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Showing posts from October, 2007

Scouring North India

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In India, I remember we traveled a lot by train. From New Delhi, we took a train down south to Agra and then Jaipur. Then, it was by train too that we went further down to Varanasi, before going up again to New Delhi, Simla and back again to our starting, New Delhi, that is. Some of the journeys seemed to last so long. We usually traveled at night. When we slept in the bare bunk, it was terribly, terribly cold. Once, while going to Varanasi, the train was delayed for one whole day and we shivered as we sat on a bench that night, waiting for the train which never seemed to come. Then, we realized that there was actually a warm room for passengers to wait in. In fact, there are also hostels in train stations for passengers to put up the night too but if you do not book in advance; getting a place to sleep may sometimes be a hassle. In any case, if you have nowhere to put up, you can always sleep anywhere convenient. In Varanasi, an ancient city which attracts a lot of Hindu pilgrims, …

Eating by the Roadside

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Once, Kok Soo had to go to Teluk Intan, Perak for some business. It happened that I was free and I invited myself along. Well, you will have to be on your own for most of the time, Kok Soo said and I nodded in agreement. It was a trip that I found worthwhile.First of course, it was because I got to stop in Sitiawan and have my first taste of Sitiawan cendol. It was not just that the cendol was delicious but the Indian man who sold the sweet dessert did looked rather quaint with his tall white hat and red bow tie! It was really, really a pleasant surprise! I got to pretend that I was eating in some hotel rather than by the roadside. How cool could that be!




Eating cendol by the roadside...





The hawker....





Travel Tip: Watch out for surprises by the roadside.

Flying without Wings

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Shah SMSed me saying he was jealous to see me taking a ride in a hot air balloon. Oh! That balloon ride in OceanPark, Hong Kong! I didn’t see any hot flame under the balloon, so I don’t know if it qualified as a hot air balloon or not. But I did take a ride in a balloon up to the blue sky in Hong Kong! Tuck Meng who had been to Kenya, Africa many years ago said that a ride in a hot air balloon there bore an exorbitant price tag of about 500 dollars. I am not sure now if that price was quoted in US dollars or Malaysian Ringgit but either way, for that price, I would rather jump a high building and fly myself really. Since that would also be disastrous for sure, I had thus jumped at the chance offlying in the balloon at Ocean Park, Hong Kong despite the fact that I had to share it with many others and have to bear the excruciating pain of waiting in a long queue. It was a worthwhile wait!
Chin Heng in a kiddie's balloon...



Balloons, balloons everywhere...


Views from the top....








Travelin…

A Walk Round Amsterdam

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We managed to join a group of young Westerners in a walking tour round Amsterdam on our second try. That was a day before we left for Paris. The guide was an American man who was lecturing in Holland. It seemed that the trip was not free after all. We were told quite subtly before the actual walking began that we could give tips. Though the amount was not really fixed, it was suggested that we gave at least five Euros each. I thought it was fair for throughout the walk, the guide took pain to explain and tell stories about the places which we passed. Walking around in Amsterdam was very pleasant. The winter there was not harsh and we did not suffer the discomfort of sweating and the sting of the tropical sun. Halfway through the walk, we stopped somewhere near the park where there was a big statue of Rembrandt, the famous artist and many, many other smaller statues of soldiers I think, keeping the midnight watch. We were to have lunch and poor me, just ate some biscuits which I had br…

A Market for the Festive Season

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Tomorrow will be Hari Raya Puasa. That literally means Fasting New Year. Muslims all over the world will celebrate the end of Ramadan which is the fasting month in the Muslim Calendar. During this time, able-bodied Muslims will abstain from food for a long period of time. They will wake up early for Sahur, after which time, they will not eat, drink or smoke until late in the evening when they will break from fast. In Malaysia, breaking fast is a grand affair. Families break fast together and there will be treats for all. Ramadan Markets have sprouted to cater for their needs. When the Ramadan season first started, the Chinese were in the midst of celebrating Moon Cake Festival. I had gone over to Miss Tang’s house to give her some moon cakes which my niece had made. How about going to the Ramadan Market in Kamunting? I asked just before I left. Well, the rest was history…
The Crowd at Pasar Ramadan...






