Posted by: joanagirbal | June 17, 2010

Expo Shanghai 2010

The Expo here was built in a Chinese scale in the two sides of the river. In Portugal I was living right next to expo 1998 so I find these places very interesting in terms of what they can leave as a mark in the Landscape.

There wer very interestinge pavillions , some very boring, and others impossible to visit (China, Japan, Saudi) due to the 3h in line.

Personaly I don’t find the big corck Portuguese pavillion very pretty. Moreover seeing that we try to pass the image of a country that is trying to rely on 40% of renewable resources makes me laugh (why do i need to be an imigrant if there are so many dams to be constructed??!!?). We present an electrical car in an exibition with electrical Buses!!!! Clearly someone didn’t do the homework.

10 Points for the Macau restaurant cathering the food!!!! Moelas, salada de polvo e caldo verde…. foi um belo repasto! 🙂

Posted by: joanagirbal | June 17, 2010


Shanghai is a great city! It really feels good being in the middle of technology, cars,  pollution, building, lights… So many things that I wasn’t suppose to miss, but now i realise that they are part of my reality otherwise why would I be glad to see them again…

Shanghai is like Paris in terms of fashion, New York in modernety and London for the weather… (or maybe is me being too long in the jungle). If your wallet can handle it, I highly recommend!

The number 4, is a sign of bad luck, therefore there is no 4th floor in the hotels nor room 14. (14 is even worse)…

Posted by: joanagirbal | May 18, 2010


Ni hao! Finally news from China 🙂

I am writing this post and at the same time the woman in front of me is spitting in her fingers to change the page of the newspaper! I hope to be able to concentrate in my post!

These first days I have been in Hangzhou, a “small” city with 4M habitents and considered by the Chinese a holiday spot. Everything in this city turn around the lake, the west lake!

To be honest with you the Chinese seem very “normal” people and hangzhou is just a developed city as any other in Europe, maybe even more organized!

Chinese love music therefore they like to go to the lake to do some sort of free performances for free… is just a way to spend the afternoon. Typically woman pretend to be man and vice-versa when they choose to sing a typical song. Either they sing very bad or my ears are not used to the tones they use.

I stayed in the Portuguese/Chinese house ran by Cecilia and Luis. It is really funny to see how the hell a portuguese can match a chinese girl. It was really good to be in a real house house again, to lie on the sofa and watch a movie…. This only so far was only beaten by the one described hereafter…

PASTEIS DE NATAAAAA!!!!! They are simply delicious. Moreover they are from KFC, which is maximum 10 min away from wherever you are. How come KFC Dubai doesn’t has this???? They are not pasteis de belem, but they taste neraly as good!

The train to Shanghai was really in adventure. One thing you should know about China is that THEY ALWAYS HAVE TO BE THE FIRST. It doesn’t matter if you are crossing a stress, chossing some clothes to buy, catching a train or driving… you should be the first in the line, whatever that takes! Thaks god I had my big backpack on my back to block the way to the ass-holes that wanted to cross my path 🙂

They should know that portuguese were the first western colonizers here… MUHAHAHAHAH… On my way to Shangai!

I havent find a way to publish pics but I will update the post whenever possible!

Posted by: joanagirbal | May 13, 2010

Cambodja 2

If plenty of the beauty in Angkor are the temple… for me the mythical environment is recreated by trees that over the years grew aroud the area.

During centuries of unoccupied territory the routes of the trees sneaked through the structures breaking roofs, becoming part of the structures it selves. This creates the mystic environment, that for me Angkor is all about. Important to mention that was here that Lara Croft entered the secret chamber in Tomb Raider!

In the way to the Temples there is Hospital only for children. This hospital has a really high shortage of blood (among other stuff). The wating area is only a hall full of carpets. Every day one of the doctors gives a ‘cello concert to gather some funds to extend it’s capacity. The hospital was very poor but the staff really nice! I even had a donner package in the end with cookies, juice, tshirt, stickers, some iron & potassium pills and flyers. These I distributed  to the children along the way to the hotel (pills apart).

