding off on our energy we've created these divine memories. Like I mentioned earlier we were surrounded by old friends, new friends, people who are like family to us and others that we just connected with and shared good laughs and some good stories with that added on to the positive frequencies.
U N C O V E R
Just south of the bustling port city of Guangzhou is the charming colonial styled Shamian Island that used to be a foreign concession for the French and British during the second Opium War (1856-60). The small island had an exclusive european way of life, chinese people were long forbidden to enter. Although, Guangzhou has plenty of interesting sights it was fascinating to see restored colonial buildings and churches in what looked like a very authentic small and lively chinese town.
Amongst an endless amount of stylish museums, vibrant restaurants and a diversity of people and culture the dynamic city of Shanghai has this standout rum bar on Wuding Lu in the Jing An district that is a must for rum lovers or anyone looking to get a finely crafted spooky infused rum in flavors like cinnamon, ginger, and coffee at Rhumerie Bounty.Highly suggest the coffee one, it was bangin'! Warning: you end up taking more shots than you should out of the tiny shot glasses.
In Foshan don't miss what used to be the city center, "Old Foshan" called Ling nan tian di. It's filled with western and chinese bars, restaurants and coffee shops. It's really cute, don't be surprised if you end up spending a few hours here. Foshan is also known for it's ceramics so if you are looking for a good place to buy souvenirs or gifts this is your city for local hand crafted art.
There's something different about this chinese city that you just feel in the air. Chengdu is filled with entertainment from the Sichuan opera shows to the pandas. We had a super nice and intimate experience tea tasting on Jinli Ancient Street and then took a stroll to check out all the vendors and street food. But if you happen to want/need to do some shopping this is the place to do it, luxury shopping galore! There are malls everywhere featuring some of the biggest designers.
S P R E A D I N G T H E L O V E
If you want to feel the love go hang out with the pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding! Seeing the little cute bears cared for will warm your heart. I love and encourage protecting our planet and our animals so it was wonderful to see how they've recreated a natural habitat for them and other endangered wild animals.
Click HERE to watch our video featuring all these lovely Chinese cities!