Posts Tagged ‘china’

How to get a 10-year visa to China

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

Well, it’s been over 2 years since I last got a visa to China and mine expired 4 months ago, so I had to go back again. Luckily, since that time, there is a new agreement in place that allows me to apply for a 10 year visa! Thank goodness I will only have to deal with this process once a decade. Here are some lessons from this time, building from my previous experience.

First of all, if you are applying for a visa in the DMV (DC metro area), make sure you’re going to the visa office on Wisconsin. The visa office is not in the embassy! I recommend parking over on 35th or Whitehaven – if you go down beyond the first block you’ll get past metered parking and find free 2-hour spots. Be sure to go in the morning or you might find yourself wasting an extra hour waiting for them to get back from lunch and/or not even getting serviced once they run out of time in the afternoon. They shut the doors at 2:30 so no new people come in, but from what I hear they keep on working through the line that has built up until 4 or later.

metal seats in waiting area at dc's chinese visa officeThis time I am going during tourist season, so oh my gosh it was waaaaaaay worse than last time. 20-40 minutes in line?! Please. Think more like 3-4 hours! In light of that, bring a snack. I nearly fainted the first time I was there since I was there until nearly 2 without any food all day. They do have a remodeled area that was under construction last time I was there. There are a lot of seats, but even more people and typically most of them are taken.

By the way, yes, you need to give them your passport. Your original, physical passport. It’ll come back with a giant sticker on one page containing your visa! Even though they have your passport at hand, you still need to provide a printed copy of your passport photo page and most recent visa (if you ever had one before). I think a lot people don’t realize that.

I was super paranoid this time because last time was not easy, so I actually came over-prepared. I had copies of my passport, visa, driver’s license (front and back), email with travel details, invitation letter from my dad, his passport, his visa (proof he lives and works in China), and the application form. I ended up only needing my passport copy, visa copy, and 2 pages of the flight confirmation email (which was like 10 pages long), in addition to the application.

I read online that they only accept typed forms, so thank goodness I didn’t try to fill it out by hand. I actually prepared two versions – one for the L visa, for general tourists, and one for the Q2 visa, for visiting relatives. I ended up going with the L visa application and all they needed was the part of my itinerary showing my name, which matches my passport, and my departure dates.

While I had been worried that I had a Chinese address instead of a hotel for the place I’d be staying, that didn’t end up being an issue. That’s why I also had my dad’s info, to prove that he knew I was coming and had “invited” me to join him. Luckily, they didn’t seem to need any proof that I could stay at the Beijing address I gave.

Last Friday, we had a morning All Hands that ended around 10 and I headed out to apply for my visa. I arrived at 10:59 and got a ticket for the B numbers, which are for non-Chinese passport holders applying for a visa. A is for Chinese passport holders who are renewing their passport or processing other needs. C is for diplomats and other special folks, I believe. D is for those picking up something and gets you to the payment window. Windows are distributed by function too. Window 1 seems to be for travel agents and others with special scenarios. Window 2 is often vacant. Window 3-7 are for visa processing, with Window 5 being for diplomats. Window 8 & 9 are for Chinese citizens. Window 10 is for payment, and Window 11 is for pickup.

I sat for nearly 3 hours before getting called and for all that… my time at the window was around 2 minutes. I had managed to take a nap, do a lot of staring, and go move my car in that time. They seriously need to streamline this process. Add on the hour to get there and hour back and that was 5 hours just to submit my application. Thankfully, I was prepared and had everything I needed. There were no hiccups this time, no getting sent upstairs and having to spend money to fill out a form at a travel agency, no rejections at the window after a long wait. I was told I could come back on Wednesday to pick up my visa.

This past Friday, I was able to return. This time I came earlier, arriving before 10:30. As it was approaching 12:30, I started to get really nervous that I would not get in before the lunch break. The payment window closes 12:30-1:30 for lunch and it’s the only place you can pay before reclaiming your passport with your new visa. I was so relieved when I got called at 12:20, with time to spare! It was about a minute to pay (I wonder what all the other people did and why they were much slower) and then a brief wait for the person at the next window to come back and find my passport. Within 2 hours, I was happily on my way  back to the car!

I’m glad this won’t have to happen again for a long, long time.

