Sunday, December 30, 2007

南北縱走吊燈籠

終於一嚐所願,登上吊燈籠,雖然今天不是天朗氣清的日子,有些煙霞,但由吊燈籠欣賞印洲塘的風景,絕對一流。往蛤塘的路,被草蔓封的情況不太嚴重,路徑尚算清晰,沿路亦有很多綁帶指示。蛤塘的村是否真的全廢?因為有些屋仍然上鎖,內裡的陳設非常整齊,而祠堂像是仍有村民會回來打掃。荔枝窩則人頭湧湧,像旺角多些。但可憐的百花魚滕,被一些無公德或無常識的人坐在上面影相。

從南面上山,奮勇向上。上山的路從犂頭石看似很斜,但實質並非如此。

從吊燈籠欣賞印洲塘

蛤塘廢村

Saturday, December 29, 2007

吳俊雄《此時此處 許冠傑》

剛買了此本書,作者吳俊雄,港大社會學副教授,從社會學分析我們這一代香港人的集體回憶之一的許冠傑。

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Jordan and Syria Itinerary

15 Dec 2006 to 7 Jan 2007 (24 days)

One of my most memorable journeys till now. Not only because of getting a Syrian visa at the border, but also the hospitality of Syrian people and superb historic sites. Though the weather was cold and daytime was short (sunset was around 4:30 p.m.) and many sites were closed at 4:00 p.m., you rarely met another tourists even in some world heritages. You can fully spent whole day to travel and no need to hide from the sun during midday as in summer.

D1-2: Doha and Amman (Hotel Palace on D2)
Flied from HKG to Doha by Qatar at 6.30 p.m. 12 hours transit time. Slept at the airport and waited and short city sightseeing in Doha. Took flight at 12.30 p.m from Doha to Amman. Arrived Amman at 4.00 p.m. Resided at Hotel Palace (Recommended by LP as author's choice). But no hot water for bathing :<

D3: Amman (Hotel Palace)
Called a taxis to Syrian Embassy and tried to apply visa there. The embassy is located in high class residential area. Mission failed. We were turned away in less than 5 mins. Great! Took taxis to Wahadat bus station and took a bus at 11:00 a.m. to Mahada. We spent half day there and took our dinner at Haret Jdoudna in an old traditional house. We took bus back to Amman after dinner.

D4: Amman (Hotel Palace)
Joined a local tour to desert castles in eastern Jordan including a world heritage Qusayr Amra with superb frescoes. Returned to hotel at 5:00 p.m. My friend from Hong Kong joined us at the hotel.

D5: Damascus (Ai Diwan Hotel)
As told by hotel owner, it is easier for those w/o visa to get a visa on arrival at Dera/ Ramtha border rather than Jabir/Nasib. We took a bus to Ramtha and changed for a service taxis at Ramtha. We were asked for only a few questions and waited at the arrival hall of Syrian border for 0.5 hour. Our service taxi driver dropped at the border bus station. We took a bus to Damascus. We toured around old city in the afternoon. We watched Casino Royale (007) at Cham Cinema (next to Cham hotel) for 3 USD only!

D6: Damascus (Ai Diwan Hotel)
We went to Syrian Air to buy ticket to Aleppo but was full today. We bought the air ticket to Aleppo for around HK$170 only. 'Shopping' at general post office. Then we visited National Museum and Suleimaniyya (handicraft market). Old city again, we visited Chapel of Ananias.

D7: Aleppo (Hotel Hanadi)
Our flight was at 7:00 a.m. and our passport was 'detained' by airline staff when boarding (strange practice). Perhaps the reasons was the final destination of the flight was Paris. Hanadi Hotel as mentioned by LP was a Barbie hotel, pink in color. We visited the souq again and then Citadel. After sunset at 4:00 p.m., we returned to souq again and visited Great Mosque (Omiyaad). The atmosphere of souq was great, not touristic at all.

D8: Aleppo (Hotel Hanadi)
We joined a tour (actually a car with driver) through hotel. We visited Ebla, different dead cities: Jerada & Ruweiha, Serjilla, Al-bara. Returned to Aleppo at 5:00 p.m. Dined at Al Jdeida (Christian area).

D9: Hama (Hotel Cairo)
Rented a car (Benz) again thro' hotel, we visited Mushabbak, St. Simeon Basillica, Deir Samaan, Ain Dara. The driver dropped us at the bus station and helped us to buy the ticket to Hama. Our bus left at 4:00 p.m.. The boss of Hotel Cairo was a classic businessman with fluent English. Afterall, I think we got a fair deal with him.

D10: Hama (Hotel Cairo) 24/12
Rented a car thro' hotel. Visited Apamea in the morning and then Musyaf. In the afternoon, we visited Krak Des Chevaliers at 2:30 p.m. Only 1.5 hours left before closing. We left at 4.20 p.m. (if we didn't leave, we would be locked up there). Happy silent night at a nice restaurant in the traditional old house! Restaurant is also owned by the hotel boss. We bought some Hama favorite brand chocolate: LEE.

D11: Hama (Hotel Cairo)
Benz again and visited Beehive villages (Sarouj village). Then Qasr ibn Wardan and Rasafa (a very raw site under excavation). We passed thro' Euphrates River with military checkpoint. Today's our final destination was Qala'at Ja'abar. We left at 4:20 p.m. and returned to Hama at 7:00 p.m.

D12: Hama & Lattakia (Al Hayat Hotel)
We visited the norias in Hama. However, because of the rain, the view was so and so. We walked to the citadel and then lunch. We took a 3:30 p.m. departed bus to Lattakia. Lattakia is actually a container port. We had a full meal at a high restaurant near the port.

D13: Palmyra (Palace Hotel)
We rented a taxis thro' Lattakia Hotel. We visited Qala'at Saldin. A feeling of Great Wall because of the overgrown. We took a bus from Lattakia to Homs at 1:00 p.m. It was snowing at Homs. However, we were stuck at Homs new bus station at 3:30p.m. So many soldiers took bus. We could only get the bus ticket to Palmyra which bus departed at 12:00 a.m. With the help of a nice lawyer, we took a taxi to old bus station to get the bus to Palmyra. Not only the station was old, so did the bus. Interior of bus turned into a disco after departure with loud music and crazy lightings and naughty little passenger. Fainted! With 4-hr bumpy ride, we reached Palmyra at 7:00 p.m. We dined at Spring Restaurant and then chit chat with some French customers till midnight about political system in Hong Kong and French.

D14: Damascus (Ai Diwan Hotel)
We left hotel at 6:20 p.m. I believed it was below 0 degree outside. We were just able to see sunrise at the site. Having breakfast at hotel after sunrise. Return to the site and visited some tombs also. We took bus at 2:00 p.m. back to Damascus and arrived at 5:15 p.m. Of course, we stayed at Ai Diwan hotel again. Ai Diwan was not targetted for backpackers, so they did not offer any local tour/ car rental. We looked for a car to visit Seidnayya,Maalula and Mar Musa. We finally found a car with driver at one of the budget hotels. However, whether we could go still depended on the road conditions (coz snowed a few days before). It was below 2degree at night in Damascus.

D15:Damascus (Ai Diwan Hotel)
Our nice driver with his new car was waiting us at 8:00 a.m outside the hotel. We visited Seidnayya and Maalula and Mar Musa. We were invited for having free lunch at the Mar Musa monastery, on the road back to Damascus, our car hitted a dog suddenly run out of the highway. We were safe except the bumper broken. The dog ... sorry. Back to hotel at 5:00 p.m., tomorrow was the start of Islamic holiday(Eid al-Adha). Though Friday, the souq would open till midnight, just like our CNY's eve. We also tried the highly recommended ice-cream shop in town Bekdach. Yummy, though temperature might be below zero. Very crowded souq.

D16: Damascus (Ai Diwan Hotel)
Today was Eid al-Adha. We took bus to Bosra. The Roman theatre was really huge and with good acoustic design. Great basalt rock and fine carving. We met 4 Chinese in Bosra. They were working in a glass factory in Aleppo and travelled around Syria during holidays. Returned to Damascus and enjoyed a great meal at a Chinese restaurant in Christian quarter (recommended by those Chinese guys). You rarely encountered a person at the souq. Great contrast with last nite.

D17: Amman (Hotel Amman Palace)
Wandered along the Straight Street. Most of the shops were closed because of new year. Visited Azem Palace and Omayad Mosque. It rained heavily :< After mosque, we visited some old house i.e. Aqqad House (now Danish Institute in Damascus). Final stop was St. Paul's chapel where Paul was hung out in a basket when he fled from Damascus. Time to say goodbye to Syria this hospitable country. We had a little farewell with staff of Ai Diwan Hotel (they treated us a nice lunch after stayed in their hotel for 5 days). We went to take bus to Amman. They Duty Free shop at the border looked no difference with any one in developed countries. So many cheap alcohlic drinks to buy. Great temptation. However, we encountered some problem at Jordan immigration office. They required us to buy visa for HKSAR passport which supposed to be visa free. Because of our insistence and with the help of the nice bus staff, we 'succeded'. No visa required! Jackie Chan's movie was shown on board. wow even in Syria/ Jordan.

D18: Amman (Hotel Amman Palace)
Took a bus to Jerash and spent 5 hours in the site. The weather was nice and we left when the site closed. As no bus returned to Amman coz it was too late, hitchhiked a van back to Amman (of course we needed to pay).

D19: Petra (Rose City Hotel)
One of my friends left for Hong Kong today. I and the other friends went to Qatar office to reconfirm our ticket and took a bus to Petra in the afternoon. Today was mainly occupied by logistics and transportation stuff. The hotel we resided just provided accommodation. We looked for travel agent around the town and finally got what we wanted in a backpacker hotel Valentine Inn. We booked a tour to Wadi Rum there.

D20: Wadi Rum (sleeping under the stars and moon in a Bedouin camp (5-star hotel in Wadi Rum - romantic!)
We took a jeep to the desert with the big boss of the camp, Zidane, a very tall guy and two drivers. Our group had 9 ppl in total mainly Asians, koreans, japanese. Wadi Rum view was fantastic, superb. I liked the rock bridge most! Zidane's camp was superb comparing to my previous stay in desert (Egypt, Morocco, India). Not only beds but pillow ... what can i say? But it was very cold at night. I saw nice sunset and sky with many many stars and moon there.

D21: Petra (Valentine Inn)
Picked our stuff and returned to Petra after breakfast. Went to Petra by ourselves and bought a 2-day pass. The weather was very bad with rain and strong wind and mist. The first day, we just walked till theatre and did not go further. We bought tickets for Petra by night. We walked through the siq four times in a day. Tired and boring show.

D22: Amman (Nansy Hotel)
Petra again and no improvement on the weather. Walked up hill to monastery and high place sacrifice. supposed to have a nice view there, however, the dust storm and mist hm.... Returned to Valentine Inn, we booked Nansy hotel thro' Valentine Inn already. The boss of Nansy hotel just there and offered a free ride to Amman. Not only free ride but free beer. He said he had taken 12 beers since this drive from Aqaba. The speed of the car is over 100 km and also the road surface was with snow. Nevertheless, I safely arrived Amman in 3 hours' time. God bless me. The boss and his brother were very hospitable, not only free beer, free vodka in the hotel with all guests, but also free second hand smoking. anyway they prepared dinner for us also (need to pay this time) yummy meal. His brother learnt cooking in Beirut for a couple of years.

D23 & 24: Plane
Rained again. We went to Roman theatre and Citadel in Amman for a half day sightseeing. We went to the airport in the afternoon. Long long queue outside counter, we feared we could not check in on-time. but all the ppl in the queue were having same flight as us. I didn't understand why I needed not pay JD5 departure tax. Save a new banknote then (which is HKD60 almost). Journey was over. Flied from Amman to Doha and Doha to HK.

I really missed Syria and wanted to revisit sometimes in future. I missed the people, their chocolate and biscuits, and meals everything. I missed everything there.

My travel photos of Jordan and Syria (Yet to be finished)

Monday, December 24, 2007

平安夜


自2000年起,已有7年聖誕是離開香港,2005年的平安夜則是第一次參加mid night mass,地點是Merida, Mexico的Cathedral。

終於能出長咀了!



昨天雖然天氣不太好,但仍堅持前往長咀,皆因再上星期日,本與一班友人出長咀,但礙於花太多時間遊玩於蚺蛇坳下的廢村林屋圍,出長咀之旅便中途告吹。昨天獨自再往長咀,不消個半小時,便已到達東灣營地,但花了一段時間,才能覓得出咀之路,在營地後上的路,路丕尚清,但草較多,加上下雨,原來在沙灘後的上山路較明顯,但入口較為隱蔽。

路上也遇上一些行山人士,被問到,你一人出咀,真犀利。真是啞子食黃蓮,有苦自己知。你估我想。朋友興趣不一,年紀越大,越多事務要處理,越來越難夾時間去旅行或行山,於是獨個兒行山已成習慣,一班人行才是特別節目。旅行亦如是,背包上路,遠走南美,中美等地亦如是,奈何,奈何!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Are you lonesome tonight?

Lonesome George, Galapagos Island, Ecuador

George is the last known individual of the Pinta Island Tortoise. Poor George, last of its kind.

For more information

Latest news (as at 28.7.2008)

George no more lonesome! Lonesome George may end bachelor days on Galapagos

Birds

Galapagos Island, Ecuador

Los Illonos, Venezuela

Los Illonos, Venezuela

Los Illonos, Venezuela

捐血

上星期剛往捐血,在捐血前總會填一份問卷,其中一條問題是過去一年曾否外遊及曾到的地方。每次捐血(其實只有4次)填該項問題總是空位不敷應用,護士總會問我的正職,哈哈。過往一年所到過的地方總會包括瘧疾區,護士總會說,你捐的血要拋棄三分之二,你會否繼續捐血,雖然我的血型是最自私的類型,但答案當然是會捐血。

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Look at yourself!


Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, Sandakan, Malaysia

Merry X'mas

City Palace, Jaipur, India, 2004

Zocalo, Mexico City, Mexico, 2005

Zocalo, Mexico City, Mexico, 2005

Damascus, Syria, 2006

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

Most

1) The longest bus journey: 40 hrs (from El Calafate --> Rio Gallegos --> Buenos Aires)

2) The longest flight time (including transit time): 43 hours (from HK --> Seoul --> Atlanta --> Buenos Aires)

3) The most 'off beaten' country visited: Bangladesh

4) The luckiest thing is getting a Syrian visa at the Jordan/ Syria border!

5) The shortest flight changing time: 10 mins in San Jose, Ecuador (from San Jose to Guatemala City) operated by TACA.

Countries Visited


36+1 countries visited + 90 world heritage sites so far:

Africa: Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia (3)

Asia: Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China (including Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam (15+1)

Australia and Pacific: New Zealand (1)

Europe: Czech, Greece, Hungary, Poland (4)

Middle East: Jordan, Qatar, Syria, Turkey (4)

North America: Mexico, United States (2)

Central America: Costa Rica (1)

South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela (6)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

送給不知怎去保護環境的人(包括我) 及百佳

曲:黃家駒 詞:劉卓輝 編:BEYOND

當偏僻的山裡已不再見稻田
火車總覺路程太短
海中的那渡輪也不再是木船
沙鷗可有令人眷戀

當初的努力只為目前
此刻怎去接受變遷

a 都市中滿灰煙
其實那裡覺得呼吸欠自然
風雨中已瘋癲
誰像以往那麼天真信預言 a

當天空裡漫遊已不再是夢兒
清風總夾著塵與煙
高呼拯救地救已經有數十年
始終只有自由最淺

風光的建造機械樂園
休息工作繼續探險

重唱 a

風光的建造不是樂園
休息工作繼續探險

重唱 a a

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wildlife Part II

Gentoo Penguins, Argentina
Adelaide Penguins, Argentina
Adelaide Penguins, Argentina
Raccoons? Igauzu Fall, Argentina
Butterflies, Igauzu Fall, Argentina

Monday, November 26, 2007

對百佳突然取消停發膠袋計劃感到相當失望

如題,政策短短推出6日便告終,香港人真的不懂環保嗎?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The most special post office in the world


Post Office Bay, Floreana, Galapagos, Ecuador

At Post Office Bay, since the 18th century whalers kept a wooden barrel that served as post office so that mail could be picked up and delivered to their destination mainly Europe and the United States by ships on their way home.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Journey to the end of the world

End of Pan American Highway, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

The Southernmost city in the world, Usuahia, Argentina

Borders


Border between Burma and Thailand


Border between Burma and Thailand (Photo taken in Mai Sai, Thailand)


Border between Argentina and Chile (Tierra del Fuego)


Border between Argentina and Brazil (Iguassu)

坐順風車

去旅行時,已坐過數次順風車:

(一) Chiang Rai, Thailand
在機上遇上一位男士,他媽媽接他機往Mai Sai(泰緬邊境城鎮),正是我們要往的地方,便坐他的車前往。

(二) Bergama, Turkey
一個人旅行,不願包車遊覽Acropolis,從山頂下山的5km路程,烈日當空,4名捷克遊客租了車,義載我下山。

在香港,居然也坐過順風車:

在數期前,行山太夜,差不多到石壁水塘時,一架車由大浪灣村駛出,義載我往金鐘。

在此多謝曾義載過我的朋友。

支持百佳停止派發膠袋

百佳剛於今天停止派發膠袋,此舉絕對值得支持,其餘的超市亦應效法。購物自備環保袋,但我們應充分利用,否則環保袋會變成非常不環保的物品,因它比膠袋更難分解。

Thursday, November 15, 2007

露宿街頭??

