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 601 OUT OF Beijing: Bartlett Hall and Cellar Maker Brewery.

 

Cupid's Span on the Embarcadero. An art installation on the Embarcadero. It is a bow and arrow but I've cropped it close.

Cupid’s Span on the Embarcadero. An art installation on the Embarcadero. It is a bow and arrow but I’ve cropped it close.

 

Jill and I are headed back to our cross San Francisco tour to gather more information for SF Tourism Tips.

We decided to walk down the Embarcadero and then up Market Street until we arrived at Barlett Hall.  This is a relatively new establishment, just over one year old, and they have done a beautiful renovation on the location.

It is all mahogany and dark wood inside the restaurant and brewery, and the there is a very long bar with TVs hanging above it to watch news and sports if you so choose.  There are also a lot of tables and booths if you want to enjoy your beer in a more quiet setting.

We showed up for happy hour and were glad we did.

They choose one of their beers to sell for 5 bucks at happy hour and also a bunch of delicious appetizers for the same price.

Sadly, since SF Beer Week is in just a few weeks, they had to save their own beer as they are very small and are afraid they will run out!

So, we had a different beer, which was just fine but a bit disappointing as we really want to taste all of the locally made beers and compare them for a page Jill is writing on her site so people can do a full SF locally made brew pub tour very soon.

Did you know that there are already 17 different locally sourced brew pubs in SF?  And that SF is adding another 10 more this year?  It is true.  Also, a little known fact that SF has finally gotten back to the amount of brew pubs in SF that it had before prohibition happened in the USA.  It took almost 90 years to get back to where we were.  History repeats.

After talking to the two bartenders, drinking our beers, and eating our appetizers, we headed out to Cellar Maker.

We walked down to it, about 20 minutes away, and loved this tiny, hole in the joint, brew pub.

Actually, it is more like a bar than a brewpub since they don’t serve food and don’t allow anyone under 21 years of age there at this time.

It probably only holds about 40 or 50 people and the beertenders were very friendly while also moving around like lightening to serve everyone.

They had about 12 beers on tap and we tried all but two of them because of time constraints.

We really enjoyed all of them and were pleasantly surprised that they have a “5 oz” tasting option that allowed Jill and me to share a beer (about $2.50 per 5 oz) and therefore try them all and not get drunk.  We also were taking a bus so we didn’t have to worry about drinking and driving.  Just another benefit of going car-less as we travel this world!

We called my dear friend Sonia, who showed up, and we caught up with her after not seeing her for almost 2 years at this point.  Sonia is one of my dearest friends and we met salsa dancing about 10 years ago.  It seems like we’ve known each other for ever and we almost have.  She’s quite a bit younger than me and I sort of think of her as my younger sister in a way.  She’s incredibly sweet, talented as a producer and sound engineer, and an amazing salsa dancer.

We hung out for an hour or so, talked about what changes have happened in our lives, and she was able to meet Jill and Jill was able to meet her.  Sonia sort of “knew” Jill because of my blogs and Jill sort of knew Sonia from my pictures of us dancing and my stories of her but this was a first meeting and it was fun to see how quickly they got along and that they both enjoyed each other so much.

After we finished our beers, we headed off to the bus and back to Petaluma. It was a nice, quiet, and easy ride home.

Good times, good fun, good food, good beer, and good friends.

A perfect day in San Francisco.

Day 600 OUT OF Beijing: More Minimization And 600 Blog Posts.

 

The rare, and gorgeous, albino peacock.

The rare, and gorgeous, albino peacock.

 

I’m going to take a little break in our San Francisco Tourism Tips update day and jump forward in time one week.  I’ll return to our dairy of what we did in San Francisco after this post.

I also realized that I’ve done 600 blog posts in 600 days.  What started out as a fun idea has continued for over 1.5 years and I’m rather amazed at how well it has been received by my readers.  Thanks so much for your comments, support and questions.  You continue to inspire me to write of Jill and my experiences, dreams, and travels.

It is one of the fun parts of writing this blog in advance of it posting, instead of the same day, so I can change it up or add things that I believe will interest people reading this website.

Jill and I have been working on minimizing, as many of you know, and she finally emptied out and closed down her storage area.

She had it, amazingly, for almost 4 years.  This includes the last 1.5 years of her living in China with me and not having any ability to even use anything inside of it.  That means major need for minimization since almost everything in it would have been deemed as “wasted space and material” according to my “if you don’t use it within 6 months of packing it up, it is to be donated/sold/recycled” rule.  This rule is based on the idea that if you pack something up, thinking you need it at some point, and yet don’t need it within 6 months, you can get rid of it.  I actually am down to a 3 month rule for myself but I’m pretty hardcore about minimization.  Jill agrees with me on the 3 month rule also.

Jill spent the weekend clearing out her storage area and donating about 2 car loads of clothes to charity.  She also got rid of electronics like a massive old tv and other stuff.

We gave her friend, Leslie, a fantastic mattress and bed set worth about $3,000 since she let Jill stay with her, and is letting us stay with her, for free.  We feel that a major part of being upwardly mobile vagabonds is to pay your way.  This means if people won’t take payment for staying at their houses (and most of our friends and family won’t) you either buy food, resources or give them things that they want and like that we don’t need.  This way everyone benefits and things aren’t wasted.

