5 years ago I was doing a 30 day challenge of getting to know me, the author and creator of this crazy beautiful blog, and in one of the challenge posts I had to shuffle my ipod and name the top 10 songs that come out. So 5 years later I want to do the same post and see how my music tastes have evolved or changed. So lets get straight to it, but this time ill make it my top 20 songs. 😀
So let me expose myself once again and lets see whats playing in my ipod, which by the way has over 500 songs so this should be rather interesting:
2pac feat Dr Dre- California love
Mr Vegas- thinking out loud( reggae remix)
Jahboy- Love yourself
Davido feat Mafikizolo- Tchelete
The script- Superheroes
Kem- Introduction to intimacy
2pac- Slow motion
T- pain- Bartender
Fighting temptations- He still loves me
Rich Gang- Lifestyle
G Eazy- You got me
Dej Loaf-Hey there
Jay Park- Sex Trip
D’Angelo- How does it feel
R Kelly- Downlow
Drake- From time
Sean Kingston- One away
Swiss- Blue bayou
Kygo- I’m in love
So there it is.. As always my taste in music is very diverse. Do share what is your favourite song right now with me. I love knowing what people are listening to because I think it says a bit about what they are going through in their lives at that particular period..
1 car… 3 adults…5 kids.. That’s all it took for my family road trip to get underway. I have always wanted to take a road trip with my family, having traveled extensively by myself I really had no expectations for this trip. I was a little scared that it will not go off according to plan, with 5 kids( 4 of them under the age of 10) I
knew it was going to be a challenge traveling with all of them. The one year old basically needed us to have everything of hers, diapers, food, milk, car seat, constant attention and not to mention all her bottles and milton, the 4 year old needed constant coddling and the twin 8 year olds needed a referee to keep them from killing each other every 5 minutes.
I am getting a bit ahead of myself, let me back up and start from the very beginning. We started off in Lobatse, Botswana and our final Destination was Swakopmund, Namibia( approximately a 1700 km drive through 2 very beautiful countries) and we planned to make the drive in 2 days, with a layover in Gobabis Namibia which is about 100km from the Namibian border. The plan was to try and make it into Namibia the first day so that we would not have to travel too long the following day and we could enjoy the last remnants of daylight in Swakopmund. We left Lobatse at 5 am on the 19th of December, driving through the beauty that is Botswana, the sky was clear and blue, and what makes this road special is that after you pass Jwaneng you get to experience driving along a high way with wild animals gracefully gracing on the banks of the road since the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is along that road. You can spot different animals from horses, cattle, warthog to Ostriches, Springboks, Foxes, Elephants and
if you are lucky even Lions( though those usually come out during the night and it is advised that you should not drive on this road at night since there are high chances of
accidents because of the animals), this was a treat for the kids as they tried to identify the different animals along the road. Spending the whole day on the road like this meant we had to pack food for breakfast and lunch pit stops and along the whole road there are different rest stops with shades and benches for one to relax, stretch their legs and take bathrooms which is exactly what we did. We got to the border around 6pm and the rush to get through everything as quickly as possible was imperative because there were a lot of people crossing that day, seemed like everyone was on their way to the ocean for their Christmas vacations and the Namibian border
officials were the friendliest and most accommodating border officials I have ever encountered, they made sure to help everyone quickly and sufficiently with a smile on their face the whole time. For the next 2 hours after crossing the border we were awed by the beauty and cleanliness of Namibia, not a rogue plastic bag in sight, the country is beautiful, with mountains and sand dunes along the sides of the roads, watching the sun set behind beautiful sand dunes was an amazing experience.