Bargaining at Silk Street Market

laelene Posted in stories,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Visitors to Beijing will probably all be familiar with the Silk and Pearl Market known as the Silk Street Market. It has six floors of shopping, grouped into types. Towards the very top you’ll find the nice fancy jewelers with precious stones and metals. There’s the electronics floor, filled with phone and tablet accessories, headphones, etc. Then are the softer goods, like blankets, cloth, and clothing. Continuing on down you’ll find purses, wallets, and shoes. Somewhere along the way you’ll encounter luggage stalls too. And of course there are plenty of fun little Chinese trinkets and gift items.

stalls of vendors at silk street market in beijing with glass wallsBargaining at the Silk Street Market is pretty much expected (except for food you eat while there). I went there today with the goal of getting Panda a new wallet (or two) and checking out anything I might want for myself. You can get to the market from subway line number 1 (the red line). Go to exit A and up the escalators to find yourself in one corner of the building that houses the market. I like to start at the top and work my way down, so I strolled through some nicer stalls first. Eventually I made my way down to my real goal on level B1: the purses and wallets. The majority were for women, but I found a stall with mostly men’s leather goods and got to work.

My style of bargaining starts with first seeing how much I actually like what they have. After all, it’s no use to bargain for something I don’t really want and won’t be pleased with. So the stall attendant stares at me while I browse through a ton of their items. If I’m not seeing what I like, I’ll ask them if they have it. In this case, none of the wallets I was looking at had a little pouch for coins, so I asked and one of the ladies went to the back to find me some. She came back with four designs, of which two were to my liking. I asked how they were sold and was told ¥460 for one. Err, what?! That’s about $75!! I mean, I can go to Marshall’s or TJ Maxx and get a nice wallet for less than a third of that price.

men's leather wallets in brown and black from silk street marketThese attendants like to ask you what your price is. I like to go lower than I’d actually want it for to leave some room, and also remain as vague as possible at first. I said I came out only expecting to spend in the 10’s (as in not going into triple-digit territory). I kept looking and when I found blemishes, the attendant cleaned them off. There was one corner that was missing a piece, so she went to get a replacement one, but I didn’t like it as much (no more identical ones left). At these places you can usually get an item for less than 20-25% of the original asking price (often as low as 8-10%). So I figured, maybe I can get both for less than ¥100. I started by saying I only wanted to spend ¥50. She lowered the price into the 200’s. Still not good enough – I thought a bit, looked a bit, and decided I’d go with ¥80 (though I was considering saying ¥60). As she protested, I told her nevermind and walked away. As I walked off, she hollered at me to come back to talk and eventually (about two stalls away), I heard her say ok. I promptly turned around and I got my two wallets for ¥80 total – just $13!! If my mom was there, she could probably get both for ¥50, but alas, I’m still happy with my purchase.

Did I get the best deal? Probably not, but I certainly did pretty well. I think part of it might have been because the attendant could tell I’m a “??” (overseas Chinese). I never actually confirmed with her (once again, remaining vague with these people is usually a good strategy), but she could tell from my mannerisms, presence, and/or skin. She said she had a feeling and that my skin was different (presumably not white enough, since mainland Chinese women like to lighten their skin tone). I’m still amazed at how they know, but those people at the Silk Street Market… they always know. After all that interaction with people, I’m sure they’re excellent at reading us all.

cup of chinese frozen yogurt with fruit toppingsI then continued on to another stall, where I saw another men’s wallet, a women’s wallet clutch, and a toiletry bag I liked. When I tried to get all three for ¥100, the attendant started to put everything back in its place. That’s when I knew I was too low for them to even bother with me. No biggie, I didn’t want or need any of those three items anyway. So I kept going and eventually made my way to another floor to explore. When I came across a frozen yogurt stand, I couldn’t resist. I was thirsty anyway and wanted something refreshing. I got chocolate chips, watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi, and peach jam drizzle on it. I like the Chinese version of frozen yogurt, which is more tart and dense. Some of the American ones are too sweet and soft for my taste.

silk market and pearl market plastic bagAs I carried my food, I continued on and went through a couple more purse/wallet stalls. In one of the larger ones, I saw some that I liked. They were a material resembling patent leather and had a fun, bold Asian-inspired logo on them. Unfortunately the attendant bargaining with me lost interest after I said ¥50 and she came down to ¥200. I guess I was too low again, so I walked away, hoping to find the design in another stall. I didn’t see it anywhere else and my back had started to hurt, so I decided to come home. I did get the one thing I absolutely wanted from there, but I’m considering asking my mom to go back before she leaves Beijing to get that wallet for me.

