February 4, 2018
I'm off to Hong Kong International to catch my flight home. I'll connect in Tokyo's Narita International and should be home right around halftime at the Super Bowl. There's also several videos I took yesterday from that cool seafood joint, Tung Po.
Farewell, Far East! You gave me a bunch of unforgettable memories....I'm jotting them down on this website just in case....
Speaking of which, I think I'm actually caught up with all sections of the website. A sincere "thank you" to you for checking it out on occasion.
February 3, 2018
One clear day...one clear day is all I ask for some decent photo ops! Ugh...well, it's my last full day on vacation. I just had a great lunch at this Peking-Szechuan joint in the mall downstairs. Yeah, maybe I'll just eat and drink my way to oblivion my tonight.
I batted two for two today with a fantastic dinner at the popular seafood joint, Tung Po.
I posted videos from Thursday when I arrived in Hong Kong and went to Macau.
February 2, 2018
Oh, look! Not a sky in the cloud! I headed over to Victoria Park this morning just to check it out. It's a small city park but still nice with groups of people practicing tai chi or dancing together.
I then headed over to Central for a fantastic lunch at 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo, a terrific Italian joint.
Well, that Italian place was simply out of this world. I had dinner at a Vietnamese-Thai place in the super mall at the ground level of my hotel. It was decent.
Yay! I'm actually up to Hong Kong in the Food section!
February 1, 2018
It was a quick cab ride to Shanghai's Hongqiao Airport and a smooth flight to Hong Kong, where this FEAST began for me. My last two days in Shanghai were awash with the foggy, cloudy conditions, but I'd like to think I made up for it here in Hong Kong. As soon as I checked in, I hopped in a cab for a quick ride to the Kowloon ferry terminal and caught a boat to Macau. Well, it was cloudy, but still a few nice hours there, I'm glad I went.
January 31, 2018
I close out January with my last full day in Shanghai. But it's so hazy and foggy outside, I don't wanna walk around! Well, I'll try to find a place for dinner while I wait for things to clear up a bit.
Yay, I'm only about nine days behind in the Food Blog section! There are plenty of pictures and videos for my meals in Kyoto and Tokyo if you go to Food II and select Jan 14, 16 & 17.
January 30, 2018
Wow, it's totally cloudy and foggy today, and the forecast tomorrow is much the same. I'm glad I went up Shanghai Tower yesterday. I had a nice lunch near the hotel and am trying to find some place good for dinner. I walked around a bit after lunch, but I find I'm not in much of a mood to wander when the weather's dreary.
January 29, 2018
Well, thank goodness the skies cleared today because it gave me the chance to go up Shanghai Tower, the city's tallest skyscraper. And afterwards, it was a quick one-stop subway ride across the Huangpo River to the Bund with its wonderful turn-of-the-20th-Century buildings and spectacular views of Downtown.
I posted plenty of photos and videos of Shanghai, but they're all during daytime hours. Maybe I'll head over to the Bund in the evening tomorrow and get a few night shots.
January 28, 2018
It was still overcast today, though the rain finally stopped. I just slept in and went for an early dinner at a nearby shopping mall. While I've come to learn these food courts are no laughing matter, I think I had what were the best dumplings I've ever eaten.
My hotel here in Shanghai has much better Internet access than what I had in Beijing, so maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to catch up in the Food Blog section.
January 27, 2018
I got to Beijing International nice and early for my trip to Shanghai, my only truly domestic flight on this trip. I guess you could consider Shanghai to Hong Kong a domestic flight, but let's see if I have to pass through immigration when I leave Shanghai. Anyway, it was all for naught as my flight was delayed four hours because of bad weather at my destination.
I got to my hotel around 8:30 PM, so it was too late to grab dinner by the time I settled in. Plus, it was an ugly night out with freezing rain. Man, walking around just a few of the streets here in Downtown makes you feel dwarfed by the all these skyscrapers, one after another. It's a really impressive scene.
January 26, 2018
Well, today was my last full day in Beijing. I went back to Country Kitchen for another fantastic lunch, and then returned to Tiananmen Square for some close-ups (sort of) of the museums and monuments there.
I had dinner at this decently fancy seafood joint near my hotel. Too bad it was a thumbs down, in general.
January 25, 2018
I spent this morning at the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. This tourist attraction is about an hour northeast of Beijing.
It was a cold day, but the skies were pretty clear, the air was nice and fresh, it wasn't crowded, and the Wall is as magnificent as I imagined.
January 24, 2018
Today was a nice three-mile walk to a hotel restaurant recommended by eater.com. Boy, was it good...GI tract good!
I also asked the concierge this morning for help with joining a tour of the Great Wall. He recommended hiring a driver and car for the morning and afternoon, so I asked for his help to procure one.
Not sure what I'll do for dinner. There's a high-end Chinese restaurant down the street or an Irish pub adjacent to the hotel. Decisions, decisions...
January 23, 2018
Well, I got off to a good start this morning in Beijing by heading to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, about a 20-minute walk from my hotel. I didn't go into the Palace Museum because you need your passport to purchase a ticket to get into the center of the palace. I might go later in the week.
There's a ton of high-end shopping in this part of town and after ducking into malls every 30 minutes to pick up a hot tea, I found a good place for a late lunch. I ate so much it might actually hold me over until tomorrow.
January 22, 2018
I took a quick walk a little bit west this morning and snapped a couple of photos of Seoul's City Hall before catching my bus to Incheon International.
My flight to Beijing was quick, and so was getting through customs. All those trips to the Chinese Consulate in Manhattan to get a visa paid off, I guess. It's freezing cold here but the skies are supposed to be clear all week, so that's cool.
January 21, 2018
This stinks! I wanted to do a wash here during my last full day in Seoul, but I just couldn't find a place. Gosh, Google Maps is greatly lacking for Seoul compared to most every other city I've so far visited on this trip.
Anyhow, it was good to be out and about and walking for a while in the afternoon. I stayed in this evening to work on this website some more. The Videos section is finally updated. Now, if I can just get around to catching up the Food Blog....
January 20, 2018
I took a walk in the neighborhood this morning and basically walked through some department stores as well as the very large Namdaemun Market, a sprawling flea market covering several adjacent streets.
After lunch across the street at a family joint, I finally got around to updating stuff on this annoying website!
January 19, 2018
Yay...my cough is finally gone! With it being a clear day out, I decided to go up the Lotte World Tower, Seoul's tallest building that boasts one of the highest observation decks in the world. It does have the world's highest glass-floor observation deck...yeesh, standing in that section was an adventure.
I went for a bowl of "chopped noodles" at this place near my hotel along with a couple of items from the food stands. I'll try to research a place or two for tomorrow.
January 18, 2018
It was time to leave Japan after 11 wonderful nights. And I capped it off with an early-morning viewing of the Tsukiji Fish Market's tuna auction. That was certainly a fascinating experience, and I'm lucky I was able to witness it because the market will be moving in the coming months to a larger location in the Toyosu area which is farther away from the center of town, and with subways not running in the early morning, I think visiting the new fish market will be a pretty long cab ride.
Though I flew in to Haneda which is within the city limits, Narita International is a different story. I took the train out there soon after breakfast and packing up. The train ride was almost two hours. Luckily, getting through ticketing and customs was pretty painless.
The two-hour flight to Seoul was fine, and I cleared immigration quickly. Incheon International Airport, like Narita, is far from the city, however. The bus ride to town was easy to find and very pleasant but took over 90 minutes.
A fast, friendly check-in and a slew of night food stands half a block from the hotel sure made me forget the long travel quickly!
January 17, 2018
The cough was a little better today, but I know it'll take a couple more days before it goes away completely. After such a perfect meal last night, I figured I'd tempt fate once more by going for another sushi meal, my last while in Japan. The concierge suggested a place only a couple stops away on the subway, and wow, was I glad I went! Ginza Kyubey Sushi was terrific, and what better way to follow up a meal like that than...to do a load of laundry!
It started to rain in the afternoon, bummer for my last full day in Tokyo. I tried to pick up a souvenir for a friend's son but didn't have any luck, unfortunately. After an early dinner back at this donburi (rice bowl) joint I tried last week, I went to Tokyo Station to try to go souvenir shopping for one of my nieces. Luckily, that worked out...and just before the store closed.
January 16, 2018
I got home from the concert last night with the chills and an annoying cough. I fell asleep quickly and realized in the morning that I'd have to forego any touristy activities today in an effort to rest up and have the energy to attend dinner at Sushi Yasuda. Luckily, my fever was gone by dinnertime, but my cough was only beginning. Chef Yasuda's a legend in NYC and returned to Japan around 2011 soon after the terrible tsunami hit the country. The food tonight was superlative, of course, but spending 90 minutes there listening to Chef answer any and all questions about his art form was something to behold.
January 15, 2018
Dinner last night at the kaiseki joint was out of this world and certainly GI-tract worthy! I had an early afternoon train to catch at Kyoto Station to get back to Tokyo. After checking in to my new digs, I had a few minutes to relax before grabbing a quick dinner and proceeding to Suntory Hall for a concert by the Warsaw Philharmonic.
How cool, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended the first half of the concert tonight! They sat front-row, center of the first tier; I was maybe 50' behind them. I was maybe as close as 20' from them as they walked by upon entering and exiting. It's unfortunate that they didn't stay for the second half of the concert as it was the most famous piece in the program.