Cambodia 2014: Part 1

Cambodia 2014: Part 1

Helloooo there!

It’s been a whole week since I got back from my travels. I’ve been entertaining in China, saying farewell in Hong Kong and now London has claimed Phil back (damn you London!)

Aaaand that brings me up to the here and now; this is the first real opportunity I’ve had all week to sit down and post about my holiday in Cambodia! I’m really excited to share this with you guys, Cambodia has been one of my all time favorite travel destinations so far. It may be a poor, barren country but it is filled with some of the most amazing, friendliest people I’ve ever encountered not to mention the delicious food, rich history and the prettiest coastline I’ve ever seen!

I started writing this and realised it was gonna be much longer than I originally thought. I don’t know if that’s because there’s so much to share or just because I tend to waffle… either way I’ve decided to split the blog in half and cover Siem Reap in this part and then Sihanoukville/Koh Rong in part 2. I’ve included some of my favourite pictures from the trip and a day by day run through of what we got up to, I hope you enjoy reading and potentially become inspired to pay a visit to South East Asia yourselves :)

Day 1 – Arriving in Siem Reap
Unfortunately, the holiday didn’t start off in the best way as flight delays and broken phones meant that despite our planes landing next to each other we completely missed each other because we hadn’t planned for things not going to plan!

What ensued was your typical ScoobyDoo-esque comedy chase sequence, you know when they’re chasing the monster and keep criss-crossing through different doors, narrowly missing each other? I ended up driving back and forth round the town between the hotel and the airport in a tuk tuk keeping an eye out for a lost-looking Phil because I didn’t think he knew which hotel we were staying at and he was nowhere to be seen at the airport (which by the way is tiny!) Meanwhile Phil eventually did make his way to the hotel in a taxi as luckily he had the name of it written in an old message on his phone, and he was found waiting patiently in the lobby probably feeling rather confused as to where on earth I had been.

After all of the shenanigans we checked in, caught up and went for an explore/food.

Not far from our hotel we stumbled upon Pub Street, the party hub of Siem Reap. I tried Khmer Traditional Curry which was lovely but Phil didn’t have quite so much luck with his food choice and ended up suffering thanks to an unidentifiable spicy pepper thingy – potentially a Cambodian Kampot pepper? We ended up getting swept up in the atmosphere after dinner and moved on to the cleverly named Angkor What? bar (Angkor Wat being the main tourist attraction of the town) where we took full advantage of the dirt-cheap drink prices. I think we both felt we deserved it, although we also both agreed that we couldn’t do the same every night…Pub Street was great fun but I felt over all that it was just a little bit too westernized and rowdy for me!

All in all, day one of the holiday was a funny one. We definitely have a story to tell :)

Day 2 – Temples and Tuk Tuks

After a morning dip in the hotel pool and a yummy omelette for breakfast we headed out with Lane, the Tuk Tuk driver from the previous night. He drove us to a temple and would then wait until we were done before taking us to the next one. he just seemed to know when we were done and be there ready. The agenda for the day was to see Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm and Bayon. The temple ruins are massive so it took hours! We unleashed our inner Tomb Raider inside Ta Prohm which is where Angelina Jolie filmed the movie. Well I say “we”… actually I just kept darting round corners and jumping on rocks while Phil tried to pretend he wasn’t with me…

In the evening we dined at a Beatles themed restaurant called the Yellow Sub (nice burgers!) and then payed a visit to the night market where Phil bought the brightest pair of fake Ray-Bans he could find for 4USD (he then wore these sunglasses at every opportunity he could for the rest of the holiday!)

Day 3 – An eye-opening experience

This day was by far my most favourite day of the holiday. I had booked us on to a day tour with Triple Adventure  to get away from the temples an tourist traps and out into the rural countryside to see what life in Cambodia was like in reality. Click the link if you want more information – I highly recommend them for anyone else considering a trip to Siem Reap. We met with Pak in the morning who turned into a firm friend over the course of the day. He took us to pick up some bicycles via an old fishing market. Once we had adjusted our seats we set off and cycled round the dusty roads of a local village called Bakong.

Pak stopped in a lot of interesting places along the way to talk to us about local life, we got to see how villagers went about their daily routine. He showed us how families farm and make Palm sugar from the palm trees, explaining the process from start to finish. We saw local wells and disturbingly low standards of water hygiene which really makes you grateful for what we have in the UK. We cycled past a traditional Buddhist ceremony, went to a local primary school to say hello to the children and then stopped off at an alligator farm. We were even able to cycle to an abandoned temple ruin (inaccessible by car) in the forest.



