Wow, has it really been a couple months?? That’s no good, I’ll be working on that.
Been busy, been sick… let’s just say it’s been hectic.
Here are some quick shots I went out to capture last week when I saw the sky was going to be a good one… all these were taken no more than a 5min walk from my new apartment. The pictured movie theater was opened several months ago, it’s a nice faux-art-deco structure actually.
Anyway, that’s all I have to say about that.
Since I only spent a night and day in Manila I can’t say anything definitively, but at first glance it’s not my favorite place. Although I did enjoy (completely by accident) walking into a bar with a stage full of girls on it. In all honesty, I just wanted to grab a beer somewhere and my girl wanted a pool table, so we walked into the first place we spotted… and got a little more than we bargained for. Interestingly enough, my first beer in the Philippines was the most expensive of the entire trip (150 PHP / US$ 3.50), which is funny because the same thing happened upon arrival here in Shanghai.
Luckily the day after I arrived we took the +6hr bus up into the highlands towards Baguio City… ah, how I miss that fresh air. And being able to see the stars.
*UPDATE* Typhoon Magi, that hit the Philippines a couple days ago, wiped out most, if not all, the fields in the second-to-last image, the infamous strawberry fields of La Trinidad.
A one hour drive east of Shanghai (map) is Zhouzhuang, the “Venice of the East” (although they call a hand-full of other towns the same thing). So, now I’ve been to the Venice of the East, the Venice of the North (Bruges, Belgium), the other Venice of the North (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Venice Beach (California), and of course, the Venice.
Last weekend, my company had a team-building workshop near this picturesque ancient town (over two and half centuries worth), so the night before I decided to head into the old town and snap some flix…
Qibao has a history dating back to the 10th century, when it was just a small water-town. Although now completely swallowed up by the metropolis that is Shanghai (and easily reachable via metro line 9), this quaint little “town” has all the views one would expect of the “real China“. Temperatures reached 38C that night but didn’t deter me to check it out (thanks to The Great Time Out Shanghai Treasure Hunt).
Well, the 2010 Shanghai World Expo opened last Saturday May 1st… 6 months of crazyness now commences. Our first taste of “Better City Better Life“ occured immediately after, when our local government gave everyone in Shanghai an extra 2 days of holiday (+1 day for Labor Day). I took the opportunity to hit up the Yu Yuan Garden shopping area.
It was a zoo.
Yu Yuan Gardens (Fuyou & Lishu Road) is a tourist hot spot for buying (and haggling) for handicrafts… everything from traditional calligraphy brushes and chopsticks to ”new jade” (fake) bracelets and statues. I also happened upon a “2 Kuai Shop”, which is like the 99Cent stores I am familiar with in New York City, only difference is that 2RMB is equivalent to about $0.30!
Definitely worth a visit, just keep an eye on your valuables (tourist hot spot = pickpocket hot spot), and prepare to bargain hard. There is a Line 10 metro stop close by (“Yuyuan Garden“), but at the time of this writing this line is still in test phase, which means it only runs in the mornings, so keep your eyes peeled, or just walk from Line 8 Dashijie station.
I managed to hook up a sweet fake Zippo with classic Mao propoganda art on it (+ fluid & case) for 9.9RMB. Also don’t forget to stop by the infamous dumpling spot, but be prepared to wait in line.
I updated my Chongqing 101 post (October 31, 2009) with 13 new images… check ‘em out!
I am back from Chongqing (pronounced tchong-ching)!
I took 800+ images of a Taoist monastery in the Wudu mountains (“foggy mountains”) in the Beibei district north of the city, truly a great experience. Not even my return flight through hell could diminish the amazing experience. I was supposed to fly out of CKG at 19:10, but didn’t leave until 13:00 the following day… “bad weather”. No worries however, as the verbal arguments, physical altercations, and riot-starters kept me amused.
The last couple images show the Ceremony of the Protector (the only religious ceremony I was allowed to photograph), the fog/mist mystically amplified the mysterious mood (!).
I am currently in the process of creating a 2010 desk calendar, roughly 500 will be printed and all proceeds will benefit the monastery.
ps- Happy Halloween!