Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Traveling by train in India is an experience

Traveling by train in India is an experience by itself, most of the travel guide quoted this. Well I have high expectation when I first traveling by train here, but occur to me nothing so much 'experience' or extraordinary, until the day before yesterday.

Now I agree withe the sentence with an addition of the details:-
Traveling by express overnight train with an unreserved ticket in India is an experience by itself.

Day before yesterday I traveled by this kind of train. Since it is unreserved, you don't have a seat number. In ladies compartment, 20 seats are reserved for ladies but packed in more than 60 ladies. People climb and sat on the luggage shelf , and almost all the surface on the floor covered with bodies and faces (who lie down). The ladies screaming most of the time cursing each other (you can imagine the high pitch) almost damage my eardrum. One time, 2 person fight with slaps on the faces.

I was a bit lucky because I alight at the departure station. I get the last seat that available 2 hours before the train depart, but later I change the seat with a girl who sat on the luggage shelf because it is on top of the seat. At least when it is on top, you have less noise, less smell, and you don't need to mind someone dropping rice or water or dandruff from the top.

I hardly sleep because the lady on my left keep wanting to lie down and squeezing me too much. How can you lie down in width of a seat? And the shelf itself is so hard. It is an experience at last, and tomorrow night, I will be again in one of this kind of train..

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Just like Old Penang

I like Mysore. First sight, yes. It wasn't a place that in my visiting list, I just happened to think, why don't stop by Mysore. Yesterday when I arrived in the city center, it is almost dark, feeling myself comfortably walking with backpack on the street, it is a kind of familiar feeling, the feeling comfort me.

Most of the lodges that I checked had their single room fully occupied. It is festive season, they told me. Festive season? Yes Christmas. O I forgot. Christmas has never been an important day in my life. Finally checked in an old lodge with an attached restaurant downstair. Reminded me on the lodges in Old Penang which already abandoned by most, near the Sua Tao Ge, where me and my mum used to eat Hokkien Mee. The building perhaps built during the imperialism time, still with black marble table (like those in Penang), and wooden window frame and wooden chair (like those in Penang), and black and white tiles on the floor (like those in Penang). The room is huge, with attached bathroom with cement and bucket of water. Old furniture, wooden chair, table and bed, old style switch, with black socket. I like the room immediately.

At night, I cannot sleep. At first it is because of the noise of traffic just down stair. Then, my body started to itch with red bums appeared all over the body. I know I have drank dirty water. I scratched until early morning, woke up with tired eyes.

Just a few hundreds kilometer away from Kerala, Mysore is chilly in the morning. I am moving north, perhaps will need some winter clothes soon. Found a host in Bangalore, but all the trains are fully booked.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Belonging

I am in Varkala. A place where you will forget that you are actually at India. Foreigners everywhere, bikinis, restaurants. Indian looked just like foreign labors, like our Bangladeshi or Nepali, that work and serve. Which is not entirely wrong, as most Indian who deal with the tourists are not from Varkala, they are from Rajasthan, Karnataka or Orissa.

Met a flexible care-taker of a homestay that allowed me to stay for 150Rp a night, for a room of 350Rp. A smart one who know how to grab the mere 150Rp instead of rigidly leave the room empty.

Still suffer from headache this morning. Took one pill yesterday morning, but hopefully I don't need to take any pill today. *cross finger*

Wondering how fortunate I am, not being born as a female in Indian society. Yesterday at a small railway station in Karunagapally, had a conversation with a 67 years old Malayali woman. Knew that I am still single, she touched my hand, my arm and my ankle. With the help of a translator on the spot, she said, it is understandable that no man approach me, because I don't have anything on my body, other will think that I am a poor girl. I laughed.

It is a country of hierarchy, caste, class and status. It is a society of belonging. If you are a Gujerati, you will never wear the saree in a Rajasthani or Karnataka way. If you are a Rajasthani, you will never wear your turban the Sikh way. If you are outside your house (even for a minute) , you will never forget to put on earrings, necklaces, bangles. It is all about reputation and tradition, it is about others. In Goa, a few women with kids came begging, give me one rupee. They said. Give me the gold on your nose, I said. Even poor, they put up themselves well, even in a cheap way. If you are from a conservative family, that's it, your life story. It is written beforehand. Your parents will choose your husband even you don't like him, you need to get married even you don;t want to. The life is drafted and printed by your community and society, you just wait for it to happen.

I have some line printed in my hand palm and leg palm, they could be as if a society to destine me, too lucky I couldn't read them. To be able to read the future isn't such a good idea.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I thought I am done.

I thought I am done.

Had severe headache for the past 9 days. It started by pulling of the right back of the head, a few times a day, increased to every few seconds after a few days. It is not a joke if you have such sudden sharp pain every 30 seconds throughout the day, and waken by the pain at late night. I thought I am done.

Especially reading The God of Small Things. In the novel, Ammu died at age of 31. Not too old, not too young, a Die-able age. The author repeat this more than once. Not too Old, not too Young, a Die-able Age. It perpetuate in my mind.

After a week or so, I finally cannot take the pain any longer. While in Amma Ashram, I rushed to the hospital at 9 at night waiting outside the hospital for doctor. I think I am done. This time.

I described the symptom carefully with all the details, including the feeling of me getting stroke as my family has inheritance of high blood pressure, or a feeling of the tumor in my brain. Including an incident of me passing out in the train in Singapore a few years ago and the doctor insisted I have a thorough check but I refused.

The doctor took the blood pressure. It read 110/80. Perfect. He said. What do you do? He asked. I travel for the past 2 years, I said. You are just too stress, he said.

Stress??!! I asked. For traveling?
Well yes.
How could that be? I have nothing to worry about! Don't you suspect tumor? I asked.
No chance. He said.

So he gave me 10 Paracetamol.

I will tell you more on Amma Ashram in next post. This is the end of this one.
Ciao!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reason, season or a life time

So I left Candolim. Or more general, Goa.

It was hard to leave, just like that day we parted in Ohrid, Macedonia. Before left, Tina told me, people comes into life for a reason, season or a life time. I remembered after I left Tina's house in Ohrid, it was in September, I sent an email to a friend of mine, telling him that even leaving is hard, we wished it to be hard than easy. He agreed, and tell me not to send the email to his account anymore, until further notice. So yesterday when me and Tina said bye bye again, I remembered the email sent in the early Autumn, and the email received, and wonder if there will ever be the further notice. It is strange that sometimes you might expect someone to come in for lifetime, but it turned into a season, and ended up just a reason. It was not intentional, I mean to recall everything, but bits and bits of memory linked up by itself, without effort. Nevertheless, it does not change the feeling, it is still better to feel hard to leave than easy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Removal

Noticed that a small visitor from Denmark visiting my blog yesterday when arrived at the Paradise. A very dear friend of mine from the far away Scandinavia. I smiled. And today I have decided to remove the Feedjit in the corner that indicating who is visiting.

The idea of Feedjit came from Yuki, it can track who is visiting, and if I have a regular visitor, or to see where those visitors are from. You will be surprise to see people visiting you from all over the world, she said. And yes, the Feedjit done it's job, but too I am attached to the chart, emotionally tagged with who is coming and who is not, occasionally get disappointed by visitors that regularly come but no longer came, expecting the one you expect, etc etc.

After removed this, I know I will still ponder if who and who has came, and who and who has not. Curiosity is there, and it ended there; no more emotion from expectation.

p/s: By the way, chubby, thank you for dropping by ;)
p/p/s: for those who email me, postcard sent.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Zip your pant, pervert!

The neigbour staying beside our room is a fat old Italian guy. I knew him an Italian this morning when he initiated to give me a ride while I was walking on the street to the Internet. We talked two days ago after our room almost get broke in, actually not really a break in, but Tina heard some noise in the middle of the night, woke up and discovered 2 guys trying cut the mosquito net, she was just in time to scared them from putting their hand through the torn next, through the bar and reach her hand phone. So the next morning when we saw the Italian guy, out of good will, I told him to becareful because there are some thiefs around. And I saw he has a small plaster just below his left eye. I asked, out of good will again, what happened to him. He told me it is the mosquito bite. You need a plaster for a mosquito bite?! Yes, they were huge. He said, showing with his finger.

That's the only encounter. Then we met this morning. He stopped his bike beside me, and say, let's go for an Italian coffee, I am an Italian. I just had my coffe this morning, my leftover Bosnian coffee, but I agreed to go to the coffee shop to sit a while. We reached the coffee shop, he moved around, and I saw he left his pant unzipped. It was obvious because he is fat and the flesh pressed out. I cant be sured if he just unzipped it or it is already unzipped, weather it is intended or unintended. I am not sure shall I tell him his pant is not zipped, but the thing for sure is I shall not at all try to even take a small peep because I have a bad feeling the next thing he will do is put his hand on my lap. We chat a bit about nothing and the waiter came to take the order. When the waiter came, he moved his finger down his pant and zipped it. He did it intentionally.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Loser

Wahaha. Okie. I admit that I am a loser. Still wanted to blog, although I am writing my long last entry, but long way before I can finish it, may be I couldn't finish it even after I ended my travel.

In Hampi now. Nice place, expensive town. Had been in India more than a month. I love India, but it is nothing the same as I love China, Iran, Pakistan or Norway. The first Indian city that I fall in love is Bombay, so chaotic and dirty, people live everywhere on the street, no shelter, no food, but reproducing. Amazing huh. Not really Varanasi, I almost hate Agra and Jaipur. Not the majestic caves of Ellora and Ajanta, but city. May be I am utterly a city girl who cannot escape the urban life. However, the second place that I fall in love is Gokarna. A religious small town on the est coast somewhere 2 hours from Goa, only beach and waves. Holy town, everywhere are holy cows and holy dungs. I stepped on them countless time, sometimes almost slip. The room I was in was dark and stuffy, I only killed 3.5 cockroaches there.

The most amazing thing I noticed in India is most foreigners came here to find enlightenment or path to enlightenment. They told me about the baba that can look into your soul and tell your mind. I remember an Indian friend told me some Indian can rape you with their eyes. I laughed out loud when a girl told me the baba look into her soul, but was considered rude and impolite. Sometime, people tell you about energy and how universe works, tell you about no fear and how to set out on the road etc etc. Perhaps I am not spiritual at all, most of the time I found what they said is funny, to some extent just to fulfill their desire of good feeling. Other time I found myself too ego to accept other's perception.

Met a 66 years old Norwegian guy last night who claimed to have enormous of healing power. Will go for his healing today or tomorrow. I do felt his energy last night when he joined the table. Before yesterday, whenever I felt this kind of strange feeling, where the point on top of my head felt numb, I told my mum there is ghost nearby.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My gratitude

to have you browsing this, where I had my up(s) and down(s) expressed. India will be my last stop, if you are here from time to time, and would love to receive a postcard as a token of memory, for the time or feeling shared, across different time and space: on the same planet, leave me your address at tham.ontheroad@gmail.com

My pleasure.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

India

20.10.10

Terminating this blog.

Started to draft my last entry in the Paradise that I have for the past few years since few days ago, but there is this article before the last entry.

Reason for stop blogging is I suddenly found myself have nothing to speak/say. Seriously, I found this an illusion I need to break through. And as the date to India gets closer, I want to keep the whole India to myself. And I want to get less attach to Internet, as I always want but never discipline enough to put into action.

If nothing gets wrong, I will be heading to Sunauli tomorrow night, and will be in Varanasi the day after. I assumed Vanarasi as the first stop in India will be a huge shock, just like Calcutta as the first stop will be a shock, or India itself as a whole is actually a shock? I am not sure. Have too much mental preparation for this country that I always want to go since the day I know I want to travel, still have the excel sheet created may be in 2001 or 2002 about the places in India that I want to visit. I might have revised them for more than 100 times in the past years. It is in the hard drive that was with me for the past 2 years, always in my bag, but I have ceased checking on it or writing on it anymore. Traveling is no longer something planned or can be spread out in the excel sheet. And I am quite certain that a lot of places which attracted me in the past years have lost the charm. Not that they are no longer nice to visit, but once changes her motive.

Met a Swiss girl in the Korean temple in Lumbini. Did I tell you that after the Japanese monastery, I have stayed 2 nights at the Korean monastery? She stayed for a months in Varanasi and enjoying taking bath in the Ganges. She told us about the pregnant lady and baby and the one who died from disease, who deserved another life were throw into the river. I asked: are the body rotten? She said, well, it is too far for her to see. But they are in the same river. I asked, you think someone pick up the body in the downstream? Others laughed at my question.

Lumbini is a special place, the birth place of Buddha. I fall in love at first sight, but everything needs a second sight. I love it at second sight as well, but I prefer the first sight. I was entering the park from the back, realizing that there are a significant number of Muslim there, they are the conservative type who covered themselves with the full black clothing. Quick shocking after you left the Muslim world. I think the Himalaya range was all the time hidden in the cloud because I need to be impressed by Lumbini. The two days were great actually, we have our accommodation and 3 meals (buffet type) covered with 250Rp. And no chanting needed. Met Mika, who we met in Istanbul airport and slept on the floor beside me in Sharjah airport, had really good sharing on his dramatic life. Fun. But I am leaving for India. Finally. Finally.

Finally.

PS: Will have one entry to terminate it properly. I promised.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Overnight at the World Peace Pagoda

09/10/10

I was still in my dream when someone slapped so hard on my door to wake me up. I knew it is 430am, the last time I woke up was 12am in the midnight. This is the typical way I behaved when I need to wake up early, yet without an alarm clock or simply too anxious if I missed the time.

It is strange that I was still practicing Vipassana somewhere in front of Begnas Lake a few days ago on the mountain, and today I am chanting in another Japanese temple, on another mountain. Both acts related to Buddhism, but they are totally different. One is meditating in total silence, another one is chanting by hitting the drum as loud as possible. Nevertheless, there are still some similarity between two, both locations are facing the lake, the first one is Begnas Lake and the second one is Phewa Lake. The second similarity is, in both activities, one need to start by 430am.

I remembered my dream was about my secondary school friends. I remembered two of them by their name clearly, one is ShuJing and another one is YoonChee, in fact YoonChee is my primary school friend. There is another secondary school friends which I have forgotten her name, she is hiding in the room of ShuJing for long time avoiding somebody. And I remembered I took a plane in my dream, not seeing myself in the plane but knowing I have taken or going to take a plane, to somewhere I assumed. And I remembered I saw another primary school friend in the dream, before I departed to the mountain, I read in Facebook that she lost everything of hers after touched down in Barcelona to fake polices. I saw a helicopter, yes I dream about taking a plane but I saw a helicopter, resting on the roof of a ruined building, something like the building in Sarajevo, emptied with no windows but inside grown with vegetation. Just like forest, somebody I met in Ohrid said, this is not in the dream.

I shouted, yes yes I am coming. The sound of the door slapping was so irritating. It was like someone not trying to wake you up, but asked for a fight. I quickly change my clothes and put on the scarf. Without washing up myself, I walked to the temple. It was exactly 430am. The monk gave me a drum, it looks like a Chinese fan in shape, but it is much heavier than the fan. On the drum it was written the temple name and the mantra. Na Mo Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo. This is how we chant, hit the drum and chant the mantra at the same time, Na Mo Myo shall be faster follow by the slower Ren Ge Kyo. The beating of drum shall be faster too in the beginning and follow by the slower end.

I think I have done quite a good job. The monk told me we will only chant for half and hour, but by the clock showing 5am, there is no sign to stop. At first I do think of some other things, for example my dream. I tried to recall all the details in my dream. But you have certainly noticed that I failed to do so when I rephrase the content of the dream as above, they have lost the content and the sequence. I swear that right after I woke up, I did remember why one friend is hiding and the other friend's name and the whole story line.

We kept chanting. Slightly after 5am, I suddenly realized that the chanting is actually another kind of meditation. I tried to imagine my surrounding is fading off and I am covered by a warm light, or stuff like that. I think may be it is better than meditation, as my voice blended in so peacefully and perfectly with the drums and voices of the other two monks. We are like singing in a choir now, both playing the instrument and singing at the same time.

I noticed myself never can play and sing at the same time. As I have learned piano since young age but I quit before I can play a song that I can sing. I am sure that I played some songs that I can sing but I never thought of playing while singing, or singing while playing. And by the time I learned harmonica, one definitely cannot sing when play. And I quit as well after I learned Home on the Range. I love the song after watching Song Dynasty, while I was 17, if I remembered correctly. I watched this movie in the cinema with my mother, and my favorite scene is when the glass dropped on the floor and shattered. Months later I decided to buy a copy of the movie because I like it so much, my mother did tell me it is useless to keep a copy, just a waste of money. As stubborn as I never take the advise. It was my money and I am the one to decide how to spend it. Later on it proved that she is right. The copy of Song Dynasty that I have is an old recoded tape, not in CD, and soon the tape player get replaced by the CD player, before I have the chance to even revised once of my kept copy. After I quit harmonica, I forgot how to play the song all together. It doesn't surprise me or my mother because both of us know how not persistent my character is.

But now, I am playing and singing at the same time. The chanting is beautiful, our voices overlapped each other but the drums always has the same rhythm. Another wonderful thing I observed, is I have not changed my posture since 430am. I am doing much better than Vipassana, when one need to consciously observed all the sensation that arise from ever single part in your body. The fascinating thing I observed during my this time Vipassana practice is, I have no problem in maintaining a same posture with eyes closing for an hour already. But hey, I don't even think of changing posture when I am chanting Na Mo Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo. And it was 6am.

I wasn't happy when it was 6am and I found myself still chanting. The sky look brighter now, there must be sunrise already. I am here not for chanting but to view the full range of the Himalaya on top of the mountain. To avoid paying for hotel, I asked the monks if I can stay here. The monk said, this is not my place, this is Buddha's place. Everyone can stay in Buddha's place, the only condition is you have to chant early in the morning. I knew about the rules because I met a Japanese girl who was also overnight here. She told me about the chanting, but she never said it will lasted so long. May be I shall lower my voice to show that I have enough of it, if it ends earlier, may be I still have chance for the sunrise.

And when the monk told me this isn't his place but Buddha's, I mean he told me last night, it too reminded me about standing in a church asking a priest if I can overnight in the church. It was in Tyre, Lebanon, sometime early January 2010. The priest gave me a negative answer. When I further asked him if he knows where can I stay, he said 'I don't know' in impatience. At the same time, it too reminded me about a night when I still traveled with Gabor Csonka, we ended up in a mosque asking to overnight. We later get invited to a local's house. 'Because you are woman, that's why we are not allowed to overnight in the mosque', this is how Gabor put it. For whatever he said, I will believe half of it, the other half usually need time to prove to be true.

The ritual in the temple ended after 6am, may be 630am, after we have some more chanting other than the Na Mo Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo. I was given a book and I thought we have something like bible reading, but it turned out to be more chanting without drum. By the time I have the chance to look at the sky, it was already morning, but with heavy cloud. There is no green mountain view, not to say Himalaya. You are not lucky, one of the monk said.

So this is my brief experience overnight in a Japanese temple. Which surprisingly, has certain significant impact on how I view Buddhism. For the past, I always insisted that Buddhism is a philosophy rather than a religion, shared the same opinion with certain group of people. First encountering of Tibetan Buddhism did confused me, and Japanese Buddhism is another kind of it. Last night during the dinner, I decided to accept that Buddhism is a religion. not a philosophy. It is like Christianity with Orthodox Protestant Catholic, or Islam with Sunni Shiaa Sufism. They are the same. And the triggering point that make me have the decision, was during the dinner, we were putting a small portion of our rice into a cup, for the animal or the hungry ghost; and sharing a portion of rice from another bowl that had been offered to Buddha. With his blessing, the monk said. I don't want to eat Buddha's saliva, I think. It is interesting to see how things revolved, or to see how oneself revolved.

'We see the Himalaya every morning, you are so unlucky that it is cloudy today' The workers who maintain and repair the stupa for the upcoming festival told me. And after the breakfast, it started to rain. A monk gave me a ride since he is going to town, save me from walking in the heavy rain down the mountain. And I wanted to share the story as fast as possible, so I asked him to drop me in front of the internet cafe.

I think I have no luck with the Himalaya, so might as well leave Pokhara tomorrow without climbing Sarangkot. Perhaps to Lumbini.

Friday, October 8, 2010

中文

终于可以写中文。是一种喜悦。
在旅途中发现喜悦其实是喜 悦。
慈悲原来是慈 悲。
自然原来是自 然。
常常把词当成理所当然,那天在挪威一间越南佛庙前看见‘慈悲’,‘喜舍’,错然发现原来第一个字原来是动词。

可以写中文是简单的快乐。

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Massage is needed in the world

because love has disappeared -- Osho

Reading

07.10.10

Was reading [A Widow for One Year] for the past 2 days. I got the book for 1 pound in London but due to the weight, left it in Yuki's house even before started reading it. This time, I got it for 300 Rupees (slightly more than $4) in Pokhara. After a day, found the same book for 150 Rp in another book shop. ;(

Only read 2 books of John Irving, love [The World According to Garp] but not [Until I find you]. Only need 1 more day to finish [A Widow for One Year], there goes my 300 Rp, can be my another Japanese lunch or a new pair of pant.

And I am thinking of writing a new story now. In fact I have always stories that wanted to write but never take an action. May be this new story will be the same as the old never taken action stories as well. Who knows.

But since I am still reading [A Widow for One Year], have one more day to spare before thinking on if I should climb to the Peace Pagoda, or trek to Sarangkot, or visit the nearby Tibetan refugee camp. Oh by the way yesterday I heard another love story. Met a German who married a Tibetan girl here in Nepal. But she is a refugee, so their marriage hardly be recognize by the local authority and so he is still a tourist in Nepal. And because the girl has no citizenship, she can't go to Germany as well.

Will tell more, but I need to continue my book now. Ciao!

PS: Believe me, of course I want to sit in an expensive restaurant for an afternoon chocolate shake while reading a book, but it will certainly be too spoil.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Looking for room

So many people stop you on the street of Phewa Tal seeing you walking with backpack.

--------

Looking for room?
Yes. How much is your room?
Look first. I have good price.
My price is 200Rp (3dolar). What is your price?
Come come, see the room first.
Are you able to make it my price?
Yes. Come come, see the room first.

So I followed the guy, walked for distance, climbed floors, and usually see a nice good room.

How much? I asked.
400Rp.
Well that is not my price. My price is 200Rp.
300Rp.
See, my price is 200Rp.
300Rp is good value for this room.
I understand that is a good value, and this is a good room, but that is not my price.
Ok, 250Rp.
... if you don't have a room for my price,don't make me walk so far to see a room that I won't stay in! Are you stupid?!!!

--------

Looking for room?
Yes.How much is your room?
How much you are looking for?
150Rp (2dollar)
Well we have good room. Clean, with fan, good bed.
There is construction outside. Noisy.
They only work at day time. 10am - 5pm. No problem.
OK. Let's look at the room.
What about 180Rp?
Hmm my price is 150Rp.
But now is trekking season.
I know trekking season is coming, but in a week time, not today.
Ok, this is the room. See.. good room.
But where is the fan?
The fan broken down.
It is okie. Thank you.
150Rp with fan, where to find such good room. What if 180Rp with fan?
But your fan broken down!!

--------

Hey tham! A guy I met 3 days ago on the bus stopped me while I was walking on the street looking for room.

Looking for romm?
Yes.
What about my place? I told you that day.
Yea I remembered but I am looking for cheap room, around 150Rp to 200Rp.
No problem. We are friends. Whatever price you want to pay it is okie for me.
Really?
Of course.

So I follow him. After 30 seconds.

What about I give you a 300Rp good room?
...

--------

There must be something really wrong with my communication skill, or why why can't my message delivered correctly?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Vippasana again

Because I dont know what to do in touristy Pokhara, decided to go for Vippasana meditation again, this time as a dhamma server. Will be away for the next 10 days. Hopefully this time I can find enlightenment ;)

01.10.10

Finally fallen sick

Just realized that it has been quite sometime since I last fall sick. And after the fried rice last afternoon, my throat was haunted by excessive of ajinomoto in the meal, feeling myself in a great lack of water and fresh air. Fallen sick.

I am in Bandipur, a small village up the mountain which one supposed to be able to see the range of Himalaya. But the air is too foggy or hazy for the past 2 days, I see nothing. It is strange when in the village deep in the mountain, the shopkeeper will tell you 'twenty five rupees' when you actually asked 'kati?' (how much in their language). Found myself not really enjoy doing nothing, no hitch hiking, no couchsurfing, that's why I fall sick, that is the only thing I can do!

Wanted to do something in the touristy Pokhara, might move there tomorrow. Perhaps doing meditation or pay to learn something new. Find myself not feeling easy in hostel hoping and too much relaxing kind of travel style. Trekked to a cave yesterday though, not a cave lover since Gua Tempurung as some have known.

Well, is time to take pill and sleep.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

They love spitting

And on this fine day, the old ama (grandma) simply miss-aimed the target. The spit brilliantly landed on my hair, given me enough reason to wash it.

28.09.10

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Back to Asia

26.09.2010

Touched down in Kathmandu airport yesterday afternoon. Back to Asia.

It was in Sharjah airport while I realized that I have left Europe. You have less individual space and always feeling somebody touching you, could be because of more populated or people are more carefree or simply we don't mind to push each other or to squeeze a little bit. A man with huge luggage on his shoulder stood in front of the airplane door taking picture, I was in his front and he hit me with his bag while he was turning. There is pro and con, of course. I love to be back to the chaos, but I do miss Europe. Very much indeed.

Istanbul no longer attracted me. Did I tell you so? Was in Istanbul for 4 nights, a city too much for me, too huge, too many people, too much cars and traffic jam, too chaotic, too noisy, too expensive. I almost went crazy in Istanbul. Can't imagine those living there, a city with 20 million people, moving from a neighborhood to another neighborhood took such a long time. Spent most of my budget in transportation moving from one host to the other.

Kathmandu is nice. Same same chaos, polluted, crowded, congested, noisy; but cheap. Had late lunch at a cafe which no foreigner will want to go. I asked 'chamal'(rice)? They said 'chao mian', pointed the basket of noodles on the floor. Yes. A huge plate of fried noodle with vegetables and meat for 45 rupees. RM2.2 may be. How good is life.

But I drank too much chai. Had some problem with stomach. Or perhaps is due to the tap water in Sharjah airport. It wasn't a choice though, because it makes no sense to buy 500ml water for 3 dollar in the airport. Anyway, I think I will be fine.

This morning we had a long discussion. With my Sikkim Nepali host who is a Christian and the Chinese Malaysian Australian (there is only one person here haha) who does't have a religion. I consider myself a religious person, although I have no religion, I have something to believe in. Shared with them 'thamism' though, as you can see, it is a religion of tham, (haha) who believe in everything is free to be determined by oneself, yet everything determined is pre-determined. And the belief of mine after death, no heaven or hell, but a new realization of consciousness in another body. The religion might make no sense to others, but it is a choice, and a personal thing.

Last night while walking back, my host asked, don't you want to call home to tell your mum you arrived safely in Kathmandu? I told him I don't need to do so, because of course she knew I will arrive safely in Kathmandu. It is a fact that both of us knew, no further confirmation needed.

Back to Asia, it is a complicated feeling. For sure the complication will increase when it comes nearer to time to go home. I love traveling, still loving it so much. But when people asked, 'so you keep moving around for the past 2 years?' I heard pity more than amazed, and feel shameful more than proud. It is complicated. I would say.

But now I am just going enjoy Nepal. Take a lot and a lot of pictures. There are always more stories to tell on the streets and from the people in the less developed countries. Till nest time. Namaste.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Looking forward

I want to fly to Kathmandu and throw all my torn shirts and pants.
I want to get everything new.
I want to eat the Japanese food in Kathmandu recommended by a Hui.
I want to spoil myself.
I want to couchsurf with the Malaysian.
I want to meet the Nepali who had been vouched for many times for his hospitality. They will pick me up from the airport.
I want to cross to India with a small crowded local bus.
I want to visit Mahdiar as a friend, not a couchsurfer.
I want to sing him sultanah ghalbam in returned. Now I can remember every single word.
I want to attend Prabhu's wedding in January.
I want to wear sari on his day. Tight and colouful sari with long black hair.
These are the things I am looking forward.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It wasn't funny

to hitch hike at night. Especially I miscalculated the time different between Macedonia and Bulgaria. The last hike was 730pm, in fact it was 830pm Bulgarian time. I wanted to get to Plovdiv, I promised myself never hitch hike at night, but I am too stubborn.

A truck stopped. I climbed up. Bulgarian truck driver, solo lady, alone, small steets, late night. It fits all the criteria and ambience needed for something horrible to happen. The advice of the Macedonian guy went through my mind - beware of Bulgarian driver, don't hitch at night, sex.

I was nervous. Yes. Right hand of mine had pepper spray prepared. If he come from the left, I will do this; if he attacked from the door, I will do that. All the movements rehearsed a thousand times in my mind.

The driver looks normal. I know how normal people look, believe me. But I also know how little I know about human being. The truck went at 20km/hour. I called my host in Plovdiv to let the driver know that I have somebody waiting.

As expected, the truck stopped at aside at some point. Now is the time, he is going to ask for sex, he is going to attack me in the dark. I turned my pepper spray on. The driver got down the truck, check the back and get on the truck again. He continued driving. It repeat several times. Too late I am too tired, almost falling asleep but force myself to keep awake. I shouldnt have hitch hike at night, what a stupid idea. It had been a long day, more than 10 rides, started from 8am walking down the Treskavec monastery in Macedonia. I wish I have some extra power to move the truck faster.

Arrived in a small town 25km away from Plovdiv at midnight. My host was waiting there already. Phew.

18.09.10

Saturday, September 18, 2010

No chance to change

Thinking of going to Damascus to take the plane instead of Istanbul. But bought the ticket a minute ago. No more chance to change. 25th Sep, hello Kathmandu.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Such a dramatic life

16.09.10

Walked on the street at Bitola, unable to find a cheap hostel, I asked for direction to Prilep.

Ended up as a guest (not overnight) in the girl house, who her mother just past away 3 weeks ago. She insisted to cook lunch at 5pm. Her father cried until one eye blind. She prepared the oil for egg, it gets too hot and the electric stove got fire. The father so creative to use the paper to cover the fire. Everything in a mess. We managed to throw the pan with paper to the basin before it drops on the wooden floor. Whole house in smoke. Too smoky and smelly I understood how people choked to death. We started lunch at 630pm. They poured me rakiye. From time to time the father cried for his wife. At one time he turned on the TV, there is some naked woman and suddenly he stopped the mourn. Continued after the scene. She talked about her mother, started to cry. I rub her shoulder to console. Told her about my dad, how my mum woke me up in the middle of the night. This is the first time I told someone verbally at such detail, but only after two sentences, I started to cry. Decided not to show any will to stay in her house, it is not too good. She accompanied me to find a student house which cost 8 euro for a night. We say bye bye. They need someone to keep them busy. They may want to go with me to the monastery today. I am not sure, because I went back to my room, after shower, sprained my neck.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The route

In Bitola already.
Tomorrow Treskavec Monastery, Macedonia (confirmed)
18th Sep Plovdiv, Bulgaria (confirmed)
20th Sep Istanbul, Turkey (confirmed)
24th Sep Kathmandu (confirmed)
24th Oct India
24th Jan KL

No plane ticket yet though for KL..
See u back home.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

You said I am a brave traveler.

I am not sure if that is a compliment.

So ironic when someone ask, are you traveling the world?
How do I tell that I don't want to travel the world?

This morning, sitting around the kitchen, the French guy asked if I went to Italy.
I said, no Italy, no France, no Spain, no Portugal, no Greece.
Aha, you can't see everything. You have made a good choice coming to Balkan. May be next time.
Well, I wish there is no next time.

It is a lesson learnt, not a competition, nor collection. I wish the warm and pain lasted till the last drop of the candle burned.
One need no bravery to travel, if he has a home waiting for his returned, and see gain or lose a blow of wind. Today can be windy, tomorrow might not; today the air is stilled, tomorrow might be windy.

It was cloudy today in Ohrid, tomorrow might be sunny.
Leaving on Monday to Bulgaria, may be visiting may be passing. Heading to Turkey. Perhaps Nepal, for sure India.
Then, Home.

11.09.10

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tomorrow is always a better day

08.09.10

Well, I dont know there are actually some people reading my blog. I thought there are only little cats two three out there from home. Since there are regular visitors, I need to be a regular blogger. Seems like.

So. Traveled with the two Germans from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Albania through Montenegro. Nice couple, rich knowledge in history and issues in Balkan. It is rare to meet travelers who are conscious and aware about their own duty in traveling and ready to blend into the local culture. It is easy to set your foot on the road, but to know what is the impact and to know how serious is the impact, it takes time, responsibility and conscience. They are the travelers that open to all possibilities and ready for uncertainties. Even you meet so many people on the road, it is seldom you meet someone who follow the flow and omen. We traveled together for 3 days until they dropped me off at the road to Tirana. They dived their car into the beach in Tale and need help from police to pull the car out, yet emailed me with so much humor and laugh in it.


Shared the host in Tirana with 2 young hitchhikers from Germany and Sweden. So young you will envy them.

And I moved on the Pogradec. Stayed with an American who volunteered with Peacecorps. It fits all the stereotyping I had about the young Americans/westerners abroad who help to reconstruct a country. It is a joke. One of their friend visited them, he said what he do is to blend into the local, do drug and alcohol. To reconstruct, how? We were so drunk that night, 2 double shots of rakiye, I threw up in the washroom. Smelly and dirty.

So I moved on the next day to Ohrid. The legendary lake that is so beautiful. They said. It is a beautiful lake, of course, if you never see something more beautiful, then it is the most beautiful. I swam in the lake a few times, the small fishes came and kiss your wounded toe, reminded me on the fish therapy in Singapore or Malaysia, that once there was news that it is so unhygienic that the legs started to rot. Most of the time, I lay on the couch and do nothing. Tried to read Osho but not his fan. He sounds so contradicting sometimes.

My host has a summer house in Ohrid. She hosted 10 people at the same time. Crazy. One of the guest lost the key while go swimming, there is no spare key. She can still smile and talk soft. May be I will go crazy. Too far to become a saint. Or even get closed to. May be next life.

My time is up. I shall stop here and get some oranges before the market closed. By the way, I wanted to write you but I have a blank mind all the time these days. A lot of dreams. Have to spend time to write my diary. Said that everyday, but tomorrow is always a better day.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sound and safe

01.09.10

Safe in Montenegro. Podgorica.

Waited for 4 hours for a car, outside Sarajevo. Then walk for some kilometers, waited again. A lady stopped, offer me a ride if I would pay 150 Euro for the ride. Haha. I laughed and shut the door. Waited for sometime again, a police officer stopped. Offer me some 10 kilometers ride, said if he can ask me a question. I said, yes please. He asked, sex? I said, no. No, why no? As if it is a pleasure for him to ask and I shall accept the offer. No, I said. May be anything else, oral? Urghh...

I was dropped some 10 km away from Sarajevo. Waited for hours, and get another ride directly to Foca. The young Serbs who gave me a ride doesn't speak English. Arrived at the destination, I asked him, how many km to the border. He said no no. KM is the currency in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he misunderstood if I wanted to pay. No way to get the idea through, I gave up.

Within 15 minutes, a Deutch car stopped. 2 kayakers driving in the Balkans. Offered me a ride. They are looking for place to put their kayak, wanted to kayak a bit before night falls. Was offered to travel together. They are impressed by the Malaysian girl who hitch hiking in the remote area in southern part of BiH. I waited for them in the car when they went down the river. Took a nap. Can't believe that that is for the awkward feeling in the morning. Of course, it doesn't end. They came back after 2 hours, we went to the camp site where they met the Serb who runs the camp. Tyre punctured.

Some alcohol at night. Late dinner. The sky was beautiful. Nice couple offer us their bungalow without needed to pay. We continued the journey today, in the morning. Crossed Montenegro. I had too much coffee. Vomit vomit vomit. Went for a wash in the river, cold. Stopped by police due to over speed, we didn't pay bribe but they let us go. A lot of fig trees on the road side, I wished we can stop the car. I love fig.

Sound and safe. The canyon is beautiful. Leaving to Tirana tomorrw.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Heading to Montenegro

31.08.10 9.40am

Heading to Montenegro 15 minutes later. An awkward feeling arose this morning. Leave an entry here. Taking the road southward, towards Donje Krusevo border at Montenegro. Hope to arrive at Niksic (Montenegro) or somewhere nearby tonight. Planned to reach Albania tomorrow or 2nd Sep, where I should have a host in Tirana. Then will either travel south with her or heading to Pogradec, Albania. And then go around Ohrid Lake to Ohrid in Macedonia, continue to Bitola, then Skopje.

Monday, August 30, 2010

We are different

29.08.10

Made a new decision today. In fact, made two decisions today. One is too personal to share, the other is - decided to write more in mandarin. So I went to the internet cafe, ask for a computer with Chinese. None. See, fate decided.

Cant help to fall in love with Sarajevo. Arrived a few hours ago, made a turn in the old city, small and nice to cover with foot. Stayed in a private accommodation. Too cold for sleeping out today. It was showering last night. Get the contact from some CS online, the lady loves complaining, with little English, and you cant cook in the house. Still I can fry egg, although nothing else. The reason I asked if I can use the kitchen.

Wasnt pay too much attention to time today. Long waiting time, I felt. Early in the morning, some kilometers out of Mostar. A car stopped.
Sarajevo? I asked.
He said, No.
On the way to Sarajevo? I asked.
He said, No.
Then what the hell he stopped? I thought.
Sex? He asked.
No thanks. I laughed.
He left.

Some time later, a car stopped. The same car.
Money to take bus? He asked.
No thank you. I laughed.
He left.

Some time later, a car stopped. The same car.
Come in. He pointed at the seat beside the driver.
No. No sex, go away. I can hardly laugh now. Had been waiting for too long.
He left.

Some time later, a car stopped. The same car.
Money for sex?
AHHHHHH!!! What the hell.

Finally, another car which is not the same car stopped, it has been more than 2 hours perhaps. 50 km down the road. I crawled in the car. Little English. He said "bom bom, spzzzz". I know what he mean but pretended not. He tried to put his hand over to my shoulder, I shouted before he touched (you can imagine how loud is that if you watched horror movie with me before). He started to talk about Neretva, how it flows from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia.

The road from Mostar to Sarajevo, spectacular. It took again more than 2 hours to get the second ride. The guy works in Deutchland. For this I can be more assured that he wont put his hand over. And he didnt.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is definitely not Europe, for me. It is Ramadan now, good for me to be here though, although most of them dont fast. It reminds me of Pakistan, where we shared food during iftar. In Sarajevo, they light a firecracker for iftar (buka puasa). The winding road up the mountain reminds me on Amman, the old town with copper containers reminds me on Kashgar, the touchy boy reminds me on Iran, the baklava reminds me on Syria, the atmosphere reminds me on Turkey.

Walked on the street, I thought, may be I need some time to adapt and accept the differences between the west and the east. We are different, although all of us are human being.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Buy yourself something good

28.08.10

A friend gave me a small sum of money half year ago.
He said, buy yourself something good.
Oh, may be I will get myself a ticket to South America. I wrote him.
No, I mean get yourself some good food and good accommodation.
Anyway, the money is not enough for a ticket to South America.

Arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina yesterday. His word came to me. Partly because my mother disagree on me sleeping anywhere torturing myself. So I checked in a hostel, first time after 3 months and 27 days in Europe. 10 euro a bed, exceeding my daily budget of 10 dollar a day. To had a break, although finding an empty building in this heavily destroyed town is not that hard. Well. This is the trend, that when I have a date to go home, I spend money.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My psychological barrier

For 5 days, I swam in the Adriatic sea, overcoming my psychological barrier. For you said that able to swim in the sea is one of the most pleasurable thing in life. A soul unrest like me, unable to believe that I cant enjoy what is called the most pleasurable. And so, I found myself floating on the sea, in the end of the summer, at the island called Vis, without having my leg to touch the ground, as fresh as new born, naked on the rock, heavily burned.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I still feel burning

20.08.10

on my face even after the night. Yesterday was a horrible day, a lot of waiting under the sun, and the Croatian custom wasnt that friendly. Have no problem exiting Schengen although I have no Schengen stamp on my passport (The only stamp I have was from England which is not a Schengen on 1st of May). But who cares.

Get interviewed at Croatian side.
It is the procedure for people from certain states. The officer said.
Certain states? For example?
For example Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq..
Haha, we are categorised in the same group. How proud shall I feel.
And they disturbed my friend (who I havent met yet at that time) by calling her without my consent. That is not so nice.

Was waiting at the petrol station 8km from Zagreb for hours. So near yet so far. Asked around cars with number plate starts from ZG, but all say no. NO. NO.
An Italian couple on the bike told me, it is hard, isnt it?
Yes, it is so hard. Do you think I look dangerous? Thats the reason they dont pick me up?
May be because of the Romanian. Go to the driver and tell them you are not Romanian, you are Malaysian.

Approached one old man and try to talk to him, he seemed to be dont know English. Took out my phrase book and tell him I am going to Zagreb, in Croatian. He say no. I tried to tell him I am not Romanian, I am from Malaysia. He say NO. I teased into the air, what a nice country, wonderful people, beautiful weather, good day.

After he paid, he came out and say, are you going to Zagreb? You can come with me.

Hey you know English! Why you pretend you dont know?!
Because it is not common, I am afraid of you.

So I really look dangerous.

Arrived at Lamza place at 10pm. She is an ex-girlfriend of a Croatian traveler I met in Pakistan. We shared the same dormitory twice, once in Gilgit and once in Karimabad. When he wrote me - you can stay with my ex-girlfriend, I thought is a joke. He is still traveling so still sending some travelers to his ex-girlfriend. A truly amazing lady, you only need 2 seconds to fall in love with her. Initially she is going to leave me her house while she is traveling to Split. But we decided to travel together to this small island off Split, at the coastal area of Croatia, which I cant imagine how many tourists will there be at this time.

She got us a direct ride to Split, so no standing beside the road today. Hooray!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Because I know you are reading

That's the reason I write. You know who I refer to, don't you ;)

Today is 19.08.10.
We had a good game last night. I won. A new game invented by János, the life coach that I stay with, on how to balance between the professional life and the private life. We are helping him to create the complicated rules in life to make the game more logic and realistic. The game is about allocating energies on different canoes. I think it will take him some more time to develop it into a real complex model which simulated life.

They talked most of the time in Hungarian. Once a while someone realised that there is one non-Hungarian speaker here, then he or she will try to explain whatever spoke in English. It ended by brainstorming session, and someone suggested swingers club in private life.

Swingers club? What is swingers club, I asked.
Perhaps you know that, dont you? All man in the room know that, and half the woman dont know. A place for people to change partner and have sex, on the spot. There are rooms in the club which you shall not occupy for long. I heard it for the first time.

Went for a walk today. The Contemporary Art Museum was nice but too little to see. The photographer tries to tell what had capitalism done to the normal people through his lens. Today is a nice day. Good weather, sunny, windy. Send a couple of postcards, you will find one in your postbox if the postman delivers it properly, with Sunbeam from Budapest.

In bookshop, I bought TaoDeChing by LaoTze, a gift for János. I seldom give because I am petty, but this afternoon when I saw the book, I decided to buy him this. I doubt if he already read it, as he studied philosophy. I asked the shopkeeper if this is a well translated version. He told me the author is a well-known Hungarian poet, it is well translated. I paid with a smile on my face, forgeting to ask if the well-known Hungarian poet knows Chinese.

Me myself cant even remember if I have read it, but everyone will remember the first sentence, if the way can be told/taught, this is not a consistent way. That is what I wanted to share with him. We spent a lot of time doing intellectual debate. At least this is how they called that. Why is it intellectual, I asked. Because it is not about weather or politic, they answered. Perhaps this is the reason you said we have intellectual chatting, because they are not weather or politic.

Well.. okie.

That day someone killed a moth, and we started to debate if you should kill a moth and why and stuff like that. For hours. I think I am back to Socrates time. That day we were debating if human being is selfish in nature. I thought Buddha had told us that. We debate from the evening to late night, my wet pants (due to rain) turned dry. But my mind keep playing the moth in the Sloth, or both.

I told you here is just some unorganised pieces landing around, but you are welcomed. Anytime.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Good Luck

17.08.10

The fifth day in Budapest, the city of Gabor Csonka. He is currently in Afghanistan or I will at least have some distorted Hungarian food, in his style. But he at least done something good, by giving me some contacts who cannot host, but found me a good host.

So I am staying in the second level of a double storey house, have my own bedroom, shower room including bath tub, and a small kitchen. The family hosting me has two lovely daughters, 12 and 14. He is an economist philosopher IT-man life-coach (these are supposed to be read separately), she is an English teacher in the university. They gave me my own key.

Unlike couchsurfing, I can come and go at anytime as I wish, I have my own space, they dont need any communication, they dont expect me to cook for them. They gave me Hungarian money to spend in advance, and never ask my leaving date.

It sounds strange to you? It sounds strange to me. I must be so lucky (or clever) to have such a good luck!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fuck!

This Polish guy gave me a ride in Poland. He work for 2 years in Norway and half a year in England. We talked about both countries. And it happened to be both of us love Norway and hate England.

There is only one word that I learned in England. 'Fuck!' he said.

I laughed. Agreed. In Norway, if you heard a Norwegean say fuck (outside Oslo), you can certainly tell that he has lived outside Norway before.

PS: to me, Oslo is not Norway.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Poland

Since I pre-scheduled the post. By the time you see this, I have already left Poland. There are some days with great misery in Poland, for example the day when I visited the Warsaw Uprising Museum (seeing the computer regenerated ruin city of Warsaw after the uprising during WWII) and day when visited the Auschwitz Concentration camp in Oświęcim. It was a place stained with blood, where the genocide happened. I think everyone tour the compound with a lump in the throat, and both of them consumed a lot of emotion energy and made me tired at the end of the day.

So what do you think about Poland? People asked. Always, I answer 'oh Poland is beautiful', a reflective answer without much thought. And most often, people starred at me as if they were skeptical about the answer. To be honest, Poland is a sad land. People are okie but not particularly great. The road is small so moving around takes a long time. Scenery so so, but great beer and sausages. The folk song with wide voice is certainly fantastic. Too bad I cant find my favorite in youtube (I can share you back home though). The only highlight in Poland, for me, is a good friend there, who talked about pointlessness of life. I side the saying, the birds with same feather flocked. We drank beer in the public which is forbiden in Poland, and talk about pointlessness and vanity. Or just to be lazy. But the second time I was in Warsaw, he wasnt at home, so I was pointlessness myself in another friend's house. Haha. How I get so many friends? Well I stayed in Mar Musa (in Syria) for more than a month, so I have accummulated some contacts before moving.

But it is so far a country which people are happy with joining EU, for there are huge fund to develop the country and reconstruct the road, so far a country that did not affect by the crisis and is still growing. Not too expensive, I can still have some junk from time to time. But not a country that I will think of coming back.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Your hair is beautiful

They praised.
I wish someone say 'you heart is beautiful'.

But no one said that.
I rather have a beautiful heart than beautiful hair.
It is a shame.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

We are living in the communist building

and not knowing it! It is such a shame.

The flat in Malaysia or HDB in Singapore are products of the communist, which when we came across these kind of square buildings in Poland or Germany, the local will point and say: see, the communist building.

That day I told the guy that gave me the ride: you know what, we stayed in these kind of building in Malaysia and Singapore. He laughed: the communist influence is so deep that even you dont live through the communist time, you stay in the communist building, and worse, you dont even realise it!

What a shame.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Intuition

I spent hours talking with friends and families back home a few days ago. Half of those I called can recognise my voice, half of them can't (as you can probably guess, it includes my mother!)

Among all, I have this friend from secondary school that I like to call once a while. She is the only one who will ask me to sing her a song during school time. We rarely meet even while I was still back home. We haven't seen each other for long time, I even missed her wedding during end of last year (which I have promised to sing her a song during the ceremony). But everytime I called, she wont miss recognising my voice (no matter where I am).

I love the conversation:

Me: Hello, SF ar?
SF: yuetan hor?
Me: yea! You pregnant?
SF: How did you know that?

Simply amazing. Everything just come in place by itself.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The most beautiful story

that ever happened during my travel. Have I told you that?

It was during a rainy morning in Norway. I stood beside the street with a big sign and a big smile. A car stopped. The guy has the age of my father if my father were still alived. He is a genius of language. He drove me a long way and cook me a fish. So I decided to sing him a German song.



and God know why, tear started to fall down from his face.

'Hey look at the road!' I shouted.
'Then stop singing!' He shouted back.

Amazing. Isnt it? From thousands of songs that I can learn, I chose this particular song, and sang it in this particular moment to this particular man. And he cried. Simply astonishing, in an extremely beautiful way.

I knew we will never forget this.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Miserable World

05.08.10

The first thing that I do in the first morning in Krakow -- watch TV.

It has been long time I havent updated any news, happening in this mighty world. Just happened that Wadim has satelite TV, I was watching Aljazeera again, my favorite news channel during my breakfast, allowed the negative and miserable reality to swallow me.

One of the program was about people in Papua New Guinea, protesting again Exxon Mobile on extracting the oil in their land. I recalled this discussion in Norway. While a lot of people regarding Norway as a successful socialist society, I met this person who participate in the politics before, told me that Norway is definitely a capitalist society, with high control. Everything needs to be control. Capitalism is not a system but is an unstoppable trend, it is not a choice. How to deal with it is through control. Other countries suffer from it, because they dont have good control, but Norway has. I guess I love that country so much, apart from the landscape and people, is the healthy mentality that they have, how they are raised, and how they search solitude in life.

To have a good control over capitalism, it will be a summer dream.

Have trust in human being?

04.08.10

Well just after I said you have to have trust in human being (in my last post), this morning I found that I lost my bag of coins from different countries. It was in my backpack, an easy access compartment, consists of all the coins and cash that left over in each countries, there were some czech, polish, lithuanian, latvian and estonian money. Perhaps this is to teach me, there are a lot of kind soul out there, but never forget that devil exists.

Have lost too many things recently. After my beloved sweater, my cap, my gloves, my head band, now my money. May be I shall buy a new pair of sandals.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The emotional support

03/08/10

Well I think I am just not in the right mood to write.. emotional support is such a strong word to use, seems like I have to write or you will start to take pill?

I am good, I mean, okie. Already back to Warsaw from Oslo. Everything is back to place, will start moving again tomorrow to Krakow.

There are good moments in Norway, there are bad moments too. Most of the times are good. Get invited for 3 times, even more than when I was traveling in the middle east. Worst time waiting for a ride for 5 hours, best time 5 minutes. Norway became one of my favorite country, the people became one of my favorite people (after Filipino and Iranian).

Today I called home, finally deposited money into my skype account. Called so many people, talked until ear sore. Sat for the whole day in front of the computer. Chit chit chat chat.

Wasnt able to share with you the big story, would like to share some small stories.

One day in the library, a girl lend me her phone to call. She asked, who are you calling? I said, a friend of a guy who gave me a ride in Norway, this guy is going to offer me a couch tonight. She said, hitchhike and staying with stranger? You have to be careful. I smiled. She is in her early twenty and she is worried about me. 'You have to have the basic trust in human being,' I said.
(Of course, too bad that most of us, for some reason, lost that ability)
I ended up in the guy's house, he gave me his daughter's bed, dinner, bus tickets to go around the city.

My host who know Tarot helped me in using the card to tell my story. It turned out nice. Walked for hours in the forest near Blystadlia before took the flight, there are many mushrooms. Saw some birds, not the golden eagle. A worm crawled on my shirt. My host then forced me not to hitchhike, instead gave me money to take the bus and the train. It was a hard lesson to learn, taking money wasnt easy at all. But she said what I have to do is, accept and say thank you.

I left my tent in a container outside Hausman Gate #40, including my torn old stinky shoes. If you are interested, feel free to take it. Finally left my Hi-Tech boots behind, you cant believe that, I have worn it for 7 years. It had been sent to shoes maker more than 10 times.

The squats in Oslo have been evicted by police. I have no where to go, thought will be overnight in that container. I went to Blitz which used to be a squat, 'I need a place to stay', I said. A young man came to me, 'we are starting a new squat, you can stay with us!' he said. I ended up having my own very clean room. This young man is in his early 20s, has a dream to travel but he need to find a job to pay his fine first. He was resisted in arrest during one demonstration, fined 6000Kr, later on they found out that he carried a knife during the demonstration(which he is not intended to use), fined another 8000Kr. (1Euro = 7.5Kr) These people in the squat are punk people. They have so many piercing on their face, lips, ears. SO many tattoos all around. The girls cut their hair into half bald, sprayed their hair into different colours. I wonder why they do that.

My Warsaw friend's house has 2 cats and one dog. The siamese cat came in in the morning, stand on my body and say ~meow.

I need to sleep now. Until next time you need the pill, tell me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Finally a warm bed

21/07/10

Phew. So I am in Trondheim now. Wet weather still, but I am not cold ;-)
Someone replied to my emergency couch request in Trondheim. I love couchsurfing!

So I shall spend sometime to tell you what had happened in the past few days. I was in the Arctic circle for 5 nights. The first night was in Finland, I have told the story in my previous post. 2nd night was in Alta, a town in Northern Norway. Got invited by a girl to stay in her house. Warm bed, warm meals, midnight sun. It was awesome to find that Norweigen are not as cold as rumour, they are helpful and friendly. 3rd night I put my tent in a private house, which the old lady has no problem with it at all, and it rained that night. The forth night I put the tent in a parking area, it pour like hell even until the next day. The tent soaked and still soaking in water now, I have no idea how shall I dry it. I was all wet using my sleeping mat to cover my head as I have tied my raincoat to my tent (still it dripped). The fifth night I stayed in the storeroom as mentioned in last post, hard floor, but without rain and wind. And I am out from the Arctic Circle.

The day still dont get dark, but it gets darker for some hour at night. The day before I was staying in a smoking hut outside a factory. They dont lock it at night, there are narrow couches. I slept without able to turn my body, but still it is good, as there is not rain and wind. And I went to the tourist information centre for free internet, posted an emergency couch request, I need to dry my socks and I need something hot, and definitely a good sleep.

The first thing I arrived at my host's house, cook instant noodle! haha. But yesterday was the darkest day in my hitchhiking record, waited 5 hours under the rain for a ride. Crazy.

Oh yea, did I tell you that I lost my warm cloth and my cap? So now I only left with one jacket, which is supposed to be waterproof, but it no longer works after such a long time on the road. I had almost everything wearing on my body, so my backpack is so light now, almost only with food. And it will be lighter after I leave behind my tent, which I am still going to carry it for a while.

Oh and did I tell you I finally do food skipping? I can see the reaction on your face. That day a lady dropped me off at one cross road at Bjerkvik. I was hungry thinking what shall I do next, and I walked pass this supermarket in the gas station, and I saw some bags in the bin. So automatically I went to the bin, open it and found loads of breads, biscuits and potato chips. I took one pack of baguette, 2 pack of biscuits, one pack of potato chips and one pack of salad. Still last until now. I wish I found cheese if I ever skipped next time. I found myself felt awkward when I wanted to say 'yea I skipped', which I dont think that is really something to be ashamed of, at the sametime I can imagine how you think when you read this. Haha.

By the way, I felt that Norweigen is the most lucky people in the world. They have first class scenery, and first class lifestyle; first class income, social care system. I never wish that I am somebody else after such a long time on the road, but I do wish that I am a Norweigen after visited this beautiful country.

Hope that someone will reply to my emergency couch in Bergen, but tomorrow will definitely be another day in the wild. After Bergen, will be visiting a Penangite in Stavanger, we met on the boat from Aqaba to Nuweiba, I know I will have warm bed again ;)

Till then.

Oh by the way again, that day while I was queuing in a shop in the gas station, I saw the price of 6 eggs -- 37 KR (1Euro = 7.5 KR) I guessed there must be gold inside.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rain rain rain

19/07/10

My first camping night was in Lappland, Finland. Beyond the Arctic Circle. To congratulate my new camping life, millions of mosquitoes sing for me and the sky opened whole night champagne to celebrate for me. Since then, I have carried the rain with me for the past few days, in a not-waterproof tent.

POOR ME!!

Soaking and spending the whole night pouring out the rain water from the tent; utilized all the cups I have to collect water..

So last night I decided not to sleep in the tent anymore after 3 nights of tent. I slept in a store room near the toilet in the tourist information center. They told me it will be locked at 730pm, so I found the room and set my bed there. They closed the center for the night not noticing me inside the storeroom. I have a warm night.

Looking for places again tonight... Arghh.. I guessed this is the ultimate utmost torturing kind of traveling style!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The west

09/07/10

It was a sudden rain last evening in Helsinki and within an hour, the city started to flood. I walked under the rain looking for shelter and walked over the ankle height crossroad. This is Helsinki, other than the nice building, it reminded me Yangon rainy day, with the only different -- no rubbish on the water and no holes on the streets. I guess any Finnish will find this insulting, to compare Finland with Myanmar, what a joke.

The propaganda on the west are so much wrong, at least for what I understood while I havent been here, they are suppose to be free and open, but in real they were very much restricted, so many rules here make people lost the flexibility.

Two times in Helsinki, someone shouted at me when I intended to cross the road while the red man is still red. There are no cars. It was embarassing but I am not sure from where the shame came from. Our society made us think that those who dont obey is supposed to feel bad on themself?

In a lot of countries here, you are not supposed to walk on the street with an open bottle of alcohol, which I am not sure if it is the same back home, but I did have an open bottle alcohol while walking on Malaysia/ Singapore street before. So we ended up secretly picnic behind some bushes in the early morning with a bottle of dark beer.

There are CCTV everywhere on the street in UK and Poland, reminded me Singapore, and they are more extreme than Singapore. Now I know why there are so little news about human right issue in Singapore in the international media, they are the same.

Before I came, I thought everyone here having affair, cheating and it is an open secret. It was not true, it was only the plot that movies adapted, but the idea spread across the east. There are a lot of divorce and single parents though, this is the only thing that I got it correctly.

Well need to stop now, need to go to Jyväskylä today, if everything is smooth it supposed to be 3 hours from Helsinki. The Malaysian I was staying with felt so amazed by my travel, haha. Till then.

p/s : of course I shouldnt compare Helsinki with Yangon, Helsinki wasnt a place with a lot of rain thus the system wasnt ready for that. It wasnt a fair comparison, but I do think about it when it happened.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Finland

07/07/10

Yup, I am in Helsinki.

Traveling in Baltic area for the past 6 days, 3 countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) which dont really look like Europe, a lot of wooden house and forest, quite and layback places.

People are nice, hard to hitchhike on the big roads, but small roads are always easy.

Had a ride with an Olympic player while I was traveling from Inculkans to Sigulda, dont bother about where they are, these are really small places in Latvia. He played Skeleton in the Olympic. At first, he told me he is an athlete, so I joked 'you play in Olympic?', the answer is surprisingly a yes.

One crazy experience today, but not convenient to share in public, will tell you when we have chance to meet.

Helsinki is beautiful, touristy.
Fine and clean, but unable to blackride public transport. The disadvantage.

Stayed with a Malaysian who is doing his master here.

2 nights and I will leave Helsinki, wanted to go north, wanted to go Lappland, Arctic circle, North Cape.

Wanted to try Finnish sauna, for sure. Wanter to do some skipping (dumpster diving) in Finland, they said it is easy, you can skip a laptop here.
They said.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Update

05/06/10

Hey I am in Ogre now and going to Tallinn tomorrow. Will be camping somewhere tonight as I have a new tent with me. In Tallinn too will need to camp as I dont have a host.

From Tallinn going to Helsinki and there I have already had a fellow Malaysian to host me, he is from Alor Setar. Wont be able to online as frequent but will be okie. Lost my phone on the way to Poznan so now I am living without time and alarm, it is so weird when you wake up in the morning and guessing the time, and since we have such a long day here, you always guess the time wrongly. There will be midnight sun in scandanavia, looking forward towards it.

It is very hot in Ogre, I just learned to setup the 6 euro tent this morning, but it was cool. Till next time!

Ciao, tham

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

to have a baby!

(please bear that it is 14.41 poland time and I am a bit drunk)

20/06/10

Life is really fun. I dont know why but I just felt so, at least up to now, even some bad things happened, but was just that they meant to happen.

Was attending a party last night with Tyce. You know it is so common to go for a party in europe, everything is consider a party, even without alcohol or dance. We went to a folk dance party, one of the best party I have, a lot of Polish folk music and folk dance, a lot of spinning and spinning and spinning, reminded me on Sufi dance. It was terribly cool!

And we met Venorica for breakfast today. To the railway track, we brought bread, cheese, sausages and beer. And it is afternoon. Before leaving the house, we have red wine, from Purtugal. Side track a bit, that day while we were walking on the track, I was telling Tyce that my first time walking on the train track was while I was in Hanoi, the education back home is you might get hit by a train if you walk on the train track. It is so horrible those propaganda and education that limiting us from so may things and we dont even realise it!

We have some good chat last night, about people who see and who dont. About stupidity and wise. There are not many people that see but it doesnt really matter, we judge a bit but just because we are human being. Then the cousin came back and we talk about having baby. He said that he wanted to have baby to change the world. haha. He said the world is too shitty and by educating his child to be a better person he will change the world. He said his child must learn instrument, learn more than one language and must travel abroad. It makes me laugh.

haha.

It was a nice chat though, I enjoy that.

Leaving Warsaw tomorrow. I will miss all the parties and the invitations to grill, breakfast and party. It is nothing significant, just enjoying the time spent together. Simply it is rare to meet people who are conscious and see, and once meet one it is preciously appreciated ;)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

taking flight

29/06/10

I dont know.. I think it is kind of annoying and awful to purchase a flight ticket.. may be some will expect it this way but I am not used to take flight, so the trick annoyed me a bit.

After thinking of going Norway, I started to check the plane ticket from Baltic area to Norway, found one for 6 euro, flying from Riga. Last night it changed to 10 euro. Without hesitation, I started filling the form for purchasing.. check in luggage costs 15 euro, online check in cost 5 euro, airport check in costs 10. So it will ended up at least 30 euro, which is of course, not really expensive, but I dropped the idea of taking plane. I will take ship instead, at least with the similar amount of money, I still have my flexibility of time.

So, it seems like up to this moment, I am so certain in challenging the most expensive countries in the world. Finland and Norway. I must be crazy.

Let's see how.

blackride Berlin, U bann and S bann

I shall say how.. I mean how to blackride train in Berlin, although it isnt sound ethical at all.

The ticket controller are usually wearing vest, they look strong, well you can consider them fat. I met twice, both of the times, they are men.

Each time they will come in in 2 or 3 person to prevent you sneak away from the other end. They will stand at the bar not moving in seeking for seat. They have one machine, usually they put it in their vest. They dont carry anything with them other than the machine and their identity card.

So it is not that difficult now. Those with bicycle, dog, kid, trolley, luggage, plastic bags, backpacks, those eating, drinking, talking in groups are most probably not ticket controller.

I met them twice, I mean the ticket controller. Blackride for 3 days and the forth day was invited by Theresa for lunch. I was late so I bought a day ticket to take the bus. Usually I dont take bus because I thought you cant blackride bus (which after that I realised that I was wrong), so usually I walk for 30 minutes to get from my host house to the train station. That day when I bought the day ticket (6.1Euro), I got checked, that was the first time I see the controller and try to categorized them (as what human being always do).

Friday, I got checked again on the train. Hell it is 6.1 euro I am not buying the ticket for the second time. So I changed the ticket date myself. But what I wanted to say is not I change the ticket date, but before they show their ID saying that they are ticket controller, I already knew they are! So although they are not in uniform, you are still able to recognise them, they put their hand in the pocket preparing to show the card once the train door shut, all you need to do is just to be observant enough, you can slip out the train before the door is closed!

=====================================================
So far, there is no train gate (city train) for Germany and Czech Republic. There are train gates in Amsterdam but they were opened all the time.

=====================================================
Well, to blackride bus in Berlin, just take any old ticket, the driver dont even look at it!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Helmut Newton

Got the chance to visit the Museum for Photography in Berlin. It was an exhibition of Helmut Newton, the German photographer, famous for take women in nudity. Halls of beautifully erotic pictures, extraordinary gorgeous.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

same same

25/06/10

Shared host with two Latin Americans, they are from Agentina. We were walking and chatting last night after the concert.

Agentina is very dangerous?
Yes.
Pickpocket or rob?
Rob, they took knife and point at you to get money.
Oh, same same Malaysia. But Malaysia is more dangerous, they hit you until injured so that you cannot fight back before they get your money.
Oh? Then is same same Argentina.

In Argentina, if you stand at the road side and send text (sms), someone will runover and grabbed your handphone.
Oh, same same Malaysia.

In Malaysia if you put your cellphone or wallet on the table, the next second it will be gone.
Oh, same same Argentina.

In Argentina you cannot put your valuable in the outer part of your backpack and you always need to carry your backpack in front, or your valuable will be stole.
Oh, same same Malaysia.

In Malaysia we dont feel comfortable walking on the street if it is late.
Oh, same same Argentina.

Then you can go to Argentina, no problem for you.
Yea, you also can come to Malaysia!

Friday, June 25, 2010

moving no where

23/06/10

The same World Press Photo exhibition that I was rejected entrance with the journalist card in Amsterdam is in Berlin now, and the entrance is free for everyone, but world press photo is nothing close to entertaining, and not for everyone.

Before leaving, the computer catalogue show some of the winning press photo since 1950, flipped over and found that after half a century passed, the world is still nothing better than before, pretty ironic. Still war and hunger.

We are moving no where.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dream

23/06/10

There was an old man in the house when I reached my host place that day. He was her father, and we started to chat.

He told me a story. Long long time ago, when he was still a 12 years old boy, he watched a movie (it was black and white at that time) and saw someone diving in the sea wearing a pair of fin. He dreamed of having a pair of the fin but at that time, the fin costs 35Mark and his pocket money is half a cent Mark. If he were to save the half a cent mark for the fin, it will take almost 2 years time. After half a year time, he finally has the thing he wanted, by studying the materials and the techniques to turn rubber into fin, he self made one.

The same kind of effort can be seen in the wall museum, which shown how people self made whatever kind of simple plane with propeller, dig tunnel, using hot air balloon, all sorts of creativity, just to escape from the east to the west. Amazing huh.

That day when the old man finished telling me the story, I asked myself what if the same situation happened in the modern world. I guess for the majority, if the thing is out of reach or need too much effort to achieve, we probably will just dropped the idea. Or the society will ask you to drop the idea.

How pity.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Travel with drug dealer

21/06/10

A brief update..

After a ride with a murderer in Wales, that day I have a chance to hitch hike with a drug dealer from Prague to the border of Germany. Wahaha. No, he is not a dealer, he planted marijuanafor self consume but get caught in Poland, well he is a Polish. He was arrested and sent to prison for 60 hours, won the case, and travel to Prague to start hisnew life. While I met him, he is on his way to Usti nad labem, a town in Czech Republic near to Germany border, there is a national park, which he wanted to find a lake or river to fish and spend the weekend. He has no money, no home.

He pointed at the back of the car.. see? Marijuana.
I looked back.
Damn.
What if the car stopped by a police, I will be accused as partner, I guessed.

Do you mind if I smoke?
Well I dont.
Do you want to try?
Well I am crossing border later, I better dont.

That day the other driver told me that those traveling from Amsterdam back to Berlin get fine if the blow of their breath contained marijuana. It remained in your body up to a considerably long time, I shouldnt take the risk. And I was checked twice on the street at the border, may be I looked a bit like homeless illegal immigrant.

And I shared him a kit kat bar in the car. He asked me how much. Luckily I shared the chocolate bar or I can induced that he is going to charge me for the ride! haha.

Just a brief story for the day. Have no time/ facility to write that frequent, but a pity that interesting stories just slipped away without writing.

Going to Berlin soon today. Dresden is beautiful, there was a 3 days festival just ended last night. Eastern Germany is so different and I am looking forward to how liberal is Berlin. The weather is not that beautiful though today but anyway..

Visiting friends in Warsaw soon.. so much looking forward to it!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Looking for Travel Companion

I am not sure if anyone out there think it is cool to travel like me or with me, well in case anyone interested to travel together, below is my drafted route:

Czech Republic (Cesky Krumlov - Prague) - Germany (Dresden - Berlin) - Poland (Poznan - Warsaw) - Lithuania (Vilnius, Siauliai, Kaunas) - Latvia (Riga) - Poland (Warsaw - Krakow) - Slovakia - Hungary - Austria - Slovenia

Travel style, mainly couchsurfing and completely hitchhiking. If we travel together, you will stay with the host I stayed with. And in any case we cant find a host, it is always sleeping outside than in the hotel/ hostel (so you need a sleeping bag).

You dont need a lot of money other than getting yourself into Europe, the monthly budget is 300USD, with this you can get bread, ham and cheese from the supermarket, you can get vegetables and fruits as well, chocolates, biscuits, including the daily use e.g. toiletries and sometimes a glass of beer in the pub!

The estimation of the destination according to above route: 1-2 days in small town/city, 3-5 days in big city (Berlin, Prague). Estimated to reached Berlin by 21 June. The rest you can figure out yourself, I am happy to adjust my route a bit to fit yours.

Well I dont do much sighseeing though, I go to museum sometimes but not castles. I love old towns and markets, love seeing people in their everyday life. I am more than happy that we travel together but not sticked together.

And the reason I am looking for travel partner, probably is because I need new challenge! That was a weird feeling that day while I was walking in the old town of Salzburg, Austria. The day was too hot and I covered my head with the map that given by the tourist office. I found that I can stick the map on my cheeks because I was sweating and sticky. I found it funny and would like to share it with somebody, that was the reason I started to think about a travel companion.

However, you shall know that traveling and meeting people is a serious thing that I like to do in my life and I treated both seriously (well you may not believe me since I am so lazy and easygoing, but it is true), and my travel style is my personal choice. Too bad that in most situation, I wont spend money for conveniency, not because I dont have money or I have plenty of life to waste, but I simply believe that nothing is wasted. Time wasted while hitchhiking can be patience gain, it is the perspective that matters.

Anyone who think you would like to try/ learn this kind of traveling style, perhaps once in a lifetime, feel free to drop me a mail. And yes, it costs nothing, I dont charge.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Well taken care of

13/06/10

First of all, I dont like the new layout of my blogspot and I dont know how to change it back.. :-(

Next, recently I was quite well taken care of, especially after staying with Astrid in Vaihingen/ENZ, good things keep happening..

First, it was a 'first time day' in Vaihingen/ENZ. First time wearing bikini, first time swimming in a lake (I always think if you swim in the lake, you will surely drown), first time sun tanning (I always think it is stupid), not first time eating German sausage but first time barbeque it myself, but first time eating barbeque onion and barbeque banana with honey and coconut paste (yummy).

Secondly, I met Csabi in Stuttgart. Three of us: a_tham, Astrid and Csabi having breakfast in Stuttgart park. It was a bit strange as we met in Mar Musa Syria last Christmas and meet again in Germany! Not because the world is small but because we do make our effort to meet up with each other, that is always what valuable more.

Thirdly, I got picked up by a 59 years old lady somewhere near Stuttgart airport within 5 minutes after Astrid dropped me off, and discovered she is a couchsurfer! She invited me back to her house in Geislingen Steige and I have loads of fun chatting and drinking with her friends and friends and friends.. they are all after 50s or so with a cheerful and big heart. Of course, I do drink a lot.. champaign, sparkling red, most (alcohol from apple), beer.. keep 'porst(ing)' and lots of laughters. It was incredible.. and Gudrun (name of the lady) even offer to drive me to Ulm and Augsburg (somewhere > 100km away) the next day! I thought it was the best thing that happened in my travel. Many stories shared, some are so unbelievable to call life! But life is unbelievable. And we ate some intestine in Ulm, which seems to be the local delicacy, and beer and beer and beer.. but it were dark, and I love dark beer.

Forthly, I got to Salzburg because I wanted to meet Mr. Ung, who was my secondary school physics teacher. Stayed with Ursula who is another amazing lady, cook simply delicious food, so serene and matured. She can tolerate almost everything and perhaps she is more tao than me. I insisted to clean her blinds although the dirt was too stubborn it looked no different after cleaning, but I am happy not because I helped her (because she said she doesnt want it to be cleaned) but I wanted to find something to do.

Fiftly of course, I met my teacher in Salzburg. He was 'amazed' (I believed so) by the way I am traveling and wanted to give me a day of real tourist feeling here. So he kindly invited me for the trip to Eagle Nest and Königsee Lake. It was very 'tourist' I cant denied it, feeling a bit weird while the whole public bus is occupied by visitors, but definitely thank him for the offer, or I wont have the chance to have the feeling of surrounded by Alps, it was simply fantastic. ANd of course, drinking with his friends and teasing on him was fun, as we used to teased him even during our school time, and he will laugh and scold us back humbly. It is just incredible and unimagineble when you tell someone you are meeting up with your teacher in a foriegn country I guess.. I must have done some good thing in life that deserves it.

Sixly, my Salzburg host introduced me another interesting person in Burghausen, somewhere in Germany, which I am going to visit her tomorrow. Will let you know the story ;-)

And well, if there is one negative thing happened in between, it was I copied wrongly my host number in Munich. Called him plenty of times but seems like he switched the phone off. I waited until the day started to turned cold and look for anywhere to sleep nearby. Tried the last time pressing the bell in this student apartment and his flatmate open the door. Initially I think it is not nice occupying (it wasnt locked) his room before his consent, but hell who cares. So I invaded into his territory, taken shower and prapre my sleeping bag. And he came back, we said hi and sat down and started to chat like old friends. Of course, I found out that I have dialed the number wrongly, and he didnt mind that I was in the room without his permission. Luckily an easy person.

So it didnt turn out bad either :)

By the way, I was also well taken care of in Bochum, great food, good laugher and real friendship, extremely amazing chat late into the night, thanks to a_zhu, Eric and Leon!! I shall see you again before we turned 50 ;p

Well after this, the route will be through Czech Republic, into Germany again (Dresden and Berlin), and then Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Too bad I will missed 2 friends who will be in Europe soon (KH in Zurich and Mimi in Paris) as I am heading east.. So are you nearby? Just drop me a mail.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Turkish

Again. The Turkish.

Had a really bad time a few days ago when I tried to get from Bochum to Vaihingen(ENZ). After a few hours waiting at the roadside changing sign from Karlsruhe to Frankfurt to Koln, I decided to take a train out of this area. The train ticket from Bochum directly to Vaihingen cost somewhere 80-90 euros, 4 hours. siao. After much consideration, I bought a cheapest ticket to Essen, 4.5 euro, well at that time I have no idea what can I do at Essen, I only knew that I am heading south.

I didnt alight at Essen, there wasnt a conductor to check ticket. While the conductor came, I have missed Essen and already arriving at Duisburg. From Duisburg to Koln was not difficult, 2 rides and I was there, but the time was already almost 7pm. Waiting at Koln for such a long time and a car stopped. I saw the two faces in the car, young guys with big beard. Well.. I climbed into the car.

Where are you from?
Turkey.
Damn!

They didnt bother me, they were listening to some Islamic song. Allah Akbar.
It was around 200km if I remember correctly, they didnt try to talk or what, and I was too tired as well.

They put me down at Frankfurt airport gas station, handing me an Islamic book written in Arabic and German, with 10 Euro notes in it. I pull out the money and returned them the book (wahaha it was the other way, I took the book and returned the money), it was a hassle free Turkish ride. Alhamdullilah.

And from there I get a direct ride to Pforzheim, where my friend Astrid picked me up from the service station. A nearly 12 hours on the road, record breaking.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

原来

在阿姆斯特丹的梵高博物院内看见拥挤的人群,在每一幅画前伫立良久,感觉前所未有的新鲜。原来每个人都是鉴赏家。

With new mother a zhu


@ Bochum, Germany

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Black Monday

01/06/10

Yesterday was my black Monday. You cant imagine how black it was.

It took 5 rides to get from Amsterdam to Bochum, a distance required 2.5 hours ended up with 10 hours in total.

First, I went to the hitchhiking point in Amsterdam at 11am, it took me less than 3 minutes to get on a car.
Hey what a lucky day! I thought.
After drove for 500 meters or so, we realized that we are actually going on a dirrent highway. So the lady dropped me at a gas station and I walked 500 meters back to the hitchhiking point.

Waiting waiting waiting.

After quite a long time I cant remember how long, a car stopped.
He is a deliver driver going to send kitchen stuff to the customers. I was thinking hell since it took me such a long time for a ride, why dont I just follow him to deliver, may be it is arranged by god for me to see something special.
I hopped on the car, we went around the city, around another city and around another city.
I helped him to carry the products during delivery to speed up the process. Until he dropped me at another gas station, it is already 4pm.

The gas station was a small one, not many car stop here. I waited for quite sometime before a guy stopped by and said he can send me somewhere near the next gas station. It could be better for me, he said. I accepted the offer and went on car.

I got dropped off at a gas station outside the highway. This is holy shit. It is always difficult to get out of one city, and it is the first hitchhiking rule that always stay on highway! Now I am out of highway :-( not funny.

Stood beside the gas station, eat peanuts, waiting for a car to stop. No one stop because no one going to Germany. There are a few German cars passed, no one stop, they dont even look at me. I was thinking that the park opposite the gas station looks nice and may be I can overnight there, but the weather is not too good.

One German car slipped into the gas station, not for me but for the petrol. I took the chance to approach the driver.
Well, I can drop you at the border. The German guy said.

So I was at the border. Already over 6pm. Looking for another vehicle.
Most of the truck drivers at that service station were prepared to sleep, not going to travel anymore. One truck driver said he might passby Bochum and can give me a lift.
Gladly I climbed up the truck.
And then, he said he is a Turkish.
ARGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!
Damn it!

When he went to the service station to pay the ticket, I put my pepper spray in my right pocket, put the high beep alarm in my left pocket, put the safety pin that can be use to pinch in the outer part of my bag for easy assessment. It has been such a long time I never be so nervous. I dont have good feeling at all even before the journey depart, but I didnt get out as well because there isnt much traffic I am not sure if I can get a next ride easily.

Without surprise, after 10 minutes ride, he asked for sex.

He wasnt like that turkish driver drove me across to France, when I said NO he apologized; after I said no to this one, he keep persuading me until I show that I am really angry. Then he stopped.

Was thinking if I shall get out of the car but was too afraid I cant get to Bochum and have no way to contact my friend. I stayed on the truck until the Bochum sign appeared. Said that he is not going into the town, the driver dropped me at the highway!! Another hitchhiking rule number 1 is never get drop at the highway! Imagine German highway has no speed limit and everyone drive pass you without having time to see your face.

The day is turning dark and I have no idea on which direction to the town. I walked pass a highway and it is another highway. I was trapped. I ran with my thumb up and mouth saying HELP. I walked beside the highway waiving waiving waiving, holding my BOCHUM signboard. Finally a car stopped, a Tunisian who worked as a translator in Bochum, he is on his way to Holland, but kind enough to send me into the town, gave a call to my friend and dropped me at the train station.


And thus I arrived at Bochum safely. All the bad luck is to have meet a kind man at the end of the day, and my friend smiling and telling me she is good here in this foreign country, and her baby who has such a beautiful smile.

What a beautiful life.