Day 604 OUT OF Beijing: Fort Point.

 

The Golden Gate Bridge as we get closer to Fort Point.

The Golden Gate Bridge as we get closer to Fort Point.

 

After we finished the Golden Gate Bridge tour, Jill and I head down to the Warming Hut for some lunch.

We took the back way, through the beautiful nature preserve that leads down to Crissy Field.

It is amazing how, just about 100-200 feet away from the Golden Gate Bridge, you no longer hear any cars or trucks or anything but wind, birds, and nature.

It is so relaxing, and wonderful to be able to have places like this after living in Beijing for the last 1.5 years and having to travel for an hour to get to some place that should be peaceful but is full of people blasting music, bumping into you, and horrid pollution in the skies overhead.

One really doesn’t know what it is like to live in a city of 25 million people until one does.

And then one can only be content and happy about pretty much any other place where one lives for the rest of their life.

We know we are and won’t take one minute of it for granted.  It is a luxury that we no longer take for granted.

We sat down in the Warming Hut and had a nice little hummus sandwich.  We did, in fact, get warmed up inside the old barracks as it was nicely heated and just the right temperature for us to enjoy.

After a nice 15 minute rest, we put back on our jackets and headed out to Fort Point.

We knew it would be closed, since it is only open Friday through Sunday, but we wanted to get some landscape pictures and just enjoy the view.  It isn’t often one can see the Golden Gate Bridge from below and we didn’t want to miss our chance.  Just another reason we love being car-less is it forces us to value our time, and choices, much more carefully and think them out since we know it takes a lot more effort to get to many places that others easily drive to each day.

 

Fort Point is only about a 10 minute walk from the Warming Hut and it is right beside the bay so we were able to watch the waves crash and the fisherman fish as we walked.

We arrived at Fort Point, took some pictures and marveled at the super structure underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, which we had just walked upon, and also at the base of the bridge, which our San Francisco City Guide Dan Tussey had told us actually went about 11 stories down into concrete to hold the cables so they won’t shake loose from all the wind, cars and waves.  By the way, the towers are able to move about 12 feet towards or away from each other and the bridge can sway about 27 feet from side to side when it is really windy.  That is some amazing architecture and engineering.  Especially when you consider it was built in only about 4 years and 32 MILLION dollars.  Consider it took 20 years to build the new Bay Bridge and almost 6.5 BILLION dollars.

We got ready to leave when one of the fisherman, who seemed to be new to the sport, was having a bit of trouble.  Another fisherman came over, showed him the right way to cast out, and then practiced with him.  I was able to get a bit of video of it and it was nice to see such camaraderie among people.

 

Day 603 OUT OF Beijing: The Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco City Guides.

 

Don Tussey from City Guides San Francisco.

Dan Tussey from San Francisco City Guides teaches us about the cables built for the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

Jill and I needed to get some pictures for SF Tourism Tips and wanted to take a San Francisco City Guides tour of the Golden Gate Bridge.

We hopped on the 7:11 commuter bus out of Petaluma and settled in for a relaxing ride to San Francisco.

It takes about 1 hour, depending on traffic, and the bus drops us off right at the tool booth on the Golden Gate Bridge.

We then walk underneath the bridge, through a tunnel, and over to the side that allows us to have amazing views of the San Francisco Bay.

We ended up getting there pretty early and decided to grab some coffee and talk with the staff about the Golden Gate Bridge, their jobs, and their dreams.

There were two men there and they both talked about how they will move out of San Francisco when they retire, as it has become quite expensive.  It is sad since they love their jobs but can’t really afford to live in San Francisco anymore.  They both stated that the best part of their job is being able to interact with people from all over the world and to make so many friends.

Both of them said they were probably going to end up overseas, in some place like Costa Rica or elsewhere, when we brought up we were planning on traveling there in about 6 months.

It is interesting to me how many people are talking about leaving San Francisco, because of the financial burden of living there, and where they are thinking of going and what they want in their lives as they make this change.

It seems as if a lot of people are being “forced” to make a change but are also quite excited about this change as it allows them to figure out what is really important to them and their dreams.

These are the kind of people we want to work with helping them figure this out when we debut our new website.

