Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Day At The Zoo

We went to the Leipzig Zoo on out third day in Leipzig, which was on a Sunday. It is located around 3 kilometers away from our apartment, and 6 of us went there together (Lingam, Daniel, Fang Fang, Chong, Wai Tat & me).

It cost us 13 Euros to enter the zoo. As earlier briefed by our cultural trainer in Cyberjaya, Sundays are normally family day for the Germans. Indeed there were many people with their families around. Lots of them!

Check out these photos from the zoo:
Me at the entrance of the Zoo. Leipzig zoo is celebrating it's 130 years' anniversary this year.

Upon entering, I saw these ducks which Stephanie love! =)

Almost all signboards and descriptions are in German. >:(

There were penguins there too! Cute little chaps..

An even more stunning-looking duck. Which reminds me that I want to eat duck noodle as soon as I return back to Melaka.

Buddha stays in the zoo in Germany!!! Sometimes in Asian restaurants too!! Pffffftttt!!! >:(
It was the entrance towards the 'Asian' side of the zoo, where you see orang-utan, tigers, etc..

Group of posers!

The origin of man, along the wall... That young mother had to be in the frame. She stood there for quite a while, and I had no other better angle at that point..

Check out the surroundings! It was simply amazing..

A proud little meerkat strutting his stuff for eager visitors to take a snap of him.

Me in the colours of autumn...

Me outside of the zoo. As a conclusion, Leipzig Zoo is a big and nice place to spend your weekend, but definitely not worth a visit by any Malaysians. You should really give it a consideration as a last resort should you be in Leipzig. We have more or less similar animals on display back at home, and for 13 Euros, I guess you can bring the whole family of 5 to Zoo Melaka at any time.

Will post again soon. Take care!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Old City of Leipzig

Tonight I will be showing some photos of the old city of Leipzig, which are actually the surroundings of my apartment area. Most buildings are old. Old and grand. A rather breathtaking view on the first sight. I remember the few of us roamed around the old city way past midnight on the second day we arrived.

It has been raining almost the whole day today. I almost shivered while watching some funny blooper videos on Youtube.

It's going to be a short post tonight as I need to catch some sleep earlier. Here it goes. Most photos were taken on our second day in Leipzig.

I look the same almost every other day. Have been wearing the NS sweater everywhere I go these past 1 week or so.

New friends who are closest to me these days. (L-R: Lingam, me, Chong, Wai Tat, Fang Fang & my co-cameraman Daniel who took this shot). Another good buddy of mine, Lee is not around with us on that day. Fang Fang is the only lady (she's married!) among all the Manufacturing Engineers hired for the first batch. Wai Tat looks freakishly similar to Kenneth.

The interesting monument in the middle of a dried up pool.

Ding dong bells... :D

It so happened that there were quite a number of tourists on that day, mostly senior citizens.

Snapping away with buttocks blocking my view was not fun. I hate it when I don't get a good angle that I want in my photos. So by being picky, sometimes I rather not shoot. But I will return to snap loads more when I have the time.

Many eateries and shopping outlets are occupying the old buildings around here.

An ancient church-looking museum within walking distance from my apartment.

Just a view to show how big it really is. Magnificent!!

Big, expensive and posh cars are common in Leipzig too. I have seen a few Proton Wira Aeroback in Leipzig so far. I have not seen this kind of Mercedez before in Malaysia.

Baskers entertaining the crowd. There are different ones I have seen since the past 2 weeks here. These 2 guys were hitting some notes from The Beatles. And they are really fine singers.

I will have to stop here for now. I need to sleep. Will be posting some photos from my zoo visit soon. Have a nice day!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Autumn & Interesting First Two Days

Seventeen days ago when we first reached to Leipzig, most trees were still in shades of yellow and green. By now those trees opposite our apartment are almost left with bare branches.

As of today, it has marked the end of daylight saving. Now I am 7 hours apart from Malaysia. At 5pm today, it is as good as the condition we normally see back home at around 7.30pm. I went to Aldi (Malaysian's favourite supermarket closest to us) earlier today at about 4.45pm. Finished shopping for a few items and left at 5.20pm, and it was already almost completely dark.

Autumn is beautiful here. Dried leaves scattering around, yet looking pretty. It does not seem messy at all.

My way of saying "I've been through autumn". Somehow this photo is incomplete. Someone else's feet are missing from the photo... :(

Another self-shot with a cam-whore pose. Check out that tree on top of my head. It was full with yellow leaves 17 days ago. By now what's left are only a few leaves battling to cling onto the branches..

