Tag Archive: market


Hue

Got on a bus from Hoi An for 4 (turned 3) hours to Hue stopping at a lookout point called Thua Thien Hue but didn’t get enough time to go to the top (so I didn’t see the point in stopping at all). Yes, nice views, but if there is a hike why not give us time to do it? The sells were very pushy and touched me twice L we also saw a truck full of dogs three times which smelt terrible. The last time we saw them they were getting sprayed down.

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Upon arriving in Hue, we went to lunch at Ushi where I got vegetable soup that ended up being just morning glory in water…only 15,000 though. Walked to central market (went over Truong Tien Bridge which is an ugly color and has construction) which was a lot like Goje market in Busan with souvenirs because it had vegetables and cooking things and housework items. We then walked through a park next to Perfume river and I told a guy I was Korean just for him to go away. On to the Imperial Citadel (palace) which cost 105,000 (which is much more than 55,000 as advertised in lonely planet). It’s pretty much the only thing to see in the city.

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It was mostly construction and trash which makes me question Vietnamese people–why not take care of your history? This was not the first thing we had seen like this. We’re not even sure what we saw because there were no signs. Their map and the lonely planet map didn’t add up either.

The pagoda/rest area-gondola was really nice as were the bushes made like turtles which were both inside the Purple Forbidden City. There was a nice dragon statue just beyond the main gate too, but we could not get over the trash. Closed at 5:30 and one in our group was very concerned we would not get out. Just then, matt found the temples and Hien Lam Pavilion which all looked beautiful. We then walked back to the Ngo Mon gate to find it was closed…so we went around to the next gate (Hien Hhom) to leave. I tried to go in that one at first but it is only an exit. The palace is a lot smaller than it seems. Back to the hotel for 6:30 for dinner at 7:30.

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Dinner at Le’s was good food with good drinks (but really standard drink deals) but the staff were too ‘helpful’. I don’t need someone behind me the whole time or chatting to me about my water bottle and such. They gave us jenga after dinner and asked if we were too tired because we didn’t want to play. Weird. 39,000 for fried rice with vegetables but really good. They were very on top of clearing plates too. Walked to Brown Eyes for free shots after but I went home because I was tired.

In the morning, some of us decided to go to Thin Mu. It was supposed to be 3km from a bridge that was 1 km away but it turned out to be 6.4km total so someone messed up on the map.

The walk was interesting because there was no sidewalk and lots of rundown temples and trash. Another sign of the Vietnamese not taking care of their country and history. Eventually found the pagoda at 11:40 meaning we had to go straight back so 4 of the group could check out and we all could eat. Got some good pics and saw the car a monk rode in before he burned himself because of abuses the government took on monks.

Haggled from 40,000 each to 22,000 each for a boat and then she dropped us at a different spot than she said she would (1 bridge early) because of police (?)

Back to the hotel to find a good restaurant and it turned out DMZ was supposed to be good, based on Trip Advisor. Service had no idea what was going on and food was okay. #5 on trip advisor? Not anymore…Our server could hardly take our orders but she understood when I said their ranking was about to go down. Most got pizza or pasta to bulk up for a 14 hour train ride.

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Hoi An

Took the “8:30” train from Nah Trang but it was quite late. We had a person who was there to help yell if people were still in our room but we didn’t need to use her, sadly as we all wanted to see it happen.

Jill saw a mouse but I didn’t, again sadly because I wanted to see how big they were. Sit always calls them Mickey Mouse and one of the girls sings ‘Hey Mickey’. Woke pretty early because others were talking saying it must be soon but it wasn’t for another hour and a half. Got good pics of sunrise though.

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Arrived in DaNang and took a bus for 40 minutes to Hoi An.

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We couldn’t check in so we went to breakfast at Banana Leaf where I got a great omelet and crunchy baguette for 35,000. Next others went to the tailors but I didn’t want to buy anything so I just came back and did laundry and showered. Then I saw some of the boys who said they were going to the pool so I went there. It was fun especially because they didn’t pull me under, as they joked they would.

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Around 1:30 I went with Jill to explore the town. I didn’t realize that inside the ‘town’ there were no bikes or cars, making it seem even touristier. People are quite pushy to sell which I dislike. Walked to what I thought was the Japanese Bridge looking at the G Adventures wrong map again. Then to Central Market which was smelly and dirty and filled with sleeping people who were very very pushy to sell their food when they woke up—why would I buy food to cook? Next we wandered and I found a painting for mom for 100,000 dong. She asked 7USD, I said 5USD, which she then said was 120,000 dong. Nope. (She’s correct really but no one gets that rate.) Then back to the hotel for a little break before the cooking class.

