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Krakow! Stunning!

Krakow, Poland

What a stunning city! I thought I had seen some good places, but this one tops all of them...

Krakow is over 1000 years old, and it was Poland's old capital. Looking at the place it surprises me that is not currently, but according to legend, Hitler forbade the destruction of the city and that he may have been planning to live here after the Germans won WWII... Whether any of thats true or not I would say that he couldn't have picked a lovelier place to live...

Beautiful castles, the world's largest medieval square, churches, fortifications, streets, etc. Lovely, except for the fucking weather...

It has hardly stopped raining since we left Moscow, particularly in the Baltic States. It has been raining cold and miserable almost every day. Even on days like today when the morning was a little cloudy and about 15degrees, it starts raining in the afternoon... SHITHOUSE!

Well it's about 5 now, we have a train to Prague tonight at about 10:20pm... I am excited because my brother said he might be coming out to meet me and my family in Europe next week!!! Very happy about that, so me and Adam might go and get drunk before the train!

Will write again from Prague!

permalink written by  Big_T on September 15, 2008 from Krakow, Poland
from the travel blog: Big_T's Travel Blog
tagged Rain, Krakow and Weather

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north wales

Bangor, United Kingdom

On 19 January I finally made it to Wales! It rained all day, and during the bus ride to Bangor the rain turned into lots of snow flurries, which was amazing to watch, since I could also see the ocean (I never think of it snowing on the beach!)!

It turns out that I'm living in an international hall. My flatmates include David (from Germany), Sonia (from Spain), Simona (from Italy), Freddy (Ecuadorian from Chicago), Katrin (from Austria), Emma (from Oxford), and Georgina (from Manchester). We've all become friends, and helped each other with class schedules, finding out where to get our ID cards, and translating various words into English.

The first few days of the first week I spent in boring and slightly nerve-wracking orientation meetings and registration meetings. Instead of everything being digital, like at SU, we had to go to each school department individually and get a lecturer to sign their initials next to modules (classes) we wanted to take. Assuming everything goes according to plan, I will be taking:
Arthurian Literature
Intro to Medieval Studies: Heroes and Villains!
Practical Music Technology and
History of Punk Rock.
Classes start tomorrow and I'm pretty excited.
I'll be taking the English lit modules in the Main Arts hall, which they call the Hogwarts Building, as it looks like a clearer version of this:

Bangor is pretty small, and at first was quite cold and rainy, but it's been really nice crisp weather for the past two days, so we decided to walk to see some of the sights of Bangor. Apparently Bangor hosts the second largest Victorian pier in the U.K. and it is beautiful.

We also tried going to a nearby castle, which is apparently a fake castle that was built by an American, but when we got there it was closed!

Tonight Georgina is cooking us a traditional English dinner called a Hot Pot, which is like stew with a pastry top on it. It smells really good!
Hwyl (Cheers)!

permalink written by  outlawedwings on January 25, 2009 from Bangor, United Kingdom
from the travel blog: triple_strung_heart
tagged Rain, Castle, Travel, Pier and Bangor

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Soggy in Sydney

Sydney, Australia

Sydney was wet and windy when we arrived but neither the adverse weather conditions nor the fact that I had only managed half an hour sleep and consequently felt like my brain was functioning on an even more basic level than usual would stop me from exploring this city. We only had three days to take in as much of Australia as possible so when we stumbled across the Australia Museum just a few blocks from our hostel we wandered in happily.

We were given a brief but informative education in the struggles of the Aborigines, the spectacular array of deadly animals that Australia has to offer (they were kind enough to break them up into groups: "Things that will kill you in the sea", "Things that will kill you in your garden", "Things that will kill you for going anywhere near them" and so on), dinosaurs, woolly mammoths, and various other Australian inhabitants past or present. I wandered from exhibit to exhibit trying to keep myself awake and dreaming up elaborate deaths for the hundreds of schoolchildren who ran around the museum screaming like banshees.

