I already felt cold in 10 degree Celsius Hanoi when I took the sleeper train going to Sapa in the northern part of Vietnam. A few days before snow fell on this scenic mountain town and I was just in time to come with the sun. The ice on the streets have since melted but the snow-capped mountain are still to be seen, and the weather further went down to 2 degrees Celsius. It was my first time seeing snow and as we hiked on our first day there, my neck churns from left to right and each time I see the neighboring peaks I mutter to myself 'hey oh snow' and the Peppers' song hums in my mind "come to decide that the things i tried were in my life just to get high on"
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Thursday, January 30, 2014
Sunday, January 26, 2014
When in doubt ask around and inquired I did, not just to anybody but to travel experts in this cool travel community I'm a part of. Paul and Joshua, two fellow travel bloggers who have recently spent a week at Yogyakarta were quick to recommend this hostel when I made the inquiry about a place to stay while at Yogyakarta at our Facebook group. It is the community I'm talking about which is composed of travel addicts who currently capers rehab by constantly wandering on the road. Edu Hostel was the top choice and after making a quick study of a handful of other options I booked this hotel online a week prior to my departure for Jakarta.
|Dorm room. Photo credit: http://www.eduhostels.com/photo|
Saturday, January 11, 2014
1. Helping islets in the Philippines
When I first saw the event page on my Facebook I instantly knew it would be an interesting experience to spend Christmas in an islet ravaged by Yolanda (Haiyan). As what lead organizer Kakay says "We're gonna help them get their spirit back" and the planned Christmas eve celebrations is the first in the many phases of rebuilding efforts. I joined the project as a photographer and only to document it, much of the foot work and fund drive were done by the other organizers and volunteers, it went out clockwork for a month before I found myself on a scenic mini-bus ride from Silay to Sagay, Negros Occidental. I was running late and knowing the advance party was already sitting on a boat with all the supplies hauled on board already, I was jumpy at my seat. By the time I arrived at Old Sagay they have burned 3 hours waiting for me, but nevertheless the trip that will go down as one of the best I had in year 2013 was just about to start.
|Practicing "Star ng Pasko" for their Song Number|
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
As early as 6:00 am I was already at the Gambir train station excited for my first 'long train ride'. Even though I'm a train veteran with thousands of railway miles under my butt courtesy of our own LRT and MRT lines, the trip to Yogyakarta from Jakarta will be my first time to trainspot for more than 7 hours. I already pre-booked a ticket for myself via Tiket.com for 300,000 Rupiah one-way (1,500 Php) a few weeks before I departed for Jakarta, so when the ticket counters opened a quarter after six, I hurriedly entered the station and found a seat where I just sat and waited for the 8:10 train to Yogyakarta.
A night bursting with conversations over beer, pizza and fried pepper while the Brass Munkeys performs some fine fusion of blues and jazz in the background, is a hands down great night to stay awake till 4:00 am. It is with difficulty level of 8 to gather drinking mates from my travel junky circle of friends since most of the time, others are away hitchhiking a ride to a mountain town, while some are getting drunk in a pub district of a South East Asian city. This is where the organizational skills of Gaye Emami comes in handy operating like a mind controller in setting up this meet-up to welcome a poet-slash-nurse friend from Australia, and aside from knitting all our schedule together, she came up with a great suggestion for a venue: TAGO Jazz Cafe.