Archive for travel asia

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.


See more street signs 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.

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


Paris, France



Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei


Hangzhou, China


Larnaka, Cyprus

Amsterdam, Netherlands


Kathmandu, Nepal

Rocks and Fire in Thailand

Posted in Asian Winter Odyssey 2010-11, Travel Asia with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

As part of my Asian Winter Odyssey in 2010 and 2011, I went to Thailand with my then-boyfriend Rowan and our friends Timmy and Jo.  I had been traveling with my co-worker Kevin and his boyfriend Matt, and after India they headed back to Macau and I connected with Rowan and company in Hong Kong.  Our Thailand adventure was mainly spent in Ton Sai (amazing) which was bookended by a day in Ao Nang (due to boat schedule), which in turn was bookended by a day in Bangkok (due to flight schedule).  Hey, at least it was symmetrical.  🙂

Ton Sai 3 thru 6 December

I’m skipping our first stint in Bangkok because I got a migraine and spent most of the time asleep and also skipping our first stint in Ao Nang because I spent most of that time in Krabi hospital (due to the rabies incident).

When we boarded our little boat from the beach of Ao Nang to the beach of Ton Sai, the awesomeness of our trip truly began.

Wikitravel labels Ton Sai as “rough around the edges,” which, honestly is perfect for our group.  It is quite jungly (with MONKEYS) and much less built up than neighboring Rai Leh.

Wikitravel also says that Ton Sai is more of a “doing” destination than a “seeing” destination.  And this is quite true.  Even the things “to see” involve quite an amount of “doing” to get there.

Day One

Our first day, we walked across the beach in low tide to visit Rai Leh beach (less rocky).  I was very excited to try out my new waterproof camera.


As you can see, the photo is less than impressive.  Bummer.  Shortly after this photo, the camera stopped working.  Double bummer.  Waterproof? I guess not.

That night we tried out slack-wire walking (think tight-wire, but not, you know, tight) and fire twirling.

Jo does pretty well

Ro does OK.

But how does the cat do?

Oooooh fire… (luckily my “waterproof” camera was not my only camera)

I took many many more fire twirling photos but for the sake of browser loading time, I will move on.

Day Two

The next day we took a boat trip to Phra Nang Beach and also did a rather adventurous hike to the lagoon.

You can see the Phra Nang Princess in the rock (She’s ORANGE)

We geared ourselves up for our pending climbs by watching this guy.

Fisherman plant these phalluses as a shrine for Phra Nang.

After lunch, we trekked to the lagoon.

The trail was clearly marked as dangerous and slippery.

That small sign did little to prepare us for the sheer difficulty of the hike.  The trail was quite muddy and slippery and some of it was essentially vertical and required climbing up or down ropes that have been strategically placed along more challenging areas.  I spent a good bit of the trail scooting up and down on my bum or crawling on all fours.  It was a robust workout.

A view of Rai Leh from the trail to the lagoon.

I have no pictures of the lagoon, unfortunately.  I was way too covered in mud to attempt to touch my camera.  However, the lagoon was pretty much a gigantic swamp of mud due to low rainfall.  We tromped around in the knee high mud for a while and then clambered our way through the trail back to our bungalow.

Day Three

The next day we played monkey and went climbing.

Up up I go!

All the way to the top!

So strong!

Soon it was time to say good-bye to Ton Sai and return to Ao Nang then Bangkok then on to a new adventure.

Good-bye Thailand, it’s been swell.

See more photos of our trip to Thailand here.


Let’s Pretend I Didn’t Go to Delhi…

Posted in Asian Winter Odyssey 2010-11, Travel Asia with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

In late November 2010, my Asian Winter Odyssey continued as my friends Kevin and Matt and I boarded a plane from Kathmandu to Delhi.

Our time in India was split between Delhi and Agra.  I won’t write much about Delhi in this blog entry because most of my time was taken up by spending 2 days in the hospital dealing with my dog bite.  Read all about the dog bite here.

