Woven Pouch

Made this weave last year (08 Feb 14) and didn’t know what to do with it. Finally made it into a zipper pouch (with lining)!

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Woven 28 July 15.jpg

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[31 May 2015] Day 02 – Lazy Day in Shanghai!

We slept in a tad bit this morning as we had such an exhausting day yesterday.  Decided to take it easy and went ‘shopping’ at 七浦路 / Qipu Lu.

It was an exceptionally boring day, randomly walking around the 七浦路 area.  We had a very yummylicious dinner though.  The tooth guy wanted authentic Shanghainess food and so the cousin took us to 小南国.

I quite like the decor of the restaurant.  High ceiling!  The tables next to the windows are really popular.  It wasn’t a busy evening as we went past the locals’ dinner time, but yet there wasn’t any available window table for us.

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The cousin recommended these!  Absolutely yummy! 小南国 31May15 02

The cousin took us for a walk around Laowai Street.  It was renamed from Hongmei Pedestrian Street in 2010.  As the saying goes, the night is still young, the cousin and the tooth guy decided to get a beer at one of the many pubs.  We didn’t stay for too long as the next day is a working day.  They had one beer each and we called it a night.  Actually, we chatted and watched TV when we got home and didn’t go to bed till 2am!

 

 

 

 

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[30 May 2015] Day 01 – Shanghai!

We managed to get a pretty good deal on Singapore Airlines.  Flying into Shanghai and out from Beijing.  We had to book our tickets separately in order to enjoy the promotion fare. Strange that the SQ website doesn’t allow us to enjoy the promotion fare when we tried to make our reservations together.  No big deal, as long as we get a good price on the flights!

It’s not my first trip to Shanghai and Beijing but it’s sort of the tooth guy’s first trip to China.  He has been to Shenzhen (from Hong Kong) and didn’t consider that a trip to China!

The flight was pretty uneventful.  Fully booked as there were groups of students on their China Immersion trip.  Didn’t manage any sleep though I was tired.  We were slightly hungry when we touched down but decided to head to the cousin’s place before getting our tummy filled!  We didn’t last till we get there though.  The metro took too long and we were starving pretty badly.  We went into the convenience store (at the metro stop at the cousin’s) and got something to eat before making our way to the apartment.

The cousin was supposed to be out but decided to stay home to wait for us.  As soon as we put down our bags and washed up, we were out of the apartment!

First stop, Tianzifang 田子坊!  That’s my top favourite in Shanghai!

It was pretty crowded and almost too touristy for my liking!  The tourist crowd has gotten bigger over the years 😦

We were still hungry and went to get more food!

Not sure if it’s a good choice!  Pizza and fries!  Pretty yummy though!  The tooth guy actually wanted local Shanghai food.  Decided to leave that for the ‘proper’ dinner after!Tianzifang 30May15

Apparently the ice-cream drink is the craze now!  And the ice-cream looks really enticing and flavorful!

To be honest, Tianzifang is a disappointment (for me).  Removing it as my must-go and top favorite in Shanghai!

Our next stop is The Bund!  As expected, pretty crowded on a weekend!Shanghai 30May15

We needed a massage pretty badly and I have requested for the cousin to make a reservation for a massage the week before.  We wanted to have our dinner before the massage and had to hurriedly find a place for our yummy dinner.   The cousin took us to a Thai Restaurant, Simply Thai, in a small alley.  It’s a pretty small place and they were pretty crowded despite that the time is way after the locals’ dinner time.  We didn’t want to eat too much as we are having a massage later.

Our yummylicious noodles!  The salad and chicken are really good too!Dinner 30May15

So the tooth guy didn’t manage to have any local food today!

We were sort of rushing for the massage appointment.  As soon as we are done, we walked to the shopping mall where the massage center is located.

Apparently the cousin got ‘cheated’ out of her money for the massage package.  The spa center went bankrupt and another company bought over the spa center and honored the package the cousin bought.  They didn’t fulfill 100% of the terms but definitely it wasn’t a 100% loss for the cousin.

The massage was pretty ok.  Nothing fantastic as compared to Thailand’s!  But it was still good after a hectic period at work!  Pretty sure that we will be able to sleep well tonight!

 

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Specially Made, for a Special Friend

I am clueless what to get for Jack every time I visit.  Decided to make a wallet for him.

Hope he likes it 🙂

wallet-for-jack-24-may-15

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Originally intended it to be a woven pouch.But fell in love with the colours and gradients after leaving it to dry overnight and decided to use it as it is. Managed to find a piece of fabric bought years ago, for the lining. Extremely happy with the end product!

Hand painted zipper pouch with lining

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[02 Mar 2015] Day 11 – Almaty; A Day of Random Walking Around the City!

Slept in this morning.  Spent a fair bit of time surfing the internet and looking/researching for information on where to go and what to see.  Finally got out of the hostel just slightly before noon!

First impression of Almaty, is that it seems like it’s just another European city, not that I have been to most European cities!  Almaty is certainly developed, as many have mentioned on the travel forums and blogs.

01 Almaty Resized

Silk Way City is a trade centre in Almaty that boasts a superb luxurious design. It is spread over 12000 square meters.  It has an ability to serve about 8000 people a day with the help of its 16 computerized cash zone. The manufacturing departments of Silkway offer pastry, bread, cold food, meat, fish and much more produced with the most modern and high technique. It also houses a 4 hall cinema- multiplex equipped with the latest technology.

