Friday, July 27, 2007
Modes of transportation: car, plane, bus (scheduled & chartered on the street), train, tram, subway, escalator (it's a mode of transport in Hong Kong!), boat (speedboat, long tail boat, crazy chinese ferry boat), tuk-tuk, elephant. [missing from the list: helicopter]
Miles flown: around 29,000 (which averages out to a crazy 800 miles per day)
Countries visited: 5 + 2 Special Administrative Regions
Passport pages filled up with stamps & visas: about 5
Things lost: sunglasses, a watch (on the last day), and a little under10 pounds.
pictures taken: around 900
timezones to readjust to: 10 (or 14 depending which way you count)
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
This was a nice 25m climb...waaay high.
The palm tree does not make for a good hold, it's a bit wobbly.
This one definitely took a bit of mental effort to lead, but I got it in the end (the ratings here are definitely overrated - this climb was a 6b+ on the french system / 5.11a on the american system, and I would never be able to lead something that hard).
The famous cave on Tonsai beach. The rusty ladder leads to another terrace of climbing above. The stalactites make for some good holds.
Taking a break inside the cave, only about 20 feet up.
Done with the inner cave climb. Too bad it looks like I climbed the ladder.. I really didn't - the stalactite on the right was pretty handy though.
The beach in the morning - the long tail boats will take you to nearby islands or other beaches.
looking the other way on the beach.
The water is almost hot, the sand is silky smooth, what more could you ask for?
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Went climbing for a full day today, unfortunatley no deep water soloing for me: this is low season, and the guy who does it needs at least 8 people to do it. We were able to assemble a group of 3, but that was far too little.. :( next time, i guess. But we still climbed right on the beach today, which made for some good views.
Tomorrow Lila & I are going on an all day snorkeling / island hopping adventure. Should be a blast.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Our first day here we decided to go for a cooking course. It was run on an organic farm outside of town and was incredibly well organized. We ate all of the food that we made & got a recipe book to take with us (so there's a slight chance i'll be making some thai food again).
Today we had a day long adventure that included hiking through some local villages, swimming at a waterfall (we dove in seconds after this shot):
and riding elephants through the jungle! We bought some sugar cane and bananas before the ride & fed our elephant throughout the hour long trip.
The trip ended with some rafting on long bamboo rafts down a small river. Even small rapids (grade I, maybe II) were super exciting. The only downside to the day was that it rained non-stop, but after we went swimming in the waterfall we were super wet anyway :) The rain did however wipe out my thoughts of going climbing tomorrow.
We are off to Railey beach on Monday morning & will stay there until thurday afternoon, before heading back to bangkok to catch our flights home. Hopefully we'll get some good weather for climbing and some deep water soloing.
Although I didn't do it in Hong Kong, I am getting a suit tailored here in Chiang Mai...it's been quite an experience :)
Needless to say the food here has been amazing...to top it off, I just had the best pad thai ever from a street vendor for 30 baht (~$1USD).
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Our first glimpse of the temples:
Closeup of the majestic Angkor Wat ( I have about 80 more pictures of it)
Here's one :)
And here's another...the "reflective pool" is a bit on the dirty side, but serves its purpose well.
We then moved on to the temple of smiling faces, there're 216 in total, each facing either north, south, east or west.
And then we pretended to be in the Tombraider movie (this is actually where it was filmed)
Can you believe this tree?
Today we went to see the floating villages... these houses are moored near the river banks. You can walk on the banks, but most people are in boats... There are little grocery canoes that float around with vegetables, etc. A bit reminiscent of Venice, but only a bit.
Notice the blue sky in the middle of the rainy season :) We were lucky yesterday as it started raining just as we got into our tuk tuk at the end of the day, today was just sunny and hot (not surprisingly both of us got a little burnt).
We are off to Chiang Mai, Thailand tomorrow for a few days. Hopefully I'll get a little bit of climbing in there, before attempting to do some deep water soloing at Raleigh / Tonsai beaches.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
My second day there I caught a ferry to Lantau island, which in addition to having the new HK airport (which is absolutely wonderful!) also has the world's largest sitting bronze buddha statue (I believe all of the qualifiers are necessary :) There is a monastery on the grounds which serves yummy vegetarian chinese food. The stairs were painful in the blistering heat.
At the top:
Returning from Macau I couldn't resist the picture of the night skyline.
4 very happy people on our private bus to Lijiang. About an hour and a half into the two and a half hour trip the driver would abruptly stop & tell us to get out. A few seconds later a small minivan pulled up and took us the rest of the way. The driver went back to the village to pick up 11 more people for the same route...
Our celebratory snack of fresh lychees. The lonely planet claimed that lychee wine is popular in Lijiang, but no one we asked had ever heard of it. So we picked up some fresh ones on the street. We ate most of them in the next 14 hours.
Me, Carri & Dian in Lijiang.
More traditional architecture.
Lijiang at night.
Carri and Dian in Lijiang at night, with lots of touristy souvenir shops in the backgroud
We later learned that this building was built primarily for the tourists in 1997. It's still gorgeous though.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Yesterday saw me going on a day trip to Macau, which was quite interesting. It definitely has a bit of a las vegas feel to it, but without as much glitz (yet - there's a lot of construction going on). The single daytrip resulted in 5 passport stamps - one for leavnig HK, one for entering & leaving Macau & then two more on entering HK (they always give two).
Alas, I did not get a taylored suit while at HK, there wasn't enough time... but there's still hope, people say getting them made in thailand is even better :)
Now onto singapore for a couple of days
Thursday, July 12, 2007
The one gripe I have about the city is that internet is incredibly difficult to find. I guess the point is that everyone has it at home, so they don't need internet cafes...on the other hand the hotels cator to business visitors & charge an arm and a leg for an horu of internet... So no pictures until I find a real internet cafe instead of kiosks scattered in coffee shops across the city.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Coming down to the last guesthouse we planned on getting a ride back to the starting point and then taking a bus back from there. However, the constant rain the night before cause a few landslides which completely blocked the road back. Not wanting to do the hike in reverse in one day, we found someone who drove us a few kilometers further down stream, to a sign that said "ferry 500m". About 2.5km (and 40 minutes) later we found the ferry stop, shouted across the river to wake up the ferry captain and soon made it into town on the opposite side.
The town people told us there was only one car in town and it had already gone to Lijiang, and wouldn't be back till 10pm. Not deterred we started walking around and saw a bus returning from Lijiang. After some quick negotiations we chartered it for the 4 of us (3 of us, plus a stanford business school student who we met on the way) all the way back to Lijiang, and made it home by 7.
Pictures are forthcoming, in the meantime, we are off to HK in a few hours. The adventure continues...
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Saturday, July 7, 2007
On the wall..
Now we made it to Lijiang, with a nice pedestrian old city. It's reminiscent of some small european towns..except for the pagodaesque architecture.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
The whole complex is immense, and quite crowded, but we were able to find a few secluded spots.
We went to grab some lunch afterwards. The food here has been amazing, turns out I like Peking duck (though perhaps only in Peking :).
And what pray tell greeted me right after lunch? a reminder of work life.
We just booked a tour to the great wall for tomorrow. I'm excited!