Food and drinks to break fast with...




Traveling Tip: You can visit the market!

Discoveries in Iran

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Breast and nose jobs are the rave in Iran! According to the News Straits Times, dozens of beauty centers, including spas and salons, have mushroomed across Teheran. An Art student, Ziba had nose and breast surgeries and she wanted to be tanned and look more attractive. Wearing the headscarf is obligatory under Syariah law which was imposed after the 1979 revolution but that doesn’t keep the Iranian women from taking care of their looks. I was rather surprised by the news because when I visited Iran, I had thought the people there, men and women alike are naturally good looking. One particular woman who removed her headscarf when we were in the plane to Qatar looked just like a doll! Throughout our visit there, from Teheran to Shiraj, Kerman, Yantz, Abyaneh and Esfahan, we saw good looking people. When we were in Teheran again during the last leg of our trip, we met youngsters who were very keen in learning English and a boy in a bus even told me he loved Harry Potter! Believe me, you …

Of a Lost City

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I am lost. It must be a day before we went to Taj Mahal or a day after, that we went to Fatehpur Sikri. Nevertheless, we did go there, the LostCity of Akhbar the Great ; it was just 26 miles away from Agra. The city is in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India and used to be the political capital of India's Mughal Empire under Akbar's reign, from 1571 until 1585, when it was abandoned, ostensibly due to lack of water. We took a cab there, a big one but a bit too old too I guessed. It chugged a seemingly long way, passing dusty towns, beautiful rapeseed fields and oh, what a surprise! Occasionally, we saw one or two wild peacocks along the way and a man here and there, each with a bear! Back home, a friend who had watched a National Geographic program, later told me that these bears had been trained to dance to earn a living but their teeth had all been removed by their masters! I am lost now for words...




Passing dusty towns....






Meeting workers going to work....





Rapeseed fields...



The …

Five minute Traveling

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A sweet dessert, Cendol...




It was Sunday and I thought I do something different. So, off I went to town lugging my digital camera along. I had a sweet, savory dessert, Cendol sold by an Indian Muslim. Then, off I went to Taiping War Memorial which is situated between Taiping picturesque Lake Gardens and Bukit Larut and took some shots to share with you. Here you are, Taiping War Memorial:








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Traveling Tip: You don't need a lot of time to travel!

A grand capital called Persepolis

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Some 2500 years ago, Darius the Great of the Achaemenid Empire built a grand ceremonial capital called Persepolis. Persepolis is about 50 km from Shiraz at the foot of the RahmatMountains. Alexander the Great destroyed it in 330 B.C. but archaeologists combing through its debris managed to reveal most of what was left of its structure. FromNaqsh-e Rustam, our taxi had taken us to Persepolis. The Shah of Iran, before being toppled by the late Ayatollah Khomeini, reportedly held a glitzy party for the World Rich and famous there. Only the privileged must be able to roam such a grand place!
Moving into Persepolis...



Gateway to Persepolis...





A top view of Persepolis ...




What's left of Persepolis..







A boat ride in Amsterdam's Canals

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One morning, someone read in a brochure that there was a free walking tour round Amsterdam. Interested parties would have to wait outside the railway station at about nine in the morning. We went there the second day we were in Amsterdam but failed to meet up with the man who would take us for a walk. So, since there was a ticketing booth nearby, we had bought tickets to go for a boat ride in Amsterdam’s canals instead

Get your tickets from booth like this...






Taking a boat ride in the canals in Amsterdam offers a beautiful sight of old buildings...





Buildings along the canal...


Traveling Tip:Look for alternatives.