從不喜愛預先訂旅館的我,在多年的旅行,也曾險些發生露宿街上的情況。今年農曆年(年初一)曾往Labuan(從馬來西亞前往汶萊)的其中一個口岸,購了年初二早上往Muara, Brunei的船票後,便往找住宿,可能是農曆新年的原因,所有住宿也full,除了Holiday Inn,但一問要700多港元一晚,準備步往碼頭露宿之際,途經一間旅館,剛有人退了房,才無須露宿街上。

2004年南亞海嘯

當時正於印度北部旅行,對海嘯的發生完全一無所知,因所入住的guesthouse沒有電視,海嘯發生後亦沒有致電回港,令屋企人擔心。

一國兩制 One Country Two Systems




香港?? 不是,此處是台灣金門,一海之隔遙望福建廈門。

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

沒有當地貨幣使的日子

出門旅行,總相信只要帶著hard currency,即美金便無往不利(內地及台灣例外),但總有例外的時候。

(一)馬來西亞亞庇(Kota Kinabula)(2007年2月)
於今年的的農曆新年年三十晚,坐夜機從澳門前往KK,Air Asia所停的是新的KK國際機場,但整個機場沒有找換店,沒有櫃員機,坐的士要收馬幣,好彩司機肯把我先載往市中心,再由酒店先墊支的士費(當然我要放下美金作抵押),年三十晚商場的找換店全部關門,因為老板多為中國人。年初一再往找找換店,當然徒然。好在The World's Local Bank,梗有一間在附近,便用HSBC提款卡提取馬幣,除了不收手續法外,兌換率亦不錯。

(二)委內瑞拉Venezuela(2007年7月)
在當地於黑市兌換貨幣是必然,因差價實在太大了。於Caracas機場非常多人會問旅客是否需要換錢,兌換率是1USD=3,600Bolivar,官方價只有2,100多些。換了100USD,足夠往下一站再換(Ciudad Bolivar),於入住的旅館,亦能以3,600的匯率與老板換錢,而報本地團,亦可以美金找數,因此沒有換太多Bolivar。但當我們暢遊完Angel Fall + Los Illonos後,回到首都Caracas時,所餘的Bolivar已不多,不夠找酒店數,酒店的兌換價亦差到與官方價無異,在街上亦找不到黑市兌換。好彩遇上一個換得過多Bolivar的韓國人,跟他換了一些,但兌換率只有3,000。到旅程的最後一天,銀根非常短缺,一日只吃一餐,晚飯就於麥當當解決,重要食Big Mac,飽肚嘛。雖然帶有很多美金,但....唉

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

坐警車

在香港不會有太大機會坐警車吧? 但在外地郤有兩次坐警車的經驗。

(一)內地
早年缺乏旅行經驗,在往景德鎮的公車上,被偷去了機票及金錢,為申辦機票退票手續,必須往公安局備案,以取得報失紙,往九江的派出所備案,星期天,派出所其實沒有開門,但留守職員說,報失紙需要蓋章,而圖章在隊長手,因此坐警車往隊長家中取章。

(二)土耳其
兩年前往土耳其Bursa旅行,想按圖索驥,找出LP推介的酒店,便問在路上的警員,但他們的英文呢....於是他們便用警車載我往酒店。

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What are they?

Luggage scales, domestic terminal, Rangoon airport, Burma
Luggage scales, Heho airport, Burma

Saturday, October 13, 2007

祁麟峰《西貢海嶼美》

自2003年祁公已沒有出新書,期待已久之作,值得推薦。

Monday, October 08, 2007

Dwellings around the World

Beehive Houses, Syria
Kaiping Diaolou, Guangdong Province, China
Earth houses, Yongding County, Fujian Province, China
Water villages, Brunei
Water villages, Tai O, Hong Kong

Sunday, October 07, 2007

旅行於沙士蔓延時

還記得於2003年沙士蔓延時,用了2500元買了英航往倫敦的機票,然後再轉飛東歐,旅遊於波蘭、匈牙利、捷克三國。在入境波蘭時,已被特別對待,但總算能入境。但找住宿時,在一間旅舍住了一晚後,便被職員請我們搬離,因為其他旅客皆”害怕”我們是帶菌者。再會回華沙時,我們選擇住進民宿,便沒有遭人白眼了。但東歐過境的火車,邊境官員一上火車,一見我們持有香港護照,也特別”關照”。

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Smiles

Happy crew members of Rumba, Galapagos Island, Ecuador

Bus Station, Bangladesh

Beehives Houses, Syria

Los Illonos, Venezuela

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ramadan = Indonesian New Year?

日前坐小巴聽得旁邊的太太跟另一太太說,她的印傭正過印尼的新年,日出後已不能進食,要待至傍晚。香港人 .... 現時其實是回教的守齋月Ramadan。

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramadan

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wildlife

Lizard, Los Illonos, Venezuela
Capybara, Los Illonos, Venezuela
Sea Iguana, Galapagos Island, Ecuador
Albatross, Galapagos Island, Ecuador
Blue-foot booby, Galapagos Island, Ecuador
Anaconda, Los Illonos, Venezuela