After a night spent in Gobabis, driving through the capital of Namibia Windhoek( which is planned beautifully, the buildings cascade down the mountains and sand dunes) and many other cities, we arrived at our destination( Swakopmund, Namibia) at 12 mid day and took the customary tourist picture in front of the welcome sign. Let
me give you a brief introduction of Swakopmund. Sandwiched between Atlantic rollers and the Namib Desert, Swakopmund is one of those great traveler way stations along the African road. At once Namibia’s adventure capital and surreal colonial remnant, part destination in its own right and part launchpad for an exploration of the Skeleton Coast and Namib Desert, this is a city with as much personality as it has sea frontage. Like Lüderitz on the south coast, the half-timbered German architecture, seaside promenandes and the town’s pervasive Gemütlichkeit, a distinctively
German appreciation of comfort and hospitality, Swakopmund, especially out of season, can feel like a holiday town along Germany’s North Sea and Baltic coasts transplanted onto African soil. But the city is also thoroughly African and its multi-dimensional appeal means that most people end up staying longer than they planned.We had just enough time to find out hotel which by the way was in the most convenient and breath taking location. Dolphin Park resort sits midway between Walvis bay and Swakopmund which is perfect because its the midway point between where you can enjoy the beach( Swakopmund) and the huge sand dunes( Walvis Bay).
There is tons of things you could do in Swakopmund, you can take a helicopter tour of the dunes and even sky jump if you are an adrenaline junkie like myself, or if you prefer an on the ground tour you can rent quad bikes and just spend the day cruising up and down the sand dunes or even pay for a camel ride around the dunes if you are brave enough to get on one. If you feel like you have had enough of that you can even take your own 4 whealer and follow the tour guides as they drive along the dunes, going up the dunes in fast speeds( though you need to have experience with driving in the desert otherwise your car might not survive the drive). If you get tired of the scotching heat of the desert you can go and spend a day at the beach swimming in the beautiful Atlantic ocean, Surrounded by the Namib Desert on three sides and the cold Atlantic waters to the west, Swakopmund enjoys a mild desert climate (BWn, according to the Köppen climate classification). The average temperature ranges between 15 °C (59 °F) to 25 °C (77 °F). Rainfall is less than 20 mm per year, making gutters and drainpipes on buildings a rarity. The cold Benguela current supplies moisture for the area in the form of fog that can reach as deep as 140 km (87 mi) inland. Fogs that originate offshore from the collision of the cold Benguela Current and warm air from the Hadley Cell create a fog belt that frequently envelops parts of the Namib desert. If you love surfing then the Swakop Atlantic ocean is the perfect place for you to surf in Africa, historically the rest of the surfing world has overlooked the country’s 1,572 km of daunting coastline.
But in 2008 an expedition by an American surfing magazine changed all this when it revealed a wave peeling for two kilometres along the edge of the Namib Desert. The wave, dubbed Skeleton Bay, was so perfect and cylindrical it allowed surfers to ride deep inside the curl from start to finish.
Word of this phenomenon quickly spread across the globe and today the tubes of Skeleton Bay are as coveted as the diamonds that wash up along Namibia’s shores. Well, by surfers at least, who jet in from as far afield as Hawaii and Australia to pit themselves against the never-ending wall of water.
However, contrary to popular belief, Skeleton Bay was surfed long before 2008. In fact, a group of Namibian diamond divers used to ride it on their windsurfers back in the 1980s. So you can be sure you will catch the best waves in Swakop. The trip was an absolute adventure and the kids had the best time especially since it was their first time to see an Ocean and the desert, 2 birds, 1 stone. And as we were headed back on the long drive back after a week all they could talk about was swimming in the Ocean, riding Camels and quad bikes, and driving through the country in grannie’s car. Not only did they get to experience all of these, they also got to see their first sun rise as we were headed back to Lobatse.
Namibia is definitely one of the best places I have been, the people are beautiful and friendly, the food is delicious, the police love foreigners and they are very welcoming and treat everyone with the utmost respect, the scenery is out of this world and leaves you in awe and there is more than enough to do for all the time that you are there so you would never be bored. If you are the type of person who loves partying, this is the number one party spot, there is nothing like a Bon fire party on the beach and there are lots of night clubs and bars as well as casinos for all your pleasures.
Day 3 was for sure the day that I felt more like a foreigner than any other days during the whole trip. Tianshui City was once the first stop that the Silk Road made upon entering the Gansu Province. Situated in the southeastern region of Gansu, it lies halfway between Lanzhou and Xian, and along the upper branch of the Weihe River, where Shaanxi, Gansu and Sichuan provinces converge.