By this point our stomachs were rumbling so Pak took us to another village where we had dinner at a local stilt house. It was simple, filling food cooked by an old Khmer lady who is paid by the tour company to provide lunch for the guests. I lay down in a hammock on the balcony to let my dinner go down while Phil and Pak bonded and spoke about Pak’s dreams of one day owning his own tour company in Thailand – which we are both sure he will be successful with and we would definitely pay good money for!!


After dinner we changed our mode of transport to a boat and sailed down the river, witnessing first hand how closely 
Cambodian life is tied to this major waterway. Many of the people we saw catching fish in the river would be selling their gains to the market we passed through earlier in the day. In fact the majority of locals here sustained their lives purely through the fishing industry. The boat eventually reached the floating village of Kompong Khleang on the largest fresh water lake in SE Asia (the Tonle Sap)

 


There was a floating school, church and even a market boat that floats by each house every day for villagers to make purchases. I had never seen anything like it and was astounded by what I saw, it’s such a completely different way of life to anything I’ve ever known. Pak explained that the people living in Kompong Khleang were actually Vietnamese Cambodians, a minority group who are quite vulnerable to discrimination because of the difficult history and relationship between Cambodia and Vietnam.




There was quite a lot to take in on this day, after we were done at the floating village Pak took us back home. He stopped at the side of the road to treat us to some bamboo sticky rice which was really yummy and rounded off the trip nicely. We were absolutely knackered by the time we got to the hotel! Pak if you’re reading this, thank you for an incredibly day :)

Dinner was at a training restaurant called Haven and was easily the best food of the holiday, it’s a Swiss owned place which gives employment to vulnerable young adults from orphanages and shelters as well as the underprivileged from rural areas. The concept is that by giving these young adults life skills, housing and a stable income they are giving them a chance in life and the opportunity to create a safe future. You can easily see why this place gets such good ratings, it was more than just the food that made it special it was the whole experience. We tried to go again the next night but it was fully booked!

It was certainly better than the street food option of fried spiders!:

Day 4 – The final day in Siem Reap!!

So by this point we felt like we had pretty much seen everything Siem Reap had to offer, later today we would be heading towards the beaches in the south but not before one last adventure. On day 4 we got up at 4.30am to go and watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. This is something we were told not to miss and the view didn’t disappoint. we had to use the torches on our phone to get into the temple complex and find somewhere good to stand as it was pitch black when we went in. Then it was just a case of waiting, watching and appreciating. There were A LOT of tourists, i’m not exactly a morning person so it surprised me just how many people (including myself) were willingly out of bed at such a stupid hour of the morning. It was a shame that it was so crowded but I suppose that’s just what comes with it being the number one thing on most people’s itineraries. I’m glad we went to see the sunrise even though we were both really tired because like many things about this trip it was something I’m not likely to forget for a very long time.

By this point we were wide awake and Phil had arranged with his “brother” (the friendly Cambodian hotel man) to go QUAD BIKING at around 10am, so off we went. I was slightly terrified of the idea of me on a quad bike, I’m way too clumsy when I’m walking let alone in charge of a vehicle but once I’d got the hang of it I loved it! And I suppose it was an achievement that I didn’t fall off or seriously injure myself, I actually did more harm to myself walking along the beach in Sihanoukville… Anyway, this was Phil’s favourite activity of the whole holiday and I can understand why because there was nothing quite like it that we did all week. He said it reminded him of a video game driving round terrain you wouldn’t normally see. Here we are in our gear and there’s a picture of the pagoda we visited thrown in for good measure:

 

And that’s everything for the first half of the trip! WOW that’s long. If you’ve read this far you deserve a medal. I don’t have any medals to give you, but if I did then you’d definitely get one.

Beachy blog coming soon :)

 

PS: If you didn’t pick up the vibes from everything I’ve written – I LOVED CAMBODIAAAAAAAA

 

Not much to report but here’s a quick post…

Well hello there! :)

We’ve now reached the end of February – That went quick didn’t it?! I have finally stopped mistakenly writing “2013″ on the whiteboard at school and frantically changing the 3 to a 4 before one of the kids notices. I think that officially means we are well and truly into 2014!

