Wednesday, February 28, 2007

2007 New Year Shang Hai Trip

For the whole February, I think I spent half of the month overseas. 4 days after I came back from Cavite, I flew off to KL to meet my family and flew to China – Shang Hai to spend our Chinese New Year this year.

This is the first time my whole family went for a trip together so all of us were kinda excited. The tour agency told us that the weather in Shang Hai will be cold and we’re fully prepared with all our winter clothing, gloves, scarves, socks and everything that can keep ourselves warm.

It was 8 days 6 nights trip (2 nights on the flight) and I really enjoyed it. I have always been fascinated by China histories, and when I went to the real place, the feeling was just indescribable and I was just amazed and enjoyed the stories told by all the China tour guides when we visited each place. Believe it or not, I actually bought a notebook to write down the stories when we went to all the places as I really wish to remember all of them.

Of course we did not spend our full 8 days in Shang Hai itself. We also went to other places around Shang Hai, i.e. 苏州 (Su Zhou), 无锡 (Wu Xi), 南京 (Nan Jing), 杭州 (Hang Zhou). The places are full of people and the mood for Chinese New Year was just great. You can see lanterns everywhere, and fireworks almost every night. Besides, it’s winter (3 degrees to 10 degrees) and it’s really a total different experience for my whole family. Besides, our mandarin improves tremendously after the trip as the local tour guide used the most correct mandarin while explaining. My family had a real tough time understanding their mandarin as all the 8 words, 16 words, or even 32 words idioms / poems came out in almost all their sentences! LOL....

I can't tell you all the details of my trip. It'll take few days. So, enough crap. Picture time.

Our flight was at 2am on 15th Feb. The flight took 5 hours and we reached China Pudong Airport at around 7am+. And straight away we started our visitings.

Clockwise from top left: View from the flight at 5+am, @ airport waiting for our tour bus, my parents in Pudong Airport, a glimpse of Shang Hai traffic

Clockwise from top left: 上海城隍庙,上海黄浦公园,猪脚,苏州古运河

Top: They said Emperor Qian Long was lost here for 2 hours, 蚕丝(silk worm?)
Bottom: Fantastic place where the Romance of Three Kingdoms was filmed.

The only fireworks pic captured by my bravo bro and sis by standing outside the hotel, freezing and shaking, in the middle of the night on first day of CNY.

Clockwise from top left: They said this is the 8th son of the dragon, Nan Jing's rocks with the names on it, Hang Zhou Tea Farm, Hang Zhou Xi Hu

Last but not least: Shang Hai Night Views

During the trip, we had 2 digital cameras, and guess how many pictures we took for the 8 days trip? 1200++ pics, about a total of 1.6GB. Hmm... I am still thinking of how to filter the pictures to share with other friends. I guess I'll just share through my blog. :D

OK, finally all my holidays are over! It's time to concentrate in work as there're tonnes of things waiting for me to complete!!

Oh ya, before I forgot my promise on my Oakley's picture:

My sister, my china tour guide, me with my Oakley and my mum

Lastly, before the CNY ends, Gong Xi Fa Caii to everyone. Wish all of you have a blessed new year in 2007!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Trip to Manila / Cavite *again*

I just came back from Manila last night. And yes, this is the 2nd time I went to Manila to attend a training in Cavite. Despite the fact that we only have 5 hours sleep as we need wake up at 4.30+am to get onto the shuttle at 5.30am (the journey from Makati - Cavite is 1.5 to 2 hours..), the two trips are totally different experiences.

The first time when I went in March 2006, I did a lot of shopping and spent most of my times walking around the shopping malls near Makati - i.e. Glorietta and Greenbelt. The shopping malls are classy, big, and with great sales. We had good food and took a lot of pictures with a few great restaurants.

As for this time, it was a totally different experience as I went again with two of my good friends from Kulim and ChengDu. We have decided to be more adventurous by going around Manila. On the first Sunday, we took a taxi down to Intramurus. We walked around the area for almost 2 hours (it's a BIG circle) and we went pass a few old churches, and Fort Santiago. The weather was not as hot as I experienced last year. The locals said it's the cold weather now so it's quite a pleasant walk around that area. I have taken some pictures at that area.

San Augustin Church outside.

San Augustin Church inside.
Someone just had a wedding there.

Fort Santiago @ Intramurus

We walked on it. It felt real good as you can see great views over the fort.

Views over the fort. A lot of couples were dating there.
The weather was good with fresh, cooling breeze. The walk was just very relaxing.

The grand old Manila Catheral

On Thursday, we went to another place in Manila which is called Quiapo. It's a free market underneath the bridge. Apparently, the hotel people was telling us it's not recommended as it's kind of crowded and it's not safe. But, being adventurous, we got on a taxi and went there after our breakfast (Training was in the afternoon). I won't say it's impressive but it's another experience. There's a market nearby so it's dirty, smelly, crowded, and hot. I had to be very careful when I am walking as there are pot holes everywhere and you wouldn't want to step on any unpleasant things.

One of the streets @ Quiapo Ilalim

Clockwise from top left: Quiapo Church, Statues of Christ, Street snapshot, Kids playing on streets

On Friday, most of us have used up all our cash. We wanted to go somewhere further or different, but the day tour was just out of our budget (~USD100 per head). Besides, the weather also turned hot. So, we only went to China Street at 4pm. Well, all I can say it, it's quite a bad experience. The place is crowded, noisy and smelly. And the place was just filthy with all sort of people all around. Buses and jeepneys stopping everywhere and shouting for passengers. I had to be extra alert while I was walking as I could trip anytime. The shops are small, and you have to give way everywhere you walk. It's just not a very pleasant experience.

Clockwise from top left: Statue of Ong Pin (I guess it's a hero), carriage on the street, fire engine out of no way, Binondo's church

On the street in China Town - looks crowded to you?

Welcome to Manila China Town

Lastly, when we tried to get a cab back to our hotel, we couldn't get a taxi. How great right? Ended up we stood and waved for almost an hour then only we managed to get into a taxi, and paid the driver almost double the taxi fare as he said the traffic to Makati is terrible. Out of desperation, we did. Anyway, the taxi fare wasn't that expensive.

I can't imagine that I need to go there again in April. It will be my third time in Manila again and tell you what, I have decided to stay just in the Hotel and maybe just do a little shopping like dried mangoes and pearls. I am not coming out ANYMORE!!!!!!