We went to the Fuxi Temple, now let me give you a little bit of history about the temple. Fu Xi Temple was originally built to commemorate Fu Xi, a legendary ruler of great antiquity. It is said that Fu Xi was born in Tianshui. Fu Xi Temple was built in 1490 of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and rebuilt in 1524 of Qing Dynasty (1616-1911). The temple has three rows of buildings, with the front gate facing south.
From south to north are the memorial archways, temples, the terrace, stele pavilion, the main hall and the ancient cypresses in the 3,700 mu (1 mu equals 0.0667 hectare) of the temple yard. The construction of the temple is of typical Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) style with symmetric structures, formed and precise layout, and marvelous carved beams and painted rafters.
The Hall of the Deceased King built on the open terrace in the central yard is the main building in Fu Xi Temple. With double eaves and corbel brackets (set of brackets between crossbeams and columns, each set consisting of tiers of outstretching arms called gong, cushioned with trapezoidal blocks called dou), colored glaze pantiles and the ornamental design of dragon mouth, the whole building looks very primitive but elegant.
The moment we arrived at the temple we were given a task to take the funniest picture we could take as a competition of the day. Whenever I go to a small town in China I always end up being the tourist attraction of the day, resulting in me taking countless pictures with Chinese people, so I decided that since I was already attracting so much attention from the locals in Tianshu, I wanted to see how much more attention I could generate just from standing there. So I found a high stoop in the Temple and just stood there to see if people will come forth to try and take pictures with me.
Needless to say that the experiment went further than we expected, within a few minutes we had people lining up like a concert to take pictures. One after the other they posed with me, each one wanting a picture. The moment we decided we were done they kept following us throughout the temple wanting more pictures. It was controlled chaos for the next 2hours while we were in the temple grounds. The plan completely backfired on us and we ended up having to leave sooner than we wanted to because we caused way too much commotion.
I would say if you wanna see how friendly local Tianshu people are and how beautiful the temples and historical places are definitely book your ticket today..
The second day of the trip we went to visit the Terra Cotta museum where we would learn about all the history of the clay sculptures of the armies in the museum.
The Terracotta Army, aka Terracotta Warriors and Horses, are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is around 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum in Lintong, Xian, Shaanxi Province.
Let me start off by giving you a quick history about the army, upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun to work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life. It is also rumored that the people hired to build and bury the mausoleum were all killed in order to preserve the secrecy of where it was. Some locals even claim that the museum was built in order to confuse enemies into thinking that there was a massive army waiting to slaughter them when they charged into their territory, i’m not sure how true this is or if it is just a folk tale but I personally believe this is an ingenious idea.
A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists
immediately. They came to Xian in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin
Dynasty (211-206 BC). Most of the statues have major damage because of the many years they have been buried and most of them got destroyed during their unearthing.
We were taught about the different roles of the different sculptures and why they were created and I found it fascinating that the museum has been preserved so well for thousands of years and the Chinese government is really astonishing when it comes to taking care of historical places for decades. I believe this is the only country in the world that takes historical and cultural monuments so seriously and respectfully, the preservation of historical monuments in China is of no comparison with any other country that I have traveled to and it would do many countries good to bench mark on their methods of preservation in order to attract more tourists
After the Terra Cotta museum we went to the Shaanxi History Museum where we got to see all the inscriptions on the walls that have been there for thousands of years and it was an educational experience.
After the long walk around the mausoleum, we went to have lunch then set about going for a tour around the wall around the city the best way you can, with couple bicycles(that you rent on site) which was in no way an easy feat， but the view
from the top of the wall was well worth it. You can see all of the city below from the top and the mountains do not make for a bad picture as well.
After a day well spent walking around and learning and soaking in history we wanted to paint the town red, we decided to go out and explore once again the small town at night and managed to find a few
bars open and because of the large amount of tourists that pour into the town the bar promoters were all over the streets trying to lure us into each of their bars with promises of a good time, alcohol and music, which we got in spades. We ended up in a small pub which served foreign bear and offered us an opportunity to play our own music and even sing up on the stage if we wanted to.