We stopped in Chinatown for a familiar fried rice dish (I later wondered why we did that) and eventually found ourselves at Darling Harbour where we wanted to visit the aquarium. The entrance fee was excessive even for Sydney so we decided to go somewhere else. Maybe it was the tiredness but our next move seemed to be even more ridiculous than looking for a Chinese meal after 2 months in Asia. We went, instead, to the casino. To be fair our losses were minimal, we played a couple of $1 machines, not daring to make the bold saunter over to the card tables. We did quietly sneak up to them though, and spent a fascinating half hour or so watching players throw away hundreds of pounds at a time!

I'm not joking, there were tables in this casino, quite a few of them and all full up, where each game cost a hundred quid! Every now and then a player would be graced with an exciting but altogether inadequate reward for their persistence. It was crazy! And for some reason they were all asian. I assumed this was because asian businessmen went there to waste a bit of their ridiculous salary but the people in there were not businessmen. Many looked younger than me and almost as shabby. A few days after this I overheard a waitress explaining the logic of her gambling addiction. I drew my pad like a cowboy in a showdown and scribbled her exact words:

"We work all week, take money and go to casino. Double money. If we no win, take money home."

This was my first time at such a big and fancy casino but I'm pretty sure when you lose you don't get to take your money back home with you. Anyway, by the time we left the casino it was raining hard and we marched back to the hostel in our anoraks, stopping on the way to get some food.

We found a pub where they offer a steak and a beer for a reasonable price so decided to treat ourselves. I figured it would probably be a Wetherspoons standard - a kind of grisly sliver of something that could be mistaken for beef as long as you drink the beer and ideally a few others first. I was pleasantly surprised. In fact my steak was so beautifully fat, juicy and pink in the middle that I took a photo of it. When it dawned on me that for fifteen minutes I had done nothing but dozily grunt "nice one" a few times and stare at my empty plate, I realised I probably needed to catch up on some sleep.

As often happens in these shared dorm situations, this was an impossibility. Not because we were being kept up by random foreign voices, that was the next day, but because we met a friendly group of Dutch travelers (I refrained from a demonstration of my socially ignorant Dutch guy impression) who invited us to try kangaroo, which they were having for dinner. Obviously after my steak I was not particularly hungry but there is always room for kangaroo on your first night in Oz. I recommend it to anyone.

The second and third days were to be plagued by rain. We had planned to visit Manly and see some of Sydney's beach life but this was not to be. Instead we poked around various exhibitions and tourist sites. Noticing that the rain had stopped we quickly climbed Sydney Tower (actually we were taken up in a lift but that doesn't have the same ring to it) which gave us an amazing panoramic view of the city landscape. Like Hong Kong, Sydney's position on the sea front adds to its beauty, particularly when viewed from above. From the tower we could see the Harbour Bridge and our first glimpse of the iconic Opera House.

Our second glimpse came when we visited Sydney Zoo. The zoo is placed away from the main city and to see it you have to get a ferry out the harbour, which means we got to have a good look at the Opera House as it coasted past... It was a lot smaller than I had imagined but then maybe I am just a giant. Is it me or have Magnums also become quite small? When I was young they were monstrous great ice-creams and now they seem pretty tame. Anyway, I did find myself wondering why it had taken fourteen years to build but at the same time I was quietly moved by being in the company of such a distinguished landmark.

The zoo was the best zoo I have ever seen - it's location gives it a city backdrop so everywhere you turn you find a nice view of Sydney. You can even take photos of giraffes with the Opera House in the background. And I did. For about fifteen minutes until I got a half decent one and realised Josh was long gone. The highlight of the zoo (and here I must apologise to the impressive tigers, hippos, bears, alligators and koalas) was watching and, I confess, filming two tortoises having sex. The awkward, fatigued thrusts of the male and the distant, resigned expression of the female created a scene in the otherwise very restrained reptile house which had me shaking with laughter.

We went out for a burger with a fellow Brit and Brightonian, Cara, who has been living in Sydney for the last year and showed us Newtown, a trendy district in the south of the city that she now called home. Its inhabitants reminded me very much of Brighton and parts of London - skinny jeans, vintage clothes and hats were everywhere. The burger itself also deserves a mention, not only because it was huge and delicious (Sydney seem to be particularly good at burgers, steak, pies and kebabs) but because it comes with an ingenious little cardboard device which you fold into shape and use to hold your burger as you push it into your face. Back in our part of town which, I should mention, was the red light district, we had a wander around and not being in the mood for a fight or a lapdance decided we were better off going to bed.

