Monthly Archives: February 2011

I am in Viet Nam

not too much blogging these
past weeks…took some time off to try to write something.  I was so glad to get out of Hong Kong, which was so cold and wet.  Took a bus out to the HK airport, over 4 very large bridges to the largest airport I have ever seen….  The flight in a 747 was excellent and when I got to Ho Chi Minh City it was about 11 pm.  got a taxi into town and was amazed that I was in VN.  My first impression was that the main roads were very clean and the people love Neon signs.  When I got to the area where my hotel was in District 1, it started to get pretty seedy.  I was surprised how nice my hotel is.  It is $20/nite and that includes breakfast up on the roof.

I feel that VN is alot like Brasil.  the people are very gentle and kind and many speak English.   Everybody here is selling something.  The next day after I slept in my new room, my friend Cuong showed up.  It was nice to see him in person.  I have been talking to him for 3 years on the web…. He took me for a ride on his scooter and that is an experience everybody in this world should have.

Out of control traffic….almost everybody here is on a motor bike and nobody really pays attention to traffic rules.   They are everywhere, including the sidewalks…  Cuong is a wicked driver and it took a couple of rides to lose my fear.  when I travel around town there are always people waiting around to take you on a bike to where you are going.  Most trips cost about a dollar.

So on my second day here, Cuong and I took a trip on the river to the Ocean city of Vung Tau.  That is a nice resort town and I had a great time there.  We stayed at a nice hotel, rented a bike for 2 days, ate some nice veggie food and sat around watching the sun go down, drinking iced coffee.  We came back to Saigon in a van, but the road was under construction and it was not a nice ride.

Today I went to the Indian Embassy and applied for my visa… they wanted $80 US and I had to find a place to get dollars.  I got it at a cafe and was ripped off, but I just wanted to get my visa and stop all this running arond to get it.  I hope to get my passport back next Thursday…what a pain in the butt it is to get visas…  it used to be so much easier to get them….

I visited the central market today and bought some gifts to send home.  I hope to put them into a box an mail them back…too much stuff to carry on my back.  well that is the story up until now.  I was hoping to really try to describe the countries but it is too much work….  I have been very lucky to find great places to eat while I am travelling.  I have always loved noodles and they have plenty of them here.  My chopstick technique has impoved and I can not believe how lucky I have been and all the different things I have seen along the way.  I am planning to take a 3 day tour of the Mekong Delta and then a train ride up to Hue and DaNang and then back to Saigon.

I wanted to mention New Zealand….I spent New Years Day in Christchurch, a beautiful place. I stayed at a hostel a block away from the Cantebury TV building. A brand new modern building…. I was shocked to read that it fell down and over 100 people were lost. This hit very close to me and I have been blessed to have been so safe and healthy on my trip. God rest their souls and comfort their family and friends. Not much more I can say.

putting up pixs here…

https://picasaweb.google.com/helderweb2000

ciao

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last day in Hong Kong

I have had great weather for my whole trip…but when I got to HK that ended.  Nothing but cold and rainy  since I got here.  So this has been a sh.tty week.  my highlite has been buying high-tech stuff from the great Hk markets.  I got a  500 G hard drive  for my computer. A small mouse and a smart phone.  I Am writing my blog on it.  When i get to VN I will get a sim card and then I will have a phone.  Gonna end now it is a pain to do it on this phone.  Ciao

First few days in Hong Kong

I am in a hostel which really is not a hostel…just some rooms with bunkbeds, no common area, not place to make coffee/tea… So you are stuck with your room mates and I am very lucky, I have some great people to hang with.  The beautiful Dutch girl on the way back to Holland, the tall California guy who is just out of the Air Force and going home to become an Air Marshall, a guy from Florida with plenty of tattoes who is just starting a year of travel and a couple of students from Taiwan and Korea.

Yesterday we went out for breakfast and we all got bowls of noodles… we then took a boat around the bay here and over to Kowloon.  Everybody has been telling me to go there.  We spent the whole day walking around the various markets, eating strange food and drinking coffee at McDs.   We got to see the Hong Kong Light show from Kowloon.  The tall buildings on Hong Kong Island are all lit up for the Chinese New Years and they had a laser light show and music which lasted about 20 minutes.  It was nice being there, but the whole time I have been here it has been cold, rainy and foggy…BUT I AM IN HONG KONG.  Anybody remember the 1960 show Hong Kong?   I remember it and always wanted to come here.  It was about a dectective who was always going to Macaw to gamble….

We took the subway back to Hong Kong Island and it got us home in 15 minutes.  The underground is so amazing, it handles millions of people and it is clean, safe and cheap.

Not really sure what I am going to do this week, I know I will have more Indian food and walk, walk, walk….

