Shanghai and away!

Last week I sat down in our local coffee shop, Java by the Bay, chatting with a friend, Anni, while waiting for her daughter, Christina, and son-in-law, Alex, to arrive.

I was especially excited to see Christina because she’s an up-and-coming blogger.  Yes!  She posts two really good blogs and I wanted to hear her thoughts about this blogging world.

Christina is one year older than our oldest child, and we’ve watched her grow from a shy sprite into a confident engaging adult.  She left our Upper Peninsula shores and trekked out to San Francisco many years ago, but you can tell she’s still a Yooper at heart.

Christina and Kathy at Java by the Bay in L'Anse

Here is a photo of the two of us chit-chatting away about blogging and six million other things last Wednesday.  (Of course Anni and Alex added lots of other fascinating tidbits as well.)

Now I am going to show you a photo of Christina when she was almost four years old.  The boy in yonder photograph is little Christopher celebrating his third birthday, our own shy boy, and Christina is appropriately engrossed in the cake.  (Shades of her future interests as you will soon discover.) So you can see we’ve known each other a long, long time.

The little birthday guy is our Chris. See the girl in the background? Guess who will some day be a blogger?

Now you’re wondering about the title, aren’t you?

Shanghai and away!  Doesn’t that sound exciting and daring and adventuresome?

I think it is, and Christina features a wonderful blog titled “Shanghaied Away.”  Do you know what it is to be Shanghaied in these modern days?  You’re thinking piracy, aren’t you?

Well, here’s what happens when Christina and her husband, Alex, decide to play the Shanghai game:

One of them–depending on whose turn it might be–decides on a secret location somewhere around this fair globe.  They plan the flight, accommodations and fun activities.  (Such as ice climbing.)  They locate the passports and apply for appropriate visas without telling the other partner where they’re going.

Other rules of the Shanghai game:  the location must be a place where the person has never visited.  The supriser packs the suprisees luggage in order to hide the climate of the destination.

OK, we all know the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) would not allow an innocent bystander to be blindfolded and led through the airport.  Too many terrorist overtones. So, instead  Christina and Alex devised the wearing of opaque sunglasses with purple construction paper taped to the inner lenses so that the Shanghai “victim” can only see the ground.  (Inquiring minds want to know:  What does the TSA think of purple construction paper on sunglasses?)

The “victim” also listens to loud music through ear buds at the airport, in the gate and on the airplane.  They also crunch loudly on crackers when, say, the pilot decides to make an announcement.

You see, I am sure they do not WANT to cheat, as that would spoil the surprise and fun of the game.

When the secret Shanghai location is reached, the glasses, music and crackers disappear and the “victim”–who is now probably one of the luckiest and most excited travelers on the planet–gets to guess where the heck they are.

Shanghaied Away: Alex and Christina glacier hiking in Alaska

As in:  Where in the world is Christina Sandiego?  (For those of you not in the know, this is a reference to Carmen Sandiego, that famous geography game and children’s television game show.)

Our Christina devised this totally fun & amazing virtual game a few years ago after pondering:

If I were dropped by airplane somewhere, anywhere, in the world, how long would it take me to figure out where I am? What clues would I immediately notice upon opening my eyes that would begin to help me put the puzzle together? The terrain, the people, the climate, language, signs, etc.? What would it be that would ultimately give it away? I ended up loving this idea so much that I wanted to create it in real life. Thus, was born “Shanghaied Away.”

You can travel excitedly over to her blog and subscribe to receive notice the next time Alex or Christina “Shanghai Away“.  I certainly have subscribed and eagerly await the next chapter.

So far they’ve Shanghaied one another to Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, Alaska, China and St. Maarten.  (And I may be missing a few–do go over to her blog and dig in the archives.)  Her writing and photos are wonderful, too.

Now comes dessert!

You think that’s all Christina blogs about?

No way.

She’s a fabulous vegan cook and started a wonderful blog called Fruit of Adventure.  Any of you healthy eaters will salivate to read her recipes and try her creations.  And to admire the photographs–I certainly couldn’t photograph food to look so appealing and yummy.

When we chatted at the coffee shop Wednesday, I started the conversation by saying that three members of our family–Chris, Kiah and myself–had all made her recipes in the last week.

Kiah and I made the Most Amazing One-Ingredient Ice Cream–out of bananas ONLY, mind you–and Chris whipped together a batch of the Dairy-Free Nut-Free Basil Pesto  (Kiah and I didn’t even know that Christopher was making one of her recipes, too.)

Really good vegan banana ice cream

The banana ice cream is to die-for.  Yum.  Double yum.  Triple yum.  And healthy, people!  Who needs all that cream and fat from regular dairy ice cream or frozen yogurt?

Just wanted to share the blogging fun created by an Upper Peninsula native.  Hope you will pause by her blogging hearth, both to read of Shanghai adventures and to whip up a delightful vegan dish.  Her latest post even shows some Upper Peninsula wildlife hiding among the Pinto Bean Hummus(ish) Dip.

It was great to see you last week, Ms. Christina!

Happy blogging and may many readers find their way to your posts.

(And I want to Shanghai somewhere now…gosh, that sounds like so much fun!)

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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101 Responses to Shanghai and away!

  1. Elisa's Spot says:

    OOOOOOOOO good morning Kathy! I had sooo many links to click that Z, who is in the middle of a unit test chemistry tutor thingie, shouted at me to close windows cause his tutor window thing was crashing! I’ll have to come back later after he’s done. PESTO THAT I CAN EAT, i think, once i see the ingredients!

  2. This is amazing! What a creative, fun idea. I think my husband and I are going to have to copy Christina as soon as our kids get older.

    My cousin and his wife do something similar every year for the anniversary. They alternate, year by year, planning a special trip without telling the other anything about it and they never go to the same place twice. So far they’ve only done domestic locations though.

    Either way, I love the spirit of adventure!

    • Kathy says:

      Sarah, isn’t it the coolest idea? You’ll have to write a Shanghai blog when you get started, too. I love the idea of surprise trips. And adventure…of course!

    • Christina says:

      That’s so great, Sarah! I’d love to hear about your adventures if you take a Shanghaied Away trip! And it’s cool to hear about your cousin and his wife who do something similar!

  3. jeffstroud says:

    Wow really! You have another daughter? I didn’t know! She must have been shanghaied !
    Great blog, and how brave and creative of Christina and her partner to plan such elaborate adventures. I will have to check out her cooking blog as well, most interesting.

  4. What a fun and exciting way to see the world!

  5. Fun loving, enthusiastic, a spirit of adventure, and delicious cooking, to boot! Christina and Alex are clearly my kinda folks.

    Kathy, thank you for including so many delicious links in this blog!

  6. lisaspiral says:

    I love the idea of being Shanghaied away! I’d even be happy with the idea of somebody else planning the vacation and doing the packing. I also love the idea of sitting in a coffee shop chatting with you. Maybe it’s time to think about my next trip……

    • Kathy says:

      So many good possibilities, Lisa! I think I like ALL these ideas, too. Let me know when you’re headed this way and we will sip coffee and share lots & lots. We’re lucky to have a good coffee shop in L’Anse. Java by the Bay is great!

    • Christina says:

      That’s awesome, Lisa! It actually is a lot of fun just letting go of control and allowing someone else to take care of everything for you. It almost takes you back to being a child when your parents handled everything. But is, of course, a lot more fun because of the anticipation and excitement of where you could possibly be going.

  7. Oh, what fun! I can’t wait to have a look at Christina’s blogs! Actually, I must wait, as the dogs are overdue for their morning walk, but thank you for such good and enthusiastic information! Sounds like a great visit!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, I am smiling thinking of you going on a nice morning walk with your dogs. Glad you enjoyed this post about Christina. It was fun to see her and fun to share it with all of you.

    • Christina says:

      Awww…how cute! I’m sure your lovely dogs were happy with your decision to attend to them 🙂 I too have a dog who’s trapped in a cats body and makes it clear when he needs something from me.

