Landed @ 8:05

Day 1 at Beijing.

… continued from “Excerpts from my Travel Diary”

Not bad considering we went through a lot of turbulence. Was out of the airport at 9:00 am because the airport is – in a word – massive. It’s really really big – you need to take a train to get to the baggage claim area. The airport is very sleek as well.

Took the shuttle then the bus to the backpackers lodge. It wasn’t that hard to find though I think I got off one (or two) stops too early, and I also walked the wrong way (hihihi). Pero di bale, I found it in the end. 

After I checked in, I walked down the hutong’s alleys and took pictures of almost everything. I say almost kasi I had to stop myself. There were so many interesting buildings or carvings that if I took pictures of them all, I’d die.

So, I went off to look for a sim card and a supermarket. I found the shop where they sell simcards and goodluck na lang! Kahirap to communicate! No one spoke English so I think I spent about an hour there just trying to buy a sim card and top-up. Afterwards, I went to the supermarket to stock up on food. I wanted to buy bread and perhaps, peanut butter and some de-lata – pero naman! I’m in the land of Ma-Ling yet I could not find one single ma-ling can around, plus they didn’t have sliced bread! I bought shampoo and soap and a big jug of water na lang. 

When I got to the counter, they didn’t have plastic bags! So Sige, may-i-siksik sa camera bag kaya lumala ang scolio ko. I planned to go back to the lodge to put down my things pero … medyo malayo so I opted to go ahead and check out the drum and bell towers. Buti na lang I did that kasi nakakita ako ng convenient store and they had bread and strawberry jam! Lunch and Dinner forever! I bought a bag as well so that I can distribute the weight evenly (camera on the left side of the body, groceries on the left). I then went to see the Drum Tower but before that … lunch. 

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McDonald’s – easiest to buy. No translator needed. Just point to the picture you want and voila! Instant Nourishment.

@ The Drum and Bell Tower

Kelangan ata kasing tangkad mo si Yao Ming para di ka mahirapan pumanik ng stairs. I was taught in school that risers should be 0.15 to 0.20mm max and treads are at least 0.30. Dito, both riser and tread are at least 0.30mm. Mid leg (sa shin) ang taas ng step and super duper steep! PLUS MADULAS! Good luck na lang kay lola with the camera and the bag of groceries (me).

Pardon the selfies – I was a solo traveler – if I don’t take selfies I won’t have photos!

After exploring the two towers (and being lucky enough not to fall), sabi ko uwi na ako – but I was side tracked by a nice street (don’t know the name). Lots of shops around and very quaint. Took photos but I gave up after that. I went back to the lodge to rest and plan the rest of my week … and to BATHE! I am so nanlilimahid.

to be continued …

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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.

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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.

Continue reading “Excerpts from my Travel Diary”

The Rabbit … An Unexpected Journey

Last month, on the 25th of May, I called in sick due to the sniffles (which is still bugging me 2 1/2 weeks later). While I was snuggled up like a bug in bed, hoping for the sniffles to disappear, my mobile phone rang. It was a private number and I immediately knew that it was Westpac. You see, I just changed banks a few weeks back and the only “Private Number” calls I receive are from Westpac. I picked up the phone, silently wondering if I had forgotten to sign papers and needed to pop in a branch immediately to sort things out. I was relieved when it was not KW (the lady I usually deal with), but … someone else. Our conversation went something like this …

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Churches @ Ilocos

Come and see the beautiful centuries-old churches at Ilocos

The following photos (and a bit of text) are about the various churches we were able to visit while we were at Ilocos. These churches, all built during the time the country was still under Spanish rule, were built in the Earthquake Baroque style. 

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A Day at Versailles

My mum and stepdad will be going to Paris later this year and mum was asking me about the places I saw, and things I did, and food I ate so that they’d kinda know what to expect when they get there. They haven’t been to Paris yet so they’re quite excited about the whole adventure (I have been and I’m still excited). I spoke to my mum the other day and she asked me about Chateau de Versailles. I said it’s a really beautiful place and they need to spend one whole day to fully appreciate the palace. I went to Versailles last year and, honestly, I no longer remember what trains I had to take to get to Versailles from Paris (it’s quite easy really, you won’t get lost, Just get on the RER Line C – it’s the last stop) but I remember getting off at the Versailles platform, crossing the road (I was just following what the guides were saying), turning right and walking past a small shopping centre selling souvenirs and knick knacks, turning left on the next main street and then going “Oh My God” when I saw what lay before me. Versailles literally and figuratively took my breath away. Continue reading “A Day at Versailles”

Whistle of the Noble

Last year, during that brief lull between Christmas and New Year, I spent 2 1/2 blissful days in the lovely islands of Tonga. As mentioned in a previous post, we (meaning myself and my lovely hosts and good friends) had to visit a whole lot of places in a span of 2 days – and one of those places is the Blowholes at Houma.

Mapu a Vaea  (Whistle of the Noble)
Mapu a Vaea  (Whistle of the Noble)

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Mount Mayon and the Cagsawa Ruins

Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty

It’s embarrassing to admit but, even though I’ve lived in the Philippines for most of my life, I’ve never actually seen the country’s most majestic peak, the Mayon Volcano. Visiting Legaspi, Albay has always been on my to-do list but somehow, I never quite managed to get there. Finally, after years of procrastinating and missed chances, I had the opportunity to see this magnificent mountain.

Continue reading “Mount Mayon and the Cagsawa Ruins”