Oh, and according to the bag, apparently the three things to do in Beijing are: 1. Climb the Great Wall, 2. Eat Peking duck, and 3. Do shopping at Silk Market. I’ve done them all, so I must be properly acquainted with the city then!

Paying respects

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, stories,Tags: , , , ,

In modern China, you’ll find an eclectic mix of old traditions and new lifestyles. Even as they build skyscraper after skyscraper, tucked in between those giant buildings are tiny little ones from ancient times. And even as buildings get built and land gets cleared, you might notice many large bumps of dirt scattered around. Those are the graves of our ancestors, preserved through time as the world around it changes.

It’s been 10 years since my paternal grandmother died, so our family arranged a get-together to honor her and pay our respects at her grave site. An assortment of cousins, aunts, and uncles came. Most are my grandma and grandpa’s nieces and nephews (my dad’s cousins) and their families. Our extended family branches out in ways I don’t even know and can hardly keep track of, but all that matters is that everyone who came is family.

paying respects burning chinese paper money at ancestor's dirt mound grave siteThe day started off by meeting up at my grandpa’s. Around 10:30, the male lineage of the family (my grandpa’s sons and families plus his brother’s families) went over to my great-grandparents’ grave. Through the winding streets of the city, down an alleyway, and into a small area next to homes rising around it… there you’ll find a little locked door that leads to a walled-off area just big enough for the large dirt mound that covers my dad’s grandparents. A loud burst of firecrackers set things off to announce our arrival. My uncle set up the fire and we put in stack after stack of yellow paper representing money. Ashes rose up from the flames, gently carried away by the breeze as he spoke to our ancestors, telling them who was there and that we would be visiting my grandmother afterwards. We even offered them some (fake) US dollars, burning them to send them up to the heavens for my great-grandparents to use. My uncle kow towed on behalf of all of us and we let the fire die. This was my first time visiting this grave site and I’m glad it’s been preserved despite the growth around us.

long trail of people making way through crop fields to visit grave siteWe then went out to my grandmother’s grave and the rest of the family met us there. We had 12 cars in total, carrying around 50 people. For each who could make it, there were many more who couldn’t, but it was a really good showing. My grandma is buried out in the middle of wheat fields, in a spot chosen for good feng shui. I’m not sure exactly how they know that that particular mound is hers, but the family knows.

rows of fresh green wheat crops in winter

This is what wheat looks like in winter? I never knew.

setting up dirt mound grave with flowers, picture, and offerings

Upon arrival, we got to work setting up the site with flowers, a picture, and food offerings.

preparing paper money for burning at grave

Some of us working on getting the paper money offerings ready so they’d burn easier.

extended family gathering at grave site for memorial

As the fire got started, we all gathered around.

setting off fireworks at grave site to announce arrival

A massive round of fireworks crackled in the air and set off the proceedings.

offering stacks of paper money to fire at grave

Some of the money was folded into fun shapes.

fire burning fierce with new shiny paper money offerings

The foil money really fueled the fire!

giant pile of paper money burning in front of dirt mound grave site

The fire burning at my grandma’s grave, letting her know we were there and sending up offerings.

stoking large pile of burning paper at grave site

People took turns stoking the fire and making sure everything got burnt.

kow towing at grave site with smouldering ashes of burning paper

After an uncle read my grandpa’s letter to grandma, we all took turns kow towing and talking to her.

Chinese stroller

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , ,

Who needs a stroller when you’ve got a suitcase and a kid who can balance a bit? Haha, I love the random things you’ll see Chinese people doing. Creative or practical?

suitcase stroller from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

How to Apply for a Chinese Visa

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

What a ride it’s been applying for my visa to go to China! I watched as time after time, people were turned away because they didn’t have everything they needed for the application. It seems that the law changed in the past couple of years, so those who had been getting visas to China for over 20 years suddenly found themselves no longer meeting the requirements for the application (on their first try anyway). I don’t think a single person who was there for the first time had a successful experience. So, to help you avoid a similar fate, here’s what I learned to make your visa application process as painless as possible.

Short on time? Skip right to the tips list.

First and foremost, PREPARE thoroughly.