Delhi 25, 26 and 29 November

Delhi wasn’t all bad, I did have a bit of time outside the hospital.  I chose to spend that time away from the crowded touristy areas.  I wandered around more residential areas of the city.  I was inspired by the bright colors of the clothing, flowers and buildings.  Here are some photo highlights.

Agra 27 November

Agra was awesome!  Yes, it was touristy.  Yes, it was crowded.  Yes, it was dirty.  But I still had a lovely time. We visited the Agra Fort, the Mosque and Palace at Fatephur Sikri and, of course, the Taj Mahal.  We also met a couple of British guys that were traveling around the world on bicycles!

Our first stop Agra Fort

Luckily, the fort was not very crowded, which made for a perfect morning of wandering around solo and chasing the multitudes of monkeys.

Hang in there, Buddy

Not a monkey

Cool doors

A view of the Taj Mahal from Agra Fort

After spending a couple hours at Agra Fort, we joined the throngs of tourists at the Taj Mahal.

A quick history

Despite being super-crowded, the Taj Mahal experience was really fantastic.  Given the steep entry price, the area was amazingly free of the hordes of hawkers, peddlers and begging children that can be pervasive in other areas.  Thousands and thousands of tourists all crowded in to the get perfect photo of the gorgeous marble building which magically changes color with the passage of the sun.

Taj Mahal says, “My future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.”

A view back at the gate

Insane inlay details

Taj Mahal sunset

My “perfect” shot

While at the Taj Mahal, we ran into a couple of fellow travelers from our hostel.  Charlie was in the middle of a four-year world tour on bicycle.  His friend James had joined him for part of the journey, and the two were traveling from Delhi to Kathmandu.

Kevin and Matt wanted to have an upscale dinner at one of the 5 star hotels.  Wanting a more cost-effective evening, the two British bikers and I headed to the roof bar at our hostel to enjoy the remains of the setting sun and cheap beer and eats.

After a few beers, we came up with the brilliant idea to shave my head.  I hadn’t washed my hair very well in quite some time due to the rarity of running water in the past few weeks of my travels.  As we moved farther south, the weather had grown hotter and the dirt and pollution had grown thicker.  This resulted in my hair staying in a ponytail- without the aid of a rubber band.

We set out to find a barber shop and shortly found one and then began to draw a crowd as the barber began to shave my head.  Charlie convinced him to leave me a little Hari Krishna style tuft–much to my chagrin.  When I tried to make the barber shave it off, he unplugged his clippers and declared them “broken.”

Check out the crowd in the mirror!

Read about Charlie’s amazing adventures here.  He’s amazing.

Fatephur Sikri 28 November

The next morning, I awoke liberated from my former mega-dread and now sporting a comical mini-tuft.  Kevin, Matt and I headed to the nearby town of Fatephur Sikri to visit the ancient palace and mosque.

A local parrot

These guys really wanted me to take their picture

All in all, my trip to India was an adventure.  I am lucky that the dog bite was merely an inconvenience and not a major injury.  I met some awesome people and saw amazing sites.  Unfortunately I couldn’t get a good picture of how crowded the roads were.  The images will be burned onto my brain forever: people walking, scooters, cars, trucks, horses, camels (really really tall camels), trucks, cows, families of 5 on motorcycles, you name it.

See more photos of India here.

The end

Travel Theme: Gaudy- Lunar New Year Edition

Posted in Life in Macau, Life in Singapore, Travel Asia with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Here is a collection of my favorite Chinese New Year decorations from around Asia.  Lots of gold, lots of shiny.  This post is my contribution to Where’s My Backpack’s Weekly Travel Theme.

2011- Year of the Rabbit

Luminous child holding a branch dripping with money at Senado Square in Macau

A Chinese Opera New Year Pink Luminous Bunny in Macau

Fake blossoms and lots of lanterns in Macau

2012- Year of the Dragon

Shopping in Singapore

A Luminous Dragon at Resorts World Sentosa

Golden Dragon at Suntec City Mall

2013- Year of the Snake

Lion Puppet with Firecracker Tongue at the Ang Mo Kio Market in Singapore

Nothing Says Happy New Year Like a Sparkly Multicolor Flower Tree Light


Read more about my first Chinese New Year experience here and here.