Sunday, August 26, 2007

Amish Country in Ohio

There is a big concentration of the Amish people in Holmes County in Ohio. They are great crafters who make quality products. They make fine cheese. You will be amazed to see how fast they hand quilt. They live without electricity and do not drive because of their beliefs. Obviously they do not blog online like we do.

I was on my way home from work when I saw an Amish woman selling fresh produce with a buggy in the shed in Dalton in Ohio. She had a lot of corn. It would be nice if I know how to make corn ice-cream. My friends in the US told me that the idea does not taste good. Wait till they try it!
I bought a jar of apple butter from her and sought her permission to take a picture of her buggy. Her power horse was tied it to a tree nearby. It is wise to keep the horse away from her stall so that her customers would not find any offensive smell.

For complimentary post, please visit the other blog I author. click here Then go to "Amish People" posted on August 25. Enjoy.

If you like this post, please remember to bookmark and then stumble it.

Basket Office Building!

I saw my friend's collection of high quality Longaberger baskets with wooden covers in her living, dinning, bedroom and bathroom areas. My husband decided to take me for a visit to its office in Newark and homestead in Dresden. Here is the office building in Newark, Ohio. It is 7 stories high. The weaves are actual glass windows. The handles are made of metal. The architecture and design of the building was based on the dream of the founder of the company, Dave Longaberger to have a replica of his company logo. He did not graduate from high school until the age of 21 but he was a very innovative and successful businessman. He died in 1999.

As we entered, we saw a big chest and a big hamper (laundry basket) on display. They are big ticket items. The spiral stairway was made of fine quality of solid wood (cherry if I remember correctly). When you look up to the roof in the center of the building, you will see the metal handles through the clear glass ceiling. They are heated up in winter to prevent ice from forming on the ceiling below.

After that we went to the homestead and the basket weaving area where I had a chance to weave a basket. You pay to weave a basket for yourself under the supervision of a basket-maker. I remember the wooden strips were soaked in water first so that they make weaving easier. A couple of months ago, I went to Newark for work and my co-workers wanted to take a picture of the building. We spotted the handles without much difficulty.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Niagara Falls and Travel Tips

I took this picture from the American border overlooking the Canadian side. The boat is called Maid of the Mist where it takes you for a misty cruise around the Falls and you will get wet.

This picture is taken on the American side showing the American Falls if I am not mistaken. There are actually 3 falls; the Horseshoe Fall (original Niagara Falls), the Bridal Veil Fall (Baby Fall), and American Fall.

The average flow of the American Fall is between 8,000 to 10,000 cubic feet per second (735 - 918 cubic meters per second). The crest length of the American Fall is about 900 feet (274m) The original - Horseshoe Fall has a crest length of about 2,500 ft (763 m) whereas the Bridal Veil Fall has a crest length of 40 feet.

My drive to the Niagara Falls:
I drove to Buffalo for work on Monday. After I checked into the hotel I proceeded to the Falls (30 minutes drive away). I stopped at an information center for more information as the area of the fall is enormous and I did not want to end up in Canada. It was a tour agency and the guy in charge tried to convince me that the cars were back to back all the way to the falls. I told him it was a Monday which did not make much sense to me. He suggested the best way was to go on their bus which would take me there and I would be able to ride on the Maid of the Mist (a boat to take me to cruise around the Falls) and watch fireworks at night for USD79.

It sounds fun and nice to be on the Maid of the Mists. My husband, my parents, my brother and I had been on it a few years ago and we got splashed all over with our raincoats on. We could not even get any pictures.

I approached an old couple who directed me to get to the Fall. In about 15 minutes I was there. There was no traffic congestion. Wow! $10 for parking! I drove around and was lucky to find a space with a meter parking. I paid $1.80 for nearly 2 hours and took my sweet stroll around the Fall.

2 Tips for travel to the Falls:
1) You will get a better exchange rate somewhere else versus the rate you get at the Falls.
2) You will see more beautiful falls from the Canadian ground.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mt. Kinabalu

I was just passing by this false peak (picture on the left).

Picture on the Right: The sharp peak-like mountain behind me is not the actual peak. I am moving on nearer to you and the peak. Wow! I can see so many stones piling up the peak. Must be hard to climb! Hahaha! You can't see it. It's not captured on this shot.

Can you see my red hood at the bottom left of the picture. My photographer said his hands were freezing and he could not take a good picture. Well the pointed stone behind me is not the peak. I am not there yet.

I took this picture before I reached the top of the mountain. I was excited to be almost there!

The worn-out wooden board reads something like this, "You are now on the highest point of Mt. Kinabalu.." Just imagine how many people must have climbed up and held it! The temperature was 2 degrees Celcius and we were freezing cold.

After all the pictures, here are the facts and story:

Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain 4101m (13,455ft)in South East Asia. It is located in the state of Sabah on Borneo Island. Historically the Philippines and Indonesia also claimed Sabah as their territory but Malaysia won.