When I first saw the extensive forms of visas, I had no clue which one I wanted and I didn’t pay much attention to the requirements. After all, I’d done it plenty of times before so how hard could it be? Oh no, how naive I was. First of all, you have to fill out the form ahead of time. There are no longer forms at the embassy – my first big mistake. Luckily, there is a well-situated travel agency upstairs from the visa office in DC (what a smart move on their part), so I went there and paid $10 to fill out my form on a computer and print it out. Avoid those mistakes and download a copy and print it yourself.

sign and entrance to chinese embassy visa office in washington dcAll applicants are going to want to have a photo copy of their passport ID pages (for the office to keep once they return your passport to you), previous visa(s) to China if this is not your first, and a copy of your itinerary (proof that you will leave the country within an appropriate time period). If you’re like me and just got a new passport, you’ll want to bring copies of your old passport and visas that you had in there. If you’re getting a special visa that lasts beyond the typical maximum of 12 months, there are other documents to provide. This usually includes a signed letter from a Chinese native/resident or company, inviting you to the country and explaining the purpose of your visit.

Plan for at least 40-60 minutes at the visa office

Don’t forget to bring all your documentation! When you arrive, you’ll almost always find a dozen or more people in line to submit their application and it’s a painfully slow process. After all, they have to be thorough in reviewing your application. They also often have to explain exactly what is missing from an application so people can get it right the second time. And inevitably, there are those frustrated people who spent hours getting to the office only to find out they have to make another trek, so they vent and sometimes demand managers.

Wait patiently for 3-4 business days, then pick up your visa

chinese embassy visa office windows for payment and pick upWhen you leave after submitting your application, you’ll get a receipt – hang on to it! It lists the date your visa will be ready and if you don’t get a call by that time, it means your visa should be ready with no issues. Picking up the visa is pretty quick, thankfully. Go first to the payment window and they’ll process your payment. All visas cost the same, no matter the length of validity and they’re currently at $140 for US citizens. I paid by credit card and then took my receipts over the to pick up window when the lady returned. She located my passport and showed me the page with the visa on it. I checked to make sure it was accurate – correct personal information, appropriate expiration date (two years from now, woo hoo!), and actually in my passport.

chinese visa payment window with receipt slip and stamp

Payment time.

passports in boxes ready for pick up after getting chinese visa

Boxes of passports.

So here’s a recap of the main points:

Download the application and bring it filled out along with a 2×2 photo attached (no more copies offered at the visa office)

-photo copy of passport
-copy of old passport (if recently outdated)
-copies of previous visas (if you’ve had any before)
-copy of travel itinerary (if already booked)
-invitation letter with name, ID number, and address of inviter (Chinese citizen or resident) – also include your name and passport number as invitee
-copy of front and back of ID of inviter

Apply at least 5 business days prior to intended travel (but preferably closer to 8-10 days in case there are issues)

When picking up your visa, bring form of payment (credit card is fine) and receipt slip

Did I forget anything? Do you have any lessons learned to share?

That Asian (American) couple

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

Are there not enough Asians who live in the UK? Everywhere we go, Panda and I have been grouped into the Asian category. People see us and assume we came from China. We’ve had ladies on the street ask us for directions in Mandarin and restaurant owners who speak to us in Chinese dialects. They seem shocked, bewildered even, when they hear us speak English with American accents or act like we don’t understand Chinese. It’s as if the only Asians in all of Great Britain are tourists or something. I mean, I feel like we’ve seen our fair share of Chinese people milling about, but I guess it is true that each and every one of them was a Chinese tourist (at least all the ones I heard say anything).

tourists in plaza by buckingham palace in london

Chinese or American tourist? Do I have have to choose between them?

Still, it’s been quite an experience for me to relive the times in my childhood when my American-ness was a big deal. Whenever I’d go back to China as a kid, I got a fair share of attention for being “that American girl” who grew up not like the rest of them. As I grew up it became less and less unusual. In the US, particularly in the Los Angeles region, not only is it normal, it’s practically expected that you grew up in America. The majority of my peers are born and bred Americans. I don’t often run into those who have recently emmigrated and are still new to American culture, though there are still plenty of those. For the most part, Asians of all sorts in California have likely been in the country for a least one generation if not more. I’m of a slightly less common variety of those who moved as a toddler. Most of my Asian-American friends are true ABCs and a lot don’t even speak Chinese. I’m glad that I do, or I’d feel even more awkward out here!

A few weeks ago, I started to learn Cantonese partly because it is so weird to sit around not understanding what’s going on at a Cantonese restaurant when Panda is conversing with the staff. I always wonder if those people think I’m an ABC who has little to no ties to the mainland, or if they realize that I’m just a Mandarin speaker who can’t make sense of the Cantonese going on around me. I hate feeling left out so I figured I might as well learn basic terms to get me through standard day-to-day conversations!