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When we were fishing the cooking class everyone else showed up for Pete’s birthday dinner. Then we went upstairs and had some drinks and Sit brought in a huge cake with a dragon. We couldn’t eat it all and left the dragon head with the restaurant. Really good for an Asian cake. Lots of frosting 🙂 Then Sit took us to the Japanese bridge (not the one I saw earlier) which was beautiful at night and showed us a good ice cream shop.

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We then went to Hong Phuc 2 for drinks which were buy one get one for cocktail sand buy two get one for beer. The cocktails were quite strong. We got to control the music which was nice again and some people put lanterns in the water. Earlier we were told people do have jobs to pick up the lanterns. They closed at around 12:30 so we went home and as a massive rat.

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Ready at 9 for the bike ride which ended up being fantastic.

Myself and 2 others got ice cream from Enjoy, the place Sit showed us, which was 600,000 for 1 kg of ice cream. I ended up paying 70,000 which was still expensive but it was very nice. The milk is imported from France. Then we went back to Hong Phuc 2 because we needed more food. I got a sandwich for 32,000 which was warm and very nice because of the crunchy bread. Sit then took us to look for funny shirts but I didn’t have any money so I came back to the pool to be joined shortly by most of the group.

Left to go to the post office and paid 15,000 dong for the Americas and 13,000 dong for Asia and Europe. Found some people from the group right away and did a bit of shopping. 2 shirts for $10—one Vietnamese telecom and 1 ‘same same but different’. A friend paid $7.50 for one so I got a deal. Wandered a bit trying to find others and went to a buy one get one bar for 2 drinks. Found some but they had to go home and when we saw them again they didn’t want to eat anymore. Went to Hong Phuc 2 for dinner (same as lunch) and got 3 beers (1 free) and vegetables and rice for $10.50. I then got really tired and went home.

Cooking class started at the hotel at 4 and we walked to Hong Phuc which was right next to where we had breakfast. I was worried because many reviews online said that multiple cooking classes here have you cut vegetables and stuff spring rolls and nothing else. First we went to the market I went to earlier and looked at banana leaves, shredded leaves in salt water (many things were in salt water for pickling but this was to preserve it), hot chilies, garlic, shallots, 3 types of ginger, lemongrass, Vietnamese celery, how they get mixed greens (just an old lady mixing it), a strange round green thing that tastes like cucumber, live eels, fish balls and patties for soup, crabs, and lotus seeds/nuts.I was worried because we looked at many of the same foods from the Thai class.

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The first thing we made was fish stuffed with green onions and fried shallots which was wrapped in banana leaf and grilled.

Second was squid with lots of spices. Third was spring rolls (making them) which was quite different from Thai ones as the paper was a lot thicker and we didn’t cook the inside and put egg inside. Fourth we made a sauce for the wontons which I knew I wouldn’t like because of the pineapple but, since it was cooked, it wasn’t bad. We then fried the wontons and fried the spring rolls, cutting them partway though (Hoi An specialty) to make the inside crispy too.

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My favorite was the wontons followed far behind by the squid and fish—Gemma made the point that it would be a lot better with a more flavorful fish and a less bony fish. I didn’t like the wonton itself because it was bland but I guess the pork ones were good. They were Hoi An special as well and were flat with a little circle to one side, which I thought was strange.

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Inle Lake

Arrived at 4:15, paid $5 for entry and bought my ticket to Yangon for 22,000 kayat. Were technically in Nyungshwe. Met 4 others, JS (French) and his Chinese girlfriend (Spring), a Dutch girl and Swiss girl. The Dutch and Swiss girls are staying elsewhere (after we tried to all find a place together) but JS and his girlfriend and I are at Gold Star for 13USD a night (single) which is government discount (was 15USD). I tried not to stay in hotels as they pay more money to the government, but there were no guest houses left under 30USD.

We went for a walk to see the town and ask about boats. The best plan was the first guy we talked to and only 1000 kayat more at 5000 kayat each (15000 kayat for a full boat of 5 but there is only 3 of us). We talked about how we just wanted to go out on the boat, not go to the cigar shop or anything like that because we wouldn’t buy anything, and the guy at 2 Thumbs Up agreed that it was best because he didn’t like the cigar shop.

