Friday, November 26, 2010

End of Silk Road: A tale of two cities

Just finished procrastinating and decide to finish the final entry for my Silk Road trip. The last stop of the eventful trip ends in Beijing, the capital of China and a sister city to Shanghai. It was my first time in Beijing despite I had always wanted to visit this city when I was working in SH. It was mentioned that Beijing is a cultural, educational, and politics hub; whereas Shanghai focuses on finance, expansion, and trade. As we exited the airport, one can definately feel that the atmosphere was drastically different between the cities. There were huge amount of police all around Beijing yet it gave me uneasy feeling. It felt like I was in minority report where there's surveillance cameras everywhere; ranging from subways, shopping malls, street entrances, and washroom exits. Prices were more expensive in this city and I couldn't find any bootlegged DVDs at all.
With the differences stated, which one do I like more? Well.... granted, there's going to be pickpockets in Shanghai and one has to be careful of their belongings, but I feel more alive and comfortable there, and not scared to haggle or buy endless DVDs :p. Beijing is safer, has much huger buildings (lots of government), and cleaner; however, it gave me an uneasy feeling like I was watched everywhere and the possibility of private police rushing out from nowhere and beat you with baton sticks is no joke. I guess the Chinese government needs to stay that way to control the crowd and political retributions in its capital after what happened in June 4th, 1989.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Next Stop in Silk Road

It's been a busy few weeks with much things needing attention to. However, decided to take a breather and continue my blog. The last stop Lanzhou didn't leave me with much expectations but I was shocked when arriving at TianShui. It features mountains deep in layers of forestry and trees, and it's Maijishan Grottoes was definately my highlight of the trip. It was literally a sculpted mountain from 1500-2000 yrs back. what's amazing was that there were little to no human intervention to it so what you see is what you see years ago. The only things that was built was the 27 story flight of stairs that took 60 yrs to complete. Spanning deep into the clouds, one would imagine how difficult the workers would use to work sculpting the artwork while being suspended from the air.
After Tianshui, we headed towards Xian for the Terracotta warriors tomb, which I find it so so, maybe I've seen too much TV shows about it and expected more? It was nonetheless very grand and an integral part of Chinese history. At this point, many people from the group were sick due to sanitary and diarrhea, but luckily I still had that little immune system built up from my expat so was still eating much of the foods around and about. Despite this, it was around 15 days into the tour and I was beginning to feel tired; however, I also longed to see more since I understand the trip will be ending soon after we go on to the next stop in Beijing.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Orient Express along the Silk Road

Yup, I've been so bogged down at work (and feeling tired) that I've been lazy to continue updating over the past week. I'm also only on day 10 of sorting through my pictures so far. I do blame my inactivities due to the already cold weather here =\ Anyways, the next leg of my Silk Road trip includes a visit to LanZhou. At this portion of the trip, we were hopping between cities on train. The train was very well kept and was only reserved for us N.American 'foreign' Chinese as the local tourists were unable to ride these. The train has a total of 12 carts; with 8 cabins, double decker beds on each, two waitresses who split 7hr shift schedules, and 2 washrooms on each cart.
There were also two carts for kitchen, eateries; a cart for karaoke/majong, and a shower cart which was exceptionally clean. Being on Russian trains and sleeping in its cabins before, I find the Chinese train (called the Orient express) was much better in terms of safety and cleanliness. The trains and cabins were kept the same for us throughout our Silk Road journey; you can imagine this as a cruise ship on land where we can leave our luggages yet do daily tours on land before returning back to it at night. Because of this, I got to know the waitresses to the cabin easily (normally people just ask them to do work), but I enjoyed talking to them, treating them as friends and find out more about their jobs, their inspiration, and routes they have taken on the train.
Ms.Wong, who was only 20 and been to many parts of China onboard the train already - would later tell me that these trains were 40 yrs old, directly imported from Germany, once only hosted China's mayors as they journeyed from city to city, and the cooks preparing the meals now were the same ones who cooked for Chinese mayors. She also showed me how the stations refilled water onto the carts during each major stop which was quite interesting. When finally arriving at LanZhou, we find a huge industrial city, and it was also famous for its beef noodles. In the beef noodles, the soup is the most important factor here as they use cow thighs and special recipes to cook it for 8+hrs to get the full flavor out. However, despite having 3 bowls of beef noodles in one lunch - I liked the texture on Turpan's noodles, tenderness of Canada's beef, and Shanghai's soup base more. Nonetheless, it was still interesting to experience the taste of where all beef noodles originated though. Aside from eating, Lanzhou isn't really meant for tourism. There is a huge Apple factory that makes those iPads/iPhones, a temple overlooking the Yellow river sitting atop a mountain, and many old military dormitories hidden in the mountains evacuated because of erosion (although there were still people living in it until they get kicked out). With this in mind and not having much anticipation, we headed back onto the train and headed off to the next city - only to find myself very much surprised at what I saw..... (To be continued)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Uncontaminated beauty

