Trip 4: Day 30 - Part 2

Being on a farm, nearly everything at this lunch was fresh from the fields! Chicken, eggs, and pig right from the yard, veggies straight from the earth, and fish from the pond!
A tasty chicken soup~
Some squid~
All this sea food is easy for the trained, but difficult for the inexperienced like myself..

With lunch finished, it was time to stamp the calligraphy!

Next Liaoda and I went out into the corn field to take home some corn as the calligraphers continued to stamp and write more.

And to end the stay a the farm is a quick work by Liaoda’s father~

Tomorrow is a day of packing as we hit the train in the evening for Beijing!
Till another time!

Trip 4: Day 30 - Part 1

Today the entire family was up bright and early for we had friends to go visit out in the farm land!
Not just any friends, but members to the provincial calligraphy group that Liaoda’s father is the head of.

Now bear with this! Plenty of pictures are to come!
And one of th first things one sees after the long drive to the farm is the chicken enclosure they have!

After the chicken yard wasthe main building we wouldbe staying in and thankfully had AC!
The table was an ancien door! So glorious!

A tea table~
What ancient beds had looked like in China.
Calligraphy brushes~
An old wheel.

While all the elders chatted, Liaoda and I wandered out back to the chickens for a bit. It as here we met the only chicken who did not run from us. I have dubbed her Fluffy-butt for her great feathery rear.
Many times through the day, when we passed this by, Fluffy-butt would eventually come to Liaoda and I~ It will be a sad day if she is made into a meal!

After our visit with Fluffy-butt, we returned to the cool room where the tabl was being set for calligraphy.
The stamps for Liaoda’s father’s work. Left is the family name and right is the father’s name. Both are made from the same stone.
Other stamps he uses as well~

One of the calligraphers testing paper and working on name for different rooms.
Here is a close up on one of his works. The paper is so fragile that it can be cut with other paper!

Liaoda’s father beginning to work!

A quick snack. This is candy corn, though not the sort Americans eat for Halloween. It is corn that can be eaten without washing or cooking.

The third calligrapher who is beginning on a long piece.Some of Liaoda’s father’s finished works~

Calligraphy time was done, and while ink dries it was time to eat!
In part 2!

Trip 4: Days 26 - 29

Day 26 had been a relaxing day, though he did have a dinner to head to in the evening! The dinner was with Liaoda’s father’s side of the family, many of which I had met before. imageimageTumblr is being ever so kind as to flip images again… but here is some upside-down liver~ imageimage Okay tumblr…feel free to stop with turning my pictures… imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageA rather large beer can…

Aftera big dinner we were off to see the oldest couple to their home.Th had recently purchased a new apartment and their room was on th 23rd floor! So high!

Day 27 was, wait for it…
My birthday!
We went out to celebrate by having Peking Duck~
imageDonkey roll, but no fear! There is no donkey in them!
imageimageimageimageimageimageThere are several eating traditions on one’s day of birth. In the morning I had to each a peach for health, an egg for wealth, and now these! Long life noodles. One single long noodl you eat to have a good long life on your birthday!

After lunch we spent a couple of long hours in the grocery store. The only prize being we got me a small cake!

There was also an interesting plant at the super market…
imageSo that is what Aloe looks like..

The next day we went to go check out how the pictures were going, and after that we had a quick lunch of hot pot near Liaoda’s father’s work.

That day has drawn to a close, and now it is a day of cleaning here.
Soon mother and father will be coming to China!

Trip 4: Days 23 - 25

Day 23, the day when the man of Earth meets his celetial love for a day!
For this day the parents were off to fix the car and handle their own business, thus Liaoda and I were dropped off at a popular chain mall.

It may not have been the best day to visit a mall…
The place was packed! Couples everywhere and singles signing up for the mall’s personal dating show! Hordes of humans wherever one turned!

The stage for the dating show set up, followed after a long, hours long, commercial for the a hotel’s wedding room! Full with wedding dress fashion shows.
Ah, but the shows were not starting yet, so let the dancers distract the crowd.
A dessert Liaoda and I partook in. Match and red bean pudding, and coconut milk with papaya and jello.
Some weird Japanese snack…
A doodle I did on an ipad at the mall real quick >v>;
A traditional wedding dress fashion show.
A jasmine tea slushie and cream puff snack~

After many hours walking around, the parents were finally finished and ready to pick us up by dinner time! We went to a restaurant that cooks traditional foods for the north west in China.
Tumblr likes to turn my pictures…
Soups with lamb stomach, lung, and more.