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Had dinner of Shan noodles and watched K drama and Thai vs. Myanmar football. The noodles were different from everything else that I had in Myanmar and great. Only 2000 kayat for 3 people to eat with 1 coke and 1 sprite. I asked for lime soda and got sprite. Oh well.

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Had some issues with the shower here but I guess the one that’s blue and red is hot, not the two that are just red.

Two beds, towels, soap, shampoo, TV (air force one, bandits, here after) fan in room.

When I woke up it was raining and JS and Spring and I were worried about the boat ride but didn’t have anything else to do so we decided to go for it. I went and told the guy at 2 Thumbs Up (the first place we stopped at) who remembered me. Breakfast was eggs and toast but there were other options.

The guy was supposed to meet us at 8 but he didn’t come in so I went outside at 8:15, saw a guy who didn’t say anything and went back in. then we all went outside to walk to 2 Thumbs Up and he said hello. Not a great start. Walked to the canal.

The boat ride was about 20 minutes before we got to the lake (it stopped raining by then).

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Then we didn’t get to the market port until 9:55 and we told we had 1 hour there but we knew it was a 20-25 minute walk which would take longer due to mud. Seemed silly that we had just a short time. We didn’t get there until half an hour had passed. I didn’t think it was special other than the fruit and vegetables I didn’t know I couldn’t be explained to me, so it was unhelpful. Standard Asian market but with mud (many people bought flowers and they are obsessed with Psy).

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From there we went to a shop which we said  yesterday we didn’t want to go to, then another shop with girls with long necks. Odd to take pictures of them like it’s a human zoo. They were sewing and the fabric wasn’t nice because it was very rough. Next he tried to stop at another shop and we said no!

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Then was lunch of tofu curry (not curry by any standard) and lime juice which was 3500 kayat. After we walked to the Paung Daw Oo Pagoda where we made fun of a ‘gang’—the boys were wearing the same pants. 500 kayat camera fee. I thought the chipped floor outside was cooler than anything inside. Inside there wasn’t a Buddha but jars to put gold takes on (but girls couldn’t). A guy was reading into a loud speaker we could here from the restaurant.

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At this point the sun came out so much we all used the umbrellas because we didn’t have sunblock (due to the rain in the morning). Silly, because I knew I should have put it on. We kept going south which worried us (we knew thanks to Springs’ phone) and we went to another weaving shop! I don’t care about discount I don’t want to be here! We talked to our driver though translator and found out next was the cigar shop which even the guy at 2 Thumbs Up said was bad. When we said no more shops the driver was annoyed but whatever guy—we have to be back by 5 thus your day is shorter! He must get commission from the shops.

Next JS jumped in and said there was tons of algae that essentially helped him float. Then onto the jumping cat monastery which we knew did not have jumping cats anymore but I guess some thought it did. It’s still a nice old building which great views and gold. The cats are very lazy now.

Then we had to talk to another guy to tell our driver that we didn’t want to straight back because then we’d be back too soon. They kept trying to tell us all the markets were closed today but we said we want to one. Turns out they were closed by this time. Said we wanted to visit another when we booked it and wish we knew better.

We went to a town on the east side which had a school that was letting out a great view for sunset but we couldn’t stay that late.

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Docked at 5:00. I’m not too impressed with the fisherman. I’m sure using your legs is easy once you’re used to it and they’re probably stronger. Not sure what the slapping of the water was though.

Hung out at the hotel for a bit.

Truck picked us all up around 6:10 and I got straight on the bus for my solo seat 😦 but a creep next to me who kept staring. Water, Pepsi, 2 pastries, and a cold cloth is not unlimited tea and cake like De Anne said. The person in front put their seat all the way back and never moved unless I did to get out after them. Rude. Food stops but since an Austrian guy said he was 2 days bedridden because of food from Bagan to Inle I didn’t try it. Bought some spicy chips and an apple which I lost the next day trying to find a hotel. Slept a lot even though there was a strange French movie playing called District B13 about drugs and guns.

