My First Time in a Turkish Bath

Hamams, also known as Turkish baths, are public bathing houses dating back from the Ottoman times. Going to a hamam is one of those experiences that I felt I had to do in Turkey. A bucket list item, if you will. However, I admit I went into this experience pretty blind as to what to expect.

My First Time Horseback Riding!

Soft sunlight streamed down through branches gently swaying with the early afternoon breeze. Long blades of grass brushed across the broad legs of both the horse and rider as they rode through the Cappadocian landscape. Beautiful alabaster pillars rose high above them, silhouetted against a bright azure sky. The rider and horse trusting each other completely while riding in tandem to the relaxing sounds of nature…
That was what I initially pictured my first horseback ride to be like. In reality, although the landscape was breathtaking, the experience was comically awkward in how ungraceful it was.

A Roman Fortress and an Underground City

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous (but excited!) when our guide asked our small group if anyone was claustrophobic as we’d be descending far underground into some cramped narrow tunnels.

Istanbul: More sights from the “Abode of Felicity”

Walking around Istanbul, it feels easy to get lost in the splendor of a bygone era. Whether it be entering a historic structure, watching artisans create traditional arts and crafts, scenting the blends of spices wafting along the breeze, or even listening to the musical cadence of the Turkish language, around every corner is some delightful and intriguing remnant of the past three empires waiting to be explored.

Where the East Meets the West: Istanbul, not Constantinople

About a year ago, my long-time friend Meagan suggested we meet in the one country that has a foot in both Europe and in Asia, reminiscent of our current standing of her teaching English in Europe and me likewise in Asia. While it had been a bit hard to plan on my end, what with…

Happy Year of the Pig!

新年快乐! 恭喜发财! Spring Festival is upon us! This February 5th, 2019 marks the beginning of the year of the Pig! Why is this important? It’s is the final year in the 12th-year zodiac cycle! This means we can all indulge in a huge sigh of relief and reap the benefits of having worked hard the…

Harbin’s Horrible Siberian Tiger Park 黑龙江阿穆尔虎园

Having been to the Beijing zoo and seen the terrible housing conditions the animals suffered there, I was a bit worried coming here. In all honesty, we probably would not have if it wasn’t included in our Ice World tour. After visiting the facility, we can firmly recommend not going for reasons I detail below….

Harbin 哈尔滨: The Provincial Museum, Monuments, and Other Attractions

Hongbo Square 红博广场 and the WWII Russian Victory Monument Hongbo Square used to be the site of the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas which was destroyed by the Red Guards the Cultural Revolution. Today, there’s a large roundabout above ground with a pretty decorative sculpture in the middle. Some buildings in the area, like the KFC…