I must confess: for each photo you see posted in my web albums, there’s around 10 more photos you’ve been spared from seeing. EVER. The blurred ones, those with colors beyond repair, the countless accidental shots of my thumb, the plain ‘why-the-heck-did-I-take-this-one?!’ photos — yes, all of those were zapped into the virtual limbo of my laptop’s hard disk, erased ala-‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’.
The first photo I ever take on my trips rarely make it to the cut. Usually, it’s a test shot of my bag, or of people hanging around the airport’s boarding gates. Or, more often than not, of giddy travel companions who simply can’t wait to land before taking the first shot. Continue reading “That First Photo”
There’s hardly anything sweeter in life, than finding more than a few kindred loonies to enjoy it with. This first trip to mainland China is definitely one for the books; if you want in on all our equally-loony adventures, check out my posts over here. For now, play the vid and get ready to say, “Ni Hao!”. Continue reading Adventures in Mandarin: The Vid
The Good: Finally indulging our itch to shop after being in China for several days already. Shortly after we arrive from Xian, Phoebe and I freshen up and dart for Qianmen Shopping Street, south of Tiananmen Square.
Peaceniks, flares, and boogie ruled the 70’s, but for the men in idyllic Xian, it was just another quiet day. It was the type of day when you joshed with your buddies in the farm, trying to overlook the arduous task of digging up a communal well. It was all good old fun — well, until someone discovered a head. Continue reading “The Terracotta Warriors: A Battle Royale”
First, let me get this off my chest — we sold out! We rode the cable car to get up the wall, instead of that dramatic hike that we originally planned. But just because passed on the chance to go ala-Dora doesn’t mean that it was any less of an adventure.
The Road to Jinshanling
I lost track of when the day ended and when another began. I nodded off to sleep at 2 am, only to wake up at 5:30 to make sure that Jan and Alex made it all the way from the airport to our meeting point safely. Fates be praised, they did and after a few bouts of groggy discussion, we agreed to slightly change our plans. In place of far-off Jinshanling, we were heading to the Mutianyu area of the Great Wall instead, given that we had less time than we thought. Adjustments were made, and after a while we were boarding long-distance Bus 980 at the Dongzhimen terminal. Continue reading “When Great Means Epic”
If there’s one thing that the guidebooks don’t stress enough about the Summer Palace, it’s the fact that the Summer Palace is huge. No, I mean REALLY huge. Hail to mind what you think is huge, then double that. Then add in a man-made lake in the middle. Yes, it’s that massive.
I’m more hippie-chick than socialite, but if being a member of the Imperial Family meant having a playground that was as breathtaking and serene as this, then sign me up! I can totally imagine myself as that low-profile royal cousin, who does nothing but meander in the summer recluse given whatever season. Let my power-hungry relatives rule the Forbidden City; methinks I’ll stick with my writing and kite-flying near KunMing lake. Continue reading “The Summer Palace: Why It’s Good to be Royalty”
China — the land of It-Can-Be-Done. Think Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, the capital’s makeover for the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
We tried our own great feat as well: a city-wide scramble to pack temple-hopping, panda-spotting, bargain-hunting, palace-promenading and kung-fu fighting — ALL IN ONE DAY. We couldn’t afford to waste any time, and we were mad to comb through the ever-spry Beijing. One thing that we had going for us though was that it only took 2 RMB (0.3 USD!) to go to anywhere by subway in the capital. Yup, the Beijing IC transit smart card (or ‘Yikatong’, as they call it) will be your new BFF when in the city. Continue reading “The Beijing Express”
Just when I thought I was getting savvy with flinging myself off to new, strange places, China happened.
This trip was supposed to be a solo jaunt, but I don’t think it would have been quite the same experience if seven of my pals didn’t sign up for an adventure in the Orient as well. There were more than enough bloopers and good times to go around, after all! Continue reading “Lessons in Mandarin”