Friday, December 31, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Frankfurt, Germany

I never liked spending christmas in a Western country. And this is the 2nd time in a row I'm doing it. The reason is christmas is a family reunion day for them, so the whole city will be shut down while everyone is at home cosying up by the fireplace. I had a hard time finding food and stores to stock up on basic necessities. As Europe was lashed with snowstorm just before I arrived, it was very cold and was still snowing. At night, temperature dipped to as low as -22 deg celcius. Walking in the deserted snowy city provokes an eerie feeling, as if a bunch of zombies will suddenly lurch out from the alleys to feast on you. As all stores were closed, I chose an unconventional route instead in my sightseeing walk. To my surprise, I came across a T-rex let loose in the park. Following its path, I was led into a museum which surprisingly was open. And boy, inside it was full of interesting stuffs to see. If you have watched the movie "Night At The Museum", then this is the better version of it.

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As a last post for the year of 2010, I would like to wish all readers a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Joy and Pressies

"Last christmas I gave you my heart,
But the very next day you gave it away,
This year to save me from tears,
I'll give it to someone special..."

Ok, cut the crap! This "Last Christmas" by Wham has won the most annoying christmas song of the year. TQ.

Back to reality, my last christmas was terrible too. I did not splurge anything at all for myself as I saved it all up for someone else. But my year only ended up worse. This year, I am determined to be happy again and back to treating myself to some luxuries. And I also gave my heart to someone special who knows how to appreciate it. This year is definitely going to be a great ending and an even more exciting new year will begin.

A gift from her:
"It is not the brand or price that matters. But the thoughts and heart put into finding such a fantastic watch which is exactly the kind that I wanted to get in the first place. These are the fine details that many people do not care or appreciate; which differentiate between a fake friendship and a true love. I'm really touched and I love her very much."
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A gift for myself:
"Iphone4? No thanks. Simplicity is what I'm looking for. A quick look on the main screen of Windows Phone 7 (HTC Mozart) will enable me to know every status updates of my friends and many more information. I don't want to acquire Iphone user disease of staring blankly at the cluttered pretty icons without knowing what to do next. I also don't need to go in and out every single app to do a simple task."
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And a surprise for her:
"Elegant, simplicity and style. Mmmm...I love it myself too."
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And folks, Merry Christmas to ya'll. May your new year filled with joy and happiness. I'll be spending my christmas in a snowy place far far away. How do you spend your christmas? Do share it with the rest of us.
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Milan, Italy

I landed on a cold and snowy morning in Milan. While the snowstorm wrecked havoc across Europe, luckily it only snowed very little here. Devil loves this place. Why, because this is the fashion center for Gucci, Prada, LV and many more. You name it, they have it all here. And on the last weekend of Christmas shopping, the crowd is just crazy. It is a very unusual sight to see such a huge crowd shopping past 6pm in Europe. I was also seduced into the boutiques and didn't have time to take pictures. Oh, how not to be seduced on my next visit to Milan. Can anyone offer advice?

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Cairo, Egypt

Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization so great and powerful that its legacy remained until today. The pyramids are the only "7 wonders of the ancient world" still remain on earth while the rest of the 6 were either destroyed along the falls of their empires or by earthquakes. The Egyptian civilization was even made popular by Hollywood films like The Mummy and its sequels. Sadly, not a single civilization can withstand the test of time and last forever. It is sad to see how such a great empire fall and degraded into a lowly modern Egypt. The modern day Egypt is so disorganized. Slums and shanty buildings are everywhere which take forever to complete. The residents simply left their rooftop unfinished to avoid paying property tax. That is why the whole city looked like an earthquake aftermath (except posh areas for rich people) with more ruins than a complete building. The streets are so chaotic and the drivers drive with their hands glued to their car horns, a scene so similar to India.

The pyramids and its surroundings had gone through terrible looting from their own people. The once magnificent pyramids were almost stripped clean of their limestone coverings to build houses and mosques in Cairo. The tombs and artifacts were not spared either. And then come the British and Westerners. They are the biggest thieves in this world. They looted almost all valuable artifacts for their private collections and so called public museums. The great Sphinx for example had its nose "robbed" off and now placed in British museum. Many more smaller Sphinxes and relics from the pyramids eventually ended up across the ocean on the western robbers' continents.

