Saturday, November 15, 2008

my posing collection

although I'm pretty sure I have left my silly mark on other peoples cameras as well, This is probably most of my statue figure pictures from around the world. Plus, 3 imposters... :)
or not!
Can anybody count my shirts? :)

Dead Sea-Israel

Ray-lay beach-Thailand

Somewhere in middle England

Impostor of a brother... England

Barcelona Beer-Spain

Barcelona hospital-Spain

Toam imposter!


Impostor of a friend-Vang Vien

Vang Vien

View of Hong kong

Day 1 - Vang vien

Chinese Wall-China



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Adding oil

A day and a half on the night (and a day and another night) train and I was on Hong kongian soil. The ride was a long one, with me being the main curiosity of the car... I guess that's part of the things that have weaken my joviality during my last weeks in China... for the past two months, I've been laughed at, finger pointed at, stared at, gawked at, giggled at, touched by, and I don't know what else by the entire Chinese population. When I wanted to buy something at a store, it took at least 12 Chinese to carry out the order... one to not understand me and call for someone who can speak a bit of English or good sign language, and another 10 people to stand around and stare at me while talking about my height, color, chest hair and what I buy. It can get to you after a while. If I remember correctly, my first similar experience was shared by Raquel. we.. well, I, wanted to eat dumplings at a nice old vendor next to the train station. so we sat down on the low benches and started the munching, while a police officer, a rickshaw guy, some dude and the vendor herself were standing on top of us, staring and laughing while we ate. I think I have a picture somewhere, but that's irrelevant.
I guess I was upset at all the attention, upset on being alone and upset due to my inability to communicate (which I have only me to blame).
But never mind. I was in Hong kong now. and nobody gives a flying f***.
you know something? that's awesome.
My first day in Hong kong, and I was off to meet with my couchsurfing host. Since he told me he was studying till 4pm, I had a lot of time on my hands, and no clue where to start.
So I ended up at a Fancy shmancy mall. I really don't like that kinda malls I gotta tell ya. The huge building had a vaguely mazy like feeling to it, and getting from the bottom floor to the top was a serious endeavour with lots of strategy planning before hand.
But, it was worth it. Next to a small ice skating thingy, there was a cinema, with NORMAL movies!!! Not just the usual crap they showed all over China, but actually movies, like WALL-E (awesome movie) and other new features. So I decided on catching up on my movie titles.
4pm, and I was waiting at university station. John, a cheerful fellow with a very quick stride, arrived and quickly went down to business. He told me: "listen, I'm gonna be busy till Monday and on Wednesday I'm going into china for a week. I have an apartment in the center of town which you can take, but I won't be able to take you around town myself... is that ok?"
Although I really could use a company, especially when it comes to the benefits of couchsurfing, the offer was too good to pass on. So after a bit of organizing, we were on our way to one of the city centers on Kowloon. Stepping up the stairs from the underground, I was dazzled by the lights and the amount of people walking to and fro. The numbers of different foreigners was stunning... from Indians to Americans, passing along the streets along with the Chinese. I was one of many, and it was a great feeling. The next great feeling came when one of the many Indian tailors came to me and badgered me over a great cashmere suit for only 200 us dollars. It was just like Bangkok. John was taking me to the apartment, walking through streets, dodging other people, and I was too busy being happy to notice where we are going. The next notion of Modern society occured when we crossed a small magazine shop, with plenty of PORN. Porn! at last!
I'm back!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Add Oil

It's been more than a week now that I've been waking up at 10 am sharp. Not by my alarm clock... the alarm clock is set to 7 am, so every day I wake up by the alarm clock, shut it off, go to sleep, and wake up at 10 am sharp.
After waking up, a bit of excercise, a bit of water, brush my teeth, and go watch TV.
After watching the olympics for a while, I go to the same small restaurant, order the same thing (noodles with some sort of meat), pay the same amount of money, and continue to my usual internet place.
After finishing my time browsing the net, I go back to the hostel, and watch TV, or read a book. Afterwards I buy some dumplings and an egg at the local grocery, eat them, and go watch some more TV. After that, I go take a shower and off to bed.
That's it. No traveling, no exploring. I'm too tired and too lazy to even get out of my bed.
hell, I'm too tired even trying to write.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Movie, Mosque, chicken and Good-bye