After all of us were near to bursting we made our way home for our favored Chinese dating show! And then were off to bed. For the next morning we were immediately off to visit a family friend at the new restaurant he is building.

The place he plans to make into a ‘cultural garden.’ Meant to listen to traditional singers, appreciate art, and have delicious food. Though it is far from complete, it is looking good already!
An old cow statue…
The best dining room so far in a traditional style.
The European dining room.
The relaxation and tea enjoyment area. which also has an automatic Mah Jong board~
A sports bar he owns as well, with an indoor soccor field.
His collection of wines~
Grasshoppers and Cicadas~
Mashed yams in sweet sauces.
A liquor that is 60%. Very good, and the bottle you see here is an official work of art.
Deer tendons.
Sheep stomach.

With that we left for home pleasantly full and we are on to a relaxed day today! Onward toward tomorrow!

Trip 4: Days 13 - 22 Part 2

The very next day it was time to have a big lunch with another friend. The father had not made it, but the mother and her son and daughter joined us for the fine lunch~
imageimageimageimageLotus in a sugarly sauce~

After a delicious dinner in a fine air conditioned room, we were off to home for a quick relaxation before leaving for the grocery store.
Though the very next day we went to visit the other set of grandparents! And there, near by, they have another grocery store. We went there as well so we could buy them some food along with a few other things to meet our needs. While there I took a quick snippet of these little pastries. Mostly manto and the sort eaten with meals.
imageimageHere is lunch! In the sack is some tasty duck that tastes good with beer, which is why a rather large can of beer is nearby!

Another day would pass and we would be off to more things!Liaoda went to the hospital to have his lungs checked out after some pain with his condition. Turns out he is beginning to heal so the pain arose from that, he also got his teeth checked~ The entire fee that day, with doctors, dentists and x-rays, was only about twenty American dollars! It is okay to drool, I had done so.

After that we went out to lunch,
imageAn interesting fish mean where they turn the fish inside out and cook the meat so it pops out as such~

After lunch we visited the book store where we spent a while in the infant section getting me various flashcards so I may begin to learn Chinese.

Another trip to the mall has happened. This time a different mall as Liaoda and I had fun while his mother was off handling something and his father working.A milk tea and dounut. Their dounut tasted less surgary than our’s…in a bitter way. When will there me a happy balance ;A;
Some cute little jelly fish they had floating about.
Matcha milk with red beans and cream~
It wouldn’t be long before Liaoda’s mother rejoined us and we found lunch~
Some of the best fish head I’ve ever had! ;A; The sauce tasted like black licorice!

After a while of mall hopping we stopped at a KFC for a quick ice cream break,

And after this we were off mall hopping once more till it came time for dinner~ We were at the river mall again where we found a nice place and waited for Liaoda’s father to bike over and join us~

After dinner we were off to wait for the bus and head home. But look what was outdoors in the mall’s fountain!
Giant silly whale balloons!

Now off for more days! Enjoy Chinese Valentine’s day tomorrow!

Trip 4: Days 13 - 22

I’ll admit, I’ve been fairly busy and lost my track on what days I did what!

Yet we will begin on some day unknown with Liaoda and I exploring yet another newer mall in his city~
Thiss day we started out at a less known mall. which the only pictures I have are of where we ate for lunch!
We wore our couple shirts that day however, which was fun!
Here Liaoda and I are at Ben, a small restaurant. We’re wearing our HiPanda Couple shirts that say, ‘…I like kill you softly!’
An interesting array of sea foods above along with a delivious aloe yogurt below!

After finishing up at Ben, we were off to a mall that we had visted last year but was incomplete. This year is is fully functional!
A fresh orange juice machine that seems to be cropping up everywhere now. A little expensive, but not bad. 10 RMB, which is just a tad over a dollar, for freshly squeezed orange juice~
Chinese Toys R Us~
Some adorable, or creepy, doll cakes!
The indoor ice-skating they have on the fifth floor~
The outdoor dining area.
And a tasty milk tea Liaoda stirred up~
After that we went and searched for dinner. We went to a hot pot place that was too expensive…so after a hasty retreat we ran to a cheap place where you selected food and grilled it at your table.

