A Post-Thanksgiving Post

I have been happily catching up on all your posts this week, and have loved seeing how everyone around the web spent their Thanksgiving. It’s easily one of my favorite holidays – spending a whole day with loved ones cooking and eating, what’s not to love?

As you know I was down south in New Orleans last weekend. Can I just tell you, it’s my new favorite US city. I’m aware of the overuse of superlatives online, but it’s really the greatest place to visit. So much history, such a mixture of cultures, such specific regional cuisine and so much to do.

First up was dinner on Thursday night at our friends’ in Mid-City. New Orleans isn’t all about Bourbon Street and bars, people. The folks who have come to call New Orleans home are welcoming, resilient, artistic, and loyal people – whether native to the area or not. My friends were no exceptions to the norm, as they opened their home for 6 of us on Thanksgiving Day.

Turkey out of the oven

We’re all big foodies, all 8 of us are, so we all very much enjoyed preparing, discussing, and eating the feast on Thursday. We went a pretty traditional route: Turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, biscuits, and a green bean salad. EVERYTHING was homemade, which make EVERYTHING better.

Half the spread

The beauty of Thanksgiving with Friends, or as we called it – #franksgiving – is the ability to establish your own traditions. Whether it be a specific dish, or an after-dinner event, it’s fun to make the holiday your own. Our tradition was the fixing of temporary tattoos between dinner a dessert – something that kept us pre-occupied for a good hour, letting our stomachs make a little more room for something sweet.

temp tattoos on the table

hardcore puppes

The all-around winner of tattoos went to my friend Donna, whose LATE watch just screamed 2013 SS Fashion week. That Dons, always up on the latest trend.


Because we couldn’t get enough of each other Thursday night, we all met Friday afternoon for the obligatory leftover lunch. I dare say, it was a better spread – the 7 of us had 7 varieties of sandwiches to boast. YUM.


chowin down

And finally, a long post-lunch walk to the park to enjoy newly installed Christmas decorations. The perfect ending to a perfect Thanksgiving!

walking through NoLA

NoLA trees

Many of the old oak trees in the park survived Katrina, and during much of the year are covered with weeping strands of Spanish moss. So beautiful!

Happy 4th!

Fourth of July means fireworks, set to a tinny version of Pomp and Circumstance blasting out of large outdoor speakers. There’s always some sort of group outdoor eating activity, often paired with a decent amount of group outdoor drinking. People dress in Red, White, and Blue and do American things, like sailing in Cape Cod and grilling large slabs of meat and adding disgusting amounts of mayonnaise to everything.

Red, White, and Blue Crates stacked near an outdoor market in Thailand
–the best I could do for an Independence Day-themed photo.


Fortunately for us, mayonnaise is a little difficult to get in Guangzhou. And though our 4th sadly won’t be filled with fireworks or grilled meats, we do what we can to celebrate as proper Americans should. So with home in our hearts and minds, (and so close to a departure date that we can almost taste our first Chipotle burrito), we’re donning our swimsuits and heading out to the waterpark! I mean, does anything scream ‘America’ more than theme parks and tube slides? Didn’t think so.

I’m leaving my camera behind, but rest assured, I’ll be having a wet ‘n wild good time.


It’s Dragon Boat Festival Holiday here in China, and we’re in Phuket, Thailand through Monday. I didn’t think it could get much hotter, but woooooeeeee is Thailand a beast!! I got a bit of heat stroke from being out in the sun too long yesterday. Good thing there are beaches and lots of coconut drinks and fruit stands everywhere.

The next few weeks are going to be a bit crazy. We’re racing in for Team USA in Guangzhou’s Dragon Boat races next week, have a few parties and dinners to attend and plan, and have a lot of paperwork to fill and stuff to get done before we leave post in three-and-a-half weeks. Oh yeah, and we have to pack up all our stuff, too. That’s not stressful or anything.

For this weekend, though, I’m enjoying this last trip out of Guangzhou. Coincidentally, our first trip out of Guangzhou was New Years’ Eve, to Phuket, in December 2010. Back to the same place we started.

It’s a nice way to round out our travels.

Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

After a lunch with a new friend:

We readied ourselves for a speedboat ride off to the Perhentian Islands.

Wow, that’s so Beyonce of us.

The DiploMan and I are no stranger to jetting off to islands on speedboat (what, who are we!?), so we happily succumbed to this quick 30 minute zip across the South China Sea with our friend Gordon (not the cat, our real friend, Gordon).

The Perhentian Islands are actually two islands, named Perhentian Besar (Big P) and Perhentian Kecil (Lil’ P). The islands are covered in a blanket of lush jungle, where tourists such as ourselves mingle on the 1% of white sand this is not covered with flora. My image of Malaysia had previously been relegated to images of Hawker stalls and the Petronas Towers, so I was happy to discover the existence of paradisiacal beaches and calm tropical waters in researching our trip. Of course, I immediately inserted a couple nights into our itinerary.


Happy Weekend!

It’s already Sunday morning here in Guangzhou, and I’m in my warm apartment watching football- just like home!  The DiploMan has Monday off for MLK day, and instead of jetting off somewhere we’ll be staying at home and recovering from an already long weekend.  As I write this, the markets across the bridge are probably picking up steam- like this once pictured above, from the Qing Ping market area, where Chinese herbs and dried fungi of all types are sold for medicinal and homeopathic purposes.