5.30.2009

70. Guilin | Scenery


Continuing on with my Asia phototour, we'll start at the airport this time as I'm waiting for my flight from Hong Kong to..Guilin!





The scenery as the plane is descending. All farmland and murky rivers.
My favourite part of this entire trip was actually right after landing in Guilin, when we were driving from the airport to our hotel. Guilin/China is very different from any place I've ever been before. I LOVE the feeling of seeing a whole new culture for the first time, and just taking it all in. It's hard to describe the feeling but the feeling I get is why I love travelling so much. It just felt so surreal being in a whole new place, and rural China was like nothing I've ever experienced before. I'll always remember the thoughts going through my mind as I gazed out the window during that ride.


These posts are not in chronological order. These next few photos were taken during our last day in Guilin, during a raft ride down a river. The scenery was amazing & photos do not do it justice at all.





The locals here have a really different way of life than we do in the West. There were a few times when I felt like I was in a movie or a dream. I've seen so many documentaries and photos of Guilin before coming on this trip, that finally experiencing everything in person didn't feel real. Know what I mean? I'm sure many people feel the same when travelling to a new place for the first time.
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5.28.2009

69. Food from Tokyo


Here's the first batch of pictures..you can expect posts like this throughout the next few weeks. I'm uploading all my pictures at random - for now here are some of Tokyo! More specifically - FOOD.



I love collecting stamps in my passport. Got 4 pages filled from this single trip!




I was always told that things in Japan were really expensive but when I went there I actually found that prices were more or less the same as Canada. Well at least the clothes were. Restaurant food prices weren't too bad either -- & their food is delicious.
Then I realized what was most expensive..their candy and snacks. Everything there is really nicely wrapped. I think they put more effort into the packaging than the food itself..I mean it all tasted good but not exceptional, or worth the price for that matter.





I saw a LOT of interesting unique snacks/candy. Each store set up glass cases to show the inside of each box. I should've taken pictures of all the different kinds I saw but I was too overwhelmed lol. I wanted to buy one of each but too bad they were all $15 or more per box and take up so much room in my luggage. We only bought a few boxes..mostly to give away to our relatives in HK.



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68. "Thank you for keeping the airport clean"



I'm back!! Even though I'm really glad to be back in Toronto..I really hate first days back from vacations. Everything is a mess (ie. my dining room table and floor & room)..I have 1200+ pictures to resize, clothes to wash and tailor, etc






I'm at my parents' house now..need to wait a couple days until my dad can drive me back down to 1KW. I can't wait to be home. So I took over a thousand photos and obviously I'm not going to post them all, so I'm just gonna do random posts with a few pictures each time. I'm not sure I'll ever have the energy to resize/upload them all on here.
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5.04.2009

67. IN ASIA: May 4 - May 27


This post will be used for updates during my trip to Hong Kong, Macau, Guilin, and Tokyo. Keep checking back! & Expect lots of pictures when I come home!

May 3, 2009 - It's the night before I leave for my flight. I miss downtown/1 King West/men in suits already. I should go to sleep now..especially since I only got 5 hours of sleep the past 2 nights and I have to wake up in 6 hours.

May 6, 2009 - it's 6:30am here now & I woke up an hour ago to lots of birds chirping. The plane ride was horrible yesterday..way too long & the woman beside me was pretty annoying. But I did see some cute pilots. Hmm not sure what else to say because I'm still not sure what we're doing today but I guess shopping hahah. The weather is too hot and humid for me but hopefully I can survive.

May 8, 2009 - tomorrow we'll be off to Guilin for 5 days! The past few days I've gone shopping & got 4 new tops & a trenchcoat-ish thing so far. The shopping is amazing but I'm actually not enjoying my trip as much as I thought I would. I actually wanted to leave really badly on the first night but I dont want to get into it here. Wifi is also extremely hard to find. Yesterday I went to a Starbucks and spent $22HKD on a green tea (like double the cdn price) & the guy told me I have 20 min wifi but turned out I needed an account or something so I couldn't go on. All stores here close at around 10pm and it's always very crowded everywhere. I love that it's always busy though.