The day or so after the mall exploration we went out to the farm lands to visit Liaoda’s grandmother. On the way we stopped by a friend of Liaoda’s father. She is a woman who loves to pray and within her home an entire building is dedicated shrines to Buddhas.
It was here the family prayed with the friend and had some fortunes fortold before we continued on our way to his grandmother.
Here is the stray cat Liaoda’s mother feeds. Last year, not many posts back, you can see this cat as a kitten only a few months old! Now she has grown and is missing an eye. Nonetheless, she is beautiful!
After a lunch of home made dumplings, everyone was up for some Mah Jong! I learned how to play this game not long after this day. And I have to day, if we were playing for money I would have made quite a bit!
On the wall you can see a line of eight flower wall hangings. These were all painted by Liaoda’s mother~
And let us not forget the family pooch~

After a while at the grandmother’s, we were off for the city once more as there was a dinner to get to!
The dinner was with a family from last year that I had met. They have an adorable boy with great English. He studies and does homework than he gets the chance to have fun, but he is a sweety.
Some ‘cocktails’ the family brought for drinking at the dinner. They were very sweet!

Finally a long hot sweaty day was done! And I was good and ready for sleep after such a long day!
To be Continued~

Trip 4: Day 7 - 12

To continue on day 7,
After the photoshoot was done we had to go eat dinner with some business assistants of Liaoda’s father.
Taken to a mysterious apartment complex, we went into an elevator that descended rather than went up. Curiously enough, we emerged in a secret place for art appreciators! With fine wines, cigar areas, and other nice things!
We met the assistants, and the boss of this underground haven before splitting ways and heading toward the restaurant that they also had hidden away!

This is a special soup with a special medicine sitting within. The long squiggly things are a fungus, but no mere fungus! It is cordyceps sinensis~ A cordyceps fungus! Ugh, my favorite fungus for its mind control of insects!
Baby big meat~ Very sweet!
The expensive and rare treat of sea cucumber~~
The additional rare treat of sea ear~

With that grand meal done it was time to return home and KO on the bed!

The next day was spent selecting photos to keep or toss, as was the following day. As we couldn’t keep all the pictures they took without spending an even larger sum of cash!

We had gone grocery shopping at one point, and I took a photo of interesting hanging meat snacks…

After another day or relaxing, Liaoda’s mother had decided it was time the kids left the home! Which, despite the searing heat, we were pleased to do to give her a break on cooking food!
So Liaoda and I returned to the new mall where we had taken our pictures. Here we explored and tried various foods~
The first basement level was so large they had a train and tracks throughout it!
The first dish we tried in the mall. It had a red bean jello with red beads, some dough like balls, two large chunks of yams and it tasted great with cream added in!
The arcade, which, despite this picture’s appearance, was fairly packed and fairly large.
One of the ticket prizes…
A cool looking cardboard set up for a movie they had going at the theater~
A car Liaoda loved after we had a horrid taste test of the Chinese Burger King. It was both expensive, bad in taste, and gave small portions (Their medium looked like an American kiddie size!)…not someplace you should eat.

Some of the best and most bootiful chairs known to man kind!
A second meal Liaoda and I shared, the restaurant is known for his thick stickyrice noodles~
A delicious strawberry milk tea with one of the best english logo uses I’ve seen in China! Very clever~

After more wandering, we sat down at a Korean BBQ place to test out their food. As we were about to order, we got a call telling us that one of Liaoda’s cousins was in town with his girlfriend. So a crowd of four cousins and the girlfriend showed up and we ate together~
It wasn’t the best any of us had ever had, but it was fun figuring out how to keep the meat from sticking or the squid from rolling up!

After dinner, we all went out to some karaoke and then we were all off our own ways~
Finally, day 12 is today and spent relaxing once more in the cool air, as finally it had rained!

Trip 4: Days 6 - 7

Prepare for a post of pictures with me smiling or looking thought!
For these two days were spent at the air conditioned photo studio for mine and Liaoda’s wedding photos! Although, even with air conditioning it was horridly hot feeling for taking pictures and posing is not as easy as one thinks! Between changing outfits, bending about, and concentrating, even air conditioning begins to feel like the desert.

I’ve gained a new respect for models from this!
Both days were long. Day 6 was 8 am to 8 pm, while Day 7 was 8 am to about 7 pm! Pure work through it all but for a quick break for lunch or bathroom!

