Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The End of Hong Kong

We have now been in Hong Kong for about five days and have had an amazing time. We have visited Victoria Peak on the famous tram line and wandered the various night markets around Tsim Sha Tsui. Today we headed to Aberdeen which is a fishing market on the other side of Hong Kong, to eat lunch at the 'Jumbo' floating restaurant which we had to take a ferry to get to. It took a long time to reach, as do most places when budget traveling, as the cheapest option usually comprises of several buses and ferries. This afternoon we wandered the streets of Mong Kok, where we saw the flower market, the bird market and the goldfish market, all of which were bustling despite it being a Wednesday night! We then went to the world's biggest sound and light show which features many high rise buildings on Hong Kong Island which cast laser beams into the sky in time with a symphony.
Our favourite sight by far has been the giant buddha on Lantau Island. There's not much to say about it - it's just a giant bronze buddha, but it has a certain aura as it looms over the trees on top of a mountain. We even got to take a really long cable car ride all the way back down to a different island in order to get home. Tomorrow we have booked ourselves a train ticket back to Shanghai to begin our internship at the Shanghai Marine Ocean University. We can't believe there's only a month left of our trip!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

T-ten million fireflies... and a waterpark

Well, it was ages ago but we had a really great time in Malaysia! We were only there for a few days but managed to see many of the attractions! Our visit started with a 3am flight landing during which they played an extremely obnoxious song that went something like "you'll love Malaysiaaaa it's truely Asiaaa" which made us doubt the possibility of us enjoying it - but we did! We stayed in the Traveler's Backpackers Hostel and it was great - we were in an eight bed dorm and met lots of people who had been traveling around Asia. We were also staying right next to the Chinatown section of Kuala Lumpur where there was a great night market going on. One day we spent on a hop on hop off bus tour of the city, visiting the National Mosque and botanical gardens along with the huge shopping malls in the city centre. We spent half an hour getting our feet nibbled on by these tiny foot-cleaning fish and it tickled so much we could hardly keep our feet in the water! The next day we spent with a friend from the Netherlands, Thom, and went up the KL tower to get an overview of the city before relaxing in one of the cities many bars. We also took a night boat ride along one of Malyasia's rivers to see fireflies in the mangrove swamps - there were billions of them and it looked as if christmas trees lining the river. On the last day we ignored our budget and spent a whole day at Malaysia's biggest waterpark!

Our blog works in Hong Kong!

Sorry we haven't written in a while, the web censorship in China really is a pain! We had a great month in Beijing. We were staying with a lovely family, who have an apartment right in the center of downtown Beijing, so we were able to go out and explore every day. After we covered all of the major tourist sights in Beijing, we got into a very relaxing routine of waking up late, going out to a western restaurant for luch (we like chinese food, but it gets tiring three meals a day!) and then wandering around, or sitting in a cafe and reading. We also bought some cheap DVDs, and caught up on our movie-watching a bit. It was nice to chill out a bit after months of non stop traveling! We also took a trip to Xi'an, to see the terracotta warriors. There were over 6,000 warriors in the biggest tomb, each with different uniforms and faces. It was an amazing sight! We decided to travel to Hong Kong for a week, although we didn't realize until we were boarding the train that we were technically leaving China, so it caused our visas to expire. Oh well, it was worth getting another visa because we love Hong Kong. It is so bustling, with tall buildings and lights everywhere. Now we're headed to Shanghai for three weeks, and then we come home!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Some pictures from India and KL

Our last thali in Jaipur

Kl skyline

View of Petronus Towers from Kl Tower

Inside the KL Tower

Feeding monkeys in KL

A monkey climbing up our Japanese friend

Sunset in Kuala Selangor

Restaurant in Kuala Selangor

Petaling Street, Chinatown KL

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jagmandir Island, Cooking Classes, Horse Riding

These past couple of days have been some of the best in India. Udaipur is such a great city and there's a ton to do. Yesterday we took a boat around the lake and visited Jagmandir Island Palace - a gorgeous complex with quaint little courtyards and amazing views over the lake. We even got to look around the spa area (like we could EVER afford to go there!). We loved just sitting on white patio chairs watching the boats coming and going - such a beautiful place to journal as well! Then, last night we went to Shashi's cooking class below the Sunrise rooftop restaurant in Lal Ghat. If you are ever in Udiapur, you HAVE to go here - it was a 5 1/2 hour class filled with fun and we learnt over twenty new recipes, including most of the basics for Indian cooking. Think parantha (stuffed, butter, coconut), naan, aloo tomato masala, mango chutney, coriander chutney, pakoras (veg, paneer, onion, potato), vegetable biryani... and so much more! We took the class with a couple from the French West Indes, who are studying in Paris and India, and a Kiwi who is living in Kolkata/Calcutta working for an NGO which works with people in the slums. Talk about an interesting night! And then, of course, there's Shashi - a lovely lady who started the business after she was widowed at 32 and felt held back by her caste's rules. You'll have to take a class to find out the rest of her story, but she is truely amazing. We returned to our hostel at 11pm, exhausted, covered in flour, with a bag of sweet parantha for this morning! Today we have been on a hack/horse riding safari in the Udaipur countryside for 4 1/2 hours and are very sore as a result! We went with two German girls, a guy from Finland, another girl from Spain and our guide. We stopped for chai masala in the rural villages and there was this gorgeous little girl with no clothes and absolutely WILD hair! It was very funny. We stopped by a lotus pool for a break, and came back to the hostel at 2pm very sore, but very happy. Tonight we might try and find the cinema in Udaipur - which, according to the Spaniard, is no easy feat. There's a new Bollywood film out, however, and we can't wait to see it!
(pictures will come later!)