strange adventures

Fadoodle Faces #4

Pareidolia…. everyday things that appear to have a face. After toasting my croissant the other morning I saw something peeking back at me.

toast or ghost?

toast or ghost?

So I asked what is the meaning of Fadoodle…. but no one took the challenge to try to define it. 😦 I’ll ask again and no cheating! Put your guesses below in the comment section.

I have so many silly faces from a recent hike and more I found in the archives I have made this into a series. Check out some other faces below.

If you have a cool face and want to share link to it and tell us about it in the comment section below. In your post please give me a ping back to this post (or a previous fadoodle faces) so we can all share and easily find them. Can we see what you see?

Categories: strange adventures, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Fadoodle Faces #3

More funny faces in nature, pareidolia. As I was looking through the archives I found this little face in the woodpile. An old tree had to be cut down because it became dangerous. The interesting patterns in the wood and how the pieces were randomly placed provided a little face looking back at us. Certainly made me do a double take.

Grinning ear to ear or should I say limb to limb?

Grinning ear to ear or should I say limb to limb?

Want to see more faces check out my other posts:

Have a face you want to share like Patchwork Ponderings did? Provide a link in the comments below and link back to this or another one of the Fadoodle Faces post so we can all share. Can we see what you see?

So what is Fadoodle? Add your ideas below in the comments. Stay tuned for the definition.

Categories: Nature, strange adventures, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Fadoodle Faces #2

The image that inspired my idea to post the faces I found in nature (known as pareidolia —para-dole-ee-ah). Although I don’t think this one occurred naturally. 😉

Along the hiking trail from Lake Louise to Lake Agnes. A very HAPPY place.

Along the hiking trail from Lake Louise to Lake Agnes. A very HAPPY place.

Check out my other posts on faces in case you missed them.


If you have a cool pic and want to share link to it and tell us about it in the comment section below. In your post please give me a ping back to this post (or the previous one fadoodle faces) so we can all share and easily find them. Can we see what you see?


Categories: Nature, strange adventures, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Shanghai Silly: Potato Chips

When I was kid I remember the strange potato chip flavours coming out. Grape seems to be the one I recall and wanted to try the most. Funny I don’t remember if I ever tried them – maybe I was to chicken. 🙂

When we first arrived in Shanghai that memory came back as we walked down the aisle of chips. I tried lime, a sweetish more like key lime pie and ice tea, a lemony flavour. They did have grape or blueberry and I assumed it was ‘normal’, but the next time we went to shop they no longer carried that flavour. This time I was going to be sure to try them and I missed out. Another time I bought Cheetos and was surprised by the unusual flavour. I can’t read Chinese, but on closer inspection I realised I bought steak Cheetos. 😦 I don’t know if it was the flavour or not what I expected, but I wasn’t a fan and never bought them again. Recently I saw another kind of cheesies had something on top that looked like cheese. Mmmm cheesies with extra cheese on top. Nope it was vanilla icing like. Bizarre.

funny chip flavours

funny chip flavours

We usually stick to our old standards now. John likes the plain Lays, which are not as salty or greasy as home. Large bags are a third the size of home, but the flavour is great. I like the cheese Pringles. We bought some at home, but again the greasier and saltier flavour are not as good.

While out shopping I decided to snap a few photos of some of the new flavours that came out recently. Maybe they were just for Chinese New Year, or will be more long-term if they are a hit. My new favourite is Thai Green Curry. They are lime and a hint of coconut…. sounds strange, but it is good. Before that I discovered chocolate and sea salt. It is sweeter than usual chips, but nice too. The chocolate is light and just enough. I tried the numb and spicy hot-pot, but it was something I would not eat again. That and the sour plum melon is too Chinese for me. It has this spice that is in many dishes here and I don’t like it. The pepper and chicken were OK, but I prefer my favs thanks.

My favs in the middle and 2 new ones to try.

My favs in the middle and 2 new ones to try.

