Tag Archives: travel

River Waltz

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Approaching the jetty of our host as we end our river cruise

It was around 10:00 in the evening when we cruised the Pengkalan Datu River. There were no artificial lights seen along the way except from distant houses, from the torch of lone fisherman seen occasionally by the riverbank working on his net or trap, and from the headlights of the boat navigator. The water was so eerily still and quiet except for the sound of some huge fish jumping now and then.

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We cruised that night on a boat just like this one

We were actually cruising deep in the night to see the fireflies. Those insects must be huge for I can see them flicker from distant trees and bushes as we ride along the river. Too bad the moon was very bright that the simultaneous flickering was not that spectacular. On the other hand, the full moon was perfect. It made the night so beautiful while we waltz along the river.

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Pengkalan Datu River at sunset

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Pengkalan Datu River at sunrise

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Lumpini Park

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Coming out from the Silom metro subway station, you’ll see this statue by the entrance gate of Lumpini Park

It was inevitable that I found myself in a metropolis on a Sunday. But then, there was the Lumpini Park where lovers eat side-by-side on a bench by the lagoon, turtles lifting their heads in the water, kids throwing round multicolored breakfast-like cereals intended for fish feeding in the lagoon, photographer capturing paddleboat shots, group aerobic exercise near the park entrance, runners and walkers doing their rounds in a very much runnable park, expats, locals, and tourists, squatting on a rented mat while enjoying the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra concert– including myself.

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Paddleboats much like those in Baguio’s Burnham Park

With beautiful music, greenery, and contemplative atmosphere, that Sunday afternoon in Bangkok turned out lovely ultimately.

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See those runners?

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Plenty of expats in this free concert at the park by Bangkok Symphony Orchestra

On Traveling Light

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My pack is 5 kilos only for 5 days including my race gear and I don’t even have to use my allotted 30 kilos for check-in baggage. Though I’m very fond of my lightweight Highland duffel bag, this time I’ll be hopping on buses and trains of which I imagine that I may need to be hands-free most of the time, hence a backpack.  This is not Japan, in other words the conditions may not be as precise and predictable. And I’m not fond of wheel bags. It’s too cumbersome, there is no freedom of movement, and you need a bit more space around you which is not practical at times in public places. Aside from that, the concept itself is plain boring.  I believe that I must be fit and strong enough to carry my personal stuff for it is an indication that I can do more, travel far and be flexible enough for spontaneous decisions.

What I routinely do in my everyday life, I can afford to eliminate when traveling. If one’s reason for traveling is to have some diversion now and then, then one can do away with daily rituals and this varies from one person to the next. It may be all sorts of body creams and beauty regimen for some, fancy shoes and clothes, or electronic gadgets for others. Without these, then one may realize that it is easy to pack light after all. But if you absolutely cannot do away with creams and extra fancy clothes, then objectively, maybe that kind of traveling is not the same as what I have in mind. Or presumably, you are not that cute as you think you are.

On Itinerary

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In relation to the traveling I have done, often times I would get polite requests for itinerary.  Itinerary is non-existent in my realm. I do have an idea what kind of stuff I want to see, and what sort of place I want to immerse myself that my decisions were largely based on that. I think I do it on purpose to go on a trip unprepared, sort of. Without some extensive pre-journey notes afforded me with observations and discoveries entirely my own. Several people may tread the same path, may perceive things the same way, may do things the same way, but I may see things differently if my mind is independent.

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Walking about for some Kyoto enlightenment

Moreover, without itinerary there is no timetable to follow as this is something that I truly have an aversion to. Something repulsive as: 5 AM: Wake-up call; 7 AM: Hotel breakfast; 8:30 AM: Temple hopping; 10 AM: Off to this museum ; 12 PM: Lunch at resto X; 2 PM: Photo-ops at this tourist spot; 4 PM: Souvenir shopping; 6-8 PM: Free time; 8 PM: Dinner at resto Y.

Spontaneous decision on what to do and where to go is more fun. And when time is not micromanaged, ideas flow freely. Learning becomes more profound when you check out certain curiosities and make discoveries in an unhurried mood, thus making your trip an exceptional one.

Winter Walk in Hida-Takayama

Some aimless unhurried walking late in the afternoon on the first day of calendar year 2015 in Hida-Takayama, a traditional city in Japan Alps.

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Graveyard

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I appreciate the English translation

Meanwhile in Arashiyama

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These two snapshots certainly do not convey the expanse of Arashiyama and its every beauty. But the memories of its elements and structures influenced a feeling of calm in me, that perhaps a couple of images I’ve documented here shall remind me of this place as a whole.

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New Year Curiosity

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New year holiday last year in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Unlike Christmas, New year celebration is universal even though the revelry varies in different territories of the earth. To spend New Year’s holiday in different realm every year means to take in the curiosities of this event in a particular setting. Thus, it’s a personal tradition worth keeping.

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A drink for New Year 2014. As for New Year 2015...we'll see

The Pasar Near Melaka Sentral

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Live catfish for sale

Upon reaching Melaka’s central bus terminal coming from Kuala Lumpur, I went inside this market across the street still carrying my duffel bag. I just came all the way from Terminal 2 of KLIA, and before that, all the way from Manila. My bag was light and manageable enough to lug while wandering from stall to stall, eager to see some curiosities of the pasar.

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Huge bananas

The marketplace was clean and organized from the fish section to the local delicacies section where I got a pack of gula melaka and dodol.

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In one empty stall, I took snapshot of jumbo green bananas (or plantain?). And in one table, there was this unidentified yellow seed in dark brown hard shell that seems to come from a tree like the petai. I inquired and the answer I got sounds like gering ulam.

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And so I continued to check the produce, ready made sauces, belacan etcetera, taking my time until I felt like eating.

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Gering ulam? That’s what I heard from the vendor

That ended my market loitering. I then partook mee goreng (with ais kopi) at one of the food stalls in the second floor of the market. After which I rode a bus towards Bukit China to commence my five day Melaka trip.

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Glimpse of Greenery in Melaka

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Pandan plant

As I travel in Melaka, I took some plant snapshots here and there…That pot of pandan on the wooden floor against the wall is a pretty sight.

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And another pandan

I wonder if the human being behind that potted pandan uses it for purposes other than green ornamentation.

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Meanwhile, those untamed hanging container plants against a wall with artwork caught my attention, for it seems that the water dripping from clothes has something to do with its flourishing state. Like an unintentional irrigation system.

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And then there was this traditional house in Kampung Morten with potted plants giving an impression of pleasantness and hospitable atmosphere, and not the stiff ‘architectural digest’ garden look.

By the Melaka River

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Unhurried stay, wanderings by the side streets, and most particularly the walks by the river for several days, impart some profound understanding of Melaka.

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Something that cannot be accomplished by river cruising on a tourist boat for 45 minutes or by staying for couple of nights only.

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Health campaign post on the benefits of walking 10,000 steps

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Tourist boat on a river cruise

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Dining by the river on a quiet evening

Siesta in Melaka

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Observation on everyday scenes is the most honest thing one can get from traveling. Whether it’s about sun drying clothes in poles or clothesline, or people reading in different manner in all sorts of places, or observations on siesta time of locals in public places.

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Notes on Souvenirs, Generally

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Malapascua Island attracts foreign diving tourists because of the thresher sharks, but I guess this souvenir stall profits more from local tourists

Trip souvenir acquisition is a big thing among Filipinos, generally speaking. It’s a proof of “I’ve been here“, regardless of the amount of visiting time in that statement. Outside the country, if you want to meet Filipino travelers, it is highly likely you’ll see them in keychain, t-shirt and ref magnet sort of souvenir shops.

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To have seen that man making thresher shark figurine and documenting it here is my kind of souvenir

Again, generally speaking, it’s not limited to souvenir shops where one can see some concentration of Filipino travelers, but also in popular shopping stores or districts with affordable popular items associated with the destination. Keyword is “popular”. This penchant for imported goods makes destination shopping an unwritten constant itinerary of Filipino travelers, generally.

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Varnished thresher sharks

Of Traveling and Newspapers

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Dumaguete

It’s interesting to read all sorts of news including the classified ads of the locality you find yourself at the moment.

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Baguio

The act of buying from a newspaper kiosk, the possession of their paper, and the pleasure derived from reading it while resting at a park or at the common area in a guest house has become a part of my traveling habits.

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Brunei

Tambobo Bay

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This enclosed Tambobo bay is huge that what is not seen in this picture are the yachts somewhere far inside to the right where some of them became living quarters that never leave the bay anymore

There is always a good chance that walking aimlessly will lead you to somewhere interesting. That somehow it’s in the unstructured and unhurried wanderings that a particular travel becomes unforgettable.  As such, one of those occasions led me to this small community jetty in Tambobo Bay.

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This man upon reaching very close to the jetty where I sat with my leg hanging above the water, greeted me back with “Ma’yong hapon”, after I said the same thing to him

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Ceiling of the jetty

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By The Sumida River, I Ran

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Tartan track by the river. I guess the Taito-ku urban planner must be a runner

During my Tokyo visit, I regularly run by the Sumida River in Taito Ward which is just a seven-minute running distance from where I stayed.

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The river view

The path by the river is an ideal place for running with its lovely water view and tartan track.

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Obviously it's spring time

Running and traveling go together as one can run and observe everyday life at the same time. In this case, the morning life in Tokyo.

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One can do interval training in this track

With running, one can also wander far in the corners and side streets than by any other means for a much deeper understanding of the place and its residents.

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Running will be most beautiful when the cherry trees are in full bloom

Thus, my morning run makes a delightful introductory paragraph in every full day chapter of my Tokyo wanderings.

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Run across any of the bridges spanning the Sumida river like this one to run more at the other side. See those white birds on the river wall ?

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With all the runner-friendly amenities included in the city's urban planning (especially clean public toilets that never run out of toilet paper), isn't it better to be out there running regularly (when in Tokyo) than not at all?

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