Home for the Holidays

Posted in Asian Winter Odyssey 2010-11, Travel North America with tags , , , , , , , on June 6, 2014 by Yarn Over New York

December 2010- The last time I was home for Christmas.  At the time, I was living in Macau and in the midst of a mandatory 55 day waiting period before re-entering on a new visa.  Therefore, I was traveling for 2 glorious months.  I spent a few days home for the holidays with friends and family.  I saw a bunch of high school friends and shocked my family with my blue hair.

Mandatory “kids” tree photo

The Monstrosity (NOT my house)

My cousin is SO tall

My most memorable moment was definitely my final rabies treatment.

 

See more photos here (including visits with friends).

Street Signs of Taipa

Posted in funny, Travel Asia with tags , , , , , , , on October 21, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

While visiting Macau with my boyfriend, Jason, we played a game of translating the street signs.  As Macau has two official languages, Portuguese and Cantonese, all the street names are displayed in both languages.  I was curious to see how many of the names actually match up when translated.  Here are a few interesting discoveries (Cantonese translated by Jason, Portuguese translated by me).

Direct Translations

Many of the street names are actually the same when translated.

Middle Street

Black Bridge Street

(Although, as far as I can tell, there’s no bridge on the street, black or otherwise)

Ant Alley

Names of Places or People

Some of the streets are name after famous Portuguese places and people; some are named for famous places or people in China.  Most of the time, these names are written to sound the same in the other language.

Cheok Family Village (Ka means family in Cantonese)- named for a local family clan

Cunha Street

Cunha (pronounced coon-ya) is a common Portuguese surname.  The Cantonese name of this street is pronounced goon-ya gai.  It’s clear that the naming authorities used chinese characters to create a name as close as possible to Cunha.  (The Cantonese word “gai” means street and “rua” means street in Portuguese.)

Foshan Street

Foshan is a city in the Guangdong province of China (closest province to Macau).  The literal translation of the Chinese characters is “Buddha Mountain.” I guess when the Portuguese tried to write this name “Fat San” was the closest they could get.

Somewhat Similar but Not Exactly

A few of the translations we came across proved interesting.

Merchant Street

Mercador is merchant in Portguese but the Cantonese translation is where things get fun.  The first character is “mai” (pronounced with rising tone) which means “buying” and the second “mai” (pronounced with a falling tone) means “selling.”  So the meaning is essentially the same, but it’s not quite a direct translation.

Garden Walk

“Horta” means “garden” and “caminho” means “walk” in Portuguese.  We gain a little bit more information when reading the Chinese, as the first 2 characters translate to “vegetable garden.”

Street of the Well Married

Perhaps one of my favorite street names.  Like Merchant Street, the overall meaning is the same, but when taken individually, the Chinese characters tell a great story.  “Lin lei” refers to two trees that grow closely with one another and their branches become entwined.  This image is often used to symbolize to the love between a husband and wife as they grow old together.

Totally Different 

Some of the most fun we had while translating was the find the street names that have little or no connection to their counterparts.

???

The first sign in this photo is “Sport Street” in Portuguese and “Body Sport Street” in Chinese, no big difference there. However, the sign on the right is another story all together.  The Cantonese name “dei bo” means “bunker” but the Portuguese word “regedor” means “alderman.”

Well, both languages agree that it’s bird…

In Portuguese “gaivota” is a seagull and in Cantonese “shui ap” is a mallard.  So, both are birds and both live near water, but they are definitely not the same bird.

Is she a sinner or a saint?

This street name is my hands-down favorite.  The Portuguese translation is “Witches’ Lane,” which I love because: A- witches are cool and B- where else would you find a street named “Witches’ Lane”?  The Cantonese translation “sin loi gong” means “Saint Lady Lane.”  So which (witch?) kind of lady is she?

One Last Funny 

There are many many more street names out there, obviously.  I didn’t even cross over the Macau or Coloane, so perhaps more exploration is in order.   I will leave you with another favorite of mine.

Good View Alley

The translation isn’t the interesting aspect of this alley.  Both Portuguese and Cantonese translate to “good view alley.”  It’s also not a unique name, variations can be found all over the world.  Buena Vista and Buona Vista are common names for streets and towns, usually named for their scenic outlooks.

