Saturday, March 31, 2012

trip down mi-mory lane

aaah....was looking for songs to listen to on youtube when i scrolled down the list and found this video. haha....i was there at the concert too and i could be seen around 2:44 to 2:48.
my 4 seconds of fame.
see the fan with her hair all tied to the back, round face and shaking like mad?? then sammi gave her one hello kitty toy and said, 'cheong tak hou?' (well sung), then she raised her hand and rejoiced like a mad woman? haha...that was yours truly.
if you can't find me, try looking for the flower with the long green stem, did not manage to give her that at that time and was holding it in my hand in the clip.

that hello kitty is the one hanging in my car on the rear view mirror. memories. dun think i will be that mad now that i am older and more mellowed now, i think.
but i never regret doing all those crazy things as i got to have fun with my friends.

shows and add-on in tours

shows and add-ons in tours to china are inseparable. i wonder if it happens in tours to other countries? i have never joined any so i really have no idea.

the guides will get commission of course for every ticket you pay and most of the time, they do manage to persuade tourists to buy them.

so it is not an exception with my tour to yunnan in march. however, we only let the local tour leader in da li get this commission. the ones in kunming and li jiang failed to get the money out of us because we were simply not interested to watch anymore performance by the local tribe or listen to a singing performance by a local chinese singer whom we do not know.

i paid for an over-priced boat ride on lake er hai in dali. it was totally not worth it. we did not even go far in the lake but we were on the water for almost 1 hour.

well, at least i got to test the capability of my camera in taking this kind of shot. was happy that i managed to shoot those ripples and drops of water falling from the paddle.

one of the 'attractions' promoted was seeing the birds on this boat dive into the lake to catch fish and then delivering the fish to the boatman. it was not awesome at all because i had seen them from nearer distance in my trip to guilin and i even took a photo with the birds. definitely a waste of my time and money.

everyone in the boat complained too but of course we tried to make the best of the time bought.

the fleet of boats waiting to be filled by tourists.

you were entertained by singing and music as you entered the compound of the dock. bet they were singing about how stupid we were to be paying for the boat ride. ok i really hated that ride.
can you see a string tied on the neck of the bird? it is the thing that is stopping the bird from swallowing the fish caught. but smaller fishes can be taken in by the bird.

here are the 2 shows we watched.

surprisingly they were quite good and i really enjoyed the one we watched in li jiang near the foot of jade dragon snow-capped mountain. it is helmed by some acclaimed directors in china and one of them is zhang yi-mou. i was really impressed as everything was neat and our eyes were glued to the synchronised formations from all the performers dressed in their traditional tribal costumes.

again, i tested my camera and see how far it could zoom to take a clear picture. this performer was standing on the top level of the multi-tiered stage.
this is the stage. i love love love the backdrop so so much. i could not stop being awed by the snow-capped mountains and how majestic everything was. it was simply breathtaking.

i wouldn't mind watching this show again and going to enjoy the beautiful view.

another showed we watched was in dali, performed by another tribe in the area. i have forgotten which tribe. it is about the local marriage customs and how the groom had to snatch the bride away from her family and villagers.

the bride has to wear sunglasses and a mirror but i have forgotten their significance. sorry.

we were given 3 glasses of different teas to sample while watching the show.

the courtyard of a typical house of the tribe.

the main entrance to the house.

the decoration outside the house signifying a wedding is taking place.

the future wife is snatched off the stage. love my camera focus. din think it would come out this way.

phew, no more shows.

here are some miscellanous photos of the local guides in their costumes.

photos anyone???

the headgear worn by our guide. love the embroidery and sequins. intricate. again....zoomed with the camera.

the guide in da li

Sunday, March 25, 2012

good nights in yunnan

right...let's talk about the places i stayed in during my one week in china. we stayed in 4 different hotels in our 7 nights there and every night was a good night. all the hotels were comfortable and spacious and provided all the amenities needed by guests....well, except for wi-fi service. only one hotel had that.

the most important to me when i am travelling is to get a good night's sleep so you will be rejuvenated and refreshed for the next day's activities. i was glad that i had it and i was fit as a fiddle to explore and behold all the beauties before me.

this is a resort where all the rooms are in terraced houses. it is li jiang's guan fang hotel, on shangri-la road. there are four rooms in this unit you see in the photo. on the ground level are living room, kitchen and dining room. this is the most comfortable of all and it was just like home sweet home. few ladies from the other houses even came over one night and they played cards at the round dining table. it was so merry.

