Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Great Sleeps: Tibet Hotel Chengdu, Chengdu, China


Tibet Hotel Chengdu  No.10 North People's Road, +86)28-83183388.  4 stars.  271 rooms; 17 floors.  Fitness center.  2 restaurants.  No pets.  Free parking.  Situated on the banks of the Jinjiang River adjacent to the downtown area, this atmospheric hotel features comfortable rooms with raised bathtubs and Tibetan touches.  Bathroom amenities are contained in a decorative box.  The gift shop consists of a museum-like Tibetan Culture Shopping Promenade that offers spectacular treasures for sale, and a full-size artificial yak resides in the spacious lobby.  Though I missed the Cloud Incense Bar, where you can “making friends with incense,” it does sound intriguing and worth seeking out.  Tibetan folk songs are sung and Tibetan tea is served every evening in the bar from 8:30 to 9 p.m., and a Tibetan performance and banquet is sometimes held in the Red Palace Banqueting Hall.  

lobby of Tibet Hotel Chengdu in Chengdu, China
lobby of Tibet Hotel Chengdu in Chengdu, China


artificial yak in lobby of Tibet Hotel Chengdu in Chengdu, China
artificial yak in lobby of Tibet Hotel Chengdu in Chengdu, China


gift shop arcade at Tibet Hotel Chengdu in Chengdu, China
gift shop arcade at Tibet Hotel Chengdu in Chengdu, China
 

guest room at Tibet Hotel Chengdu in Chengdu, China
guest room at Tibet Hotel Chengdu in Chengdu, China
 

guest room bathroom at Tibet Hotel Chengdu in Chengdu, China
guest room bathroom at Tibet Hotel Chengdu in Chengdu, China


view from guest room at Tibet Hotel Chengdu in Chengdu, China
view from guest room at Tibet Hotel Chengdu in Chengdu, China


Tibetan breakfast with yak butter tea at Tibet Hotel Chengdu in Chengdu, China
Tibetan breakfast with yak butter tea at Tibet Hotel Chengdu in Chengdu, China


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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Good Eats: Huang Cheng Lao Ma, Chengdu, China


Huang Cheng Lao Ma  20, 2nd Ring Rd South, 3rd Section.  In a city famous for hot pot, this is the most famous of the hot pot restaurants.

seating along conveyor belt at Huang Cheng Lao Ma hot pot restaurant in Chengdu, China
seating along conveyor belt at Huang Cheng Lao Ma hot pot restaurant in Chengdu, China

This traditional meal is served in untraditional style here and includes a buffet that alone could fill you up.  You can choose from dim sum-style dumplings, fresh fruit, and salad, and also mix up your own dipping sauce.  Diners have a choice of sitting at small tables, or at a long raised bar where a moving conveyor belt presents constantly changing selections for you to put in your personal hot pot.  Hot pots come in mild, hot, and extra hot (hot is so hot that I didn’t want to find out what extra hot is like).  Opting for the basic yuanyang style (half spicy, half mild) seems like the way to go.  I especially liked the mushrooms, but did not even try the fish heads.  Rumor has it that Michelle Obama ate here.  A free “children-keeping” area is on the second floor for under age 6, and a tea house is on the fourth floor.  



 

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image and video ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Good Eats: 533 Viet-Fusion, Palm Springs, California


533 Viet Fusion  1775 E Palm Canyon Dr., #625, in Smoke Tree Village Shopping Center, (760) 778-6595.  I wasn’t expecting much from a shopping mall Vietnamese restaurant.  Turns out I was in for a surprise.  The spacious open dining room offers plenty of comfortable seating on some midcentury-style orange and white chairs.  A full bar produces drinks made delicious by a talented bartender, most notably a gorgeous pink Guava Mojito and a delicious mai tai-like Rum Rickshaw.  A great dinner can be composed from several shared dishes.  A spring roll from the dedicated spring roll bar makes a perfect appetizer/salad course.  Then choose a curry--the exceptionally yummy yellow curry has a deep and complex flavor--and perhaps also a sweet tamari-glazed salmon dish served with noodles.  Dessert is easy because there is currently only one choice--coconut-lime crème brulee, which the management decided on because that is what everyone ordered when they previously offered a longer menu. 

