Wednesday, 21 December 2005

Best Things In Life

The best things in life are books!

I went to Borders over the weekend. Spent $230 on a whole lot of wonderful read.

I think I get a natural high when I smell new books.

I don't think I can ever live without my books. Children's books, that is.

What I Hate The Most

What I hate the most:

1. People holding high-level positions abusing their power, doing nothing for the good cause and yet, dare not admit their wrongdoings.

2. People holding high-level positions getting awards, which they do not deserve, and getting monetary gains from these awards.

Saturday, 10 December 2005

Empress Qiuling xia Jiang Nan 29th Nov 2005 – 7th Dec 2005

29th Nov 2005, Tuesday, Noon
So the big day is here. The flight to Shanghai is at 11.55pm.

I’m still not done with packing my luggage in the afternoon. Went over to Causeway Point to buy some more stuff. Qiaojing and Ying are asking me why the hell am I still shopping on the day I’m leaving. I finally got walking shoes!

I made a list of things I want to buy. It’s a photo list.

Chewy (aka my sister) went to rebond her hair in the evening. Very smart of her. She doesn’t have to be bothered by her unruly hair when we reach there.

I’m not into China. Going only because it’s a free trip. Chewy is delighted. Shanghai is her dream city. How I wish I’m going to my dream city instead! No worries though. Just a gentle reminder.

New York, 2012; Chewy, Qiaojing, Ying.

I can finally put my Qoo travel bag to use already! Yeah!

End


29th Nov 2005, Tuesday, 10pm
On our way to the airport. Heming is coming along to send us off just now. Qiaojing and Ying are meeting me there to send me off. Silly Qiaojing text the wrong person just now. She wrote, “What are you doing later? I’m going out. Going to the airport to send Wynnii off”. Instead of sending this to her boyfriend, she sent this message to me. I replied, “I’ll be at the airport to let you send me off lor”.

I think Qiaojing is secretly in love with me. She always sends me messages that are meant for her boyfriend. Hmm…. Does this mean that she thinks of me as her boyfriend? This is not good. Sorry Qiaojing honey, you’re not exactly my type and I don’t think we’ll work out. It’s best we remain as best friends. Ying, try to talk to her when I’m away okie.

End


29th Nov 2005, Tuesday, 11.55pm
Going to board the plane now. We went for Swensens ice-cream just now. What is it with us and Swensens? Are we bent on trying the ice-creams at every Swensens outlet?

End


30th Nov 2005, Wednesday, 2.25am
We had our meal not too long ago. We had a choice of Western or Chinese. Silly stewardess told us Western is ‘kuey’ (Malay for cake) and we were puzzled. The ‘kuey’ turned out to be macaroni. Chewy hated it. I thought it was not too bad when it was warm. We can’t really expect much on China Airlines, right?

I’m listening to Chinese pop songs now, Qiaojing. They are playing two of my fav: Huang Yida’s Na Nu Hai Tui Wo Shuo and Jolin Tsai’s Tian Kong. Pretty good start to the trip eh.

However, I gotta meti hat while we were on the runway, the lights flickered once. My gosh! I reached for Chewy’s arm immediately. Haha!

Okie, they are playing sucky songs now. I’m going to switch to my trust retro hits. I have to mention this. They have Chinese Jing1 Ju4 on the 12th frequency. Quite an eye, or should I say, ear-opener.

I just checked my mobile phone. Seems like I don’t have auto-roam. Aargh! Then I remember we’re in the air. Keke..

Oh ya, I love the dinner box. You know the box that all the little dishes are held in? Yeah, that’s the one. I’m bringing it back! Loved the box! My mum gave me an exasperated look when I told her about me bringing the box along. Keke~

End 2.40am


30th Nov 2005, Wednesday, 4.30am
I just realised I can’t bring my lovely dinner box along. :( It’ll get crushed in my luggage bag. Hmff!

It’s okie, I’ll bring one back on my way home.

End


30th Nov 2005, Wednesday, 8pm
It’s only 8pm and we’re back in our hotel room already! Something interesting first. The sky went dark at 5.30pm and I thought it was 8pm! No, 8pm is now! Cold and dark.

We had two people leading the tour: one from China called Liu Dong, one from Singapore called Peter Han. The one from Singapore basically is just a tour leader, meaning he just accompanies us.

Let me now recount the events of the day.

We landed at Pu3 Dong1 airport in Shanghai at 6am. It was cold cold cold. We didn’t get no time freshening up at the hotel and we’re off to breakfast and our first stop of the trip. It was a 2 hours bus ride to Xi1 Tang2 watertown. It’s basically rows of riverside shophouses. I wanted to buy some darn cute shoes but the haggling fell through. Hmff! It’s okie, I bet I can find nicer ones.

We actually saw people doing their laundry along the pavilion steps by the water. I have only seen those in television shows. It’s almost surreal.

We were told by Liu Dong that the food here tend to fall on the salty quarter side of the suan1 tian2 ku3 la4 wheel. Yes, I do realise there’s no sian2 quarter. Anyway, he cannot be more truthful. Good thing he informed the kitchen that we Singaporeans are weaklings and cannot take part in their Fear Factor “Salt is Free” episode.

After lunch, it was another gruelling two hours bus ride to Hangzhou. The bus rides seem to take forever. I tired to sleep it off. Whenever I sleep, time seems to pass so ever quickly[i], causing me to be late for school, appointments, dates, yoga... you get the idea. However, time does not pass as quickly as I wish over here when I sleep. A two-hour bus ride seems like an eternity in this cold cold cold cold cold country.

Anyway, we finally arrived in Hangzhou. Guess what we did? We checked into a hotel at 3.30pm, rest, assembled at 5.30pm, had dinner at 6.15pm, finished dinner at 7.15pm, back at hotel at 8pm. Then we were told it’s the end of Day 1.

Huh!??!?
What?!

Wait a minute, you mean there’s no gou4 wu4 (aka shopping) or no other activities?!

You mean I cannot satisfy my most innate instinct to purchase?

You mean I cannot get started on checking my shopping list of knee-high slouchy boots, knee-length trench coats, fake colourful Dior bangles, cutesy Hurley shoes, floppy felt hats, furry ear muffs or gorgeous knitted gloves?

THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING!!!!!

So here we are on the hotel bed at 8pm, all ready to call it a day. Resigned to fate, or rather what the tour guide had arranged, I threw on five tops, three pairs of yoga pants, two pairs of socks, one sweater and slumped in front of the dian4 shi4 ji1 (aka television).

I’m freezing my, pardon my French, ass off here while writing this[ii]. Doesn’t the heater do its job!!?!?

Well, I’m visiting Xi1 Hu2 (aka West Lake) tomorrow morning. Have to wake up at 6.30am! This is great, just great. Pray tell, how the hell am I supposed to wake up at such an odd hour? Please bear in mind my internal clock operates on New York city’s time[iii]. I cannot wake up at such ungodly hour! I have to force myself to sleep soon…

To end things on a not-so-high note, I realised I forgot to bring ngeow ngeow[iv]! No ngeow ngeow, no sleep. Seriously, someone tell me now how on earth am I to wake up at 6.30am?

End


1st Dec 2005, Thursday, 3.15am
See! I told you my internal clock is a New Yorker’s. It’s 2.15am over in the big Apple now, so most people would be awake, like me. However, most New Yorkers would be tapping away in front of their computers, unlike me.

All right, so let me put the time to good use. I realised I forget to mention the sights and sounds of the two places I’ve visited. So, here goes.

Xi1 Tang2
It’s called the Xitang water town and I did mention that it’s basically rows of old shophouses and homes. We went to this house that is more than 300 years old. It’s like the ones you see in those Chinese gu3 zhuang1 (aka pugilistic) shows. As usual, people built bridges to get across to the other side of the river. There is a bridge that is said to grant you a son if you walk on its left side or a daughter if you walk on its right side.

Of course, I chose the right side. I always knew, somehow, my first child will be a little girl. Now, I’m glad the bridge will lend a helping hand. Ha~ Chewy was asking me how should she get across since she doesn’t want kids. I told her she would most probably have to swim across then.
But, I digress.

