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Follow her as she prepares and partakes the "bread for the stomach" in http://beforesixdiet.blogspot.com/ . And while you are full at it, she offers you the "bread for the soul" in her travels by foot and by thoughts in http://footandfire.blogspot.com/ Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Terracotta Army of Xi'an, China



I can't believe I was not able to churn out something about Xi'an in my blog. 
So here is my late blog of my February 2012 Xi'an trip. Xi'an is the old capital of China.
This is a photo of me with the thousands of dug terracotta army behind me.
This is literally a complex of terracotta army and horses as well as weaponry. 
The digging is not yet complete and it is still being continued.
This is how a human can go only to assure of his immortality.
Contrary to some grumbling by foreigners,
I don't mind that these armies are far from the touch and smell of the tourists since 
these images are centuries old, and so they should be preserved very well. 
And even if preserving them means keeping them meters away from the tourists..

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An army and his horse in a glass casing, for up close scrutiny of the tourists.

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Encased kneeling army.

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Close up photo of the digging.

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Unfinished diggings.

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Some more armies.

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The army. They have different faces and expressions. 
A few is reported to have colors.

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Closer I get...

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This is fake. Those in front of me and beside me are replica 
while those at the back are in the tarpaulin.

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Terracotta Horse.

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This house the armies and their horses. 
There are more diggings to do...

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I promise to Travel and Write like Inhale and Exhale...




BOHOL BUTTERFLY GARDEN. I wish today that I can narrate how tickled I was 
when these two butterflies were placed right on my ears like earrings. yeeeeey.

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       One of the reasons I travel is because I want to write. And I discovered lately that in order to chronicle my travels itself, I have to write right away. Otherwise, the thrill, the zest, the freshness of the recollection will be abandoned to almost forgetfulness. Photos help but it is not everything there is. There is a crisp quality in one's writing when done right after the travel as well as magical feeling after putting everything down. I am not referring to insights and essays which can be written even years after as a reflection. I just miss the chronicling of what happened. Those moments one do not want to forget because they are fleeting moments. I don't even want to forget the name of the guide or places we went to. While I have a lot of backlog of travels to tell (One reason, I can't blog well and efficiently before as I can today), I promise to be this prompt with words in my future travels. As in photos these days, I should also be instant with my chronicles. I have to inhale the beauty of my travels and exhale them right away in my writings. This is one reason why Foot and Fire is born.    

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Memorable People, Food and Stuffs in Sa Pa valley, North of Vietnam





           In this photo, I am with Mr. Vudao, a former tour guide and now the bubbly owner of a bookstore with English books in Sa Pa Valley. He accepts swaps of books too. I bought the bio of Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese Folktales, and he gave me discounts. This is his first time to meet Filipinos... He said he will still be in that bookstore when we get back... and even after a thousand more years, he added... His email add is vudaosapa@gmail.com.

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 My friend Bernadette sitting beside Peter Thoung of Peter Coffeeshop 
and now the recently opened Sapa Backpackers.. This makeshift coffee corner is facing the small classroom where minority children were taught basic English so they can communicate with tourists. Tourism is one source of income for the minorities in SaPa Valley. More information on Sapa Backpackers here.


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We added our Philippine Flag and Mabuhay greetings on the wall of the classroom.

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With Lala, our cheerful, 17-year-old guide who dreams to go to college too.
She can make out a conversation in English and she learned the language through tourist also.


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With makulit na staff at the Global Sapa Hotel. We love their food here.

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Peaches. tasted my first peach here in Sapa.

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Memorable Grilled Chicken Sandwich for me....

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The smiling buddha for some luck. 
In Sapa I bought some sketches from obscure artists.

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Buddha in bamboo.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

SAPA at night (North of Vietnam destination)





We freely roamed the park in the middle of SaPa Valley and had a great time with the tripod and our poses. We love the relaxing atmosphere of SaPa, despite the fact that Vietnamese walk fast as in brisk walking for us. We also love the maintenance of the plants in the park... 

