Awesome Star Wars Moleskines are awesome

Featuring quotes from Han, Vader, Luke, and Yoda emblazoned on the covers, these new additions are just plain cool.

Yoda Han Solo Moleskine

Luke Skywalker Darth Vader Moleskine

There are four in total:

DO. OR DO NOT. THERE IS NO TRY.‘ – Yoda

THIS IS WHERE THE FUN BEGINS.‘ – Han Solo

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU.‘- Luke Skywalker

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE FORCE.’ –  Darth Vader

I’m pretty sure Darth says ‘Do not…’ not ‘don’t but I’m not going to argue. And besides, I’m a Yoda man myself, so that’s which way I’ll be going. Oh, and apparently these are limited edition, so if you’re keen you better snap one up quick. I’ve already got one like this, but I’ve got a feeling I might need a new one VERY SOON.

Excuse me while I go shopping…

Via

The BWA*

*Big Wall of Asia

Beijing North Train Station

Moleskine Entry: 24th April, 2011

Up early today, we’re on the 9:30 train out of Beijing to visit the Great Wall of China.

One ticket to Badaling please!

We came, we saw and the Big Wall of Asia did not disappoint.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

MPD Sufferer [at the Great Wall]

The Great Wall Skyline

Tonight most of the friends I’ve made are off home and I’ll be venturing out into the city on my own for another week.

I say ‘on my own’, there other people here, friends I’ve made along the way, plus one of my train buddies has extended his stay to hangout a bit longer. Should be cool.

Can’t believe I’m less than a week from home.

Moscow – nay London! – seems an entire world away.

Other things:

– – — – Whatley out

One world. One dream.

Bare Jing

Writing up my diaries, it seems that China really did get the better of me and my Moleskine. What lies below is the last full entry, after here it’s just random scattered notes that I’ll do my best to put into some kind of coherent timeline. Wish me luck…

I. Love. It. Here. Already.

Moleskine Entry April 24th 2011

  1. Bejing (and China in general actually) is beautiful. Stunning even. I am more at peace now than I think I have ever been. I am calm and immensely happy.
  2. We have been busy.

We arrived on April 22nd. It was raining. Hard, Asian, Bladerunner-esque city rain.
It was perfect.

I had video to show you, but it never saved – this makes me sad, but I think the definition above does it justice.

China!

After checking into our hotel and getting our debrief, we ventured out for some food.

OH MY GOD THE FOOD.

Oh my God it was so good

THIS WAS AMAZING

Plus, naturally, my first experience of Chinglish.

Chinglish... YES!

Eight ate, total? £40. You can see why we love it here.

After our appetites were full sated, we ventured out to the bizarre food market to try out the the strange delicacies therein.

Starfish @ The Night Market

How about some lobster?

I ate a scorpion. Nuff said.

The lights, the buzz, the constant chatter of bartering; the atmosphere is enchanting. With my new found friends in tow, we continued.

Our guide had mentioned a lake far north of the city surrounded by bars. It was a fair old walk but we found it, eventually.

Gorgeous lanterns

Walk far enough around and you’ll make your way past the over-priced tourist spots and find more appeasing, friendly bars who create new prices on the spot (and, when asked nicely, will let you play your phone’s Spotify playlist through in-house sound system).

It was ace.

Which leads us nicely to yesterday; April 23rd:  Mao Money, Mao Problems

Today we did as much as we could. We’ve planned to do the wall tomorrow and as such, the others don’t have much time left to do the tourist bit. Our honcho this time ’round is a bit more hands off, choosing to show/tell us things and then let us find our own way.

Things we did:

— – — – Whatley out

Silent Tee Protest

Beijing Bound

Moleskine Entry April 22nd 2011

It’s 11:49am local time, we crossed the Chinese border about 12hrs ago and should be arriving at the capital in around 2hrs. Immense.

Some things I need to cover before I start on Beijing!

Day 3 in Ulaanbaatar.

After waking up at stupid o’clock and catching a genuine Mongolian sunrise (note to self: catch more sunrises), we had breakfast and headed back to UB just in time for lunch.

Later there was traditional Mongolian dancing and singing.
More things of note:

  • The Mongolian influences on parts I, II and III of Star Wars are incredible. The first singer may as well be auditioning for the part of Queen Amidala – it was that spot on.

Traditional Mongolian Throat Singing

  • I touched upon the culture clash of eastern and western life in a previous entry but, what is equally staggering is that, simply through a cursory glance at the traditional clothing worn by the Mongolians at this evening out, anyone could see how the Russian and Cossack dress, style and fashion has mixed in with that of the eastern, more Chinese way of presenting one’s self. If London is the cultural melting pot of the world, then Mongolia is (or was) the same but of Russia and China. A truly unique, yet ultimately recognisable, design for life.
    .
  • Mongolian throat singing. Like that thing that you do sometimes when you catch your voice just at its driest.

Aaaaand then it was an early night for us. Yesterday, the 21st, we were to get up and board the train for our final leg of the trip from UB to Beijing.

Looking at the train

The train itself (by comparison to our last transport) is gorgeous (and actually, I’m glad that I made the trip this way ’round, given that initially I’d intended to start in Beijing – thank you Sarah), and they have actual showers!

Last night, just after we crossed the border…

WE HAD TO CHANGE THE FRICKIN’ WHEELS ON THE FREAKIN’ TRAIN CARRIAGES

Changing the wheels

Yes, that’s right. The tracks in China are smaller to that of the rest of the world and, although you would think that you would simply change trains at the border – oh no, they simply lift the carriages into the air AND CHANGE THE WHEELS WHILE YOU’RE STILL INSIDE. This is nothing short of mental.

Soon. Beijing.

We’re not there yet and already I’m in love.

China is stunning.

.
.

PS. Lunch in the restaurant car.

Yes! Decent food! Yes!

UB: catching up

Migjed Janraisig

Moleskine Entry: April 20th, 2011

or ‘things that I’ve forgotten to write down and mustn’t forget that I did them’

Day one in Ulaanbaatar (UB):

  • Feeling immensely spiritual (and quite honoured) after catching an extremely rare Buddhist ceremony at the main Monastery (pictured) in UB. So rare in fact, our guide called her mother as it began so she too could hear the prayers and chants around us; incredibly moving.
  • Facing down pick-pocketers (my new favourite past-time)
  • Crying tears of laughter at the hilarity of Mongolia’s ‘world famous’ International Intellectual Museum. There are honestly, no words.
  • Oly (finally) admitting his love for our first Honcho, Marina.
  • Beers, pool and then a Mongolian Karaoke Bar until the very early hours.

Yesterday (day two in UB), we drove for an hour out of the city to camp out for the night in a traditional Mongolian Gur camp. It was pretty impressive stuff.

View from above

There was horse-riding, local delicacies, a visit to a nomadic family and of course, the sunrise earlier this morning. An additional bonus was that the other group we met on our first night in Moscow were staying at the same camp-site too and now, we’ll be travelling together all the way to China.

Oh yeah, that’s another thing, there’s still China.

<GRIN>

Sunrise

Moleskine Entry: April 20th, 2011

Up at 5am this morning.

Last night I jokingly remarked over dinner how awesome it might be to watch the sun come up over the Mongolian mountains. Given that we were literally in the middle of nowhere, camping, there probably wouldn’t be another opportunity like it.

“GREAT IDEA!” they replied, in unison.

It was cold. It was madness.

It was… Beautiful.