Markets

On our way back from Bukit Bintang in the afternoon we went to Central Market, which is a market where you can hopefully work the prices down. It was opened in 1888, and saved in the 1970s. We didn’t buy anything there, but there is also a lot of food in the area (some good–Restournt Youssif, if you don’t count the weird things we found in our food, which might have been for flavor but we had no idea what they were–and some bad–the gelato with a panda on the logo had frezer-burn on the gelato and she wanted to put it into a sandwich??) Most of the items for sale are knock-offs, made of wood, souvenirs, or Indian clothing.

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Before dinner we went to Chinatown and go some great knock-offs–I’m starting to think they are real but just had a minor defect so the companies cannot sell them i.e. sunglasses with paint chips or T shirts with the logo on the inside but the design on the outside. The sellers don’t try to tell you that the items are real like in China, nor do they try to make you feel bad by saying that their family will starve, again, like my experiences in China. We met some friends at their hostel and walked back to Petaling Street which has a beautiful gate to start the market. This area also has amazing food, and I think the best I ate in KL. I got bok choy and noodles and both were fantastic (and totaled 15 ringgits). Everyone was stuffed, I think with me being the only one who finished.

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Shanghai in 20 hours

I rode on the back of a bike without a helmet! It doesn’t sound that scary when compared to what other people do when traveling but it was pretty scary to me–the rules of the road are nonexistent in China.

We then went to the market I mentioned before and I bought a Tom Brady jersey for $20, Ray Ban sunglasses for $5 and a few other things. These later disappeared and we think we know where they went but the person claims to not have them….

Next we went to old Shanghai where things got really ‘Chinese-e’ and walked around a bit. I ate the greasy-ist  scallion pancake in the world.

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After a break from the busy world we went to dinner at Bali Laguna, an Indonesian Restaurant. The non-alcoholic drinks are just as expensive as the food! The food was amazing though, maybe I should have gotten a drink just to see how good those would have been. Oh well, I have plans to go to Indonesia so hopefully I’ll be able to have just as nice food and drinks for cheaper.

We then went for a walk and looked at some DVDs. I really didn’t understand the ordering…

Shanghai 2 045When I’m looking for Motorcycle Diaries, I might as well get The Game Plan too.

Shanghai 2 046This I like. If I’m going to buy one De Niro movie, why not buy more?

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After that was home to drink Chinese wine and leave at 5am with the worst hangover ever.

Delhi

Got into Delhi just after noon and even though it’s a holiday (Good Friday) it’s very busy.

I left with the guide at 2:30 (supposed to be 2 but he was late…) and we went to Jama Masjid which is the biggest mosque in India. No pictures were allowed to be taken and I had to wear a wrap around my body (not over my hair though, like I thought). It’s beautiful with red walls and marble floor with outlines for where people can sit and pray towards Mecca. It’s closed to the public whenever prayer is going on.  The white floors are all covered  so the white does not provide glare like it does at Agra Fort.

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We then went though a walk of the small market streets in Old Delhi. We did the gem streets, food street and gold and silver street.Between the food street and gold and silver street we walked down Chandni Chowk which is the main street where it didn’t actually seem like a lot was going on.

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After that we went to Rajghat–which means for Royal Burial Grounds–which is where Gandhi was cremated, the ashes in Hindu culture are always thrown into the Ganges River. It’s a really beautiful area with tons of flowers. I didn’t go down to the spot because there were a lot of people but there is a great place to view from above. Other important people have locations there like the first Prime Minister. India 1659 India 1661

Next we went to a lotus mosque that was built by Iranians in the 1980s. the marble was imported form Italy–and it’s all marble! we didn’t go in because the line was very very long.

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Next I was taken to Kashmir Cashmere. I hate when someone takes you somewhere just to have you buy stuff. Normally in India I could just avoid it just by not following people. However when your driver and tour guide take you somewhere that is another story….you can’t get away. I could say that I don’t want to go in but they would just insist and insist and insist.

Anyway, I was told stories upon stores of how all the money goes back to Kashmir which is a warn torn area where I guess the Indian government doesn’t send any help. I wish I had been able to go there as photography is supposed to be amazing because it is so beautiful (worth fighting for…) but it was too far for my time in India. Also could be a bit kid-nappy, according to the US State Department website when I looked it up. They showed me how to make the rugs (hand knotted) which were too pricey for me ($435 for the 2nd size they had, smallest was like a bath mat). I said $150 as a super low-ball because I didn’t want one and they said they would call the family and ask if that was an okay price! Ended up buying a scarf for $60 when they said $80.

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Next day I went past the government buildings like Parliament, Presidents house and Prime Ministers house.  I went out for a walk near the Presidents house and there were monkeys everywhere! They must be the first line of defense.

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I went to India Gate which is not so much a gate as you cannot drive or walk though it but a war memorial. Tons of people offering to take pictures which did not even look that nice or sell pipes. Odd mix. Very bored looking security again. The flowers there were beautiful again, as were those around the canopy behind the gate. Actually, those were nicer.

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Next was Humayun’s tomb.

Finally, I went to Qutab Minar.

On the way back I went past Red Fort again (had gone by it in the morning before the Delhi market but didn’t get good pictures). It’s kind of hard to take good pictures as there is a lot of traffic going past, no parking lot and all the street ‘parking’ (really just seems like a lane that should have cars being driven in it) was taken up by tuk tuks, rickshaws and stands selling food.

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I went to Indian McDonald’s for lunch which was fantastic. I had the Spicy Paneer Burger and I don’t know why this is not offered everywhere! In the US they could use mozzarella or halloumi cheese, bread it, fry it and put it on a bun.

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Then I went to the airport.

Shanghai in 8 hours

On my way to India, I had a layover from 12:55pm to 8:30pm–taking the time to get out of the airport and to where my friend wanted to meet plus the time to get back to the airport and the 2 hours to check in….it was really from 2:50pm to 6:30pm, and 3 hours and 40 minutes in Shanghai.

You CAN leave the airport in Shanghai if you are from certain countries if you have a layover that is less than 48/72 hours–if it’s longer I’d imagine you went there on purpose…really after 12 I think you’re there on purpose but on my way back it was 22 hours to make the flights super cheap. You can’t be coming from Hong Kong, stay in Shanghai for 48 hours and then go back to Hong Kong, have to go somewhere else so its really a layover and not a short trip. I don’t understand why the government doesn’t promote this more, since it really is just a great way for the country to make some tourism money. I’m not sure why else it exists.

Anyway, after you leave the airport, you can get on the metro easily and go anywhere! Both airports are on the green line and I went to Jing’an Temple to meet my friend (another English teacher) as she lives near there.  This took about an hour. At the airport stop (at least at mine, Pudong International) there are some weird decorations to let you know you’re in China. They were all in bad lighting, so my flash always popped up.

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Once getting off I could see that China was still all decked out for the Lunar New Year

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We went to lunch at Din Tai Fung which is famous from dumplings so we got the Mushroom ones and the Vegetable ones. My friend is a meat eater and said she liked the Mushroom ones because they were more ‘meat like’. We also got the most popular side dish which was sauteed greens in garlic. So good. There is a reason it’s the most popular. Service was a bit odd as we got everything separate, but it was busy. They have soy sauce and vinegar on the table for you to mix, and deliver very pretty ginger for you to use in your mix as well. You can watch the dumplings being made, but I’m not sure how anyone would know which are theirs.

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After that we walked though new Shanghai which is filled with sky scrapers. There was also a knock off market. I was quite surprised at how people just yelled what they were selling at you. We didn’t buy anything, but we went back on my return layover.

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We ended up at Peoples Square where parents advertise their unmarried ‘old’ children for wed. I put old in quotes because by American/Western standards they are not old, only about 25. The signs will list their age, height, likes and dislikes and other parents will make notes of things to show their children. I don’t think I saw any of the kids actually there. There is a separate area for people who are willing to accept non-Chinese nationalities.

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There is also an amusement park with some really unsafe looking rides…

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And of course Cherry Blossoms!

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Next we decided to walk to the waterfront to see the skyline. While we were walking it started to rain, but hardly enough to need an umbrella, but of course everyone pulled them out. I have a horrible fear of getting hit in the ey by an umbrella.

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When we got to the waterfront I remembered being there when I was 16 and we did a boat cruise. I was hoping my mom could go though those old pictures (not on my computer) and find one of me in Shanghai but she couldn’t. I guess I didn’t take many pictures of myself on the trip and relied on others, but if we had shared them, they would have sent them and we would have saved them, right?

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Realistically, the photos below was the only reminder that I was in fact, in China which is a ‘communist’ country.

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Next was the subway back to the airport, where my friend told me that I had, realistically, seen all of new Shanghai in one day–less than that!