Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Many people have asked me how I found China and the trip on the whole. Think it wasn't as great as I had hoped, because of the following: 1. The tour guide, having a commission to earn, brought us to factory after factory - jade, silk, pearl, tea, TCM, etc. The itinery was extremely packed but as usual we were alloted more time at the factories than the attractions. Felt trapped. Frankly all these things can be found in Singapore, probably at just the same price. The group demography was such that there were three types of members: the too young to buy, the not-interested, and the done-that-bought-that. Thus, our group hardly bought anything and thus had a little "prep" talk from our guide about how she and the driver were not getting anything and she was afraid the driver wouldnt' be able to survive. Our group was indignant and replied that we were here to enjoy and see the attractions and not all were interested in buying. I'll try my best to avoid going on tour groups for the rest of my life. Felt I hardly learnt anything and once again being shepherded around. 2. Because of the 2008 Olympics, Bejing is sprucing up and many of the attractions are under renovations. Thus, some parts were closed off or sported unsightly construction. The best time to go would be in 2009 when toilet and attractions have been 'improved'. Also, as we were just in Korea, many of the ancient buildings in the palace and gardens looked like those we'd just seen in Seoul. I had this impression that the Forbidden City was incredibly large and spectacular but sad to say I wasn't impressed and the palaces in Seoul were prettier, quieter and more peaceful. 3. We went during the Golden Week so it was crowded, crowded, crowded!! Thankfully I wasn't jostled but there were people spitting left and right. Some of them youngsters too, which surprised us. We barely had any time to shop cos of the itinery of factories and activities. Also, we travelled 2.5 hrs to and 2.5hrs from Tianjin, a waste of time we felt, as we were only allowed one plus hour there to visit two streets with nothing much interesting. Thus, shopping was limited and the only shopping we did was when we missed one of the tour dinners to meet a friend. The bargaining was something! I thought I had a lesson in Turkey but this was Advanced Bargaining 101. You start at one tenth or two tenths of the price and go upwards. One lesson was never to buy anything without bargaining, even the smallest little object, unless you didn't mind paying the difference - which well, if the price was small might have only been one or two Sing dollars anyway - like 20RMB to 10 RMB would only have been $2 so spending 15 mins bargaining to halve the price may not have been worth it. We ended up only doing basically two sold hours of shopping with probably half of it spent in bargaining. We didn't have enough shopping!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Some fruit I got, very sour

Minnie in cheongsam!


character in parade

the gardens

sweet unreal loking buildings

cute sign board @ beach

night light show

one of the markets in HK

At Chengde's Summer Resort

Garden within a garden at Summer Resort in Chengde

Another breakfast.

mahua, nuts and others

Sweet and other sundries

Sally's toys

Sally, our friend's dog! Cute!!

sweet potatoes...the scent was enticing but dared not try

This suit had 100 children embroidered on it all with different expressions and doing different activities

they had silver ones too

real gold ingots!

Another meal, with cabbage and Xiao bai chai, which featured in nearly every meal

one of the finished products

making closinne

More of those roof creatures

wow, the colours are stunning

look like poppies

pretty flowers!

at the botanical gardens

First meal in the Summer Palace. The rest were so similar I stopped taking the food after a while. Most dishes were too salty or oily for our palates.

some funny rock structures

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Great Wall...what a climb!!

Beautiful colourful patches of flowers at the Botanic gardens

Mudan flower. Bigger than a normal hibiscus

The bridal chamber in the "lucky" red. All in silk.

These are usually at the roof of each of the ancient buildings, just like in Korea. They are a mixture of creatures; phoenixes and others

The ancient Chinese were big believers of Feng Shui. There are usually two lions on each side of entrances. One is a female one a male. Any guesses how to tell them apart?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Going towards the direction of Bang Sue. Our next stop is Chatuchak Weekend Market.

The MRT ticket is a plastic black coin that works like an EZLink card. Hmm.. how uncreative can man be when it comes to design.

Caught this little Thai girl standing on a bench eating ice-cream.

Joanelle applying glue on the pink slip.

Uncle Lau making a donation.

Beautiful fishes hang at the entrance of the temple. I'm busy taking photos while my friends are busy inside.

The irony - this poor beggar sitting outside the temple waiting for donations but nobody cared. People are inside the temple too "busy" making donations to care.

People making donations. Guess what do they donate? Coffins. Yes, each coffin costs 50 baht. After making a donation, you will be given a pink slip to write your name. You can go to a corner to put glue on the pink paper and stick your name onto the cardboard coffins behind. These coffins are donated to those people who died in accidents without any next-of-kins.


Inside the temple

Chinese Temple

End of Day 1 - Traditional Thai Massage

We ended Day 1 with traditional Thai massage which costs only 80 baht (about S$6) which is super duper cheap. The shop closes at 1am, so we went back to our hotel room to drop our shopping bags, took turns to bath and went down to the shop just next to our hotel at 12am, just in time before it closes. We went to 7-11 to buy some drinks and snacks before heading back to our hotel room. However, the massage was so good that we fell into deep sleep.

Found pink eggs at 7-11 store. They look much smaller than quail eggs. Unfortunately, I can't read Thai.

We still had our fill with Tom Yam soup and pineapple rice even though I found a baby cockroach on my spoon before we started eating.