Chopsticks and Travel Shoes

Hi, I'm glad you stopped by.

My name is Lizbeth. Grab a panda and join me as I leave Las Vegas in pursuit of adventure in China's tea houses, classrooms, dirt roads, and industrial cities. I shoot with a Nikon D3100 and am sharing my journey through it's lens.

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Creative Commons License
Photography by Lizbeth Arias is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

再见,北京。

My last night in Beijing was marked by memories of tranquility, exploration, great food, and friendly people. After days of climbing walls and exploring palaces, I was left with one night to finish souvenir shopping and take in as much of China before my departure. I decided to spend the day alone for the most part, avoiding staying in and eating Western food with fellow travelers. It was a fantastic day from sunrise to sundown. 

After having a good cup of coffee, I ventured over to the 798 art district with the resident director of my program. I spent hours in the company of peaceful but colorful streets and inspring art. I returned and relaxed in my hotel room before heading out to find dinner. I headed over to a little home-style Chinese food restaurant adjacent to the hotel and asked the waitress for some noodles. I’m so glad I did, because those were some of the best noodles I’ve ever had. Splendidly cooked and paired with meat sauce and thinly sliced vegetables. Perfection.

I walked down 前门路 and spent another couple hours rummaging through a variety of shops in search of worthy souvenirs. It offered me the opportunity to engage with Beijing locals and observe the city after dark. One of my last stops was at a famous tea store which my resident director had recommended earlier that day. 

I walked in just to peruse, and ended up engaged in tea conversation with one of the assistants. I decided to buy some Jasmine, oolong, and black tea and my new friend offered to give me a taste test before I bought them. We sat and chatted at the tea table for a while. I told her I was ready to purchase a few items, but instead she brewed more water, bought me cookies, and asked if I would like to stay and chat with her because she really enjoyed talking to me. 

I think that was the perfect end to Beijing. Basically a private tea ceremony with a friendly local, being able to actually converse in Mandarin for 40 minutes. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 28 - Daily Routine
(30 Day Photo Challenge) 

The definition of hole-in-the-wall.

This isn’t exactly a daily thing, but I go to this place enough for it to feel like it. It’s called 平和烧烤, or Peace Barbecue. It’s not barbecue in the American sense, it refers to any kind of grilled or stir-fried meat and vegies. I’ve posted the second picture before, but not the first.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

An Ode to Good Coffee

Finding good coffee in China requires trial and error, persistence, and a little bit of a bus commute. As most of us know, tea is king here. Drinking coffee everyday or even a few times a week is a very Western ideal to the Chinese. 

I’m grateful that Kaffestugan, a Swedish coffee house, is just one bus ride down from the dorms. Every cup of coffee is individually hand-dripped and they have some of the best blends I’ve had. Not to mention they are crazy strong. 

It’s rainy, hot, and humid today so I opted for ice coffee. Inside each cup are round, frozen coffee pieces instead of your standard ice cubes. This place is true quality, and the owners (who are here everyday) are superb.

So to you, Kaffeestugan, I say thank you on my last study weekend in China.

Friday, June 15, 2012

It’s nice to have a simple western breakfast once in a while.

  • strawberry yoghurt
  • coconut almond granola
  • fruit
  • black coffee 
Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pictured is one of my favorite and cheapest meals here in Chengdu. I go to this little hole-in-the-wall restaurant by the dorms which is run by a lady and her husband. They have a double fridge stocked with fresh vegetables on skewers, as well as a variety of meats. Much like 烧烤 (street bbq), you fill a basket with anything you want the lady to make for you. 

She lightly stir-frys it with many spices including the essential chili powder. I eat way less meat here, mostly because I find the vegetables to be particularly delicious. My meal is usually meatless. 

I spent 6块 today, or .95¢ on pumpkin, mushrooms, cucumber, quail eggs, potato, and rice.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lavender Mint Tea
1 teaspoon fresh lavender flowers or 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender flowers1 
1/2 to 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves or 2 teaspoons dried mint1 cup boiling water
In a teapot, combine the lavender flowers and mint. Pour boiling water over the mixture; steep 5 minutes.Yield: 1 cup.
Variation: For more interesting blends, add rosemary, lemon balm or lemon verbena, and rose geranium.

