Monthly Archives

April 2008

Asus eee Pc – The Best Travel Laptop

So. I just wanted to say that I have gotten about a gazillion compliments and questions in regards to my laptop. Almost every time pull it out and set it up, a person will first stare at the laptop, and then ask me if it’s a real laptop.

They react the same way when Leah’s the one using the thing too. Just amazed at how small it is, and then that it does nearly everything you need it to – and then when we tell them it was only around $300 U.S. – well then, that’s just amazing. Ha.

Leah’s gonna get one now for when she starts up school in August – except she’ll get the blue one.

It’s been handy for work too – although it isn’t a good replacement for a computer, it allows/makes it possible for me to do my work – relatively speaking.

So this machine has simply been amazing and it’s enabled us to do a lot on this trip that we otherwise wouldn’t – mostly document it as much as we obviously have. But even then, it’s helped with storage of photos and communicating with people back home. Most importantly, we have rarely had to wait for an open computer at a hostel. Most of the hostels we’ve stayed at have WiFi so I can always get my own connection without having to wait.

Yes. I’d recommend this travel laptop for anyone who’s going abroad for a few months or a year. Weighing around a kilo, it’s practically nothing and it’s nearly indestructible – relatively speaking. And even if something does happen to it – the investment was pretty small – compared to other laptops of the same size and almost the same portability which costs at least twice as much or more.

Naxi Hospitality

Yunnan province has many different minority groups, and Lijiang is home to several, but primarily to the Naxi people. The Naxis are ethnically Tibetan, speak their own Naxi language and use a pictograph writing system- the oldest still in use, in fact. They are a matriarchal society, whereby the women inherit all property, can have multiple lovers, and are responsible for supporting their children, moreso than the fathers.

We’re at Mama Naxi’s guesthouse and have been lucky to experience Naxi hospitality and nurturing. Mama, who fills the main building (Bldg 3) with her loud voice and great food, has been awesome at scoring us the cheapest plane tickets ever, as well as arranging our transport to Shangri-la/Zhongdian today. She cooked a 7-course meal last night and we all sat around stuffing ourselves silly. And it only cost 10 yuan- that same meal would have cost over 100 at a restaurant! And it was so great. Picture!!

That was taken before the last dish came out. It was broccoli, wok-fried and flavorful.

Baba lives at the the building we’re staying in. He’s a much quieter, meeker, but just as hospitable, version of Mama. So, if you ever come to Lijiang, Mark and I absolutely recommend this guesthouse. But do try to get a private bathroom- the shared bathrooms aren’t very nice. That’s really my only complaint. Everything else has been wonderful here- great food, our laundry was done super-fast and cheap, all our travel arrangements were made in like 10 seconds and for a much cheaper price than I had budgeted, our room was even way cheaper than we had anticipated. It’s just been a great experience here!

In Search of Breakfast

Every morning, we generally wake up around 5 or 6am, and wait a second, then make our way onto the streets in search of some food. America has no concept of street food (other than say a hotdog cart) so we’ve just been indulging at nearly every opportunity we come across.

Usually we just head out, off of the main street and down a promising hutong (side street). We’ll pass a lot of spots that just seem to be packed with people, all of them hunkering down and grabbing a bowl of steaming soup. But this they serve Chinese breakfast soups naturally and they’re just not nearly as appealing as even regular soup for breakfast. Many of them seem to be of the egg-drop/wonton/hot and sour variety that we have back in the states. So soup is a no go for breakfast here.

We nearly always pass by some vendors selling steamed buns (baozi) and I can never turn those down. So that’s been breakfast for the past few days. Today we also found some steamed rice cakes wrapped in palm leaves (or banana leaves) with beans in them – not so crazy about the beans but the rice part was good.

Leah also tried some of the eggs that we kept seeing everywhere. Apparently what they do is boil the egg, crack the shell, and then soak it in a dark tea so that the egg can soak up the flavor.

On the way back from today’s breakfast excursion, we decided to be fancy and stop at the UpDown 9 restaurant.

It was quite good and a nice middle ground between faux upscale and street. Just a comfortable spot that the locals also eat at where we tourist can go and not worry about being ripped off to shreds because the prices are all printed on the menu.

I even got coffee.

They didn’t have rice made so I had to order a noodle dish. Beef and noodle something – but it was really good. Leah also got a noodle dish and it actually was very similar to a dish that my mom makes from the Philippines called pansit.

Then walk back to our hostel and get ready for the day’s adventures. That’s breakfast nearly every morning – except for the few times we have it prepared at the hostel we’re staying at. Sorry about this VERY photo intensive post. I think that I’m just too excited about having a internet connection that makes it possible.