Xian is definitely a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China
Hello World…It has been ages since I last posted anything, life…school..work..school has been keeping me busier than I would like but I’m back now and I’m back for good..There have been a lot of changes in my life since I last posted.
I moved from Malaysia..to Botswana and finally to Beijing China where I currently live and for the next few posts I will be catching all of you up on my travel adventures since that time back. Starting with my awesome historic trip across the Silk Road last summer.
Day 1: Beijing to Xian
As a traveler, being told that I will get a chance to travel four cities for free with some of my best friends is the best news I can hear all day. But when I realized that I will be traveling with over 30 people I did not know what to expect, there were to be too many people from over fifteen different countries and you never know if cultural boundaries will be crossed. Will there be a lot of misunderstandings; will I like all the people I will be traveling with, will the foreign students get along with the Chinese students? There were too many questions and not enough answers and as an explorer I was more than looking forward to unveiling the questions.
Meeting everyone for the first time was nerve wrecking, with so many personalities all in one place there is bound to be clashes, my expectations were low with people but high with the trip, and they were definitely surpassed. The moment everyone meant we bonded immediately, we were assigned our partners and even though we did not know how those partnerships were chosen we were excited to get to know each other more. From the get go the foreign
students were all paired up with Chinese students and partner, Joy and I hit it off like a house on fire from the moment we started getting to know each other.Her profile stated that she is an avid reader, writer and traveler, so i knew right away that we were going to build a strong friendship and I couldn’t wait to learn all about her travels and her hobbies.
The journey started off in Xian, Xi’an is often called the birthplace of Chinese civilization. Capital of Shaanxi Province and eastern end to the Silk Road, the history and cultural significance of Xi’an stretches through China’s ancient past and into its bright future.
Xi’an was the capital city of 13 imperial dynasties, the most for any city, and many ancient structures are preserved. “The First Emperor” united China from his base in the Xi’an area, and he has left a mighty legacy.
We took the train from Beijing to Xian and when we arrived we were whisked straight to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. It was the best way to begin our trip because not only did we get to see the famous Pagoda, we also got to learn a lot about Chinese culture on the very first day of our trip. Even though it was extremely hot in Xian, the excitement overwhelmed the fatigue and heat we were experiencing. We got a chance to see a shadow play and to try and create a play of
our own which was no small feat. We created the love story of the millennia, an emperor and his concubine want to spend the rest of their lives together, they go through trials and errors to finally end up being together even though the whole village and country did not want them to be together. Their union is celebrated with a huge ceremony and partying.
We then got a chance to walk around the Small Wild Goose Pagoda grounds and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, even though it was scotching hot throughout the day we found ways to have a good time. We had some ice cream to cool off, took tons of pictures(ok, maybe more like hundreds of pictures) met interesting and very curious locals and I even got a chance to bang the bell.
After the visiting the Pagoda we went to check into our hotel and have dinner and a little bit of relaxation. When we were well rested we decided to explore Xian at night and it was beautiful. We went to the night market and also took a walk in the city discovering the beauty of the city at night.
There is not much of a party or night club life in Xian, most places close down by 10pm and its either you head back to your hotel to sleep or you find a way entertain yourself like we did. One thing about Xian is that it is a very safe place, even though we had never been there before we ended up just walking around the small town for hours exploring the small town never at any time feeling like we were in any danger until we eventually went back to our hotel to call it a night and prepare for the day after.
Tune in Next week for part 2 of my very awesome trip….
I’m, pretty sure I have found the secret to happiness.. Or at least the secret to my own happiness. It’s all about your mind, heart and soul.
Happiness is when all of these aspects of your being are in sync. When they are all at peace you attain happiness. But when one of them is out of sync, when your heart hurts, your soul and your mind lose focus, they become conflicted, confused because one piece of you is not well. When your soul hurts you lose passion, you lose peace and your mind and heart feel drained, you feel tired all the time, you can not be the same as you were before. And because of that your body also become tired, unable to go on the same as before.