Took this shot on our second day while strolling around our neighbourhood.

Observe the surroundings in my coming posts. You can see how beautiful autumn is. Now I will show some of the interesting stuffs I see in in the first few days of extensive strolling around in the old city of Leipzig.

Saw this typical English double-decker bus on the first day in Leipzig. It is still operating around the city. Haven't seen much of them though.

And surprise surprise!! A trishaw in Leipzig!! Very cool looking thing. The trishaw puller sits in a manner where we see bikers riding on a chopper ride. It's not does not have an engine. The trishaw puller paddles it just like a bicycle.

The biggest train station in Europe, 5 minutes walking distance from our apartment block. The Leipzig Hauptbahnhof. It caters not only a train station, but also 3 floors of extensive shopping centre. This is where Aldi located, and I walk there to buy my goods a few times in a week. One thing which is different in Leipzig's supermarkets compared to Malaysia is that, they do not provide plastic bag. Remember that I mentioned that they are very eco-friendly? Yes, and if you really need a plastic bag from Aldi, you got to pay 9 cents for a piece of it.

Inside of Hauptbahnhof. It was on the first day.

Check out the Pizza Hut outlet in such a grand setting.

A wood carver creating one of his masterpiece inside of the Hauptbahnhof.

Some kind of travelling gadget on display.

In Leipzig, a popular mode of transportation is the bicycle. They are everywhere. Almost everyone rides bicycle. Old, young, office workers, ladies in high-heeled-boots, everyone. And almost everywhere.

Bikes for rent.

I see them all the time through my apartment window.

I even see them indoors in Hauptbahnhof.

I guess they even cycle to the casino. Yes, there is a casino nearby. See the red signage on top of 'petersbogen'. And oh, there's a cool Maggi cafe around too, selling Maggi stuffs. They're a little expensive though. I did not go into the Maggi outlet.

The Maggi shop. I always thought Maggi was Malaysian, until I Googled for it and learned through Wikipedia that Maggi originates from Switzerland since 1872.

Mr. Maggi inside the cafe. Even the cafe looked posh.

I think I will stop here now. It is 10.35pm here; 5.35am in Malaysia. I need to sleep earlier tonight. There's much to do still. Whole lot of assignments, reports and also project papers to compile. I will show some photos of the Leipzig's old city soon. Goodnight!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tuesdays & Fridays - Market Day

It has been a long day. Went to Gorlitz this morning and spent whole day there. Anyway, I would be showing some of the views of Leipzig's market which are set every Tuesdays and Fridays, from 8am-5pm. These photos were taken on the first day that we reached Leipzig, during our mini tour by Katya and Neil.

It's very hard to communicate with the people around in Leipzig, especially the older ones. Some of them speak and understand very little English, but most of them totally speak none other than Deutsch. Sometimes you ask something in English, and they would blabber away in Deutsch. It's as good as a Mat Salleh stopping by asking you something in English, and you 'rembat' them with loads of BM. That's another thing which is weird here. They don't care you don't speak their language.

We are smart enough to gently approach the younger ones with a simple opening, 'Hello, do you speak English?' If they do, only then we would proceed with questions. We dare not try to be a smart ass, trying to open the little 'useful' simple phrases books to begin a conversation with, as you will never understand any of their replies.

We commonly use 'Hallo' (Hello), 'Gooten Morgen' (Good morning), 'Danke' (Thank you) and 'Tchuss' (Sounds more like "juice" when they pronounce it) for goodbye. 'Ya' is yes and 'Nein' is no. Middle fingers are universal I suppose. Haven't gotten any of them yet. Hehehe..

Back to the market scene, here we go:

A little stall selling various types of cheese. Too many for me to confidently take my time to browse, afraid of them asking me something weird-sounding.

Huge pumpkins, as huge as (some are HUGER than) the buttocks of those old ladies bending over just as I was clicking my shutter button.

More huge pumpkins. Pineapples are called 'Ananas' here. Fruits and veggies here are much fresher compared to Aldi, our favourite supermarket in the train station. So fresh that tomatoes looks fake, and too beautiful to be eaten.

Not forgetting, fruits are VERY CHEAP here compared to Malaysia. Those green grapes (From Italy) cost only 1 Euro for 1kg, and the 5 plums only cost me 71 Euro cents. The Wellafoam was placed in the middle so that you could imagine how much, and how big they are. The grapes and plums are of normal sizes I would say. But they do sell giant oranges. I will buy one when I go to the market again.