So I just went to Yves Saint Laurent & got a Y-MAIL clutch!!! The one I've been wanting for a long time! But I actually don't have it yet. I have to go pick it up when we come back from Guilin. I got a haircut yesterday & dyed my hair..it's now completely orangey-brown/copper :D

May 9, 2009 - I'm sitting in the airport now waiting for our flight to Guilin. This morning we went to the cemetery to visit my grandparents' and great-grandmother's graves. It was a huge cemetery..on a hill full of huge eagles.

May 12, 2009 - In Guilin now..I deleted everything I wrote before, for special reasons lol. If you missed it: Guilin is AMAZING but I wrote in too much detail then added people I met on this trip to FB and didn't want them reading what I wrote.
I basically talked about how amazing the scenery is & the drastic change of culture..& cute hotel bellboys. ;] Anyways we're going back to HK again tomorrow and I'm so depressed. Tokyo in 3 days though!

May 13, 2009 - in HK once again. In a few minutes we're zooming right over to YSL to pick up my YMail heheheh. Then going shoe shopping. Believe it or not, shopping everyday does get a bit boring. I cant wait until Tokyo for better shopping, Mt.Fiji, hot springs, & so much more. I really miss Guilin now. I can't believe I deleted my past few updates I made during the trip!! I regret it now. Remember when most of you thought that Guilin was a place to relax? Well it was the most tiring few days of my life. We did so much walking..up and down mountains in 30+ degree weather. It was worth it though. I felt like a backpacker but in nice hotels. It was a good experience..I will come back to explore China again soon. I want to visit more of these off-the-beaten-track places now. I love culture shock. But I hate uneven patina & dirty handles - bringing a damier azur speedy to a place like Guilin was not a good idea.

May 15, 2009 - so like I said, I got my YSL yesterday!! After that, we went shoe shopping & got 5 new pairs of shoes :D I'm not even sure how we're going to manage bringing everything back but I'm sure we will somehow. lol. Then we went over to Kowloon, walked around, and looked at cell phones. There was an entire mall full of cell phone stores..I'm not exaggerating - there mustve been like 100 different stores. I saw the Japanese ones I want but they're soooo expensive. And they don't even have it in the colour I want. I was thinking of getting the Giorgio Armani phone in white for roughly the same price..of course there's less features than a Japanese one but I love how it looks and I mainly use my cell for texting and pictures anyways. Depends how much I'm going to end up spending in Tokyo because some people we know who's been there is telling us to be prepared to spend at least 100,000 yen per person (about $8000)!!!! Are Japanese products really THAT hard to resist?! Enough shopping-talk for now. Today we're going to the beach :)

May 16, 2009 - Tokyo tomorrow! It's going to be a 4 hour flight from HK. Then 5 more days after that until I'm back in Toronto. I really can't wait because I can't stand HK anymore. I really like the city, the people are really nice, etc.. -deleted content- I really want to write out everything here but I don't really feel comfortable publicizing all my family problems.
My favourite thing about HK - riding in a taxi at night while listening to Hotel Costes. They seem really light and go soo fast..even at turns so sometimes it feels like we're flying. I guess it's a bit dangerous but it's a fun ride.
Another thing is that everything is so much cheaper than in Canada. Well food at least. And public transportation. I think like 5 or more times cheaper? I'm not sure about clothes though..I guess it's all roughly the same - HK just has way more different styles.

May 17, 2009 - I'm at the airport now waiting to go on my 5th flight in 2 weeks..to Tokyo! By the time I'm back in Toronto it will be 8 different planes in 3 weeks hahah. Well I'll update more at the hotel tonight.

May 17, 2009: Part II - I'M IN TOKYO!! We arrived this afternoon..all we did was go to a mall. It wasn't a really good mall I think, judging by the clothing stores. I mean the prices of everything were a lot cheaper than I expected. Our dinner was cheaper than restaurant dinners in Toronto. Anyways I managed to find one nice clothing store. As I mentioned awhile ago, I hate jeans. But this store had a lot of Red Pepper Jeans -- OMG I loved ALL of them!! It's really rare for me to find jeans I love so I had to buy a pair..I wanted more but they were kind of expensive. The SA there was sooo nice though (& stylish like all other Japanese people) He said he liked my pants and my necklace and patiently waited while I tried on 4827492373 different things. At the mall we also got dinner and ice cream..it's the first time I've had such a serious language barrier. Some Japanese people know literally no english. But they're all very, very, very stylish..especially the boys. ♥ More later..my internet runs out in 30 seconds.