I thought we were supposed to take a boat ride but we did not. It would have been pretty fun. The camera ran out of battery, so I could not take much pictures of this place.

After lunch, Chewy and I saw three women cleaning some ducks in the backyard. They told ust he ducks are to be dried and eaten over the winter. We just stood there and watched them tweeze the ducks’ hair, cut the ducks open, remove the ducks’ internal organs and, for the first time in my life, saw them remove the duck egg from the cut-up duck.

There was no duck or chicken on our menu because we, as kiasee Singaporeans, don’t dare to go near poultry.

This is basically all of Xi Tang. Nothing much.

Let’s move to Hangzhou.

As the saying goes “Shang4 You3 Tian1 Tang2, Xia4 You3 Su1 Hang2”[v]. This literally translates to You have the Heavens above and the Su Hang below. Hang Zhou is a city, not some old town like some would have expected. Lots of cars and buses ply the roads. You’ll find almost no motorbikes here because of strict air pollution regulations. Motorbikes emit too much smoke and are not environmentally friendly.

I saw electric buses! Those with cable above, just like the bumper cars at amusement parks. Very wicked. Don’t think we’ll get to ride in one, though.

Digress alert!
Yesterday (29th Nov) was the first day in my life I used so much moisturiser! The 12°C weather makes the moisturiser disappear in no time. I didn’t complain about the oiliness. It (the weather) must be that dry!

All of a sudden, I have this carving for satay mee hoon! Ahhhh! I’m not going to find it here!
End of digress.

I finally saw a McDonald’s in Hang Zhou. I was beginning to wonder where’s America’s biggest export. I have no idea which part of Hang Zhou I’m in but I’ll find out tomorrow and fill you in. I wanna eat Chinese McValue meals! I want to know what they serve. Rice should be on the menu, no? I want McDonald’s.

Digress alert!
I was going to boil me some water for my water bottle. I called housekeeping to ask them how to use the kettle. I have no idea what the kettle is called in Chinese! We (housekeeping guy and I) ha1 la1 for a few minutes before he realised what I was talking about. It’s called shui hu (aka water bottle). Haha~ I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life, just like ambulance is jiu4 shang1 ce4 in Chinese. Don’t ask.
End of digress.

All right, I cant say much about Hang Zhou because I’ve only seen the interior of my hotel, the interior restaurant we had dinner at, and the rest of it from the inside of the coach.

Will write (literally) more later.

Xi Hu has got to be nice, no?

End


1st Dec 2005, Thursday, 9.30pm
We’re back in the hotel room. Had so much fun today!

I actually managed to drag myself out of bed at 6.40am. took a bath in this freak 10°C weather. You have no idea how much I wish I’m back at home, snuggling in my warm cosy bed with ngeow ngeow. With Happy Colour World covering me and my bao bao beside me, I’ll be in real heavens[vi] (pardon the pun).

I had the most horrid breakfast since the one I had in KL. It was oily and salty. I want McDonald’s breakfast! Why don’t they have 24hours delivery service here?

After an unstomachable (kids, this word doesn’t exist) breakfast, we head over to Xi Hu (aka West Lake). It’s named so because it’s on the west side of the city.

It’s an extremely chilly morning. We took a leisure cruise on the lake. The fog made Xi Hu’s green hills less visible. I don’t think the lake is especially scenic or appealing, but I do like the Liu3 Shu4 (aka willows) planted at the lake banks. They sawy to the wind and it’s lovely the way they do.

People, if you think China is one big farmland, you cannot be more than wrong. They have whatever we have in Singapore. Their Haagen Daz ice cream bars cost 30RMB (about SG$6+) which is more costly than over here.

Chewy bought one ice cream bar. She is insane. It’s damn cold on the outside and she’s eating ice cream. Serves her right for freezing 15 minutes later.

Later, we stroll through the Hua2 Gang1 gong1 yuan2 (aka Hua Gang Park). There is a pond filled with countless golden carps. The only way to get across is the cross this winding bridge.
Trust me when I said I almost died there and then. The only relief is that the carps are still relatively small, so I didn’t die there and then[vii].

Next, we head over to Mei2 Jia1 Wu1. It’s a tea culture village famous for its Long2 Jing3 Cha2. This green tea supposedly detoxifies your body and is one of the best in China. This tea is even endorsed by the central government of China.

We had a cup each. The tea is a tad bitter and dry. Note that it’s better known for it’s medicinal value than taste.

The tea leaves are harvest three times a year: Spring, Summer and Fall. The spring harvest yields the best leaves followed by summer and fall harvests. We were told that the spring leave are served to the central government of China and sold in their original form. The summer and fall leaves are not for sale in their original form. They are used in tea bags instead. All right, all right, I know, I know. Too much educational, but boring, information. Just one last piece of info, one box of tea leaves costs 300RMB (about SG$65) each!

After burning a big hole in our pockets, we head back to Xi Hu for lunch and Xi Hu Tian1 Di4, a place where people sip their coffee or teas.

Our day guided tour usually ends after dinner at 6.30pm. All of us had no choice but to pay 400RMB each to enjoy some activities for some nights.

For tonight, we get to go to watch this famous Hang Zhou dance performance in Song4 Cheng2 (aka Song City). This man-made mini city is a tourist attraction, just like the now-defunct Tang dynasty we had in Singapore. The staff dress up in costumes from the Song dynasty. The dance performance was superb. The show started with the Emperor declaring three days of celebrations to commemorate his victory in war. The dancers donned costumes of different nationalities, such as Arabian, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese. The costumes were splendid[viii]!

For myself, I donned some costumes too! I rented them from the stalls in Song Cheng. Love it! Absolutely adore it!

This I must say. People, I ate chou4 dou4 fu3 (aka smelly fried beancurd)! I know that I swear off all types of bean curd related stuff, but this I gotta try. Exactly, I was having such a bad cold that I couldn’t smell it at all. I guess it was a blessing in disguise. Hee~

After the show, we went for dinner. It’s was drizzling, chilly and windy, but my mood wasn’t dampened at all. :)

End.


2nd Dec 2005, Friday
Today is a blur. I didn’t even bother to wake up for the lousiest breakfast on Earth. We head for Su Zhou and it was late afternoon when we arrived.

We went to this Han2 Shan1 Si4 (aka Cold Mountain Temple). Don’t be mistaken (like I was), the temple is NOT on a cold mountain. Han Shan is a name of a person. I was still thinking, “Kaoz! Do they know that it’s less than 10°C? Don’t tell me they are going to bring us to climb a freaking cold mountain”. So relieved when I found out the temple is NOT on a cold mountain.
Then we took a boat cruise down the river beside the temple. It was evening time when we were done. The sky turned dark near 5pm+!

Learned that in Su Zhou, you say ‘Ai yo yo’ to a beautiful girl and ‘Ai ya ya’ to a not-so-pretty girl. We went to this street after dinner. I thought we are finally going to do some shopping, but I was wrong. Nothing to buy! Hmff!

Boring day.

End.


3rd Dec 2005, Saturday, 11.50pm
We are in Nan2 Jing1 now. At a new hotel with very nice shower head!

We were still in Su Zhou this morning before lunch. We went to a garden called Gentlewave Pavilion[ix] then visit a silk factory. I saw how silk is produced! Fascinating! Chewy and I bought this quilt that cost 380RMB each (about SG$81). We bought one for mummy and daddy too. This quilt supposedly makes you feel cool in the summer heat and warm in the winter cold. We’ll find out if this claim holds back in Singapore[x].

After lunch, it was a three-hour coach ride to Nan Jing. First stop in Nan Jing is Sun1 Zhong1 Sun1 (aka Dr Sun Yet Sen) mausoleum. We had to climb a total of 392 steps to get to his burial tomb. Only a few people were up for it. Chewy and I were, of course, among the few. The view at the top is spectacular! The fog, trees, hills sure made the climb worthwhile.

Dinner was, for once, an interesting episode. Instead of the usual round tables, we were seated at a rectangular table. We had traditional Nan Jing Qin2 Huai2 dishes. We were each served individually a portion of Nan Jing cuisine. The bun even come with a small dim sum wooden steamer of its own. Cute!

It’s finally shopping time after dinner! Went over to the shopping belt opposite the restaurant. We had only 1hour and 20 minutes. Chewy and I wasted no time. We knew we wanted to get jackets and boots (for me). And so, we did!

I found this lovely jacket and Chewy found her favourite too. Overjoyed! We bought ear muffs, bags, jackets, knitted caps. You should have seen us with the many shopping bags. Yeah, this day is the best so far!

There were some beggars following us just now. Heartbreaking sight.

All right, it’s after midnight now. Gotta sleep now. Good night!

End.


4th Dec 2005, Sunday, 10.30pm
It’s a darn cold day today. Temperature: -1 to 5°C!

Aahh!

Icy breathe! Cool! (pardon the pun)

We went to Chang2 Jiang1 Da3 Qiao2 (aka Chang Jiang Bridge) tower to view the bridge and the surroundings from 70m above. It was very, very windy. I told Chewy she could just proclaim me dead. Brrrr…rr..

Next, we went to a Nei4 Hua4 (aka interior drawing) museum. It’s those little jars and bottles where the drawings are on the inside. The eccentric, or should I say mercenary, artist only allows people who buy his pieces to take pictures with him. *Spit!*

We had a hearty lunch. Ate D3a Zha2 Xie4 (aka hairy crab). Gosh. It’s one of those food which I dislike[xi]: you-waste-time-and-effort-and-yet-cant-fill-your-tummy-kind-of-food.

I have not mention much about the food here eh. One world will do: vegetables. Do you have any idea how much suffering I’m enduring now (when it comes to meal times)? Half the dishes are not consumable by my standards: anything green, leafy, resemble vegetable or tofu look-alike. I will consume these inconsumable only under special circumstances.

If there are only goat liver, eyes and intestines available
There is a famine in Singapore, which is not ever possible.
There is a drought in Singapore, which is also not ever possible.
My alter-ego takes over.

You get the idea.

After lunch, it’s another gruelling 3-hour ride to Wu2 Xi1. The bus ride today was especially bad. No leg space. I might just feedback (read: complain) this to Chan Brothers when we get back.
The first stop at Wu Xi is to pick up our local guide[xii]. Whenever we reach a new city, we’ll have a local guide to bring us around. This is on top of the two guides we have for the whole trip. Interesting eh.

We then proceed to the Three Kingdom Park. It’s a film city though we didn’t see any filming going on. Most probably because it’s too (pardon my French) goddamn cold! It’s about -1°C and we are out in the open! The film city is beside a very big lake called Tai4 Hu2. This could jolly well explain the howling wind. All of us took a tram ride around place. We were overjoyed when heading for the exit.

Chewy said she could now understand how actors and actresses feel when they have to film in this kind of weather. I seriously doubt any idiots or non-idiots will be filming in this (opps, pardon my French again) god-damn cold.

Chewy was freezing and she couldn’t even stand properly! Weak. I’m the one who’s afraid of the cold, you know.

It’s the best dinner we ever had and I believe it’s very likely because of the cold and hunger. Chewy said the meat are a tad sub-standard. They seem to be mock meat, rather than the real deal. Maybe it’s the texture of the meat or maybe it’s the sauce they added in the xiao long baos?

We were in for a pleasant surprise when we found out we will be checking into a five-star hotel tonight. It’s called Hai3 Xing1 Da3 Jiu3 Dian4 (aka Hai Xing Grand Hotel). The hotel seems like any other I’ve stayed in other countries. One thing for sure though, all the hotels here are better than the supposed-five-star hotel, Crown Princess Hotel, in Kuala Lumpur.

So now, I’m sitting in front of the tv again and recording Empress Qiuling’s Jiangnan trip using pen and paper[xiii]. Need to snuggle under the bed to keep myself warm.

End.


5th Dec 2005, Monday, 11.30pm
It’s -3°C today! Ahhhhh!!

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr………rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr……..rrrrrrrrrrrrr
Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr………rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr……..rrrrrrrrrrrrr
Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr………rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr……..rrrrrrrrrrrrr
Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr………rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr……..rrrrrrrrrrrrr
Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr………rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr……..rrrrrrrrrrrrr
Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr………rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr……..rrrrrrrrrrrrr
Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr………rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr……..rrrrrrrrrrrrr

I’m finally in Shanghai!

Was still at Wu2 Xi1 this morning. Had a really bad start to the day. And it’s a lousy end to the day as well.

I’m at this lousy, smoke-reeking three-star hotel which is about 20 minutes away from the city’s central. The heater is not working. Again. Actually, all the (pardon my French) fucking heaters don’t work over here at all!!! They’re simply part of the d├ęcor. Ugly and useless. I seriously don’t understand why they bother to install the heaters.

Yes, you’ll say that I can call housekeeping and ask them to do something about it. Trust me. This is the fifth hotel I’m staying for this trip and this is the fifth time I’m calling. They just send someone over and pretend to have a look, after which they’ll say the room will get warmer in no time. After the second day, I got the picture. They can’t and don’t do no shit about it.
Maybe it’s because I’m cold and hungry, so I’m a little cranky now. Aargh! Blood hell!

Anyway, the bad day started with me still in Wu Xi. After an oily fried rice breakfast, we went to a Pearl Culture Farm.

Place: Pearl Culture Farm
Goods: Freshwater Pearls
Selling tactic: Hard sell

Noteworthy trait: Salespersons are able to bombard you, surround you, hover around you and irritate the hell out of you.

Typical scene (Act 1, Scene 1): A salesperson shoves a strand of pearls into your face then proceeds to tell you how good they are. Next, they bring out a supposed better strand of pearls and now, they tell you how much better this new strand is, while at the same time, belittling the first strand they showed you.

While you are taking a look at the two strands, they proceed to bombard you with all the 5000 characters available in the Chinese written and spoken language. While you still trying to make sense of it all, they shove another three strands of even better pearls to you. This unique ability to talk non-stop (from what I gather) comes from years of training. They basically can answer a “How much does this cost?” question with a 3000-word reply. Freaking irritating.

Now, here’s the interesting part. If you were to listen carefully to what they are saying, (which I do because I’m amazed and amused by this unique talent of theirs), you’ll realised they’re saying things that are not coherent. In laymen’s term, they lie.

Now now, all these places that the guides brought us to are supposedly endorsed by the central government. Does this mean the central government actually consider lying to customers a good thing? Some food for thought…

End of Act 1, Scene 1.

Another thing that you must know about the salespersons are that their eyes grow on the back of their heads. They actually take the effort to shove you, knock into you, push you, brush against you like there’s no tomorrow. You can’t exactly blame them, isn’t it? They can’t see! Plastic surgery is becoming popular in China. Maybe the central government can issue a decree, making all the salespersons go for eye-transfer surgery?

All right, after Taihu’s Pearl Culture Farm, we moved on to a Zi3 Sha1 (aka purple sand) teapot factory. I cannot be bothered to write much about this place. In one line, get ready to burn a hole in your wallet, pocket and jeans again.

After two lousy tourist spots, we had lunch and it’s a 2½ hour ride to Shanghai. Jam was bad like morning traffic on CTE. Tall buildings like Raffles Place. They even have a Fullerton Hotel wannabe at the waterfront , just like ours. The imitation business in China really deserves recognition and a big trophy.

First stop in Shanghai was Nan2 Jing1 Lu4 (aka Nanjing Road). Boring and cold.

Second stop was Chang2 Jiang1 Cruise ride. Nice night scenery and cold.

Third stop was hotel. Smelly and cold.

I’m going to Xiang4 Yang2 Jie1 (aka Xiangyang Street) tomorrow. I better be able to everything on my shopping list. If not, trust me when I say I will never recommend my friends (or anyone for that matter) to visit China. Shen1 Zhen4 (which I visited years ago) already left a very bad taste in my mouth. A second chance doesn’t come along ever so easily, so China had better redeem itself tomorrow.

By the way, the Shanghainese Xiao3 Long2 Bao1 (aka steamed buns) isn’t all that great. We had them for dinner in a restaurant. I think Crystal Jade has better ones.
All right, I’m going to sleep this bad day off.

End.


6th Dec 2005, Tuesday, (no time available cos I was too tired to write on actual day)
We went for a brief tour at Song Qinling’s (second wife of Dr Sun Yet Sen) mausoleum. It’s getting colder each passing day. How do the people survive here?

My nose, chins and lip area are hurting and cracking like nobody’s business. I bought Kleenex tissue paper from the supermarket and I tell you, Kleenex has the softest tissue papers ever! I’m never buying another brand again.

But I digress, yet again.

Of course whenever we visit a tourist spot, they are trying to sell something (which they claim is not available somewhere else or not as good as what they have). This time round, it’s got to do with Feng Shui. I don’t want to rant once more.

It’s supposed to be a zi4 you2 huo2 dong4 tian1 (aka free-and-easy day) today but half the day was gone after the visit. We finally arrived at Xiang Yang Jie. This bus ride to Xiang Yang Jie actually cost us money (which we paid for in the extra 400RMB the guides duped us of).

We were supposedly to visit the mother of all imitation warehouses but it turned out that the police are raiding the warehouses and it’s unsafe for us to go there. We waited for an hour for the raid to be over, but it wasn’t. Chewy and I (together with another auntie from our tour group) decided to make our way through the street maze of Xiang Yang Fashion Market. Mummy and Da4 Yi2 went to visit some relatives. Who knew we had relatives in China!
Xiang Yang Market guo3 ran2 ming2 bu4 xu1 chuan2 (aka Xiang Yang Market really lives up to its name). They have everything you can ask for.

If you know me well enough, you’d know I have this unhealthy obsession with all things winter-related: shawls, scarves, gloves, ponchos, trench coats, beanies, boots. Chewy got two pairs of jeans which she absolutely adores! I think being able to haggle is a innate skill. Tried as you might to emulate me, fail as you will. Ha!

We shopping from 4pm – 9pm. Strangely, my thighs were the parts that were hurting by the end of the shopping trip. I couldn’t lift them up. It was queer. By the way, it was 0°C today and there was a cold wave. Can you believe it! I shopped for five hours in this freaking cold. This has got to be a personal best! *claps*

The only irking part about shopping in Xiang Yang Jie is that people will come up to you and ask if you are interested in some counterfeit branded bags. I want! But I can’t. We were told by the guides that these people will walk us through this road maze before arriving at their warehouses, upon which they will shut the doors and they might not let you leave till you’ve purchased (according to what they considered) enough. I wanted so much to buy my fake Jil Sander bucket bag. Maybe if they had not mentioned LV every single time, and for once, mentioned Jil Sander, I would have followed them. What’s the deal with LV? No biggie, really.

End.


7th Dec 2005, Wednesday, (no time available cos I was on the plane home at night)
Chewy wanted to go the Peace Hotel to take some pictures so we planned to go to the Shanghai Art Museum and walk over to the hotel.

Chewy and I took a cab to the Shanghai Art Museum. Bought some lovely bags. It was the Renmin Guang Chang (aka People’s Square) just behind the museum. We got directions and walked over to Raffles City Shopping Mall where we had lunch at KFC (which serves a totally different menu from Singapore).

We took a long walk through Nan Jing Road and we chanced upon this secluded shoe departmental store that sells gorgeous boots! We spent our last penny there! I got three pairs and Chewy got one. I love love love the boots! I knew we wouldn’t have a chance to wear them in Singapore so I made us changed into the boots before we continue on our journey to the Peace Hotel (which no one seems to have any idea where it is!).

At 4pm, we finally arrived at the legendary Peace Hotel. Don’t ask me what’s the deal with it. Chewy was the one who wanted to take pictures of it. And she being the silly girl as she is, took only the disposable camera out. We had only two shots left! Aargh! All this walking for two pictures of the hotel. Cannot believe it.

