Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 8: Hangzhou (Part II)

Getting Around in Town

It's very easy and straight forward when traveling around in Hangzhou (when you can speak and read Chinese) - you just have to follow the instructions. We traveled by bus all the time because it was so convenient. At every bus stand there would be signboards telling you the buses that stop there and where they go to. We took pictures of the bus schedule to plan our journey. And of course, having a map to be used as reference would help too.

The buses with codes starting with "Y" which means 游 (you) would take you to all the tourist spots.

In some bus stops near town area it indicated the distance of each bus from that particular stop. We were very impressed by this and wondered when will Malaysia be able to catch up.

Bus numbered 25 is just 500 meters away from this stop.

Three Pools Mirroring The Moon 三潭印月

Also known as Lesser Yingzhou Isle, it is a famous spot to go to during the Mid-Autumn Festival, when it is a full moon. The three stone miniature pagodas standing in the lake off the isle are presumably the best place for moon viewing. These pagodas produce many magic views of the moon in the water, making people nostalgic and reminiscent of the past.

Its inside lake - which is said to be the lake within a lake (湖中有岛,岛中有湖) - is crisscrossed with many zigzagging bridges, a causeway that expands from west to east, the lights and clouds reflection in the water can be seen with flowers in blossom. (Reference site: Tours in Hangzhou)

Boat transfer to Three Pools Mirroring The Moon RMB45.

One step at a time.

It said that Mao Zedong came to the isle and left this inscription.

Scenery on the isle.

Su Xiaoxiao's tomb, located on the corner of Xiling Bridge and Bai Causeway.

Looks like a painting.

The Impression of West Lake 印象西湖

The famous stage play produced and directed by Zhang YiMou, original score by musician Kitaro, and theme song sang by famous Chinese singer Zhang Liangyin. The set was near YueFei Temple, on West Lake. The play was staged entirely upon the lake itself. A stage had been built 3 cm under the water surface and it looked as if the actors were walking on water as they moved. The backdrop, it was the surrounding of the West Lake itself. And using lighting creatively, the most beautiful and breathtaking scenes were being presented. (Reference site: crienglish)

The play was based on a legendary love story "The Legend of The White Snake" (read about the story here). It was a sad ending and it brought tears to my eyes. This is certainly a performance that I feel should never be missed if you're visiting Hangzhou. Even if we had a tough and unpleasant experience getting the expensive tickets, I felt it was all worth it.

The crowd.
The two birds symbolized the lovers who was separated by destiny.
The bridge rised where the lovers would be reunited.

Check out the beautiful lighting.
The main actor.
This scene really touched me. It was all pitch black and the only thing we saw was the actor. He was separated with his love. It was sad and lonely.

The birds.

The backdrop.

Did I fail to mention how cold it was? The play was in the open, for God's sake! There were people who didn't wear enough clothes renting for winter jacket at the entrance of the play - can you imagine? Before the play began I couldn't stand the cold so I went into KFC and bought a cup of hot Milo which cost me RMB6. I was like, whatever - was totally willing to pay a fortune for something that could warm me up. Thank goodness during the play I didn't remember feeling anything as I was too mesmerized. After the play, I bought another two cups of hot Milo and insisted that we take a cab back to the hostel (instead of walking back as the original plan).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Park Chul Hair Dresser

I used to go to Oh Jun Hair Salon - before they moved to the new place, before I feel the hair stylist cum owner, Oh Jun cuts and perms my hair in a rush because of the long queue, before he charges me a fortune.

I've discovered a new salon now - Park Chul Hair Dresser. It's in the old place that Oh Jun rented. It's run by a Korean lady who speak English that I can't quite catch. But thank goodness there is an Indonesian lady whom I speak Malay to, and she would translate to the Korean lady - yup, she can speak Korean. She told me she has already been in Malaysia working for almost 10 years, so are the other Korean ladies there.

It was the same experience I had during my first visit to Oh Jun's - friendly owner and employees, good and thoughtful services. I think all the Koreans like to have curly hair. Like the first time I went to Oh Jun, she also suggested that I do rebonding at the roots and curl at the bottom. I refused and told her I already tried that.

You know when you do rebonding you have to warm a pair of steel plates (to about 180 degree Celcius) and use it to clip and pull small parts of your hair repetitively, so as to make them straight and shiny. This is normally done after you've washed off the straightening chemicals and you will have to blow dry your hair before this procedure. If this procedure is performed when your hair is still moist, it might damage your hair. And when the water evaporate to form steam - especially at the area close to your scalp - at 180 degree C it could burn your scalp slightly and you will feel stinging pain for days after the perm, which is why I never want to step foot in the salon until I really have to.

In Park Chul Hair Dresser, they know better than that. When they use the hot clip on my hair the Indonesian lady would blow away the steam formed so it wouldn't hurt my scalp. For the first time having a perm, I didn't feel a thing at all. How relieved I was!

This is how I look after the cut and rebonding.

I thought she cut my fringe too short. But I changed my mind after a few days. :)

The price, was not much different from Oh Jun's - equally expensive!!! I was charged RM200. Well I guess one have to pay for the service. And I was given a card which I can claim for a hair manicure treatment after 5 times of perm or colour services, and a hair skin scaling and face massage after 7 times of cut hair services. Better than nothing.

Park Chul Hair Dresser
H/P: 016-9197249
Lot B13-2 Jalan Ampang Utama
2/2 One Ampang Avenue
Jalan Ampang
68000 Ampang
(near to Ampang Point)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I want to be in love =)

(We are all angels with a single wing, the only way we can fly is to hold on to each other)
~ Quoted from a song by Gary Chaw ~

I always feel incredibly bad - or rather, guilty - when single people tell me about how they long to be in a relationship, how they long to find the one. And they'd ask me how I met Mr. Chin, how did it started, what romantic things he did to me etc. I'd feel so reluctant to tell them and I'd try so hard to camouflage my happiness. I feel as if I don't deserve him.

They end by saying, "Oh how nice to have a boyfriend/girlfriend. You must be so happy." or "If I have a boyfriend/girlfriend now I wouldn't stay at home chatting on MSN." or "I wonder when will I find mine." I will then tell them to leave it to fate and love will eventually find them, while hoping what I said is true. And I feel more and more guilty simply for being in a relationship.

Some would ask me for tips to get a girl. I always help as far as I could - providing advices, introducing girls to them. Some broke my heart by being hopelessly conservative i.e. desperately wanting to get married for the sake of having children. Some disappointed me by changing their mind every 5 minutes. To date I have not successfully match make any couples.

Sometimes I have to tell them the painful truth - you don't have a sense of humour, you should lose some weight, you are not sensitive enough. Much that I hate to admit, the world is a cruel place. The first impression i.e. the look, is one major thing when it comes to opposite sex attraction.

Being 27 years old this year, the pressure is starting to build up. However desperate we are, it can't really be helped. The one who want me isn't the one I want, the one whom I want doesn't want me. Love is as complicated as it can be. It hurts me when listening to stories like this. I laugh and scold with my girlfriends when they tell me about jerks they met, those who broke their heart, those assholes and losers.

My mom always say you will never know who is your till-death-do-us-part until you're dying on your deathbed. I think it's very true. I sincerely hope all my friends will find their very own happily ever after.

P.S. Recently a friend was happily attached. Congratulations to him and his sweet girlfriend. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 8: Hangzhou (Part I)

We woke up early in the morning to claim our free breakfasts and refund from the tourist information centre (refer to my previous post to find out why). It was our second last day in Hangzhou already and we couldn't afford to have anymore delays. We were determined to cover as many places as possible. Crossing the Bai Causeway 白堤, we came upon Gu Mountains 孤山.

Hangzhou History Museum 杭州历史博物馆

The best thing about this place, is that the admission was free. Other than that, I really couldn't appreciate the artifacts that were being displayed. I mean, they all looked the same to me. I couldn't differentiate those from the china I have at home.

Blue Porcelain Vase 青瓷瓶.

The bowl I used at home wouldn't look less valuable than this - my opinion.

Mr. Chin looking bored.

World view of West Lake 西湖天下景

Xiling Seal Engravers' Society 西冷印社

Xiling Seal Engravers' Society 西冷印社 is a well-known academic society majors in studying inscriptions on ancient bronzes and stone tablets. Currently, there are plenty of valuable inscriptions and stone carvings in the society dating back 1940 years to the Eastern Han Dynasty. The society is also a beautiful traditional garden that creates a serene, agreeable atmosphere mingling scenery with art. (Reference site: China Connection Tours.) Admission was also free.

With a smile, hundreds of worries shall be forgotten 一笑百虑忘.

A beautiful garden indeed.

YueFei Temple 岳王庙

YueFei was a famous Chinese patriot and a military general in the Song Dynasty. At that time, the country was under attack by the Jurchen. The capital city, Kaifeng had been taken over and Emperor Qinzong had been captured. YueFei fought a long campaign against the invading army in an effort to retake the north of the country. Just when he was threatening to attack and retake Kaifeng, corrupted officials advised Emperor Gaozong to recall YueFei to the capital and sue for peace with the Jurchen. Fearing that a defeat at Kaifeng might cause the Jurchen to release Qinzong, threatening his claim to the throne, the emperor followed their advice. Yue Fei was ordered to return twelve times in the form of twelve gold plaques. He was finally killed in the prison. (Reference from Wikipedia.)

Two pillars at the entrance of the temple with engraves of lines from a poem that YueFei wrote:




I used to read this poem in school when I was young.

National hero 民族英雄.

满江红 was the poem YueFei wrote expressing his emotions when he was forced to give up defeating the Jurchen. He knew he had to die being framed with crimes he didn't commit.

The statues of the corrupted government officials who framed YueFei were made to kneel before his tomb. There was a signboard saying "do not spit".

Killed by YueFei.

Mr. Chin saying hi to YueFei.