It’s funny how we’re now mistaken for tourists from mainland China when Panda’s never even been and I’ve always been identified as an outsider. I never could understand how I’d go back to China and people would know right away that I wasn’t raised there. When I was younger, my extremely tan skin probably gave it away. Now that I’m paler have I lost my scarlet letter? Or is it just that people abroad can’t tell as easily as those in China? Whatever the case, I’ve suddenly become a lot more conscious of our outer appearance not always matching up to what people assume us to be. I feel out of place already as a foreigner and that just adds another layer. It will be nice to return home where our Asian-American-ness is not questioned!

Rationing control

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Perhaps you associate rationing with wartime, like I generally do. Did you know that in China they still do it? Well, at least in terms of the [centralized] heating supply. Every year, as fall fades away, the citizens await the day that their heating will get turned on. It’s earliest in the northern cities (like my hometown of Shenyang) and later in areas like Beijing. For those in the south – forget about it. No matter how cold it gets, they have no heat unless you purchase a special air conditioning/heating unit for your home. Then, as spring approaches, as soon as the government deems it warm enough, the heat is taken away again. And so year after year, the Chinese get to deal with bundling up in their homes because they don’t have enough heat.

chinese granddaughter and grandfather standing outside doorway in winter

Maybe that’s why winter wear looks like this and usually includes 5-7 layers, even indoors.

Back when I was born in the 1980’s, there was a lot of food rationing too. My mom always told me how eggs were a valued commodity in the cities and when she was pregnant, she got to enjoy the one egg per household (per month I think, though maybe it was per week). I had a cousin who was a year older than me and when I was born, I turned out to be a big eater. Or drinker, I guess. I gobbled up milk like nobody’s business (which meant that my cousin’s milk rations often went to me too). Maybe that’s why I grew up so big and strong.

Even housing in the old days was “rationed” – you were given a place to live and that was that, pretty much. If you wanted to move (within the same city), you could apply to be “given” a different apartment that might be newer and/or in a better location. I believe there was some sort of lottery system to help determine who got to live where. Certainly unlike the American buying experience I’m used to, where any house anywhere is fair game if it’s in your price range.

And then there’s the One Child Policy, which is kind of like rationing children to families. Except in this case, rather than waiting to be given what you want, you have what you want (once) and that’s it. Still, it’s similar to getting handed rations since you are allowed a limited supply, which has nothing to do with your personal situation. Rather, it’s an “everybody gets the same restriction” kind of thing.

Each of these in their own ways take control away from you the individual. You do not have the power to decide that you want to heat your home earlier in the year, or that you want to eat half a dozen eggs in one sitting, or that you want to move clear across town to that beautiful new complex, or that you want to have another child. Granted, things have eased up over the years and many of these rules have gone away or at least become more flexible. Still, sometimes it amazes me what sort of uber-controlling environment some cultures grow up in. And how the act of rationing itself is a rationing of control: Here, this is how much control we’ll give you over your own life. All’s fair in communism, right?

Having a baby boy in China is a BIG deal

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
chinese baby wrapped in poufy red swaddling clothes laying on bed

When I was born? Probably not a big deal.

One of my cousins in China recently gave birth to a baby boy and oh my gosh, it was such a big deal. You think you’re excited to have a kid? You should imagine how excited you’d be if that was the ONLY kid you were allowed to have in your lifetime. And let’s say you had a boy like my cousin – then you get to be super excited that your family lineage gets passed on. Yeah, boys are still valued more than girls over there (as in many countries, I’m sure).

Maybe I should also mention that you’re not allowed to know the gender of your child, so it’s a surprise for just about every citizen in China when their child is born. Of course, sometimes people “cheat” and find a way to find out, but by law doctors are not allowed to tell you (and they abide by it strictly). You better have some mad connections to get an accurate reveal ahead of time. So come labor time, there’s a ton of anticipation as everyone waits to find out the all-important question: is it a boy or girl??

If you’re confused about these crazy rules (laws), let me explain. You’ve probably heard of the One Child Policy in China at some point. Most people have an inkling that Chinese families are only allowed one kid. Maybe you didn’t believe it or didn’t think they take it so seriously. Well, it’s definitely a law that’s alive and well, though a bit more lax now (like if you remarry you’re allowed to have a child with your new spouse).