On our last day we visited the Art Gallery of New South Wales which was really impressive and cast an eye over the market stalls of Chinatown which weren't. With an early flight the next day we decided our last night could be no better spent than watching the new Terminator movie in the Sydney iMax. This idea ultimately failed because, unforgivably, the Sydney residents are presumed to be more interested in the new Star Trek movie (haven't they given up on those yet?!). With sheets of rain cascading down we ate a huge pizza each and, deciding that the cinema was still a good idea, found our way to a nice little art cinema which was showing Gomorrah. It wasn't the iMax, but it was still a big film. Next stop Fiji.

permalink written by  steve_stamp on May 31, 2009 from Sydney, Australia
from the travel blog: The art of being lost
tagged Rain, Museum, Casino and Kangaroo

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Iguazu Falls

Foz do Iguacu, Brazil

Arriving at Puerto Iguazzu I was slightly devastated to see that it was grey and miserable outside. We were only going to be around for two days so we just had to hope it would clear up quickly, in the meantime we headed into town for our final Argentinean dinner – a mixed grill which arrived sizzling and answered any questions about what they do with the rest of the cow.

The night was wild and stormy and the next morning we set out feeling glad that at least the rain had relented. The Iguazu Falls (which I will spell like that despite all the different spellings I saw – Iguacu, Iguassu, etc) are surrounded by a network of metal walkways and when you enter from the Argentinean side there is also a little train to take you to the furthest points. It feels a lot like a theme park which could very easily be depressing but actually the train does save a lot of time and the walkways allow people of all shapes and sizes to get right up to the edge of the waterfalls without risking their lives or getting into a boat.

If getting into a boat does take your fancy there are also a range of additional tours – we couldn’t resist being taken under the waterfalls. It was a spectacular and hilarious ride, the huge waterfalls loomed over us and the roaring of the water grew louder and louder until it was thudding onto the boat and then us. I believe I would have wet myself had the waterfall not been doing such a good job- we were all completely hysterical by the end.

We squelched along pathways afterwards feeling utterly immune to the sprays of the waterfalls and not at all troubled by the presence of dark, heavy clouds in the sky. Although the bad weather prevented us from seeing the falls in all their outrageously photogenic glory, the contrast of the dark, moody sky and the white clouds of mist rising from the waterfalls created stunning and atmospheric views and I couldn’t wait to see the Brazilian side the next day.

We wasted no time when we got back to the hostel. After a much needed hot shower and change of clothes we got in a taxi and, with the help of a friendly and alarmingly bug-eyed taxi driver, headed across the border. Foz de Iguazu, the town on the Brazilian side, was to be the penultimate stop on our world tour. We now had only nine days left.

The Iguazu experience in Brazil was very different. It was a bit less like a theme park, more like a National Park, and the visitors didn’t have the same sense of excitement. They day before we had literally seen grown men screaming and running for the train, it was like they were trying to be the first up Space Mountain in Disneyland. However, this more subdued atmosphere could also be blamed on the weather – a white mistiness had descended on the area and our first glimpse of the falls was comically bad. You could barely make them out!

As we got closer the landscape began to emerge out of the mist and we were thankful for it – miles of immense waterfalls which cut through the green forests and crashed down cliffs. The views were less varied but more extensive than the Argentinean side, and equally beautiful. Even awful weather couldn’t take anything away from such an awe inspiring landscape. After taking a few hazy pictures and immersing ourselves in the wet sprays of the Devils Throat, the most violently powerful of the falls, we were soggy and pretty well acquainted with the place. Warmer climates beckoned and dreams of defrosting on the beach in Rio.

permalink written by  steve_stamp on August 31, 2009 from Foz do Iguacu, Brazil
from the travel blog: The art of being lost
tagged Rain, Water, Waterfalls, Wet and Cloud

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Vamos a la Playa

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Our final bus ride was also the longest yet, an arduous twenty five hour journey via Sao Paulo. It was cruel to have such a city, particularly with their football team and striker Ronaldo on form, dangled so temptingly in front of our eyes. However, what we did see out of our misted windows (the rain followed us all the way) was not particularly inviting and as we came closer to Rio the green, tropical mountains were blanketed with lazy clouds and it promised a much more spectacular introduction. I scanned the horizon waiting for the moment when the hills would part and the glorious city would reveal itself but it never happened. Gradually it got dark and we were introduced to the city slowly, with dark suburban streets and seedy hostels with neon signs – the most memorable of which was medieval themed.

