Tuesday, April 30, 2013

北越逍遥游(四):下龙湾


我们的下龙湾之旅,写意之至!

由于只有两个女生同行,又曾听闻一些关于下龙湾治安的故事,于是我们在到河内之前已经决定了要找家在国际上名声不错的旅游公司包办我们的下龙湾之旅,于是我们找上了Buffalo Tour。通过网络沟通时,他们向我介绍了一艘刚刚装修过的游船L'Azalee,每人美金179。我们一来懒惰继续搜索、二来安全至上,于是就要了这旅行团。团费包括来往河内旅馆及下龙湾码头的小型巴士载送,两天一夜游船住宿(含午、晚、早、午餐),以及全程导游。

我们和一位菲律宾的Microsoft Sales / Marketing的小男孩,及三对澳洲来的夫妇(其中一对是年轻时移民到澳洲的德国人),就在这L'Azalee Cruise上共度了两天一夜。这艘外表看起来有点儿残旧的游船里头,其实新颖而舒服。我们一上游船,看见那个舒适的大厅都暗暗舒了口气。(后来获悉其中一对夫妇以澳币五百多买了两人的两天一夜下龙湾配套,更是偷偷暗喜!)



等着welcome drink

这艘船总共可以款待二十四位游客,而我们去的时候因为是淡季,只有九名游客,船上的工作人员比游客还多呢!可谓把我们照顾得无微不至。

我们的舒服的小房间
我们一边喝饮料,一边听导游讲解这两天的行程。其实我有点儿以外,我还以为给了钱就只是呆在船上而已,没想到原来还有得爬山、到沙滩走走、玩独木舟、到Cave of Surprises看岩洞等节目。我们领了锁匙就回房间稍作休息。吃了午餐后换了衣物为Ti Top Island做准备。(导游说可以爬山观景,又可以享受美丽的沙滩及在海里游泳,使我们充满期待。)当然,我也不忘了到甲板看看日光浴和观星的地方。



老实说,我个人觉得大桂林比下龙湾更柔美动人、更秀丽委婉,不过,下龙湾最大的好处是,除了可以在游船上好好的享受享受,最重要的是,要看panorama全景只要在Ti Top Island爬个十来分钟的楼梯就可以轻轻松松登顶,不像老寨山般要人命

至于那沙滩……我们生于马来西亚,有着像Redang、Perhentian这样的岛屿,对于“洁白的沙滩”的要求自然比较苛刻。Ti Top Island的沙滩比槟城更为不如,一点都激不起我俩到沙滩走走的欲望。而那海水,老天!下龙湾游客过剩、管理不当,海上处处漂浮着垃圾,在Ti Top Island围起来的游泳区游泳其实和在槟城码头游泳感觉上没什么两样,我们不好意思在越南人面前批评他们的世界文化遗产,只好推说海水很冷,坐在沙滩上的亭子里等待回游船。

上船休息了一会儿我们的船又到另一个地点让我们玩独木舟。死鬼导游领着所有人往山洞划去,却没注意我们两个完全不会划独木舟的女生被远远地抛在后头(别艘独木舟不是一男一女就是两个男生叻!)。好不容易终于到了他们的所在处,原来竟然是为了猴子而来!!??幸好看了猴子我们就是自由活动时间啦~


和我们同船的那一群退休uncles aunties非常爱讲话,我怕敷衍他们,拿了我的"The Story Teller"躲到外头享受静谧的下龙湾。晚餐后,uncles aunties们想要玩游戏,我避无可避,只好陪他们玩不伦不类的Pictionary(真的很不伦不类的咯,没有题目,没有限时,完全没有目的)。要不是我们在越南的那几天阴霾处处见不着星星,我一定撇下他们躺在甲板上看星星去了。

隔天早上原想起身看日出,打开窗口,依旧是灰茫茫一片,倒头又睡。清醒后望向窗外是一片清幽,赶忙拿了书拿了相机到甲板上享受微凉的早晨,看着海湾渐渐甦醒,看着大大小小的船只慢慢驶近。还有一些船甚至扬起帆,很有怀古的味道。不过,我最喜欢的,还是在甲板上做日光浴,什么都不想,享受独处的时光。





我们吃过了早餐就往Cave of Surprises出发。我不是岩洞的粉丝,绕了一圈就算了。还是到外头看海比较有趣。

看完岩洞,我们回游船冲凉、整理行李,吃了午餐就回码头等待小型巴士回河内了。总的来说我觉得导游不过不失,但那一行澳洲人把他赞得天上有地下无,不知道是不是澳洲的服务态度水准不高才让他们惊为天人?

我个人还是偏爱桂林(虽然这样比较好象有点儿奇怪,一个在河上一个在海上,但反正就是看karst地貌),喜欢那儿的人情味,喜欢那片秀丽山水。下龙湾比较之下太脏了,太贵了。所幸我们的游船干净新颖舒服,给我的下龙湾之旅加了不少分呢!

Monday, April 29, 2013

好逸

我天生好逸。
小时候,虽然我也有像其他小孩好玩好动的时刻,可是,更多时候,我好逸。
我喜欢躺在爷爷家露台的秋千上,看书、看杂志、看报子、看蓝天、看白云、看星星、看月娘、看烟坎袅袅、看雁群飞越晚霞;听狗吠、听鸟啼、听虫鸣、听麻将声此起彼落、听厨房锅铲碗碟奏出的交响、听爷爷老收音机里传来的靡靡之音、听远处电视机恩恩怨怨纷纷扰扰……

我天生好逸。
很多时候,旅行时选择短距徒步、爬山并不是因为我享受自虐,而是我喜欢自我挑战的感觉。我喜欢探索自己的能力、喜欢考验自己的耐力、喜欢培养自己的毅力、喜欢测试自己的定力、喜欢挖掘自己的魄力……

我天生好逸。
可是,征服神山糊里糊涂地进了我的bucket list。

基于再过四个月我就要挑战自我了,于是我今天终于认真地开始了我的体能训练,跑了五公里。我想在第一个月每天跑五公里(十五度倾斜度),再慢慢增加运动量,希望足于应付Mount Kinabalu。(才8.72公里,应该不会太难吧?)

为了让我可以持之以恒,最重要的事莫过于天天带着100%充电的iPhone和耳机到健身房(健身房播的歌难听又大声,今天可难捱得很!)。或许应该以贝多芬的第五号交响曲(命运交响曲)作为我的运动主题曲,正好激励我让我跑上半小时。最好还可以带上一本好书或者iPad一边跑步一边读书。

我天生好逸。征服神山这一回事,需要的是自律。
 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Overpriced Cafe

We planned for a simple lunch at Georgetown yesterday, not knowing that it was a replacement school day. Traffic was terrible and it was hard to get a parking lot in Georgetown. Our initial plan was to try the Micke's Place but it was closed. We then went to The Mugshot Cafe and it was full house!! So, we ended up at this lovely famous cafe at Muntri Street.

The decoration has not much changes since Cafe-C. It still has the cozy ambiance of old charm. I have always wanted to come and try what the new owner has to offer but I have dragged this for years. Finally.

I am still very excited about everything, until I saw the menu. Overall, everything is overpriced for Georgetown standard. I told myself "who knows, maybe the food is heavenly, maybe the portion is huge" so we ordered what the waitress recommended (I always do this when I go to any restaurant that I've never tried before. I always believe that the waiters and waitresses must have known what are the best)


We ordered one Seafood Tapas (RM89), one Traditional Tapas (RM55), a cup of cappuccino, a glass of plain water, and 2 glasses of fruit juices. The bill says RM219 for 4 of us!!!

This is what we get for the 2 tapas sets

The food doesn't come with huge portion as you can see from the photo. The juices are forgettable. The food is not bad, but very far away from heavenly. Nothing to shout about.

I still think this is a good place to enjoy the peaceful weekend at Georgetown, as long as you don't mind paying two three times higher price than other cafes.However, if your purpose is just to sit down and chit chat with friends, or to read a book while sipping coffee, or just to enjoy the rustic / nostalgic feel of Georgetown, I could easily list more than 10 cafes that you should consider FIRST before this :)

Not bad, really, just overpriced.

Bud Spencer & Terence Hill


Does anyone I know out there watched Bud Spencer and Terence Hill's movies before? I used to love them a lot when I was in primary school because my dad is a fan and we used to rent a lot of their movies VHR back then.

I don't know how my brain function. Out of no where, suddenly, I recalled the beautiful bright blue eyes of Terence Hill, and those funny scenes that brighten my warm afternoons during school holidays...

I guess it is time for me to ask En to download some old movies of them for me :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

五条路Rojak

我从小酷爱啰吔(rojak)。

小时候住在垄尾,炎炎午后总有小贩“叮叮叮”地从外头经过。有时候妈妈心血来潮,会给我两角钱解馋。我总是兴奋地拿着铁碟子到外头等待啰吔伯伯。我最爱酸酸的芒果、连雾和黄梨配上啰吔酱,感觉特别解暑。

长大后,啰吔一直是我最爱的小吃。而我最爱的,就是这档“五条路”的赤脚uncle的啰吔。和别人稍微不同的是,他的啰吔还洒上belacan粉和虾米,正适合重口味的娘惹后代,嘻嘻。

今天,天气酷热,又想念啰吔啦~就特地绕去瞧瞧。Uncle的女儿说今年六月底后他们就不做啦。我说那你搬去哪儿呢。她说你误会了,我是说我们再也不做生意了。对我而言简直是晴天霹雳!

她给了我一张名片,说六月之后可以打电话问问,她可能会继续给别的档口supply啰吔酱。不过belacan粉及虾米的比率秘方就不传啦~

啊啊啊~~~~~!!

我买了一包,再买三瓶啰吔酱,回到家一面慢慢品尝,一面盘算着接下去两个月是不是应该勤力一点儿到五条路走走……

Friday, April 26, 2013

北越逍遥游(三):沙坝

沙坝是个说大不大说小不小的山上旅游小镇。民风依然纯朴,适合想要逃离城市喧哗的游客。

我们在沙坝的第一天,天气时晴时雨的。我们非常享受微凉的气候,要么躲在房内休息、要么到院子里看书、 要么到镇内走走、要么喝杯咖啡、要么吃点春卷……反正就是悠闲。

骤然间浓雾笼罩的沙坝湖


游客聚居的地方


餐厅公然卖烤狗

第二天,我们在沙坝的梯田间游走。天气一流,弥补了我在龙脊梯田没有阳光的小小遗憾。不过,我在龙脊的经历触动内心最深层的感动而近乎完美,沙坝的美景反而比不上了……



背着孩子和我们一块儿走
我们在酒店和导游汇合,然后随她到沙坝镇上。她到较远处的小旅馆迎接游客去了,苦了在广场上等待的我们。我们被一群当地妇女团团包围,她们或许是想做生意、或许单纯是因为好客、或许是想多多练习英语,反正她们都以英语问“你叫什么名字”、“今年几岁啦”这两个问题,我对这些问题没有意见,但问题是一行人十来个,个个轮流来问我们一样的问题,开始时我们还很有礼貌地和她们对答,答久了好想找洞钻避开她们。尴尬得很。

导游好不容易终于带着另一个游客出现,我们才发觉原来她们将会一路随我们走回她们的小村庄。

我们走了差不多十二公里的路程,或许是因为气候好、空气清新、风景宜人,我们一路走着并不觉得不难走,在村庄间穿梭走进当地人的生活还真是不错。

我们的导游给我们介绍了好些植物(我却只记下了路边采下的大麻)、带我们到学校走走、看当地人耕种、看外来自愿者建道路…… 


浩浩荡荡出发

大麻的茎是麻绳原料、叶子是土药

学校整洁而明亮







Tuesday, April 23, 2013

An Unplanned Visit to Penang Hill

It has been quite demotivating recently, so I planned a ladies' day out last Sunday. We were aiming for the afternoon tea at Suffolk House. Unfortunately, when I arrived, this is the sign that's waiting for me:


I have to make a quick decision so that the girls will not be disappointed. I have a few restaurant options in mind but my criteria was: it has to serve English Afternoon Tea in a pleasant environment. The first one that came into my mind was David Brown's Restaurant. I love the picturesque restaurant whereby we can enjoy an afternoon tea along a pond with fresh air. So, I made a call, confirmed that they do serve English Afternoon Tea, and headed to Penang Hill after met up with the girls.

They were very excited with this unplanned trip to Penang Hill. Some have never been up there, and most of them couldn't recall their last visit decades ago.


By the time we reached the cable car station, I was shocked to find that it is under renovation. (I would have gave up if this ad hoc plan doesn't work too.) Luckily the cable car is still in service. The two-way ticket cost RM30 per adult. However, if you have a MyCard, you can get your two-way ticket at the price of RM8 :)


The cable car ride is always fun if you are at the first car. The kid sit next to us was a bit nervous since this new cable car provide better (or scarier) view compare to the older version. I love being elevated while seeing more and more areas of Penang Island, and getting closer and closer to the green. (By the way, do you know that technically, this is a funicular and not cable car)


Just love the panorama view of Penang Island on top of Penang Hill. Like every other tourists, we took lots of photos before we even start exploring Penang Hill. 

After a short walk from the cable car station, David Brown's Restaurant is on your left. You won't miss it since you can easily see the patio umbrellas decorating the blue sky.  


You will first arrive at the newly renovated viewing platform (Sky Terrace) of David Brown's Restaurant. Great view, yes! Seems like a great place to chill, fully agree! Lively jazz music makes you wanted to stay, I can understand that. However, if you are here for the afternoon tea, don't get distracted. Please don't stop here. Keep going, find the stairs and continue your journey. 





You will then come to this lovely part of the restaurant, the original bungalow. The pond is full with pink and purple water lilies. If you are lucky, you can meet a few cute frogs jumping around too.

We were very excited. The garden is excellent for afternoon tea, the patio is very welcoming, and the indoor is with very authentic feel too. It was not very hard to choose though (who wouldn't want to sit under the trees by the pond with cool breeze and birds chirping?!). However, we couldn't help but to explore everything about the restaurant before we finally decided to sit down and take a look at the menu.

The price is slightly high for Penang standard. Obviously you are paying for the view :)

However, we have planned to pampered ourselves at Suffolk House anyway so price is not the issue here. It is already budgeted :)


This set comes with a pot of tea for two. RM78
We ordered all the 3 different choices listed under the afternoon tea menu. The food is just so so, but we love the ambiance. The girls imagined that this is how 贵妇 (ladies) spend their afternoon: chit-chatting, wandering around from time to time to take photos or for a sudden change of view, enjoy the tea, have some bites, laughing and joking around......

While we were there, besides being constantly harassed by 3 little wasps that love strawberry jam, we also spotted squirrels and musang running around between the trees.

We spent more than 3 hours at this restaurant, and we had lovely time. The fact that this is unplanned, the fact that this is a little surprise in life, the fact that we were close to the nature, the fact that we have friends that we can share some wonderful time, make these few hours memorable.



We left before sunset because some of the girls have other plans after the prolonged afternoon tea.


We wanted to take some selves-portrait photos but even the Facebook Queen couldn't get satisfying shots.


The "Big Sister" (not me!) decided to ask the tourist that was laughing at us be our photographer. So here's our group photo to conclude our Penang Hill Surprise Visit :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

看牙医去

我看起来好像天不怕地不怕的样子,却当然也有死穴。牙医肯定是其中一个。进到牙医师,不知怎的,膝盖就无力,双脚发软。


上一次看牙医,没有十年也至少八年前的事了。这一次,要不是已经连续几个月刷牙流血,要不是恰逢有事得请假一天,我可能还没能下定决心去看牙医呢。

我今天看的是个女牙医,非常温柔。 可是由于我的是千年牙垢,洗牙可是大工程。整个过程至少一小时半,我张嘴张得全身酸痛。加上那些各种各样的仪器在我的嘴里发出各种各样令人毛骨悚然的声音,我即使穿着长袖外套仍觉得寒气攻心。那一个小时半仿佛过了几个世纪,可怜的护士除了得帮我抽嘴角的口水,还得帮我抹眼角的泪水……

洗完牙,女牙医语重心长地劝我半年后再来见她。“以后每一年都洗牙就不会痛啦~”我对她苦笑。届时再说吧~

至今七个小时过去了,牙根非常敏感不说,我吃东西仍然双颊肌肉酸痛。

唉,牙医……我知道你们是为我们好,只是……唉……

Sunday, April 14, 2013

北越逍遥游(二):河内街景

老实说,河内对我而言,实在没有什么看头。这反而好,我们就无所事事呗。

不知怎的,我总觉得河内的街景正合了外国人对东南亚的审美,老旧的、杂乱的、人性的、单纯的、强烈的……对于在东南亚长大的我们,却有点儿过量了,我不讨厌,但没有学会爱上它。

我喜欢悠闲的喝咖啡的日子,喜欢漫无目的乱走的脚步,是既来之则安之的自得其乐,与河内无关……

还剑湖为市区带来绿茵

到处可见中国文化的踪影

当然还有殖民地风情

信教的应该不少

还站在街角看报纸呢!

我的相机里最河内的一张照片

是学书法的吧?

民以食为天

有人爱狗。有人吃狗

累了?来一杯咖啡