some other units on some other rows. the surrounding area is really peaceful and natural with lots of blossoming flowers and green trees.

the dining area and kitchen.

the computer table with internet connection.

the living room.

the bed room.

asia star hotel- 5 star(chinese rating) in dali. this is the hotel with wi-fi connection. it only has 6 storeys.
the lobby.

a big painting of kuan yin. the hotel is run by a taiwanese.

the bedroom.

view from my room. that is the lake- er hai way beyond.

another view from the room opposite. can you see snow on the mountain?

shi lin- stone forest area. this is the best hotel in the area (3 star). i have forgotten its name. the hotel was the lousiest and it was just a small area. luckily the room was all right and i got my rest.

wei long hotel, kunming (4 star). stayed here for 3 nights, first, third and last night. situated right in the midst of the city and right behind the shopping district....but without internet service for guests. chaik!!!

the room.

all the beds that i slept on were not too hard. all the rooms were clean. duvets were comfy. rooms were not too hot or cold even though there was no air-conditioning. hot water in the bathrooms were easily adjustable and available. i was satisfied.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

new birkenstock. yippeee

was only talking about birkenstock in china and now i have a new pair of birkenstock flown all the way back from germany! waa....i should talk about striking lottery next ;) hahahha

anyway, i have been anticipating this for one month actually. aunt's friend helped me get it as her shop is near birkenstock's outlet. and i got extra 5euro discount too although the shoes are specially ordered and new in shop! so happy!

i also helped someone get a pair of sandals for her dad. his size is 48! gosh...birkenstock saves the day! he can't really find slippers this big in malaysia.

my size is 38 and this pair fits so snuggly. have never seen this pair sold in malaysia nor the shop i went to in china. it is more expensive than those normal birkenstock sandals. but it is super cool eh?

Friday, March 23, 2012

eating in china

are you hungry now??? do you want some chinese food???

well, these were my meals in china...almost all of them except breakfast since it was done buffet style in the hotel every morning. i hate the breakfast since i don't really like porridge, noodles, vegetables and fried rice for breakfast. their bread sucks. so dry. so i ended up going to the bakery to buy my own bread and had it with the 3-in-1 nescafe i brought along. coffee in the hotel sucked too.

according to the tour guide from malaysia who followed us, all our meals had been upgraded as we had about 12 to 13 dishes every time. many! luckily i did not suffer from any indigestion or food poisoning nor did i put on any weight.

i was the last to start eating since i waited for every dish to come up to take photo. haha...everyone could not eat till i had snapped a photo.

click on the photo if you want to see bigger pictures.

there is a prawn dish here which they stir-fry with tea leaves.

the pork is really nice.
but not the fish....too many bones!

so white

a more unique restaurant and we were given samples of rice wine to drink from their special pot and cups. you can buy the pot and get free cups.

those cones here...they are man tou (steamed bun)

the rice dish is special in this meal, it is cooked with potato, and carrot. i like. not sure if butter is added.

a steamboat meal....which many were not used to and could not fill us. lots of mushrooms were added adn lots of veges too. the meat was added last and noodles. we ended up buying mcdonalds takeaway which was conveniently next door to eat in the bus on the way to da li from kunming.

this is kunming's noodles cross the bridge meal (gou chiao mi fern). not bad not bad.

these are all the accompanying dishes which came after the noodles. how to finish when the bowl of noodle is already so big??

on the bottom left, steamed corn, yam, potato and groundnut.

this was breakfast prepared by our butler in one of the 'mansions' we stayed in while in li jiang. i am not kidding. she brought milk to our room before we slept and cooked breakfast for us since 6a.m. anything you want, just call her.

these were the snacks you could find in the ancient city of li jiang (unesco world heritage). i only tried the fermented milk snack on the bottom left and hahah....luxurious mochi from japan. you can find these mochis in taiwan and hong kong and in malaysia too (pavilion) but it is much cheaper in china, so i must have! yummy.

my room mate- a 16-year-old teenager and i strolled the streets on our own and we ended up in haagen dazs in the shopping area of kun ming. he had not tried haagen dazs before so i brought him in and we sat there for an hour. both of us were obviously not shopping kakis although i did browse a lot.

oh how i loved the varieties of birkenstock and dr martens they have in the malls. how tempted i was to buy a pair of boots. then i reminded myself 'no! the tax here is super high!'. and that was what stopped me from taking out the credit card or trying a pair.

*just checked doc martens website (uk) and noticed that the prices in china are almost comparable to those in the uk. haiz.....