As 11 am arrived, we walked over to the Joseph Strauss statue (no relation to Levi Strauss of Levi pants fame) and noticed our guide was already there.  Dan Tussey was a very friendly, happy and welcoming person and probably the best person to introduce newcomers, and even locals like ourselves, to the Golden Gate Bridge.  He does 4 walking tours a month, one a week, and rotates the tours so that he does each one each month.  So, this was his once a month tour of the bridge.  He also does City Hall, the Gold Rush and one other.  The City Guides also don’t get paid so this is a very generous gift that he, and the other city guides, give back to this beautiful and magical city.  They do ask for a $5 donation, to keep City Guides running (with a paid staff of 2 people) which is more than fair.  We, of course, gave $10 for the two of us at the end of the tour.

 

 

About 15 people, from all over the world, ended up being on the tour with us and Dan told us historical facts that neither of us knew.  I’m not surprised I didn’t know them but I was surprised that Jill didn’t.  Her site is so well researched that she usually knows as much, if not more, than most the tours we go on at this point.  She did, however, give Dan a few new facts that he didn’t know because he hadn’t done the tour for over 2 months and things have changed since then.  One wouldn’t think that this bridge would have many changes in 2 months, but it does, and Jill and he had a great time discussing some of them as we walked around with the crowd.

We went out to the vista point and looked over the SF Bay.  It was a very windy, and for San Francisco, cold day but we did our best.  Since we are minimizing, I only have a fleece jacket at this point.  It is something that I will probably keep as long as possible because I earned it by completing the Hopi Reservation 100 mile challenge.  This is a challenge, to anyone that wants to join, to walk or run 100 miles over 4 months time.  There is a lot of diabetes issues on the Hopi Reservation and this is one way to help reduce it and encourage people to be more healthy.  I’ve had this fleece for about 6 years and I love it.  Luckily it was just warm enough to keep me from freezing.  And I rarely get cold so you can believe the wind was howling today on the Golden Gate Bridge.

We also walked over by the cable installation so Dan could show us how many cables were strung together to build the massive main cables that run all the way across the bridge.  In case you didn’t know, each of these two cables runs the whole way, without a break, across the bridge.  They go up to the top of each tower, and then drop back down to lock into the bases on either side of the bridge.  The main cable is about 3.5 feet wide and utterly impressive.

After that, we walked on to the bridge and up to the first tower.  Dan told us more about the bridge, including the number of people that have committed suicide, which is about 1,600 at this point, and that people usually commit suicide every 2 or 3 weeks by jumping off of it.  I saw a report that 2014 had about 1 a week commit suicide off of the bridge and no one knows why there has been an increase.  I won’t hazard a guess.

The bridge is truly a monument to beauty, and for some reason, one to suicide also.  I think the reason for that is it is so iconic and it is a pull for people to memorialize themselves and “fly away” to some place better.  They are going to put in a suicide barrier, at some point, and I’m glad that they will because studies show that iconic places, like the Golden Gate Bridge, do actually represent something special to people committing suicide and when they are stopped from doing it, they don’t use other means to kill themselves.  There really is something special about places like this and spending some money to save peoples’ lives is more than worth it.

As we walked back to the vista point, we talked more about the bridge and Jill, Dan and I talked about Jill’s site and we gave him a card to check it out.  He was incredibly sweet and said, “You should be tour guides” but after we told him about our idea to do this work from the beach, he agreed that we had a more interesting plan.

Last note: I highly recommend the City Guides of San Francisco Walking Tours to anyone that is visiting San Francisco.  I would definitely recommend finding a tour that Dan is running as he is an incredible tour leader and has a wealth of knowledge.

 

 

Day 602 OUT OF Beijing: SF Tourism Tips and SiteSell.

 

Jill's Success Story on SiteSell.  Picture by yours truly.

Jill’s Success Story on SiteSell.

 

Jill has been building her SF Tourism Tips website, and business, for about 5 years.

It has become successful enough for us to do it full time and for me to quit my job as an “office based psychotherapist.”

I may, at some point, start doing psychotherapy, over the internet, but I doubt I will ever work in an office again.

After working for a few major corporations, Jill also doesn’t want to be stuck in an office anymore.

The company that hosts her site, and her business, is called SiteSell.

From what she’s told me, using their website, and learning all about SEO, how to build a site, and how to find succcess, has been invaluable to her.