However

See more street signs here.

Good-bye Old Friend

Posted in funny, Life in Singapore with tags , , , , , , , on September 7, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

It was love at first sight.  I was on the escalator in Plaza Singapura and, out of the corner of my eye, I saw shiny blobs of molten wax taunting me with their awesomeness.  All my life I dreamed of owning a lava lamp. I quickly made  my way back up one flight of stairs to the shop and requested an orange lava lamp.  The only orange one left was the display model.  I didn’t care, I wanted it so badly.  It had to be mine.

Please enjoy both the visual amazingness and the truly awesome audio in the background.

For over a year, we lived together happily.  Every night I would bask in the warm amber glow and enjoy the beautiful shapes it made for me.  We had good times.

It helped me host my 33 birthday party. (You can see it in the reflection next to the blue lamp)

It helped me host my house-warming party when I moved last year. See how it makes the food table so inviting.

We also had some not-so-good times.

There was the time its coil got stuck out of place. It was scary, luckily all was well in the end.

Then things started to get rough.  The light bulbs would spontaneously burn out.  Often.

The lamp told me what it needed.

I provided.

Still, things weren’t right.  Often the bulb would blow after just one use.  I tried different plugs.  I tried using a dimmer.  I did research online.  Soon, it stopped working entirely.  I took it apart and tried to fix the wiring.

Nothing worked.  My lava lamp died.  The end.

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I will miss you.

Empire State of Mind

Posted in Asian Winter Odyssey 2010-11, Travel North America with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

The flight was very long

In mid-December 2010, it was time for me to take a three-week trip back to the USA for the holidays.  My first stop was good ol’ NYC to see my friends and enjoy the city’s unique energy.

Having never traveled half-way across the planet all in one go before, I was not prepared for the staggering jet-lag.  On my first night, my former roommate Nicole invited a friend over for a dinner party.  I remember sitting on the couch and chatting while Nicole cooked and then the next thing I remember is waking up on the couch- still seated in the exact same position at 2am.  Apparently, I simply passed out mid-conversation and missed the entire dinner.  I guess I’m lucky they didn’t put my hand in warm water or cover my face in shaving cream!

Good morning sofa!

After shaving my head in a hari krishna hair style in India, I needed to embrace the craziness.  So I bought some hair dye and headed over to Queens to see my friend Keiko.  She helped me dye my tuft bright blue.

She even gave me matching earrings!

My trip was so quick, luckily I had a chance to see a bunch of friends and also catch some beautiful sites in the city.

Lincoln Center

Dali exhibit at Time Warner Building

Pretty sky downtown

Flying cows (part of the Flying Animals installation by Caitlin Hurd)

Grace Church at night

And I’ll leave you with a quote that is not technically from a fortune cookie but should be.

See more photos of NYC here.

Read more about my travels here.

Hong Kong’s Big Buddha

Posted in Asian Winter Odyssey 2010-11, Travel Asia with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

During my Asian Winter Odyssey of 2010-2011, I made several short stopovers in Hong Kong.  It was a convenient location to rest for a day or two between trips and also to meet up with friends from Macau.  One on of these stopovers, my friends and I went to Lantau Island to see Hong Kong’s Tian Tan Buddha (Heaven Buddha) and Po Lin Monastery.

Big Buddha

To travel to the Buddha from Central, you need to take a ferry to Lantau Island and then a bus to the site.  All in all it takes about an hour and a half.

As you may or may not know, Hong Kong is a fairly polluted city.  The air quality and visibility are usually pretty crappy.  Our visit happened on an average day, so the photos seems a bit yucky, but at least you can actually see the Buddha and surrounding hills.

Before heading back to Central, we had a tasty vegetarian lunch at the Po Lin Monastery.

Me and Marshall in front of the monastery

I fully recommend taking a trip to the Big Buddha if you visit Hong Kong.  It’s a peaceful location and there are several hiking trails nearby.

 

See more photos of Hong Kong here.