  8. Brenda Hardie says:

    Wow…what fun!! Christina and Alex sure know how to “live” life! I will definitely be heading over to check out their adventures and I will also wander over and read about the food adventures too 🙂 Thank you for introducing us to her and for sharing the links. Fun fun fun! Love the picture of Christina and you…beautiful women ♥

    • Kathy says:

      Brenda, I always love your enthusiasm, too. Do check out their adventures and read about the really really good food. I’m so glad Christina and Anni remembered to take a pic of us because my camera was sitting back in the car. 🙂

    • Christina says:

      What sweet comments, Brenda! I hope you enjoy the blogs 🙂

  9. Kerry Dwyer says:

    Pick me!!! pick me! pick me! – It looks great – what a lovely couple they are too.
    Hi Kathy – lovely to hear from you after a whole week – how did you get on with not blogging for a week?
    I would love to be Shanghaied to somewhere calm where I could open the door and walk outside everyday – can you think of anywhere?

    • Kathy says:

      Kerry, I am laughing. I think I would like to be Shanghaied to India. Oh yes, India. Of course, am wondering, wouldn’t we know we were in India when we first looked around? (By the way, it hasn’t been a whole week yet. I blogged three or four days ago! My once-a-week posting is starting next week. Isn’t time funny? Sometimes you swear a week has passed and it’s only been a few days. Other times a few days pass and think it’s a week!)

      • Kerry Dwyer says:

        Gosh – you are right – time is strange. Well that just shows how much your pearls are missed – I felt a whole week had passed without one.
        (from – ‘not a swine’ – pleased to be cast a pearl)
        India – yes I would love to go there, or China or Japan – somewhere that is totally different to here.

    • Christina says:

      You want to come along too, Kerry? I’d love to take another victim (as Kathy called it 🙂 ) on one of our trips 😉

      • Kerry Dwyer says:

        I would love to Christina. I think the idea is great. I love to think of opening my eyes and being in a totally new place. Or trying to work out where we are from temperature, humidity, smell and then maybe sound as I take of the headphones and finally sight. What a thrill!!

  10. I was very entertained by your blog Kathy! Love the idea of Shanhaied Away! My husband would love it even more. Checking out Christina’s blogs now . . . thanks.

  11. Being shanghaied sounds like SO much fun! Now there’s a couple who knows how to make the most out of life.

  12. Heather says:

    Thanks for sharing! On my way to check them out now 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Ms. Heather! Someday, perhaps in Grayling or Gaylord, you and I shall sit in a coffee shop and blog-talk, too. (Except we’d have to get someone to take our pic.)

  13. Sybil says:

    I think I’d like to know where I was going Kathy. I think there are three parts to a trip: the planning/anticipation; the trip itself; and, the remembering. The trip itself is the shortest part.

    A lot of links there for me to follow up on. Will do …

    Off for tea and a walk with Amy-Lynn this aft. Why don’t you join us ?

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, my goodness! Someone who doesn’t want to be shanghaied! Well, you are certainly right, planning/anticipating can be awful fun, too. Although maybe our planning/anticipating in a shangahai could be equally fun? OK, I am now closing my eyes to join you and Amy-Lynn for that walk. See that blackbird up ahead? No not that one. The one with the red wings. That’s me. 🙂

    • Christina says:

      This brings up a good point, Sybil! There is actually tons of anticipation from the person being Shanghaied because you know you’re going somewhere and the anticipation of finding out where your kidnapper could possibly be taking you. And then when you arrive trying to figure out where in the world you’ve been dropped. I’d actually say that the anticipation is even greater than when you know where you’re going. 🙂

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  15. john says:

    This sounds like quite an amazing couple. I have a feeling that her daily life is a life well lived also. I need to check this blog out.

    Hope Barry’s knee is progressing well.

    • Kathy says:

      I suspect you’re right, John, about their daily life. Today was a big day for Barry’s knee–he got his staples out. We’re in Marquette right now while he (and his walker) are taking pics at a track meet at the Dome. I’m picking him up after 45 minutes and we’re gonna have fun eating out. Thanks for asking.

    • Christina says:

      That’s so sweet to say, John!

  16. Dana says:

    Amazing! Christina and her husband sound INCREDIBLE! Just when I vowed I wasn’t going to check out any new blogs for a while… I think I will have to go look at both of hers. Vegan cooking? Hello! Vicarious adventures to secret destinations? Yes, please!

