Apr 23 2021

Imperial Ancestral Temple 太庙

This temple is Built in 1420. It’s behind Tiananmen, opposite to ZhongShan Park. Photo courtesy of Victor.     


Apr 21 2021

Foguang Temple 佛光寺

Foguang Village, Doucun Town,
Wutai County, Xinzhou City
Shanxi Province

The buddhist temple is 80 miles NE of Taiyuan. The main hall – Great East Hall was built in the year 857, which was Tang Dynasty (618-907).

wiki Foguang Temple is a Buddhist temple located five kilometres from Doucun, Wutai County, Shanxi Province of China. The major hall of the temple is the Great East Hall, built in 857 AD, during the Tang Dynasty (618

Apr 19 2021

St. John’s Church 圣约翰教堂

St. John’s Church at 18 Shixi Jie,Canglang District, Suzhou, built in 1881. Photos by Feng Guoyin.

苏州圣约翰教堂: 苏州市沧浪区十梓街18号


Apr 18 2021

Mujia Garden 荫庐


Part of former Suzhou Hospital that was created by American missionaries, it’s commonly known as Mujia Garden, east of Waicheng River. Children’s Hospital is within.

俗称慕家花园, 荫庐位于景德路儿童医院院内

The white mosaic tile can be purchased at $21.90 per sq. ft. They aren’t identical but similar.


Apr 18 2021

A Flushing corner

40-25 College Point Blvd
Flushing, NY 11354

New York City Housing Authority’s James A. Bland is the complex at the corner of Roosevelt Avenue, between College Point and Prince Street. It has been a food/produces distribution during the covid-19 pandemic.

Apr 18 2021

An open house

Passing by this house, there are many people milling around: ha, an open house. Upon checking, I found it on Zillow, which estimates it at $869,845: 3 bedroom/2 bath, 1,775 sq ft. It listed on April 15 – only a couple of days. It built in 1920 on an 0.11 acres of land, last sale occurred in 1994 for $250k. Property taxes in 2020 was $13,572.


Apr 17 2021

Tampa, 2021

Tampa is the third largest city in Florida, after Jacksonville and Miami. We’ve been there before, during one of our four Disney trips to Orlando.

The state of New York, is in fact smaller than Florida in size and population.

Here is some facts:

  • admitted to the Union: 1788.7.26 / 1845.3.03
  • largest city: New York / Jacksonville
  • area total in sq mi: 54,556 / 65,757
  • population: 19,336,776 / 21,733,312
  • median household income: $64,894 15th / $53,267 40th

Our itinerary:

Apr 17 2021

Bradenton Beach

Bradenton Beach is a city on Anna Maria Island, 60 miles south of Tampa Int’l Airport. The population is 1,278 in 2018 estimate (1,657 in 1990 census and 1,482 in 2000 census).   

It has a post office and a library. The long wait at Anna Maria Oyster Bar, must be tourists like us. 


Our goal was Anna Maria Oyster Bar on the Pier but it was an hour wait.


… So we ended up at The Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar, at the foot of the Historic Bridge Street Pier, looking out to the lighthouse on the Sarasota Bay. It’s a dive bar heavenly good, with live music. Many diners come by their kayaks, canoes or speedboats.  


Apr 16 2021

Delta flight delay & cancelation

For many years, the airlines have been keeping their departures on time, and usually arrive early.

That was before the covid-19.

My first air travel post pandemic is hardly recognizable: delays after delays, out right cancelation, and the aftermath of the cancelation.

Because I’m traveling with friends and we’re trying to coordinate one taxi. So I checked to confirm the departure time of the flight – there, I found two problems.

  1. The delays. Two days prior, it was four hours and one day before was two hours of delay.
  2. The departure times varies, from 7:05 to 7:18, both were way ahead of said time at purchase, which was 7:30am.

What’s going on? What if some travelers count on that little extra few minutes?

Then the evening before the departure came the third problem: our flight is cancelled. Hotel and car rental have to be changed, at additional cost. If my memory serves me right, this is my second flight cancellation, the first within U.S.