Our hostel was reassuringly devoid of neon advertising and although I would have welcomed being a knight for a night, our simple room up a small, winding staircase had a very Brazilian character and was more than adequate. I slung my bag down and was ready to go and get my first decent Brazilian meal when we were introduced to a Brazilian guy who was on his way to watch one of the local sides, Flamengo. One fleeting moment of hungry hesitation later and we were on the bus to the Maracana stadium.

The stadium was amazing – a huge, circular structure with the pitch only a few yards from where we stood – but disappointingly the fans formed only patchy groups in the wet stands and the noise came mostly from above our heads where the “real” fans seemed to have arranged to congregate. Still, it was a good game. Flamengo, with a heavy footed Adriano (actually he was pretty heavy everywhere else too) struggled against a lively Cruziero side who, after conceding an early goal, came back to win 2-1. We got a metro back and at midnight I couldn’t quite believe I was wandering the dark streets of Rio de Janeiro but it seemed we had chosen a good area (Ipanema) and I found my paranoia easing with every mugging-free minute.

My carefully staggered storytelling style leads me back to Buenos Aires where you will remember La Boca – the colourful streets, the football stadium, the football match inside the cage. We actually visited this area twice – the second time with Niall so that he could see what Josh and I agreed was one of the best parts of town. We left him at the football stadium, having already done the tour ourselves, and arranged to meet him at the cage for a kickaround. To pass the time we went to an art gallery, which had been closed the last time we were there, and looked at some huge but otherwise fairly unremarkable photographs.

When we got to the cage we found Niall wide-eyed and with his shirt torn. He had been targeted by two guys who had tackled him to the floor, held him down and raided his pockets, stripping him of his camera. None of us could believe it – only a few days before we had been wandering around with phones, cameras and money with no real sense that we were in any danger of being robbed. We had even left our jumpers lying around while we played football.

We reported it at the police station and, feeling responsible, bought Niall a steak. If he hadn’t been on his own it wouldn’t have happened. It was a well-timed warning for Rio, particularly alongside the numerous stories we’d heard about robberies there, and it underlined the importance of moving in groups. Josh likes to point out that without him I would have been robbed by now, and this is probably true but I’m also pretty sure he would have been targeted too had it not been for my, admittedly less convincing, back up.

We were still being plagued by rain and our first trip to a deserted and windy Ipanema beach was not what I had imagined when I dreamt of Rio all those months before. Huge waves crashed heavily onto us as Niall and I, red with cold, struggled to stay upright. The tide sucked our legs from under us and even with a hazy glimpse of the green mountains at the end of the long white beach we all agreed it was a bit of an anticlimax.

It was Niall’s birthday on the Saturday after we arrived and with the “Favela Funk Party” on the Sunday (yep, a party in the favela…gulp) it promised to be a good weekend. We started the celebrations on the Friday with the Brazilian favourite, caipirinhas. These basically consist of cachaca, a spirit made from sugar cane, mixed with sugar, crushed lime and ice. They were so good we drank all of our cachaca and ended up too pickled to do anything beyond a local bar. On the Saturday we started things a bit more tentatively with just a few beers but once we got to Lapa where a busy street party was ill full swing we were tempted by offers of caipirinha by the pint.

When we eventually reached the club, Niall was picked out by the bouncers as being too drunk. A few minutes later any argument to the contrary was vomited along the busy street and the birthday boy ended up in a taxi with a plastic bag. Our association with such a spectacular wreck was enough to see us blacklisted from the club and we ended the night a few hours later after spending a while watching a ten piece band playing samba music and wishing that we could dance. The night was pretty bad and this coupled with the constant spells of rain and the windy beach amounted to a really disappointing first few days.

