Archive for April, 2011

I Went to Boracay and All I Got Was this Lousy Hitler Tattoo

Posted in Asian Winter Odyssey - Bonus Leg, Travel Asia with tags , , , , , on April 28, 2011 by Yarn Over New York





A Unique Perspective

Posted in Asian Winter Odyssey - Bonus Leg, Travel Asia with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2011 by Yarn Over New York

A man prepares his durian for display

My short stay in Pontianak, Indonesia not only marked the end of my stay on Borneo, it also marked two “milestones” in my travels.  Firstly, I visited the Equator Monument (more about that here).

A foot in each hemisphere and just a tiny shadow, just afternoon

Secondly, I believe this was my first destination without any other westerners.  My pale face and caucasian physique made me feel like somewhat of a celebrity.  If I had 1 rupiah for each cry of “Hello, Miss!” (or Mrs! or the occasional misguided Mr!) I wold have left Indonesia a wealthy lady.  (1000 rupiah = 12 cents)

I spent most of my time walking around the city to see all the nooks and crannies of city life.  I saw several roadside stalls selling ornate silver roof ornaments, the National Mosque, the replica Dayak longhouse, lots of traffic, lots of garbage and lots of people burning their garbage.

My presence was such a novelty to many of the locals.  Cars, trucks and motos beeped and passengers waved at me continuously.  A group of schoolgirls followed me to the mosque just to take their photos with me.  Men at the airport marveled over my pointy nose.  Countless shopkeepers, passers-by and drivers shouted, honked, waved and whistled, “Where you from?”  Most people approached me out of curiosity rather than with the motive to entice me into their shops or taxis.  Which was refreshing.

National Mosque

Replica Longhouse


It was all very different than the rest of my Borneo trip.  I am glad I came, however, I don’t necessarily recommend it to other travelers.  The Malaysian parts of Borneo have much more nature to see, better cities and much better infrastructure. And most importantly, more monkeys.

See more photos here.

My Apartment in Macau

Posted in Life in Macau, Painting with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2011 by Yarn Over New York

When I moved from Belgium to Macau about a year ago, I found an awesome little 2-bedroom apartment in the historic area of Taipa.  The apartment fit all of my requirements: I could walk to work, it was not in a high-rise, I could easily walk to stores, restaurants and bars, and most of all it was in a neighborhood with some personality.

The area where I live is the oldest populated part of Taipa (called Old Taipa Village), whereas the rest of the island was pretty much a jungle until about 10 years ago.)  In recent years, the trees have been cleared out of the majority of Taipa and many many new high-rise apartment buildings have been added.  Though I enjoy the conveniences this kind of development creates (groceries stores, home supply stores, bars and restaurants), I wanted to live in a location with more of a history and a more unique feeling.

A view of the rest of Taipa

(Chicken coop high-rise = bad)

As you can see from the photos below, I have large windows with a view of trees!  It feels like I live in the woods ever though I am in the middle of the city.

Here is a before photo

The apartment is fully furnished (YAY!) with really ugly non-color-coordinating cheap furniture (BOO!), so I decided to cover EVERYTHING with orange fabric.  It is much better this way, don’t you think?

And here is the finished product

I also decided to paint the walls in my bedroom and the main living/dining area.  The kitchen and bathroom are both tiled, so no need to paint in there.  I had left the second bedroom alone with plans to tackle it in the future.  Now my roommate Nia has painted it for herself.

I went with an orange called “Carotine,” a dark green called “Kelly Green” and a light green called “Celery Stalk” for the living room.

For the bedroom, I chose a yellow called “Ripe Banana” and a pink called “Strawberry Crush.”  It’s like a smoothie in there!

I went to several home goods stores looking for various colorful (but mostly orange) accessories for the apartment.

My Guardian Lion

I set up a nice relaxing area on my bedroom windowseat.  It is a perfect little reading corner.

I covered the wardrobes with my photos.

My water cooler.

See more photos of my Macau apartment here.

You Could Lose an Eye Doing That- Chinese New Year part 2

Posted in Life in Macau with tags , , , , , , , on April 17, 2011 by Yarn Over New York

I grew up in the USA.  My experience with fireworks up until now was watching them being shot off from a barge over a large body of water.  I had played with sparklers and knew people who had occasionally purchased small fireworks in one of the few states where they are legally sold.  None of that prepared me for the awesome and frightening spectacle that is fireworks in Macau for Chinese New Year.

Fireworks are legal here.  Totally legal.  Okay, there is a small amount of regulation and designated areas for selling and firing but that’s it.

Follow arrow for fun!

Conveniently located just off the main road

Fun for all ages!

Rock n Roll

I had a wonderful time visiting the fireworks area twice and watching from the roof of Ro’s building.  The Macau fireworks are loud, proud and above all SAFE!

(Watch for the fireman at the end)

Really smart

See more photos of Chinese New Year in Macau here.

Visit part one of my CNY blog here.

