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"Security is a false god," or running around the world as an FSO

Archive for the ‘museums’ Category

Korean in HK

Posted by quirksalight on December 10, 2010

For me, a big part of traveling is absorbing cultural information and history, so I tend to hit the museums. Also, I really like museums; I think it may have had something to do with growing up with easy access to the Smithsonian.

Jen and I started the museums at the Hong Kong History museum, after a dim sum brunch. When we got there, we got the week-long, all-museum access pass (which is an AMAZING deal, $30 HK for 7 museums).

We get stamped in, and of course, the usual random chitchat with the ticket attendant about where we’re coming from, etc. Upon finding out that I was from Korea, she told me that my English was really good for a Korean, to which I answered that I was an American.

Finding out that I was bilingual in English and Korean, the ticket attendant asked if I could tell her how to say a couple phrases in Korean for the tourists that come by. She was pretty happy and excited that I could, and so I helped her with the translation and pronunciation in English for “Opens at 1 o’clock” and “How many tickets”.

Pretty neat. And later, when we needed to get back to an exhibit, she called the other museum guard to let us in. 🙂


Posted in adventure, ancedotes, history, Hong Kong, Korean, museums, travel, vacation | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Rothenburg and poker

Posted by quirksalight on April 20, 2009

Wednesday (April 1, 2009) was our road trip to Rothenburg, a town about 45 minutes away and well known for their old town area, where entire structures and the city wall from the 1500s are still kept up today. Also, they have the medieval crime museum there.
Waking up is hard to do on anyday for me, but the later the previous night, the harder it is. I don’t think I went to sleep before 2am on any of the nights in Wurzburg, so getting going was a bit tough. Knowing this, and my penchant for being a grump, MH informed me that it was already 9:30am and that I had said that I wanted to be on the road 30 mins ago. (which was true, as it is a 30-45 minute drive to get there) Thinking, “Oh crap!” I jumped out of bed and quickly took a shower and dressed. Out of the shower, throwing my stuff together…only to see that it was then 9:15am. WTF?? I looked at MH and he’s laughing his head off. dork. 😛 Hey, if you’re reading this, I bet you’re still laughing. Just remember… there’s always payback. 🙂

The old part of Rothenburg was visually amazing. It’s been kept in great condition over the years, including the old city wall, which is still nearly encompassing the entire part of the old city. Scattered at regular intervals along the wall are towers, which also allow access up to the wall itself. Which is really nice, as you can walk along the city wall around the Aldstadt and get a great view of the old and new parts of Rothenburg. As you can see, MH is demonstrating that the ledge that you walk along is not all that high. 🙂 Walking around, several places had already put up decorations for Easter, which at this point was about 10 days away. There were plenty of evidence that the town were very focused on tourism, with the shops, decor, and the multiple tour groups roaming around in multiple languages. Though the shops were rather interesting. We saw a shop that sold replicas of medical armor and weaponry… man… there were some neat items there….and may be a little difficult getting on the plane back with.

The architecture is a mix of styles, but one that you see a lot is the Tudor style, from the late 1400’s – 1500’s, where you can see the contrast between the wall and the wood frames on the outside of the buildings. I do have to admit that I preferred the stone buildings with the statues, gargoyles, and carvings scattered about the exterior. Such character… and as some of y’all can attest to, I’ll stop and stare at the building for a while to take it all in. 😛

One of the things that I really wanted to see was the Medival Crime Museum, which is supposed to be the only museum devoted to crime and punishment in the medieval era. I heard a lot of interesting things about it, and one of MH’s friends, H, had been there before and told us that it was a really interesting. Which, yes, it was, but also very somber, as the chronicling of the past has some resonances throughout history to the present.

But, the peak of the trip (literally) was climbing to the top of the tower of the Rothenburg Rathaus and seeing the entire city and the surrounding lands. About 93 meters high, you have to climb a series of stairs to the very top of bell tower, the last two sets of stairs being more a ladder than stairs. Then, you pop open the hatch (seriously) and climb out to a very narrow ledge, right next to the large bell. I’m generally not afraid of heights, in fact, usually I love them. However, maybe it was narrow ledge, or the extremely brisk wind, but I definitely felt a bit wary of being there! MH commented that I didn’t let go of the railing much…. which was true. In all the pics of me up there, I have one hand on the rail!

And the food, of course. For lunch, MH and I sat in the main square at a Bavarian restaurant, and split a schweinehaxen, which basically is
roasted pig’s calf. (Yes, I noticed that it was the lower leg when there was a tibia and a fibula…. anyhow…) Rather large, and I was very glad that I split it, and was very yummy. The Trollinger I drank with lunch was rather sweet, and not really “trocken” (dry), which is what I do like. But the best part was the dessert we had later! Apparently the region is known for a pastry called “snowball”. It’s a long strip of sweet dough that been twisted and formed in to a ball, which is either fried or baked – I couldn’t tell. After, it’s dusted with sugar and/or covered with other toppings, such as chocolate. mmm….

Posted in adventure, amusing, friends, fun, history, Humor, museums, travel, traveling | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Chainsaw, night out and a question…

Posted by quirksalight on April 7, 2009

One thing that Hannover is also known for is its Flea market on Saturdays. I like to shop, and I like unusual things, so it was a good plan to start off the day. There was a large sign, posting the rules and regulations of the market, which I thought was amusing.
But the strange items… I saw one booth selling US license plates (no joke!) and another one selling a coat hook made of the lower leg and hoof of deer. Plus the Bonaza western food truck. But the oddest thing was the chainsaw.