May 18, 2009 - I'm currently on the slowest internet connection ever and this Japanese keyboard is really weird. Today all we did was go around the area in our tour bus, looking at Mt. Fuji from different locations. I think the reason why I'm not impressed by it is because I've seen way better - for example the Rocky mountains in BC/Alberta..like 4284927489 Mt.Fujis. It was actually pretty boring today. My Guilin trip was a LOT better. Right now, Tokyo isn't fun at all but hopefully it'll get better. Japan is good for the shopping (clothes, electronics, food) but not for a real travel experience. Maybe a city like Kyoto would be better for scenery. I did get a pair of shoes today though - the store managed to find us an SA who knew some english..he was really nice and even walked us to the door (holding our shopping bags for us) as we were leaving..then bowed as we left. I really wish I could go back to China again - there's so much more to see there and to experience. The BIGGEST difference between these two countries is this: JAPAN & CHINA

May 19, 2009 - omg I thought spending 100 yen for 10min of internet was expensive..I'm now using 100 yen per 5 minutes. So to make this quick - this tour thing is still pretty boring. I've decided to come to Japan next time alone because there's soooo much to see and do and BUY that it's just impossible to do all that you want when you're constantly looking at the time to go back to the tour bus. I got some new clothes today and a bunch of VOODOO DOLLS!! They're really cute - I might give a few of them away when I get back if anyone wants. Today we went to Shinjuku for a couple hours to shop at Isetan. The streetstyle in Tokyo is really the best in the world. EVERY SINGLE PERSON is well dressed - even the really old people. I've never seen so many Birkin bags in a single day. It's so amazing..you really have to see it to believe it. My new obsession: Japanese boys hahah. They have the coolest hair ever. It's like anime hair but really really nice. And really nice shoes. And Goyard bags. And really cool jeans. And they're all really tall and skinny. We were on the street when one of them started saying something to me and tried to give me a piece of paper/flyer or something..I didn't take it so he just threw it at me. Then he picked it back up off the ground because Japan is most likely the cleanest country in the world. I think I'm going to take Japanese lessons one of these days. I love Tokyo!

May 22, 2009 - I am currently back in Hong Kong..we got back at like midnight last night. We did some jewellery (pearls) shopping yesterday then went to the Ginza district! The 4-hour plane ride was really nice. Before we even took off, I found out the last few rows were empty so I sat at the very back row and had 3 seats to myself. I think it might be even better than first class hahah..I know it's highly unlikely but it would be amazing if I can have an entire row to myself again on the 16+ hour flight back to Toronto. Today is the opening of the Louis Vuitton (A Passion for Creation) exhibit here in Hong Kong. I'm going there in a few hours. Frank Gehry (!), Richard Prince (!!) & Marc Jacobs (I THINK) will be there!!!! Too bad I don't have my House of Holland "Do Me In The Parc Marc" shirt with me hahahah. & Too bad I don't have anything from the Richard Prince/LV line.
So there's about 6 more days until I'm back in Toronto -- we'll be going to Macau one of these days. I'm going to try not to buy anymore clothes and shoes especially. The only thing I still need to get is a cell phone!

May 24, 2009 - I'm in Macau right now at the Venetien casino. It's really nice here..like the "Las Vegas of Asia". Two days ago I went to the LV exhibit which was really amazing but we weren't allowed to take pictures. I went to the Frank Gehry and Richard Prince lectures! It was so cool being able to see them in person. I bought a huge book that was only available to buy at the exhibit - a limited edition of 500 copies (I got #360) it comes in a glass like case. We also went for afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel after that - really expensive but soooo good. Yesterday we went to an island (Cheung Chau) but it was pouring rain all day. I finally got my cell phone!! Not a Japanese one but the LG Secret..black label collection or something like that. It's black with gold trim & the top looks like leather. I hope it won't ever be available in Canada. I'm at a Portuguese restaurant now.. Macau is very Portuguese. Casinos later..wish me luck! ;)

May 27, 2009 - Finally going back home! I just survived a 12 hour plane ride from Hong Kong. Now I'm in Vancouver!! Actually inside the plane and still have wifi..weird. 5 more hours until Toronto :) expect an update and a few pictures tonight.. maybe.
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5.03.2009

66. the morning after


My flight is in 12 hours..
I'm home at my parents' right now. I already miss 1 King West. & I already look forward to the day I come back. Hopefully once I arrive there I won't feel like this lol...I mean I can't believe I don't want to leave for vacation!? Though I think part of the reason is the lack of freedom for the next month - I'm at my parents' house now and I'm already annoyed by them yelling at me to start packing every 5 minutes.


