Tuesday, July 12, 2005
leaving skool guoyandao at 5:14 PM [comment]
leaving skool guoyandao at 5:13 PM [comment]
leaving skool guoyandao at 5:12 PM [comment]
I've written some little craps during the stay in France, sharing with everyone here.
和帅气的alex走在那家网吧的门前，有一个非常青春可爱的法国女孩子主动勾引他，把脚伸到他面前想绊他，这傻小子身在福中不知福，还是我提醒他，yo dude you've just been hit on. 他一回头，那个女孩子对他招招手，灿烂一笑。于是我就不高兴了，他妈的我这辈子是没有被hit on的机会了。我就好好对我喜欢的女孩子吧。
leaving skool guoyandao at 5:08 PM [comment]
Day 11, May 22, Sunday, Paris
Today another person joins our trip. Her name is Lifang, she's from NUS, she's from Ji Lin in China, and she's cute and funny. Jesse thought she was cute, too, haha. So it was good. We went to the Notre Dame again, but it was open when we went there, so we went in and the interior of Notre Dame was just as amazing as its outside. The grand, majestic Gothic ceiling with its flower-lie arcs was astonishing on the first look. There were also numerous chapels, sculptures and paintings all around the cathedral. I wanted to take a photo of the gorgeous altar during the breaks of service, but I got caught red-handed haha.
We spent about two hours inside, then we went to eat. I had chocolate crepes it was good but too little. If you want to have a filling meal of crepes in Paris, you're gonna spend about 20 bucks. Then we headed down to the Pantheon, it was too expensive to get in. Why would we pay 6 bucks to see dead people, even if they're Victor Hugo? I wanted to head down to Louvre but lifang reminded me that we probably only got 3 hours left for Louvre. So we changed to Centre Pompidou. These guys sat down with some Pakistan portrait painters and had them draw a caricature for them. So I waited for them and got dragged by another Pakistan 'artist', he told me he was gonna draw for himself, I knew it wasn't true but sat down anyway. So he drew an ugly caricature for me, his standard is only like slightly higher than me. Haha. So he offered to sell me the thing at the end, and I turned him down. My sympathy almost overwelmed my sense when he told me he got no job and no house. Then we saw our biggest discovery of the day(well kinda sad that it was the biggest), it was three Mongolian musicians performing Mongolian music. The lead singer looked exactly like Wang Huajia, it was fucking hilarious. But I was amazed by their music, the raw and simple chords together with the coarse, almost unbelievable voice had a very fresh power. I wanted to see Pompidou but it happened that the Picasso section, obviously the most attractive part, was under renovation. But the center itself was a pretty amazing piece of artwork with its red tube and almost totally transparent exterior.
At night we watched Shao Lin Shi, haha. It was so good. But the DVD had some quality problem and we couldn't finish it. Damn!
So that was about my first eurotrip, well not that juicy or exciting but I loved it.
That night I reached the hotel I paid for at like 1130, the silly Chinese boy at the counter didn't let me in, well he was stupid but my lousy French was probably a problem too. Luckily Karina appeared and it was soon settled. The next morning I went down to the flea market, the jeans there were so freaking expensive I hated it. And my excellent bargain skill din't work. I spoiled a con artist's dirty trick, he hated me, I couldn't figure out how he did the trick though. Oh well.
leaving skool guoyandao at 5:05 PM [comment]
Day 10, May 21, Saturday, Paris
Today was memorable, I saw the Eiffel Tower, Arc of Triumph, Hotel des invalides, Grand and Petit Palais, Place de Concorde Hotel de Ville and Notre Dame. But there are just too many things to see in Paris, Paris is worth a week's stay.
Luckily, I spent my entire day with a Canadian guy called Jesse. He just randomly picked me up at the table when I was just about to head out. Fortunately he's a very very very nice guy, and he does Martial Arts!! He even goes to National Competition, how cool is that. Well I kinda went to a Martial Arts National Competition too, but that was an embarrasing history, haha. He likes taking photos, too. So we soon became the perfect photo buddies for each other. He loves looking up and doing this silly serious expression, which looked really dumb at first. But somehow I discovered that when I tried to squeeze out a smile for a photo, not to mention suppressing the stupid impulse of doing a V sign, I only looked fifty one times dumber. So now I've adopted Jesse's pose for every picture I take.
As we walked down, across and around the Avenue des Champs Elysees, we came to Seine river and were astounded by its beauty. Paris is like, just go to Seine river in the downtown section, point your camera anywhere and you got a poster card made: it is that nice. Our first destination was Hotel des invalides, a majestic hall built for the "invalides": the disabled French veterans. There were countless weapons, mainly canons, displayed all over the place. Jesse knew about the weapons while I was an idiot. But it was quite a sight. The French mob in the revolution invaded this place and grabbed all the rifles they could find before they headed down to Versailles to chop down Louis XVI's head. The little eglise was beautiful too, it was there where I learnt about the huge organ to be found in every subsequent eglise I've been to.
Then we spent almost the entire afternoon on the Eiffel Tower. I must admit, the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower at a close-up distance, I was literally excited. It looked ten thousand times more magnificent then on the thousands of photos I've seen before. It was just undescribably beautiful. Jesse and moi climbed onto the tower, and when I started going up I felt a little bit of adrenline rush as I was about to go up to a height I've not reached in a long time. There are basically three levels on the Eiffel Tower, the first floor, the second floor and the top. At one corner of the first floor, you could go around the square and they had explanation together with photo directions of every single major sight of Paris. When I went up higher and higher, I took more and more photos. When you got to the top the view of Paris was just simply incredible. There were also a hell lot of tourists crowding the entire place, the real reason why we spent the entire afternoon there, cuz whatever you do, there was always a long queue. I wondered how much revenue Tour Eiffel generates a day.
Then we headed down to the Arc of Triumph, there was a parade going on, apparently some big shots were there or something. We didn't find the entry into Arc of Triumph, parce que it was surrounded by the largest roundabout in the world leading to some a dozen big avenues, including l'avenue des Champs Elysees, where literally 87.5 cars passed before your eyes every second. But it looked very elegant from the distance, though.
And then, Notre Dame. Notre Dame was awesome. The most detailed, exquisite, different and sophisticated gothic cathedrale which combined almost all the elements of the Gothic architecture. It has a very different appeal from all different angles. It killed the rest of the memory I got on my camera. Notre Dame is on an island, when we walked by the waters there were some big and stylish tour boats passing by. Some rowdy soccer fans cheered at them, and the people on the boat echoed. Some other parisians were having a pique-nique right by the river. That's the kind of the "Parisian Life" I wanted to see.
Got back to the hostel at 10 and it was still bright, I decided to kill the pathetic two little beers I still had, so I headed down to the lobby and it happened that I met some really really cool German kids, Chris spoke almost perfect English and he was humorous and witty, Andrei was a charming bad ass that every girl easily fell in love with. Later Jesse and his roommate joined in as well, and we had a long and nice talk about girls and music. It was good times.
leaving skool guoyandao at 5:04 PM [comment]
Day 9, May 20, Friday, Paris
The most eventless day in my trip. Went to the Chinese embassy, in the morning, the line got too long, was told to come back in the afternoon. Went to get my air ticket, met another beautiful Chinese girl at the most embarrasing time, alright almost every Chinese girl I met on the trip was beautiful. Anyhow that was my first trip down the Avenue des Champs-Eslyee, it was grand, modern, kinda like Orchard, less Modern but more beautiful. So I finally found my way to the travel agency, but the lady asked to go somewhere else for my ticket. So I went to "somewhere else", another Chinese travel agency in France, guess it's bigger therefore they could give me the air ticket on the spot. But the lady almost screwed me up and I almost had to change my air ticket to Shang Hai, I sat there, cursing the two clumsy ladies inside, and wondering how I would deal with it if my wonderful wonderful vacation plan in Beijing are gone. I would probably damn everything. Luckily the clumsy lady got their senses back and finally gave me the ticket I wanted. Then, Chinese embassy, the old lady there looked like Jiang Qing or my elder aunt. Jiang Qing grumbles a lot like all old women in China, and she didn't know shit. But I got a bad news, I couldn't get my passport renewed there, just a temporary travel pass.
Got back to hostel, I had to change hostel. The new one looked like shit. Headed back to the old one and hung out with my nice roommates for the last time. We went to St Michel, had some great Italian food and went to the first hooka bar of my life. I remembered the exotic room decor, strange turkish pop music, dreams of belly dancing, the
fresh and unique taste of my egyptian tea and of course, the fruit hooka. The fondest memory was trying to make those smoke circles by my throat movement, and I almost did it. Isn't that cool!!
leaving skool guoyandao at 5:04 PM [comment]
Day 8, May 19, Thursday, Brussels and Paris
I wanted to visit the Atomium, the famous, well not that I knew it before reading the travel guide, building for the world fair, one of the symbols of Belgium and Brussels. It was at the end of the subway, long ride, and it was a very remote area. Soon I saw the modern, cool, silvery Atomium, but, like all other spoilers, it was under renovation too. So I took some photos with silly postures like a fucking posture(no I din't do the V sign), and I ventured into the park nearby. It was a huge park, scenically not that beautiful, but it was a good break from the architectures and cities I've been visiting. There was a river and many silly ducks and other lovely animals. I always loved walking in the trees. Half way up the slope I heard this huge noise, like tides of cheers and laughters splashing onto me. Curious, I walked up to where the noise came from, as it got louder and louder. Finally I saw it, it was a sea of children running around, apparently they were having some outdoors event, like a hiking or something, kinda like Chun You when I was young. Three young girls walked past me, and the cutest of them greeted me, she went, "Bonjour!" I never found French this elegant, maybe this was the reason I studied it. I smiled back and said bonjour. A word from Lolita flashed through my mind as I penned down this journal: nymphet.
After spending half of the day in the most relaxing manner, I returned to a fucking tourist, headed down to the EU parliament, watched men and women in expensive suits walking in and out the lobby, wondered if I passed by any big shots, and posed for another silly picture.
Then came the best part of the trip, I accidentally ran into the Galleries St Hubert, Europe's first of its kind, it's a stylish corridor of the most exquisite stores in Brussels, among the top is Neuhaus, Brussels's or maybe supposed to be the world's most elegant chocolate store, they invented Praline, which is anything with chocolate and something else. The store itself was just beautiful, beautiful and beautiful. Chocolate never seemed so delicious in my life. I bought a box of pralines and they tasted like heaven. Oh my god. Too bad I couldn't bring'em back. Got nice presents for friends from this classy stuffed toys shop too.
After another mesmerizng trip to the central plaza, I headed down to Paris. Paris!
My hostel was amazingly nice. Decent room with a nice bathroom, and there's even a nice little table for me to waste the night away on the computer. The nice, down-to-earth girl at the counter had a funnily coarse voice but I loved her very much.
The best thing of backpacking is running into very nice roommates, and it happened to me this time, two asians, one African(Adrian?), think about it now, I actually forgot their names, what a shame, but we did have a wonderful time together. After finding free wireless internet again and almost really wasting the whole night away in Paris on the Internet, I rescued myself by taking the invitation to go down to a jazz bar with them, you know, things you do on a Parisian night. It was indeed pretty good, I got to know some other nice people as well, Christine, who smoked almost everything, was a very interesting and genuine person and I liked her a lot. I still din't know the difference btw good and bad wines, but I had wine with the people anyway. The music was good, the waiter was a little cocky, the conversation was about whether democracy can be exported by America. Fun night.
leaving skool guoyandao at 4:59 PM [comment]
Day 7, May 18, Wednesday, Brussels
I'm a person full of ironies, and this is one of them: I can always stay calm in emergency and act in the best possible way to rescue the occasion, but I never bother to take that extra step to prevent the emergency from happening. That sucks, it's one of my many problems.
Anyway, I rose up early, had breakfast with the Indonesian and Chinese roommates in the canteen, they are actually studying Human Rights Law in Norway, how cool is that. Reminds me of the Penchan Lama demonstration in Dam Square of Amsterdam, that was the first time I heard that he was actually kidnapped by the Chinese government, and he was actually missing for 10 years, nobody knows where he is. They were very reasonable people and din't really push me in signing some petition to pressurize on the Chinese government, the only thing is that, there were some tibetans there putting up the whole scene which made the whole thing look fishy. Anyways, the breakfast was over, and I actually managed to figure out the way to Chinese embassy. It was in a very desolated place that I had to take a tram(bus with tracks, kinda like Dian Che in China) after the subway, but the buildings and the scenes on the roadside were very pleasant. When I got off the tram and found my way to the Chinese embassy, it looked like some shady place, I'm sorry to say, with the door locked. A young attractive girl rushed out after I rang the bell and she told me this is not the place for visa. Damn it I knew it!! And the policewoman at Gare du midi told me to come here!! The lesson is, sometimes people are silly and lose their mind, and when you think they have lost their mind, don't trust them, double-check. The girl's mandarin sounded very pleasant I wish I could talk to her longer. Anyway, in her instructions, I walked down the wide avenue lined with giant trees(which reminded me of Bukit Timah for a sec) to another shady place where I'm supposed to get my visa. The view was actually really really nice. And then the most beautiful thing happened, I came across this artificial lake which was stunningly beautiful in the dusk. There were two old Belgians by the lake, watching something. When I got close I found out it was a mama duck resting in her nest!! Duck's nest really exists! And it was really woven by grasses and shit, some other carefree ducks peacefully swam around, I couldn't have imagined how these little lazy creatures built their nests! The scene was so amazing I almost forgot my mission. But it was a pity that I din't bring my camera with me. Never let little grievances spoil your good mood, otherwise you will miss the chance of enjoying the beautiful life.
So finally I got to the shady place without an address or even name plague, just a crude board with "visa" on it. Well what the fuck whatever. I walked in and the stuff there were aloof as expected. But there was another pretty Chinese girl, too. Fortunately the guy in charge of Passport was nice enough and after talking to him, I decided to renew my passport in Paris.
Then I went to Carrefour and bought half of things I lost in that bag. There was this warehouse store called Bricolage which was very interesting. I always feel real men should know how to have fun in bricolage.
I came back to this huge shopping mall near my hostel to buy my new bag, it was a very very nice place for shopping, got everything you want. The most impressive sight was the tanks of gorgeous reptiles displayed all over the mall, I remembered the cameolean and a green rattle snake, simply gorgeous.
At 530 it was still bright and I decided to return to the tourist mode. So I headed down to the centre city. After I came out of the central station, I allowed myself to stroll around aimlessly. Came to this square garden where I saw kids skate-boarding which confirmed my guess that Brussels is a very urban, street city, it was also where I saw some elegant gothic spike in the distance in the setting sun. The buildings in my sight were gorgeous. They were all old european buildings. As I walked towards the grand Place Royal, I noticed a building that stood out from the rest, it was black, with musicals symbols at every level, and intricate curvature adornments all over the surface, it says Musee des instruments de musique, but its sheer beauty reminded me of something which I only found out the next day.
Brussels is such an amazing city, once you get to the old town, you can just wander everywhere and you are bound to run into elegant architecture, nice statues, gushing fountains and gorgeous antique stores. I ran into this Japanese girl everywhere I went, taking the same pictures of the same sights as me, so in the end I just went up and introduced myself. I told her I was looking for the Grand Plaza, she said she could take me there, so we walked down to Grand Plaza together.
Grand Plaza, the centre of old Brussels, the most magnificent place in the old city, totally totally blew my mind away. The splendid Hotel de Ville with its high gothic spike which I saw earlier was awesome, but it was the entire set of architecture around the plaza that made me linger there for an hour, every building was different and unique and had its own charm, and together they are called guildhouses. This was indeed a highlight of my journey, I was totally mesmerized by the beauty of grand plaza, Dam Square of Amsterdam compared to this is like Britney Spears in front of Joni Mitchell, me in front of Wang Xiao Bo.
Then I headed over to the Mannaken Pis, the little peeing boy who saved the city and probably the most famous symbol of the city in the world. But it was kind of a let-down, as it's really really small and hidden in the most inconspicuous corner ever. The belgium waffle shop next to it was pretty good nevertheless.
I went home, had some beer at the bar and had a good sleep.
leaving skool guoyandao at 4:58 PM [comment]
Day 6, May 17, Tuesday, Amsterdam
This was the most rememberable day of my entire trip. In fact I just realized there's no such word as remembrable, so this is the most memorable day of my entire trip. I also want to note down that when I'm writing this journal, I just came back from the Championship's final, Laura was sweet and nice, AC Milan sucked in the second half and they were 3-0 in the first half and 3-3 in the first 15 minutes of the second half. It was a shame. It sucked.
So I woke up late in the morning again. But I got to chat with two very very cool German dudes who told me about how awesome Prague was, and it sounded really really interesting, I think I wanna go down to Prague next year. Then I headed out in hope of doing some shopping for my parents etc but I found the stuffs at Amsterdam way too expensive for me. In the end I bought a very very nice tie for my dad, and I finally visited the famous Condomerie, it was a very very fasicinating place. I bought a really really fashion condom for Waller on his request called Gay Fun(?) and put it in my bag with the tie. Then I visited the famous Eat Mode Asian fusion restaurant recommended by lonely planet, had a seedweed wrap and wonton noodle, they were both delicious. I loved the place. If only I could go there again with my future girlfriend.
Then I went down the banks of the red light district again, if you noticed I visited the place everyday, it had become an obsession, an addiction. This time I thought I would go to a live sex show, but I backed out the last minute. Okay so I guess I was not man enough. But like a quality sex show costs like 30 euros, damn I ain't gonna pay that much for someone else banging some hot ladies in front of me. I took some really nice pictures of the entire district. I got this idea of taking my photo in the public piss place for man along the red light district, and after gathering much courage, I finally did it. It was fun. I got some Korean guys to do it for me. Cuz the people who pissed there dun really understand English.
So, in my last moments in this city I loved so much, I visited this cool shop called Old Man, it's supposed to be a really classy shop with all the Hash and Weed accessories, including cool T-shirts. I wanted to buy my friends some cool Marijuana T-shirts, but they were really 'that cool' and they cost awful a lot.
So there I was, in the centraal station again, boarding the train to Brussels. People have questioned me why I wanna go to Brussels, cuz they had some reservations on their mind. But I was really looking forward to it. So the whole trip was smooth and passed by real quick, until I got into this conversation with this man from Africa who kept talking to me and I missed my station at Belgium. One good thing about those European train station is that you never need to buy tickets if you miss one or two stops, just hop on a train on the way back and they would never check.
So there I was, impatient of the conversation we had that was going nowhere and pissed off cuz he made me miss my bloody station. When the train finally arrived at Gare du midi, which was in fact a more trendy one than the run-down and deprecated Centraal station, I got up and reached for my bag. But.
It was gone.
It was fucking gone, my passport, my eurail pass, my cheque book, the gifts I bought, was all in it. My favourite CDs, the best collection, which I shifted to the bag cuz I was scared that they got crushed in the suitcase, it was a painfully wrong decision.
So my mind went blank, the black guy told me he saw somebody take it but din't know it was mine. For a moment I was really suspiscious on him. Then the train cleaner came, and he really cared for me but din't speak English, he opened up the door for me, and pointed down the train. I din't understand but I ran down anyway, hoping to see somebody with my bag. My adidas bag which accompanied me for the past three years. But of course, no.
Then I went to the police station and filed a loss report. I couldn't remember how I finally got my way to the hostel, Centre Van Gogh, except that two attractive young French ladies tried to helped me and pointed the wrong direction. The whole night sucked. I sat down on my bed, gazing into the obliviousness.
That must be some really expensive lesson.
leaving skool guoyandao at 4:58 PM [comment]
Day 5, May 16, Monday, Amsterdam
Breakfast was 8 to 10 I guess, and I got up at like 945, rushed down to the lounge for breakfast cuz it was in another building. I was still kinda feelin' uncomfortable to join a group of strangers so I sat along, and an eastern european couple sat down opposite of me, I don't really know that they were from eastern europe, but the language they spoke was impossible to understand, so I figured they should be from eastern europe. The guy was handsome and the girl was pretty, so I think it's better not to interrupt'em. They noticed this little note in Chinese on the wall, so I took a look at it, too. Some Chinese dude was saying how Japanese and Korean young kids always travel and he feels that Chinese kids should do the same thing, too, and he was like I'm probably the first Chinese kid stopping by this restaurant and bullshit like that. and there was apparently some vulgarity comment left on that note saying your mother's stop being so cocky and another Chinese girl left another note under saying don't think you're the only Chinese students who study overseas blah blah blah. It was very interesting to see my Chinese friend's messages, it almost felt like how in the ancient times they left poems on the walls of hotels.
So I left the place after a good breakfast and started taking photos. The sky was pretty gloomy and it started drizzeling. Starting at Dam Square, which is the centre of the city I made my way down to the south side of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a city made up of canals and spiderweb-like streets so it was pretty easy to find my way. The buildings are really nice, each of them has a cap on it with a different shape and together it just has this really european feeling. Standing on one of the bridges and looking down the river with boats resting and houses lining up at the sides was really enjoyable. I stopped by at the football museum only to find out that it only opens on weekends. And there was this flea market where they sold flowers, mainly tulips, and tulip seeds. I remembered that my mom likes plants so I wanted to get her some tulip seeds, but the lady told me I can only keep the seeds for a week. Damn, I don't wanna fucking fed-ex the seeds home. Maybe I was just cheap.
So I finally got to Riijksmuseum, the museum has a really grand and beautiful appreance outside, though barred and ruined by the renovation going on. There was no discount on my ISIC card though. There was never discount on my ISIC card, it was a total rip-off. From the moment I stepped into the museum I was mesmerized. Because the museum was under renovation, they only showed 200 masterpieces in there. And they were like, really masterpieces. The first room has this model of an English ship that the Dutch marine force captured, and it was just gorgeous in the yellow light. Inside there was silvery, exquisite furnitures, impressive classic paintings, etchings, sculptures, one of the most fascinating collections was the two incredible doll houses, it was so fucking detailed you could see the little little kitcheneries on the dining table in one of the rooms. This is the first museum that I took seriously, I was literally every little sign next to the artworks. And I learnt awful a lot. Especially about Rembrandts and other outstanding Dutch artists of the same era, their paintings were amazing. I totally learnt to appreciate how Rembrandts create sharp contrasts of light in his works, and the crown of the museum's collection, Rembrandt's Night Watch, was just astonishingly beautiful.
Then I headed to the Van Gogh museum. It was very interesting cuz I met this tour group with an english-speaking guide and a pretty professional translator for someone that looks like a big shot from China. So I just tagged along and learnt a lot about how Van Gogh grew from a self-educated artist with rather crude skills to a master of painting. His works were laid out in a chronological order, so I could see different influences on him in different times of his life. I managed to take pictures of his most famous self-portrait although it was not allowed. Some indonesian guys followed what I did and was caught. The guard there like gave him a 30 minute preach. I totally fell in love with Van Gogh's work after the visit. There was also a shocking exhibition of this Austrian artist Egon Schiele, it was twisted, erotic, intense and there were even more intense performance by some dancers, that was the weirdest part of my trip.
Then I visited Bulldog in the rain. Bulldog is the most famous local 'coffeeshop' chain, coffeeshop in Amsterdam is where people smoke up the entire afternoon. I got into the wrong place at first. I went into the Bulldog Cafe, and I ordered a 'space brownie', which has some "00" marijuana in it. I din't know what the fuck it was, but it din't work and I was disappointed. What was cool was the posters and collections in the bulldog cafe and 'gottahaveit' shops. There were some pictures of people who I believed were drug mafias. It was pretty cool and I felt very ghetto and gangsta and, cool.
I got Kranji to Go, a local famous Indonesian take-away restaurant, and some junk Marcoroni Bolognese from the local Super Market chain.
At night I went to the bar Absinthe. There I had the first Absinthe of my life, The making of Absinthe itself was amazing and worth the trip. The bartender put a shot of super-concentrated absinthe into the glass, then put a sugar cube on a holed spoon and set it in flames, in the end the drink really became fluorescently green, just like what I saw in the movies. It was very very strong and pretty bitter, though, but the woody aftertaste was quite good.
After the shot of Absinthe, I figured I had enough guts to take on my most daring project - taking pictures of the hookers in the red light district, looking back on it, it was probably not anything venerable, but because it's like a taboo thing to do, so I just wanted to prove to myself that I can do cool stuff like that on my own. So I gathered enough courage and hit the RLD again. At first, I just took some distant pictures from the bridge, or pretending to take pictures of the buildings next to the hooker's windows. Then I became bolder and started shooting the hookers, to my surprise, they were really alert to it. After my first flash, half the street closed their curtains. But on the absinthe, I didn't realize that they already noticed me. So I continued trying until I heard ferocious banging of windows behind my back, and I looked back and all the hookers were staring at me furiously. I had to admit, it was pretty intimidating for the moment. Then I had to abort my project.
No matter what, it was quite an experience.
leaving skool guoyandao at 4:57 PM [comment]
ay 4, May 15, Sunday, Amsterdam
I woke up in the early morning, bidded LL goodbye and went down to the Regensburg train station. After an uneventful train ride and an even more uneventful flight(except peering at a really old guy reading newspaper with women flaunting their tits on it) I reached the Central Station of Amsterdaam. Here my backpacking experience really begins.
Finding the Youth Hostel wasn't that hard cuz it's only a few minutes away from the station. The girl at the counter speaks better American English than I do. So for the first time of my life, I got a key to a youth hostel room of about 20 people. In fact, I'm really glad that the first hostel in my life is Bob's youth hostel, it's a really nice place with really lively and friendly atmosphere, where everyone smokes weed. Also everyone has a locker just right inside the room, that's very convenient indeed and should be spread about in every single hostel. Anyway I struggled my way to room H up a thousand steps and got to my bed. I met two American kids and one of them was actually from Philly region if I'm not wrong. They are pretty nice, the elder one was pretty cool and they were about to travel up to the Scandinavian countries. I thought it'd be cool to hang out with'em. Then I went out for dinner, ate some sort of lamb(coarme? i forgot) at some Indonesian restaurant, the guy at the restaurant told me how to go to the red light district.
Came back to the dorm and everyone is sleeping. The two turkish guys had been sleeping from the moment I got in and for the entire period I stayed there they seemed like they never ever woke up. I was like, hmm why don't I wait the two American kids wake up and I could go out drinking with them. The end result is, I fell asleep myself.
Woke up three hours later and it was 11h, I hesitated a while and decided to go out and withdrew more euros. I was kinda scared of being robbed so I flurried home after I withdrew 400 euros and kept them inside the laptop bag which snapped again already. Never buy bootleg nike bags ever again. I hesitated for another while and decided that I should go see the red light district myself. Turns out that it was a wise decision.
The red light district blew my mind away. The first time I saw real prostitutes, standing in red-light-lit windows with red drapes, dressed in barely nothing, like one metre away from me and posing all kinds of seductive poses at me. Like the guidebook said, it was fascinating just to see all the different tourists gaping at the prostitutes, some drooling, shaking their hands in disapproval while masturbating on their minds. Unlike what Jerry Zhang's sister said, some of the hookers were really hot. I walked down this river with sexshops, sex theatres and countless red-light windows lined up at the sides, blushing, feeling dazed, hard to breathe, and, well a little bit turned on.
Went back to the dorm at 2am and I found it hard to fall asleep haha.
leaving skool guoyandao at 4:56 PM [comment]
Day 3, May 14, Saturday, Munich
So the next morning I found myself waking up on the couch right before the TV. And LL and Mark on the other two couches. Two japanese girls were going to follow us to Munich, well in the end they became leaders cuz one of them's been to Munich 6 times I guess. So as I came out of Mark's small but cosy toilet, he was talking to this oh-so-gorgeous japanese girl and she was like 'Dunk Shunn', I was like, O yeah!!
But to my big disappointment, the gorgeous din't come. Haha, but the two girls that actually became our compass were really nice and patient, they speak minimum of English though. So the five of us kept talking German, and I just murmured French to myself. The roundtrip ticket to Munich only costs 7 euros. On the train we met some singaporeans, they are working in the semiconductor industry somewhere in Germany.
So we get off the train and headed straight to the city centre square. Munich is much different from Regensburg, it's like a big city, tons of tourists roamed the streets in fashion clothings. I started seeing beautiful German girls. I was pretty amazed by the old Town Hall building which was attached to this churchy thing. The churchy thing has a glockenspiel and we were lucky enough to see the glockenspiel show, although the building is towering and thus it was pretty far away, but it was amazing enough. It's like this circus thing where little miniatures on different concentric circles go round and round. Among the shops, namely H&M and others, we started to see some really cool Baroque or Mediavel buildings with cool etchings or scupltures outside. Mostly importantly, there were musicians violin and organ on the street, and the music makes everything so European.
We entered this huge beer hall for lunch, their trademark beer is one of the six great labels of Munich, called Augustiner, I was feeling happy so I ordered one litre of the Dunkles, the cup is fucking huge. The beer and the sausage was fine, but the most enjoyable experience was crowds of drunken, rowdy, crazy Munich fans who never stopped chanting Munich songs. The atmosphere was fucking crazy. The group sitting behind us lifted their cup and said cheers to me. So I cheers them back and this excited drunken guy came up to me and muttered a bunch of German, but all I could say is 'dunk shunn'(Thank you very much) Later this guy was brought away by the police for no apparent reason, and his friends at the table just smiled and watched him being brought away Thus I doubted whether they really knew each other. The girl who was sitting among them was really pretty, though.
Then we went for a beautiful walk past some churches and nice buildings, people I could communicate with didn't know what they are, and people who knew what they are, namely the Japanese girls, couldn't communicate with me. So I couldn't be bothered. The twin-tower church has a very interesting semi-sphere top, but the interior wasn't as impressive as St-Peter in Regensburg. And then we walked past some other buildings and sculptures before we came to this little park with a beer garden inside. That was the first European garden I saw, and it was so pretty. They placed all the greenery in a maze-y arrangement with little flowers adorned at the sides, which gives a really nice feel. In the center of the park two musicians were performing with guitar and something like Chinese 'Gu Zheng'. One of the nicest things in Europe is that you meet quality musicians everywhere, and they don't really spoil the place, they liven up the atmosphere wherever they go.
We then proceeded to the English garden, this is a real enormous park. I lied down on the big field, my faced was buried among the small and cute yellow and white flowers that you see on the lawns everywhere, and the sky was beautiful, I felt like I was part of a huge painting. It was a wonderful feeling. That's when I missed my friends, I wished they were here with me. The not-to-be-missed sight in the English park is, of course not the Japanese tea house, but the wave-riders at this bridge, they were all dressed in tight boardriding outfits and looked super cool especially when they were wave surfing. It was amazing to see them maneuvre such a tough sport so well.
On the way back to the train station, we saw people playing the famous european 'iron ball' game, where people tried to throw and hit the balls on the ground. I saw no point of the game, but they seemed to enjoy it tremendously. I mean, there's no point to every single game ultimately, the most important thing is to enjoy it, enjoy yourselves, have fun, you know. That's about my life philosophy.
I kept gift-shopping like a fucking tourist and they had to stop and wait for me several times. I bought this nice, well not really very nice, T-shirt of all the German soccer club's names and the world cup 2006 for Tong Xiao Tao, I think he's gonna be fucking happy.
So, they started speaking only in German on the way back and I got fucking bored, haha. The night was uneventful, except that we watched another guess guess guess, so you see, that might be the wrong thing to do when you are in Europe, delete all guess guess guess from your computer before you go to Europe next time. Man.
leaving skool guoyandao at 4:55 PM [comment]
Managed to steal internet again. Posting all my travel logs.
Day 2, May 13, Friday, Regensburg
The second day was beautiful. It started with a beautiful morning when I apparently woke up at 12pm, and LL scolded me again, she said my snoring was horrible. God this is the first time in my life I got scolded bcuz of snoring.
So LL took me to the symbol of Regensburg, St. Peter Church, believably the highest building of the city. I was awestruck, bcuz I din't expect it to be so splendid. This is the first real Gothic church I've been into, and the sculptures, altars, pillars, stained-glass windows and things I don't know how to name were all very very gorgeous, LL was sitting on the bench all bored and sleepy. While I pranced around taking pictures of everything inside. It was really dark inside the church, and my photo taking skills weren't that great then(not that it's great now), so many pictures came out blurry and stuff, but fuck it. When I came out of the cathedral I watched it and was amazed again.
And then we passed the Roman Wall and the old town hall. According to LL, it was 'nothing', Well everything seemed like 'nothing' to her. But well to this date I actually remembered nothing about it, either. Roman wall was this plain brick wall with uneven cementing on the surface, it was somehow in discordance with the surroundings. German buildings are, unique, I guess. They have the simplest design in the world, it's like, the wall one color, and the windows another color, and that's it. But the two colours usually have very strangely enthralling harmony, and when all those buildings are lined up together, it did feel, um, very european.
We were trying to go to the Denou river and were lost. So I used my brain and helped Liang Lan find it. Kidding. Denou river was peaceful and nice. We trodded down the river and crossed this bridge over which I mimiced the Blue Denou music. We came to this lovely small beer garden with "Huai" trees, chirping birds and pebbled grounds and of course, good beers. I had 0.5L of Dunkles(dark beer) and six sausages, feeling really German. They like mixed everything with beer, orange juice, soda, coke, sprite, anything, you name it. It was a really lovely lunch.
So after the lunch we walked down the Denou and Regen rivers, they are two beautiful rivers running parallel to each other, Regen means 'rain' in German, and that's how the city gets the name. It was supposed to be a really romantic ones, but...haha guess I'm not a very romantic guy to walk with. I managed to take some really beautiful photos of the river and the cathedral though. And I blew a dandelion, the small seeds drifted into the air, like people walking on different paths. There are beautiful grass and plants on the banks of Regen river and people fished by it, too. I felt like I could walk along the tranquil forever.
So Yingzhe came again, and we watched some more guess guess guess before we finally went out. I had my first doner kebab and it was amazingly delicious! Yingzhe took us to this rowdy and boisterous bar, where I had a helles(light beer) and a dunkles. Halfway through the lengendary Mark Liu came and jesus christ he was handsome, he's like the handsome version of Zhang Yu, there were many Zhang Yus in my life, but this time I meant the singer Zhang Yu. He's a pretty nice guy and fucking good in playing memory. Surprisingly, I sucked at memory, am I fucking senile already? Yingzhe just kep chugging beer with me, but I thought she could drink a lot. That day she just became wasted. So we walked to Mark Liu's small but cosy apartment, where she fell asleep in his bed. So the three of us came to the TV lounge, Mark was like, you guys wanna watch some TV? We were like, sure.
leaving skool guoyandao at 4:53 PM [comment]
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
The six week program in France is ending. I kinda feel a little bit of sadness.
I can't say like some people do "oh it was such a blast!" No it wasn't a blast, and definitely not the happiest time of my life. But it was such an experience hard to forget. The Lequoy family is the best thing that happened to me.
I don't have a best friend on the trip but I'll miss those lovely people nevertheless. And Pascal, such a great French. Great teacher.
leaving skool guoyandao at 5:30 AM [comment]
Friday, June 24, 2005
It's all over. I need to sleep.
My flashdick is broken. Can't upload my journal for the moment.
But everything's not lost.
leaving skool guoyandao at 3:15 AM [comment]
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
My eurotrip this year was the best thing I've done in a long time. But well considering how much money I've spent in it, I would say my good name of being a thrifty guy is gone forever. Anyhow here's the travel log that I kept. Each day was a prescious memory of mine.
Day 1, May 12, Thursday, Regensburg
Luftthansa airline is good, the attendants, though very old, provide very professional services. I tried out some German beer, with its name starting with W, on the plane, I also took red wine and the biggest reason I love them is because they provide irish cream after dinner!!!!!!Oh my god, I love them just because of that. They actually played Coach Carter on the plane, while I was sleeping. I woke up and saw the credits rolling up the screen. My seat couldn't fall back so I pestered the attendant. In the end, i got into this curtained seat which was vacant and I just closed the curtain and had my own small world inside, it was quite an experience. The guy sitting on my right is a 'seaman', according to himself, he's funny and outgoing but barely spoke English, so I talked to him about wine and girls, surprisingly, he rates Chinese girls higher than Korean girls, well I mean not surprisingly, but most foreigners tend to agree that Korean girls are pretty. This seaman apparently has been to a lot of places, but he hates irish cream, so we din't become good friends really. To my left was this scary-looking woman who has four ostentious piercings on her face and she was wearing a black veil and her hair was something between the black's braided and the Gypsy. But she was actually pretty nice, I vaguely remember that she was from San Diego.
So I got down the plane and boarded my first eurail train. I was in the first class cabin for the first half an hour with a second class ticket. BUt like there was no one checking the ticket, I doubt there'd be any throughout the journey, so I wasted fucking 57 euros man. I talked to this Philipino man on the train, his entire family has served the US army and his son was in Iraq last year. I wanted to talk to this group of very attractive girls in one of the cabins, but they were gone when I made the decision. Bleh.
Okay so yesterday was pretty dramatic, I almost almost din't get my French visa in time. At the airport, I suddenly remembered that fuck, I forgot to buy the eurail select pass, so I called up STA, this time everyone I spoke to was being an asshole. In the end Meredith called me up and sold the thing to me over the phone, but I doubt if she sold me the correct one. I made Lisa Wang send the thing to me via UPS, feel very thankful to her. But I don't know whether I can really get it in time, cuz it's supposed to arrive on Saturday. So, let's pray. Travelling in Europe without a pass is like unprotected sex.
Finally I got to Regensburg, the ticket checker on the train came to check my ticket twice in the road, and they asked me why I din't have a ticket, and hoestly, I don't really know haha. The lady at the ticket office must have forgotten about it. Luckily the German guys were nice enough to let me go on anyway. So anyway, I finally got to Regensburg and I called up Liang Lan, Liang Lan said she would come in half an hour, she actually came in 50 minutes, but that's besides the point. So I used this time to do my first Europe window shopping, and I confirmed the popular myth: alcohol is cheaper than water in Europe, all 0.5 Lit waters are 1.40 euros, but you can get 1 Lit wine for 99 cents. So I wandered one around, didn't get anything, I still found the euros a bit expensive and was still in the reluctant-to-spend-any-money mood. Finally Liang lan came, with not much change but slightly more pimples(hahahaha kidding kidding), and she suggested that we make our own food. I said yea great idea. So she took me to my first European bus. The seats are very nice and the whole bus was just very comfortable. In the three days I spent at Regensburg, I never bought a single bus ticket. Liang Lan wanted me to use her old student card, but then it said 'frau' on it, which means Ms in German, so we gave up. I guess the ticketing is on an honors system. It's okay I don't really mind not paying.
As the bus drove down the German streets, I stared at them, the buildings in regensburg were plain, with their monocromic cement face and mechanical windows of the same shape and same color, I guess the uniqueness relied on their simplicity and exotic color schemes, when one row of such houses line up together, it feels like an abstract painting.
So we went to this German supermarket right near Liang Lan's dorm. The things were pretty cheap there, I'd say. But Liang Lan started to complain to me how stupid Germans are, she was like, do you know the water bottle belt? All Chinese and US people build it under the ring so that it detaches from the cap, but the stupid Germans(actually, Europeans I guess) build it with the cap above the ring, and it's impossible to get off. Also this German Supermarket doesn't provide plastic bags, so you gotta carry your own bag.
We bought hot chicken wings so we decided to fry chicken wings, Liang Lan was actually pretty good at frying. I was scared of the sparkling oils. Fuck, lost all my face. Then I tried to open the .99 white wine that we bought, cuz I heard the white wines in Germany are known to be fruity, light and delicious. Then we figured out why it was on sale for only 99 cents, the problem was the plug. I tried like twenty times trying to pull it out using the wine-opener, but every time I tried to pull out the plug I only ended up breaking it and bringing up debris. In the end I used a knife to slowing cut the plug out bit by bit, and finally managed to spin the remaining plug out with a swiss knife, after half an hour. But this is actually the first bottle of wine I opened by myself. Later when Zhao yinzhe came with another bottle of red wine, I opened it with ease. Maybe I'm just not a fast learner. Then.
We watched Guess Guess Guess, I watched one episode with Liang Lan, one and a half with both of them before I completely passed out on the airbag that Yingzhe brought. I woke at 12 and used Internet until 3, so I was scolded by LL. And that ends my first day of the eurotrip!!!!!
leaving skool guoyandao at 9:05 AM [comment]
Monday, June 13, 2005
Suddenly realized most of you are in China now. And somehow in China you can't read my god-damned blog. So, guess I'm really writing for myself now. Doing things just for yourself can be a sign of growing up, it can be really enjoyable and relaxed, but it also can be scary: what if I'm fucking closing on myself?
I've enjoyed by now quite some time on my own, and started to like it. It's all good, everything. But there were times when I thought of you guys, and I looked around and felt like I'm the only rose in the garden, the only bird in the sky.
leaving skool guoyandao at 4:21 AM [comment]
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
So I finished reading 梦里花落知多少, I have to say 郭敬明 is a formidable writer. People say he copies, and I haven't read the "book he copied from" yet, but I don't really care, I think he's a really talented writer, and I can't achieve his height in at least three years.
梦 is a very torturing read, to say the least. My first impression of the story is that it's so fucking superficial, life is not just about relationship and breaking up for the most trivial reasons, it feels fussy and empty. But slowly I was sucked into the book, i was sucked in to the main characters' lives. So many parts of the story felt so familiar. I feel like, that is the kind of life I wanna lead, life in China with friends of life. The second part of the book became too dark, that I have no courage to read it again. I love the main characters, I see parts of my brothers and sisters on them, and I don't wanna see them suffer.
When Guo, well kinda funny cuz it's my freaking family name too, analyzes Lin Lan's character at the end, he says she's the kinda person who lives for others, she's scared to face herself, to think for herself. That's very me. And that's a very very contradictory statement, and I don't think he understands it either.
I'm confused. I'm not brilliant enough to understand myself.
leaving skool guoyandao at 7:56 AM [comment]
Monday, May 16, 2005
In Amsterdam now, been hanging out alone, because I guess I'm not brave enough to walk up to one group of strangers and hang out with them, that's the point of backpacking I guess, to challenge we in stretching my limits. But the good thing is, I've started to appreciate hanging out with myself, so this is another important step towards independence.
Alright so far I sounded like I din't really enjoy myself. I did! I had a blast in Germany, it was the perfect start of a eurotrip. Amsterdam has been an amazing city, and I've seen some of the craziest things. I tried a 'brownie', but I was too cautious I ate it half half so I din't get high. Wasted 6 fucking euros.
I miss my friends though, friends I made in US, terribly.
I'm gonna head out and hopefully do some other crazy thing tonight, I'll put my travel log online when I have time to finish them, or rather, start them. I'd never imagine that there's wireless internet in this small shady hostel. Haha. Oh Well.
leaving skool guoyandao at 1:13 PM [comment]
Thursday, May 12, 2005
In Europe now. Chilling and feelin' amazing.
leaving skool guoyandao at 4:08 PM [comment]
Monday, May 09, 2005
leaving skool guoyandao at 9:02 PM [comment]
I surfed the internet for an entire day today, dunno what I did, I thought I was doing visa research but in the end this research has come to no conclusion. The only thing I could remember is comforting Liang Lan online, relationship sounds complicated, intricate, difficult, pressurizing, bleh, but still I'm looking forward to it. C'mon relationship, come and torture me, come and kill me. I din't even hang out with the fraternity brothers upstairs. I'm stuck in a post-post-final-post-departure-with-friends syndrome. Hope I can get out of it when I wake up tmr.
I saw a BBS post discussing 淞沪会战, one of the most brutal battles during the anti-Japan war, and I never respected these soldiers so much before. I stared at their photos in silence and saluted them in my heart, they're all true heroes. I wanna be a man who fights to defend his country.
There's this thought that suddenly came to my mind, diplomacy is complicated too, almost as complicated as relationship, in diplomacy, every country is trying to outpace other countries, take advantage of other countries, get the best out of the deals with other countries or even crush other countries. Drawing a parallel to the human relationship, aren't we just like those countries? I'm like the nicest and stupidest country in the world. Haha, so the lesson is, dealing with people that ain't your homeies is like diplomacy, dude you can't be too nice or Japan will invade you, europeans will rob you and Taiwan will betray you.
leaving skool guoyandao at 8:49 PM [comment]
Sunday, May 08, 2005
时间凌晨五点，地点我的小房间里，最后一篇坐在这张桌子前的blog。刚刚收拾完东西，并且重操女红伟大的补了两个饱。我尽一点也没有疲倦的感觉，只是坐在电脑前，听着Lisa Ono,平时不大听的音乐，现在放只是为了营造一些浪漫的意境，旁边的刘羽已在Bossa Nova的鼓点中沉沉睡去，明天他醒来我们将各奔东西，明天他醒来我们将第一次也最后一次在这件凌乱得亲切的小屋里拥抱，告别，珍重。明年将各有新的室友，新的生活。多年以来陌生了的伤感情绪在这时他妈的涌上心头。
leaving skool guoyandao at 1:52 AM [comment]