Taking photographs in the desert with the sun setting presents me with the opportunity to experiment with many different settings and creative post processing. The pictures turned out so breathtakingly surreal that even I myself was stunned when I looked at it for the first time. Some pictures even resembled scenes from another planet notably Mars. Enjoy the collection.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Beijing, China (2)

The Forbidden City aka Forbidden Palace in Beijing sounded like a sleazy place to me. It was indeed an imperial harem. The whole place is just a brothel in disguise for the horny emperors. If you were to stay in different concubine rooms each day, you need to take more than 3 years to have stayed in all the rooms. the amount of girls the horny emperor had to himself. And yet the folks last time believed the emperor is the son of God while he is having a whale of kinky time in the palace. Really unbelievable humans can be such simple minded. Even now, humans still fall into cults and wrong beliefs even when all the red flags are glaring in front of their face. There are so many crooks out there using the same old trick the emperor used centuries ago to cheat their followers in their cults.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

That Perfect Smile (2)

2 years ago, I decided to go for orthodontic treatment. Now, I have finally got the braces removed and achieved that perfect smile. I didn't do it for vanity but rather forced to do it reluctantly as my front tooth chipped due to insufficient space. If you would ask me about the experience, I'd say it wasn't nice, especially during the first few months. It was so uncomfortable that I wanted to remove it the very first day I had the braces on. To add to the woes, it was very painful for at least a week every time I go back for monthly adjustments. After some time, the braces eventually became part of my teeth. I don't feel pain anymore but still very cumbersome to have it on because food gets stuck all over the place after each meal. I smiled so much less for the past 2 years, because if I did, the people I talk to will automatically drawn towards the braces and leftover food on my teeth instead of looking at my eyes. It could be quite embarrassing at times.

Painful experience apart, if you ask me if it's worth it, then I'd say yes it was very worthwhile. The satisfaction only comes after the long process and removal of braces. In my honest advice and opinion to those interested to do it, do it only when you have no choice due to medical/hygiene reasons or you really have a Frankenstein mouth. Else, if you're just doing it for vanity or to perfect the already good teeth, then you'll be in for a huge disappointment and wastage of money.



Related link: That Perfect Smile (1)

Mini Travel Log: San Francisco, USA (2)

For this trip, let me take you through a trip to the prison on the rock as a prisoner. This rock is famously named the Alcatraz and featured in many popular movies like X-Men, The Rock, and many more. This prison housed many hardcore criminals. Although it is marketed as no one escaped the prison before, prison breaks did happened before and a number of men escaped. Records only showed those who escaped were caught again or killed, but never mentioned those who were unaccounted for. They were presumed missing and died in the cold waters. I think those guys really made it to the mainland considering the close distance from the rock. Lucky bastards.

On this trip also another new beginning and "adventure" began. God really gives you surprises when you least expected it. So peeps out there, remember when you're down, always look up in the sky. The rain clouds will always clear up for a beautiful sky and rainbow at the end of the day. So keep on believing and smiling as good things do come to those who wait.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: San Francisco, USA (1)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Hong Kong, China

I've flown to Hong Kong so many times. But none of it that I have the chance to step out from the airport. This time around, I have 2 days in Hong Kong. I made sure I spent my time well there without wasting a single minute. However, Hong Kong is just too good and I came to realize 2 days are not enough. I will definitely go there on my own holidays in the future.

The city is so beautiful especially at night. I regret not to bring out my camera to capture the moments. Clubbing in Lan Kwai Fong is really good. The crowds are crazy and beautiful, dancing till the wee hours on high club floors overlooking the city of lights. Down on the street clubs, it is even more happening. The only photo souvenir I carry home this time are photos of Big Buddha in Lantau Island on my first day in Hong Kong.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Shanghai, China (2)

My previous experience of Shanghai was not too great. Constructions were everywhere for the World Expo and many attraction sites were closed. But this time, I am really impressed with such a drastic change in just a short time. The city is so beautifully done up now and amazingly clean. The government must have put in a lot of effort and money to stop people from spitting everywhere on the street. I traveled to many old parts of Shanghai and found so many interesting sights. There are many hidden gems here which I don't even know if I don't visit these places. Also as promised in my previous post, I stayed out till night to capture the amazing night skyline of the modern city of Pudong and classical Shanghai Bund. Sadly, I didn't see the pandas yet again on my third visit to China as I couldn't squeeze extra time for the zoo.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: Shanghai, China