dining room at 533 Viet Fusion in Palm Springs, California
dining room at 533 Viet Fusion in Palm Springs, California


Guava Mojito at 533 Viet Fusion in Palm Springs, California
Guava Mojito at 533 Viet Fusion in Palm Springs, California



spring rolls at 533 Viet Fusion in Palm Springs, California
spring rolls at 533 Viet Fusion in Palm Springs, California



yellow curry at 533 Viet Fusion in Palm Springs, California
yellow curry at 533 Viet Fusion in Palm Springs, California



tamari-glazed salmon at 533 Viet Fusion in Palm Springs, California
tamari-glazed salmon at 533 Viet Fusion in Palm Springs, California



coconut-lime crème brulee at 533 Viet Fusion in Palm Springs, California
coconut-lime crème brulee at 533 Viet Fusion in Palm Springs, California
533 Viet Fusion Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Sights to See: Sichuan Opera at Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse, Chengdu, China


Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse  23 Qintai Rd., in Chengdu Culture Park, Qingyang District.  130 RMB including tea.  A favorite venue to see Sichuan Opera, this old theater presents a nightly 1½-hour show that includes as well as traditional Sichuan folk performances featuring stick puppets, fire spitting, and face changing.  The audience sits as viewers would have long ago, in comfortable oversize bamboo lounge chairs, and are served tea and nibbles.  Massage and ear wax cleaning is available before and during the performance, and before the show starts the audience has access to the dressing rooms to watch the performers getting ready.  Several more attractions are adjaent:  Qingyang Taoist Temple, Wuhou Memorial Temple, and Dufu Cottage.


night exterior of Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse in Chengdu, China
night exterior of Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse in Chengdu, China


interior of Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse in Chengdu, China
interior of Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse in Chengdu, China


Sichuan Opera performers get ready at Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse in Chengdu, China
Sichuan Opera performers get ready at Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse in Chengdu, China


Sichuan Opera performer poses at Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse in Chengdu, China
Sichuan Opera performer poses at Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse in Chengdu, China


Sichuan Opera performer poses at Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse in Chengdu, China
Sichuan Opera performer poses at Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse in Chengdu, China

 
Sichuan Opera performance at Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse in Chengdu, China
Sichuan Opera performance at Shu Feng Ya Yun Teahouse in Chengdu, China


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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Good Eats: Tyler’s Burgers, Palm Springs, California


Tyler’s Burgers  149 S. Indian Canyon Dr., (760) 325-2990.  L-D M-Sat (11am-4pm).  Delicious old-fashioned hamburgers and hot dogs, housemade tangy coleslaw and killer potato salad, and super-refreshing root beer floats combine here with reasonable prices--making a wait to get in likely.  Though the tarp-covered outside seating and misters make patio seating prime, a sweet little area inside provides a cozy alternative.  For smaller appetites, sliders let you fine-tune your portion.  Restrooms are almost a block away!, so don’t wait too long and allow extra time because you probably won’t be able to run in the heat.  

exterior of Tyler's Burgers in Palm Springs, California
exterior of Tyler's Burgers in Palm Springs, California


covered patio at Tyler's Burgers in Palm Springs, California
covered patio at Tyler's Burgers in Palm Springs, California


interior counter at Tyler's Burgers in Palm Springs, California
interior counter at Tyler's Burgers in Palm Springs, California


small lunch at Tyler's Burgers in Palm Springs, California
small lunch at Tyler's Burgers in Palm Springs, California
Tyler's Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 
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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Sights to See: Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, China


Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding  1375 Panda Rd., just outside of town, 028-83510033.  Daily 7:30am-6pm.  58yuen/US$8/person; parking 10yuen.  Pandas are solitary animals and their remote habitat in bamboo forests high in the Szechwan mountains has been destroyed.  Operated by panda conservation specialists, this immaculate zoo-like center displays pandas in a near-perfect replication of their natural habitat, including rivers, lakes, wild bamboo forests, and plant pits.  Founded in 1987 with just six pandas, it is now home to approximately 50 pandas and has earned a reputation as the best place in the world to see, interact with, and learn about these endangered animals.

