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]]> http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/12/28/a-little-bit-of-holiday-cheer/feed/ 1 Best price cialis 10 mg » Online CANADIAN pharmacy - FDA approved. http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/08/27/fun-in-the-city-the-story-of-our-second-wedding-anniversary/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/08/27/fun-in-the-city-the-story-of-our-second-wedding-anniversary/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2009 00:44:18 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/08/27/fun-in-the-city-the-story-of-our-second-wedding-anniversary/ This week my hubby and I are starting the third year of our marriage.  Last weekend we took a short trip to San Francisco to celebrate our second anniversary, and it was quite a bit fun.

First of all, a big thanks goes out to my inlaws since they gave us the gift of two nights hotel stay at the Westin St. Francis right at Union Square.  This allowed us to take the BART to the City and stay there for the whole weekend.  The hotel is old but very classy, and its glass elevators are quite fun to ride.  Some other guests were actually just taking the elevator for fun and we actually encountered a line for the elevators.

Usually we like to splurge on food on special occasions, but this time we had to be somewhat careful because of my gestational diabetes.  We decided to forgo the one gigantic  expensive meal and just look for cheaper places and  eat smaller portions. So before we left home we wrote down a list of cheap and moderate restaurants we could walk to.

On Friday night we arrived in our hotel at around 8:30, and then we rested a bit and went to   This is a small French restaurant that features live jazz music every night.  When we got there at 9:30 the whole place was packed, but we did have a reservation.  For starters we ordered their escargot and we got a lovely little plate of six snails topped with small puff pastry that was soaked in butter and parsley.  It was quite tasty and I think we wolfed them down a bit too fast.  For the main course I had the coq au vin, which is a fairly traditional French dish of chicken cooked in a red wine stew. Cafe Claude’s version also had pearl onions, mushroom, and bacon bits.  The chicken is stewed for hours until it is so tender that it falls off the bone.  The scent of this dish was so lovely and rich that I kept on sniffing it.  The hubby had an ahi dish with a bacon sauce.  I only tried some of the bacon sauce and it seemed pretty good.  The finally for dessert the hubby ordered a coconut flan, which I tried one small bite of, and it was quite delicious. The whole meal was around $70, but it was definitely worth it.   After dinner we walked to the Metreon and watched the last showing of District 9.  We haven’t seen a movie in the theatres for a while because of Netflix, but we did manage to get $7.00 off on the tickets with some Entertainment Book coupons.

On Saturday we headed over to the de Young museum in Golden Gate Park  to see the special King Tut exhibition. We got there at around 11:00 and the tickets were sold out until 12:30, so we started to walk around the other exhibits. The hubby liked a lot of the modern art being exhibited.  One particularly interesting piece is called by sculptor Al Farrow.  This is a medieval church made out of hundreds of disassembled guns and bullets.

Finally we got to the King Tut exhibit and saw some of the treasures from the tomb.  What really surprised me about the special Tut exhibit is that a lot of treasures were made out of wood, but they lasted for thousands of years.  I was also quite amazed by the craftsmanship on a lot of the objects exhibited.  It took us over an hour to see all the galleries, and then we were too tired to see the rest of the museum.  The cool thing about the de Young is that it is on the Bank of America’s program, so we could go back and see the rest for free on select weekends.

On Saturday afternoon we headed over to the Mission district for a street food festival.  By the time we got there a lot of things were sold out, and there were so many people in the lines for each booth that it was hard to figure out where to stand.  We were really hungry so we sort of gave up and went to a nearby restaurant and had some Mexican food.  The next few stops were on the hubby’s list because he saw the restaurants on a video game webshow.  First there is this interesting ice cream shop called that serves ice cream flavors such as Salt and Pepper, and Foie Gras. There was a pretty long line that almost went around the block when we got there.  When we finally got to the front of the line I sampled a Thai Chili Lime flavor ice cream and something called Secret Breakfast, which is bourbon and cornflakes flavored ice cream.  The Thai Chili Lime flavor was pretty darn bizarre and it made me wince a bit.  Finally the hubby settled on one scoop of Vietnamese Coffee and one scoop of Secret Breakfast. I ate a couple spoons of his ice cream instead of getting my own since I didn’t want to spike my blood sugar.  Next we walked to , which the hubby has been raving about because he wanted to try their bacon donuts.  Unfortunately, it was already closed, so we headed back to our hotel.  After napping for a few hours after the 6 hours of urban hiking, we ended the night with some cheap Thai food at , which is a cheap but very flavorful Thai restaurant tucked in the Parc 55 Hotel.  I had some basil duck here, and it was quite good.

The next day we checked out of the hotel and headed home, but we made a stop at the Mission district because the hubby really wanted to try Dynamo Donuts, and I saw tons of beautiful murals in that neighborhood the day before and I wanted some pictures. Apparently the Mission district is quite famous for the hundreds of murals inside it, and we had no idea.  It is about a six block walk from the 24th and Mission BART station to Dynamo Donuts, so we walked and took pictures along the way.  One particularly decorated alley is called Balmy Alley, and this contained the mural of a woman giving birth and also  a really detailed  mural by Sirron Norris depicting a robot like being composed of Victorian houses called Victorion.  The following pictures were taken by the hubby:

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The whole neighborhood is full of these murals and it really makes the walk interesting because it is truly like a giant modern art gallery, but at the same time these murals are the complete opposite of the idea that fine art should be privately collected and displayed in locked up, temperature controlled rooms.  I truly loved how expressive and free they are.   Finally we reached Dynamo and the hubby got the bacon donut he has been talking about for a week and I ate half of it.  It was small, but quite good.  Before going back to the BART station we stopped at ,  which is another locale the hubby saw on the video game show.  There was quite a crowd there already and we had to wait a bit to get a table.  I had some eggs with vegan chorizo there and the chorizo  tasted and looked just like real chorizo.  The hubby had a full order of The Nebulous Potato Thing, which looked like a giant potato hash with a bunch of stuff in it.  He actually couldn’t finish the whole thing because it was so big. After that meal, we walked back to the BART and headed home.

In conclusion, we thoroughly enjoyed  our last weekend trip before the baby arrives, and my blood sugar levels were actually in a good range the entire weekend because I walked so much. My legs were sore for two days afterward.  I have lived in the Bay Area for 12 years now, but I really do not go to San Francisco very much, and this weekend I definitely experienced some new things in the City.  My favorite part was actually seeing all the different murals because that was the only place we went to that was not crowded and full of people.    We did not see all of the murals since we just went down one street, and many of them are so intricate that you could just stare at one for quite a while. If you ever visit San Francisco I highly recommend seeing these murals at least once, and the great thing about them is that they don’t cost anything to see.  All you have to do is to take a Muni or BART to the Mission district and start walking.

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Best price cialis 10 mg » Online CANADIAN pharmacy - FDA approved. http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2008/12/07/things-i-am-thankful-for-in-2008/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2008/12/07/things-i-am-thankful-for-in-2008/#comments Sun, 07 Dec 2008 07:55:51 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2008/12/07/things-i-am-thankful-for-in-2008/ Okay obviously this post is a bit late for Thanksgiving, but I had a good time with my family and ate a lot of food last weekend.  Lately I haven’t been blogging much just because a lot of random things are happening.  I am swamped with real life so to speak.  While I have had time to sit down and write I did not have much to say so I didn’t write much.  So anyway, it’s December again, and it’s almost Christmas and the news is full of gloom of doom. I think to get away from all the depressing news I need to write down all the things I am thankful for.

First, I am very thankful for my family and friends.  I am just happy to be loved.   This year I am also grateful that I got to see my elderly grandparents in China.  They are a hilarious couple and I may write a story or two about them later.  If you want to read a little bit about them my hubby wrote .

Second, I am very thankful that my entire family amidst the massive layoffs in November My hubby is in the video game industry and apparently this industry is .  In fact, his company is still hiring people for new projects.  As long as we have a steady stream of income we should be able to ride out this recession without too much of a problem.

Third, I think a lot of people are thankful for this one – prices are going down on gas and food!  Actually the price of gasoline is $1.75 a gallon now on my street and that means my hubby and I would save around $100 a month on gas.  I have not seen those prices for gas for about 5 years.  I noticed that milk and bread also got a little bit cheaper and it is expected that food prices would come down a bit more.  This is definitely good news for people who need a little financial relief though some economists are worried about deflation, but that’s another story entirely.

Next,  I am happy that my sister in law is getting married.  I don’t talk to her all that much because she lives about 500 miles away, but she’s getting married in two weeks and that’s pretty exciting.  The hubby will be a groomsman and look all sharp.  She picked a very expensive tux rental and that annoyed me and my mother in law a little bit, but that’s just because we want to save money.  My father in law and hubby should look pretty good though.

Also,  I am thankful that my hubby and I got to go on vacation and  various weekend trips in the past year.  Okay, this is actually a story about my grandparents.  When we were  in my grandparents’ condo, my grandmother kept on telling me that I am so lucky that my husband is willing to travel with me.  Then she went on and complained that my grandfather was so cheap that he never took her traveling in their 54 years of marriage and now they are too old to go places.   My parents always say that I am frugal like my grandfather, but I am not that cheap!  I think there really needs to be a balance between hoarding your money and wasting your money and there is no point in hoarding your money senselessly because in the end you really can’t take it with you.

Finally, all of these things are gifts from God so all the thanks goes to Him.  I know that I have a lot more than most people in this world and I don’t take it lightly.  Everyday is truly a gift.

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Best price cialis 10 mg » Online CANADIAN pharmacy - FDA approved. http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2008/11/19/highlights-from-china-part-3-ancient-and-modern-wonders/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2008/11/19/highlights-from-china-part-3-ancient-and-modern-wonders/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2008 00:57:52 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2008/11/19/highlights-from-china-part-3-ancient-and-modern-wonders/ Today my hubby finished sorting all the pictures from our trip. He really took a lot of pictures! Since a picture is worth a thousand words, this shall be a photoblog of the ancient and modern that we saw on our trip. Most of these pics were taken by my hubby, but I have permission to use them on my blog.  If you want to use any of these photos please ask me to ask my husband for permission.  Enjoy!
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The Great Wall – Beijing


Tiananmen – Beijing


Temple of Heaven – Beijing (This is probably my favorite structure in Beijing. It is around 600 years old and built without a single nail).


Terra Cotta Army- Xian (They were a lot bigger in size and numbers than I thought. These are around 2000 years old)

Five Pavillion Bridge – Yangzhou (This is the symbol of my hometown Yangzhou. Built in the 1700s by salt merchants on the Slim West Lake)
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Bird’s Nest & Water Cube – Beijing (We didn’t get to stop and go into these, but they were quite impressive and looked even better at night)


CCTV tower – Beijing (A really weird looking building)

Runyang Bridge on the Yangtze River – (This bridge connects Yangzhou & Zhengjiang and its southern section is the 4th longest suspension bridge in the world)

Pudong Skyline – Shanghai (These new buildings east of the Huangpu river sprung up in the last 15 years.)

Speed counter of the Shanghai Magnetic Levitation Train (It’s going about 260 miles per hour for you non-metric folks).

There is not much to say besides that you have to see it to believe it all.

To be continued…

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Best price cialis 10 mg » Online CANADIAN pharmacy - FDA approved. http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2008/11/17/highlights-from-my-trip-to-china-part-2-the-financial-crisis-and-china/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2008/11/17/highlights-from-my-trip-to-china-part-2-the-financial-crisis-and-china/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2008 02:59:25 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2008/11/17/highlights-from-my-trip-to-china-part-2-the-financial-crisis-and-china/ Despite censorship and propaganda, Chinese people are very aware of what is going on in their country and around the world.  Every person I met knew of the financial crisis in America, and even the masseuses knew of Obama and McCain. I’m fairly sure most people here in America have no idea who the Chinese president is. (Funnily enough the Chinese president’s last name is “Hu”).   Here are some of the tidbits I heard about how the financial crisis and other factors are affecting China’s economy and the lives of everyday folks.

First of all, the stock market in China plunged more than 70% from its highs.  The central government called this a correction, but the people I talked are pretty aware that it’s more than that. However, the percentage of people in China with skin in the stock market is very small.  Most people put their money in the four large government capitalized banks and collect interest and many people still have traditional pensions for their retirements. However, orders for Chinese goods are down significantly for next year and many factories are closing down due to lack of sales since the United States is China’s largest trading partner.  Everything from shoes and plastic forks are seeing decreases in orders.  Unemployment is fairly high since China has way too many people.

Another event that affected China’s economy is the Olympics.  In order to ensure that the event was a success with the least amount of restrictions China created new Visa rules to curtail the entry of foreigners.  As a result, the amount of tourists dropped by quite a bit.  Most of these Visa restrictions have been lifted, but the outlook for tourism is still lower than previous years because many foreigners are not travelling in the current economic climate.

The people I spoke to were also quite curious about home and car purchase in America.  Cars carry a tariff as high as 25% to 100% in China, but people still buy them.  Condos in large cities like Beijing and Shanghai are extremely expensive, and yet people still manage to pay in cash or put at least 30% down. The tour guide in Shanghai told us that most people also get very short term mortgages where they pay a home off in 5 years.  She thought that a 0% down loan is absolutely ridiculous and said that the bankers in America must be idiots. Home prices in China hasn’t really fallen because people save up so much cash to buy something, but home sales have slowed significantly after a rapid run in prices.

Most people I spoke to believe that the Chinese government is doing the best it can under the current economic climate.  Everyone agreed that their lives have vastly improved in the last two decades of reform, and even though some people said that they were dubious about China’s large purchase of American government debt, they seem to agree with the fairly conservative economic policies of the central government.  China is also focusing on education and scientific research much more than before to cultivate its own engineering and scientific talent.  Another emerging trend is that more and more Chinese students of my generation who go abroad are returning to China after they graduate.  This is a big difference from my parents’ generation, who went abroad and never returned.

For the most part,it seemed like business as usual in China. In my hometown, the restaurants we went to were packed to the brim and my grandfather said, “I bet you can’t see a financial crisis here.”  There weren’t as many tourists, but I guess that’s better for pictures.  In Shanghai it was hard to hail a cab, and car license plates are auctioned off each month for more than $5000 each.  In Beijing, the construction cranes were still working overtime to erect modern and bizarre skyscrapers.  China is definitely still growing amidst this global financial turmoil, and there is definitely a sense of pride and optimism in the misty polluted air.

To be continued…

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