According to lonely plant Yángshuò (阳朔) is ‘one of China’s gold-ticket draws. The once-peaceful settlement is now a collage of Chinese tour groups, bewildered Westerners…. ‘
There is no hiding the crowds here (it’s famous landscape is on the 20 RMB note) but despite this it’s still incredibly charming. It has a a feel similar to Vietnam and the climate is quite tropical. I fell in love this place, the landscape is spectacular!


Gotta get the money shot!


I have no idea what happened, I looked out my window and it was like a mob

Very tasty food

The Dabbling Life 

Time to get my blog on again!
This year has certainly gone fast!! It’s now less than 3 months until I say goodbye to China and only about 5 weeks until I say hello to being a lady of leisure. 

It’s safe to say that I’m pretty excited, although leaving China will also be quite sad; it’s managed to push and shove its way in and take a special place in my heart. I’ve found it such a liberating and inspiring place, but enough of the cheesy reminiscing before I’ve even left…

However, with that all said… It’s only natural that I have started kicking my butt to get out and about again. 

If I didn’t blog about it, did it really happen? I better start blogging again just in case! But I’m giving up any hope of impressing you with my fine grammar and spelling.

After the winter weather finally left (and thankfully my bad mood and thick fleece onesie) I got a second wind and have thus far enjoyed a somewhat free and easy Spring / Summer in Shanghai. 

A Summer of dabbling is perhaps an appropriate description….spending my time eating out, doing yoga, riding my bicycle around the French concession, meeting new friends, learning Reiki, dating boys, painting, eating ice cream, dancing and enjoying as much as I can fit into my days…

So here I am now. I have a month of summer left, I’m a few Kg’s heavier (trying really hard not to care about it, but my Chinese Physio said I must lose 10kg by the time I come and see her again in 4 weeks!! WTF) and feeling ready to pull back a little on the whole social butterfly thing in order explore!! I have a keen urge to start playing the piano again, but I’m temporarily putting that part of my (earlyish) midlife crisis to the side. Focus Sarah Focus.

Here are a couple of cool trips worth a mention…

European Weekend Away in Monganshan

I met a diverse bunch of awesome people camping on the Great Wall (post to follow soon) and re-connected with some old hiking buddies. After the trip we decided to do a weekend away together and the French, Spanish and Italians would all have a chance to cook for us… we ate a lot and I contributed nothing (which was quite nice I have to say).

FYI – Moganshan is a mountain top tourist region near Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.

Here are a couple of pics from the weekend (not all mine) with a great bunch of people and good old China doing its best to impress in the nature stakes yet again!

The Area

Eating, a central theme

The Guesthouse we rented

We stopped eating long enough to get our hike on

Great new friends

The local tea

Even the bus ride was fun

Luxi River Hike, Zhejiang Provence.

This place is about 7 hours’ drive from Shanghai, so quite the effort for a weekend but thankfully I have a strong ability to sleep so it wasn’t so bad.

The plan for Saturday was to hike/walk/fall/swim along the river all day long, end up a very basic camp site on the river bank, have a little bonfire party and then trek again for 1/2 the day Sunday.

All went as planned; although as part and parcel of most good adventures we faced a few challenges. 

We left Shanghai a bit late on Friday and due to some road rules, it meant we couldn’t reach the guest house. This meant we pitched out tents at a gas station / truck stop. Not the most fun I’ve had, but so be it… we had to wake up after not enough sleep and continue to the river.

The day was hot (almost 40 degrees) and with a terrible night’s sleep and early start it was a tough day. Walking along a river seems easy, but actually it’s killer on your feet and ankles, to the point where you feel they are going to snap. At times it feels like utter punishment, but the river is so refreshing and the colour of the water is incredible so you can’t help but enjoy yourself. 

At one point in the river there were a whole lot of dead fish everywhere…. We were a little concerned, but it was so hot that we still swum… hoping for the best and deciding that it wasn’t due to some river pollution issue. We found out later it wasn’t… phew. 

We got to the river camping spot and our guide promptly stripped off his attire (weirdly he wore long pants and short shirt all day…. He barely perspired) right down to just his underpants. The hilarious thing was he became our waiter; bring us home cooked Chinese food in nothing but a little pair of jocks. 

We ended up later on joining a group of Chinese locals who were listening very loudly to Maria Carey… it was too tempting to ignore. 

So off 3 of us went, barely anyone out of the 3 of us speaking enough Chinese but we hung out. 

At one point our friend had a dance off to Thriller with a 50 year old Chinese guy. I impressed the group by eating a whole Chilli (which in seconds I regretted) and then we sang some Mariah whilst they filmed us. 

They wanted so bad for us to be good singers, but we were terrible… they persisted told us we were good and should sing louder in broken English/ miming. In the end I just had to communicate in the only way I knew how… belting out ‘Hero’ as loud as I could… let my scratchy off key voice explain… bedtime happened soon after.