Now, on to the pictures!
Day 6:

Here we begin dressed in the first outfit, but with hair merely washed and my face utterly bare to the world! It was time for make-up!
Make-up on, hair partially complete, and Liaoda’s aunt photo bombing~
My nails were put on for these two days. I’ve never been one for fake nails, and boy is it hard to change clothing in them!
Liaoda had a much easier time, just a pluck of his eyebrows, a shake of his small mustache, and a brushing of his hair~
Now we were ready!
There are only a few pictures to come that have been photoshopped yet. Many are raw, and the photoshopped ones were to show Liaoda’s mother what can be done. There are a few hundred pictures, but I’ll spare you all and show a select few!

Outfit 2, Day 6:

Outfit 3, Day 6

Outfit 4, Day 6
These are the more traditional wedding outfits. They’ve been used over plenty of dynasties! I will say the headdress is fairly heavy.
Also tradition, the groom would not see the woman he was to marry till she was safely transported to his home and in the bed. It would be there the veil could be lifted and you would see, for the first time, your wife!

Outfit 5, Day 6
This is not the dress I will have for the wedding, but as it was part of the package deal, and my dress is in America undergoing alterations, I had to select one of the dressed they provided everyone. So, unable to select a dress, everyone suggested this mermaid.
Liaoda thought the dress style and hair made me look a tad like Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany’s!

Day 6 had finally ended with both Liaoda and I tuckered out. We were at a mall for the final shoot above, so with Liaoda’s parents, aunt, and cousin we all sat down at a hot pot place and enjoyed a meal before heading home and hitting the hay!

Day 7

This day is all about me! Liaoda no longer had to model, so he spent the day relaxing with everyone else while I went through the next day of shooting.
Onward to the first outfit!
This outfit is somewhat based on one of the four most beautiful women in Chinese history.

Outfit 2, Day 7

Outfit 3, Day 7

Outfit 4, Day 7

Outfit 5, Day 7
This is an empress outfit, and the head piece weighed quite painfully onto my head! Yet it was worth it!

Now, a big thanks to my beautiful team!

From left to right: 1. My funny hair dresser/ make-up artist. We ran into the issue with my hair color and none of the wigs could be used. She was creative in getting my hair up and beautiful! 2. Another make-up artist/ hair stylist, she worked on Liaoda/other customers. She also fixed up my accessories/outfit during the shoots. 3. Me! 4. My photographer~ He knew a little English, so he was able to tell me how to move about or pose. He was kind andd funny, andd I felt bad his wife had to wait so long to come and get him at the end of the day! 5. The photographer’s assistant, he also helped fixed my outfit or was busy adjusting light.

A special bigger thanks to Liaoda’s mother and father who paid for this, along with the books and photos! This was a fun experience and a blast! ;A;

Trip 4: Days 1 - 5

The trip to China started bright and early in the morning with the first flights out from the airport and was followed by three more flights.
One flight was delayed rather long, sending me in a panic, but the rest went smoothly.

The long trip over seas was spent at first being rained on while the plane was taking off. I was forced to hold a pillow over my head to protect myself from whatever was the source of the water. Thankfully the attendants covered that with a throwup bag after the plane was stable. However, the problems did not end there as I found my main source of entertainment, the movies on the back of the seats, had broken sound!

I was moved between two Indian men after that, one old, one middle aged with his wife. They were kind and I finally had working movies. Got fairly sick during some heavy turbulance, yet I did not vomit~

The flight from Hong Kong to Beijing was slightly annoying as somehow the three young boys behind me found it entertaining to make battle and plane sounds for three hours straight.

When I finally landed, over 24 hours later, Liaoda, an uncle of his, and the uncle’s nephew picked me up and drove us two hours to a four star hotel.

Day 1begins here with exploring the hotel grounds

After exploration, we sat back down in the car for the long ride back to Liaoda’s home town of ShiJiazhuang. Yet the ride was not all bad, it had a few views.

The moment we made it into town we were stopping for a business dinner. No time to pretty up or relax! Yet it was easily forgiven when the meal had Peking Duck!

Dinner ended and everyone returned to their homes. I slept quite well that night!

But was woken on Day 2 at five in the morning to go on a trip to a place I had gone last year. Last year the season of the lotus flowers were nearing an end, but this year it was prime season! We, Liaoda and I, left with his ‘sister’ and his neice to join a tour group.
Here is the Lotus seeds~ You pluck them out and peel them to eat them.
After this day we were hot, sweaty beyond belief, and tired.

Day 3 - 5

Day 3 was spent at the mall purchasing laptops, ipads, and new fans. While day four was fully at home with relaxation, finally. And day five, today, will be spent looking at chinese outfits for wedding pictures! Which I better get off to doing!

Till next time!

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