Excerpts from my Travel Diary

Here are some of the stuff I wrote in my travel diary. I’ll probably share more of these in the next few days, just because… it’s nice to remember. AND I trawled through my hard-drive to include some photos too.

Auckland Airport Tarmac – View from my window seat (24.10.2008)

24 october 8:30 pm (Akl Airport)

Finally off to China! I’ll be boarding the plane in 2 hours and then I’ll be on my way. Mum and BK (& Saffron) dropped me off at the airport earlier and we were quite surprised because the queues weren’t long. We expected heavy traffic and long lines because it’s the start of ta long weekend but it was quiet. I asked the ground crew about it and he said that we just missed the rush.

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Yungang Grottoes

I did mention I’d be writing about the Yungang Grottoes, didn’t I? Well here it is! Yungang was my last tourist stop when I was in Datong. I did a little research about the place and I was mildly all right with visiting it – I’m really not much into statues of Gautama Buddha so I was somewhat indifferent. I was looking forward to seeing it, but wasn’t jumping up and down in excitement. When I first saw the entrance to the place, I was like “So what’s so special about it?” – yeah yeah, I know that’s really mean, but can you blame me? Look at the images below, you have to admit that the place looks uninspiring – but this trip made me realise that the saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” does not only apply to books (and people), but places as well. Once I entered those gates, I was in for the shock of my life. 🙂

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The Hanging Temple

As I’ve mentioned before, I managed to snag really cheap fares to and from Beijing way back in 2008. Apart from exploring the sights of Beijing itself, I made a side trip to Datong because I wanted to see the Hanging Temple. I saw it being featured in one of those travel channels and desperately wanted to see what it really is like. Thankfully, Datong is much closer to Beijing than X’ian (where the Terra Cotta warriors are), so I did more research and found a travel agent who booked me on a “soft-sleeper” train to this province.

After a (surprisingly comfortable 8-hour) train ride, I got into Datong. My tour guide and driver – I can honestly say MY tour guide because I was her only tourist – drove me to various tourist attractions (9-Dragon Wall, Buddhist Temple) and fed me soo much food I thought I was going to pop! Then of course, they brought me to the Hanging Temple.

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The Bird’s Nest (and Beyond)

(Here’s another post I’m moving from my old site to this one. I’m off to the Coromandel, to see the Cathedral Cove, tomorrow. I hope to be able to write about this trip as well as the rest of the trips I have taken in the past – I’ve got a massive backlog already. I still need to write about Nelson, and Raglan and the other places I’ve been to)

Beijing’s Olympic Stadium

Last year, thanks to Air New Zealand’s Grab-a-Seat, I was able to get a really really cheap round trip airplane ticket (read: NZ$508.00 all in) to Beijing, China. So on the Friday before NZ’s Labour Day, I left Middle Earth to visit the land of the Imperial Dynasties.

The Tuesday after I arrived (and the day after I walked the Great Wall in Jinshanling and Simatai – worthy of another entry), with the insistence of my backpacker roommates, I braved the horrific Beijing traffic and pedalled my way northwards to the famed Olympic City. A visit to the Olympic City is a MUST considering the Great Games just finished a mere 3 months earlier. Better to visit the site before all the excitement, euphoria and the novelty wears off.

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One Great Hike

Reposting this from my previous mysorefeet blog. Too bad I can’t import the comments made on this one. Oh well … such is life. Will be moving a few more travel stories over in the future.

Great! Just Great! I had a long ass narrative about my experience at the Great Wall and when I clicked Publish, I was redirected to the log in page. OMG! All my hard work just vanished into cyberspace. No matter what I do, I just could not retrieve the page with my text. As such, I think shall migrate to another provider. Bugger.

Anyway – briefly …

When I was in Beijing last October, I went on a 1-day hike of the Great Wall. We started off at Jinshanling and ended at Simatai (two provinces north east of Beijing). The whole trek was just a little over 10 kilometres, but it took me about 5 hours to navigate.

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