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Better Days

Things turn out ain't that bad after all. The storm in my heart is over. I'm getting good sleep and gaining weight; enjoying the lifestyle and travels; free from financial woes; meeting new friends and great people around. There are really better days ahead. Rejoice.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Auckland, New Zealand (3)

On this trip, I made a boat trip to the iconic volcanic island of Auckland; the Rangitoto Island. This symmetrical volcano cone is clearly visible from the city area and probably the most photographed icon of Auckland; where pictures of it are widely circulated over the internet. It is a very young island formed by eruptions just over 600 years ago. Black lava stones where the lavas once flowed are clearly visible; thus giving the island distinctive black color in areas where the ground is still sterile to vegetation. The crater rim at the summit offers interesting sights. One can view the volcano opening, albeit being covered with cooled off molten rocks and mud surrounded by green vegetation. Around the rim, you can have a 360 panoramic view of Auckland and surroundings. Although not active anymore, future eruptions are still predicted to likely happen by scientists. So, visit this island at your own risk. If by chance I spot signs of smoke, I'll be the first one off the island considering the fact of recent earthquake in Christchurch and many more in other parts of the world this year. I ain't wanna be roasted.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: Auckland, New Zealand (2)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: Auckland, New Zealand (1)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Amsterdam, Holland

Tulips, windmills, oranje, world cup runners-up, red light district, weed, space cakes, house boats and city below sea level. Does any of the above ring a bell? One will be quick to associate some of the above to the country Holland or Netherlands without any doubt. This country or specifically the city Amsterdam is famous (notorious) for all the good and bad reasons above. The red light district is the most distinctive feature of Amsterdam. Girls parade themselves behind huge glass windows; which you probably wouldn't find this in any other parts of the world. The people here are so open about sex that you'll find interesting sight such as a church on the left, prostitute houses on the right and a kindergarden next to it! Apart from prostitution, the city also legalizes drugs. As you walk around the city, you'll see rows after rows of "coffee shops". With strong distinctive "smell" emanating from those shops, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what they are actually serving inside. You can smoke weed and also eat space cakes (cake laced with drugs) in those shops legally if you can prove your age. Moving away from the vices, Amsterdam has its own unique charms. Museums are abound for the art lovers, or you can take boat cruises along the many canals and see the distinctive house boats. If you are a huge fan of Heineken beer, then the Heineken Brewery is not to be missed. If you are bringing your girlfriend along, then there is one place where you cannot bring her to, which are the diamond centers. There are many diamond centers around the city which some offer tours around their diamond factory. Here, you'll learn how diamonds are cut and processed. They are even generous enough to let you try on their huge diamonds worth up to 30k euro a piece. Definitely doesn't sound too good to your wallet.

Just a word of caution when you're walking around the city. Amsterdam produces the best breed of cyclists in the world. All their bicycles come without brakes. As they can easily knock you down anytime, they also have to skills to avoid vehicles. It means that you better give way to them if you're walking.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Switzerland Mega Tour

First of all, sorry for MIA quite a while. Been on a rough ride through shitty "weather" lately. For those who kept supporting this blog and returned daily, thank you for your support. In return, I present you the ultimate post of the year for this blog. Enjoy tonnes of beautiful pictures below.

To fix a sore throat, you eat Swiss Ricola. To fix a broken body, mind and soul, you go to Switzerland. I did just that in my 2-week soul searching-and-fixing holiday in the land of Swiss. At the sight of the beautiful landscape, all your worries will disappear right away. With the amazing scenery, fresh air, crystal clear Alpine water; it's a heaven like no other places in this world. What more the Swiss chicks are hot as well. I don't mind marrying a Swiss farm girl and stay in the beautiful countryside; away from all the big ugly cities and their problems.

The most important thing to bring to Switzerland is not your passport nor money, it is the Swiss Pass. This Swiss Pass is the daddy of all transportation ticket in Switzerland. You can buy it online or at the airport on your arrival. This ticket entitles you to free travel on almost 99% of trains, buses and boats all over Switzerland. Best of all, it also includes free passes to museums all over the country. With it, you don't have to scratch your head of where to go. You just hop on and off at the destinations of your liking on any day you wish. Get even further discounts for travels with 2 persons or more.