entry gate to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China
entry gate to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China


bamboo-lined road at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China


It has the largest captive collection of Giant Pandas in the world.  Babies are born between July and September.  Today, fewer than 2,000 pandas are found in the wild and only approximately 300 are in zoos and breeding centers.  Fortunately, China’s giant panda population was recently downgraded from endangered to vulnerable.  Though still at risk, their numbers in the wild continue to grow.

people watch pandas at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China
people watch pandas at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China





Red pandas (or Lesser Pandas) have enclosures here, too, but are also allowed to freely roam the center’s forest floor.  This is the largest collection of captive-born red pandas in the world.

children watch red pandas at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China
children watch red pandas at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China




Begin a visit here by taking a shuttle to the top, then walk down, visiting the various exhibits as you go.  Take time to map out your plan.  There is a nursery, kitchen, and hospital, but each is not always open.  People do get a little crazy to see the babies, and you might have to elbow your way into a viewing spot.  Be patient.

I enjoyed visiting Swan Lake, where there is a population of black swans and hungry koi to feed, and where the outdoor Bamboo Restaurant dispenses simple inexpensive pleasures such as noodles and ice cream and provides umbrella-sheltered communal picnic tables.  The Rose Garden Restaurant is more formal and surrounded by a large rose garden.

Swan Lake at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China
Swan Lake at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China


A museum near the entrance includes an exhibit of China’s butterflies that is in dire need of refreshing.

butterfly exhibit at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China
butterfly exhibit at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China


My favorite souvenir was a pandemonium (the group noun for pandas) of tiny unstuffed soft pandas with magnets in their paws--perfect for hanging together or separately--perhaps from a refrigerator or on the top of a computer (that’s where mine reclines).  Note that in the U.S., pandas are housed at zoos in Atlanta, Memphis, San Diego, and Washington, D.C.  

panda souvenir from Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China
panda souvenir from Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China

More panda videos:
pandas eating bamboo
pandas doing what pandas do best
 

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images and videos ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sights to See: Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace national historic site, NYC


Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace national historic site  28 East 20th S., in Greenwich Village, by Gramercy Park, (212) 260-1616.  Tu-Sat.  Free.  Guided tours only; at 10 & 11am & 1, 2, 3, $ 4 pm; maximum 18/tour.  No reservations.  No pets.  Plan to arrive 30 minutes before your intended tour of this 4-story, narrow Dutch brownstone townhouse, so that you can spend time perusing the displays on the ground floor--among them a sweet teddy bear exhibit and another of antique political cartoons--and view a short film on the life of Theodore Roosevelt.  The 40-minute ranger-led tour will take you through the five recreated period rooms (the house was completely recreated in the 1920s) on two floors of this house where Roosevelt lived until he was 14 (the fourth floor is now used as offices).  Rooms are dark and cool, which is especially nice on a warm NYC summer day.  About 60% of the furnishings are original to the house, but most of the interior is recreated from descriptions.  Though the house has large rooms and high ceilings, it is modest in size.  The public entry now was originally the servants’ quarters.  It is interesting to know that this house is the same era as the Merchant’s House Museum.  


sign in the 23rd Street subway station, for Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in NYC
sign in the 23rd Street subway station, for Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in NYC



entrance to Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in NYC
entrance to Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in NYC



teddy bear display at Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in NYC
teddy bear display at Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in NYC



display at Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in NYC
display at Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in NYC



desk at Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in NYC
desk at Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in NYC



bedroom at Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in NYC
bedroom at Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in NYC



wallpaper detail at Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in NYC
wallpaper detail at Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in NYC


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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sights to See: mid-century modern architecture with the Palm Springs Mod Squad, Palm Springs, California