Soon I will be in China were wordpress in blocked! I am still searching for a way to keep in touch…

Posted by: joanagirbal | May 10, 2010


After a short stay in Phenom Phem we took the Bus to Siem Reap (SR), wich means defeat of  Siam refering to Thailand. Once again I confirm my hate to the capitals of South East Asia (exception for KL). SR is so calm, small and peacefull!

This morning we took a tour guide to visit Angkor Wat and Angor Thom. It is nice to have a guide here. I have learnt so many new tales in Hindu-Buddist Religion, Bhaggy will be proud of me!!! 😀 The area of the temples is huge and we only go there in the mornings since is too hot in the afternoon. After lunch we just pamper ourselves in the great hotel Prince D’Angkor with fresh water swimmingpool, jacuzzi, sauna etc while the heat stikes.

Today after lunch my plan was to go downtown however unfortunately I had my fist gastro disorder, therefore I wasn’t able to be away more than 2min run from my room. After somy mummy comfort and a lot of black tea (BLERGH) I believe tomorrow i will be able to continue the journey throughout the temples. 

See you tomorrow with more PICs 😀

Posted by: joanagirbal | May 7, 2010

Around Bangkok

Today it was a tour day! This one was the same Pedro and Rita did, i was jealouse of them so I had to do it…

First stop: Floating Market

This market nowadays is 90 per cent touristic nowadays and nothing compared to the ones in vietnam. Anyway it was nice once again to wander through the canals, and see the locals rowing the small canoes with funny hats. They have a really persistent way to sell things in this country. But now i know the trick… i just don’t smile to them!

Second Stop: Bridge ove River Kwai

This was quite a disapointment. During years I had to listen to dad&bro Girbal talking about the air fleet, I was expecting to find something in this area talking about the bombing of the bridge, almost something as the memorial os WWII in Normandie. But no.. the museum has pictures of the kings of thailand and the small parts were it refers to the was are just some images painted in the walls along with some pictures without storry at all! At least I was able to see the bridge that is actually located in a nice landscape over the Kwai river… There was a group of aprentice monks visiting the site at the same time, but their dresses are not safron… they are more Pilgrim Orange, like the one’s heading to Fatima!

Third Stop: Tiger Temple

This was the reason why I did this trip… to be able to touch a real tiger! The Tigers are chained for safety reasons however i believe they must be also dopped! No adult tiger is that indiferent to people. Thai Monks run the place and they claim that the tigers are just tired since they spend all morning playing. Tigers are supposed to be cubs abandoned by their mothers or given by locals to the center. The population is raplidly inceasing and they have around 30 animals. As an impulse I wanted to pay 1000BHT to be able to lay their head in my leg and interact a bit with them, wisely i didn’t had eneugh money with me to do so 🙂 It was funny to compare the size of a baby tiger paw with my hand!

Esteves, now that mum is even able to touch a tiger she is ready for a new cat, Moscatel “The return of the Tiger!’

Posted by: joanagirbal | May 6, 2010


Each time I arrive to big cities I feel like they are too dark, too busy and too noisy. Bangkok was not an exception. We went to the city center where soon we discovered that something strange was happening… we were surronded by people with pink shirts!

Well, the political arguments are hold by the RED shirts not the pinks, i thought to my self… however there was a lot of controversy…we were away from political sites, so there was no point in having manifestations there. Moreover there were hundreds of police officers on the streets however the Pink shirts were having nice conversations with them.

Then everything become clear…it was the 60th aniversary of the coronation of the king and people were just celebrating… UFFF!!!!

