Error Fare: diving and relaxing on Palau

PALAU, finally!!!

We arrived and it was hooooooooot and humid. Holy moly.

After my friend declared all his cigarettes and paid the horrendous taxes the adventure on the island could begin. But before I start telling my adventure of Palua I have to add one additional comment to the taxes: after the whole procedure, we found out that we did not declare all goods, some of the goods were for free ;).

Anyway Mr. Popeye waited for us; we were surprised due to the unexpected Popeye-person. He was an employee of fish n fins (diving company) who was in charge of the lunch choice for the next day. We both chose our meal and proceed to our bus driver, who was already waiting for us. Also some other travellers / tourists were waiting inside the bus. Some of them also booked the error fare. Anyway after 10 minutes of driving our bus driver started to swear and we did not know then what the reason was. But unfortunately we found it out some minutes later when the bus broke down and stopped on the side of the road… of course as an experienced traveller we took it easy and cheered on it with a good sip out of our whiskey. The incident did not last long and a helpful colleague help our bus driver out. Our new driver picked us up and finally we could check in in our room.

Ps: Mr. Popeye was not his real name but he had a cap on and also his facial hair was similar to the famous cartoon figure.

Early to bed and waking up early our driver from fish n fins waited already (really Swissness: on time) and finally our diving adventures started. After trying out fins, diving computer, goggles, belt and jacket. We had to finish some paperwork with our favourite Japanese dive master Hiro (our hero). First time on the boat some instructions about diving, the boat trip started. Holy shit was that awesome even thou the weather was bad. We had great fun on the trip to our training island. On the way there the rain drops destroyed our whole face. The pain was like a small needle which poked our face with a frequency of 4 Hz. :D. That was a nice experience, long time ago I had such great fun. On that day we had our first dive, uuuuuuu I was excited like a 6 year old boy before Christmas. The whole journey was already worth it!
Ps: that day we got a completely different lunch than we order but still good ;).

Finally at the hotel, we could get some rest. I think, on that night we had one beer and two chicken noodle soups and nothing else was done that evening/night. Also that night I barely slept because we had to change room before going to bed due to a misunderstanding. So we got a double bed with two mattresses above each other.

At this point I have to explain the physics behind our double-bed.

Think of a system that consists of a stable base and two springs connected to each other (in series). Above those two springs was a mass (m). Mass m = body1 + body2. Some of you already know to what this leads therefore I post now the solution for that.

simg488

So anyway in normal non physics language: when my friend moved a little bit I felt a relative displacement up and down, of course also vice versa. This led to an uncomfortable sleep or in my case no sleep at all.

Next morning I was totally destroyed. My friend referred to me as a zombie due to the lack of sleep I could not enjoy the day until we were finally underwater again at -14 meters. That feeling is indescribable and I felt better and more awake than before. Also the awesome task we had to do intense the experience. We had to take off our diving goggles and Hiro took our hand and guided us for about 1 minute around in the deep, during that time our eyes were closed due to the salt water. After the time passed we geared up again and had to clear our mask from water with the help of air and the nose. Simply interesting! The diving trip was awesome and we enjoyed the ride back to fish n fins head quarter where we cleaned everything as usual.

Back at the hotel I took a small nap. This night was night market in Palau. I think this event is the only thing that brings the people from Palau together. A wide variety of food was available there. Also some really nice juices and cocktails were in offer. We shared a strange cocktail with some “strange fruits” in it, Tapioka was it called. At the same time the Tapioka was a strange experience but very delicious. For food we ordered red curry with self-made nan mhhhhhhhh. That night a the night market we would like to have staid longer but the past days drained too much energy and we had still one diving day to pass/survive. The last few days were very draining therefore we headed back to our hotel.

Last day of diving was the top of Palau. First dive that day was a dive with some navigation tasks to do near Ulong sandbar, which was a really nice scenery.

Between the two dives that day I went snorkelling and took some pictures.
Ps: We were not allowed to take the camera with us during the open water course (fully understandable the prohibition).
The location for snorkelling was on point. I could not even jump in due to the corals and the low water level.