Last night I STARTED packing (stage 1) at 6am! Didn't even sleep! Packed up all my stuff to bring to my parents' which will then be packed into suitcases.


Dior shoes that barely get any use. These are the ONLY pair of flat shoes I have, literally.


So here's what happened yesterday.
In the morning I woke up and found this note under my door..(from the guys we met the other day having the hotel room party)
lol. Then I opened the door to find an actual banana..my neighbour David got one too hahah.

ok I was SUPPOSED to spend yesterday packing but I procrastinated and just sat in my room doing nothing..so let's fast forward to midnight.
I was talking to David on msn when we randomly decided to explore our building. We went to the penthouse suites. Then we walked around the underground deserted PATH. It was so funny..we saw some security guards walking around and I'm pretty sure they thought we were crazy wandering the path so late at night.


Then he decided to teach me poker in the hotel lobby. We played for about 4-5 hours. All I know is that we were sitting down there until 5am and I was ready to pass out. I kept losing so when I'm back from vacation I owe him some drinks..


The beautiful penthouses..
At around 5:30am..we walked out to a 24-hour McDonalds to get breakfast. I got some hot cakes, ate them and finally started packing. At around 6:30-7am...I finally slept. Then my dad came a few hours later to pick me up.

A lot of people have been asking if I'm going to update this blog when I'm gone..I'm pretty sure I will. I will try doing it as often as I can (maybe short updates every other day) but I most likely won't have any pictures til I get back. I'm not gonna be bringing my laptop.

Anyways I have to go take a shower now and pack things in my suitcase before my parents yell at me again. I'll probably update one more time tomorrow morning!
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5.02.2009

65. the lights, the fame, the games we play


Amazing day today - the PERFECT start to summer.
We did soooo many things that I'm sure I'm going to forget some of it but I'll attempt to summarize every single thing. Everything I did today will be what I'm going to spend the next few months doing and I cannot be more excited!!!!! ALMOST makes me a bit sad to leave on vacation *gasp*
lol I haven't done the laundry or packed anything yet though I have all day tomorrow. I can't believe this -- I was beyond excited about this trip a few weeks ago but it's just that I'm going to miss Toronto/certain things/certain people/my place here soooooooooooo much. Well at least there will be 3 more months of holidays after I come back.

My friend & I spent most of the day doing what we've been planning for a long time - have a "champagne picnic"; bottle of Hpnotiq (instead of the champagne) + martini glasses + food by the harbourfront.


Totally unaware it was illegal to drink in public until afterwards..hahah


After our lunch we packed up and came back to my building's patio to finish off the bottle, lying on towels listening to music on our iPod speakers. Met some guys by the pool area who were staying in the hotel room a few doors away from mine.

It turned out they were having a party and going to a club later on in the night. They invited us in so we went in..talked to them a bit/watched some of them get drunk. They were really nice though & also really drunk (a few) and later on in the night I saw one guy in nothing but a red thong..hah.
After that, my friend left.
THEN as I'm walking back to my room my next door neighbour David comes out of his room. We go for dinner then he wanted to go to a club as well.

Me: "I don't want to go to a club and I don't want to drink anymore..let's just go for a walk"
David: "ok give me a few minutes to get ready"
-
A few minutes later I knock on his door and he opens with gelled hair and clothes I've never seen him in before.
-
Me: "why are you all dressed up??"
David: "what? I thought we're going to a club?!"


We ended up just walking around all over the city, then back to our building's patio so smoke some cancer sticks. He smoked and tried to teach me.
Now it's 6am and the sun is starting to come up. I just binged on cereal & now I'm craving Hpnotiq.
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