Chips are not too expensive; about the same price as home. The small bags run 3.80 RMB, which is around .75c Canadian and the larger bags are 5.20 RMB or $1.00. The tins are 8.00 RMB about $1.50.

What is your favourite chip flavour? Do you ever try any of the new flavours that come out?


Categories: China, Culture, everyday occurances, strange adventures, Tourist in My Own Town, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Shanghai Sillies: Pack & Go

When we first arrived in Shanghai, nearly 5 years ago, we would stop and stare gob-smacked at these men on bikes piled high with all kinds of materials from wood, to plastic containers to Styrofoam. Our guess is they recycle it. What do you think they could be using all that Styrofoam for? Still it quite a sight with the balancing act they must have to perform to get it from A to B.

I never managed to catch the tallest piles on film (or digital media for you <30’s) then they became quite rare. A local person told me the police had started to crack down on such packing. Slowly over the last few months they started to pop up again.

Wide load

Wide load


This poor fellow pulled over to the side of a busy road as a passer-by helped tuck something back into place. The pause gave me enough time to get the camera ready to snap a few pics.


On the Road Again

On the Road Again


Have you see anything silly lately?

Stay tuned…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, strange adventures, Tourist in My Own Town, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Last Night

Last night a peaceful protest in Hong Kong turned into something much bigger which may make change for the future. Demonstrations started with hundred then thousands of young people, mostly university age students. The reason for their assembly to try to influence the changes that may take away some of the freedoms of the people. From what we can gather, Hong Kong which returned to China in 1997, has been allowed freedoms and government to act somewhat independently from the rest of China. News came that this may start to change. 2017 a new process would allow people to vote, but the candidates would be hand picked by the capital, no longer a freedom from local residents to pick their own candidates. The young people took to the streets last night and peacefully blocked roads in the financial district of Hong Kong. The police tried to disperse the crowds by using tear gas, but the people stood strong.


From reports only a few were hurt and the and the crowds remained calm despite the police presence. This says a lot about the people. They are staying put, but without violence, disruption, chaos or rioting.

The crowd around Admiralty -HK financial district

The crowd around Admiralty -HK financial district

Today we were in the area and went to see for ourselves. At first it looked like a handful of people on closed roads. Someone pointed us further down the road and on the other side of an overpass we were startled by the crowds still there. Signs were posted on cardboard, on roads and barriers. Thousands of young students dressed in black with yellow ribbons of support with eye goggles and face masks sat peacefully on phones or chatting to friends. A few people spoke to the crowd and people quietly applauded. Talking to some of the young demonstrators you can see how passionate they are. They want to fight for freedom, show civil disobedience, but peacefully resist. One young girl quickly explained to me the reason for the crowd and why they had gathered. She stumbled over her English and kept apologising for the errors. She ended with I just want to help. I am here to help the people. She offered me a wet towel and when I refused she insisted.

one of numerous signs to get the message across

one of numerous signs to get the message across

Some shops were open, but many closed, but the people were not interested in doing any harm. It overwhelmed me to see the support, passion and how they cared for their city. As visitors many thanked us for coming and showing support. We were offered food, water, cold packs and wet towels to keep us comfortable in the heat. A young man gave us a face mask in case of more tear gas and said if we need anything speak to any of the ‘cooling stations’ which were well stocked with food, toilet paper, cases and cases of water. An elderly woman came with a trolley and in a styrofoam box she passed out hot meals to the students consisting of rice and breaded pork. Men and women in business suits came out on their lunch hour. To many people it was a photo op of selfies, but deep down you could see the care and concern that the future may hold. A young business man said he watched it all unfold from his office building and stated how proud he was of the people banding together, but how they remained calm and in control. As we walked along people apologised for bumping into you, offered you whatever they had. All these people demonstrating would cause quiet the mess, but there was no garbage strewn about. A young protester was carrying a garbage bag and picking up the small amounts of litter that were left behind. Again I was overwhelmed.

peaceful civil disobedience

peaceful civil disobedience

Whenever you think protest in a foreign country, or any country, your first instinct should be turn away. We felt safe and everyone wanted to share their message. The genuine thanks for our support, smiles and shaking our hands was like being welcomed into someone’s home. The feeling of acceptance and appreciation was unlike anything I would expect. The diverse groups of people coming together made us realise that this could be a part of history, life changing for many.