Enjoy the pictures!!!

Last dive, the best dive so far in my big diving career ;). We were descending for diving trough the Ulong-Channel. The scenery, the feeling and the force of the current are hard to describe but I want to give my best: We were at 18m depth at the hooking point. From there we dove around the cliffs. Right next to us on the right side you could see the amazing depth of the ocean. It was soooo deep that you just saw the darkness down there. On the left side we experienced the vast variety of the living organisms in the ocean. Green, yellow, blue, grey, red etc. Every colour you can imagine was included in the scenery. Suddenly we could see the entrance to the channel. The current was strong and you had to pay attention to your buoyancy. At that point also we watched a shark hunting a school of fish, it was so intense! The rollercoaster ride started when we let us propel by the strong current. The ride was awesome and also the sleeping shark, which we crossed over, was unbelievable and breath-taking. Also breath-taking was my pressure gauge from my air tank; it indicated 30 bars which are kind of low. I let the instructor know and soon we prepared for the ascending and a safety stop at 5 meter. Was that adventurous and exciting, this will not be my last dive for sure!!!

Next day was a relaxing day and also a raining day. We went to the only place for sunbathing and swimming. It was a public park, despite the rain and the low temperature we had a swim in the water and also tried our new obtained diving gear.

***public park on google maps***

That day was simply necessary for recharging our drained batteries. Also that day we were looking around for renting a car unfortunately we were too spontaneous, no car dealer had any car for renting, they were sold out. But in the end we found a car dealer that had some cars left for renting. It was a Mustang car rent company for a quite high daily rent price.

My friend and I discussed a lot about what we should do. In the end and after an intense discussion we came to a final decision. LETS DO IT rent a fucking Mustang on a fucking small island which is fucking nowhere. Our main reason was that we wanted to see the rest of the island and also that we will not come back the next 10 years therefore we decided to rent the car. So that day we already did the paperwork and paid the fee and the deposit. Also the appointment next morning was set with a private lift from our hotel to the car dealer.

***Click here for the Mustang car trip around the island***

Amsterdam and Taipei

It was Saturday the 5th of November, I was ready for my next adventure!!! Our first destination was AMS. Our plan was to experience AMS for two full nights. On our first night out we went to the rembrandtplein, where we had a huge choice of different clubs. Our choice fell on the PRIME club. At the time the club was not crowded and we had great fun there. Also the hidden storage room incident on the dance floor was amazing. It was a long night, with the first sun rays we went to our beds in the hostel Meeting Point. After some hours of charging I organize two wok to walk and some beers. The whole Sunday we relaxed with playing Jass (a Swiss card game) and enjoying great Dutch beer. For dinner we grant us a huge doner kebab plate due to the future lack of kebab on Palau. We left the really really cold Amsterdam behind us and had a small stay over in Bangkok, as far as I could remember 5h. We enjoyed our holidays to the fullest with local liquor and food until we could board again.

Next destination TPE.

Taipei the capital city of Taiwan was waiting for us. In front of us was a 22 h stay over in TPE. From the airport we took a bus to the city centre (125 NTD) and takes approx. 1h (for further information please click here. For my travel mate we wanted to organize a snorkel and diving glasses due to the low prices in Asia, we thought so. But in the end we realized that diving gear is horrendous expensive in Taiwan (imported from Japan) more expensive then in Switzerland, we could not believe that. With no additional gear we headed to our hostel (Ximen WOW hostel). This hostel was absolutely amazing and affordable (580 NTD or ca. CHF 19.-), I would rate it 10 out of 10 or 9/11….
The same night we took a taxi from Ximen to Taipei 101, normally I take the metro or cheaper transportation but in this case time was more valuable than money.
Was absolutely astonishing, Taipei 101 even just from the ground. What do you do on a Tuesday night in Taipei?
Yeah you are right you go early to bed because next day we had to catch the flight at 13:35.
Of course NOT!!!!! The destination was WAVE club, all you can drink for around 800 NTD or let’ say CHF 25.-. Ouuu was that fun but the queuing system was really strange, you had to queue a line like for waiting for the TSA. And then at the end you had to handle your empty glass or bottle to the barkeeper for getting the next drink, first time you had to handle him/her the coupon you got at the entrance. Also for small really little shots glasses you had to queue 5-7 minutes…… Then no wonder that some people queued and when they got their drink queued again and while waiting in the queue they could enjoy their liquids. Again late in our bed, alarm clock set to 08:00.