There have definitely been tough times, and times when she did want to give up, especially while we were in China and the internet was almost impossible to use, but she didn’t.  I made sure she knew that this was her future and that she had spent so much time, and energy, that to quit now would have been a loss and going back to the corporate world, working 80-100 hours a week, just to make money to accumulate things we don’t want, was a major step backwards in our future plans together.  I was working and making enough money for use to survive in Beijing so even if she didn’t make any money, it would have been okay with me.  As long as she believed in what she was doing and kept at it.

Luckily for both of us, she did.

Actually, luck had nothing to do with it.

It was 100% perseverance, determination and a desire to not fall into a past routine that would have made both of us miserable and unfulfilled with our lives and choices.

Jill has also been using SiteSell’s forums to help other people achieve their dreams and figure out how to better their business/website models.  This is something she does for free and one of the true benefits of using SiteSell: They have a massive forum that is very lively and people really try to help each other succeed.  I haven’t seen this on the other web hosting sites and I’m glad Jill decided to use SiteSell when she started.

According to her own knowledge and experience, she jokingly states that she has almost achieved a Master’s degree in building a business online without having to go to college and have massive student debts.

The beauty is that anyone that wants to do this can do the same.  It does take a lot of hard work, and effort, but most goals worth achieving do.

Jill’s hard work is really starting to pay off.  She had her first $5,000 month in December.  Not only that, but after she posted that on the forum, she actually ended up making a December total of $6,600!

Consider that in February, she only made $150 and yet 12 months later, she was not at $6,600!

The owner, Ken Evoy, noticed this and decided to write a blog post about Jill.

After writing the blog post, he decided to feature her as a “Success Story.”

Jill is now featured on their Facebook page!

Jill is now featured on their Facebook page!

This all happened in just the past few weeks and it was because Jill decided not to give up, to keep working hard, and to be okay with some failure as long as the long term goals are still in focus.

That is what it takes to run an online business and not give up.  Lots of perseverance.

There is still a long way for us to go to get to our dream level of “success” but we are on the right path and will continue to do whatever we need to get there.

If you are interested in learning more about how Jill was able to do this, check out the article linked below and feel free to contact us.  We want to help others live their dreams and figure out what is right for them and how they can achieve it.

Jill’s Success Story on SiteSell.

And if you want to sign up for SiteSell and start your own website, click on this SF Tourism Tips – About Jill page and it will take you directly to the information page for SiteSell once you click it.

 

Jill at the Golden Gate Bridge for SiteSell’s Success Story article.  Taken by yours truly.

 

 

 

Day 596 OUT OF Beijing: The Musee Mecanique.

 

The terrifying Laffing Sal.

The terrifying Laffing Sal.

 

Jill’s and my excursion to update SF Tourism Tips next stopped at the amazing Musee Mechanique located at Pier 45.

The Musee Mechanique is a one of a kind place that can not be found anywhere else in the world, at least as far as I know.

It is full of mechanical toys and games that kids of all ages can enjoy.

Some of them are from the late 1800s/early 1900s and they have been rebuilt and maintained with lots of love and devotion.

I am rather amazed at how people can put such time and effort into salvaging and saving games like these and I truly appreciate them.

If you are from the San Francisco Bay Area, the second you walk in the door you will recognize Laffing Sal.  Just for your information, if you spell her name, “Laughing Sal” you are spelling it incorrectly.  Sal is from around 1930 and when you paid your money (now 50 cents) she will start moving around and laughing at you.  She used to live at Playground At The Ocean (now Ocean Beach).  Now, if you were a kid and saw Sal laff, or if you are a kid and see her do it now, you will be pretty terrified.  She was a freaky character and most people I know remember her fondly, with fear, as she is about 7 feet tall and scared most of us out of our wits.

We continued walking around and checked out some of the video games (from my childhood) and the game that went back to the earlier times.  We really enjoyed the massive collection of over 300 toys and automatons.  My personal favorite was the massive county fair carnival that moves when you deposit your coins into it.

 

The massive country fair carnival automation.

The massive country fair carnival automation.