Historic buildings, sites, human interaction such as stories passed on between generations that is not contaminated by travel industry is what I call culture. Having been to various places and seeing heavily human-maintained infrastructures like the Eiffel tower, La Familia Sagrada, Ephesus, St.Petersburg, or the Forbidden city yields a very different feeling of history and what culture is. All we know is that the above structures are maintained annually to make sure its colors and structures remain intact so it can attract more tourists to spur economy. One of the things that's amazing on the Silk Road trip is that many sites have little or no human intervention throughout the years. A huge part of this has to do with the very dry climate due to its close proximity to the desert. Our next stop was DunHuang, a trade outpost that was once the jewel of the Chinese empire back in 350AD. The Magao grottoes was a Buddhist stronghold, and 月牙泉 was a Tao stronghold; each having its own distinctive architecture.
There's a severe penalty in place for travelers taking pictures of the one Buddhas or pictures inside the Magao caves since flash photography will damage them. Hundreds, thousands, millions of distinctive colored paintings each telling a story circled us as we entered each cave (I was able purchase a book outside that tells stories and had pictures of these paintings outside at the souveneir shop), and it is very interesting that early Buddhism/火教 was actually a derivation of interaction with India's culture during the Silk road exchange.
月牙泉, was a moon crescent oasis in the middle of the desert surrounding by sand; water in the oasis was possible due to its unique geographic location where air gets trapped in the crescent and creates and upward breeze that pushes the sand back up the hill. One of the kids from another group was trying to walk up the mountain and it was funny to see him make huge steps forward only to see him slide back down. As the locals say, it's better to take 5 puny steps than 1 big step on slipping sand as it'll only make you slide backwards.
To end the eventful excursion on the desert, we were given camels to ride on to a small outpost. Camels were considered as the Bentleys of the desert since they can survive without food and water up to 4 weeks and can act as a barrier against sandstorms in the vast outdoors. They were pretty shy though, and I think my camel was scared at something while I was fixing my camera gear when it suddenly sprung to its feet. The trainer was yelling 抓紧抓紧!!! (hold tight) since it'll be his responsibility if I did fell; and no kidding - the camel actually rose to a story high on its feet and it certainly freaked the hell out of me.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Continuing through the Silk Road