Tuk tuk drivers are very anoying and they are everywhere! They try to full people with schemes about city tours and so on. Today, in front of the palace, one even told me that he was working there and that the palace was only open to tourists at 3pm, time it was closing! I told him that I wished him good luck for the next reincarnation! Course on him!!!! LOL

The Emerald Buddha temple is really beautifull and we were lucky enuogh to have an official guided tour. Is so full of small tails and histories that you fell you are being carried through a book tale . We tried some other museums and buddhas but nothing worthwhile mentioning. .

For the first time since on holiday I went shopping! ”Man I feel like woman” this is what bangkok is all about! the stret markets!

I took my mum to have dinner in chinatown in the middle of the street markets. She really enjoyed the food and the hole experience 😀

After that I took her to a Thai massage, there she was spanked by a small energic girl. I was hopping she woud regret never have bought me ”pinipons”, but no… she really enjoyed it! 😀

Posted by: joanagirbal | May 4, 2010

Mekong Delta

On our last day in Vietnam, the only chance to visit the Mekong Delta was to go on a private tour to this area. This was a place extremely touristic where the locals show their living.

We saw the bee hives and the derived products, the snakes, the coconuts…. The islands are pretty but the Mekong waters are extremely dark… result of 400km of length through China, Lao, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.  I must say that after Halong Bay any water areas are now disapointing. Anyway we had to see it with our eyes.

We had a really good lunch (as usual)! Rice sheets with vegetables and a Mekong fresh fish, after followed a bicycle ride for helping the digestion.

Today Paulo left to Portugal 😦  and I will soon join mother Girbal in Bangkok, Thailand! Soon I will send some more news from there!

Posted by: joanagirbal | May 4, 2010

Nha Trang

Last 4 days I we were in Nha Trang, well…. us and half of Vietnam!

We wanted o stay here a couple of days and go to the interior cities however all the flights, trains, hotels were fully booked due to a weeks full of national days ….grrr….so we stayed here in a nice guest house where the computer was blocked each time I tried to download pictures 😛

We took our time for 2 days diving on the shore of Vietnam. Water temperature 29C, visibility 15m. The corals were really beautiful and the diving center great despite the gay name “Rainbow Divers”. They did all the hard work of handling the equipment for us.

In one of the Islands near Nha Trang is located a water park named Vinpearl. Non-stop arcade games for free, beach, slides, water fountain (Dubai style, but smaller) and a big cable car over the water to access the island. The park was great apart from the hundreds of Vietnamese “picnicking” and leaving a trail of debris behind them.

In the last day we rented a motorbike and visited the historical sites… more pagodas, more Buddhas and finally an Hindu Temple were we saw some women dancing offering food to the gods.

We are now used to the heavy rains that fall every day around 8pm… the important is find some shelter, since we always forget the rain coat at home!

After we took the night bus (10hours) with sleeping berths back to Ho Chi Minh City again!

Posted by: joanagirbal | April 27, 2010

Hue, Danang and Hoi An

It’s been a while since I wrote my last post. I’ve been traveling from city to city and the time to sit in front of the pc is not much! (Thanks god!)

for three nights we are staying in Danang (going tomorrow for Nha Trang). We arrived late to the city due to a delay of 5 hours in our flight. We were starving… we decided to eat something. Soon we understood that this is not a turistic city and that English is not spoken around.

The first day we went to Hue, the imperial capitalof the Nguyen dinasty between 1802 and 1945. This city was a target during WWII and also striked by thyphoons, still the city is very charming and the old imperial city worthwhile to visit. In the afternoon we rented a motorbike to visit one of many royal tombs. The emperor still in life had to prepare the place where they wanted to be burried and spend all their after life.  These places were full of concubines and secondary wifes. In life the emperor would go there to compose poetry and for reflection (yeah right!).

Today we rented another motorbike to Visit Hoi An, so far my favourite city in Vietnam. A tranquil riverside settling with small litlle houses along Thu Bon River developed by the Chinese. Portuguese also used the harbor in this city for trading whith the orient on the 16th Century but no signs still remain.

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