We prepared several chocolate bars, and a water bottle each. There are many water refill shelters along the climb. We started at about 8:00 a.m and reached the 11,000 ft resthouse between 2:30p.m. - 4:00p.m. 1 out of the 19 of us had some breathing difficulty due to the thinner air at higher altitude and decided to rest at the resthouse. She received a certificate that she attempted to climb up to 11,000 ft.

I took some time to walk and enjoy the change in vegetation. As you hike higher, the plants are more stunted and shorter. I saw several pitcher plants or monkey cups along the way. There were a lot of ants in some of them. They attract and trap insects. My friends and I were on the lookout for rafflesias which are the biggest flowers in the world. We saw some rafflesia bulbs which looked like very deep purple compact cabbage. We understand that they fade in 3 days after they bloom and stink as they wilther.

After dinner, we slept early. Then we woke up and had an early breakfast around 2:00 a.m. Around 2:30 a.m. we tied a flash light and our camera around our neck and lined up for the final climb. We had a guide between every six hiker. We needed our flash light (torch light)as it was so dark. We had to use both our hands to hold the rope when we climbed this time. It was rock-climbing!

We reached the peak from as early as 5:30a.m. - 9:30a.m. I was up around 6:00a.m. We waited to watch the sunrise but the dark clouds would not give way. It was around freezing point and with the strong wind, the cold was almost unbearable.

The air was very fresh and I was actually on top of the world! I felt great. I had made it! When I looked down I could not believe I had to climb down those steep rocks. I had to fight against the wind. No wonder they made us hiked up in the dark I thought to myself. I was at the resthouse and had my brunch at 9:30a.m. A friend came down at 11:00a.m and showed us her sun scorched skin. Now it make sense that the rocks heat up pretty fast and the heat from the sun is intense so we had to start in the wee hours.

Are you bored by now? Do you want to see more pictures I haven't shown and the trail? Click here Oh, my muscles ached for a few days. I'm heading to the natural spring and bath in the sulphur water now.
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Monday, August 13, 2007

Ayers Rock (Uluru)

Welcome to Ayers Rock! We were actually saying goodbye when we took this group picture.

After Alice Springs our Outback Group rode about 350 km (220 miles) of good and rugged roads to Ayers Rock. I would not be able to drive on roads with so much water from the rain. The main road was actually closed and we used alternate road so that we could experience the Outback.

Ayers Rock is known as the world's largest monolith which stands out in the desert. It is 348 metres high (approx 1150 ft), 3.6 km (approx 2.2 miles) long and has a girth of 9.4 km (approx 5.9 miles). What about the mass that we cannot see underground? Well, some geologists believe that the roots are as deep as 6000 m (nearly 20,000 ft) below the visible surface.

You have to go there to experience the thrill and wonders. There were cave writings conveying graphic messages. Oh, the aborigines must have a lot of strength for their writings to withstand the weathering through so many years! Each symbol has a meaning. I think it is much easier to learn than the English Language.

There is a trail which you can climb to the top. However, when we were there it was closed because the rock was slippery. It hardly rained there. However, we were very lucky to see the waterfall on the Uluru which could happen only once in 10 years!

We had a campfire where we baked damper, a special Aussie bread which used beer as one of the ingredients. It taste so good. Our tour guide/driver had some eskis filled with food to feed our group.

I was surprised to see free gas bottles (gas tanks) and barbeque pits in the desert for campers and travellers. I'm not sure whether they still have it today. You may want to check this out.
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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Answer for Sheep to Human Population

Thank you for participating the poll on the highest sheep to human population ratio.

Append below are the approximate statistics:

Country _____ Sheep ____ People
New Zealand __ 45 million ___ 4.1 million
Mongolia _____ 14 million ___ 2.9 million
Australia ____ 120 million ___ 20.1 million

So the answer is New Zealand.

Mt. Cook, New Zealand

My siblings and I hiked up the mountain in front of Mt. Cook to take this picture. My sister sighed as she hiked far behind my brother and I. For the sake of taking a picture with Mt. Cook in the background, she moved on.

Mt. Cook (or Aoraki) is on the South Island of NZ and it is the highest mountain (3,753 metres) in the country. On one side of the mountain is the Tasman Glacier which is 30 kilometers long and it is known to be the second longest after the Himalayas.

Isn't the landscape very pretty?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Encounter with Aborigines in Alice Apring

After my husband and I went for the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb and the tour to the Blue Mountains we headed for Alice Spring.

The little airport in Alice Spring was not promising. But we were excited about our one week adventure in the Outback and Alice Spring was just an entry point. As we walked in the town of Alice Spring, we heard a group of Aborigines sat under the trees as though there was a ceremony. Our curiousity drove us closer and closer to the group. Some of the men were drinking beer. One of them offered to take pictures with us. See the picture of him and me.

He could not speak English but could comprehend some words. After the picture was taken, he pointed to my purse. I told him I had no money on me. He's business-minded, huh? I had some candy bars which pleased him.

They did not seem to sleep much at night as we continued to hear them. Are they homeless? Or do they opt not to live in homes?

According to one source, the government offered them homes but they prefer to stay outside.

Can you guess how Alice Spring got its name?