Making Jiaozi


B’s school announced that they would have a jiaozi (dumpling) making class during lunchtime and he brought me along as his guest. It was amazing to see how good the principal of the international school was at rolling out the dough and folding them… she was just as good as the “chef” that came along to help make everything.

I’ve forgotten how to upload videos… I’ll work on that.


Siem Reap, Cambodia- Day 6, Dec. 28 – Elephant Rides and Angkor Wat

We’d packed the night before so we’d be ready for our flight home from Cambodia in the afternoon.  The hotel was nice and held our luggage for us until we returned in the afternoon before heading to the airport. B and I ate a delicious breakfast of Cambodian (Khmer) fried rice while the kids ate toast with weird jam on it and we waited for our tuk tuk driver.

The hotel pool.  No time to swim. 😦

Our first stop was riding elephants, which is available until mid-morning.

From B:

The first place we stopped had all their elephants already engaged, so she recommended a different place. They charged me $45 ($15 for each of the adults and the kids were free, I guess), so I paid with a fifty. Then the woman asked if I wanted to buy a pineapple. I said, “No we just ate breakfast.” It turned out she was selling whole pineapples to feed to the elephant. We rode our elephants around a temple. It was fun, but not a very smooth ride. Afterwards, we bought pineapples to feed to the elephant.

Feeding the elephant pineapples:

As we walked away, the elephant trunk came towards Squirt sniffing around for pineapple, Squirt looked at the trunk and hurried past a little more quickly.

From B: Then we went to Angkor Wat. On the way, we passed some monkeys sitting on the grass. We asked our guy to stop for us to see the [macaque] monkeys. While we were stopped, a monkey got into the basket on the front of an unattended motorcycle and stole the owner’s breakfast. That was fun to watch.

From B: We toured Angkor Wat. A guy tried to sell me a guide book that, the day before, I saw someone else selling for a dollar. He started off noting the MSRP on the back is $27.50 and offering $25. I figured I’d pay about $10, so I said no. He came down to $20, then $15, then $12. After a long time of following me, he offered $10, but by then I’d already established that I wasn’t going to buy from him. Inside the temple, a different guy was selling it for $12. I wanted to keep my ones, though, so I actually preferred a price of $15 to $12. He was thrown off by my offering more, so he gave us some postcards to go with the book.

My camera lens must have gotten sweaty, or condensation on it at this point because the next batch of pictures are blurry and the lighting is weird.

Little Guy read a Jack Stalwart book that is set here and he’s pretty sure this is the lake into which Jack Stalwart parachuted.

From B: N made friends with a shopkeeper named Plee, and we were going to come back to her stall and buy something because she was so friendly and chatted with N about their kids, but when we got out of the temple, we couldn’t find her. Meanwhile, my first guidebook seller was offering $10, then $5, then $1. Lots of the stalls had numbers, but Plee’s didn’t have a number. She had told N, “I’ll see you if you come back,” but she didn’t get our attention as we walked back and forth, while everyone else tried to sell us everything they had.

From B: We bought a pineapple and a mango from a woman, and N [tripped] almost dropped Simon on his face getting into the tuk-tuk. We asked our driver where else we should go, since we still had several hours until we had to leave for the airport. I thought he would suggest another Angkor site, since we’d already bought tickets for it. Instead, he suggested the war museum. I did not want to see a Khmer Rouge atrocity museum myself, let alone take my children to see one. I told him, “That would be too sad.” So he took us to downtown Siem Reap to do some shopping. I bought some software that I’m pretty sure won’t work, and I got a Manchester City jersey for Little Guy. We bought some more ice cream, then bought some Tintin artwork for our house, then went back to the tuk-tuk. Again, we had time before we needed to leave for the airport, but our driver suggested he take us back to the hotel, even though we’d checked out already. But we didn’t really know what else to do, we went to sit in the lobby area (the ground floor was wall-less and had cafe seating and a swimming pool) for an hour and use the hotel wi-fi.

Two tuk tuks took us to the airport (B heavily tipped them since it was a $5 ride and all he had left were 20s and we’d wanted to heavily tip OUR tuk tuk driver, his friend just had a lucky day).  We waited, at a Kit Kat Blizzard from Dairy Queen, tried not to think about the missing Air Asia flight that went missing that morning from Malaysia, and eventually boarded our plane back to Bangkok where we’d have a few hours layover before our evening flight to Beijing. We arrived at Beijing after midnight, spent a long wait in line to re-enter the country.  By the time we got to the train to take us to baggage claim, Squirt was hysterical (he’d fallen asleep on the first, hour flight, from Siem Reap) and it took forever for him to fall asleep on the flight to Beijing.  We got our bags and found our driver we’d arranged ahead of time.  I think we got back to our apartment around 3 am… not quite what we had thought about when we booked a flight that landed at 12:45am. B taught the next morning at 7:45.