Tuesday, December 10, 2013

just another day in paradise...

In case you haven't heard, we've been having a bit of a smog issue here in Shanghai. In fact, it's been a record-breaking week!

As of Friday, we were off the pollution measuring scale. As a frame of reference, typically, most US cities are in the 10-20 range on the PM2.5 scale. see below "Beyond index" Great!

*super smart ad placecment. air filters on your air quality app.

To bring it a little closer to home. Here's our view, pre-smog.

Here's our smoggy view

I wasn't exactly going to comment on the smog, but then the China news channel released a report outlining the "5 Surprising Benefits of Smog." The Shanghaiist & TeaLeafNation have translated it to English and provided their own commentary for your reading pleasure. Below:

  1. It unifies Chinese people. Complaining about smog has brought Chinese citizens together. The haze “is everywhere,” the article continues, from “every big city” to “small cities, towns, and villages.”
  2. It makes China more equal. Never mind that wealth inequality remains deep and pervasive in China; everyone has to breathe the same filthy air, right? “Of course,” the article admits, the rich can retreat to their luxury cars or use other means to avoid the worst pollution. “But that is after all a minority,” and even they “have a hard time” avoiding the smog completely.
  3. It raises citizen awareness. Here it gets a bit earnest. The article insists that “with the whole world playing up the Chinese miracle,” the pollution “reminds us that China’s status as ‘the world’s factory’ is not without a price.”
  4. Chinese people are funnier when they are contending with deadly smog. The article lists a number of popular smog-related wisecracks. The best example from a meager crop: “We’re never farther away than when we hold hands on the street — and I can’t see you.”
  5. The haze makes Chinese people more knowledgeable. The article concludes that “through the arguments and the jokes” surrounding China’s pollution, “our knowledge of meteorology, geography, physics, chemistry, and history has progressed.” Also, students of English have added terms like “haze” and “smog” to their lexicon. [...]

 Even with all these benefits. We're keeping our masks on!

Don't worry, yesterday we were already back down to only a hazardous 351...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Travels: Relaxing in Hoi An, Vietnam

Back on track with long overdue vacation posts...

After eating our way through Ho Chi Minh City, we popped over to a sleepy little beach town on the east coast of Vietnam, called Hoi An. (not to be confused with Hanoi...)

Hoi An was named a World Heritage UNESCO site due to its preservation as an example of a South-East Asian trading port. You can still see the mingling of Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture in the alleyways or homes, pagodas and temples. Supposedly, it’s through Hoi An that Christianity entered Vietnam in the 1600s.

I'd like to split up the town into 3 areas: the little harbor and surrounding shops & restaurants, the inner fields where the locals and farmers live & work, plus the beachfront, where we stayed.

Here, we took some time to relax on the beach and by the pool, enjoy a couple bike rides through the fields and explore the little town center. 

loving our pool & beach-side locale

this is what happens where there are hats to play with but your hubby is working...

 Fishing boats on the beach (you may have noticed this shot also on banglesandcuffs.com :P )

Hard at work

Hoi An harbor at night

eatin' noodles and sellin' wishes

Hoi An Harbor

the prep before they set out

i love a good bike against a wall pic

this little store was great. it's a fair trade shop selling handicrafts made by disabled  employees. we also got to go back and meet the people who made our purchases. :)

biking through the fields & town

Found the perfect wine bar to cap off the town!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Business Launch!

I don't want you all thinking I've been a total slacker with no blog posts for over a month. We've been busy traveling, PLUS, I've been starting up a new business with my friend Nick! 

Check us out!

Don't think this is my new full time career, but it's been a great adventure/experiment in starting an idea from scratch. 

As we just launched, we are open to feedback!!! Let us know what you like / don't like / wish you saw / etc. We're planning on donating proceeds back to the local communities, but turns out there was a little snafu with our charity of choice. More to come there.

Absolutely NO PRESSURE to buy a thing, but if you're interested, we're kicking off with a Black Friday sale!

Promo Code: Launch2013
Free Shipping on Orders over $100: freeshipping100

Looking forward to hearing with you think!
Jacqueline & Nick