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A Catholic Church in Sapa is near the market where the tribal people are selling
their goods from bags to dresses to peaches.

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We passed by a stall roasting Lechon de leche...

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By the lake of the Sapa Park.

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Sorry, I have no flashy flash. I just got this hazy photo.
But this is for your bird's eyeview of Sapa at night only.

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The intricately designed plant at the park.

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By the garden in the park. Nice flowers. Pretty ladies.

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Click, click before she breezes through me, lol.


At the lake. In the morning, one can ride in their duck boat for sure.

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Relaxing Two days in Sa Pa Valley, North of Vietnam




With our cheerful Guide Lala of the Black H'mong Tribe.

Reaching Sapa Valley from Hanoi is one fun overnight ride of 12 hours via train. It was a smooth sleep for all of us when we were going there (we left nighttime and arrived in the morning) but it was like sleeping under a bowling lane when we rode an old train going back to Hanoi (we left in the afternoon and arrived around past midnight). We anticipated the stop to Lao Cai Train Station upon arriving a town away from Sapa. Since English just made it to Vietnam, we listened to the announcements very well as to which station are we already in. While our Vietnamese neighbors in the bunk seemed to be too happy to help and exchange words with us, the language just gets in the way.

DAY ONE

When we arrived in Sapa, we were greeted by a cool weather (think of Baguio City) and in fact, it drizzled. On our first day we went up to the Muong Hoa valley mountain and down to a waterfall in our Cat cat trekking. We enjoyed the spectacular view of the beautiful valley towards Fansipan, the highest peak in Viet Nam and Indochina. From afar, we also saw the hydroelectric power station established by the French perched in the mountains. Along the way, we passed by We were guided by Lala of Black Hmong Tribe. The village of the Black Hmong Tribe is full of souvenir items, most of the designs are hand-made. We saw people embroidering and sewing their fabrics. I was able to buy a bright orange duffel bag with admirable details and some detailed wallets. Since we were able to pass by a store which uses Marijuana fiber (and displays a Marijuana plant outside the store), I immediately asked Lala if my bag bears the same and she quickly assured me that it is a different bag. We also had sugarcane juice in one of the house cum store there. It was also an interesting trek because we stopped in a community cultural center and watched a dance show and we saw ala tinikling dance there. We likewise passed by the rice terraces (think of our Banaue) before capping the day with strolling in the night market and picture-taking in Sapa Plaza fronting the Sapa Hotel.



This is the hydroelectric power station established by the French.

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The Ladies of the tribe who peddles their handmade products.

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The happy ladies with their bags.

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Stores and stalls along the way.

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Going down the waterfall and the cultural center where we saw Tinikling.

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The Marijuana plant. 
"The bags behind are some of the designs unique to certain Vietnamese tribes. 
Since we were able to pass by a store which uses Marijuana fiber (and displays a Marijuana plant outside the store), I immediately asked Lala if my bag bears the same and she quickly assured me that it is a different bag."

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The falls.

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The rice field with the terraces up close.

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The terraces from afar.

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The suspension bridge.

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We stopped for the sugarcane juice.

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This is the bag I meant above. 
I bought one in Saigon (2010)  and this is my second bag of same design (2012).


DAY TWO

On our second day, we headed for the valley by van while most tourists are walking (haha!) to visit two villages of the H'mong and the Dzay. We stopped for photos of the rice terraces and the village where our 17-year-old guide is residing. We planned to have a picnic lunch with a local family but preferred to have a snack at the hotel (Sapa Global hotel is highly recommended) instead as we will be leaving right after the trek. We visited community museums, (must be the Red Dzao in GiangTaChai village or Y Linh Ho village with Black H’mong tribe), and we stopped in a picturesque waterfall and suspension bridge. If not pressed with time, we would love to take the tour which features homestay with the local family.


The community museum of tribal dresses.

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Women of another as can be told from their dress.

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That's a baby behind her.

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The women of H'mong Tribe (There is black and flower of this tribe).

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The last photo during the trip that I had was this woman carrying the charcoal, 
and either waving as greeting or as objection to the photographing.