And so, the next stops included cities along and around the Gobi. 天池, was a lake in the middle of the mountains and was highly celebrated in chinese literature, the scenery can be comparable to Lake Louise in Canada. 交河古城 was an ancient city ruins that dated back 2000 yrs ago, and it was amazing that it didn't require artificial maintenance all through these yrs due to the very dry weather. It gave a very solitary and sad feeling as we toured the ruins, and I must say it's even better than the pile of stones from Greece's Ephesus and Patheon (toured in 2k2).
Next were the famous 阳关, 玉门关, 嘉舆关 that formed the great 'impregnable' gates of where the great wall was first built to fend off foreign invaders back in the ancient Chun/Ming dynasty. It was a very majestic sight as we all know that it eventually led to the construction of one of the greatest wonders of the world. On this side, we were also able to climb and take pictures to our heart's content, unlike other parts of the wall where there's a sea of people trying to climb over you. However, the 2000 or so steps we climbed were quite steep and it did tire my kneecaps and hamstring for the remainder of the trip despite the fact I do gym regularly. Although the weather was nice and there were no rain; it was still a very rough climbing experience and only 6 out of the 27 ppl in our group was able to climb to to the top. Some of the other groups were grounded and didn't even attempt the climb.
To end this stop and before we headed onto the Orient express train to the next stop in the desert for DunHuang, we visited the natural grape fields and a local Turpan's home. One of the locals spoke mandarin and urged us to perform traditional XinJiang dances with him; and before I knew it, he isolated me out and asked me to follow his dance steps - it turned out that I was doing a proposal dance for his sister singing the following lyrics in Uyghur dialect: 'I have a grape field, a house, a motorcycle; all XinJiang ladies come to me, but will you take my hand?'

Thursday, September 23, 2010

XinJiang: Urumqi and Turpan

The purpose of this trip was the Silk road, and the northern path that we took was a reversed path from the destination back to the origin. And so, we left Shanghai on a local flight to Urumqi and Turpan; both these cities are listed as 关外 (outside the gate) in ancient times since they are cities not belonging to 汉朝 (mainstream Chinese) and are listed as barbaric tribes. This has changed throughout the years but you can still distinguish the huge difference of architectures and facial features of the settlers here, making this city one of the ones I really want to visit before my trip.
Urumqi had massive riots last year and resulted in many deaths and arrests, and that was the reason I choose to travel in a tourgroup instead of backpacking here. We were told to stay indoors after 8, do not travel alone, and not showing our camera gear which will inform locals that we are outsiders; however, this did not keep my curious eyes and camera from taking snapshots here and there around the city. In the picture to the left, you see that there are fully armed armies almost everywhere in the city which was somewhat uncomfortable. The settlers here live a very humble and hard life with selling cotton, raisins, and fruits as their main income. They live in shacks without doors and open roofs (there is little rain since it's very dry and close to the desert). It makes me feel ashamed when some of the fellow North American tourists complain that the AC was not strong enough and dust was going into the coach bus, while 5-6 locals here commute around sitting on haystacks pulled by a motorcycle.
The hotel that we stayed in is worth to mention about - it was kept the same after 20yrs, and is listed as the best hotel of the city already. It did smell of urine throughout the room with stains on bed covers and sofas. Regardless of this, you cannot really blame about the bad conditions since you know that it really is one of the better places to live in when you see how rough life is throughout the city. It was a very memorable eye opening experience that kickstarted the trip and reminded us how lucky we are already.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reliving Shanghai after 3 years

As I had been backlogged in updates, I'll be updating my blog starting from SH and working through the memorable points of my trip. I've taken close to 2500 pictures and will have the daunting task in sorting and post-processing through them in wks to come :S
Well, to start it off; Shanghai was my first stop of my Silk Road adventure and is my launching city and I have choosen to extend my stay for 2 more days there. As I touched down, the air, the culture, and fond memories reignited the excitement i had here when I worked as an expat here some 3 yrs ago. I was highly looking forward to to see what may have changed within these few years:

- lots of good looking ppl: I see 10x more pretty girls here in 3 days than 3 yrs in Toronto LOL.
- housing prices have shot up 30% since my previous stay and my ex-teammates were all complaining about the unaffordable price.
- massive infrastructure upgrade as they extended the 4 line subway to a total of 11 now, it mocks the Toronto transit that is going nowhere within the past 10 yrs.
- social structure is getting worst as the gap widens between the rich and poor, locals say it is like an hourglass where the middle classes are getting depleted.
- mannerism is still the same with ppl spitting, rough and sweat jobs, and much streetbums on the streets.
And so, I think i exhausted myself in SH before my real Silk Road trek even started :p Despite this, I feel very much alive in SH; maybe it's because I know the way around here, and coupled with the fact that I'm only a visitor and different from routine worklife?

Saturday, September 04, 2010

New Jorney Awaits: Silk Road

And so, it's been more than a year since I took any personal vacation. I'll be heading to the vast lands of China tomorrow; starting off in Shanghai meeting old friends when I expat there, commute to northern borders of Urumqi, along the cities of DuHuang/DuLuFan along the outskirts, then loop back down to where the Great wall started, along the Gobi desert visiting oasis and ruins that had a direct impact to history of China and how the Silk Road was formed. After various commute on bus, small flights, camels, and trains; I'll be back to Xian and Beijing where I'll return back to Toronto. It'll be a while since I'll update again since China has blocked Blogger, but I'm highly excited for the trip and will definately take many pictures with me to show when I'm back. Cheerios and take care all!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hooked on Kdrama lolol

And so, I've been addicted to Korean drama lately. Catchy songs, strong storyline, cute casts, and unexpected developments as the plot unfolds is just entertaining. Here's a running list of recent series that I have gone through provided with a short synopsis for each of them. Since their OSTs are great in the series, feel free to let me know if you would like any of their songs and I can help send/find it for you.
i) That fool (9/10): A romantic comedy that has a nice plot about a (really) pretty korean popstar getting into a fake marriage with a local postman (lucky dude) to avoid the media on her real relationship. However, as time goes by; real feelings developed between superstar and the postman (we refer him to as that fool in the series). How will the story unfold and will they get blamed for fooling all the citizens of Korea about their fake marriage?
2) Coffee House (5/10 - dropped): Supposed to be a romantic comedy but I totally lost interest in the middle of this series. About a girl who originally works in a family owned coffee house and finding herself getting entangled in the life of a novel writer and his witty/pretty business partner. I didn't like the series because it features humor that is not funny at all and pranks made at others' expense over and over again.
3) He who can't marry (8/10): A romantic comedy about a mid 40's architect who is obsessed with his work and ignores almost everyone's feelings. He starts to open up after meeting two females - one being his neighbor who is 20yrs younger, and his new family doctor who had to examine his ()() after getting diarreha.
4) 9 End 2 Outs (3/10 - dropped): A drama that's not good at all, not worth mentioning :p
5) Personal Taste (8/10): If it was not for the songs, I would probably give it a rating of 6.5. The story is a romantic comedy that started out pretty well with interesting twists, but I dislike the fact that there are too much lying and deceit in the plot for the main character, he keeps on making one lie after another. It eventually works out but I thought that the story could have been developed better.
6) Cinderella man (9/10): Just finished this series which was pretty satisfying and cost me lots of late night w.o good sleep. The series is about an orphan who grew up in Korea's clothing flea markets (known as East gate). His life changes drastically as he meets Youjin (Yoouna from SNSD) who is going through some tough time. The story gets interesting as he had to take on the role of someone looking identical to him, but just a gazillion times more wealthier. Unlike Personal taste, our main character here has to make lies for the benefit for others, and not himself.
7) My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (9+ so far): A very light and cute series, still airing in Korea up to ep 6 so far. If things keep up, this might be one of the best series of the list - synopsis will be coming after I complete it! :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tragedy in Philippines

This was a fail attempt by the Philippines government/police force to save the hostages of a tourist group. I have heard many sides to the story:
1) Killer Mendoza hijacked tourbus in an exchange for his old job back, and he started killing hostages as he mentally broke down when the police tried to storm in and secure the tourbus.
2) Killer Mendoza was wrongfully convicted as he just wanted to connect to the media in exchange for the hostage. The gov't intervened as they were worried he will spill the corruption details from the internal structure within, there were rumors that the hostages killed were from bullets outside the bus.

Regardless of which scenario is right or wrong; I think that the scenario can be handled much better to prevent this tragedy. Looking at the clips, it is ridiculous to see a small truck trying to pull doors open, light armored policeman trying to storm bus by slapping the front lights, failed attempts to break the window, laughter in the background of the rescue force, and fail negotiators. Where is the sniper when they had a clean shot at the killer, or where are the ladders required to storm the bus with smoke/stun grenades? It is sad that the event had to cost 8 lives that were with their families having a vacation.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Very fun weekend!

This weekend was a blast. To start it off, one of my HS buddies was getting married on Saturday! Congratulations Janny, and I'm sure Howard and you will have a happy and smooth transition to the next stage in life. The banquet was fun and I'm looking fwd to more pictures being uploaded onto FB or other sites of the wedding. As time moves on, it becomes harder and harder to round up everyone from their busy scheduling, so it's great to met up with most of the active crew from HS.
On Sunday, my buddy at work just moved into his new digs and invited us over for a BBQ. Luckily YY woke me up at 11 else I'll be very late! Despite it was raining, we still had lots of fun with the 'core' peeps there poking fun at each other and having crazy jokes. These are exactly the type of events we all like - speaking openly, being rowdy lol, picking on each other, and just foolin around and having fun :)

Monday, August 09, 2010

Korean Rhythm

Doing cardio running 2-5 miles 2-3 times a week for nearly two years ought to make someone slow down and get tired of the routine. However, I have a new found energy source to continue powering myself to stick to this schedule. That's right! It's Korean pop. Gosh, the tunes are so catchy and full of energy that it is quite addictive and entertaining. Don't get me wrong, there are occasionally good western, cantonese, japanese songs that have great tunes, but somehow they lack the energy or the urge for one to listen to it over and over again. I've also been sucked into watching K-drama after work to de-stress as well xD lol. That's it, my destination for next year is set - Hokkaido in Japan and Seoul in S.Korea which is of close proximity to each other; now I need to find some classes to pick up a few lines of Korean. Unfortunately, it's not as mainstream as Japanese so I can't find places that teaches it yet. If anyone has information or contact about Korean classes locally, please do lemme know! Komapsumnida :) Also posting one of my many fav songs.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oh... hay!

Last year I drove by a farm and took some snapshots of huge hay rolls that farmers were gathering. Unfortunately, not knowing my DSLR system well enough at that time - I carelessly deleted the picture :( Since then I always had been on the lookout for huge hay rolls and fields where I can safely trespass and walk up close to take a picture. After a year of keeping my eyes peeled, I finally found some last weekend when I was cruising by the outskirts of Toronto!! Had to do an abrupt U-turn to take a pic of this, it's amazing such simple composition/landscape can make myself intrigued for a whole year lol.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rabbits... everywhere!

LOL, one day I returned home and saw my parents left something for me... a note o_O". Ah dang, I forgot that they had earlier dinner plans already else I would've rang up my friends for dinner. Oh well, after much procrastination and unsuccessful attempts to try and find last minute peeps on MSN that nite; I went to jog outside and returned to cook my own meal.
At that time, my cousin had left her wrabbit for us to take care as she went on a trip w/ the uncles. Anyways, seems weird that I'm getting quite acquainted with so many wrabbits lately - wild and domesticated ones alike LOL. Oh well, aside from washing her face - she also seem to enjoy the nice aroma of my healthy homemade noodles^^ lol

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Wasaga here we go!

What are we going to do when we have sunny skies, hot weather, a very hard-to-get free time from friends? To the bbbbbeeeeacccchhhh we go! Despite the traffic jam and leading our driver friend *ahem* down an unpaved sideroad as a shortcut; everything turned out great. Lots of people were in Wasaga during this time of year, and there were also a large crowd gathering around the big screen looking at the Worldcup games. Volleyball, sunbathing, chilling with beer'n pizza, and some uncoordinated jumps made our annual beach trip a very memorable outing!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Veggie wonderland

1-2-3-4... 5... wait... 6! A total of 6 residents had been found in my parent's backyard! A huge mama wrabbit and 5 little baby rabbits was making themselves feel just like at home in the vegetable garden. It was a cute sight, and extremely difficult to capture all of them in the same picture since they would jump in all directions when they detect the slightest sound or see something big closing in on them.
With the baby rabbits size smaller than a fist; it was certainly a very delightful sight although they had been going through (aka. chomping it down) the vegetable it sees! Ah oh well, that's the beauty of wildlife; afterall, we're the ones taking over their homeland :)

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Toronto Doors Open

We woke up early last weekend and headed downtown Toronto (about 1hrs drive from where we live) to attend Doors Open. It's an annual festivity where buildings/factories which are normally not accessible to public is available for us to tour. As we arrived, we were greeted by scores of people trying to get glimpse of the places. Factoring in lineups, tour, brunch, and commute; we made it to two locations only. One was the Omni radio station which didn't have much to see inside although participants were plentiful since it just opened up this year. The other was Elgin & Winter Theatre which featured two very distinct theatres stacked on top of each other for performing theatrics, it was quite interesting as the decor and architecture was unique.

Shown here is the artwork that is etched on the ceilings of the Elgin theatre, it can be seen that restoration work is done very nicely throughout the years after it was built in 1913. It was also mentioned that the bulk of the workers there are loyal volunteers that had stood by this historic theatre through good times and bad.
After visitng the theatre and unfortuntely due to time contraints - we were unable to make it to Redpath, a huge sugar factory; well, there's always next year. :) Here's a group pic taken in the Winter gardens of the theatre upstairs where the layout is drastically different and features a combination of real/fake leaves on the ceilings.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Last haven for mankind

Shangri-La, an ancient place that holds mankinds' last knowledge. This was also the title of an anime we had been watching recently, and it was trying to convey a powerful message through strange depictions of human nature. The setting occurs in the near future where most of the world is submerged under water after the massive glacial surfaces melted as a result of multiple variations of excessive carbon pollution caused by over-consumption and industries. Regular baseball sized hailstorms referred as 'bomb shower' rain down on the surface due to the depleted ozone layer, killing crops that humans need while creating mutant wildlife threatening the few remaining metropolis that the surviving mankinds built. The countries that were left all depended on this 'carbon' economy where they are regulated by how much carbon they can emit, and humans begin to fall back on superstition rituals to try and survive. I can't believe that an anime featuring illogical depictions can be so logical afterall. Ironic, yet realistic. Doesn't this sound familiar though? Manmade disasters, genetic engineering, mutant creatures, crazy hailstorms are just like the norm of what we live through in our current world. How much longer will it take before humans recognizes these trends as a wakeup call?

June 5th comment: Check this out, Jap is doing exactly what we see in sci-fi movies/anime.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Endless work

Life's weird.
When we are children; we strive hard in school to get good grades to pass grade X. When we are youths; we study hard to get into a good university so that we can get a better job. When we are adults; we work hard so we can save up for a house or enough to start a family. When we are mid-age; we save hard so there's enough for kids education' or retirement funds.
Before we know it, time just flew by and we're retired - but we'll be too old to enjoy activities we missed out before, or people that are not there anymore.
Dangit, why so serious or work so hard?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Grrr. And that's how I feel about work recently - somehow things had been really busy and it's hard to even catch a breather at work. I find myself reverting back to long hours (something I had been avoiding since the first 3 yrs w/ the company), logging on after work hours, and typing long-azz email threads throughout the weekend. From circumstances and events that happened (highlighted in my previous posts throughout the years), I always think that humans shouldn't have to work so much because there's much more to life than career or a job - yeah, this was a huge change from my aggressive mindset when I first entered the industry. Right now, I think that a career is only a job to pay the bills so that we can get what we want to live a healthy happy life. Eventually, after 50 years; I prefer to remember my accomplishment such as: "Hey, I learned this beautiful melody on my Taka (my guitar) during 2009 summer after watching this series - let me play this now", rather than something like "Hey, I was designing this X@Z circuit for this X&Z chip for this now-obsolete hardware". Oh well, godda enjoy 2 more hrs before I go to bed, and another day for project X@Z starts again.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Being someone who loves to travel, I've been reading alot about different countries and of places I want to visit next (China's Silk Road). Of one of the websites I stumbled upon, it's about Japan as depicted by a foreigner - despite it's a bit biased; it nonethelss is based on facts and statistics and I found it quite entertaining and want to share it with you all:

Japan-The Strange Country (English ver.) from Kenichi on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Toyota recalls - overblown

In recent days whenever you turn on the TV or the radio, you'll find the huge Toyota recall story floating everywhere. The problem was due to mixture of stuck carpet and braking system and Toyota had been recalling cars to workaround these problems. So this sounds like a responsible brand eh? I would think so - afterall, Toyota cars are known for their reliability and lack of maintenance involved. However, much of the public doesn't seem to think so; and most think that they should blow up the incident to make the foreign car company look bad, and hopefully claim benefits since they overtook the top car sales spot the year before. And so they brought in the media, the congress, and whatever scheme to make the Japanese maker look bad. What next? Apparently this James Sikes dude thought that be can get away with settlements by creating a "braking failure" on his Prius, and failed miserably (Forbes Link). The outcome? Aside from his original 700k debt, he's going to be facing a lawsuit from Toyota soon. Bummer. He should've thought before he acted.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Olympics coming to an end.

The excitement, the anguish, the friendship, the joy, and the thought of endless hrs the athletes put in; are just one of the many emotions that can be felt when watching the Olympics. As the event draws to an end today, it will be another four years when the next Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi. It was fun, and it was great to see Canada play a part by hosting an event with so many history behind it in 2k10.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


And so, it's been busy after work lately. What for? For watching Olympics of course!!!! Despite a subpar opening ceremony due to mechanical failures; the games are full of excitement, anticipation, and I love to read the stories behind each of the athletes.

Today was a good day for Canada as they were able to beat Russia in hockey to struggle their way back into the semis after US defeated them earlier. Gold and Silver for Bobsleigh was also great, along with getting Silver in speedskating (after KOR was DQed). Need I say more about the excitement? Oh, and yeah; the cute Yu-Na definately sparkles on ice!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Year of the Tiger

And so, it was Chinese New Years and the year of the Tiger is official in! Despite I'm grown up over here in Toronto, parents still maintained much Chinese tradition ranging from meals to events. I'm glad that today is family day to recuperate the huge amount of dinner/luncheons w/ relatives/family/uncle-aunts. Here's the dishes my mom prepared, with each dish having it's own meaning of good luck/health/career. This is due to the pronounciation of each dish having double meanings. Happy new year everyone!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mosquito Bay

Plants staying inside the house over Winter is like a haven for mosquitos! But dun fret! Modern tech at its best is available! Yep, I'm talkin about stickers coated in special scent to attract those little nimblers... Dangit, can't wait till spring comes so that we can stick those plants back outdoors again >:)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dogsled Excursion

And so... it was a freezing Winter, but to fully enjoy this season in Canada; we decided to go do something outdoors. Something new, something exciting; and one of my friends, Jessi decided to pull something together for a dogsled excursion. It's roughly 3hrs drive North and despite the chilly weather, it was a great experience! Each sled comprises of 2 folks and 6 dogs. The official term is referred to as "dog mushing", and is an older Inuit/Native way of commuting around the northern tundra. It was interesting to learn the different tones used to command the dogs as they respond to different pitches. In the middle of the run, I did feel guilty of having the dogs pull us; so my sled buddy and I occasionally jumped off and helped push the sled to relieve the dogs some stress.
Dog sledding aside, the scenery was exceptional as there were clean snow on treebarks, crisp unpolluted air, and limited humans in this frozen winter wonderland. More detailed pictures of the handsome huskies can be found on my Flickr site in a bit :)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Into 2010 - new choices and decisions

It's officially marked as the 2nd day into 2k10 today. As we step into the new year, it's difficult not to look back - old hobbies dropped and new ones picked up, obsolete goals scratched out and revised plans being followed, old relationships faded and new ones started. Ah, all too well do I know that there's a limit to how much water we can pour into a cup - everyday we struggle to keep up with opportunity costs while hoping the decision that we choose is the better one.
Reflecting over the past year, I'm sure that there's going to be plenty of decisions to be made in the new year and just hope everything will be smooth. Afterall; I'm not like our little friend here who's climbed 2 stories high, and trying to look for foods while defying gravity.