Since I last wrote nothing too note-worthy has happened, I’ve just been getting back into the swing of things at school after half term and re-acquainting myself with my 6am alarm. Normally a 6am alarm would make me the grumpiest person ever… in the past not even the smell of bacon being wafted towards my bedroom could tempt me away from my cosy sanctuary before mid-morning without being a massive grump (ask my mum, she has tried!) I think it helps knowing that I’m getting up to do something I really enjoy every day.

I’ve recently gotten back in to reading which i’m really happy about – I’ve finished “Girl, Missing” which was really gripping despite the fact it was clearly targeted at 15 year olds (I got it from the school library!) I’ve started reading the sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones and I have “Cloud Atlas” waiting for me after that. I’d really like to get back into the ASOIAF series by George R.R. Martin at some point also as I stopped reading midway through “A Clash of Kings” due to uni commitments last year. So I’m also going to see if I can get hold of a copy of that! Getting lost in a really good novel is something I have really missed. Any suggestions for good reads are welcome! I’ve been told I need to read “The Book Thief” – I’ve gone from reading nothing to wanting to read everything all at once – must slow down! haha.
 
The other most recent development has been my decision to enter myself for a 10k race in July for Cancer Research. There are personal reasons behind this which I’ll go into at a later date (i’ll blog with a link to a fundraising page nearer the time) but yeah, I need to get myself from couch potato to decent runner in just over 4 months – I’m sure that’s do-able! I’ve started slow by beginning to walk home from work a few days a week rather than taking a taxi. It’s a nice 40min scenic route around the lake by school so It’s quite pleasant. Especially with headhphones in. It’s about time I started to exercise more really and hopefully I might also be able to get into better shape ready for that Easter beach holiday which is creeping up scarily fast!
 
That’s all this time I’m afraid. I will endeavor to have some more adventures and do more interesting things between now and the next time I write so that it’s a little more thrilling to read!!Ciao,

Pippa

Hong Kong in photos :)

So if you’ve been keeping up you’ll know I’m currently on a 2 week break from school for the Chinese New Year – I know I know, such a part-timer…

Since I’m trying to keep a tight hold on my finances at the moment I didn’t want to head too far afield and spend a load of money on flights. It was looking like a long (although relaxing) two weeks in Guangzhou until I suddenly thought “hang on a minute, you’re only a hop, skip and a jump away from Hong Kong and now is the perfect time to be there, why not just go?!”

So I booked some train tickets for myself and fellow ‘BSG-er’ Gemma to arrive in Hong Kong on Wednesday afternoon because, as a wise man called Drake once said: “YOLO.”

After checking in to our hostels we met with Jason and had a nice little wander around Causeway bay – my favourite area of Hong Kong!

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We then headed towards Victoria Park. Now, it would seem this was the exact same idea as thousands of others because it was MAJORLY crowded. We briefly walked around  the “Lunar New Year Fair” which was less like a fair and more like a huge market with stall after stall of toy sellers.  There were so many people around that you couldn’t do much other than shuffle forwards down a one way system…

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We soon decided to escape the crowds and go for a more chilled out option: a walk (or “jog” – see photo below!) through the part of the park which wasn’t sectioned off for the fair..
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By this point it was almost dinner time and we were due to meet up with some friends in just over an hour. This left us just enough time to squeeze in a quick return trip across the harbor on the infamous Star Ferry (2.5$ one way with arguably one of the best views of Hong Kong Island you’re likely to get during any visit to the City)

It was my first time on the Star Ferry and I was VERY excited.


…and for good reason! Look at the views, it seemed extra special since the sun was setting on our way across :)

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Wednesday evening was finished off  nicely with dinner at a vegetarian Indian restaurant  followed by too much free champagne at Carnegie’s in Wan Chai. Every Wednesday is Ladies Night in Hong Kong you see which means free drinks galore!

Not the best photo of me but hey ho! (probably something to do with the fact I was on my third glass of champagne by this point tehehe)SAM_1480

Wow that’s only one half day covered… best move on to Thursday! This is the day we headed to Ocean Park. This is one of two theme parks in Hong Kong, the other one being Disneyland. Ocean Park is slightly cheaper but has much more on offer – we were glad to have chosen to go there rather than Disney as apparently the Hong Kong Disney is pretty small and aimed at younger kids. After working at Disney in Paris I think I would have been disappointed, Ocean Park certainly didn’t disappoint, lots of photos were taken so I’ve tried to only include a few favourites…

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I got to see PENGUINS! If you know me, you know how much of a big deal this is ^.^ (“)>


There was also a really good show called “Ocean Wonders” with Dolphins and Seals…

The Cable Cars were scarily high, but provided stunning views!