You could see the 2-3 h sleep in the eyes of my mate (like wet whatever), no further comments….. We appreciated our nap on our bus trip to the airport…

 

FINAL DESINATION was the next statement!!!

***PALAU***

One night in Bangkok

After a pleasant flight from Cairns to Sydney and an interesting conversation with a gentleman next to me (whose birthday was also on that date). Anyway the gentleman recommended me a lot what to do in Bangkok and the Maitre de Cabine handle him for a small birthday gift, a good champagne for celebrating his day.
Anyway I was the lucky guy due to hi dislike of alcohol I got the champagne which I enjoyed later that day in Sydney.

After another night in Sydney my final destination was in range. Just some hours between me and one night in Bangkok.

Finally I arrived at my hostel near Sala Daeng. The way was pretty easy. The trains were marked very well and you had enough signs to find your way to the right stations. After a shower I went to MBK for having a dinner and a walk around the many floors. Unfortunately I was a little late. Some shops were already closed and the food court was being already cleaned. Fortunately I could get spicy chicken and a red curry. Both were really delicious but still I was a little bit sad due to the missed green curry, which was recommended by the gentleman on the flight to Sydney.

After the dinner I walked around the shop.

Later than I took a scooter from MBK to Sala Daeng where I had a walk around the red light district. Yeah it was a strange experience more chaotic than Amsterdam, I guess Asian vs. Europe, but still fun to watch and to talk with the promoters.

After that walk I had in the district I enjoyed a small snack from a street food cart. It consists of fried chicken with a spicy sauce, really delicious and horrendous cheap. Moreover I still had time and went to the vertigo and moon bar. Anyway there was a dress code and that night I was walking around with my flip flops………. (First time I went out with my flip flops ever)
Bad luck for me. I will visits the bar next time when I am in Bangkok.

Next morning I started little earlier so I could enjoy more from Bangkok.
For breakfast I ate two dough balls with pork inside, how are they called, someone has an idea? And a fresh mango.

Because I did not use a lot of money yet (due to the cancelled vertigo bar trip) I took a tuck tuck to the train (ratchaprarop).

At the airport I bought also mango with sticky rice, really expensive (maybe too expensive) but I had to try it out for fulfilling my Bangkok experience before my in 4 weeks around the world trip ends.

The sticky rice was DELICOUS!!! Also the coconut sauce was awesome.

All in all it was a nice experience and for sure I have to go there another time. I just had a small glimpse of Bangkok but it was still worth it. 😉

 

Recommendations:
MBK for shopping
Sticky rice with mango
try out the food from the food carts during night
take a glimpse of the red light district
try out the green curry dish
enjoy a beer at the vertigo bar (in progress)

 

 

 

Hong Kong

This journey I had the chance to fly with Aeroflot. The service on the fly to Moscow but could have been better. The on-board entertainment system was great. There was a huge range of new movies. My two friends and I started in Zurich Airport and had to transfer in Moscow. I have to mention that we had 45 minutes delay. So we had a really busy agenda to catch our connection flight. We had exactly 30 min from the airplane trough the immigration point and security check-in. But for good sake we did it 2-3 minutes after we boarded they closed the gate. That I call a  close one. after 9’000 km In total we finally arrived in Hong Kong.  It was 10:50 in the morning as we finally went trough the immigration checkpoint. we had to queue for 30 minutes….

Anyway we went out of the airport to breath fresh Asian air. After some breaths we took the A260 bus to Chung King Mansion. The ride cost 33 hkd and lasted for about 40-50 min. we rode over many bridges and one of them was made by Swiss engineers ;). Also one of them is the longest suspension bridge!!!

