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Top 10 China Posts

January 26th, 2019

I’ve lived in China for over four years and during all that time I’ve maintained this blog. These are the ten best posts I’ve written. In all this time I never managed to get blocked by the Great Firewall but Bing briefly became the latest major website to suffer this fate. I’ve actually been revising my website to make it run faster from inside China but this may be the last post I publish before I fly home.

These posts were selected using the ultra scientific technique of me going through my archives and writing down the ten posts I thought would be the most interesting to new readers. This is also the first post I’ve written in the new editor since I made a major WordPress upgrade. I am hoping this will become cornerstone content to use Yoast’s lingua franca. This post represents a lot more effort and sacrifice than most people will ever realize.

1) Shanghai Tour Guide

For years I worked and lived in Shanghai, China’s most metropolitan city. In that time very few people came to visit me. I spent most of my time studying for various exams and trying to find a much better job. I did get a chance to play tour guide a couple times and if you find yourself in the city for a couple days the big decisions you have to make are: will you visit Disneyland and do you have the visa and desire to travel to nearby Suzhou or Hangzhou. Shanghai can get expensive quickly but you can see a lot just by walking and taking public transit if you follow my advice.

Shanghai's Pearl Tower

2) Xi’an Excursion

While I was an exchange student at Tsinghua University in Beijing, I and several of my classmates went on some trips. This was the biggest one. We took a twelve plus hour train ride, no fast trains back then.  Xi’an is the ancient capital of the Tang and twelve other dynasties. We saw the city walls, the Terracotta Warriors, pagodas, museums, and even a mosque. We ate BarBQ, I fell down and broke my face as well as seriously damaging my knee something which has only gotten worse as I’ve tried to keep training.

3) Yangshuo Getaway

After my first CFA® exam in China I finally went on a trip outside of a city. Someone had advised me to travel to Yangshuo so I trained as much as I could on bikes in the gym but I’m not sure my ass and arms were ready for biking 50 km in the scorching heat with Bike Asia. I also got to have a beer beside an ancient stone bridge among some of the most picturesque scenery in China.

The Sun, The Sky, and the River

4) Yellow Mountain Kicked Ass

After I finished my last MBA exam and assignment a very pretty Chinese girl invited me to climb a famous mountain. She ended up not climbing the mountain due to an illness in the family but I had already travelled to Anhui so her sister and friends took me up Huangshan. Now there is a high speed train right to the base of the mountain but in the olden day you needed an automobile to journey from the nearest place with a train station. We climbed the mountain in January and eventually bought spikes to attach to our shoes after one of our party slipped and fell a long way down.

Flying Rock on Yellow Mountain

5) Photographing Shanghai’s Skyline

I lived in Shanghai over four years. I never took so many selfies as when I joined WeChat, Chinese women are insatiable. Besides selfies also popular on social media are pictures of food and famous landscapes. I took and posted a lot of pictures to social media while living in China. The best of which can be found in one particular Flickr album. If you have the money you can get a very expensive hotel room with a view in Shanghai, if you don’t have the money you can follow my advice and end up with some great photos assuming the weather and smog cooperate.

Bund and Bumpkins

6) Baidu: China’s Search Engine

Me at Baidu in Beijing

This post was commenced on the day the last Western search engine Bing was banned in China a fact I was among the first to post about on Twitter. Luckily a lot of mainstream media journalists follow me on social media. I’m popular in #fitspiration circles on Instagram and on Pinterest I seem to mostly known for miniature painting. In 2019 I can not recommend Baidu for searching the Internet in English, Yandex the Russian search engine seems to yield better results.

7) Yak Genitals Mmm Mmm Good

One of the first things I and fellow exchange students at Tsinghua did was go for Tibetan food. On the flight over I had read about Tibetan yak genital soup. Lo and behold, it was on the menu so I ordered it. No one wanted to try my yak genital soup. Honestly I’ve eaten way worse while living in Asia, duck’s blood soup being an example that quickly comes to mind. None-the-less my reputation among classmates was made by ordering a bowl of soup and writing about it.

8) 4 AM Flower Girls

Wudaokou Flower Girls

Still in 2019, a familiar sight in China even in the biggest cities are street hawkers. They sell everything from fruits and nuts, to sweet potatoes, to entire raw fish often from a cart or bike. Some vendors specifically target men, either single men or men accompanied by a female companion. They try to get you to buy flowers or more recently LED strewn crowns and balloons for your ‘lady friend’. In Wudaokou back in the day there was some particularly aggressive street vendors and I wrote about my encounter with them one night at Lush.

9) Ramen in Shanghai

Although I spent a lot of time studying and drinking coffee and perhaps not studying and drinking beer and I also enjoy a good burger, the food I thought bloggers were neglecting in Shanghai was ramen. Although this isn’t Japan and if you really want the best ramen you should go to Tokyo or Yokohama or even Sapporo. In Shanghai there are a lot of Japanese expats and a lot of famous chains so you can get some decent ramen.

Lujiazui Ramen

10) Dance, Dance, Dance

When I wrote this, I thought this eventful day as an exchange student at Tsinghua University would be well received, even epic. Alas it appears more dubious posts are what the public really wants. I have to recommend you resist blogging impulsively.

Chinese Dancers

I’m not sure Joost will approve of this post. I’m not sure it is optimal for search engines. I’ve definitely not managed to blog my way to a better career but I have been online a long time and I’ve written thousands of blog postings. I tried to make blogging work. I tried to make living in China work, perhaps I failed but at least I tried. You’re welcome to leave your comments and SEO advice below.


  • Judith Dougan Oliver says:


    Your website is very interesting. I found it in my search for more information on Dougan Lake.

    My name is Judy Dougan Oliver. I am interested in finding out more about my Dougan heritage. It may be possible that we are related.

    My grandfather, William Dougan, was born and raised in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Our family knows that at least one brother landed in Canada when they come to the US in the early 1900’s. He also had 2 sisters, Martha are Ruth, that spent most of their lives in California. My grandfather was one of the first Irish Immigrants that came to Northern California.

    Please respond. Thank you.

    Judy Oliver

    • Muskie says:

      Supposedly someone in the Cowichan Valley is working on another book on the Dougans or the Valley. They have confirmed a lot of what I wrote down which comes from Nathan Dougan. I have not done any genealogy research in years but basically unless your family is rich or in the army or the church the records only go back so far. Many Irish records were destroyed so it depends on how good of records your local church back in Ireland kept. You left your comment on the newest post, you should look at this Dougan Family Tree post. I don’t have any more info than that, I’m not even sure if Reunion still runs on my laptop I may need to upgrade it, but it helped keep track of information and produced the graphics I posted online.

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