The One Where They Tried to Scam Me

Posted in Asian Winter Odyssey 2010-11, Travel Asia with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

In December of 2010, I made a very quick (and very rainy) trip to Shanghai.

Oriental Pearl Tower in the Mist

Wikipedia says, “Shanghai is the largest city by population in the People’s Republic of China and the largest city proper by population in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities of the PRC, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010. It is a global city, with influence in commerce, culture, finance, media, fashion, technology, and transport. It is a major financial center and the busiest container port in the world.”  That being said, I didn’t find it too crowded or uncomfortable.  Maybe that’s because the weather was yucky the whole time and people were hiding indoors.

A very empty People’s Square

To tell the story of my trip, I’m going to go out of chronological order and tell the story of my near-scam first.  After that I’ll share the nicer highlights of Shanghai.

One of the most popular things to do in Shanghai is to walk along the Bund and view the skyline at Pudong.  Despite the rain, I trudged through the business district from my hostel to the Huangpu river to catch a gray and misty view of Shanghai’s famous skyscraper skyline.

At the hostel, there had been warnings posted on the bulletin board.  Handwritten notes said, “If someone offers to take you to a tea house- SAY NO- It’s scam.”  This piqued my curiosity but didn’t over concern me, so I set off towards the Bund.

On the way, I saw this AWESOME Chinglish sign.

While looking at the limited view of the buildings, a group of three Chinese tourists approached me and asked me to take their picture.  I obliged, of course, and then one of the girls started asking me a bunch of questions.  “Where do I come from?” “How long do I stay in Shanghai?” “Do I like China?” etc.  I barely had time to answer a question before she was asking another.  She said they were students from Xian and studying English.  After a few minutes of intense questioning, she asked me to go to a teahouse.  I said no that I don’t drink tea and hightailed it out of there.

Initially, I was shocked and appalled!  First, I hate being seen as a target. I’m a traveler, a woman of the world! I’m supposed to be better than that.  However, I am whitey-white-white-white and I guess that can mean “easy mark” to some people.

And then I was pissed, I should have done something.  I should have stalked them and prevented them from talking to anyone else.  I should have yelled and caused a scene.  I should have done something more than just walk away and let me move on to someone more gullible.

Later back at the hostel I googled (well, yahoo searched because google is banned) the “Shanghai Tea House Scam” to see what the deal is.  Basically, if I had gone with them to the tea house, I would have been served some decent tea at super-inflated prices and been expected to pay for their tea as well.  Other tourists have ended up with bills of $200 to $500 USD when clearly no tea should cost that much.

Luckily I dodged the scam.  I don’t even like tea anyway.

What a view, eh?

My trip to Shanghai wasn’t all the bad.  I had a nice drink at the original Blue Frog bar (only important because the Macau branch was a popular hangout when I lived there).

Armed with my trusty umbrella, I also saw a lot of the city on foot.

A welcoming shrubbery

Trash collection bikes

No visit to Shanghai would be complete without the obligatory stop at the Shanghai Museum.  It’s huge, it’s free and it’s filled with all manors of cool Chinese art (bronze, ceramic, stamps, jade, etc).   It can be a challenge to take it in at your own pace because the Chinese tourists stop and take a photo of every single object.  I’m sure they thought I was crazy because I only took pictures of the pieces of genuinely liked.

The Shanghai Museum- even the building is art.  It’s shaped like a ding (bronze vessel).

A favorite ding from inside the museum. Too bad the building doesn’t look like this one…

Some other highlights.

See more photos from the Shanghai Museum and the rest of Shanghai here.

Read more about my other Asian Winter Odyssey travels here.

Henry’s Octopus Cousin Amigurumi

Posted in Arts and Crafts, Crochet and Knit with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

A few month’s back, I published a free crochet pattern called Henry the Hexapus (must scroll down aft following link).  Since then I’ve made several improvements on the design and created Henry’s Cousin- an Octopus Amigurumi.

The pattern is available (for FREE) at my ravelry store.  Please enjoy.

The pattern is written in US crochet terminology and is fully customizable to any size, any yarn and any numbers of legs you want your creature to have.

A 6-legged hexapus version

A view from the bottom side- a convenient hole

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