So if you want to attain that happiness again, you have to find the peace, and the only way to find the peace is to go back to doing that give you passion, the things that bring you laughter and joy. To take a break and just feel everything that you need to feel. To not bottle up feelings because when they eventually come out they will overwhelm you, they will over flow and you will not know what to do, how to control and capture them.
A little over a week ago a discovered the word “Human Zoos”.. Makes you wonder right? What could that possibly mean? If you are like me and have never heard of this before then you are probably puzzled.
Lets take a walk down history lane a bit. and FYI this might be a bit explicit and make you feel sad, angry or even nauseous, but it is part of history and it has me interested so if you think you might not be able to handle it I suggest you turn right back around and close the page.
Unfortunately, human zoos are yet another uncomfortable example of the world’s flawed past of racism and what’s worse is they happen to be a part of our recent history. Racism has come a long way since the 1800s, but it still occurs today. These wildly flawed incidents of the past are horrific, but should not be forgotten. Along with paying homage to those who suffered, acknowledging these acute examples of racism in our past often reflects the issues of today that will undoubtedly shock and appal generations to come.
It was not too long ago that people from France, Belgium, Germany, and other countries came to visit humans who were locked up in cages. In these zoos, humans were on exhibit in front of a large audience, locked in with animals at a local zoo.
Hundreds of thousands of people would visit these minorities who were on display like animals. The humans zoos were a large attraction, as 18 million came to visit the World Fair in 1889, held in Paris. Over four hundred Aboriginals and Africans were displayed in front of large crowds of people, stripped down half-naked and thrown into cages.
Africans, Asians, and Indigenous people were often caged and displayed in a makeshift “natural habitat.” The human displays were very popular and were shown at world fairs from Paris to New York.
At the 1931 Paris World Fair, this exhibit was so successful that it drew 34 million visitors.Indigenous people are shown participating in archery in 1904 in St Louis at an event whites organized called the “Savage Olympics Exhibition.”
Humans zoos were very popular in Europe during the late 1800s until the mid 1900s. North America was not to be outdone, though, as they also got into the human zoo game.
Women were recruited( and when I say recruited I really mean enslaved) to work in a Paris zoo because of a genetic characteristic known as steatopygia – protuberant buttocks and elongated labia. Europeans went to the zoo to stare at their curves, amazing that the obsession with the big butt isnt just a new thing, because these women where different they were sexualized, treated like sexual creatures because of the way they were built, they believed that their bodies where unusual and overly sexual and therefore deserve to be treated like sexual creatures. Men and women alike would go to these exhibitions to see them, to touch their bodies( their butts, their private parts and their breasts) as they wish.
A 20 year-old girl from South Africa known as Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman would be emblematic of the dark era that gave rise to the popularity of human zoos. She was recruited by an exotic animal-dealer on location in Cape Town and traveled to London in 1810 to take part in an exhibition. The young woman went willingly under the pretense that she would find wealth and fame. Exhibitors were looking for certain qualities in their ‘exotic’ recruits that either coincided with the European beauty ideal or offered unexpected novelty. Sarah had a genetic characteristic known as steatopygia; a protuberant buttocks and elongated labia.
She found herself being exhibited in cages at sideshow attractions dressed in tight-fitting clothing that violated any cultural norms of decency at the time. A few years later she came to Paris where racial anthropologists poked and prodded and made their theories. Sarah eventually turned to prostitution to support herself and drank heavily. She had been in Europe for only four years.
When she died in poverty, Sarah’s skeleton, sexual organs and brain were put on display at the Museum of Mankind in Paris where they remained until 1974. In 2002, President Nelson Mandela formally requested the repatriation of her remains. Nearly two hundred years after she had stood on deck and watched her world disappear behind her, Sarah Baartman finally went home, where the air smelled of buchu and mint, and the veld called out her name.
We have come far as humanity, for things like this to not be happening anymore, but it is always good to never forget our history so that we do not make the same mistakes we did before.