Last night as the police tear gassed the crowds the protesters quickly handed umbrellas out to those closest to the police. They covered themselves in plastic wrap, wore face masks and opened the umbrellas to protect themselves.

“The Umbrella Revolution” Last night as the police tear gassed the crowds the protesters quickly handed umbrellas out to those closest to the police. They covered themselves in plastic wrap, wore face masks and opened the umbrellas to protect themselves.

WP challenge for this week was NIGHT. This was a pretty historic night…

OK so my pictures weren’t taken at night and we only watched it on the TV because we had just arrived in HK oblivious to the news until after we checked in. It has carried on all day today and I am sure again into the night…

Stay tuned.

Categories: Culture, History, strange adventures, Uncategorized, unique experiences, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , ,

People: Pixelventures Photo Challenge

This week’s theme over at Bastet’s Pixelventures is PEOPLE. I have snapped some interesting pics of people here in Shanghai and when travelling around Asia. The hard part was narrowing it down to the most interesting and ones you hadn’t seen before. One of my favourite pictures of PEOPLE was posted here for Juxtaposition & Surprise back in January.

Monks at Angkor Wat

Monks at Angkor Wat

This first picture was taken on our trip to Cambodia. Inside the Angkor Wat complex you will often see Monks dressed in the bright orange. I decided to post this one because they were just like the rest of us tourists smiling at the photo they had just taken with their camera. It also shows a variety of other tourists who come from all over the world to see the Angkor Wat complex.

Picnic in the Park

Picnic in the Park


I have posted similar pics of this before, but this one is clearer and up close. When local Chinese go to a park they often take small tents to provide cover and shade. Sometimes the grass will be covered with tents and blankets. With so many living in apartments warm spring weekends often draw out everyone and they descend on the local parks.


Little Red Riding Hood is that you?

Little Red Riding Hood is that you?


OK I really am stumped with this one. A few times I have seen younger Shanghainese walking around dressed up like in costume. I am not sure if this is part of the Japanese phenomenon of dressing like animated characters or something else. Last spring we went to Shanghai Botanical Gardens and we ran into the lone girl dressed like Little Red Riding Hood basket and all. We did a double take and said   什么 (Shénme  – WHAT???)



These last 2 are typical sites as the older way of moving things still lives on. Small electric trike bikes or bikes with a trailer are often piled high with recycled material, small animals in crates, large bottles of water or other things to be sold. The first bike is either someone moving items, or old broken and unwanted items being collected. The second one has a pile of wood with the wife along for the ride. When we first arrived some of these piles would be well over 5 feet high. Now the police crack down on these unsafe heights.

These are my example of people. Check out Bastet’s Pixelventures for more examples.

Hit the OLDER POST button to see some examples of Letters and PEOPLE from yesterday’s post.

Stay Tuned…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, Photography, strange adventures, teaching overseas, Tourist in My Own Town, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Sign Language

More often than not we have run across funny signs and translations in China. Some words do not translate well, or are  a mix of words and meanings, which we refer to as Chinglish. More specifically this is a phrase that can be random, mistranslated or in ways/patterns we would never speak. Today was no exception when we happened upon this new sign in our local grocery store.

Where is Batman & Robin?

Where is Batman & Robin?

Didn’t see any bats there….  😉 and all the wine was on shelves. Do you think that cave was mistranslated for cellar?


Stay tuned…



Categories: Chinese Adventures, everyday occurances, post a week, strange adventures | Tags: , , , , , ,

The longest day

You may be wondering where my post was this weekend since I didn’t have any photo challenges or daily life in China adventures, or maybe not… But I am going to tell you anyway 😉

My feet on Chinese soil the night before returning to Canada.

My feet on Chinese soil the night before returning to Canada.

For the first time I had a flight booked for the day after school. I always wish to get out of Shanghai early, but I like the extra day(s) to pack, sleep in and do last minute errands without the rush and stress. Well this year it was cheaper to fly early and with John leaving ahead of me I was looking forward to getting home. I quickly regretted that as I came home each night tired, hot and low on energy after a busy day at work. The last week was rainy (too many indoor recesses where I was trapped with kids all day), humid and with so much to do. Luckily I had a few students who love to help and they did some little fiddly jobs so I could get other more pressing things accomplished. Friday night I had to do all the errands and the adrenalin of summer holidays ahead quickly wore off and I felt like I hit a wall of exhaustion. I pushed through and did as much as I could before heading to bed, vowing to wake early and finish.

The next morning I was up with the birds and finished packing, cleaning and getting the cat off to the kennel. Checking my flight I realized it was delayed two hours. I worried I would miss my connection, since I only had about two hours between flights. That soon became a blessing of what became the longest day of my life! When you have a bad day you can’t wait for it to be over….well add traveling across the globe to stretch that day even longer made me wonder if it would ever end. I landed in Vancouver before I even left Shanghai…. Missed my connection, but I am getting ahead of myself. This is not the worst thing that happened today.

Ok, so running late, but I knew the flight was delayed so I had a little bit of a window, so I didn’t

At the airport, Shanghai

At the airport, Shanghai

worry. All packed and thirty minutes to an hour behind schedule I was finally ready. The last few jobs would have to wait until I came back. Everything at the door all I had to do was shut off the water. Easy task…. Well that quickly became my worst decision of the day.

I turned the knobs to the hot water heater and then pondered another knob. Do I turn this one off too? I guess I should just in case. Well I barely touched it when it broke off in my hand and a gush of water came spraying out all over me, the wall and everything in between. I stood frozen in shock wondering what do I do? I have to go to the airport! Quickly looking for a shut off and seeing none…. This was the shut off, so where is another? Next, I panicked. I ran to my neighbor who speaks English. No answer. I ran to my other…. No answer. I called John’s cousin who lives in the building maybe she knows. Through my crappy phone where no one can hear me and my panic she didn’t know what I was saying. Finally she came down and my neighbors came over. We all ran around trying to scoop out water which now was going into the dining room. I tried to call the school guy who takes care of our units, no answer. I called a friend… They were too far away. My neighbors stuck a wine cork in the pipe, which was temporary since the pressure popped it out within minutes. At least it helped for a short bit while they called for the building maintenance. This fellow comes to the door. “Ay- o” (I-O) which is like “holy crap”. He turned off the water from a main shut off that was in a cupboard in the main public hall behind a door… Why didn’t I think to look there? Geesh didn’t even know it was there! He gave us ideas how to quickly dry up the water as we built a dam with every towel I had and slowly pushed the water back to the kitchen. I was so worried and didn’t know what to do…. And no one could hear me on the phone… It only made my stress rise. I was so lucky to have great neighbors to come to my rescue and help me. They were kind enough to offer and stay with the mess so I wouldn’t miss my flight. I stayed and helped though… I just couldn’t leave this for others.

Finally it was cleaned up and I could go. Did I mention the pipe broke because it was attached only by a thin bit of caulking?!! I guess I am lucky it broke BEFORE I left and not while we were away. The fellow from work would come later to assess the damage and fix the pipe. I went to leave and of course it started to rain. Already late and now rain… I was still wet from the flood and didn’t have a chance to change. Good luck now getting a taxi. Luckily my other neighbor who speaks about as much English as I speak Chinese saw me struggling and helped me get a taxi and told the driver exactly where to go. I must have looked like heck… wet, make-up down my face, which I didn’t even notice until I got to the airport. After a crazy day I was so thankful for all the help I received. I guess in a time of need someone will come to your rescue.