My Delhi Souvenir – A Survey of World Mecidine

Posted in Asian Winter Odyssey 2010-11, funny, Travel Asia with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2011 by Yarn Over New York

New Delhi, India- 26 November 2010 

Bright and early on 26 November, I awoke for my first full day in Delhi.  On my way to get breakfast, I got bitten by a dog on the street. The bite itself was not too bad. One cut about 2cm long and a few smaller scrapes and bruises.

However, this is India and India is not quite the cleanest place or known for having particularly clean street animals. Therefore, I spent my morning at the hospital. Which itself was not particularly clean. In fact when I asked for some soap to wash the wound, this was a bit puzzling to the doctor and nurses.

Luckily, the hospital has its own dog bite ward and all 4 of the shots I had to get came from pre-wrapped needles that I watched them dispose of after using them on me. Oddly enough the shots hurt more than the dog bite and were in the following parts of my body: forearm, wound site (calf), upper arm and (of course) my behind.

I have to go back in 3 days and get another round of shots. And then must find places throughout my remaining travels to get more shots once a week until Christmas. Most excellent.

The part that makes me most mad (more mad than having to sit on the floor waiting in line while bleeding even) is that I am pretty sure it was part of a scam. (not the hospital but the bite)

I was walking along minding my own business when a dog ran up and bit my calf. When I screamed and then stopped to examine my wound, a man came up to me offering to help. Magically I was right in front of a little pharmacy stall. He said he was a doctor and offered to give me rabies shots right then and there. Of course, I refused and went to a hospital because even if it wasn’t a scam, I am not getting shots from a pharmacy on wheels.

Maybe I’m jaded and have lost my faith in humanity that I would assume this is a scam. But it just seems too perfect that a dog would randomly run up to me and bite me just enough to break the skin but not actually cause major injury and that less than 3 feet away is a “doctor” ready to sell me rabies shots on the street.

Anyway, day one of site-seeing in Delhi ruined. And I didn’t even get my morning cup of coffee until the whole debacle was over at 3:00!

A Retrospective

As I continued my travels and rabies treatments, I ended up at a variety of hospitals.

Delhi, India- special ward just for rabies shots. Did not triage or clean my wound only gave me shots. No computers.  When I asked for soap to clean my wound, this was met with confusion  Wait time about 4 to 5 hours. Crowded dirty lobby no seating. Very sick people laying on the floor. Cost Free.

Krabi, Thailand- general ER/Out Patient ward. Nice helpful staff. Chairs. Paperwork computerized. Waiting room is open air (luckily its quite warm) took my temp, weight and bp. Almost gave me the wrong meds until the nurse noticed and made me go back to get the right meds.  Wait time 3 hours. Cost 17 dollars.

Taipei, Taiwan- General Out Patient ward. Clean efficient. Take a number and wait for it to be called. Easy. Took my vitals, discussed my previous and ongoing treatment  examined the wound site (first place to do so) asked about my medical history. Put a bandage on the injection site.   Wait time 1 hour. Cost 75 dollars.

Columbia, USA (Christmas Eve!)- ER at the hospital where my mother works.  Clean.  Lengthy wait, paperwork intensive.  Could not pay by cash or credit card onsite, needed to wait several weeks for the bill to be mailed.  I did get a private room and my mom waited with me.  Wait time 2.5 hours.  Cost 400 dollars.

All told, this has been a true learning experience. I wish I could have taken photos in all these places.

My advice- don’t get bitten by a dog, but if you do, go to Taiwan for treatment!

You’re Messin’ with My Zen Thing

Posted in Asian Winter Odyssey - Bonus Leg, funny, Travel Asia with tags , , , , , , on April 17, 2011 by Yarn Over New York

Sometimes travel can wear you down, make you crazy, get your panties in a bundle.  Flying is a hassle, everything surrounding the mere act of sitting on a plane while it flies through the air is a hassle. And usually the coffee is crap.

Earlier this week, I flew from Pontianak, Indonesia to Hong Kong via Jakarta.  My flight was scheduled for 6am, so I took a taxi to the airport and arrived a mere 1.5 hours before my scheduled departure time.  The airport was closed. Doors locked, lights off – closed.  A nice security guard informed me that the airport would open at 6am.  So I sat outside and waited as more passengers arrived.  I drew a crowd of onlookers (being the pale face tattooed chick I am.) (At least I got some knitting done.)

Sure enough the flight was delayed, they forgot my vegetarian meal and I came up 15000 rupiah short for my airport tax.  (15000 rupiah = $1.75)  Etc, etc.

All of these factors combined to make me one grumpy traveler until I remembered the joy of international air travel – free in-flight booze.  I figure with a stick of celery, a Bloody Mary is practically a meal anyway.  (A vegetarian meal.)  So I had 3 . . .

Stuck in the Middle with You

Posted in Asian Winter Odyssey - Bonus Leg, Travel Asia with tags , , , , , , on April 11, 2011 by Yarn Over New York

Standing on the equator with the world’s ugliest monument behind me.


Funny thing is the monument is actually about 75 meters away from the actual equator…