It was 5 days ago I presume. The gang of four - Ana, Lidi, Tim and I, went to see the shrine of 8 suicidal immortals, or something like that. It was boring, not to mention closed at that hour, and the market next to it was pitifully minuscule. Luckily, we had a plan B, which was to go see a movie. The lovely hostess has granted us 2 free tickets for any movie we wanted to see, so we went and saw an animated Chinese movie, surprisingly with subtitles. It was actually quite nice, even though some of of the time the movie quality looked suspiciously similar to a ripped movie.
But never mind, we had fun. Going back to the hostel, we celebrated the soon to be departure of the girls with beer and an orgy... no, I'm kidding, there wasn't any beer.

The next day started a bit uneventful. I woke up early, as usual to my roommate displeasure, and did absolutely nothing the whole of the day, till Tim and I decided to pay the great mosque in the center of town a visit. Joining us, were an nice Italian couple who just got to Xian (and China).

A mosque... can you believe it?

We got off at the center of town, and the walk to the mosque was a short one. On the way to the Mosque we entered the Muslim (sort of) market, with lots of shiny and crappy quality souvenirs, just perfect for the Italian newbies. The Italian guy bought a bag at almost 180 yuan (90 shekels) before we stopped him and forced him to bargain, though he didn't understand why (it was such a low price for him).

The Retrdsp... huh?!

Entering the Mosque itself, I was surprised to see a very well tended garden inside a peaceful court with Chinese architecture that did not even hint the Muslim structural design I'm so used to. I even forgot the annoyance of the money I had to pay to enter. It was really worth it. I even found an interesting possible relation between stone turtles that were located all over the Muslim premises and the famous stone turtle remnant of the mongol empires capital city of Karakorum (interesting, hmm?). Just to make sure, I had sent the evidence to my former professor on that matter.

Going out of the Mosque, we continued walking around the city, through the various roads and markets, and ended up in a local restaurant. The Italian guy ordered an interesting dish, which we found out to be even more interesting. It was spicy chicken, but without the actual meat... all the rest was there, but not the meat.

It was evening time when we entered the hostel. I was sitting at the computer when May, the hostess, addressed me with her grave news. It appears that the police visited her today, and ordered her to evacuate all the foreigners who were staying at her hostel till midnight, due to new rules that came to effect because of the Olympics. Their explanation was that the hostel was too far away from the city center for their taste, so we had to leave... today!
We were of course, shocked, and bewildered without any clue to what to do... all of us adored the little hostel we called home, and some of the foreigners arrived that very same day that they were told to leave. In the end, May and us decided that we should stay for the night, but hidden in the upper floors of the building, so that the police won't find us if they come to do a search. So we all huddled together on the upper floors - mostly the dorm rooms. The evening was gone early... we all killed the light and stayed in our beds, quietly, for fear of the police, for fear that something will happen to May and her family for not following orders.

Me and the adorable Nainai (grandma)

Luckily, the night went pass peacefully. No police, no nothing. But we knew that in the morning we were obligated to find a new place to stay. We all got up, with somber looks and tired faces from an inconvenient slumber, and one by one has left the premises to another hostel. May and her brother followed us all the way and made sure that we are comfortable and satisfied enough... perhaps they were feeling guilty somehow... I decided taking the opportunity of leaving the comfy hostel, so I bought bus tickets to a new place, Cheng-du. It was hard and sad to say goodbye, especially in these circumstances.

That very same day, I was on the bus, looking at the eclipse that had set the night upon the land.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pay per view, or Terracotta Museum

Due to silly error by my part, or maybe by some peculiar fate, 90% of my pictures taken from the last couple of days, including the terracotta warriors museum, were deleted. still Though, through hard work and patience, I have recovered a few of them through various softwares for data recovery. Unfortunately, many of the good pictures I've intended on showing here today wander somewhere above us in the deleted files Heaven. Well, let's start the show then, shall we? But first, just to prepare you properly for this journey, I would like you to view the HOUND OF HELL!!!

OK, now you're good to go.

Me and Tim woke up the next morning, had a bit of breakfast, and met the new guys... well, new girls. These girls were so fresh in the whole business of Backpacking I could smell it a mile away, but I guess they were "lucky" to have me and Tim as a soft start...

After a bit of questioning, I discovered that the Girls, Ana and Lidi, were Slovenian, quite a rarity in the whole traveling business, and they were on a Chinese language learning mission. They gladly joined our forces in the Tour-de-Terracotta we had set for the day, and soon we were on our way.

After an hour or so, getting out of the city into the gloomy smoggy unknown of Xian area, we were dropped off the entrance to the excavation site that turned into a museum. Of course, we had to pay... 90 Yuan on the spot just to get a glimpse of the unearthed ruins of the great first emperor of China proper. Of course, I hate paying, especially to museums, but I guess if I'm in China already....

We paid the ransom money, and began the long march towards the main area, where the Museum is divided into separate buildings, 3 of them were built around the dig sights that were made since 1970-something.
We chose the right building at random to be our first checkpoint, and it turned out to be a sort of an art collection of the various finds there were at the dig sights. Naturally, it was boring like hell and interesting as watching iron rusts, Yet many people were drawing out their flashing cameras and pointing them wherever they only could, mainly straight into my retinas. So I joined them.


After we finished this small challenge, we pondered about walking into the museum section about the museum itself, which is a paradox by itself... and then we just thought better of it and fled the premises.

On to the next building, we entered a huge warehouse of the the second dig sight. It was huge, and contained a lot of... well... Absolutely nothing! Maybe a piece of shattered warrior here, a horses ass there, but other than that, it was big and empty.


The few artifacts that they have recovered from the dig sight were perhaps the ones that were displayed on the corner of the warehouse. Not really exciting, but interesting, one may say.


I, on the other hand, found another thing that was far more interesting...

We moved on to the next building, dig sight number 3. It was much smaller, but it actually contained a lot of warriors, some headless, and artifacts. Also inside the building was a small shop that offered a spooky 3d rendering of your face onto a Terracotta warriors body.

Our little tour ended inside the crown jewel of the whole museum, pit number 1 - A huge warehouse filled up with rows upon rows of clay warriors, horses and the like. all standing at guard, waiting for their masters call. All the pictures I took were destroyed, but the video survived the photo-caust.

You'll have to excuse the video... it is directed to Raquel, so there's a lot of mushy stuff... :)

oh, and don't believe me when I say 6000 warriors... there were barely 600. most of the holes are empty.

After a bit of rest, we headed back to the city, and roamed around for a bit, till evening came and we could watch the lights illuminating the bell tower and its counterparts of the center of town.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The show must go on

I've been thinking of a lot of them opening lines as an explanation for my seemingly overdue absence. I know most of you were shivering in your beds from the blog rehab I have made you go through, but I really doubt that any real harm was done. For my explanation, let's just say that I'm not a real writer. A REAL writer will write day or night, through the cold winter and the hot summer... Sure, he may have here and there the infamous “Writers block”, though such blockage is not my case. You see… I was happy. When I'm happy, I don't feel like writing. Simple as that. I've felt much more the desire to chew my own teeth than to sit down and babble about what I usually babble.
But now I'm, once again, brooding. Raquel has left by now, that you all know, and I was left alone to wander this savage land of chinese. All in all, There is a Ton of information in my feeble mind just waiting to pop out right now, and I don’t know if I'll be able to salvage it all into a form of writing.

Let's start with a quick summary – we were in Shanghai, sad and beaten after failing to secure a job that would have granted us with a visa. Our last day was comprised of buying tickets to Beijing (after we found out there were none to Xian, well except for "standing tickets"), and most of our time was consumed by actually finding the tickets office. I think we spent some 2 or 3 hours under the scorching sun, walking from one counter to the other, from one giant building to the next.

To Shanghai "Bail-way"
Only today! Special "Wickets"!
Anyway, we left Shanghai, and, thankfully, the annoying Wenona (long story). The train to Beijing was a fast one, and we soon emerged in the big city. Really, Really, BIG city.
We found out quickly enough that the Subway station near the railway station is closed, probably due to the fact that it's still being built as we speak. Everything is and looks as though it was built or in the process of being built for the sole purpose of the grandeur of the coming Olympics spectacle. But never mind that. The next 5 days or so we spent by walking to and fro the main city area... you can't even try to escape it, since the sheer size of it doesn't let you. The only “outside” area we've been to was the “Great wall”, which was actually worth it, though throughout the 4 hours hike I kept on wondering why I keep on paying for stuff I end up suffering at? But luckily, We had brought my 7eleven umbrella I bought on the first day in China, and though it looked silly, it helped a lot..

would you like starfish with that?
Believe it or not, the scorpions are still alive when put on the stake
Forbidden city. We didn't enter the city itself... it costs money, you see...

Me naked on the wall

Me Wishing I'd be dead, on the wall

At a night club area

Just dancing with my homeys.......

We Were ambushed by hundreds of kids with a fetish for foreigners. we just stood for 10 minutes taking pictures with them.

We knew the day of reckoning was coming, and the tears were welling up as we got closer to that moment. To tell you the truth, I didn't realise how much I'm going to miss her.. And I'm not even talking about the sex... just seeing her face on skype video made her look so distant.. too distant from my grasp. When will I see her again, in person... I do not know. Booking a ticket to Xian was the only imaginable thing I could have done. I didn't have any idea where to continue, nor the will to actually move myself to do something, so Xian became the default, since Raquel and I were suppose to go there together. I left the next day, and got to Xian today at 8:00 (now it's actually yesterday (and now the day before yesterday)).

Even before I was out of the train station, I had managed to get ridiculed by the ticket officer for my bountiful chest hair.

Everybody in the town were waiting for me

Brushing that aside, I phoned the lady of the hostel I was planning to stay at to get some directions, which turned out to be relatively easy. I Quickly hopped on the bus, next to the grim gray walls, where it took me far away from the hustle and bustle of the inner city. May, the hostel owner and a very nice English speaking girl, picked me up at the bus station, and I followed her to the hostel, next to… well, actually, it was next to nowhere, on the corner of a corner of a quiet dusty side street.. She took me to my dorm room, where a single guy was trying his best to sleep (till I came). I settled down, spoke a bit with the guy, Tim by the name, had some lovely breakfast offered by the hostess and her cute great grandmother for a cheap price, and soon I was on my way to explore the famed antiquity of Xian.

The hostel. Guess which one of them is it...

It was fairly easy and cheap (one yuan) getting to the center of town, even from where I was staying. Soon enough I was gazing at the Bell tower, a relatively meek and undoubtedly reconstructed piece of architecture, especially when you got the huge Shopping mall towering above it. I didn't even bothered getting inside the tower itself, since the price was fairly high and not worth it.

The bell tower, and the mall tower.

I moved on, walking through the bustling streets with the sun in my back boiling everything to unbearable temperatures. As I was walking through a relatively calm street, watching various printing and symbols making shops (such as M for McDonald's), I stumbled upon the cutest sight I've seen in a while – 4 puppies chasing and playing with each other on the other side of a glassed door of a small pet shop. I, of course, entered and joined the festivities. Of course it was weird for the chinese people who were inside to see this strange foreigner coming out of nowhere and chasing after little puppies, but they didn't really mind, so I took the liberty of being at liberty.
I also saw one of the most insanely gorgeously stunning cat I've seen in my life, with a smooth grey white and black fur, and so cuddly you can eat him.

But never mind that. After a bit more of walking, I entered a peaceful market, where the vendors don’t actually give a rats ass whether you buy their crap or not, since they were too busy playing cards and enjoying the quiet day.

A Good luck cricket

I ended up on the southern gate wall. I must say, that the walls around the inner city are really well preserved, but unfortunately, someone decided, much like in Jerusalem, that all the other buildings should be built by the same stone and the same color as the ancient wall itself, which makes a nice shopping mall looking like nothing short of a state prison.

I came back to the hostel in the late afternoon, to be welcomed by the hostess and her family, And Tim. We ate dinner together, watched a movie, and went to bed while talking about different stuff. One of them was the plan to go together the next day to see the (in)famous Terra-Cotta warriors museum. Yeah, I know it sounds so exciting one could burp, but I promised Raquel I’ll see it and do a little representation, so the next post would be a museum walk and my annoying remarks :)

Kids playing in the sand next to a soon to be opened internet room