Scenery Porn

Safe to say the first night lacked ambiance

The struggle was real

Awesome People

The Kitchen


Anyway that’s that for the trip and this post for that matter. Until next time.

Leshan giant Buddha 

Leshan is a little town outside Chengdu where we ate a lot of chilli and got to see an incredible state of Buddha. The statue is 71M tall and nestled on the side of a cliff overlooking the water in Sichuan province and is the largest stone buddha in the world.  It’s an easy walk/hike to get to the top and a very long long crawl down the side of the cliff to the get to the bottom.

Construction was started in 713, led by a Chinese monk named Haitong. He hoped that the Buddha would calm the turbulent waters that plagued the shipping vessels traveling down the river. When funding for the project was threatened, he is said to have gouged out his own eyes to show his piety and sincerity. After his death, however, the construction was stuck due to insufficient funding. About 70 years later, a jiedushi decided to sponsor the project and the construction was completed by Haitong’s disciples in 803. Thank you Wikipedia.

It was breathtaking – photos just don’t do it justice (at least with my skills)


Adorable little training monks!


What goes up must come down….

And then of course we had to eat!


Chengdu was pretty much all about the Panda’s and the Giant Buddha, but we had a nice afternoon in the city.

Meals On Wheels anyone?


Oh hell yeah…



This felt like a good idea at the time, but seriously my hip only just stopped hurting….. Old bitch haha 

Lastly we went for a nice ‘afternoon tea’ in People’s Park… I resisted the ear drum cleaning and massage that was on offer though – nasty! haha

A few more from People’s Park…

That’s it folks!


Jianguo Road

The first morning of living in my new apartment I decided that instead of worrying about unpacking I would take myself for an early morning walk up and down my street.

Marley is getting pretty good at dealing with change

This is my stairwell – just give you a feel for the building

Not my doorway, but I have a thing for doors

Hmm, cute yet unhygenic


Get in my belly!

The Red Book from back in the Mao Days… on how to act and behave.

Shanghai Life…. I love it!

Tianzifang Market, this place is amazing and so close!

Doesn’t look like much but at night they BBQ all these skewers and they are amazing…. I’d give the meat a miss though!


I feel dirty just thinking about it 

About what?

My selfie stick!

Now get your mind out of the gutter (yeah yeah I lead you there I know) but I feel like if use it then I become a person I don’t want think of myself as.

I travel alone quite a lot these days and kinda prefer it, but my challenge remains… Who is gonna take my photos? And care that I’m not crossed eyes or oozing armit cleavage??

Does it matter? Should I just enjoy the moment. Maybe…

But…. Who is gonna take my photos?

My eyes are wonky and I can go from x to x with turn of a shoulder… I need to be in charge.

Selfie stick… I wanna hate you but you got my back.

But their must be a better way… Time to think about this!

Weird Little Fruit 

How funny are these little guys! They are kind of like cucumbers, but grown in little Budha moulds. Why, I can’t tell you…

I was told to expect fruit so it was totally disappointing to eat (I’d packed them for work as morning tea)… I just wasn’t in a cucumber mindset lol.  



Not all mistakes are bad

So, I’m not complaining but coming to boracay was a mistake. And a stupid one at that.

Details, details, details… Some times I just can’t be bothered with them…

I love to travel, but I actually hate figuring out what to do, where to go and how to get a good price.

So, it’s starts like this.

People: So where in the Philippines are you going?

Me: I arrive in Manilla and go straight to some Island and then we will go to El Nido.

People: Oh, to Boracay?

Me: Nah, somewhere else

People: So where in the Philippines are you going?

Me: I arrive in Manilla and go straight to some Island and then we will go to El Nido.

People: Oh, to Boracay?

Me: Maybe, I can’t remember though

People: So where in the Philippines are you going?

Me: I arrive in Manilla and go straight to some Island and then we will go to El Nido.

People: Oh, to Boracay?

Me: Yes, I’m going to Boracay

People: So where in the Philippines are you going?

Me: I arrive in Manilla and go straight to Boracay and then we will go to El Nido.

Me: I just booked my internal flight, see you in Boracay on Saturday!

Alice: um, what?

No biggie, I plan to change my flight… But of course Coron (not Boracay) is hard to get to and has limited flights and boats. It’s Chinese new year and all the organised people have booked them out.

Oh well, off I go to Boracay for a few days…. I’ve certainly had worse problems to deal with in life! Haha

Check this amazing place out! It may be called Spider Retreat (don’t ask me how I accepted this, I still don’t know) but I love the beautiful mix of shabby, quirky, secluded and cool.








Although…. Oh dear I forgot its Valentines day Haha 


But I have a little love from Dayna!

And I found some friends to have fun with, so no problem!


Barely left the spider resort, but I did check out a spa for some yoga and a facial on my last day… So nice and indulgent 🙂