I didn’t enter the mall as I wasn’t in the tad bit interested in shopping.  All I wanted to do, was to locate the Green Bazaar!

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The United Nations.  Took this photo from the fence/gate.  The guard was gesturing me ‘what are you doing?’ as I was taking the photo.  Had to quickly ‘snap’ and keep the camera away!03 Almaty Resized

Burgers!  Familiar comfort food!  I wasn’t hungry when I chanced upon this.  Was actually hoping to have the local Kazan food before I succumbed to KFC (later)!04 Almaty Resized 05 Almaty Resized

No idea what this building is.06 Almaty Resized

Chinese restaurant!  Though I’m suspecting that this may be a Korean restaurant as there is a large diaspora of ethnic Koreans in Almaty.07 Almaty Resized

So I was hoping to go to the Green Bazaar but after walking for about an hour and not locating it, I gave up and made a turn for Abay.

Doesn’t it look like a developed city in Europe?

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Another shopping mall!10 Almaty Resized

I believe this is a residential apartment!11 Almaty Resized

One of the places I intended to visit.12 Almaty Resized

The Monument of Independence of Kazakhstan at Republic Square in Almaty is the composition of soaring into the sky Saka warrior with a leopard by his feet.13 Almaty Resized 14 Almaty Resized 15 Almaty Resized 16 Almaty Resized 17 Almaty Resized 18 Almaty Resized

The walk back to Arbat Street…19 Almaty Resized 20 Almaty Resized

University in Almaty.21 Almaty Resized

Residential apartments 22 Almaty Resized 23 Almaty Resized

Metro, the Abby stop if I remember …24 Almaty Resized

Where I had my lunch today, KFC!25 Almaty Resized

One can never go wrong with fast food!  One of the better meals I had on the trip!Lunch 02Mar

I was walking way too much today.  Returned to the hostel for a rest and managed to get in touch with a friend, Aika (of a friend of a friend).  Six degrees of separation!

Left the hostel early and realized that I was too early.  Decided to try to find Hard Rock Cafe.  Turns out that Hard Rock ain’t too far from the hostel and hotel.

Hard Rock Cafe 02Mar 01Hard Rock Cafe 02Mar 02

Went in and had a quick look on the shirts available.  They aren’t too pricey, at approximately US$30+ each.  I’m going to get the shirts on my last day in Almaty, to use up all the leftover Tenge.

We met at the Rixos Hotel where Aika’s office is located.  Very impressive interiors!   Rixos Hotel 02Mar

Aika brought me to her favourite cafe.  I had a hot chocolate.  Not the best but I can’t complain!   Pretty interesting deco.  Crowded though it was dinner time.Cafe 02Mar

Aika wasn’t hungry.  I wasn’t too.  However I wanted a proper dinner so Aika brought me to a local restaurant.  Absolutely yummy!  Pretty good meal I had!  Potatoes with mushrooms.  I’m not entirely sure if this is a local dish!Dinner 02Mar

Dinner with Aika 02Mar

There isn’t anything to do after dinner and Aika had to work the next day.  She walked me back to the hostel.  We seem to be the only people on the streets!  Almaty is pretty safe. I don’t think I will be afraid even if I had to walk back (to the hostel) alone.

Pretty good day despite the tiredness from all the walking!

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[01 Mar 2015] Day 10 – Tashkent to Almaty

The train arrived on time at 6.30am in Tashkent.  Didn’t sleep much on the train but wasn’t too tired.  Walked along the tram lines back to Topchan Hostel. Was just standing outside the hostel as apparently Rafa didn’t hear the bell.  I could connect to the wifi so that didn’t bother me.  It wasn’t too cold either.

After an hour of waiting, Rafa finally heard the bell and let me in.  Was informed that it’s better to take a flight to Almaty as it had been raining and the roads were wet.  The Marshrutka goes via the mountains.  Decided that safety is number one priority and booked a noon time flight to Almaty.  Had a chat with Rafa until it was time to leave for the airport.  Took the taxi to the airport and realized that I overpaid (Rafa) for the arrival pickup.  Oh well.

Was pretty early for the flight and couldn’t check in.  People watched and found it interesting that everyone shrink wrapped their bags!

The flight on Air Astana to Almaty was pretty smooth.  Decided that I should continue my adventurous streak and take the local bus to the city.  I took the bus on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and ended up somewhere. Fortunately there was a guy who could speak English.  He missed his stop to the airport. He had to get onto the bus to the airport which was also going the direction of the city.  He helped informed the driver where I wanted to alight.

The only photo for the day!  Ticket machine on the bus.Public Bus 01Mar

So I got off the bus at Abay.  I looked at the map and walked and walked and walked.  I seem to be walking in circles!  Met two young men who used their phones to locate the hostel and walked with me.  They couldn’t speak much English.  They are probably around 19 years and are training with Air Astana to be pilots.  Felt really fortunate to have met nice and friendly locals who helped me today.

When I got to the Almaty Central Hostel, the lady in charge wasn’t around.  Her nephew helped settled me in while she returned.  I was simply too tired to go anywhere.  They gave me a discount voucher for the food court a street away.  The food looked really alien to me! I opt for something familiar, pasta.  It wasn’t too bad.  Just really glad that I’m eating something that I know what it is!

I shared a small room (with no door) within a room with a girl.  It was pretty comfortable. Internet was also stable in Kazakhstan.  For once I could surf the internet smoothly. Managed to sleep pretty well tonight too 🙂

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