To say you have truly explored Switzerland, you have to like outdoor activities, walking and mountain hiking in the first place. If you are just another typical lazy tourist who follows tour agency, then I'm sorry to say Switzerland is not the place for you. Even if you travel there with the agency, you're just wasting your time and money; as the most beautiful places are always hidden behind the hills and mountains. Even on my 12 days in Switzerland, I still did not have enough time to fully explore the whole country. The best way to discover Switzerland is to spend probably a month here and hike to a new place everyday. Enjoy a good hot meal up on the mountains while enjoying the panoramic view, then head back to base mountain to spend a night in one of those cosy family-run hotels. Remember to bring along plentiful of sunscreens. The sun up in the Alps is very strong. You wouldn't want to get skin cancer as your souvenir.

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Appenzell + Santis
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Mt. Titlis
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Zermatt + Matterhorn + Gornegrat
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Montreux + Vevey
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Rochers de Naye
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The Swiss Alphorn

Matterhorn and the Swiss Alps

Gornegrat, Matterhorn and the Swiss Alps

Rochers de Naye

*Note: It is too tedious to label every picture. Descriptions and locations of each picture taken are available in my Facebook album.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mini Travel Log: London, UK

We brought the sunshine from Singapore to London when we touched down. I was told by the ground staff it had been awful and raining for the past week. With great sun, blue skies and cool temperature, I had a wonderful stay in the city. I benefited from the long day hours during summer, which I had spare time to visit more places and a cruise down Thames River. However when it comes to night time, I had to wait until 9pm for the sun to fully set. I have missed the chance to snap the beautiful city night shot from the hill up in Greenwich Park, because it closes at 8.30pm. The weather turned awful again on the day I left. Temperature dipped to a low of 16 deg during summer. Unbelievable. It reminded me of Melbourne, where the city can have 4 seasons in a day.

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Singapore Street/Night Photography, V4

Although Singapore is small, photography opportunities are endless. Being a young city, it is undergoing major transformation everyday. There are always new attractions and places popping up. And all these are carefully planned and artistically built to give Singapore such a beautiful yet futuristic city landscape. The recently completed Marina Bay Sands and the Helix Bridge is a testament to that. The rooftop garden of Marina Bay Sands is an engineering marvel.

I wrapped up my day with an ice cold beer on the rooftop garden. While enjoying the sunset, I can also see the city basking under the golden rays from the sun. Singapore has definitely come a long way to reach where she is today. As she will be celebrating the National Day soon; Happy Birthday.

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Related links:
Singapore Street/Night Photography, V3
Singapore Street/Night Photography, V2
Singapore Street/Night Photography, V1

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Singapore Botanic Garden, V2

I had an outing at the Botanic Garden last year in my dog photography project. As mentioned earlier, it was cut short by an unexpected rain. I made a promise to return to this beautiful garden due to some "unfinished" business. Haha, actually I wanted to explore the entire garden. On a sunny Monday morning, I made my trip to the garden. While everyone else is stuck in the morning rush hour and Monday blues, I take the slow lane in the park. Breathing fresh air and having picnic in the lush greenery is definitely the way of life.

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Related link:
Singapore Botanic Garden, V1
A walk in the park with "Celebrities"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Munich, Germany

Munich is a very old city dating back to as early as year 1158. With a legacy of over 800 years old, this city is full of histories as with its' many well preserved medieval buildings. Parts of the city were destroyed by world war bombings but Munich rose from the ashes and was rebuilt to its former glory. I was really intrigued by the wonderful architectures here. The city is so clean and I was virtually breathing fresh air from the Alps. I arrived on the weekend and boy this city is alive with carnivals and concerts. I enjoyed open air classical orchestra right up to the latest pop music from so many different venues. I was in for a surprise initially when I came across a colorful carnival and parade at Marienplatz. I thought it was cool to see so many people dressing up in fancy clothes. Hey, so they do have cosplay here too like the ones in Harajuku Japan. To my horror, I found out I'm right smack in the middle of a Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. Holy cow, on closer inspection, I realized all those dressed up ladies were actually men! And so the parade started with the gay version of PopeMobile leading the charade; throwing out condoms and gay clubs leaflets. Oh gawd my eyes!!! Ughhh!!!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Finally, my childhood dream to visit the real Disney castle had come true. This castle is the Neuschwanstein Castle which is about 1-2 hour drive from Munich and home to the late King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Germany. Neuschwanstein is translated into New Swan Castle in English and this magnificent castle is perched on a peak overlooking beautiful Bavarian landscape with surrounding lakes which one of it is called Swan Lake. To the south of the castle is the towering Alps forming the border between Germany and Austria. Disney copied this castle all over the world. This castle is the real deal, not those copycats. Thank you SQ for realizing my dream.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Brand New Day