Flowers.. Plants.. They look good, but didn't take many shots that time. The seller was pissed off because the Malaysian group were crowding his stall, blocking the view of his other 'potential buyers'. He shouted something in German, in which a short argument took place between Katja and him. We had the impression that they could be as nasty as Petaling Street Joes if they want to.

A stall selling many type of bread, cakes and other delicacies. Have not tried it yet, and it has been 16 days since I have been i Leipzig now. Will try them soon.

A crazy shirtless man. He shouts when he speaks, everywhere he goes. Have seen him 3 times since I came to Leipzig. The second time was a few days later, he was in a middle of an argument with someone, somewhere near the marketplace again. The last time I saw him was a few days ago. He got beaten up by some punks (Yes, real punks with coloured punk hair, tattoos, piercings, clothings, punk LIFESTYLE). We passed by the group of punks who were minding their own business near the train station; drinking, begging for money and being merry. Somehow I guess Mr. Loudmouth came shouting or something, and as we walked back from the rain station towards our apartment, we saw him sitting on the ground, shirtless again, bleeding a little from the back of his head. There were a lot of Polizei (Police) officers around him, and the big group of punks have dispersed. Only a few left for questioning.

A little insight of what we have seen so far. There are many young adults who are into punk lifestyle. People here have multi-coloured hair, young to old. It looks nice on them. Shocking pink, electric blue, deep purple, everything. Very cool.

Anyway, speaking of punks in Leipzig, they are generally peaceful group of people with an alternative choice of lifestyle. Through my observation, they do not even bother to stare at others. They mind their own business, but yes, they do look intimidating. Intimidating and loud. Unlike our local heroes, whenever they are in a group of 5, our local heroes rule the street. One stare at them and you get your whole family cursed, if you're lucky. If lady luck is not on your side, you get beaten up, robbed, and sometimes knifed for nothing. I really appreciate the lifestyle in Leipzig. It has been said many times to us, Leipzig is the safest city in Germany. I dare not aim my camera at the punks though. Stay away from trouble...

Got to stop now. I would be posting some nice shots of autumn and interesting stuffs I see again soon. Till then, take care!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Things That I Commonly See

Tonight's post will be a short one, as I need to sleep early tonight. Going to follow the company trip to Gorlitz, which is located somewhere nearby the borders of Czech and also Poland (If I'm not wrong). It is 12.45am here.

Tonight I will show the common views I see everyday from my bedroom window. Most of the time my big window will be shut tight, and the little one would only be opened at the top for ventilation. That is cold enough to make me shiver after showers. And oh yes, I still do take shower twice a day. Can still take the chills for the time being.

This would be the view that I see everyday. It is another apartment blok opposite mine. Looks nicer from the outside, but the apartment units are quite similar to mine. Some of us are located there. The only difference is they are 1-room studio apartment good for one person. Everything is smaller, and they don't have a living room. Good for total privacy, but boredom could drive one crazy, being far away from home and isolated from others. Just a nice thinker from a bitter me. Hehehe..

Some museum on the right, just slightly down the road. Don't know what is interesting there. Have no plans of visiting it. Bet that most of the descriptions are in German anyway.

Notice that yellow building with nice little windows on the rooftop? It's wonderful. This view is coming from Hang's room.

Some kind of artistic monument on the walkway of the opposite apartment. Don't know what they represent or mean, but in Leipzig, apparently people love art and expressions. You can see graffiti everywhere, mostly on walls of abandoned buildings, highways, almost everywhere. It is not considered vandalism. It's art. Go figure...

Every Tuesdays and Fridays, there would be a market set up just opposite my block. Many things are sold, mainly meat, sausages, cheese, breads and cakes, and not forgetting fruits. Lots of beautiful flowers are sold too. I will post what I see in the market maybe tomorrow. The market starts at about 8am, and lasts until about 5pm. That green car in the middle of the photo was actually a marketing gimmick for a new car model which is apparently eco-friendly. Germans are very concerned about pollution and they practice recycling very religiously.

That's all for tonight. Oh, I also saw a hot air balloon passing by from my window during my first week in Leipzig. It was a pleasant surprise.Oh before I end, we were informed that the time would be changing on Sunday. Daylight saving time would end, which means at 3am on 26 October 2008, the clock would be to be changed to 2am. Winter is approaching. I don't know what to expect. So does the locals. Some says it would even go down to -15 degrees Celsius during winter. Apparently it is 6 degrees outside right now according to Google results. I could feel the chills right now through the little opening of my window. I hope there would be snow. That would really complete this journey. Good night.