Inside the taxi we headed to the airport. I should make it. No sooner the thought crossed my mind we stopped dead…. construction traffic. Could anything else go wrong today? With my stress level at an all time high we made it with a little time to spare. The airport was so busy the driver couldn’t get to the curb, so he stopped me on a lane of traffic. Dumped my bags and sped off. Now on the road I had to struggle to the curb. Luckily a baggage cart was left so I nabbed it and ran inside the airport. I made it…. But was informed my flight was overbooked. They put me on stand by for the direct flight hoping to ease up the extra passengers. It made little sense since the other flight was ALSO overbooked. I didn’t make that flight, but asked them about my original flight and they put me back on it. Once through customs and at the gate I could relax. I made it.

We were delayed further, so I missed my connection in Vancouver, but JUST made the next one to Toronto. Relaying my crazy adventure to a fellow traveler she said well keep smiling…. It was true I somehow managed to keep smiling after the initial panic and shock wore off. I was thankful to all those helped me and came to my rescue. I made it…I was home. The longest day of my life was over, I was tired, but I made it.

Stay tuned…. My next adventure was not as chaotic and lots of fun. More about that later.

Categories: everyday occurances, post a week, strange adventures, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What is it? Luo Han Guo

The Chinese are known for their traditional medicines and natural remedies. Sometimes we are lucky or brave enough to try them. In January right around parent teacher interviews I had a case of laryngitis brought on from a combination of a sinus infection, dry air from the heating, pollution and not drinking enough water. After a few days rest and antibiotics I started to get better, but my voice was not coming back. I have some lovely parents and they brought me throat lozenges from many places around the world. They lovingly gave them to me to try. They helped my throat feel better, but my voice was still scratchy. One parent suggested I try this tea and promised to send it the next day. Instead she ran off to the shops and returned with the product straight away.


Opening the fruit which was wrapped in a styrofoam mesh, like the expensive fruit at the grocery store, I was surprised to find a hollow sounding greenish brown fruit. The only way to open it was to bang it with something hard and it cracked like an eggshell. Inside a hollow centre held some seed looking things in the shape of corn kernels, but larger. The instructions said to place a small bit in boiling water and drink. It is supposed to sooth the throat. I was willing to try anything as long as it didn’t taste or smell bad. Neither… it was actually quite sweet with an indescribable flavour. Almost immediately my throat felt better and my voice started to return. It is like a miracle cure! I had tried the honey and lemon, numerous kinds of cough candy, gargles and other natural remedies, but nothing ever worked so well and so fast. For someone who has lost her voice a lot this was a true gem!


So what is this miracle? Well it is called Luo Han Guo (pronounced Lou hang gwah). It is native to China and parts of Thailand. I have learned it is a sweet fruit and it spoils quickly, so it is usually dried. It is used mainly in teas and some companies and traditional medicines use it as a sweetener. If you would like to read more than check out this article I found here. It starts out very medical/scientific, but skip past that for more details.

I left one of these at my brother’s when I was home last and he thought it was a ball and threw it in the kid’s toy box! They are light and hollow feeling, but what they hold inside is very interesting and some say funny looking. I have had some odd looks to “What is that???”, but hey sometimes nature knows best.

This week I have been suffering from another sinus cold and sore throat and I have found not only Luo Han Guo fruit, but medicine in a more concentrated form. They work wonders. I was feeling better, but it has settled back in, (the pollution is bad and seems to trigger this) so off I go to cuddle on the sofa to watch some TV and drink my funny looking tea.

So what is your home remedy or must have when you are sick? Share below in the comment section.

Stay tuned…. or check out my previous posts this weekend. I did 2 photo challenges on Peaceful (Peaceful and Peaceful #2) and another on Fleeting.

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, post a week, strange adventures, teaching overseas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,