No matter how ferocious the storm is, the sky will always clear up for a brand new day. A wonderful phenomena of this world that replicates itself in life as well.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Singapore Street/Night Photography, V3

Photography is the best thing to happen in my life. During my darkest and saddest moment, it was my best friend. Through it, I was able to see beautiful things the world has to offer. And I'm gonna enjoy every minute of it. The best thing is, it can be enjoyed alone, or shared with those who also appreciate the beauty of it.

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Related links:
Singapore Street/Night Photography, V2
Singapore Street/Night Photography, V1

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Perak Cave, Ipoh

These pictures were taken from Perak Cave in Ipoh. I really wish this world is as calm and tranquil as depicted in the pictures; unfortunately not because we humans are just too selfish, born to destroy each other, even the mother earth. Sigh...nothing much to say. I'm a broken man. Time to pick up the pieces, again.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

St. Michael's Institution, My Alma Mater

Introducing St. Michael's, my beloved school where I studied since young. It is the most beautiful school in Ipoh, if not the whole of Malaysia. The building itself is now designated a heritage site in Malaysia. Not only having a beautiful appearance, the school is equally strong on the inside; producing many bright students and future leaders.

I had the opportunity to visit my school again after graduated from there 10 years ago. The school is as magnificent as it was 87 years ago; surviving the world wars, test of times and mother nature. It's just that the interior is really in need of restoration and uplift. It has changed from bad to worse compared to the last time I studied there. Cracked walls are plastered shoddily and unpainted while the doors seem like they could fall anytime.

Histories and more info about the school can be read here.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Flying Dream Achieved

Exactly 4 years since I joined the airlines, I have finally achieved what I aimed for; to work in an office with the best view in the world. It was really a long and winding road compounded with the unfortunate economic downturn. At times, it was so uncertain that I felt like being trapped in an eternal tunnel of darkness. I came back from my jet training 22 months ago right at the start of the downturn. Had to stay on the ground for a year before I finally start commercial flying as Second Officer. During that year, I had worries everyday not to be retrenched as the situation gets worse. I'm glad the company held out the storm and kept me in the job.

Learning to fly was tough, but learning to fly commercial planes with few hundreds of passengers was even tougher. My Second Officer days were by no means as easy as auto-pilot. Basically a Second Officer is a pilot flying under probation. We were scrutinized down to every last bit of details in terms of knowledge, operation skills and flying finesse. After all, flying with so many lives is a huge responsibility and safety is the top priority. Therefore, the authorities and company made sure only the competent ones are granted the license; not just any button operators. Along the way, some frown and some tried to humiliate newcomers like us. Those are really not so nice people. But I must say I also met many great people and crew members that made my stay-over so enjoyable. I really enjoy traveling to new places with great people as there is never short of joy and laughter.

All my stressful and sleepless nights are now behind me. The last peak was sure a hell of a tough climb. The highest and most treacherous in my entire life. But with a little push from the instructors, my coursemates and my loved ones, I managed to conquer it and checked out as First Officer. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all those who were behind me through the thick and thin. Happy 4th anniversary to Course 121; a bunch of nobody that went through all odds together to become somebody that everyone envies now. To all my friends, happy flying. Hope to see you someday in the air.

Related links:
Life of a Cadet Pilot, Ultimate Jet Flying
Life of a Cadet Pilot, The Jandakot Story
Life of a Cadet Pilot, Part 1

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Dubai, UAE (3)

Dubai loves me, unfortunately not the money. I went back to Dubai for the 3rd time in the space of 5 months. Initial plan was to visit the desert safari as I thought I've seen enough of the city. On second thought, I decided to hop onto sight-seeing bus instead. I discovered many more new places and interesting attractions. Burj Dubai, now known as Burj Khalifa is open to the public now. However at the price of 400 Dhs (USD 110) to go up to the tallest building is not really worth it. Atlantis Hotel at Palm Jumeirah is worth to check out. It has its own theme parks, water world and an interesting underwater aquarium resembling the lost world of the Atlantis. The old city district of Dubai is a gem by itself. You can find traditional markets selling crafts at bargain prices here. The stone age port at Dubai Creek where traditional means of loading/unloading of goods are located is not to be missed. Oh did I mention snow ski? Yup, you heard me right. You can actually snow ski in the middle of desert! Dubai has the best indoor snow ski park with the best snow; as been told by my friends who had experienced it.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: Dubai, UAE (2)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: Dubai, UAE (1)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Penang '10

Here are some pictures taken around Penang; particularly the "Tan" jetty which offers great panaromic view of ships in the distance and rustic look of wooden houses on stilts perched above the sea. Big thank you to jonsern for being the tour guide/driver/photographer for the weekend.