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The whole park was actually situated in such an amazing location, surrounded by the sea and mountains.IMG_2429
The aquarium was impressive…
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And last but not least, HEY LOOK – A PANDA! :)


We had such a great day but were so tired after being on our feet for hours and hours, Thursday night was a fairly quiet one. I found my perfect restaurant…

It’s a bit of a running joke at school that I’m addicted to Coke (the drink!)  because I seem to have one pretty much every day. Bad habits Pippa! tut tut

We didn’t actually eat here though, we ate in the place next door and then watched a street performer before heading back to the hostel for an early night.

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Friday was officially the beginning of Chinese New Year and by this point the city was buzzing, you could literally feel the atmosphere bubbling up – it really was an incredible time to be in Hong Kong. Nick visited Wong Tai Sin Temple with his relatives at 4am and said it was absolutely packed with people wishing to Buddha and burning incense as is tradition at this time of the year. The closer to midnight that you visit the temple the more luck you are said to have for the year to come.

The main event of the day was the Night Parade organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Cathay Pacific. Two of the guys we met for dinner on Wednesday evening were dancing in the parade so we were keen to get a good spot in order to see them do their thing.
We met on the Avenue of Stars around 5 with some drinks, the Avenue is basically Hong Kong’s version of Hollywood Boulevard. Around 6 we then headed to Nathan Road to get a prime viewing spot – the Parade didn’t start till much later but if we had arrived any later there’s no way we would have gotten such a good spot, we were right on the barrier! We even got interviewed by a Hong Kong news broadcaster so I guess that means we will have been on TV somewhere on Friday night which is pretty cool!

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Some of the performers on stilts took my camera and took a photograph of us, they were dressed as clowns which freaked poor Gemma out as she has a bit of a fear of clowns – uh oh!

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Here are Johnny and Nick along with their workmates:

And here’s a video I threw together of the rest of the parade…

On Saturday we decided to lie in as the parade and the subsequent night out in Lan Kwai Fon had left us knackered!

IMG_2769^Outside a bar in Lan Kwai Fon

I had to move to a different hostel in the morning as the rooms in Causeway Bay were all sold out, it was in a pretty cool area though and quite close to where we needed to be later in the evening, there were so many markets in the area so I went for a little explore…

Gemma and I took an afternoon trip to Lam Tsuen Wishing square after lunch to take part in another Chinese New Year tradition: Throwing an orange into the wishing tree!

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You make your wish on the paper by ticking boxes which correspond to your wish – as you can see I chose for “all my wishes to come true” (the cheat’s option!) and “peace in my whole family”
You also write your own personal wish on the back, but i’m not going to reveal what mine was for fear that it won’t come true!
You then throw the (fake) orange with wish attached by a piece of string towards the tree and if it sticks on a branch.. hey presto, wish granted!
So hopefully mine will come true as it’s up there somewhere :)

We met up with Nick again for the fireworks which were AMAZING. I mean London’s show back on Dec 31st was great but I saw it from quite a distance, this time the show was RIGHT above me and went on for about half an hour. I ❤ Fireworks so I was pretty content standing there and taking it all in.

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The crowds after the fireworks. ^

I had a really wonderful time, this was my 4th time to Hong Kong since i’ve been out here and it never fails to disappoint. I am happy to be back in Guangzhou now though so that I can relax and go at a bit of a slower pace for the next week :)

That being said I’m sure there will still be things going on even around here; the Chinese sure know how to drag on a celebration don’t they! We only get one night for our Western New Year and the only real tradition we have is getting sozzled and  maybe having a midnight kiss if we’re lucky. I definitely think we should take a leaf out of China’s book and extend our New Year by a few days and throw fruit in to trees and stuff.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this photo diary of my trip. Big shout out and love to Aunty Ruth who I know reads every post ! Mwaaaah xx

Ciao, love from Pippa!

Gong Xi Fa Cai – May the new year bring you joy and prosperity

Ni Hao!!

I love Chinese New Year and all the red and gold that goes along with it.  I love the sense of anticipation leading up to the holidays. I love seeing all of these traditions that I didn’t know existed before I came out here, kids getting excited at the prospect of receiving money in lucky red envelopes. Hundreds of orange trees lining the streets (oranges bring luck, apparently) Everywhere slowly but surely being draped in red and gold, lanterns and lights. The “Fu” symbol appearing (upside down) on doorways everywhere… People anxiously filling up the train stations buying tickets to travel ridiculously long distances just to see their family. I love how for a while now the build up to this big, major celebration can be seen and felt in the markets, streets, and homes all across the city. It’s gotta be said though, most of all…I love getting even more time off of work!!

Having only been back at work for a few weeks I am now currently enjoying another two week holiday which so far I have been spending chilling out, filling my belly and meeting with friends.

Right before we broke up I got into the spirit of things at school along with a handful of other teachers, we performed our own Dragon Dance for the kids (with a bit of a modern twist!)

We also made paper lanterns, dressed in traditional clothes and had special musical performances and assemblies – it was a short but very enjoyable few weeks at work.

Tomorrow I am heading for the bright lights of  Hong Kong where I’ll be watching a street parade on Friday night full of  performers and real dragon dancers. Then on Saturday there is going to be a fireworks display along the harbour rumoured to rival (if not top) the London fireworks last month! Majorly looking forward to that and I will of course upload some pictures of my Hong Kong trip next time.  I start back at work again on the 10th February and then its a mere 6 weeks until the next holiday (Cambodiaaaa!)

Since the last time I posted I have gotten back into the swing of things at school and been keeping super busy. I have spent most of my evenings eating out at either the local Japanese restaurant that serves a mean Katsu curry or my favourite no-frills Cantonese restaurant where they do the nicest dumplings, garlic broccoli and BBQ pork/rice combo! I went exploring round an older part of town with a few friends last weekend which was fun and I also finally bit the bullet and took to the stage for some karaoke for the first time for Veronika’s birthday. When in China…

Vicky, Me, Queenie and Ellen near Chen Clan Academy IMG_2239 IMG_2199

See ya soon!! :D

-Xin Nian Kuai Le (Happy New Year!!)

PS: For anyone interested in a bit of Chinese culture…there are many stories and legends to explain the beginning of the Chinese zodiac but here is my favorite. I really enjoyed learning it with my year 2 class :) ……..

 

Long ago, in China, the Jade Emperor decided there should be a way of measuring time. On his birthday he told the animals that there was to be a swimming race. The first twelve animals across the fast flowing river would be the winners and they would each have a year of the zodiac named after them.

All the animals lined up along the river bank. The rat and the cat, who were good friends, were worried because they were poor swimmers. Being clever they asked the strong ox if he would carry them across the river.

‘Of course’ said the kind ox. ‘Just climb on my back and I will take you across.’

The rat and the cat quickly jumped up and were very excited when the ox soon took the lead in the race. They had almost reached the other bank when the rat pushed the cat into the river leaving him to struggle in the water. Then just before the ox was about to win the race the rat leapt on his head and on to the bank to finish first.

‘Well done,’ said the Jade Emperor to the proud rat. ‘The first year of the zodiac will be named after you.’

The poor ox had been tricked into second place and the second year of the zodiac was named after him.

Shortly after the exhausted tiger clawed his way to the river bank to claim third place. Swimming across the river had been an enormous struggle for him against the strong currents. The Emperor was so delighted with his efforts that he named the third year after him.

Next to arrive was the rabbit, who hadn’t swum across at all. He hopped across on some stepping stones and then found a floating log which carried him to the shore.

‘I shall be very happy to call the fourth year after you,’ the surprised Jade Emperor explained.

Just then a kind dragon swooped down to take fifth place.

‘Why didn’t you win the race, as you can fly as well as swim?’ the Jade Emperor asked.

‘I was held up because some people and animals needed water to drink. I needed to make some rain,’ the dragon explained. ‘Then when I was nearly here I saw a poor little rabbit on a log in the water and I blew a puff of wind so that the log would float to the river bank.’

‘Well that was very kind of you and now you are here you will have the fifth year of the zodiac named after you.’

The next thing the Jade Emperor heard was the sound of the horse’s hooves. Just as he was thinking the horse would be the next animal to arrive, a sneaky snake wriggled out from around one of the horse’s hooves. The horse was so surprised that he jumped backwards giving the snake a chance to take the sixth place in the race. The poor horse had to be satisfied with seventh place.

Not long afterwards a raft arrived carrying the goat, the monkey and the rooster. They explained to the Emperor how they had shared the raft that the rooster had found. The goat and monkey had cleared weeds and pushed the raft to the shore. The Emperor was very pleased that the animals had worked together. He said the goat would be the eighth zodiac animal, the monkey the ninth and the rooster the tenth.

The next animal to finish was the dog.

‘Why are you so late when you are one of the best swimmers?’ asked the Jade Emperor.

‘The water in the river was so clean that I had to have a bath on the way,’ explained the dog.

His reward was to have the eleventh year named after him.

Now there was one place left in the zodiac and the Emperor wondered when the last winner would come. He had nearly given up when he heard a grunt from the boar.

‘You took a long time to cross the river,’ said the Emperor to the boar.

‘I was hungry and stopped to eat,’ explained the boar. ‘After the meal I felt so tired that I fell asleep.’

‘You have still done well,’ said the Jade Emperor. ‘The last year of the zodiac will be named after you.’

As for the cat who had been pushed into the water by the rat, he finally crawled out of the water but was too late to have a year named after him. He felt very cross with the rat and since then cats have never been friends with rats.

From that day to this the Chinese Zodiac has followed this cycle of years named after these twelve animals.

 

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Back to the bloggin’

First of all a belated HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone reading :) There are more of you than I thought who regularly read this blog and take the time to give me feedback so thank you and I hope you continue to do so!

Before the Christmas holidays I had been posting some 90′s nostalgia-inducing links, but as expected things got super busy in the run up to Christmas and it kind of fell by the way-side. I did enjoy going over some old classic movies and TV shows though! I’m going to move on and get back to documenting what i’m up to in China for the time being..

Some highlights from the last few weeks of term included:

  • Meeting Sven Goran Erikkson when he came to our school to coach football to the secondary students.
  • Performing in a pantomime and LOVING IT. Something I would have never have done a couple of years back due to lack of confidence so I’m proud of myself :)
  • Joining in a pub crawl around the city with 300 other fellow merry-makers dressed as Santa Claus which was fun if not a little bit crazy
  • Finally realising what I want to do with my life and consequently beginning to make applications for PGCEs and look into job options for next year 
  • Dressing as a witch for the day for a school book fair because I seem to end up getting involved in just about anything out here.
  • Discovering that Macdonalds delivers in China. Yep they DELIVER. To your HOUSE. WITHIN 15 MINUTES :O
  • Tutoring the children of a lovely Chinese family who live in my villa complex who have also begun to cook for me so when I’m not taking advantage of the above-mentioned cheeky Macdonalds deliveries I’ve been getting to try lots of new and authentic home-cooked Chinese food!

It was a fab end to a long but enjoyable 11 working weeks and then for the first time in 5 months I went home to spend time with loved ones over Christmas and New Year – It was a much needed energy boost and I’ve come back out to China now in such a positive frame of mind with a spring in my step, a smile on my face and a much needed new wardrobe! I had been getting a little sick of looking at myself in the mirror last year as I was living out of a suitcase and re-hashing the same 4/5 outfits day in day out. Big thanks to mum for the mother-daughter shopping/bonding day we had :)

So far since I’ve been back I have met Yakubu in my local pub (football player, used to play for Everton – now plays for Guangzhou) I’ve just signed up to take part in a “dragon dance” for the up-coming Chinese New Year – no idea what it involves but it sounds fun. I am  inthe middle of finalizing travel plans which include Cambodia for Easter, my birthday weekend in Hong Kong and a long weekend in Beijing in May- CAN’T WAIT! Oh and I have somehow managed to end up shooting a portfolio and get put on the books of a Chinese modelling agency. Yep you did read that right, I am now technically not only a TA but also an out-of-work Part Time Model. Hilarious. It must be that “‘mountain high’ beautiful and long western nose” of mine that the Chinese like to point out to me at any given opportunity.

Aaaaanyway… I’m off to catch some much needed sleep now – the jet lag hasn’t been so bad but after one week back of teaching and diving right into the social side of things full throttle i’m already knackered - Hoping to post on here realistically once a fortnight to keep y’all up to date with what’s going on, also hoping to share some stories and keep in touch with what’s going on back home too of course so if you’re reading and we’ve not spoken for a while then please do drop me a line and let me know how you are getting on :)

Until next time…

Ciao !

Pippa xxx

Back to the 90s – Part II – Movies

Movie time now, who remembers watching THESE classics?

My top 10 not animated:
1)  The Witches – The main witch scared me sooo much!

2) Matilda – Another Roald Dahl classic, I still love the song Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root cause of this :)

3) Free Willy  - apparently when I was little I ran into the dining room and asked “Mummy what’s a willy?!!”  she was a bit shocked and asked where I saw the word. I replied “in a magazine!” Now she was really quite concerned so she asked me to bring the magazine to her. It was the TV guide and Free Willy was the film they were showing that day… This story still gets wheeled out on family occasions to this day.

4) Never Ending Story – I had the board game version of this too…  really good fantasy !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj3hP36veKk

5) A Little Princess – I had this and “The Secret Garden” on VHS tape, both by Warner Bros – This is such a heartwarming film, and taught me that all girls are princesses! The Indian stories in it were so cool. “Magic has to be believed, that’s the only way it is real”

6) Jumanji – This needs no bigging up really – EPIC film! I kinda wanted to play the game even though I knew it’d mean trouble

7) Mrs Doubtfire – I didn’t realise Piers Brosnan is in this?! This is sooo good

8) Caspar – :’)

9) Homeward bound – Best movie ending of my childhood. Oh the feels !!!  I can’t handle the feels! Shaaaadowwww!

10) Flubber – The robot dying made me cry EVERY SINGLE TIME. :’(

Animated:
1) The Lion King - hard to pick a fave Disney film but this is definitely up with the best of them. I’d say top 3!

2) Aladdin and the King of Thieves – The original was good too obviously but this was a straight to DVD sequel and for some reason I remember watching it more than actual Aladdin, this is the one where he meets his dad and there’s the sinking island :P

3) Toy Story – Never gets old. Falling with Style!

4) The Swan Princess – This wasn’t Disney, not sure what it was but I really used to like it :) there was a sequel also with an evil queen or something?

5) The Rescuers/ The Black Cauldron – I’m cheating a little bit here and putting two movies together – but these often get overlooked and were around the same time!

6) Hercules - ZERO TO HERO! need I say more?

7) The Adventures of Mumfie – This was sort of a crossover between a TV series and a movie – it was basically a movie in lots of small parts. This was my go to thing to put on if I was ill. Even now i’m older i sometimes dig out the video or watch it on youtube if i’m not feeling to good cause it always makes me feel better – he’s the little pachyderm with the great big heart!

8) The BFG – This film actually had a song about farting in it… yep. “wizz pop, wizz bang feel the bubbles go down!”  Here’s a bit of it, with Italian subtitles for some reason xD

9) Thumbelina – Thumbelinaaaaaaaaaaaa. I watched this on repeat! I’ve linked the nice song where they’re dancing and also the whole movie cause I’m sure a few people will wanna watch this one again ;)

10) Fantasia – The bit shown below was always my favourite and of course the sorcerer’s apprentice with Mickey Mouse :)

Ahhhh I want to re-watch all of these in full now :)

Taking all you 90s kids down memory lane… Childhood TV!

Hey guys,

So lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my childhood, getting a little bit nostalgic for the 90s!
I guess it has stemmed from working with young kids, who tell me about what they like to watch on TV and which toys they play with. Everything is so different for kids these days! I’m only 22, I can’t believe i’m using the phrase “kids these days” but it’s true, things have changed so much from when I was growing up. So i started off by watching a few introductions from the shows I used to watch and it escalated quickly into an evening of reminiscing. Some of the things I rediscovered are pure gems and it seems criminal not to share them!

I’ve been inspired to start off a mini little blog series of “throwbacks to the 90′s(ish)”
I say “ish” because a few thing will probably creep in from a little later on, I was born in 1991 so I’m just on the cusp of being a 90s baby really – my pre-teen years were actually in the early noughties!

Anyway I’ll post movies, games and toys, food, music and all sorts of other stuff we thought was cool when we were growing up in the next week or so before Christmas and hopefully it’ll bring back some memories for anyone reading! To start off i’m going for the TV shows. It’s a MAMMOTH post, I don’t expect you to get through it all but if you’re prepared for the rewarding long haul journey down memory lane then I’d go and get yourself a cup of tea or something cause you might be here a while ;)

Travel and China posts will resume after this little detour!

Oh and please do get in touch and let me know if any of these strike a chord with you or if there are any more you think deserve to be added to the list!

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Let’s start off with the really young stuff, I watched these things when I was under 6? I’d imagine!

Dinosaurs
I used to LOVE this, I found it so funny! I also had a tape version that my poor mum and dad would have to sit through on long car journeys!

Old Bear and Friends
Really fuzzy feeling seeing this again – such lovely stories! The Christmas Star one was the best !

Noddy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gd4GZA3mXd8h

Come Outside!
Here’s that episode when she found out all about POOP. Yep, we all watched and enjoyed this. I used to get called Pippin a lot at school because of Aunt Mabel’s dog!

Rosie and Jim
This would be on when I got home from school, catchy theme tune ;) you’re singing it, I know you are :P

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mZINlso9tA

Tots TV
Again this was one of my favourites, maybe this is where i got my love of French from!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_q4jYMgE9I

Tom and Jerry
A classic of course!

Postman Pat

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiFNt8nGffA

Pingu
I LOVE penguins and I LOVED Pingu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vHoUBmat14

Sooty and Sweep

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei2hO9ZoumM

Bodger and Badger
Does anyone remember the other version of the intro song people used to sing? “everybody knows that badger picks his nose, he licks it he flicks it he wipes it on his clothes!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep_gUtPMc9A

Flinstones
Yabbadabbadooooo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PPf3aaZmUw

Rupert Bear

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUanVsBdjKQ

Playdays
I used to love the ginger cat :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEKNryqRjvw

Some more classic cartons! …

Count Duckula
I remember watching this in Germany

Dr Zitbag’s Transylvania Pet Shop
Took me a while to find this one, I had to google “women with lightning bolts in their hair” to get it! They were quite memorable haha

Looney Tunes

I Am Weasel
“You don’t need pants for the victory dance cause baboons better than weasel!”

Dexters Lab
“DEE DEE!!!”

Hey Arnold!
Was it just me who thought he was wearing a kilt? Its his long shirt apparently!

Pinky and the Brain
THIS WAS THE BEST!

Pokemon
Gotta catch em all! used to watch the episodes on Saturday mornings during SMTV Live

Cow and chicken
So random and weird, yet pretty good!

Wacky races
Another classic

Powerpuff Girls
The opening is sooo good!

Recess
Used to love Spinelli, the little bad-ass!

Arthur
And the coolest theme song award goes to…

Rugrats
Can’t miss this one off the list really can I?!?

Typical after school viewing…

ZZzap!
The hand puppet thing, and the girl in yellow and black…weeeird

Art Attack
Loved this so much, so many ideas, so little time!

The Worst Witch
This show made me want to be a witch

The Queens Nose

Bernard’s Watch
To this day i still wish I had a watch like this

Fun House
Gutted I never actually got to go in the fun house, it was my secret childhood dream :P

My Parent’s Are Aliens

Get Your Own Back
Dunk dunk dunk dunk!

The Demon Headmaster
Creeped me out !

Saturday evenings with the family…
Catchphrase
It’s good but it’s not right! Say what you see!

Blind Date

Moment of Truth

Family Fortunes

Supermarket sweep
I always used to want to apply to go on it, still kinda do :P

Wheel Of Fortune

Price is Right
Nice to see you, to see you NICE!

Play your Cards Right

Stars in their eyes
Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqUU8G_1tmo

Crystal maze
Intense

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dy553E_oa0

You’ve been framed
The original youtube if you think about it..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QN5Qahhvno

The generation game (With Jim Davidson)
Really difficult to do the bit at the end!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpSPw7tIvQY

Big Break
Daddy daughter viewing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KreRVGvJn9A

Getting a bit older now…

Friends
Unaaaagi

Two Of A Kind
Absolutely idolised the Olsen twins!

Clarissa Explains it All

Keanan and Kel
Who loves Orange Soda?? I do i do i do-ooooo

Sabrina the Teenage Witch
I first saw this cause it came on TV in our kitchen, and then I used to try and find it on the TV to watch whenever I could after that and my dad would be like “turn that rubbish off!” but i’d be like “IT’s SOOOO GOOD!” – With this and the Worst Witch I definitely knew I wanted to be a witch :P

Sister sister
Tia and Tamera were sasssyyy

Kim Possible

Lzzie Maguire

That’s So Raven

Okay so the last three were early 00′s – but like i explained earlier they were very much part of my childhood since I was about 11/12 when they were out and so i’m wacking them on the end!

Till next time!

Ciao,
Pippa