Bitterly hungover, the next morning should really have been a low point. Instead I was woken by excited shouting; bright sunshine filled the room. It was a miracle! The weather forecast predicted cloud and rain for the whole week and yet there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! It was hot! I dragged my physical remains out of bed and after a hurried breakfast, wasted no time in heading up to Christ to thank him for his part in the glorious day. Seeing Rio in all its sun drenched glory was amazing, the city is spread across such a stunning coastline and surrounded by towering green hills – from every angle it is a spectacular location.

Conscious that this may be our only day of sun, we headed to the beach which was buzzing with the bronzed and beautiful crowds who until now we had only seen in tacky postcards. I must say that surrounded by these pumped up thong clad beach types my own luminescent loins seemed deeply inexperienced and comically out of place. Being self-conscious is what travelling is all about though isn’t it?! Anyway, the sun eventually disappeared but our spirits were lifted and we approached the favela funk party with renewed vigour and enthusiasm.

Josh and I dressed down but soon realised we were the only ones that had and that any attempt to blend in was hopelessly futile. After being delivered to the door in minivans (which I assume were bullet proof) we, the gringos, were gathered in a separate line to enter. Once inside we were no more inconspicuous; it wasn’t a problem though. The crowd was mixed and friendly and although there was a lot of testosterone on display it tended to take the form of topless gyrating men rather than the embarrassing fistfights which are the mating cry of the Brits.

There was no hostility whatsoever and when we arrived the club was already crowded with an unmistakably Brazilian party atmosphere. Guys danced synchronised routines and the girls threw their ample posteriors around energetically. Typically of South America, drinks were paid for in one part of the club and collected in another but as they were priced at four beers for £2 I had little cause to complain. My favourite part of the night was a dance off which involved some of the more confident dancers getting up on stage and showing of their most impressive, or most sexual, moves. It was hilarious; I’m pretty sure their mothers wouldn’t have approved but then what do I know? This is Brazil.

It was an experience I will never forget and gave me the sense that there is a lot more to life in the favela than the prevalent drugs and violence. I had always been curious about life in the shantytowns but now my curiousity was heightened. The hostels always offer overpriced tours which are best avoided as most of the time you can go without them for a fraction of the price. For example, when we went to see Flamengo play the tour group who left before us were paying 75 reals. We went on the bus and got a ticket on the door for 20 reals! It was ridiculous. Still, when it came to the “Favela Tour” I didn’t feel so confident. Although I resented paying a lot of money just to walk around an area of the city, we both agreed it would be worthwhile – if only for the privelage of being able to take your camera without any worries.

It turned out to be a really exciting tour. First we were driven up to the top of the favela on the back of motorbikes driven by teenagers – an interesting shuttle which, as far as I could tell, has been set up specifically to taxi people in and out of the favela. Once at the top we left the main streets – busy with shops and stalls – and entered the more familiar narrow concrete alleys that I had seen so often in films like City of God. I had seen and heard so much about favelas at school and in the media that now wandering through one seemed almost as absurd as snorkelling after sharks or stamping around looking for snakes. I had always seen them as completely unapproachable places but, as our guide explained, the politics of the area creates a tightly controlled environment where drug dealers rule and where less lucrative crimes (ie. theft) is not tolerated.

To put it simply, robbing gringos in the favela will get you killed. The drug gangs make a horrendous amount of money– the business is highly organised, an integral part of the favelas, and they are careful not to attract unnecessary attention from the police. Everyone who enters and leaves the area is monitored by young guys with walkie-talkies - they are paid around 2,000 reals per week (this amounts to £35,000 a year) so it is easy to see how people get into this dangerous line of work. It is a fascinating but deeply worrying set up – anyone who knows anything about favelas will probably not find this a shock but it struck me harder than ever when I actually saw the scale of Rocinha – the population is estimated to be anywhere from 60000 to 150000 and the whole area is controlled by a 23 year old drug dealer.

