Archive for china

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.

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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.

Weekly Travel Theme- Ripples

Posted in Travel Asia, Travel Europe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

Here you go! Another installment of Weekly Travel Theme (as inspired by Where’s My Backpack)– Ripples.

A ripply self-portrait at the Dali exhibit at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore

Ripples of fire in Boracay, Philippines

Undulating Rice Paddies at Long Shi, China

Artistic metal ripples- The Sibelius Monument by Eila Hiltunen in Helsinki, Finland

Architectural Ripples at the University Library in Zurich, Switzerland

Peacock ripples at Lazienski Park in Warsaw, Poland

Sara ponders the glassy waves in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Thus completes my non-water collection of ripples.

See my other contributions to Weekly Travel Themes here.

Weekly Travel Theme: Light

Posted in Life in Singapore, new york, Travel Asia, Travel Europe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

Another version of Where’s My Backpack‘s Weekly Travel ThemesLIGHT.  I could not resist such an awesome theme.

Boston, USA

NYC, USA

Paris, France

NYC, USA

Macau

Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Macau

Hangzhou, China

Singapore

Larnaka, Cyprus

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Singapore

Kathmandu, Nepal

Weekly Travel Themes: Benches

Posted in Life in Singapore, new york, Travel Asia, Travel Europe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

I have to say thank you to my friend Luc, who prompted me to write a new blog post.  It’s been ages and I have no good excuse other than laziness.  So merci, Luc!  No more laziness for me!

Anyway, I’ll offer another segment of Weekly Travel Theme and this week it’s Benches. I am particularly inspired by this theme because my favorite way to see a new city is to walk.  I often set off with no direction and just wander and watch.  Benches provide a wonderful resting point during my travels.  I’ve sat upon some beautiful benches in beautiful spots.

Get on the bench. The banana bench. Prague, Czech Republic.

Even Rubber Ducky needs a rest in Dublin, Ireland.

A very welcoming bench in the port of Kusadasi, Turkey.

Aya and Sita save a spot for me at Lou Lim Ieoc Park in Macau.

This bench tells it like it is in Naples, Italy.

Dragon bench in Bruges, Belgium.

Don’t mind if I do in Singapore. (I think this is the ONLY graffitied bench in all of Singapore)

Dali’s lip bench in Berlin, Germany.

Comfortable? In Hangzhou, China.

A Gaudi-esque mosaic bench at Grant’s Tomb in NYC.

The real deal in Barcelona, Spain.

and lastly…

Not exactly a bench…but freaking cool. Marshall poses with “Blue Guy Sitting”*

* part of “The Art of the Brick” exhibit by Nathan Sawaya at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore.

Travel theme: Multiples

Posted in Travel Asia, Travel Europe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

Another contribution to Where’s My Backpack’s Weekly Travel Themes, Multiples.

Multiple scorpions, bugs and unidentified creatures on sticks ready for deep frying in Hangzhou, China

Many mini Buddhas in Tokyo, Japan

Origami cranes at the Killing Fields in Cambodia

Young coconuts in Boracay, Philippines (yummy)

Several prayer wheels at the Sakya Monastery in Tibet

Candles at the Duomo of Milano, Italy

Larger than life lily pads in Uppsala, Sweden

One of the best April Fool’s Day pranks ever. My office covered in little yellow rubber duckies. (Lint, Belgium)

Multiple Marshmallows for rehearsal at Blue Man Group at Astor Place, NYC

In Amsterdam…can’t entirely say how many goldfish there actually were…

Multiples at the Playa at Burning Man 2007

Oranges in NYC

Travel Theme: Transportation

Posted in Travel Asia, Travel Europe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2012 by Yarn Over New York

Recently, I found the blog “Where’s my Backpack.”  I instantly fell in love with the site’s Weekly Travel Themes. The author posts photos from her travels highlighting a particular theme and invites other bloggers to do so as well.

This week’s theme is Transportation.  And here is my contribution.

In 2010, I took a train ride from Xi Ning, China to Lhasa, Tibet with my co-worker Kevin and his boyfriend Matt.  This photo shows them enjoying the view of the amazing mountains during our 25-hour trip.

In order to get to the top of the hill and visit Changdrok Temple, visitors have the option of walking the steep rocky path or riding a pony.  I chose the pony.

This is not necessarily a fantastic photo, nor do I particularly like cruises.  My mom, however, does and she invited me to join her and my dad on a Mediterranean cruise in 2009 and we had a brilliant trip across the seas and visited Italy, Greece and Turkey.

A few years back, while living in Belgium, a group of Dragone employees visited Planckendael Zoo accompanied by our trusty TV camera crew.  Shown in the picture above: Andy, Lidia and I transport ourselves across a stream using a boat and a rope.  Out of frame is the camera crew capturing this moment for product placement on our TV Show “From Lint to Macau.”

While traveling in Siem Reap, Cambodia with my friend Lea, we had a very adventurous day trying to get to the temples at Angkor Wat.  The traditional (tourist) method for transport in Siem Reap is to hire a tuk-tuk driver for the duration of your stay and the driver will take you to the nearby temples and water villages.  All had been going well until one day…  Our tuk-tuk broke down on the side of the road – TWICE.   The photo above shows the roadside repair process.

There are many modes of transportation I have used in my travels.  My favorite would have to be…

FLYING!!!