Saturday, August 16, 2014

Dreams of China

My grandmother always dreamed of visiting China. She collected a few Chinese objects here and there, including a shiny black and red chest that clashed with her light Floridian furniture. But Grandma didn’t care. She loved its beauty and kept dreaming of China. Unfortunately, she never made it that far east, but thanks to my French-Chinese friend X., I was able to visit the place that intrigued and enchanted my grandmother.

Beijing, X.’s home of Shenyang and Shanghai were our three destinations. So many beautiful historical sites and gardens to see. But I won’t go into the detail that you can find on many tourism websites. Instead, I would rather write about the feeling and the people.

X’s family owns the Huayuan Hotel in Shenyang and we stayed there for a week while my husband, a personal chef, learned recipes from the hotel chef and taught the kitchen team some French recipes. A perfect cultural exchange. X’s family and the hotel staff treated us like royalty and showered us with attention and warmth. They were eager to share their culture with us and learn about ours. I found this openness and kindness a common trait among many people I met in China.

Somehow, even with a huge language barrier, certain feelings are easy to express… such as the sadness I felt saying goodbye.

I’ll be back with more about China… There is so much to write. But for now, here are a few photos from Shenyang. Enjoy! 

Greenery and gold at the Huayuan Hotel...

And more gold!

One of the hotel's lovely private dining rooms

Big city Shenyang...

And the countryside, only a few miles away


  1. So cool! Love the cooking exchange. Your husband must have really enjoyed that!

  2. Yes, that was a lot of fun... and I enjoyed tasting! :)