The Palm Springs Mod Squad specializes in architecture and design tours.  The 90-minute Essential Palm Springs Tour shows you prime examples of mid-century modern architecture (it is limited to just five participants because of private car size).  In addition, it is a good opportunity to see the town’s neighborhoods and learn some movie star history, and you’ll learn more than you can possibly absorb about desert post-modernism in Palm Springs.  If you want to get good pictures, do sit on the right side--which is the right side of the car. 
exterior of Palm Springs Visitors Center, Palm Springs, California
exterior of Palm Springs Visitors Center, Palm Springs, California


Buildings seen on The Essential Palm Springs Tour:

Mirage house  At end of East Racquet Club Rd., past the guard house.  
guard house in Palm Springs, California
guard house in Palm Springs, California

The site-specific Mirage house art installation by Doug Aiken is in the form of a ranch-style house but composed of reflective mirrored surfaces.  Minus doors and windows, it reflects and disappears into the desert landscape.  It is part of the “Desert X” art exhibition but will remain on exhibition after that closes on October 31, 2017.
exterior of Mirage house in Palm Springs, California
exterior of Mirage house in Palm Springs, California

exterior of Mirage house in Palm Springs, California
exterior of Mirage house in Palm Springs, California  


Robo Lights  1077 E Granvia Valmonte, in Movie Colony District, (760) 200-4143.  Open seasonally in December, daily 4-9:30pm.  By donation, $5.  Owned and designed by Kenny Irwin Jr., this colorful display of recycled “junque art” is in a neighborhood known for good Christmas lights.

Robo Lights house in Palm Springs, California
Robo Lights house in Palm Springs, California


Kaufmann House  470 West Vista Chino Drive, in Old Las Palmas neighborhood.  Located in the neighborhood that is the Beverly Hills of the desert--where the Rat Pack once lived--this is one of the most famous homes in Palm Springs.  It was designed by Richard Neutra in 1946, was once owned by Barry Manilow, and now you can rent it for $8,000 per month. 
exterior of Kaufmann house in Palm Springs, California
exterior of Kaufmann house in Palm Springs, California



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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Great Sleeps: Holiday House, Palm Springs, California


Holiday House  200 W. Arenas Rd., downtown, (760) 320-8866.  28 rooms.  Age 21+.  Pool; hot tub.  Restaurant; breakfast included.  No phones or TVs.  Pets ok.  Free parking.  Resort fee $15/night, includes Wi-Fi, continental breakfast, and use of bikes.  This two-story boutique hotel is well situated in a long-established neighborhood and is just one block from downtown central Palm Springs and just a few blocks from the base of the San Jacinto mountains.  It has a beach-house-in-the-desert vibe that includes a beachy color scheme of blue and white.  At check in, we were welcomed with a “love beads” necklace to wear during our stay and offered a complimentary glass of rose to enjoy at our convenience (we picked it up later from the open-air bar, in a plastic cup to sip in the hot tub).  A large pool and hot tub dominate the center courtyard, and a shuffle board and several fire pits are adjacent.  Refreshing misters are used throughout to cool things down.  The property features midcentury-inspired elements and displays artwork that includes pieces by David Hockney, Roy Liechtenstein, and Mr. Brainwash.  Most rooms have either a balcony or patio with charming but hard-to-get-in-and-out-of butterfly chairs, and six patios have a private outdoor shower.  It is possible to turn off the AC for the night and open windows to the cool desert air, which also admits the sound of chirping birds in the morning.  The simple continental breakfast buffet includes hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, and housemade bread that makes delicious toast.  Holiday House’s sister property--Sparrows Lodge--is nearby.  It is similar but with a ranch decor.   

central courtyard at Holiday House in Palm Springs, California
central courtyard at Holiday House in Palm Springs, California



love beads at Holiday House in Palm Springs, California
love beads at Holiday House in Palm Springs, California



guest room at Holiday House in Palm Springs, California
guest room at Holiday House in Palm Springs, California



guest bathroom at Holiday House in Palm Springs, California
guest bathroom at Holiday House in Palm Springs, California



buffet breakfast at Holiday House in Palm Springs, California
buffet breakfast at Holiday House in Palm Springs, California



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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers