Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Cashless China's Obsession on Barcode / QR Code Payments

Paying by cash or by Chinese Yuan (RMB) money is slowly going extinct in China. This is for real.

You can see the blue and green barcode / QR codes for payment scanning.

Personally, I cannot be bothered having cash with me. I have always preferred to pay via card. Not credit card but a debit card. I believe the Netherlands is one of the major cashless societies in the world. You can say I am a perfect example of a cashless citizen. I only have cash money with me when I travel abroad, for just-in-case situations you know.

However, my experience in China proved to be in a different league. Firstly, card payment has never become mainstream in China. Instead, the country is obsessed with paying by smartphone through QR codes.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Taking the Fastest Train in the World: Magnetic Levitation "Maglev Train" in Shanghai

China is a multifaceted country that is changing through the times and growing at breakneck speed. It is unbelievable to see the transformation of a once communist country to becoming the largest economy in the whole world.

As of 2017, there are 115 Chinese companies in the Global Fortune 500 list. 3 of the top 5 are Chinese companies. 10 years ago was a different story. Having been to China twice now, mainland China that is, and not counting Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan which I have been to as well, I can only say that the country is truly making history. Proving to the world as it charges through to an incredible phase of technological and economic advancement.

I would recommend to travellers who want to visit the country to visit now because many traditional places of interest are slowly going down the path of extinction. They are being taken down or camouflaged with modernisation. Preservation is only for what the government deemed as highly historical and of cultural value to the country.

Old wet markets, traditional shop houses, and the daily street hawking scenes are sadly slowly disappearing in most Chinese city streets. That’s what I have learned and noticed during my last visit to Shanghai.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Postcards from Kaikoura and Christchurch, New Zealand

The last leg of my road trips in New Zealand was Christchurch.

The iconic Christchurch city (tour) tram.

Christchurch hit the world headlines when an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale struck the city back in 2011. The city has never been the same again and traces of the quake aftermath can still be seen today.

We took the coastal route from Picton - Havelock - Renwick/Blenheim to Christchurch, passing through Kekerengu and Kaikoura. The coastal drive was very scenic and relaxing, although we had some delays because of the roadworks. We originally planned on taking the other route via the Nelson Lakes but the coastal highway is the fastest route from the north to Christchurch so we took heed.

Christchurch is the third most-populous city after Wellington and Auckland.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Postcards from Marlborough Wine Country: Picton and Blenheim

I must say that this is one of my favourite places in New Zealand, the Marlborough region in the South Island.

Marlborough is known in New Zealand as the wine country but it is also home to beautiful coastal waterways, peninsulas, islands, and fjords which are called "sounds" there. It is a lovely place that has bitten me.

Many people have told me that the South Island is beautiful so I was quite expecting it really and I can only agree to it. However, I have only managed to see a part of Marlborough and Canterbury and I am aching to see more of the island! I need to drag the Dutchman here in the very near future.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

Postcards from Windy Wellington (New Zealand)

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand. It is also the windiest capital or city that I have ever been to.

It can get pretty windy here in the Netherlands but nothing beats the wind in Wellington. The Northerly and Southerly winds are funneled through the passage on Cook straight slapping Wellingtonians with approximately 100 km/ph winds, which have become quite normal to the locals. Newbies faced with these winds tend to run and shelter themselves but Wellingtonians just see it as another breath of fresh air.

In the south of France, they have a name for a similar strong wind, the Mistral. In Wellington, they just call it the Northerly or the Southerly.

The city is also quite small, smaller than its northern sister, Auckland. I have earlier mentioned in my previous Auckland postcard picture entry that Auckland has a small city feel to it. Wellington, on the other hand, much smaller, has a town city feel to it.

So just a few pictures of this windy capital for now.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

Saturday, May 19, 2018

New Zealand Nature Postcards from Castlepoint, Napier and Masterton

Castlepoint on the coast in the south of North Island, New Zealand.

New Zealand's natural beauty has many faces.

Our road trip unexpectedly took a turn and brought us to a route that we did not plan at all. However, this was a route that I, personally, have enjoyed so much. We camped here at the beach and it was my best night ever. I remember the lovely sound of the waves of the sea lulling me to sleep and waking me up in the morning.

Hope you enjoy a few of the pictures. The real story of this part of the road trip will follow soon.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

More NZ Postcards from Hobbiton, Rotorua and Taupo

New Zealand is divided into 2 islands: North Island and the South Island.

One of the hobbit houses in the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, North Island.

Our road trip began in Auckland and we managed to visit many places along the way in the North Island.

In this entry are just a few pictures highlighting our road trip stops in Rotorua and Lake Taupo which were the first 2 days of the road trip. I was quite amazed to see and learn that there were just so many things to see and do. It is too bad that we do not have enough time. I mean don't we all not have any enough time?

I have added a few Hobbiton pictures here as well, which is not part of our road trip. I went here on my own after our road trip. For those who do not know what Hobbiton is, it's the Hobbit scene from the famous Lord of the Rings book/movie.

[To see the rest of the postcard pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

Friday, May 18, 2018

Kia Ora! Auckland Postcards

My visit to New Zealand was fantabulous!

Auckland city center in the Harbour area.

I only had 10 days for this visit which means I was only able to see a few places and I need to come back =)

Auckland, by the way, is NOT the capital of New Zealand. I heard it was before, but then the government elected to move it to Wellington. Auckland, however, is the most populated city and is the economic hub of the country. That said, this is where my sister lives.

So this is just a few pictures to start off the Auckland stories...

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Postcard Glimpse of Zhouzhuang Water Village in China

Trivia: Did you know that China has many water towns?

I managed to visit one of these popular water towns on the Yangtze River through a day tour I booked at my hotel. I didn't really have much choice which water town to choose from since that day I booked was a Sunday and it was a holiday in China, which means only a few tour operators were working that day.

Because of the language barrier, tour operators are heaven sent in this country.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Postcards from Suzhou, China

My visit to Suzhou was not planned at all...

On the Grand Canal in Suzhou.

It was a last minute thing that I totally did not regret. Suzhou is one of the oldest cities in China that dates back to 514 BC. It is often called as "Paradise" by the locals because of the many gardens that litter the place.

I first heard about Suzhou through the Shanghainese girl I met on the flight from Amsterdam to Shanghai. She's lived in the Netherlands about the same time as me and go home to Shanghai on a yearly basis. She told me that Hangzhou and Suzhou are my best bet if I want to spend a day outside of Shanghai. Both places are not too far away. So I took her word and chose Suzhou because the day trip I found was combined with another place that I wanted to visit.

These are just a few pictures though that I took in Suzhou...

[To see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

Monday, May 14, 2018

Ni Hao! Postcards from Shanghai, China

My apologies for the long radio silence. I was busy travelling =)

Moi at one of the rooftop bars on the Bund with the Pudong skyline.

When I travel long distance I tend to go offline, although I did manage to post a picture of my wine glass with the Shanghai Pudong skyline in the background on my personal Facebook page, but that's about it. I did not want to ignore the blog and social media, but I just can't help being sucked into the reality of what's before me -- travelling.

So yeah, sorry... but I am back! Back to give some love to my blog =)

It was a long trip visiting many cities and towns in China and New Zealand, with my last leg ending in Hong Kong. This means lots of souvenir photos. In fact, I have almost 3,000 photos!!!! 2,982 to be exact, haha.

So I will start with a few postcard pictures of my first leg of this trip -- SHANGHAI.

[To see the rest of my postcard pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

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