Now, the backstory for the chainsaw has to do with a tradition in Hannover. Apparently when guys turn 30 in the Hannover region, their friends organize a rather strange set of events. First, a bizarre costume. Then a mess of stuff that they have to clean up. For the guy in question, O, he was to clean up large amounts of bottle caps off the steps of the main University building with a toothbrush while dressed up as Heidi Klum. Uh huh…

Not only that, but for them to stop cleaning and looking rather foolish, the birthday boy has to accomplish a task. This being persuading some girls to participate in a “Top Model” photo shoot using some odd props. Hence, the chainsaw. Since MR was part of the group getting the items together, his job was to get a chainsaw. No, he didn’t buy the one at the market, but damn, that was an odd coincidence. 🙂

It wasn’t until Saturday that MR and I made it to Neus Rathaus – the new city hall. This is an amazing building… the design, inside and out, is over the top with fantastic carvings. The structure is in a Rococo style, and in great condition. Several neat things – you can see how the city of Hannover changed over the centuries with accuate scale models. Also, it was possible to go up to the very top of the building with an elevator that doesn’t go straight up, but at an angle, as it follows the curavture of the dome. There’s a glass ceiling and floor that lets you see the curvature as you go up and down.
And the top! An amazing view of the city… the flatness of the city makes it easy to see it unfold in front of you.

Another cool thing was the Museum fur Textiles Kunst, or the Museum for Textile Art. It’s actually a private collection of clothes and textiles from around the world that a Hannover designer and her husband collect and manage. MR and I were the only ones there and got an amazing tour of the place. Definitely owe MR a big one… he did a good deal of translation for me. Interestingly enough, the designer made the stage clothes for the band Scorpions.

“So, is it normal for German guys to grab and hold onto a girl’s butt withoout speaking to them first?” That’s the question I posed to MR when we were out Sat night with another friend of his, O. After meeting with GO over drinks (and analyzing the variety of Becks beer types available), O joined up with us and we (minus GO) went back to Steintor for another interesting evening, which is proved to be. Besides the musical impression – apparently I flew over the Atlantic to hear 80’s pop, Bryan Adams, and Vanilla Ice mixed with techno and German folk music, MR and noticed O grabbing a random girl’s butt. But not just a grab, but a grab and then he just held on!

And the oddest thing was that neither party was reacting to this, and both just slightly dancing, with the only contact being the hand to rear, still not facing each other.
MR’s answer was even funnier: “Hmm, it’s not going to work.” Note that the question wasn’t answered. 😀 Though, he was right… O showed up a couple minutes later, shrugged, and we all continued on as it that interlude never occurred.
Later that night over the post-partying kebobs, I asked O that question once again. His reply: “OH…Oh dear…”

Posted in adventure, amusing, ancedotes, crafty, dancing, friends, fun, Humor, museums, Music, nightlife, travel | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Friday night, there was a party… Hannover part II

Posted by quirksalight on April 7, 2009

Friday was a bit more lazy… I think I got up around noon? Hahah… it really is indeed a vacation. 🙂

This was art day. I went to hit two main museums – the Kestner and the Spengler. The former is known for its antiquities, old coins, and a rich collection of Christian art and manuscripts. The latter is a modern art gallery – eclectic and totally eye opening.

I went to the Kestner first as MR also wanted to go to the Spengler.
Another thing I noticed and really liked at all the museums was the readily available lockers for your belongings as you tour the place. Much better than a just a cloakroom, and plus your get your euro back. 😛

The Kestner was pretty neat – the ancient coin collection was very cool… coins with Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, Elizabeth I, pluse more were there. The Greek and Roman antiquities were also impressive, but the collection of glass was a favorite of mine. And of course, the couch shaped like a pair of lips.

Spengler had several interesting collections, but what I just missed (because it was starting up after I left Hannover) was an exhibition on Franz Marc. I saw some of his work at the Spengler and was totally wowed by it. A little weird, actually. I like art, but generally don’t have the “must get a copy” feeling over the works of a particular artist. But definitely, I wanted copies of his painting and woodblock prints. More the latter. But… no go! Only the color prints were available.

And the infamous Steintor area. It’s the party district, and pretty amusing. MR and I met a couple of his friends for some amusement. Which they did provide. 🙂 The guys were amused that we were actually hitting the clubs in the lonely planet guidebook. (Which, btw, all of my German friends read and totally got a kick out of it) Not a bad evening.

Posted in adventure, amusing, ancedotes, dancing, friends, fun, Humor, museums, Music, travel, traveling | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

My Day after Christmas shopping

Posted by quirksalight on December 27, 2007

Four all day Metro passes: $26

Four tickets to the International Spy Museum and Operation Spy, their interactive adventure: $100

Ethiopian food at Almaz Restaurant for lunch: $74

Tea and sorbet break at Teaism: $12

Bridging a 10, 12, and 16 year age gap and expanding your cousins’ horizons: Priceless

Posted in adventure, amusing, cousins, DC, family, Food, fun, holidays, Metro, museums, People, restaurants, Tea, Washington DC | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »