Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Hello to everyone who is visiting because of a tip-off from my family's newsletter. I'm glad you are here to look at my humble space on the Internet. I highly recommend a viewing of the pictures of my trip, and a visit to the blog for the film project that I am a part of A Film By Sam Ward. Also, If you leave any comments be sure to include your name so that I will know who you are. Thanks for visiting! Please enjoy your stay and come back again soon as I am always adding new (and hopefully interesting) stuff.
Posted by Paul Hoppe at 12:46 AM
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Our claymation related blog is up and running now. A Film By Sam Ward contains news, pictures, comics, and other stuff dedicated to the world in which our claymation films exist. Go check it out!
Also, if you are into video games, UltraRobotNinja (a friend of mine) has just started a blog about all things gaming related. His first post is about his experiences and thoughts on the Halo 3 Beta (which I got to play with him last night). If you don't know what that means then this may not be the blog for you.
That's all for now.
Posted by Paul Hoppe at 1:14 PM
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
The next day we got up early and drove 2.5 hours to a part of the Great Wall of China called Simetai. It was worth the drive for a couple of reasons. The first is that, being far away from the city means that there were no crowds and it was less touristy. The second is that the location we visited was the highest point on the Great Wall. We were met at Simetai by the pastor of my parents church in Thailand and his family. Their eldest son works with the British government in Beijing and speaks Chinese. He had also been to this place a few times and knew his way around. This allowed us to relax because we didn't have to worry about any of the details and we could just enjoy ourselves. Which we did.
There it is
We got to ride this cable car about 2/3 of the way up.
On the wall
Out the window of a turret.
It's amazing how the wall just keeps winding off into the distant mountains.
A cranny in the turret
Steven up high
Steven enjoying the wind and wall
A family on the wall
The next morning we got up really early and got a taxi back to the airport. From there we all flew to Bangkok and parted ways. I flew back to LAX through Taipei and my family flew straight back to Chiang Mai. So ended the Chinese Whirlwind and my trip to Asia.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
The next morning we took a taxi to Tianamen Square and walked up through the Forbidden City. This sounds simple enough but took a long time and was very taxing on our feet. It was, however, amazing and worth the trip. So... lots of pictures...
The entrance to the Forbidden City
About to enter, Mao is looming.
Walking in (I really liked the lighting in this archway.)
Panorama of the second entrance. David's head is on the right.
Closer to the walls
An idea of the scale
Now we are inside (and we found the Starbucks)
Further towards the north of the walk we came to the gardens
Boys, Dragon, Goldfish
And now we come out the north end and look back across the moat (not pictured) to see the wall that surrounds the city. If there was someone standing over by the trees then you would have a better idea of how huge the wall is. The small tree is about 20 feet tall.
One of my favorite parts of the day was seeing a bunch of men in the park standing around playing various games. These guys were playing Go, but some others were playing cards, chess, and dominoes. There was also lots silence followed by loud spurts of arguing and yelling about various rules and strategies. It was great.
Get ready for part 3!
We were not around for the third day of Songkran because we had to leave for China. We flew into Beijing, took a taxi about an hour to our hotel, and checked in before it got dark. Then we decided to try and walk to find a night market that my Mom had read about. So began our Chinese Whirlwind.
We never found the night market (read: Got lost and walked around for 3 hours) but we did walk through a cool park with some metal sculpture things, and see some cool lanterns hanging around. We did however find a "Snack Street" with some excellent (and some gross) food.
We ate and then walked back to the hotel.
(Part 2 coming up!)
The reason I chose to visit my family at this time of the year was because of Songkran (the Thai new year celebration). It is basically a 3+ day nation-wide water fight in which no one who steps outside is exempt. Chiang Mai is famous for being the best place in the country to celebrate it.
Here's how it works: Half of the city piles all their friends and relatives into the back of a pick-up with buckets and water guns and a giant trash-can full of water. Then they drive around town soaking everyone in sight. The other half of the city stands by the side of the road with hoses, buckets, and water guns soaking everyone in the trucks.
The first day I spent with Steven and his friends in the back of a truck. We were lucky to have a truck with a removable cover and benches in the bed.
I don't have any pictures from the second day as it was spent walking around downtown with David and his friends and I didn't dare take my camera with me. It was an amazing experience and very hard to describe. If you have ever been to a big concert with no seating you know what it is like to stand with people up against you on all sides making it very difficult to walk. Imagine that, except there are trucks full of people that are trying to drive through the middle of it and everyone is:
- Somewhere between slightly and heavily drunk
- Throwing water on everyone else.
It was great.
(OK I lied, I do have pictures from the second day but they were taken in the morning, while riding in the car with my dad. There weren't many people out and traffic was actually moving because most people were still sleeping off their hangovers.)