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.

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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.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter Wonderland: Yokohama, Tokyo, Nikko

Winter is the time where everyone wants to avoid and stay indoor. Many think it is cold, dull and depressing; so did I. I was wrong. I had a memorable white winter trip to Yokohama, Tokyo and Nikko. It was a wonderful trip to start off my year.

Yokohama is a sleepy town south of Tokyo. Even though not too packed compared to Tokyo, it does not lack behind in terms of entertainment and shopping. It has many big shopping complexes and a big theme park. This beautiful port city offers many picturesque sight-seeing spots like Osanbashi pier and Akarenga Soko. The city is also home to the largest Chinatown in Japan.

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Tokyo: city full of energy and neon lights. I have been to most of the attraction sites last year. This time round, I visited the Tokyo Dome City for its theme park and then headed to Ikebukuro. I climbed up the Sunshine 60 building for a breathtaking view of Tokyo city. I'm like a local resident now. For once, I never got lost and needed to ask any help for direction. Hmm...I'm thinking of getting a part time tour guide job here.

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My trip to Nikko was also my first white snow experience. Although I've seen snow before, this time I was actually there when the snow started falling. Just slight snow for a short while, but it was quite an experience. I was unprepared and was frozen to become a snowman. Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls are so beautiful in the white snowy landscape.

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Friday, January 01, 2010

NYE 2009/10 Singapore

I was home alone for the past week and couldn't believe my luck when I came home from my flight still to find none of my housemates around. There's no one I could gather for the NYE celebration. I decided to head down to the city for a change. I've been spending my time at home for the past few NYEs. I was glad I made the right decision as I had the most wonderful time of my life seeing such an awesome fireworks display behind the beautiful city backdrop. Nightmares began after the celebration as throngs of people were trying to get home. The authorities are a big letdown for their poor planning that caused a MASSIVE jam on all roads. It took almost 2 hours for the jam to clear. Public transport is bullshit as buses were caught in the jam. By the time they arrive, they were already full to the brim. The subway was no better. And the taxi drivers were the biggest punk for not picking any passengers as they wanted to earn extra charges by picking up only phone call passengers. All over the city you can see empty cabs but with the red ON-CALL signs. But most of them get caught in the jam anyway and were stationary for more than an hour. I'd say serve them right for being greedy. So my advice to party goers next year: drive your own car. Head down to the clubs after countdown and relax. Drive home after 3 hours later to save you from the nightmare.

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