Layer on top of that the outlawing of gender revealing during pregnancy and you’ve got one mad nation (as in crazy – specifically, boy crazy – not upset or angry per se). Can you imagine how curious you’d be? The reason that you’re not allowed to know the gender of the baby is because boys are heavily favored for passing down the family name and whatnot, so many people would have an abortion if they knew it was a girl. This probably wouldn’t be such a big deal to families if you got more than one chance to have a boy. But as the laws go, you only get that one chance.

Not only did the announcement of a boy stir up a whole lot of chatter, family activity has picked up as everyone makes their way to send their well wishes. Traditionally, each family is supposed to send one representative, but since my family is all the way here in the US, one of my aunts is representing our family as well. It’s time for my cousin to get showered with gifts and attention (though really it’s probably all going towards that son of hers).

Having a boy is so important that family members are pitching in to “guard” him. Yeah. They’re afraid he’ll get stolen or swapped out. I mean, that’s how big a deal it is. Are they overreacting and paranoid? Maybe. But you never know… with so many couples desperate for a boy, they just might do crazy things to get one.

Air pollutants

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

I remember when I was a kid, flying was a great way to admire the beauty of the world.  I adored looking out the window as landscapes passed us by (well, more like we passed them :-P).  It was so peaceful and gorgeous!  Now whenever I fly, I’m reminded of the massive change that has happened over the past two decades.  I look outside the window of the plane and see a hazy horizon.  It’s like I can see the heat rising from the earth.  Gone are those pollutant-free views of centuries past.

I don’t recall ever noticing air pollutants when I was young, except in certain parts of the Midwest where it was so hot the air couldn’t be clear and crisp.  Lately it’s become apparent that those childhood memories of looking clearly into the horizon were either far rosier than reality or the world’s atmosphere has really changed that much.  Back then, it was literally “as far as the eye could see” without all this smog or haze or whatever.  High up in the air, it was a treat to look down at our planet and enjoy its natural beauty.

In China, it’s even worse.  It feels like there’s a thick blanket of blurriness hanging over everything and sometimes it’s bad enough to be noticeable from the ground too.  At 30,000 feet I can barely make out what’s below us at times.  In fact, even on the ground taking a train ride made me wonder if the winters had always been so dreary.  I can pretty confidently say that that’s not the case – we as humans have just managed to cover our world with pollutants, haven’t we?

hazy view of ground below from airplane

Case in point: you can barely make out the winding path and rolling hills below.

I think I’d find it depressing if I was a pilot, having to watch as year after year the sky got murkier.  But then again, if you saw the gradual change, maybe you’d get used to it and not even tend to notice the way that I have after years of not flying much.  Still, it’s sad that things have gotten to this point and I hope that the future brings initiatives to restore the beautifully clear skies that I once enjoyed.

Marriage, Chinese style

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , ,

A few weeks ago I wrote about my cousin’s wedding in China and now here are some pictures from the day.

mercedes benz decorated with flowers to newlyweds

The newlyweds' chariot has arrived in style!

red paper held down by red bricks cover sewage caps

All sewage caps along the bride and groom's path had to be covered with red paper held down by red bricks, to keep bad luck/spirits away.

love spelled out in flowers

On the back of the car was a tribute to their love, spelled out with flowers.

groom carries bride out of her house into waiting car as confetti rains down

The groom carried his bride through the threshold of her building into the awaiting car as a shower of confetti rained all over them.

wedding confetti all over the car

The wedding confetti got all over the place, making the car, the street, and people's hair shine in rainbow colors.

wedding bun or wedding bao made completely of bread molded into dragon, phoenix, fish, and flowers

Apparently it's traditional to get one of these giant buns in Shandong. The bread is molded into all kinds of cool designs, like the dragon and phoenix on top and the flowers and fish all around them. And yes, it's edible!

huge screen in ballroom of hotel with custom wedding theme logo displayed

They had their own theme created around their names!

gigantic chandelier in ballroom of hotel

The chandelier in the place was gargantuan and so much brighter than this picture shows.

groom waits for bride to join him

The groom waited for his bride to enter the ballroom and then they walked down the aisle to the stage together.

the bride and groom share a kiss as they are elevated by a platform

Before walking down the aisle, the bride and groom share a kiss as the platform raised up and spun them around.

huge meatballs topped with "double happiness" symbol

Following the ceremony, we ate lunch, which included these "double happiness" meatballs to celebrate the joy.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...