Want to know a little more about Wing Chun? Well, Leo Au Yeung (choreographer of “Ip Man”) is here to tell you all about it with his new You Tube mini-documentary series, “Spirit of Kung Fu.”
Not only is this first part informative, but the cinematography is beautiful. I’m looking forward to seeing the Hung Gar episode and definitely the Choy Lee Fut one, which is a style I no very little about.
It’s 7:00 here. Yesterday was the twelfth of July two thousand and fourteen. We woke and enjoyed a light break of the fast we had accidentally undertaken the night before. Giulia had toast, I just had coffee. One of the things in our guide book says: if you want milk, buy a cow, so my coffee is black, with one spoonful of sugar. Something about the bed here makes it less comfortable to snuggle. We both keep on having strange and mildly unsettling dreams.
Before we headed out for the day, we sent photos to Eli’s friend, Cindy, so that even without being wired into the world the way we usually are, she can still find us kids (though it couldn’t be too hard; look there! White people!). Giulia’s photo seems to say “do you mean this insect repellant?” With mine seemingly replying heartily “yesh babe, that’s that one.”
Our first stop is this little restaurant/travel agency called ViaVia, which offers any number of interesting travel opportunities, as well as a booking service and both local and international food. Contrarily to what I said earlier, I ordered an iced (ice from boiled water) milk coffee, while Giulia had a detox drink, which included ginger, carrot, apple, ginseng, and a variety of other healthy sounding other ingredients. I ordered nasi goreng yet again, while Giulia ordered sate ayam (chicken satay). Giulia had to stop and say “Oh my god” a la Janis from Friends when she discovered the shrimp in my rice had been placed to make a heart shape. It was delicious and as you can see the location was gorgeous. After some confusion and some #indonesia problems, we booked a cooking class for the next day and met up with Cindy. We walked around the Prawirotaman area, finding a bar and subsequently a a vegetarian restaurant where we met Brandon from Illinois. We talked of our travels and lives both past and future while drinking stroberi (strawberry) lassis and snacking on grilled mushrooms.
After much time had passed we returned to our hotel, feeling still more comfortable with Yogya, and more accomplished than previous forays into the city. We finished reading Everyday by David Levithan over tea, and used that and some other previous tidbits of information for a long and deep conversation about meaning and purpose. It was so pensive that we neglected the delicious dinner we had it over at Bedhot Resto, just a few doors down from where we dined the night before. We ordered kwee tiauw and semur ayam along with bintang beer. Semur ayam is chicken and potatoes in a creamy sauce. How could I resist? Kwee tiauw on the other hand is Cantonese? Not really sure. But it was noodles, therefore Giulia enjoyed it. A three person band, which we had noticed earlier along the alley, paraded in and serenaded us and the other restaurant goers. I tipped $.40USD.
It’s almost 8:00, time to go get coffee and prepare for the day. We’re buying a SIM card, and two tours, and taking a cooking class and meeting up with John Larsen. We’ll let you know all about it later.P.S. I’m going to try wearing sunglasses today. Maybe I can ignore people better that way (it’s just so hard, because I want to believe anyone could be my friend).
This is that travel blog I spoke of. My hopes are to acquire: lots of pairs of pants and some shirts, and some jewelry, and some fabric, and maybe, just maybe a ceremonial kris dagger. I am also trying to find Silat here. I’ll reblog anything I find related to martial arts to this blog.
Our first full day in Jogja also found us overwhelmed, but not scared any more. We walked the same roads we had the night before, this time less threatening in the daylight. We walked and walked, batik after batik. As a woman, I’ve learned to not respond to any attention from the street, especially from men. It is unfortunate, but necessary almost anywhere I am in the world. Nick, however, has a hard time ignoring anyone who tries to strike up a conversation, often leading to unwanted sales pitches that drag on for a few blocks. It’s part of it all. It doesn’t feel dangerous, just a bit much. Places to eat seem to be our refuge, and we delight in trying new things. This time we stopped at Mirota Batik which has a restaurant on the roof. The food is, again, fabulous and cheap, and we sweat through the spiciness of nasi goreng and capcay (a vegetable soup). I try to ask for a bathroom, but mess up the words and end up accidentally asking if there is a cabaret. There is not a cabaret. Not tonight.
We end up finding the bathroom anyway. No worries. (the actual word for bathroom is kamar kecil).
After more and more walking, we are tired and ready to turn into our hotel early. But we have plans to meet with a friend of Eli’s, Bea, so we venture out again. This time in a smaller road right behind our hotel and I feel like we are finally starting to find the magic of Jogja. We meet Bea for tea, and suddenly this whole place has a face, a name. It suddenly feels friendlier, more approachable, like we could be at home here for 10 days. We are grateful to be here.
Before we left for Java this morning, I had to take advantage of the fact that the Singapore airport is fantastic by eating even more buns. Did you know? I love buns.
Following our flight we took a cab, which cost $60,000 rupiah (also known as $5USD!!!), to our hotel. It’s fabulous for $21USD per night. We had tea, which was tasty and served every day between 3 and 6. We spent most of the day relaxing in our spacious hotel room. We headed out for dinner and found ourselves in the crazy Yogyakarta downtown. Used to the organization and easiness of Singapore, we felt a little overwhelmed. We got stares everywhere we went but were comforted when we finally found a fine eating establishment where we had gudeg, and rendang pedang. Both were well spiced. The gudeg includes a delicious, spicy fruit. It’s awesome, and oddly savory, but still very good. I love it.
After we ate, I looked at some keris at a tourist shop, but they gave me a funny feeling, so I quickly opted to leave them alone. Selamat datang ke Yogyakarta.
After sitting down and talking about our lives for over an hour in the Arab district and consuming a little dinner of dim sums (Nick loves his pork buns) we got a bus to go to the NIGHT SAFARI, apparently the #1 most popular attraction in Singapore. It is in a zoo which stretches out for acres and acres, making it one of a kind in the world as the animals enjoy plenty of their own space in their own habitat. As part of the ticket, we took the tram around the zoo, getting to see several dozens of animals just a few feet away. Keep in mind that it is dark out, so our pictures do not really capture the actual experience, but these kind of animals are more active at night, meaning that we did not leave disappointed. Some of the pictures include: flamingos, blurry lions, an elephant’s butt, our sweaty faces (it never cools down!) walking along the paths in the night.
The next day…we took it easy and ate. Only once, but it was good. We went back to Chinatown, which has proven to be our favorite place in Singapore, in big part due to the Maxwell hawker center there. Nick bought more buns (CAUSE NICK LOVES BUNS) and I had a sliced fish noodle soup (for S$4). Yum. And then watermelon juice cause it was still oh so very hot.
MARIEL the POO picture is for YOU! With love.
Oh and there is also a picture of a market selling flying lizards (we think) on a stick and dried squid/ sea dragons. We didn’t have those.
This concludes our time in Singapore. It was quite the easy and non-stressful introduction to Asia. Tips for anyone traveling here:
And now off to Jogjakarta for almost two weeks!
Day 4 part 1
The day started off with Giulia bandaging her feet. The travels from the day before in her new sandals successfully created five and rubbed off four blisters. Don’t worry, Kim, we applied an alcohol wipe and neosporin and a bandaid. Thus the first photo.
Directly before we met up with Claudine yesterday, tired Giulia decided that it was our mission to attempt to visit every hawker centre listed in our little Singapore guide (of which there are six). The Newton hawker centre specializes in seafood and the popular Singaporean dish, chili crab. Contrary to form, Giulia hacked away at this S$20!delicacy like this was her last meal on earth. Until the last morsel of crab meat was sucked out of this poor creature whom 10 minutes before hand we had seen alive, Giulia hardly said more than five words. These words were to instruct me to purchase something we could poor the chili sauce over, so that it did not go to waste (it was delicious after all). So I purchased a plate of Tom Yum fried rice, which Giulia also consumed with much gusto. My own involvement with our meal was less due to (as my mother will tell you) how much I dislike dirtying my hands with sticky sauces or runny oils. But I was content to watch Giulia transform from her usual gourmet eating style to one more similar to my own favorite: that of the gourmand. Afterward we bravely tried to eat a durian ice kachang. Big mistake. Or actually many mistakes compiled one upon the other. I watched as the stall owner put beans, jello, and the fruit (which I could already smell, and the smell was dubious) into the bottom. He then covered it with what is essentially shaved ice (okay) which he then covered with syrup and (the cherry on top) creamed corn (?????!!!! Sound the alarms!!!!). It was awful. But I thought to myself “maybe if I just avoid the creamed corn,” but alas the durian fruit itself has the consistency of what I can only imagine is squid eyeballs. I managed to eat an entire one, while Giulia’s first bite of it caused her to spit it back into her spoon. We quickly and cunningly checked to make sure no one was looking and walked away quickly, leaving the abomination desert on the table. However, the taste haunted me throughout the rest of the day even after our delicious dinner of dim sum.
After our food adventure (which I now believe is the greatest kind of adventure to be had in Singapore),we went to the Muslim center of town, where one can find the Sultan Mosque and at the current date the Ramadan food festival. Unfortunately we were still full from our last adventure, but we did happen upon (rather intentionally) The Malay Art Gallery. There you go, Eli. It seemed like an impressive collection of keris, although none of them spoke to me. Also, Eli, I asked the owner and he definitely would love to remember who you are, but he definitely doesn’t. Over to you, Giulia.
Day 3, part III (because it’s hard to fit one day in this place in only one post)
Headed over to Orchard Road, the Vittorio Emanuele of Singapore to meet my (hi, it’s me, Giulia) childhood friend Claudine who is living in SG for the summer with her family. How nice it was to see a familiar face so far away from home. We headed over to Clarke Quay, a nice stretch of restaurants by the river. We got there around sunset and it was beautiful. We ended up going back to the hotel at 9:30 pm and going to bed around midnight, 7 hours after our bedtime the night before! Crushing it!
Pictures include: a tired and a little frazzled couple a bit worn out from the jet lag and hours of walking (got the blisters to prove it).
On our way to the fancy restaurant we ate at with Claudine, from a bridge by the quay we spied this poorly guided ship had managed to steer itself to the top of three equally tall skyscrapers. I can only imagine that thinking that the utterly astonishing nature of the visual, the SG community opted to leave it there for tourists to ogle.
At the restaurant, we ate shark fin soup for which we felt a little guilty but Claudine said “Better you eat him than he eats you”, eggplant with chicken floss (basically shaved chicken) and roasted half (!) duck in buns. All with lots and lots of never ending jasmine tea.
P. S. Have we mentioned the HUMIDITY yet?!? Because we must mention the humidity! Frizzy hair for a month.
Pictures in order
1. Arriving in Chinatown, Singapore
2. Exterior of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
3. Giulia looking mischievous at the hawker centre
4. Monks chanting inside the Tooth Temple
5. A guy with a 关刀
6. A larger service involving many people chanting
7. Giulia with her guardian Buddha, Vairocana
8. nglowe with his guardian Buddha, Samantabadra
9. The rooftop garden with world’s largest vairocana prayer wheel
10. 观音, Kwan Yin, the goddess of compassion