Leslie had an old bed that she wanted to get rid of so this was a perfect fit.  I put the frame and mattress up on Craigslist.org’s free list and the frame was gone within minutes.  The mattress?  Not so much.

We waited a day and no one wanted it so we took it to the San Anselmo dump.  We tried to recycle it but they wouldn’t take it and it was pretty beat up so we decided to throw it away.

After we did that, we started to drive away and saw this amazing collection of peacocks that live around the dump and just hang out there.  There were also some chickens walking around and a pig farm right down the road.

It had to be the oddest collection of animals, around a dump, that I’ve ever seen.

As I was taking pictures of the peacocks, Jill started pointing to my right and telling me, “Look at the white one!”  I wasn’t sure what she meant but then I scanned over and saw this amazing white peacock.

Sadly, it didn’t flair out its tail and show its feathers to us.  Maybe if I go back again it will.

 

Day 597 OUT OF Beijing: Boudin’s Bread, Mrs. Field’s Cookies and Pier 39’s Sea Lions.

 

Jill loving her delicious Mrs. Fields' cookie!

Jill loving her delicious Mrs. Fields’ cookie!

 

After a wonderfully crazy hour at Musee Mecanique, Jill and I knew we needed to get more info for SF Tourism Tips at Pier 39.

On the way, we stopped by Boudin Bakery as we wanted to catch the bakers working early in the morning.  This is a fun way to start the day because the bakers are usually in great moods and at least one of them will have a intercom connection to the crowd standing outside on the sidewalk watching them make the bread for the day.

We were pretty lucky in that there weren’t a lot of people and we were able to get right up in front and talk to one of the ladies that was building the bread creations.  And I mean creations.  They make teddy bears, clowns and, my favorite, a massive alligator!

As you can see in the video, she asked where we were from and we told her, “San Francisco.”  She later said, “A nice way to start your day, right?”  I agree 100%.

 

 

We were starting to crave a little sweetness so we walked over to Pier 39 and stopped by Mrs. Fields.  We bought 3 for 5 bucks and they were all freshly made and delicious.  You can see Jill is enjoying her cookie immensely!

We knew we needed more pictures of the sea lions so we headed out to the west side of Pier 39 and were happy to find some of them hanging around and just relaxing on the pier.  They are pretty loud, and quite rambunctious, and a lot of fun to just watch and laugh at while they jostle each other and make loud barking noises.

By the way, these are all sea lions and not seals.  You can tell the difference by their brown coloring and their longer fins.  This also allows them to jump on the platforms which seals are not able to manage with their shorts fins.

You can see, and hear, the sea lions making lots of noises and pushing each other around right here:

 

 

 

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 585 OUT OF Beijing: Frugality, Fitness and Minimization.

 

Two pair of shoes for $54.99.

Ready to run.

 

Jill and I love to go running.

Sadly, because of the pollution in Beijing, we were not able to run nearly as much as we wanted to each day.

It became a struggle to be motivated since we’d have 3 or 4 days of decent weather and air quality and then a week of deathly pollution.

We ended up giving up and knew we’d get back into it once we arrived back in the USA.

We are now getting ready to get in shape and start our working out.

Part of this endeavor has also been to minimize as much as possible.   We are close to being down to one suitcase each, and maybe a day pack, for our travels.

Therefore, when we buy something, we need to get rid of something else.

This includes running shoes.

I’ve had the same pair of running shoes for about 2 years now and they are in horrible shape.

We walked over to the Petaluma Outlet Mall and went to the Adidas store.  They are having a buy one get half off the second sale and so we took stock of what we have, and what we can get rid of, to see if it was worth having two pairs of tennis shoes.

I knew I’d dump my old tennis shoes when I bought these so there is one piece gone.  I also won’t really need my dress shoes after a month or so because we won’t have much business that requires us to dress up by the time we leave for Los Angeles to stay with my friends Christopher and Tina.

I also got rid of one backpack, full of clothes, 2 days ago that was full of winter clothes I’d no longer need.  I also donated my winter jacket to a friend who will give it to one of his social work clients.  We could probably sell some of these things but it is just easier to give them away and help the needy at the same time.

Therefore, my pack has gotten much lighter and I could afford to have two pairs of shoes.  The sale also allowed me to buy one pair for 39.99 and the second for about 15 dollars.  Adidas is also having a 5 dollars off promotion when you donate your old pair of shoes.

The sum total for 2 pairs of brand new shoes for me?  $54.99.

Jill and I ran home, me wearing one pair of my new shoes, and carrying one of the pair in one arm, while Jill wore her shoes she bought 3 weeks ago and carried the other shoe to my pair in her arm, about 2 miles.

A good work out, a good lightening of our load, and a good start to be more fit and frugal at the same time.

By the way, I’m off for a 2 mile run right now.  The weather is perfect, the air quality is fantastic, and I just had a nice healthy breakfast of yogurt and fresh strawberries.

It is so nice to be home.