 

This collection is all because of one single man, Edward Galland Zelinsky, and his love of these contraptions.  He started collecting when he was 11 (well before World War II) and seems not to have stopped even until today.  He is a 5th generation San Franciscan (which is a HUGE deal to people from San Francisco) and has done so many different careers in his life that it is impossible to list here.  Trust me, go to his page and check out all of his accomplishments.  He is a renaissance man.  I love the stories of people that want to live a different type of life and figure out a way to do that successfully and take a different route to their dreams.  Mr. Zelinsky definitely has done that in a very special way all his own.

A jukebox from days ago.

A jukebox from days ago.

Me failing miserably at Pole Position.  A game from my childhood.

Me failing miserably at Pole Position. A game from my childhood.

We took our time walking around the Musee and just taking in all the games, sounds, and excitement of other people playing the games.  One of the truly generous gifts that Mr. Zelinsky has given to anyone entering the Musee if that the entry is absolutely free!  You only have to pay to play and most of the games are only one quarter, or at most, fifty cents.  I remember playing some of these games as kids and that is the exact same price as then.  How many things can we say are the same price as they were about 35 years ago?  I don’t know of many.

 

 

 

 

Day 593 OUT OF Beijing: Hidden Gems of SF Tourism Tips.

 

A close up of the Giant Buddha on the second level of the Hua Zang Si Buddhist Temple.

A close up of the Giant Buddha on the second level of the Hua Zang Si Buddhist Temple.

 

Jill’s site, SF Tourism Tips, is in a never ending process of being updated and improved.  Jill wanted to update her “Hidden Gems” page and so we decided to head into San Francisco for the day.

I really admire Jill’s trait of never being happy with “enough” and always wanting to better her site and the experience for the people that visit it and want to learn more about San Francisco and how to improve their trip to our lovely city.

We went into San Francisco, by Golden Gate Transit from Petaluma, and then walked around the rest of the day.  We did have to catch one bus ($2.25 USD) to the Columbarium in the Richmond District, but otherwise all our travel was on foot and for free.  Since we are car-less, we didn’t have to pay a toll to get into SF ($6 USD on the GG Bridge), parking ($2-3 USD per hour) or deal with worries about car crashes, gas, or tickets.  The cost to get into SF on Golden Gate transit was $10.75 per person.  A very good exchange for comfort, relaxation and 1.75 hours to either talk or check emails as we rode in on a very comfortable and clean bus.

A longer shot of the bridge with the new movable divider on the left.

A longer shot of the bridge with the new movable divider on the left.

This is also part of our frugal living in that we want to see how realistic it is to live car-less and only use mass transit.  We actually really enjoy mass transit and we’ve met some wonderful people who are traveling around the world and living a upwardly mobile vagabond life like we are at the same time.  I also had a great conversation with a bus driver that will be retiring in one year and his hopes to do a ’round-the-world trip right after his job is over.  We talked about where to go, what to see, and I sent him some links on how to get great deals on flights and cruises.  I’m hoping we catch the same bus he drives, again, and we can see how he has progressed on his plans!

Our first stop was the Columbarium and it was magnificent.  It is one grave site in San Francisco that is taking interments and it is kept up beautifully.  Harvey Milk’s memorial is there as is Carlos Santana’s father’s ashes.  There are also many other people, and memorials, that are stunning and touching.  It sounds a bit strange to think of this as a place to visit and enjoy, but it is, and we actually were there during an interment and the family and friends were quite joyous and happy.  If you are interested in seeing it, make sure to call ahead and ask for Emmit to give you a tour.  He has been with the Columbarium for many, many years and knows stories and the history like no one else.  We will have a tour when we go back next time with him to learn more about this amazing structure and final resting place.

We walked over to Pizza Orgasmica and had their lunch special of salad, beer and a pizza for $10.50 each.  It was delicious and utterly filling.  I also was able to check in on one of my favorite apps, Untappd, and add the beers that Jill and I tried for lunch.  It is a fun social app and keeps track of how many beers you’ve had and gives badges for different categories.

Jill's pesto pizza.  Yummy!

Jill’s pesto pizza. Yummy!

 

We then headed down to Hua Zang Si Buddhist Temple.  This is a Buddhist Temple in the middle of the Mission District.  That, alone, would make sure it is a hidden gem.  It was originally a Lutheran Church and later became a temple.  We were blown away by the two Buddhas, especially that massive one on the second level, and the friendliness of the monks that were at the temple that day.  Most of them didn’t speak a lot of English but they seemed so happy and content that words weren’t needed to express what they were feeling.  As we walked back outside into the Mission District, we saw this gorgeous mural of Carlos Santana.  The cultures are so different and yet they are side by side.

 

After the temple, we headed down to Southern Pacific Brewery in the SOMA district.  Again, this was all just walking around and seeing the sites so we could experience it as if we were tourists and make sure to give people a “true to life” impression of what they can expect as they cruise around the Streets of San Francisco.  By the way, where are Mike Douglas and Karl Malden when you need them?

Our refreshing beers at Southern Pacific Brewing.

Our refreshing beers at Southern Pacific Brewing.

 

This brewery is only about 3 years old and it is inside a very cool tin roof hangar type building.  The beer is good and the food seems to be fairly priced.  We didn’t eat any food while we were there but had a great time talking to the bartender and just digging the atmosphere.  It will be added to a new page Jill is writing about all the different brewpubs in San Francisco.  Did you know there are over 15 at this point with 10 more scheduled to open during 2015?

By the way, this was also the same day we say the Austin Healey and the Tiny Tesla I’ve just posted about.  There is so much to do in San Francisco when you just walk and observe so check out SF Tourism Tips and find out all the newest information for all your San Francisco tips!

Day 592 OUT OF Beijing: Frugal Eating Habits and Mi Pueblo.

 

buritto1burritoJill and I continue to hone our skills at being frugal and living the life we want to live.

This includes eating out and having food that is delicious and adds to our enjoyment of life.

As we stay in Petaluma, there is a wonderful Mexican restaurant about 1 mile from our house.

Mi Pueblo is a privately owned restaurant, at about 5 locations, and the food is very fairly priced.

Jill and I are also trying to get in better shape, and being around guacamole and sour cream, which we love, is not the best way to do this.

Luckily, as most of you know, in the USA, serving portions are HUGE.

This is especially true at Mi Pueblo.

They also give you free chips and salsa when you sit down.

I can not say enough positive reviews about the chips and salsa.  There are also about 6 different types of salsas you can choose from and tempt yourself with before your meal arrives at your table.

My favorite is an avocado mix that is utterly delicious.

Since we know that the burritos are massive at Mi Pueblo, we ask them to cut it in half so we can share it.

They were more than  happy to oblige and even served them on different plates with the extras smothering our carnitas burrito.

It was more than enough food for both of us and Jill wasn’t even able to finish her burrito.

The total for all this food?  About $12 USD.

We didn’t have to eat for another 5 hours because there was so much food and it was so tasty.

It also gave us time to slow down, relax, and enjoy the meal and the freshness of the food and quality of the ingredients.

This is another part of being healthy, mentally and physically, that we are working on each day:  Slow down and accept what is given to you.  And, if you don’t like it, move on and make a change.

We are accepting and making changes at the same time.

We will also be teaching people how to do this, with our new website, when it is ready to show to the world in a month or so.  Our books will be a part of this and also using online seminars and groups.

We are excited and can’t wait to share it with everyone in the near future!

Day 589 OUT OF Beijing: Upwardly Vagabonding.

 

A longer shot of the bridge with the new movable divider on the left.

A longer shot of the bridge with the new movable divider on the left.

 

As most of you know, Jill and I are traveling around and only staying with friends or family.

I’ve titled this new way of finding a place for us as “upwardly vagabonding.”

A vagabond is someone that is essentially homeless and is just trying to find a place to live and survive.

We are more Upwardly mobile about our vagabonding so I’ve joking called it just that.

We are staying in nice places, with good people, and don’t have to worry about shelter or really being homeless.

As Jill continues to build her site, SF Tourism Tips, and we are now building our new website together (to be released to the world in a month or so) we want to stay as frugal and with as little limitations on us as possible.

We also are traveling by plane, train or bus wherever we go unless friends are driving and we can hitch a ride.  We also use uber or taxis if needed to get around.  It saves us money and saves us mental strain as we don’t have to worry about driving and possibly being in a car crash, paying insurance or worrying if we are going to get lost.  We leave the work to the driver or pilot.   We also then have time to enjoy the scenery or work on projects while we travel.  Win-win.

We have gone through another round of minimizing our stuff and donated all our winter clothes and whatever we think we won’t need.

Our plan is to be down to one good sized backpack and one daypack each by the time we head off for Los Angeles on February 28th.

It is rather amazing we’ve been home for a month already because it seems like we just arrived and are still settling in.

Part of that is the reverse culture shock after being in China for 1.5 years but it is also that we have stayed in 4 different places in one month so we didn’t really “settle” down in any one place and feel at home.

We will be staying at our friends, Randy and Alethea’s house, for most of the the rest of our trip in the bay area so that will make life more comfortable and easy on us.  Hopefully it will on them also as they are being incredibly generous letting us stay and hang out with them.  Randy is like a second brother to me so it is wonderful to spend time with him and his family and just be “home.”

Here are a few pictures from the Golden Gate Bus as I was upwardly vagabonding home to Randy and Alethea’s recently.

 

Day 588 OUT OF Beijing: Xinhua has Decided that Bacon is the Cause of China’s Pollution!

 

 

Hazardous to all living creatures.

Hazardous to all living creatures.  From the app “Airpocalypse.”

 

Jill and I still have our WeChat accounts and are in contact with our friends back in Beijing.

One of them, Moeava, posted a wonderful article about the pollution in Beijing a day or two ago on WeChat Moments.  I’ve posted the article at the end of this blog.  For those that don’t know, WeChat Moments is sort of like Facebook’s Wall.  However, you can only see what your friends have posted and you can’t see other people’s posts or responses, if they aren’t your friends.   We wouldn’t want too much free speech or chance of an actual conversations between people, now would we?  This might lead to something called a more free society.

Perish the thought!

A side point: They’ve made it a felony, punishable with up to 3 years in jail, to have something you’ve posted re-posted 500 times or more.  This means, if something you post gets enough attention, you can go to jail.  Thankfully, I didn’t have enough readers or reposters of my blog or who knows what might have happened.

As you will see, the Xinhua News Agency, otherwise known as the mouthpiece for the government, stated that people smoking bacon is the actual cause of pollution in China.  Xinhua is famous for putting out false claims and absurd facts.  If anyone should be in jail for lying in a public forum, it is the people that own Xinhua and China Daily.

So, just imagine that smoking causes the insane amount of pollution in China.  Maybe it is just me but almost everyone in the rational world would have guessed it is because of too many cars, too much coal burning power plants, or because they keep using dynamite to blow apart mountain tops.  Why, you ask, do they blow apart these mountains?  So they can have more flat land to build apartment complexes that no one will ever live in.  Not that building massive apartments, all over China, might cause pollution from all the equipment used or the cement made to build the apartments?  Nah.  Nope.  Xinhua News Agency has declared it is because of people smoking bacon.

Another aside: China has over 64 million empty apartments, condos and houses right now.

SIXTY FOUR MILLION EMPTY APARTMENTS, CONDOS AND HOUSES!

If you think the housing market collapse of 2008 was bad, just wait about 3-5 years from now. and see what happens.  I’m not a Negative Nelly but I have a feeling there will be a housing collapse like no one has ever seen.

There is also massive real estate speculation overseas by Chinese investors.  Take a gander around San Francisco and look at the houses that are being bought, in cash, and you will see what I’m talking about.  One of our friends says a house, on her block in SF, just went for 3.2 million dollars a few months ago to a Chinese buyer.  This house is probably about 2,000 square feet and in a nice district but not worth 3.2 million dollars.

The house has sat dead empty with no renters or inhabitants since the investors bought it.

Of course, the tech money that is moving into SF is part of this but it isn’t enough to fuel it to the degree that it is raising prices.  This is also happening in NYC, Boston and Vancouver, Canada.

Back in China, the extreme wealthy, and the developers are building apartment complexes and no one is renting them out.  The owners and developers seem to believe that somehow, miraculously, the apartment prices will continue to rise and then people will rent them out when they are more expensive.

Being that 70 million apartments are empty and no one is even interested in renting them, I can’t imagine these immediately being full in a few years.

I also worry about the quality of these places.  Apartments that are just a few years old tend to look like they are 20 years old already.  I’ve been in some of the more expensive apartments (including ones that cost more than $9,000 USD a month) and they already look like they need repairs.  They have problems with hot and cold running water, drainage, and fixtures breaking.  I’m glad I didn’t live in a high rise as I’d be worried about them if an earthquake hits in Beijing.  And earthquakes do hit in Beijing.

