Archive for September, 2009

Time to Board…

The first few weeks of my vacation in KL, when I hit the MRR2 to visit Flora I drove with a tame average speed of 70-90 kph and obeyed traffic rules and was kind and courteous to fellow drivers on the road. Earlier today, when I drove that route for what will be the last time in a couple of years, I stuck to the fast lane and averaged about 50% faster (but still being kind and courteous to fellow drivers on the road if you were wondering).  It is at that point where I can say my re-assimilation into Malaysian culture is complete. ;)

But of course, I will be going to the airport in a few hours, away for another indefinite period of time, and who knows what adventures await me this time around….

Bye home!


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Nanshan 南山

I prepared this second Hainan post to be posted immediately after the last one, but was kinda delayed (by 2 and a half weeks) because I had to go to the airport to pick Alex & Xenia up (who were visiting), and subsequently holidaying around Malaysia. ;) Which meant no time to go online!

Anyway, after whirlwind super-fast trips of Penang, Ipoh, Melaka, Pulau Perhentian & Taman Negara, I’ve just sent them off to the station; they’ll finish the rest of their holiday by themselves, and I will be sent to the airport myself (after all this sending of other people) to return to Glasgow late on tuesday night.

Back to the original content…

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The huge tourist complex on Nanshan (南山) includes several resorts, dozens of temples and shrines, a huge mountain (hence the name) and some other stuff. It’s the southernmost part of China (hence the name again) and beyond that is the South China Sea and Vietnam.

Anyway, “huge tourist complex” means you have to pay for every single thing –  to enter the temple, to light up some incense, to do this, to do that…. According to the guide, the Chinese government invested millions to promote both local and international tourism for the island of Hainan, and especially on this “religious tourism” thingy in Nanshan. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised then.

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Just so you aren’t confused by the previous picture – this gigantic statue of a three-faced Goddess of Mercy GuanYin (a side representing wisdom, a side for compassion and a side for mercy) is built on a mini man-made island, and not on the main island.

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And of course, it is almost a pre-resquisite to go over and hug her “feet” and pray for good luck and prosperity and peace and safety and whatever you may wish to pray for.

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First off, I’m not so pleased with the photos from the trip. But anyhow, I’ll post some up anyway, just because there is a dearth in photos recently ;). It was my first ever time using my dad’s D80 though, so perhaps I get some slack cut…

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I love looking out of the windows of anything – cars, planes, boats (ok maybe no windows on those), trains, buses, etc. Of course, I always have a book with me as well, but only reading or only looking out is boring on its own. Looking out of plans is the most challenging because most of the time it’s just blinding white light, but if you glance out every so often you might get something different.

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The city of Sanya (三亚), Hainan’s second most populous city. Throughout the trip I was amazed at many things – from the good to the bad – and almost all of it could be found in this city. The thing I am left speechless the most is the “total tourist package”, a meticulously contrived spending sham glossed over by the merest, most threadbare hint of  marketing and packaging. Speaking to the guide about the mechanics of the tourist industry in China, I could only shake my head. I can’t stand the plants on the bottom right by the way.

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The pace of development is surreal in its speed, the frenetic pace taking on a comic effect that resembles one of those roadrunner cartoons, where buildings are forever chasing other buildings for height, square footage and garish, stupid features. Dilapidated shacks lie next to concrete monuments, much like shrines to an alien religion. (ok been reading too much JG Ballard)

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