Hong Kong, China

yesterday was a long one…after a sunday bus ride down to Singapore and sleeping/hanging out at the Singapore Airport, the flight was easy, but the lady next to me did not want to talk…so flying over the South China Sea I was happy to listen to Howard Stern’s shows from last week…  It was exciting to fly into Hong Kong, saw some very interesting sites while I was coming in… The train/subway took me close to my hostel, which is a dump.  BUT…I have some nice room mates and we went out for a great dinner last nite. Plenty of new stuff to taste.

First I must confirm this…CHINA IS DIRTY.  Damn, could someone stop throwing stuff on the ground?? Today I plan on taking a boat to Kowloon and walking around the Chinese Market.  I need some batteries for my cam and I still need an external hard drive for my computer.  The first thing I did when I got here was to buy a warm hoodie.   It was amazing to come from the tropical heat of Singapore and KL to the coldness of HK.   Just going to be here for a week and I plan to make the best of it.  My room is on the 15th  floor, and this is the most bizarre “hostel” I have been to yet.

Once I get some batteries I will post some new pixs.

Goodbye Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

One week in this City is enough for me.  I really never did figure out where things are in relationship to each other.  I saw most of the sights, just can not put them together.  Today I went out with a nice young lady from south China.  Her english name is Becky and she works for a Chinese TV station.  We first walked up to Little India and did some shopping.  Then we went to a 6 story indoor shopping center and I was looking for a light shirt….there were thousands of shirts but not many light ones.  We went up to the food court and I had a great lunch there.  I picked the things I wanted to eat, including Chinese Cabbage and then the lady behind the counter put everthing into boiling water.  After they were cooked she cut the food up with scissors and added liquid to make it soup.  Plenty of spices and I had my lunch for $2.50.  I took a picture of it and it can be found here   https://picasaweb.google.com/helderweb2000/Malaysia#

We then took a taxi to the National Museum which I really enjoyed.  Then a taxi back to the hostel, she got her bag and I walked her to the train station as she is flying back to China tonite.  So my last day here turned out to be great.

Gonna pack and catch the bus in the morning to Singapore, get my bag from the hostel and out to the airport for my flight to Hong Kong.  Got a hostel booked, hope I can find it without too much trouble.  Really trying to keep this blog up, but you can always count on me to put up pictures.

Ciao

Kulua Lumpur, Malaysia

this has been an interesting turn of events.  I took the bus from Singapore to KL and now I am in Malaysia.  I was told that this maga-city was like Singapore…well it is not.  The bus went out of Singapore along the route I took to see the China Garden park in Singapore and over a bridge into Malaysia.  The border was so easy to cross….off the bus to get stamped out of Singapore and off the bus to get stamped into Malaysia…no questions just got my passport stamped.

On the bus was a guy from Bolognia Italy and we have been exploring KL together for the past few days.  Dino works in Italy for 6 months and then travels the world.  He is like a Zorba the Greek type with a great take on life.  We walked and took trains, subways and monorail all over this large city….  I am very lucky to meet people like Dino while I am travelling.  This is a muslim country and tonite I was out and heard the calls to prayer from many of the mosques here.  Reminded me of Istanbul.

Today I went to Times Square with Mark, one of my room mates from the Hostel, and bought my bus ticket back to Singapore on Sunday.  I am so glad I made the effort to visit this City.  Nothing is easy but the rewards are great.  I also had a couple of donuts and some coffee at Krispy Kream.  I sat next to a man who was reading a good book and we started to talk.  His wife later joined us.  A very deep discussion of world history, current events and bigger questions like religion and the existence of God.  He invited us to his condo this Friday, so maybe I will get to meet a local family and see how they live.

I want to mention some of the bad things about KL, not just some of the nice things.  First of all the sidewalks are in terrible shape and the traffic comes at you from all directions, including the sidewalks.  There is plenty of trash on the streets and uncollected garbage.  You can see cockroaches on the sidewalks at nite and the people selling stuff in the markets to tourists are very aggressive.  I have found some amazing veggie food here and probably putting on some weight as I am eating very good and having a few beers most nights.

The monorail/train/subway system is very complicated and I have often gotten lost in my neighboorhood, especially at nite.

Tomorrow I am going to a cave and probably back to Krispy Kream…  I have meet some interesting people here, including a guy from Saigon, some more French people and a lovely girl from Brasil. Each time I talk to a person from Brasil I think that I would love to go back there next Fall.  we shall see.

Good bye Singapore

Had a good time these past several days here.  Got up early yesterday and took the subway to the harbor.  Found a free bus which took me over to Sentosa Island which is just a very large recreation./playland for the people of Singapore.  Sorta like an oriental Disneyland.  I got off the bus at the top of the hill and decided to visit the fort.  this island is very strategic as it guards the passage into the Singapore Harbor.  the British have had guns up there for 200 years.  I was very impressed by the Fort.  They have explained all of the guns and recreated the place when it really saw action.  Singapore is was very important because it is considered the gateway to the Orient and a very strategic place.

The exhibits explain that the Japanese invaded right after Dec. 7 1941 and came over land and cut the water to the city.  There is a wax recreation of the British surrendering ceremony to the Japanese.  The City was taken back by the British at the end of the war and they have a recreation of that ceremony too.  I went down the hill and walked along the beach until I found the monorail and took it back to mainland.  I was really surprised how lucky I was to visit this place.  Just Luck!!!!

I also went to the other side of the City/Country to buy a ticket for Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.  Off to that place in the morning.   Hope to find the right bus to take me there again to catch my bus….

This morning I visited a Jujitsu center and saw them training a special Brasilian style version of this martial art.  I do not know how I get myself into these kinds of things…maybe because I say hello to everbody.

Today I took the subway as far as it would go and got to see a place called China Garden.  I really liked this place.  Plenty of open space, Chinese and Japanese gardens, lakes pagodas and flowers.  I walked around that place for hours and now I am back at the hostel with sore feet.

BTW, yesterday I spent $18 to get my feet massaged.  It lasted a half an hour and it was great.  First time for that and it really helped my sore feet.

Well, I am off to the food court to get some more rice and veggies, need to get up early to catch my bus.  You know nothing is easy on the road but I keep plugging and refuse to accept defeat… hate taking ground busses, seem to get lost on them… I am pretty good with the subways in this world.

Tomorrow another Muslim country for me.

Hope all okay back home.

Robert

Singapore

This is supposed to be the most western place in Asia…. I am really in for some shocks then, because this place is very, very different…   The past few days have been slow, many of the places are shut down for a few days to celebrate New Years.   We had a great New Year’s eve with plenty of live entertainment and masses of people in the street.  When the New Year came there were plenty of fireworks and firecrackers everywhere.  I took another Nordic walk with my friend from Finland and walked him to the subway as he was returning home from 5 months study in Bali… I teased him about Beach Studies, like my nephew Tommy had beach studies in Buzios last year.

Today I caught a bus to the other side of town to buy a bus ticket to Kuala Lupur next Monday.  It was only $25 bucks and it takes about 6 hours.  I could have flown, but I want to see the countryside of Malaysia.  When I got back to the hostel there was a dragon dance in the lobby.  Drums, cymbals and 2 dragons were here.  They put a plate on the ground with a couple of beers some oranges and an envelope.  The dragons danced around and over the plate, when they left the orange slices spelled out some lucky numbers.   I would never have seen anything like this if I stayed home in my comfy place burning fire wood.

Today most of the eating places were open.  I went back to the Pagoda Food Court and got a great meal.  I had this month’s ration of seafood….squid, rice,  spicy soup and a big bottle of Tiger beer.  The food was $5 and the beer was $6.   I really enjoyed the meal and went over and thanked the cook.  Tonite I might go to the zoo or just chill.  I have 2 more days to kick around this town and then off to KL on Monday.  It was nice talking to my family last nite…sorta miss my grandbabies…

pictures are here  https://picasaweb.google.com/helderweb2000/Singapore#

Cheers

So, this is Asia

I got to the Perth airport on time and had a very nice flight to Singapore…As we left the Perth airport I looked down at the city lights and could see the outline of the Freemantle Port and had some regret that I was leaving Australia, but excited that I was leaving the west.  No problem with customs and passport control at the modern Singapore Airport and the ultra modern subway brought me to the Chinese station and right out of the exit I found the Berry Good Hostel.

I arrived at about 7AM so I had to kill some time before the 1pm checkin.   A guy from Finland was arriving at the same time so we walked the city together.  We really walked… up to the Catholic Cathedral and around the harbor.  The place is decorated for the Chinese New Year.  This is a blend of tomorrow and yesterday…  The place is clean and very orderly.  There is one mall about 8 stories high which sells nothing but computers, so I took a look and decided that I probably will buy an external hard drive before I leave… I have filled up my 160gig hard drive and need some more space.

I had my first Asian meal of Pao Thai and it was excellent.  The coffee here is strong, good and cheap.  This area of Chinatown is full of people buying stuff and drinking beer and eating.  The street was so crowded it was hard to walk down it.  Tonite live music and the dragon parade.  I will try to take some pictures of the celebrations.

It is nice to have wifi again…free and fast.  Australia and New Zealand really need to get their systems improved.  My room is $30/night so it is not too bad and it is clean.  Several Americans staying here and it is crowded with people here for the holidays.  well I am off to party..the weather is just about perfect, we are on the equator but it is not too hot.

Hope all is well in your world.