My Time Capsule: November 2012


Hong Kong: Crystal Cable Car & The Big Buddha

Hong Kong, December 2011

Finally I made it to the Big Buddha in Ngong Ping village! It's kinda embarrassing to say that I've never visited this place before. Even though I've been to Hong Kong for countless times and even lived there when I was a baby. Anyway, I'm glad I finally did last year.

There are 2 options to reach the Ngong Ping village which are by taking cable cars or public transport through Tung Chung road. I chose the cable car because I wanted to ride the crystal cable car with a glass bottom that allowing you to have bird's eye view. I was excited and scared in the same time. What to expect? I'm a combo of acrophobic and aerophobic! I needed to go to the loo every 5 minutes before the ride and my palms were sweating for nervous. Turned out it was a thrilling ride or that's what I tried to put on my mind to keep myself at ease. I mean seriously, the scenery was breathtaking as long as I didn't look down to the glass bottom that made my heart skip a beat.

Ngong Ping Cable Car

the Big Buddha from afar

glass bottomed cable car.....I tried to smile

arriving at Ngong Ping terminal
The journey took about 25 minutes from Tung Chung terminal to Ngong Ping terminal. I wandered around the pretty Ngong Ping village, a culturally themed village with some western outlets (Yes, they have Starbucks and Subway there). I love the wishing tree at Bodhi wishing shrine. You can buy a wishing card and write your wishes on it then attach it to the board. There is a legend saying that wishes made under the Bodhi Tree will come true.

Bodhi wishing shrine

After about 30 minutes wandering around some shops in the village, I arrived at the gate which leads to Tian Tan Buddha. There are statues of 12 Divine Generals which each of them represents a different time of day and a different part of the Chinese zodiac. The scenery is so beautiful there, surrounded by green hills and the Big Buddha that towers overhead.

the gate leads to the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery
the general Pajra represents 7am-9am of the day and Dragon of the Chinese zodiak

240 stairs
I was at the bottom of the stairs and looked up, it was quite crowded that day. I'm not sure if it's always like that though, since it's one of the main attraction in Hong Kong. So I started climbing the 240 stairs to reach the Buddha statue. It was getting harder after half way to the top, luckily the weather was cool so I didn't get tired easily. Good exercise for the bum and legs!

almost there
And....finally I reach the top of the stairs, under the Big Buddha statue. There are six smaller bronze statues known as "The Offering of the Six Devas" and are posed offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha. These offerings symbolise charity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary to enter into nirvana. Tian Tan Buddha is a 34 meters tall bronze statue and it sits on a lotus throne on top of a three-platform altar.

Tian Tan Buddha

a large bronze statue of Buddha

statues with offerings for the Buddha

If you plan to visit Ngong Ping by cable car, please make sure to book the ticket online through their website. Trust me, it saves a lot of queueing time. I've booked my ticket in advance yet I queued for about 1 hour before getting to the cable car. And I saw the crazy lines for those who haven't booked the ticket, it would probably took them more than 3 hours in lines. Also it's better to visit in the morning, because the crowd gets worse in the afternoon.


The Day I Was (Finally) Born

my beautiful Mom

Once upon a time, there was this beautiful lady who had to go through several procedures in the hospital because after 11 months, her baby persisted to stay inside her womb still.  Yes, that stubborn baby was me. I don't blame if Mom was freak out that she was going to be pregnant for the rest of her life. I can’t remember though what facilities inside the womb that made me stay longer. It can't be the free WIFI for tweeting or FB-ing, right? Maybe Mom has eaten so much delicious food which I absorb greedily through the placenta. Or I think most probably was because I enjoyed travelling around the world for free. Carrying a baby inside your tummy doesn’t count as excess baggage, right?

the stubborn baby aka me

So today is my 17th birthday……….well….OK, I lied, actually I’m turning 25 today…….What, that's not true?  Gosh! can’t you just pretend to believe that and make a girl happy on her special day? Fine, the truth is, I’m 33 years old now with wrinkles, grey hairs and fats here and there. I know, getting old sucks but still I'm grateful for every seconds of my life. I’m grateful for having wonderful family and friends, but most of all I'm grateful for having such amazing Mom & Dad who I caught the travel bug from. My parents jokingly told me that I was being “made” during their trip to Taiwan, Japan and USA in 1978 thus made me a travel junkie.

I’d like to make a wish before blowing out the candles on my birthday cake. What are they? Well, there’re some on my bucket list including catching Aurora Borealis, to work as a wildlife volunteer in Africa, to build a place for the stray dogs and cats and visiting countries I’ve never been.  Also I wish the best health for Dad and Mom, my travel companion.

Dad & Mom travelling to USA in 1978

Lots of people asking me why I often travel with my parents which they think such a nightmare and no fun at all. Well I beg to differ, because regardless their age (Dad is nearly 70 and Mom is nearly 60), they are so passionate about travelling more than anyone else. Last June just 3 days before our trip to Alaska & Canada, my Dad fell down in the bathroom and fainted for about 15 minutes before we finally took him to the hospital. Turned out his haemoglobin level has dropped to 7, when the normal haemoglobin level for adult male is 13, 8 to 17, 2. He had to do blood transfusion to boost his HB level.

I was so panic and was about to cancel our trip and lost all the money we’ve paid. But Dad insisted he wanted to see Alaska, even though the doctor strongly forbade him to do so. Because even after 2 days and 8 units of blood transfusion, his HB level was still too low to even get up from bed and walk without feeling dizzy.  In the end we flied to Vancouver. It was the most terrifying flight I’ve ever had. I couldn’t sleep the whole 13 hours flight because I kept checking on my Dad. The doctor has warned us that it’s very dangerous to fly with a low HB, one of the reason is shortness of breath. Thanks God even though he was very weak most of the time in Alaska and Canada, he has survived and was very happy to finally visited Alaska. 

He looked so pale yet happy

Actually the same case happened last year too before our trip to Jordan, Israel and Egypt. He was hospitalised 1 week before the trip for having gastric problem.  And guess what? He insisted to go even though he was far from well. He even walked 5 km through the Siq in Petra under the scorching hot weather and refused to ride a horse carriage.  He walked very slowly and weak, step by step while Mom and me were holding his hands. Seeing his face basking in happiness after we reached the Treasury was indeed priceless. I’m so proud of my Mom who has been so supportive to Dad no matter what happened.

He made it to the Treasury

So that would be my answer if any of you ever wondered why I love travelling with my parents. I've done many solo travel thing, backpacker thing, tour thing so why not travelling with my family? It makes me feel warm inside and family bonds grow stronger. They had been holding my hands and showing me the world since I was born. Now when they are old and weak, it’s my turn to hold their hands and guide them to explore the rest of the world that we haven’t seen. Thank you Dad and Mom for always being there for me every step of the way. Thank you for being who you are and making me what I am today. No words can express how proud I am to be your daughter. I love both of you…so much!

exploring 5 continents from Asia to Africa

Last but not least, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME !!!
Age is just a number. 33 maybe sounds quite old but I still feel young. Because I believe that you're only as old as you feel !

I'm still young ! YAY, let's dance !


Alaska: Tracy Arm Fjord & Dog Sledding in Juneau

Alaska, June 2012

I was having breakfast in Oceanview Cafe (deck 10) when I spot the first iceberg floating not far from our ship. I excitedly walked to the open deck to have a closer look at it. Turned out it was a small one. So basically, icebergs are pieces of ice that formed on land and float in an ocean or lake. Icebergs come in all shapes and sizes, from ice-cube-sized chunks to ice islands the size of a small country. The term "icebergs" refers to chunks of ice larger than 5 meters (16 feet) across. Smaller icebergs, known as "bergy bits" less than 5 meters (15 feet) in size and "growlers" less than 2 meters (6.6 feet). If you want to learn more about icebergs, please read here.

It was a cold foggy morning and even though it was only 6 am, it seem like everyone has woken up. We were informed the day before that we would reach Tracy Arm Fjord early in the morning. And the ship would cruise along the area for few hours. So I guess nobody wanted to miss this gorgeous view.

chunk of icebergs

one misty morning in Alaska

the open deck
It was getting crowded on the open deck and rain started to pour, so I went back to my cabin and enjoying the view from my balcony instead. I think it's one of the reasons why it's worth to splurge a bit and have a cabin with private balcony. I wake up every morning to splendid scenery of Alaska. Or spend my afternoon lounging on my balcony wearing pajamas, sipping a huge mug of hot chocolate with Baileys while gazing at icy mountains of Alaska. Life is beautiful :)

The ship floated slowly and quietly toward Tracy Arm Fjord, a thirty mile glacial fjord that reaches deep into the Coast Mountains. The view was undoubtedly breathtaking. I've never seen such beautiful brilliant blue icebergs before. I read a fact that icebergs are sometimes bright blue because blue is the only wavelength of light able to make it all the way through the ice. I also spot several seals swimming close to our ship and were watching us curiously.

looking down from my balcony

beautiful blue iceberg

Tracy Arm Fjord

We left Tracy Arms Fjord at 10am and arrived in Juneau around 2pm. The ship tendered (anchored off shore) and we were transferred into some tender boats which took us to the pier. It was raining quite hard in Juneau that they had to cancel the snow dog sledding program. But there was another option to do dog sledding on gravel, so I went for it. I really wanted to meet those gorgeous Alaskan dog, I didn't mind whether it would be on snow or gravel.

tender boat

welcome to Juneau
Arrived on the pier, we were transferred to a bus. After 20 minutes drive along the rain forest, we arrived at the musher's camp and greeted by a bunch of Alaskan dogs. They barked excitedly waiting for us to board a wheeled golf cart. Every cart was attached to 12 dogs that looked really happy running while pulling a cart behind them. It was so fast, it felt like a roller coaster ride. The musher explained that it's some kind of sport for the dogs to keep in shape during summer. Super fun ! I'd love to do it again next time.

beautiful Alaskan Malamute

We ended the tour cuddling some of the adorable puppies in the camp. They were the most cutest blue eyed puppies I've ever seen. I was so tempted to sneak one of them into my bag :p
In case you've missed the part 1 of my Alaskan Cruise, read the story here


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