I was amazed from the skyline and from the busy streets next to Chung King Mansions.

We headed to block B where we got our accommodation for 4 nights. I paid 680 hkd, for sure you could have cheaper rooms but the whole hostel was clean and the service personnel was helpful.

The room consisted of a bed, tv, ac and the bathroom. In total it was around 2.5-3 m² big and i had also a nice view xD. A wall of air conditions hahhaha.

As fast as we could we left the hostel to buy us a noodle soup. I took one with hot and spicy flavour. Uuuuh that was hot. After that small snack we went to our tailor to buy us a nice suit with shirts. It took us some hours until we were satisfied with the chosen materials and colours.

It was around 19:30 when we headed slowly to the pier next to the star ferry terminal. At 20:00 the symphony of lights started. During the show someone let music play, which the whole show spiced a little bit up. The green lasers were the best feature in the show.

On the road again I took my first ride with the old-school ferries over the water to Hong Kong central.

Then we walked a little bit around until we found a pub, where we took a beer and my friend orderd a meal with parsley onions and couscous. After 20 minutes the meal still didn’t come. So my friend asked after it. Finally the meal was served. My friend was really hungry so he started to eat. But after some minutes he said: the couscous is missing! We all had a good laughter. We spoke with the kitchen chef and he told us that he run out of couscous and had no intention of informing my friend. Hahhaah :). But in the end we got a small discount due to the missing couscous.

Good to know: a shisha costs around 250 hkd, a beer can cost 70hkd up to 110.

Anyway we went slowly to our accommodation on the way back we made a stop at 711 and bought cans of beer for 12 hkd each. Before we went to our B block, where our rooms were, we ate at McDonalds, where I ordered a 18 fucking chicken nuggets menu with 4 sauces. All these for 40 hkd. Around 23:00 we called it a day and charged our batteries for another day of Hong Kong experience.

 

The first point on our agenda was to visit our tailor again to see if the suits fit well. After some corrections we headed to Yueng Long, where an old heritage trail was. We started at the Ping Shang station and went directly to the museum. For further information please have a look on following blog.

http://hikehongkong.blogspot.ch/2015/04/ping-shan-heritage-trail.html

I would like to thank the writers of the blog. Because it helped us really well.

We saw some old temples, houses and a nice shrine of the earth god. It was a nice walk around an old part of Hong Kong. Also the prices for beer in the small supermarket were really awesome. 10 hkd for three cans of beer. Good price.

As we were finished with the trail we headed to the Tin Shui Station where we took the metro to the Wong Tai Sin Temple. Wong Tai Sin temple is a really huge building with a big garden area for walking around. It was really worth it to visit the temple in Hong Kong.

Due to the long walk around the temple and the heritage trail we became hungry that’s why we headed to kings dumpling but as soon as we arrived there, they closed the restaurant. So no dumplings for us. Therefore we walked a little bit around until we found a good place to eat noodle soup. Everyone ordered a bowl of noodle soup medium spicy and hot spicy. The soup was so hot that we still had not finished it after 30 minutes, the spiciness wasn’t a help neither ;). We finally finished the hot soup and changed the location. We entered a pub where just locals were. We ordered some beers and for the entertainment a cup and some dices. We played Meiern (a swiss game), if you want to know more about it let me know in the comments below. Our game was so strong, we could have been the Meiern world champions.

In that pub there was also a dartlive2. So we put some coins in the dart machine (5hkd per person per round) and played 501 and cricket, it was an awesome time, until a friend had a dart in his butt xD. Some hours later we left the pub and went slowly home. On the way back we met some really drunk Korean guys. We had a nice talk and some minutes later our way was split and we finally arrived at our hostel, where we had sweet dreams.

 

Next day the motto was REPULSE BEACH!!!!! We headed again to the star ferries on the pier and the ferry to Hong Kong centre, where we took the bus 260 to Stanley prison. We went out on repulse beach promenade. There we bought some beers and snacks and had a nice day on the beach, even the water was still too cold for swimming. But of course we put our feet in the water to cool down and enjoyed the view and the weather.

Saturday night was our prime time to partying, because Sunday morning was the last morning we could sleep until late afternoon. Anyway before we went out we ordered some momos, 10 pieces per person. The cost was 105 hkd for three portions of momos, also they were self-made. The momos were produce by Dave’s Mom, which had her “restaurant” in the 5 or 6th floor in Chung King Mansion (B Block). The momos and the sauce were really delicious and gave us enough energy for a night out in HK. After we ate like kings we took again the ferries and headed to the club area. Some hours later we were in a roof top club and we had a great view over Hong Kong. The name of the club was Hotel LKF. We enjoyed the time and the music there. After some drinks later our batteries were empty and we had to recharge them.

 

We woke up on Sunday and looked on our “bucket list” for Hong Kong. And there was still one big thing on the list, which was not ticked. THE PEAK. We took our sunglasses and went to the avenue of the stars. Unfortunately it was closed due to maintenance on a close big sky crawler. Therefore we took the ferry to the centre and went straight to the asia market. As we arrived there we bought us two rice liquors and had a good time. Also we had a look on the electronic market. Drones, cables etc. you could buy all gadgets that you “need”. “need” :).

From the bargaining and discussing and looking around we got really hungry. Therefore we ordered ¼ of swan for a snack.

Finally we arrived at the train station to the peak. Unfortunately we were not the only one, who wanted to go to the top. Due to our valuable time in Hong Kong we took a taxi to the top ( I can barely remember the price, I think it was around 250 hkd). Arrived at the top, we enjoyed the view and the atmosphere. We headed to the top of the building, after we paid the entrance fee wo could go to the top and look down on HONG KONG City. A W E S O M E!!! An astonishing panorama view over Hong Kong. Dear reader, one day, when you have the chance to go to HK, you have to do the journey up to the peak, it is a MUST. Strongly recommended. One thing additional, we have seen the symphony of light from the peak, but I have to admit that it was not spectacular as from the pier.

After the panorama we took another taxi to leave the peak, due to the big queue in front of the train station on the top. To catch a taxi, you have to walk a little bit down the street, because it is forbidden for taxi drivers to drive guest down the hill. But if you walk a little bit down and give the taxi driver a sign, they will give you a lift down.

Sunday night was our last night in Hong Kong therefore we went again to the club area where we enjoyed our last drinks. On our way back to the hostel some promoters gave us some plastic eggs with vouches in it due to the Easter days. I won a 12 free shots voucher. Yeah, you can imagine that we went to that bar/club and took the 12 free shots. And you could imagine that we said: just these 12 shots and then go home, because our flight is early in the morning.

 

Unfortunately 🙂 in the bar were more plastic eggs, which we opened and exchanged for more free shots until the bar manager came and took the plastic eggs away. For all bar managers, who are reading this article, never ever leave vouchers for free shots on the guest tables, you can imagine why :).

Black-label-and-the-day-off-tomorrow_2

Some vouchers later and 2:30 am we finally headed back to our hostel, where we charged our humans batteries for some hours until our lovely alarm clock rang……

 

The rest, I think, I do not have to describe, because everybody, who already travelled, knows how it feels when the holiday ends and you have to travel back early in the morning…

We left Hong Kong with a head full of nice memories and good experience.

For me HK is definitely a city, which I will visit again, but next time I will explorer and discover the culinary side of Hong Kong.

Yours wwW

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Image gallery of Hong Kong

Facts:

Recommendations:
Peak
Symphony of Light (20:00 at the pier)
take a ride with the ferry
Heritage trail
Repulse Beach
Sleep a night in Chunking Mansion

 

Bee-Line:
ZRH – Moskau  <-> = 2 x 2’187.42 km = 4’374.84 km
Moskau – Hong Kong <-> = 2 x 7’129.46 km = 14’258.92 km
Total = 18’633.76 km, 485.91 Euro