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October 28, 2005

Still more

Posted by thy at 02:01 PM | Comments (1)

October 24, 2005

More Hungary

Posted by thy at 08:32 AM | Comments (2)

October 20, 2005

Hungary

I've never really traveled very much and especially for such a long period of time. So I thought I should share with you my two days of traveling:

1. 15 walk to bus station
2. 3 hour bus ride from Budapest to Vienna Airport
3. 2 hours wait until flight at a horrible airport
4. 11.5 hour flight to Kuala Lumpur
5. 15 hours of roaming the streets of KL
6. 2 hours wait at a comfortable terminal
7. 6 hour flight to Nagoya
8. Zoomed through Customs since they had 6 windows open, and I had no luggage to wait for.
9. Too bad I missed the bus by 5 minutes, 1 hour wait until next bus.
10. 2 hour bus ride to Okazaki JR Station
11. 10 minute taxi ride to The Student Village
12. Home sweet ... well home for now

The whole experience was long because I was continuously on the moved for two days. I was not able to shower or sleep at all. Even though Malaysia airline provided exceptionally good in-flight service I was still not comfortable in the chair. Also not being able to thoroughly clean myself after two days is also very gross. Especially after roaming the filthy streets of KL, the added sweat, the dirt, I felt extremely nasty and had to shower twice when I got back.

I guess he's good

Muscarnok

Can you see moon?

King Mathias

Posted by thy at 04:26 AM | Comments (1)

October 18, 2005

Budapest

For some odd reason I've always been reluctant to visit Europe. I never felt any fascination to visit the actually places that I've read or learned from history class. I've always thought Asia was more appealing and in some sense much more exotic. However, I overcame my long harbored reluctance and crossed to the unknown!

Budapest was the first city I was able to visit. This place is extremely captivating and almost everyplace is photo opportunity. I was overjoyed with its historic buildings and scenic views, especial the city center that surrounds the Duna River. Since I was only there for a short time I only saw the main sights.

I also would like to thanks Reka for making this trip possible. If it wasn't for her I would have been lost and confused most of the time. Otherwise I would have been wandering the streets hoping to find someone that speaks English.

Here are some pictures to give you an idea of Budapestís beauty.

Parliament

Over looking the Duna River, Chain Bridge

Hero's square

Lost in her book

Posted by thy at 01:05 AM | Comments (2)

October 11, 2005

Kuala Lumpur - Part 2

This is what happens when youíre unmotivated and uninspired to write anything. I think itís from having a two week vocational high and then back to my routine lackluster life.

Well letís get down to business anyways and stick to the plan. How was Kuala Lumpur you ask? Well I have many words to describe this city but one is sufficient enough, Crazy! I have no other better adjective to describe the chaos that occurs around this tourist trap. My perception comes from my short experience and perceived notion of what an industrialize city should be.

My plans for the day were as follows. Leave the airport and tour KL for the day. I had a 17 hour layover before heading back to Nagoya. I did not see the point in hanging around in the airport for that long since it is absolutely uncomfortable and I wanted to take advantage of the location. When am I ever going to be in Malaysia again? Easy plan, leave airport, tour KL until 2 hours before next flight.

It all started when I left customs and went through the arrival door at 5:45am. From there I was bombarded by men in normal black suits and taxi drivers. I was quickly surrounded by three men after 5 steps out of the door. They swiftly made eye contact with me and motioned me to come their way as if they were my welcoming party. They directed me to come to their tourist booth for travel information. Well no harm in getting more travel information. I was then continuously asked where I wanted to go and how much do I have. My answer was I wanted to go everywhere but I have no money. Even then they still pressured me into taking a day trip with them since they will drive me all around and take care of me. All for only $150 USD, I yelled outrageous and again noted that I have little money and will think about it. Yes for a country with an average income of $4,352 per year $150 for 6 hours is a lot for just one person. Besides I was absolutely sure that I can get by with much less and still have twice the fun.

I scrambled away to find what other options I have. I wanted to do a city tour similar to what they have in any major cities, e.g. Washington D.C., Budapest, etc. However from what Iím told from the tourist guide, hotels step up tours for groups and it will be easier for to do it by myself if I am not with a hotel. I was given a map and instructions as how to reach the city. A bit shocked and discourage but still determined to see the Petronas Twin Towers and still have a good time.

After 5 minutes of worrying and pondering if I should go at it alone. I approached two Japanese guys that happened to on the same flight with me earlier and also happened to be in front of me when queuing up for customs. I talked to them in Japanese to see what they had plan for the day. As it turns out they had the exact same idea I had. 17 hour lay over and wanted to use it to see KL. Well now that I have two buddies to hang with for the day and also 2 extra people to help cut the cost.

As the three of us stood there discussing our options we were again continuously asked if we wanted taxis or tours. We did and we discussed prices with each person. All were very expensive and there was on going bargaining. The prices ranged from 120 Ringgit to 75 Ringgit, from the airport to KL City Center (KLCC). I soon learned after leaving the airport that bargaining will be the norm.

We safely arrived in KLCC at 7am after 45 minutes taxi ride. The taxi driver was a nice guy but absolutely an aggressive driver. I was a bit scared the way he was weaving through traffic. With our arrival in KLCC we visited the Towers and hailed other another Taxi to take us to another site. A Hindu Temple, unfortunately the temple was under construction so we could not marvel at its beauty but we had a glimpse of what it will become.

Like any one day trip we visited many locations and the taxi was the main source of transportation. Exchanging of prices was a necessity since everyone out there was out to make money. We also quickly realize that in some places it was nothing but a tourist trap. Shops filled with nothing but fake watches, fake hand bags, all type of fake name brands, and boot leg movies. What was especially interesting was that the majority of these shop keeps were able to speak broken Japanese and easily bargain with Japanese tourists. Of course their initial price was always outrageous but after long winded exchange of bargaining the price will undoubtedly drop. Ryuta the Japanese friend for the day was by far the best bargainer Iíve ever seen. He was consistently able to lower any price down to 10%. What was once 100 Ringgit is now 10 Ringgit, yes can you see the unbelievable markup price for all the fake products?!

Having two friends for the day really made it enjoyable for me. It was always fun to see how much we can bargain for and also see what other fake products where available. However, some shop keepers were relentless in not letting us go. They refuse to say no when we did not want to buy their product, always pushing us to give them a good price. Ryuta and Yuki after 30 minutes of arguing with a shop keeper for a belt finally gave in and bought a belt only after they got a good price for it and not the shop keeperís price. The shop keeper must of thought he had 3 suckers looking at his stuff. How wrong he was but he must have been really desperate since he was constantly insisting we make a deal with him.

The highlight for the trip for me was eating tropical fruits. Ryuta and Yuki havenít seen or heard of many of these tropical fruits. Thus I took it upon myself to buy some and provided them with a taste. Iíve must have tasted over 6 or 7 type of tropical fruits and by the end of it we were all very full. The best part of it all was that the fruits were extremely cheap at around $1.50 for 1Kg of fruit. We did not spend more than $10 and all of us were full to bursting, well at least I was!

Our day ended yet again arguing with at least 5 taxi drivers on price back to the airport. All with varying prices arranging from 90 Ringgit to finally 65 Ringgit. Again with Ryuta expert mouth he made the taxi driver give in and weaken to his offer. When we finally reached the airport I felt the exhaustion hit me. I could feel the dirt and grime that I collected throughout the day from walking through the humid streets on my skin. My face felt as if though it was covered in layer and layers of dirt. The smell of sweat permeated through my clothing from head to toe. I looked and felt like a mess. I just wanted to head back to Okazaki and have a quick shower but that would be at least 10 hours away.

This is just a preview of what I did over the past few weeks. I will try to write more once I find the time.

Petronas Twin Towers

Petronas Twin Towers

Yuki and Ryuta, my buddies for the day

Hindu cave

Whoa sorry this entry is a bit excessively long but I was a week late for this entry after all. hmmm over compensating?

Soon will be pictures from Hungary. Specially pictures of beautiful Budapest!

Posted by thy at 05:06 AM | Comments (2)