There are also malls that sit empty, like the New South China Mall and whole cities that are dead quiet, other than a few thousand people, because there is no need for them.

However, the economic needs of the Chinese government push people to move into cities, to buy things they don’t need, and to spend money they don’t have.

Again, it sounds a lot like what happened in 2008 and I’m thinking that history is going to repeat.  I honestly don’t care who buys what, but I’d like to know that whomever is buying actually has sound currency that won’t evaporate the second it is questioned.  Heck, during our goodbye party, one of our friends couldn’t pay for his drinks because the ATM gave him counterfeit bills.  This was directly out of a Bank of China ATM.  And there is nothing he can do about it.

I hope I’m wrong but I’ve seen too many signs that point to this occurring and relatively soon.  Just be careful with your investments and what you are planning.  We could be in for some tough times ahead.

 

Smoking bacon is the cause of pollution in China.

Smoking bacon is the cause of pollution in China.

 

Day 587 OUT OF Beijing: Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder.

 

The two sets of Jamela eye and face masks.

The two sets of Jamela eye and face masks.

 

A bunch of our friends were very sweet and gave Jill and me wonderful presents as we left Beijing.

Our dear friend, Kean, gave us a gift of Jamela face and eye masks.

We haven’t been able to use them, yet, because we’ve been so busy running around and wanted to wait until we were more settled down.

We decided we’d start with the eye masks and see how it worked on our faces.

Jill has a lot of skin sensitivities so we wanted to be careful and wait on the full face mask to see how it went this time.

The eye masks are full of all kinds of wonderful natural ingredients and also have 24k gold in them.

When we put them on, we immediately noticed how cool and calming the eye masks were on our faces.

The recommended time is from a minimum of 30 minutes to a maximum of 5 hours.

We choose to wear ours for about 2-3 hours and it really did seem to make a difference.

Jill and I still feel as if we are having some trouble adjusting to life here in the USA and we are trying to sleep a lot, while exercising, to help out with the readjustment.

Using the eye masks allowed us to hang out, relax, and just stay calm while watching a little tv during the night.

Jill said she definitely felt better after using them and I also did.

We will continue to use them and then try the full face masks in a few weeks.

 

Day 586 OUT OF Beijing: Big Bad Benecio.

 

Benecio getting ready for the College National Championship game.

Benecio getting ready for the College National Championship game.

 

Before I met Jill, my dear friend Leslie and I were driving around Point Richmond and enjoying the scenery.

We had just finished our lunch and watching a football game at a local bar.

Leslie is a wonderful person and has a heart of gold.

Especially when it comes to doggies and kitties.

She regularly fosters them and has been known to save them off the street if they are out running wild.

She will go up to pretty much any animal and they fall in love with her immediately.

She noticed Benecio running around with a torn rope around his neck and pulled her car over to help.

Benecio is a HUGE dog.

He’s about 80 lbs or so and all muscle.

His head is massive and his jaws could easily wrap around my whole thigh if he wanted to bite me.

Leslie went over to him, started petting him, and then we walked around the area looking for his owner.

We couldn’t find the owner so Leslie put Benecio in her car, and I have to admit I was still afraid of this huge dog and what he might do, and we drove around Point Richmond looking for someone that might know who he belonged to at that time.

No one seemed to know Benecio or his owner, so we decided we to take him home and see if we could help him.

Being that the rope around his neck was torn, he must have been kept outside and we wanted to see how he’d fare with other dogs around.

Leslie had 3 different dogs at that time and Benecio got along great with all of them.

We kept him for a bit, and then our friends, Randy and Alethea, realized we had him and they were looking to adopt a dog.

We brought him over to meet them, and their son, Cyrus, and it was love at first site.

Benecio has now lived with them for about 2 years and he is a truly wonderful, loving and happy dog.

He also has been known to jump over 12 foot fences, when he sees a cat or squirrel, but otherwise is very good at following orders and commands.

He is, as far as we can tell, pit-bull.  So, when people talk about how scary and mean pit-bulls are, we just think of Benecio and how sweet he is to everyone he meets.

Another reminder that everyone, and every animal, is different and to give each other a chance.