    Thank you for the exciting introduction. Heading over to check out her sites now…

  17. susanblake says:

    Hi Kathy! What an adventure doing those trips! I’m so much of a planner (and probably control freak as well) that I wouldn’t do what they do with trips, but I admire their spirits. I travelled so much with work and for pleasure years ago that I’m quite content not to venture too far anymore. Not to mention, I think all the hassels today with “new rules” just suck the fun out of it for me. (Remind me to tell you about our trip to Turks & Caicos last year when we meet – everything that could go wrong, pretty much did! Oh and being held by armed guards in Amsterdam years ago wasn’t too fun either~!) I sure will check out the healthy eating vegan blog! We rarely eat meat here, I consider us “Flexatarians” actually but I love to try new recipes that don’t include meat or dairy. I’m in! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I sure admire their spirits, too, SuZen. Wow, it sounds like you’ve had some crazy “adventures”, too, but not all of the positive ilk. Glad you enjoy eating healthy–so do we–I told Christina that we were maybe 75% vegans. Maybe that’s a “Flexatarian”?

    • Christina says:

      Wow! You’ve had quite a few adventures, Suzen! And it’s awesome to hear about being meat and dairy free so often 🙂 I’ve been vegan for over 10 years and it’s amazing how much better your body feels when you eat healthy!

  18. I love this idea of being”Shanghaied Away.” I would love to check out the blog but I am so inundated with comments at the moment and blog reading, I just can’t. I hate that–as I know this is something I would REALLY enjoy. Sorry.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, Kathy, don’t worry about checking out any blogs right now! You must still be smiling and slightly crazed after your wonderful Freshly Pressed adventure. That’s kind of like being shanghaied, in a good way… Congratulations again!

  19. Colleen says:

    I love this idea too! We’ve done small weekend and day versions with each other but maybe it’s time to think big. I’m looking forward to visiting Christine’s blogs!

    Hope you and Barry have a wonderful meal out. It sounds like there is much to celebrate 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Colleen, yep, I can see you thinking big and planning a wild adventure. Do enjoy Christina’s blog. Barry and I did have a wonderful time eating out in Marquette yesterday afternoon. He had a great physical therapy session and got his staples out–it was a big day. We both fell in bed exhausted at 8:50 and slept over nine hours!

    • Christina says:

      Yes, Colleen! I’d love to hear of someone else to do this! 🙂

  20. bobz1961 says:

    The vegan ice cream looks soothing

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Bobz! Great to hear from you. The vegan banana ice cream WAS soothing. Very delicious and simple. You should try it if you have a food processor. Thanks for commenting.

    • Christina says:

      I agree with Kathy, Bobz! It’s such a great treat! I wouldn’t replace it entirely for other fatty, sugary ice creams, but it’s amazing for when you’re craving a healthier sweet treat!

  21. Christina says:

    Hi Kathy! Again, sorry I was not able to get to your post until now—I had a very busy day at work followed by an evening work commitment (Best Companies to Work for in the Bay Area awards) and I didn’t get home until very late. I was dying to read it all day! Now that I have, I just want to say that you are an amazing person, Kathy! Thanks for this wonderful write-up and I love the photo from years ago! If I recall correctly, I actually remember seeing an entire series of photos taken from that exact birthday party and the next time I visit my mom, I am going to need to dig them out.

    • Kathy says:

      Christina, it was a joy to feature your blogs. Thank you for taking the time to reply to all the comments! It’s been a pleasure to know you…glad to introduce my readers to your posts.

  22. Dawn says:

    Oh yes, you can tell Christina is a Yooper! Those blue eyes and that blond hair give it away! 🙂 What an amazing idea….I don’t know if I could sit on a plane for HOURS without being able to see or hear anything…but it’s still an amazing idea. I’ll go check her blogs…and I’m definitely going to make the banana ice cream…husband LOVES bananas…. thanks for sharing her with us!

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Dawn, I wonder what it would be like to sit on the plane for hours like that? Let me know what you and your husband think of the banana ice cream. I thought it was luscious! (And, yep, she does look like a Yooper kid. But, shhhh, I think she’s more German than Finnish…)

    • Christina says:

      Hi Dawn! It’s oh so very difficult being on a plane without your site or hearing and not knowing how long the ride will be. However, I will say that there are definitely quite moments on the flight where no announcements are made and you can rest your ears a little. You still need to be careful in the case that neighboring people might speak about the destination so it really is best to have some kind of headphones on the entire flight…the surprise in the end is so worth the effort!
      And I’m so glad to hear you’re going to try the banana ice cream!!