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Seoul, South Korea

The modern Seoul city is built on the old city itself. Therefore there are many historic sites like palaces, ancient gates and walls. However if you plan to visit the city right now, you'll be in for a huge disappointment. Many, if not almost all of these places are closed from the public for restoration work. I was all so eager to visit these places. But when I got to the place, it is nowhere to be found. Strange! A quick check on the map confirmed it is the right place. On closer look, I found most of it were hidden behind huge temporary shelter and some even behind fake background posters. No wonder all the tourist buses were idling without any tourists. Because there isn't anything left to sight-see. I was so sad to leave Seoul without having to see anything. Maybe just not my day. Next time then.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Time Lapse: East Coast, Singapore

I was bored and decided to do something weird. I set up my tripod and camera by the window and started clicking away. Not for a minute, but literally from the afternoon until night! Luckily with the help of automation, I managed to hook up a remote timer to help me do the job. Else I will be stoning by the window. What I did was actually time lapse photography where I stitched thousands of pictures taken in a span of few hours to make into a movie. The result turned out great. Enjoy the time lapse photography of East Coast, Singapore in high definition below. Remember to choose HD (720p) for best viewing experience.

Check out my inspirational videos below made by professional time lapse photographers. It reminds me how small we humans are compared to the planet and how beautiful the Mother Nature is.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mini Travel Log: San Francisco, USA

If you have watched X-Men: The Last Stand, then you'll remember how the famous Golden Gate Bridge was literally pulled off by Magneto to be used as his personal bridge towards Alcatraz Island. Welcome to San Francisco. This city is featured too many times in many movies and is so internationally well-known. It has become a top international tourist destination. The Golden Gate Bridge itself is an iconic structure that no visitors will leave without seeing it. The Alcatraz island also draws millions of visitors in a year alone. Then there are the famous cable cars/trams weaving around the famous downhill paths towards Fisherman's Wharf and the bay area. The Chinatown is also one of the largest and most densely populated by Chinese in North America. I was very lucky to be there on the weekend and caught a great show of dragon/lion dances. West side of the city has degraded into a ghetto and is not recommended for tourists. Further west is the mostly deserted Japantown, when most Japanese were taken away to the camps during World War 2. Turning south from here is the hippies' town; where many Victorian houses are left to decay while the hippies moved in. Among the thrash are the row of freshly "Painted Ladies"; one of the few restored Victorian houses now becoming a tourist attraction. Sausalito is up north across the Golden Gate Bridge. This place is definitely a place for the rich and famous. Bungalows and luxury cars dot the hills overlooking the scenic bay.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Maldives (2)

Having the chance to be on the last few flights to Male on the B777 (before being taken over by A330), I counted myself lucky and made sure I don't miss the beautiful sunset this time. Even though tired as hell, I dragged myself out from the bed to the beach for the most wonderful sight in my life ever. I was able to witness Mother Nature herself painting a masterpiece artwork in the sky. I always wondered why people draw rings on the sun. Now I know the answer as the sun slowly unveiled its full glory as it was setting over the beautiful beach of Male.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: Male, Maldives (1)

Friday, March 05, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Sydney, Australia

Many crews love to call this place "Shitney"; because of the lousy operating hours; which I presume they couldn't find time for their "LV" shoppings and couldn't get enough of their beauty sleep. I beg to differ. This fine city is one of the best city in Australia that I've visited. There are just too many world class landmarks like the Opera House, Harbor Bridge and old English buildings. Also too many fantastic attraction sites like Bondi Beach and scenic lookout points which I really couldn't visit them all during my short stay. I rate this city as a "must visit" for any tourists who love a world class metropolis with a blend of world class architectures and landmarks; surrounded by beautiful natural scenery and attraction sites. Not forgetting the fashions, shoppings and cultural events. I myself couldn't wait to have another chance to visit this city again. Perhaps the only thing which I can relate Sydney to "Shitney" is the weather. Any cold fronts or depression blown from the Antarctica will bring endless rains for days. I was very unfortunate to arrive right smack in the gloomy and wet weather. I've wasted one day in the hotel due to the rains. And because of that I've missed out the largest nude parade at the Opera House which the news claimed the highest form of art and show of humanity. Whether art or just sleazy, I was quite disappointed to have missed it as events like this don't really happen everyday, more so back in the Asian countries.

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Anyway, here's the link to the nude parade for those who are "curious". Warning: PG content.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Kota Tinggi Waterfall

It takes about an hour drive from JB city to the waterfall. This waterfall was once open free to the public. Damn right it should be as it is a natural forest. Unfortunately, some people with "connection" managed to stake their claim on the waterfall and set up entrance fee. What a shame! The hefty fee charged does not reflect the service and attractions being offered. Water slides are old and rusty. Toilets are dirty and not maintained. Basically it's mother nature being destroyed. We had to take a forbidden path and hike up to the upper waterfall; the only place left untouched. Although the hike was dangerous, it was a rewarding effort. Had a couple of fun moments up there while enjoying the beautiful and serene nature. Thanks to jonsern once again for being a great host for the second time.

Click on the image for picture gallery

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru, the southern city of Johor state in Malaysia. Across the causeway is the neighbor Singapore. With its unlimited resources, this city has big potential to be the best city rivaling that of Singapore. In fact with proper planning, it can even become a tourist trap to milk Singaporeans of their monies. Alas, with the crooked and corrupted ones in the administration, this city is going backwards instead. Too much pride to lose, and too much money to squander on. Those crooks only know how to bicker on sand and water issues with Singapore. This city is notorious for violent crimes now. Some parts of the city is suffering from urban blight; abandoned and dilapidated buildings providing sore eye sights.

Nevertheless, there are still some nice buildings around. Here are some nice shots of the majestic Sultan Abu Bakar mosque. A note of appreciation to jonsern for being the tour guide of the day and wonderful host for pre-CNY cum birthday dinner.

Click on the image for picture gallery

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year

Went to Chinatown to shop for Chinese New Year goodies and gifts. It is a sea of red with all the red decorations decked out. It is quite hard to differentiate which is which as almost everything is in red color. Armed with my camera, it suddenly struck my mind to have an interesting photo-shooting theme.

Happy Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year and Gong Xi Fatt Chai!!!

Click on the image for picture gallery

Greetings from Taiwan

Greetings from Malaysia

Greetings from Hong Kong

Greetings from Singapore

Friday, January 29, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Auckland, New Zealand (2)

My 3rd time to the land of Kiwis and 2nd time to Auckland. I'd love to apply for an NZ citizenship if possible, hehe. This time around, I visited places away from the city; which I was not able to do last month due to closures on Christmas Day. Rather than sightseeing, I think it was more of an exercise trip for me. Climbing the volcanic hill of Mt. Eden was not easy. I was already panting and sweating by the time I reached the top. And there, I still have another hill to conquer which was One Tree Hill later in the day. It was a rewarding trip. But the UV rays from the sun were too strong. My SPF 50 sunscreen was not able to save me and I was roasted. Say hello to an African boy.

Click on the image for picture gallery

Related link: Mini Travel Log: Auckland, New Zealand (1)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch; the gateway to Antartica and Middle Earth of the Lord of the Rings. It is summer but on the day I arrived, it has already been raining for the past few days. Can you believe it, temperature dipped to 8 deg celcius, it's freaking winter during summer! Amazing to see everyone including myself in jackets and boots instead of t-shirts and shorts. It was better on the second day as the sun managed to penetrate the thick clouds momentarily. Still, I had a very hard time taking pictures due to lack of light. What a gloomy day! As usual, I was a lone ranger exploring the whole city and even ended up on the hills. From Port Hills, I had the best view in the world overlooking the city to the North, the blue sea to the East and white alps of Middle Earth to the South. I was crazy enough to rent a bike and cycled along the mountains to the beach. From there, I had to cycle up the hills again to return the bike. I was dead tired and only realized the trip was 20km! If only I knew from the beginning...Nevertheless, I had no regrets. I had the best time on my own and would also recommend it to anyone going there.

Click on the image for picture gallery Album 1

Click on the image for picture gallery Album 2