The hotel and car rentals, all have to be changed, at higher price. The car rental in Tampa is especially expensive, more than $100 a day, which we ended up paying $413.50 for the two nights stay.

After the trip when I was about to book another trip, did I realize 40,000 miles are missing from my account. The nightmare starts all over again: LONG wait for a live agent for my issue. For reasons unbeknown to me, Delta uses only two methods for communication: calling or text messaging. Both are ineffective and time consuming. Phone calls are two hours wait and texting is a whole day event. Bouncing between agents, means I had to explain my case, all over again, and again, and again.

  1. Delta verification form

    Agent 1 on April 12 who wrote she will right my account. But unfortunately failed to do so. One thing to know is, their auto response isn’t working well, keeps asking the same question over and over again, in rapid succession.
    Each agent needs verify you, and their SkyMiles Verification, is NOT a few digits sent to your phone but a LONG FORM to fill, that includes, your name, #, address, dob, phone number … I kid you not. WHY do they like to torture the customers, wasting time? WHY?!?!

  2. Agent 2 on April 20. After repeating myself all over again, who wrote, I need to call their Corporate Customer Care @ (800) 455-2720.
  3. Agent 3 on April 21, after repeating my sorry story, agent Kelly wrote, “I do not have the ability to redeposit miles on a flown ticket.” I need to call their reservations department at 800-221-1212. The auto voice says, more than two hours wait. Call back feature wasn’t available.
  4. Agent 4 on April 22, at 800-221-1212. Luckily the call back feature kicked in. I asked for a supervisor and Michelle soon came online. Repeating myself. She did her research while putting me on hold as usual, and eventually restored 40,000 miles to my account and sent me an email to confirm.

All the agents did their due diligence, plus the texting, each agent spent about an hour. It was my four hours wasted. It was Delta’s four hours wasted. On our flights, the middle seats are kept vacant, now I’m wondering: CAN Delta make their bottomline met?

Apr 15 2021

Options, options

The option meeting (design meeting) can also be done online as well but we chose to do it the old fashion way: face to face. The meeting took full day but the designer left the following day open for us, in case. We didn’t need the second day. (One neighbor got through it in four hours: key to it, is read the design book throughly. A neighbor said they’ve gone through it ten times before the meeting: well prepared; using spreadsheet if that helps.) We signed off on our selections on April 22.

Each builder has its own ‘design’ center, even they go an extra step to say that their staff members are NOT Interior Decorators, hence bear no responsibility for buyers’ dissatisfaction. The staff is there to take your order/selection. Our ‘designer’ however, did give us some pointers, and on a few occasions, told us to do it on our own for less.

What can you choose for your new home?

Well, a lot, or, not much.

You decided on the state, city, community, lot and model of home. But still, there are many things you want to change but can’t because it is NOT an option. Compromise are much needed.

The exterior color scheme. We learned only at the design meeting that yours can NOT be the same as your next door neighbor (next and cross the street, depending on the location), which eliminates 1 to 3 schemes from the dozen or so options. It’s hard to anticipate issue like this especially we were NOT informed at purchase.

The cost of options or the markup
, in general are on the high end. For example, the kitchen apron/farmhouse sink: Kohler-5827-0, listing price on the manufacturer’s site is $1,299, on Amazon $974.25 and the builder charges $1,350. I understand the cost of labor to install but I doubt seriously that the builder buys at manufacture’s listing price.

Over all, the design meeting is an indecisive experience for us: deciding on an item as large as the color scheme of the house, to flooring or countertop, and as small as the color of the grout, cabinet knobs and handles, and which side would you put your soap dispenser on the kitchen sink, brick paver, and what kind of edge for your countertop, etc.


During our meeting, at times, it could get very noisy as more buyers come and chat on top of one another. Don’t know why don’t they have our meeting in a smaller room with doors that could close out, to reduce unnecessary chatters.

After signing off on the selections, we’re now waiting for the construction to begin.