It was a gloomy, wet day and the alleys were empty. Rain flows through them, carrying rubbish down into the lower favelas. The filth builds up the lower you get and at the bottom, fittingly, the drug dealers process and sell their product. A few open doors along the way gave me a sneaky peek into small but well furnished homes where small kids watched cable TV. Most of the houses have electricity, cable, even the internet – all of which is hi-jacked from pylons struggling under an amusing tangle of wires. Young women padded around barefoot doing washing. In spite of the rain, a number of small bars and shops were open with music blaring out of little radios. A number of locals stood around drinking and smoking, seemingly indifferent to our tentative invasion.

Approximately 10% of the favela population are involved in the drug trade. Most work in the city and it was good to see that part of our money was going towards a youth centre/ crèche where parents could leave their children for the day. One of the kids, who was white with light brown hair, had been nicknamed “gringo baby”. The tour guides (who inevitably make the same jokes day after day) had made so many jokes about gringo visitors being the child’s father that he had started calling any white people “father”. The tour operator agreed that these jokes must be stopped in order to prevent any lasting psychological damage to the poor guy.

Our trip was coming to an end. Although I was vaguely aware of the depressing situation I would find myself in when I got home I was also excited to be putting a full stop on the end of such a well executed adventure. It was pretty amazing, considering all the stories we’d heard, that we hadn’t suffered any serious physical, financial or psychological damage ourselves. Niall had a catalogue of catastrophes to take home with him – even as he got on the bus to the airport he stepped nonchalantly into a cycle lane and was almost run over by a bike. Still, there was time...

On our last night the two local teams, Flamengo and Fuminense were playing the second leg of their Copa Sud America match – an irresistible local derby which we hoped would be louder and more exciting than the game we had seen on the first night. We went with Raphael, a Fluminense fan who worked at our hostel (and who provided me with a shirt for the game!) and Declan, a charismatic Irishman who we had met a few days before. Before the game I found myself alone in the stadium toilets and considering that perhaps wearing a Fluminense shirt was not a particularly good idea. Unlike English stadiums, you see, the home and away fans are not kept separate in the Maracana. At the last game we had seen police holding back crazed Cruziero fans who seemed to have an aversion to the Flamengo supporters that surrounded them. This suddenly came to mind as I stood entirely vulnerable and I hoped that I wouldn’t turn around to see a wall of black and red (Flamengo) shirts between me and the door. I don’t ever want to die in a toilet.

Thankfully no such incident occurred and I was particularly glad to be alive when we walked out into the stands. We were now in the higher section where all the noise gets made and we sat down among a large group of Fluminense fans banging drums, holding huge balloons and waving incredibly large flags – something which I noticed requires considerable skill. These were the real fans. When we arrived I was given a massive balloon and I can not express my childlike joy. This balloon was everything. It meant I was one of them! In this group I was invincible! If I needed the toilet again I would just hold it in…
At the players came out onto the pitch we all released our balloons and the fans really got going. The chants were filled with music and dancing, the smoky air with flags and flares. The players gave them plenty to shout about too – each team scored and had a goal disallowed and by the end, with the scores level and Fluminense looking set to win with an away goal, two Flamengo defenders were sent off for desperate last ditch tackles! We danced and clapped when we were supposed to and even joined in a few of the more basic chants. It was such a good night that I bought the shirt off Raphael when we got back.

And so came our last day. Pachamamas parting gift was a full day of magnificent sunshine and we spent most of the day on the beach, drinking coconut milk and being flung around happily in the crashing Ipanema waves. We had meant to move to Copacabana but our little room in Ipanema – which we had to ourselves the whole week – was too good to give up and a couple of trips to Copacabana confirmed it as a larger, more touristy version of what we already had.

In a generous, if slightly undignified, gesture, Josh gave away his camera to a small child who was selling chewing gum on the beach. I saw undignified because moments later every beggar, salesman and prostitute within a five mile radius was to be found lounging alongside us on the beach, gesturing towards what was left of our possessions. Josh left the beach in just a pair of shorts.