After all the walking in the darling but killer boots, we head back to the hotel to rest. I tell you, the boots are really f’’’king stunning. Hee~

After everyone gathered at the hotel, we head to the Oriental Pearl TV Tower which is the world’s third tallest TV and radio tower. It is 468 metres high. How high up to the tower you go depends on how much you pay. It’s a tad ridiculous, no?

Honestly, the view from the top isn’t all that great. I have no other comments.

Finally, we are going back to Pu Dong airport for the flight back home to lovely Singapore.

11.40pm: flight back to Singapore. I was having a fever on the plane. I guess it’s the temperature.

Here are my spoils:
Sweater X 2
Key chain X 6
Bag X 5
Belt X 3
Boot X 3 pairs
Ear muffs X 2
Headband X 1
Jacket X 1
Tissue X 10 packets
Bangle X 3
Necklaces X 2

Maybe some other stuff which I cant remember.

This is really too little, no?

All right, after eight days of touring Jiang Nan and Shanghai, Empress Qiuling still favours the big Shanghai city to the smaller cities. I’m just a city girl at heart. China managed to redeem itself on the last day when I got my beautiful beautiful boots.

I miss Singapore already.

End.


[i] Just verify this with Qiaojing, Ying, Chewy or Gillian.
[ii] There are no internet cafes nearby so I gotta use this old school method which some kids may not have heard of. It’s called pen and paper. Well, how do I go about explaining this. Let’s see, kids, there are places in this world where you don’t have access to the computer. (Quick, someone give that boy CPR!) The people in these places, therefore, have to rely on a pen, with which you use to write, and a piece of paper, with which you write on. Try to imagine the pen as a stylus of a palmtop and the screen as a piece of paper, all without the use of electricity. (Quick, someone give that girl CPR!)
[iii] For this, Chewy, Qiaojing or Ying can verify this. Just another gentle reminder, gals. New York, 2012.
[iv] For those of you who don’t know who or what ngeow ngeow is, don’t bother to ask. For those who do, why aren’t you going over to my house to grab ngeow ngeow so that you can DHL ngeow ngeow over now?’ Some friend you are. Hmff!
[v] Su1 Hang2 refers to Su Zhou and Hang Zhou respectively.
[vi] Shang You Tian Tang, Xiao You Su Hang
[vii] Must be a disappointment to Chewy who wishes to get her hands on my fortune
[viii] You cannot fault me for mentioning just the costumes, for you know that I’m a fashion student. Hee!
[ix] You must be thinking “Why does your trip seem to comprise river boat rides and walks in gardens only?” too. I know.
[x] If it doesn’t, we cant do no shit about it anyway. Therefore, Chewy and I will say the quilt works miracles, if anyone asks.
[xi] It’s not because it tasted yucky.
[xii] I’ll bet you’re thinking it’s another boat ride or garden visit, no?
[xiii] There are NO internet cafes around here! Goodness, doesn’t the people here have got any life? Now, I know why most people rest at 9pm.

Tuesday, 22 November 2005

New Braces & Mambo!

What a lovely week so far!

I'm on school holidays and I'm holidaying soon.

I've completed Theme Hospital and I found two new games to occupy my nights.

I'm told that I'll be getting new metal retainers which means it's like wearing braces all over again!! YEAH~! I really miss my old metals.. I still have them. If you are interested, give me a ring and I'll show them to you.

It's mambo night tonight. Can't wait! Like i said, not even the tsunami can stop me from mambo-ing tonight. The only reason I won't be mambo-ing will be that all the penguins in the world died and I'm too upset to dance. But then again, I can drink to drown my sorrows, no?

I'm waiting for the next book sale. I need new books!

My brother is launching his own clothing label, Lovieteclothing. Finally, my little brother is growing up and getting sensible. He still gets on my nerves at times, like today, but all's well end's well.

Sunday, 2 October 2005

NEW BOOKS!

I've got NEW books! YEAH~! My long awaited books are finally out. I got them gift-wrapped so I can present them to myself. Ha~

Monday, 25 July 2005

No Questions, Please.

Don't you hate it when you break up with your gf/bf and everyone thinks it's their business to ask "What happened?". Even those you barely knew. There, I said it. So, no questions, please.