My New Year’s Resolution: To be happy & healthy in mind, body & spirit. And travel a crap load more.
I started A Pair of Panties & Boxers as a reminder to myself to never conform to society’s norm in the daily grind of a 9-5. I didn’t want my job to be the reason I stopped seeing beyond four walls and I didn’t want the burden of saving for grad school keep me from seeing the world. I figured the best way to travel as much as I can is to start a travel blog because in order to write about my travels, I’d actually have to go and travel. When I start running out of things to write, that means I need to get on a plane, train, bus, boat or any type of transportation fast – not that I don’t get that urge to just jet every single day. But sometimes, we do what we have to do and not what we want to do.
It hasn’t been a year since I started blogging but I thought I’d still wrap up 2009 featuring my top 10 most popular blog posts of the year. I hope all my readers enjoyed growing this blog with me these past 6 months. Thanks for sticking around.
So without further adieu, here are the top 10 posts for 2009.
The beauty of traveling through China is that sometimes, I feel like I’m in two places at once – the past and the present.
See #8 for related post.
The one thing I absolutely loathe about China is the lack of Western toilets. Those hole-in-the-ground-you-have-to-pee-by-squatting apparatuses make me cringe every time. I’m a girl — how am I supposed to pee that way?!
So when my roommates and I decided to trek westward for fall break, towards rural Yunnan and Sichuan, I had to put on a brave face and come to terms with the fact that I’d be using nothing but “squatties.”
Five hours into the bumpy bus ride and two bottles of water later, I was bursting with thoughts of shiny automatic-flush toilets and marble sinks.
Alas, what greeted me at the makeshift rest stop was an outhouse made out of mud and three little children asking for a 50 cents fee for using their “bathroom.”
We took the next departing train from Shanghai to Hangzhou. It was an hour and a half of smooth sailing.
The Blue Mosque sits directly across from the Hagia Sophia on the Hippodrome, also known as the Sultanahmet Square. It’s hard to say which is more impressive. They both rival in beauty. With six towering minarets, The Blue Mosque dominates the Istanbul skyline.
I paid ¥20 for a cab ride down to People’s Park (人民公园), ¥10 to see the Gaudi exhibit at the MOCA, ¥40 for lunch at Pizza Hut, ¥50 for a shuttle ride to the Oriental Pearl Tower, another ¥50 for dinner and ¥1o for extraneous expenses. I dropped ¥170 like it was nothing because in my mind that was only $10.
My friend (at the time) JC and I walked along the Huangpu River that night. We saw a boy in ripped rags and torn slippers. He looked about 10 years old. He approached us raising a flower in his hand and said…
“一块，一块。要不要花？”(One dollar, one dollar. Do you want flowers?)
He haggled a little. We politely declined. I turned around and watched him zig-zag his way down the path. He made sure not to miss a single couple. JC and I sat down on the stone-rimmed flowerbed and watched the boy pace back and forth under the moon light.
Travel Secret #1: Art of Cheap Accommodations
Travel Secret #2: Kaifeng, China
Travel Secret #3: Climb The Great Wall When It Snows
What are some of your best kept travel secrets?
JC and I walked non-stop these past two days. It was either restless leg syndrome or it was the excitement of being in Madrid. I thought we would take it a little slower on the third day but nope – not when traveling with JC.He only knows one speed – and it’s just go, go, go, go, go!
We began the day with a trip to Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, home of Real Madrid.
This was Kaifeng’s welcome to us. Fog? Pollution? Combination? I don’t know but it was one hell of a welcome. I held out my hand and saw nothing. I looked down and I had no feet. We blindly walked forward – away from the train station and closer to the sound of the road. We had a hard time crossing the street. We couldn’t see the cars and bicycles and they couldn’t see us. We played it by ear. Literally. And hailing a cab? I want to say, “Fuggedaboutit,” but we managed to do so. Till this day, it still puzzles me.
I’m a nerd. I like math and I like to plan. Excel is my best friend. I can’t live without my planner. When it comes to traveling, I get excited at the thought of creating a new spreadsheet. Budgeting is my favorite part. How low can I go?
I conquered 7,200 steps to the top of Taishan and trekked 4 hours around the West Lake in Hangzhou. Climbing The Great Wall? Sure! No problem. Except I forgot to factor in the high altitude and nearly freezing temperature. Read more…