Before our flight we treated ourselves to one last slap up meal. I loved the Brazilian food and an all you can eat buffet seemed like the best way to say goodbye to each and every dish. I said goodbye to rump steaks, to roasted spring chickens, grilled sausages, lasagne, baked fish, beans, rice and roasted vegetables. Then I said goodbye to the fruit. I always joke, when I go to all you can eat places, that I might do a poo halfway through to make some room. This time I actually did it and I can tell you that it doesn’t work. There you go, I’ve taught you something. And on that bombshell I will bloatedly bid you farewell.

permalink written by  steve_stamp on September 2, 2009 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
from the travel blog: The art of being lost
tagged Rain, Beach, Christ, FootballMatch, Favela, Cachaca, FunkParty and CharityBackfire

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In No Particular Order, II

Beijing, China

Lost in single product malls:

Beijing has these niche malls that are dazzling in their expanse and repetition. There is one devoted to wedding photos meaning they sell both camera gear, professional make up kits and bizarrely ornate costumes for all ages. This mall has several camping/outdoor gear store fronts. I haven't yet figured the connection yet. Maybe after the marriage and after the photos are 'published' glossy ad style, the actual photo shoot often coming months after the ceremony, someone feels the need to disappear in the wilderness?? Anyhoo, these are vastly outnumbered by the former three. Now, these malls are rectangular/square buildings of simple concrete. Straight halls lead past myriad small shops or stalls pretty much selling the same thing and thus being indistinguishable from each other save for the Chinese multi-slash stroke characters that are also rather indistinguishable to me at a glance. If I perchance enter a stall will I remember upon leaving that I entered from the right or the left? Was I heading for white wall with the red sign or was I heading for the white wall with the red sign? I try to have a plan like keeping something in the hand of the direction I should turn at the next T intersection. This worked well for the quilt, button, zipper, elastic, shoulder pad, fabric market, the quilts, buttons, zippers, elastic, shoulder pads, and fabrics each having their own indistinguishable sections. This market is in sections and I have to remember if I am in the first, second, third or fourth set of hallways, some sets big enough to fill a basketball court others to fit a soccer field.

Subway ticket quintuple fare:

Beijing subways now have ticket dispensing machines. Apparently they run out of change quickly. They also do not take one quai bills, only coins. Coins are rare these days possibly because they are sitting inside all the subway ticket dispensers. The smallest bill they will take is five times the fare. To save time I decide to get it over with and buy five tickets. I pocket my four surplus, assuming I can skip the machine on my next subway ride and descend to the platform. All is cool… Until I try to use an excess ticket on my next ride two hours later. Expired!! I wasted on those four extra tickets...... $1.25.

Blue sky dry ground:

I am deep into cavern four of the fabric, bedding, elastic, zipper, button, shoulder pad mall maze when I hear rain on the corrugated roof. It pounded hard! When I emerged from the maze less then an hour later the ground was dry. Was I dreaming? No. Just Beijing dry air working it's evaporation magic.

permalink written by  prrrrl on September 26, 2009 from Beijing, China
from the travel blog: China 2009
tagged Rain, Mall and Subway

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TLG VI Or, it's the pictures that count

Qiaotou, China

It gets windy. Water drops occassionally from the sky. We press ever downward.

Tina's is bland but has nice views from the restaurant. It's hard not to have nice views in this gorge so that's not saying much. We're REALLY tired. Maybe Corey not so much as he is half my age - if I shave a few years off mine. [Youngins!] Eat & crash. What was suppose to be only a mildly challenging day has turned into a near disaster.

But I've got great pictures!

permalink written by  prrrrl on March 8, 2012 from Qiaotou, China
from the travel blog: Yunnan, China
tagged Rain, Pictures, Wind, Disaster, Tired and Views

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Beijing, China

Raining! They seeded the clouds too late. Usually they engineer a bright sunny day for Oct. 1. (By mid-afternoon it was beautiful out.)

permalink written by  prrrrl on October 1, 2013 from Beijing, China
from the travel blog: Liaoning, 2013
tagged Rain, NationalDay and SeedingClouds

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Beijing, China

Raining! They seeded the clouds too late. Usually they engineer a bright sunny day for Oct. 1. (By mid-afternoon it was beautiful out.)

permalink written by  prrrrl on October 1, 2013 from Beijing, China
from the travel blog: Liaoning, 2013
tagged Rain, NationalDay and SeedingClouds

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Heading South?

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