A Jersey Guy's Excellent Adventure in China

Tag: Xi’an

Farewell to Cheap Massages, Cute Kids, Squat Toilets, Dirty Air

Cruising 35,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean on my flight home to the U.S., I’m thinking of all the things I’m going to miss about China – and some of the things I’d just as soon forget. Things I’ll Miss: My students: Their English was lousy, but they really tried to learn. They treated me… Read More ›

First Lady Takes Heat Over Family’s China Junket

Michelle Obama is taking some heat over her family’s weeklong visit to China. While I think most of the criticism is trivial, I strongly agree with one point: If this isn’t just a vacation, as the White House claims, then the press should have been allowed to join her on the trip. No reporters accompanied… Read More ›

Mao’s Wax Museum Body Needs Nip and Tuck

Chairman Mao is showing his age. Lying in an open crystal casket encased in an airtight chamber at his massive mausoleum in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, China’s former supreme ruler looks like a figure from Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. Surrounded by a bed of lilies, his body is dressed in his usual drab gray suit and draped… Read More ›

Monk’s 16-Year Odyssey Ended at Wild Goose Pagoda

I was feeling a little travel weary until I read about Xuanzang, a 7th-century Chinese monk who went on a 16-year, 100-plus country pilgrimage and returned home with one of the greatest collections of Buddhist scriptures in history. I learned more about Xuanzang at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an, part of the Da… Read More ›

Terracotta Warriors Protect Emperor in Afterlife

When I first saw the Terracotta Army during a national holiday in October, the place was so crowded you could hardly move. The 25-mile bus ride from Xi’an took 3½ hours and, once we got there, my friend Damian and I had to wait an hour in line to see the main exhibition. My second… Read More ›

Tabloid Tales of Naked Janitor, Dragon Lady, Vampires

My friends Steve and Cynthia Wine recently sent me their annual Christmas letter, which is always very funny and self-deprecating. This year’s missive featured tabloid headlines about their activities in 2013. I ripped off their idea and wrote these headlines about my life in China: TEACHER RESCUED BY NAKED JANITOR: After working late in my… Read More ›

Homeward Bound After China Tour

Though I’ve been too busy to get homesick, I’m looking forward to my upcoming sojourn in New Jersey. I’ll be returning home for a three-week stay in late January and early February after Pat and I travel around China during my semester break. Our tour will include Beijing and Shanghai, along with trips to see… Read More ›

Playing the Blues Like John Lee Hooker

It’s never too late to be a guitar hero. I played guitar when I was younger, but I hadn’t touched the instrument in 30 years before I got to China. Now I’m taking lessons from my neighbor Toni, a talented musician who plays guitar, piano, flute and clarinet. Today, I’ve been trying to pick and… Read More ›

Trip to Xi’an Turns Into Terracotta Trauma

A lot of folks warned me about traveling during national holidays in China. I should have listened. During long holidays, like the one this week celebrating the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, buses, trains and roads are jammed with people visiting their families or heading to tourist sites. My friend Damian… Read More ›

Riding Bike, Reading Dostoyevsky

My inquisitive cousin Bill Warner sent me a list of questions about my life in China. Bill lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which has a strong connection to the Middle Kingdom: Some of the most brilliant students at Harvard and MIT (Bill’s alma mater) are Chinese-Americans. Here are Bill’s probing questions and my probative answers: Q:… Read More ›

Bragging Bad: My Predictions About Finale Flop

Nostradamus, I’m not. Most of my predictions about last week’s episode of “Breaking Bad’’ were as accurate as Bush II’s claim that Iraq had WMDs. I said Hank would survive. He was shot, execution-style, by Todd’s ruthless uncle Jack. I said Todd would die.  He didn’t. I said at least one of the neo-Nazi thugs… Read More ›