Yes, please.

Lavender Mint Tea

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lavender flowers or 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
  • 1/2 to 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves or 2 teaspoons dried mint1 cup boiling water
  • In a teapot, combine the lavender flowers and mint. Pour boiling water over the mixture; steep 5 minutes.Yield: 1 cup.
  • Variation: For more interesting blends, add rosemary, lemon balm or lemon verbena, and rose geranium.

Yes, please.

Day 16 - What I Ate
(30 Day Photo Challenge)

I spend a couple hours on Sunday afternoons tutoring an eleven year old boy named Bill. We go over his English homework, I correct his pronunciation, and I basically get paid to hang out with a really cool kid. Today, he gave me my first lesson in Chinese chess. After our tutoring sessions, I always join his family for dinner. His wonderfully kind mother not only cooks, but also helps me with my Chinese. 

For dinner we had mashed potatoes, green beans, beef, dried fish, rabbit in a spicy peanut sauce, sticky rice, salted peanuts, bamboo (imported from the Bamboo Sea in Northern Sichuan), and green chili peppers in some type of sweet vinegar sauce (amazing). It is such a strange and interesting experience to be eating with Bill’s parents, grandparents, and neighbors. The Chinese dining experience is completely different from the American one. Everyone eats super fast while quickly spitting out bones in their discard bowl, they eat loudly (very loudly), and of course there is no such thing as individually served plates. Everything is always lazy susan style. To top it off, I’m surrounded with rapid conversation in Sichuanese, which is considerably different from Mandarin. It’s kind of crazy.

I wish I would’ve gotten better pictures, but this is all I could manage.

Friday, June 8, 2012

One of my favorite Chinese breakfast foods: 包子 (steamed buns)

The Chinese only make the veggie buns for breakfast. The place across from the school gate sells out of the veggie and potato baozi before 9AM. The non-meat filled ones are delicious and MSG free! 

Pictured:
土豆包子 - Potato buns
猪肉包子 - Pork buns

Ladies and Gentleman:
I present to you what have to be the most amazing nachos in China. 
*commence mouth watering*

Also pictured: coconut martini, lychee martini, mango martini, tequila shots. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I don’t like this restaurant, mostly because I like good food and pleasant atmospheres. :)
Anyhow, here you are: Hooters Chengdu.

I don’t like this restaurant, mostly because I like good food and pleasant atmospheres. :)

Anyhow, here you are: Hooters Chengdu.

Filed Under: Food!
I have a feeling that my posts about food will continue to increase as the date of my departure approaches. Is it sad that I’m going to miss Chinese food more than I miss a lot of people… :) 
There is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant right next to the dorms that I love. The food is extremely cheap and oh so delicious. They have everything from steamed buns, all kinds of noodles, rice, and typical Sichuan dishes. Everyone their is friendly and they make your food super fast. 
I love that I can leave my dorm and return within minutes with lunch or dinner costing under $2.50.
Pictured:
蛋炒饭, egg fried rice
干煸四季豆, fried dried green beans
黄瓜, cucumber
土豆, sliced potato with cumin

Filed Under: Food!

I have a feeling that my posts about food will continue to increase as the date of my departure approaches. Is it sad that I’m going to miss Chinese food more than I miss a lot of people… :) 

There is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant right next to the dorms that I love. The food is extremely cheap and oh so delicious. They have everything from steamed buns, all kinds of noodles, rice, and typical Sichuan dishes. Everyone their is friendly and they make your food super fast. 

I love that I can leave my dorm and return within minutes with lunch or dinner costing under $2.50.

Pictured:

  • 蛋炒饭, egg fried rice
  • 干煸四季豆, fried dried green beans
  • 黄瓜, cucumber
  • 土豆, sliced potato with cumin
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
 
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