  23. sonali says:

    Firstly, Kathy I have the same same exact same outfit what you are wearing in photo 1. The exact same color!! Shanghayieng one another is such a brilliant idea – something so different I cannot imagine. Christina & Alex seem to enjoy all the surprises that life puts forward. Quite nice! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      You’ve got to be kidding, Sonali! The same exact outfit? Why, we’re definitely soul sistas! I was fascinated with the shanghai-ing fun, too. It’s always neat to meet folks who live life so fully. Hey–like YOU!

  24. flandrumhill says:

    I find it very comforting to learn how this younger generation can be so amazingly creative and resourceful. Thanks Kathy.

  25. P.j. grath says:

    Kathy, I can see by the number of comments that you will be way to busy to reply to each one, but I think it is such an interesting coincidence that I come back from my own adventure, posting mysterious (I hope) photos for people to try to guess where I’ve been, and find you having posted about mystery trips. I mean, what are the odds?

    • Kathy says:

      It looks like a lot of comments, Pamela, but a third of them are mine and a third are Christina’s. It is synchronistic! Not the first time one of us bloggers has beaten the odds with random subjects like mystery trips. Welcome home from yours! It will be interesting to discover where you’ve wandered.

  26. Marcie says:

    Love this whole thing about being ‘Shanghaied’. What fun to be able to share your blogging adventures..and to learn like this!

  27. lucindalines says:

    This all sounds like fun! I think we may have to try it sometime.

  28. Vegan recipes! Yes!!!

  29. Robin says:

    I am headed over to check out those vegan recipes. Yummy!! And thank you. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, you are another person who will enjoy Christina’s culinary expertise. I didn’t subscribe to her blog for a long time because I felt inundated with blogs–but, heck, anyone who posts regular vegan recipes–I’m in.

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  31. dearrosie says:

    ooh what a fun adventure! A huge part of the excitement would be in trying to guess where you were being taken.

    Please explain how airport security allows someone to walk through with dark glasses on. Do you pretend to be blind?

    Even though I’ve been married to Mr F for 40 years when I told him about this we agreed that he’d never be able to pack a suitcase for me. How do you know what to take?

    I’m going to check out the banana ice cream. Sounds deelish.

    • Christina says:

      Hi Rosie! It is so much fun! The pre-trip anticipation is fun and then being able to open your eyes to a whole new world and trying to put the pieces together to figure out where you are is such an incredible experience. There’s nothing else quite like it making it a bit hard to describe.

      As for airport security, it’s amazing how easy it is to lead another person through it all—people don’t seem to look twice. And it really does look like we’re either blind or disabled in some way.

      Regarding the suitcase, when I pack for Alex it’s very easy as he has little variety in his wardrobe. However, when he packs for me, I give him some pre-packing guidance for ideas based on different climates and this works very well. He doesn’t always get things 100%, but it has never bothered me when we’re on vacation. You might be surprised about how well Mr F could do it. 🙂

  32. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM…banana ice cream 🙂

  33. Marianne says:

    That sounds like a lovely game. They are certainly an adventuresome couple. Robin wrote about Christine’s lemony asparagus rice dish. It sounded yummy. I laughed about the asparagus-pee part. I’ll have to try the recipe. Thanks for sharing, Kathy.

  34. pearlz says:

    Amazing concept for blogs and life (:

  35. rehill56 says:

    I love this picture of you and Christina! So sunny!

    • Kathy says:

      It’s funny how a sunny comment like yours can make another smile break out, Ruth. P.S. Gracias for the stretchy thingee and also for the salutation de espanol about la famosa blogista. Ha ha, still laughing! I suspect Barry will be calling you soon. Happy mother’s day and happy knee healing.

  36. I, too, have subscribed, but alas, I have no one to Shanghai me anywhere, however, living vicariously isn’t so bad. Can’t wait to try the recipes. Wonderful to share her with us…those of us lost in the Reflections of the Ponds!

    • Kathy says:

      How cool that you subscribed, Linda! Living vicariously is better than nothin’. And her recipes…triple YUM!

      • Now you are rhyming….I will let Christine know about another blog I follow. The Quotidian Hudson…he takes beautiful photos all while wandering around the river or the city.

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