Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mini Travel Log: San Francisco, USA (4)

I had a great Christmas shopping weekend in San Francisco. Just the place to be as the weather was perfect for the whole week. Clear sunny days make walking on the street such a pleasure. Met up with a friend who happened to be there on his job assignment. We drove up to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area where we had a great view of the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge from the peak. Also on this peak, there is an abandoned gun site built in the WW2 but was never used.

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The next day, we drove to Lake Tahoe. The border of California and Nevada lies around this lake. There are many ski resorts around the lake but because there wasn't any snow yet, only a few were open with artificial snow slopes. We went to Heavenly Ski, but made a mistake of not renting ski equipments from the base station, thinking that we can rent uphill. So we were quite disappointed when we got up there to find no ski equipment rentals.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: San Francisco, USA (3)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: San Francisco, USA (2)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: San Francisco, USA (1)

This will be the last post for the year of 2011. Happy new year to all readers.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Auckland, New Zealand (4)

Waiheke Island is one of the many islands formed by volcanic activities around the Hauraki Gulf; just outside of Auckland harbor. Unlike some of the other protected islands, Waiheke has gone through major agriculture transformation. Almost the entire island has been stripped bare of its original vegetation and transformed into an "island of wine". Population are concentrated at the western side of the island close to the ferry terminal linking the island and Auckland city center. On the eastern side of the island, you'll find many privately owned vineyards which many are open to the public. At the eastern tip lies the Stony Batter Fort built in the WW2 in anticipation of the Japanese invasion. 3 huge guns were built here linked by myriads of tunnels. The guns can shoot a whopping distance of over 30km; out of enemy sight and retaliation range. Even though the guns have now been dismantled and shipped back to UK, it will still be a fun weekend to bring your family and kids to explore the long dark tunnels that will lead you to huge gun emplacements facing the gulf.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: Auckland, New Zealand (3)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: Auckland, New Zealand (2)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: Auckland, New Zealand (1)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Munich, Germany (3)

I arrived a little too late into Munich to see the golden autumn as it was into the last week before the start of winter. Nevertheless, I was still able to catch some beautiful sights in the English Garden. I'd really recommend this park if you plan to see some amazing sights during autumn.

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However the same cannot be said for excursions out from Munich. As the winter starts, many tour operators will not operate out from the city. Only a few popular tours are offered like tours to Linderhof, Oberammergau and Neuschwanstein. I joined this tour with my wife but left a little disappointed because I couldn't see the full grandeur of the Linderhof Castle due to many parts being covered up in preparation for the snowfall. Even the Neuschwanstein Castle was undergoing exterior restoration works as they do not expect many tourists during this period. So any nice pictures of this castle is out of the question. Nevertheless, my wife and I had a romantic time doing this excursion, enjoying the tranquility of the countryside; especially around Swan Lake and the quiet town of Oberammergau.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: Munich, Germany (2)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: Munich, Germany (1)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Tokyo, Japan (2)

More than 6 months after the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster, life is almost back to normal here in Tokyo. There is no more strong aftershocks and power cuts. At night, buildings and landmarks are lighted up back to their former glory. While tourists are still shunning away from Tokyo, the local businesses are badly affected until the government has to give away 10,000 free air ticket to attract tourists back to Japan.

While the world news are fanning panic and exaggerating things, the actual situation here is very calm and normal. The atmosphere is so peaceful and the place is as beautiful as ever. While strolling in the beautiful Hama Rikyu Garden nearby Tsukiji Market, I can see life goes on for the people here. They remained calm and resilient as they try to rebuild the country and deal with the nuclear crisis.

So now you know the actual situation, let's put down your thinking cap and plan your next Sakura trip to Japan. This is the opportunity to have a cheap but great holiday. And it will be even better if you manage to get the free air ticket giveaway. "Minasan yokoso nihon!"

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: Tokyo, Japan (1)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Amsterdam, Holland (2)

Ooo...what's that pungent smell on the street. Ahh...the familiar smell of marijuana smoke emanating from the "coffee" shops. Yup, I was back in Amsterdam to sniff the "fresh" air in the city. It was clear blue sky, how lucky was I. Just when I thought I've seen enough of the city, the beautiful weather coaxed me out from my room. Again, I did a little tour for my new colleagues and enjoyed the sun and photography myself. There were protests in the city by "Occupy" activists against the greedy and corrupted bankers. This is a worldwide protest going on at the moment inspired by the "Occupy" New York activists in Wall Street. I do agree with them that this world is controlled by the greedy rich bankers collaborating with governments to cheat the poor's money to make themselves rich. Since the abolishment of the currency backing against gold, banks have been printing worthless "money" from nothing, which in turn sell it to us in the form of savings and loans. And from "nothing", those greedy bastards are making money from the interests charged on loans to other people which are actually our savings money. Just because we don't use our money and left it in the bank, the banks conveniently use it to create even more loans. Based on "nothing", soon the economy will just run out of steam and resources when more and more people go bankrupt. And when the whole world goes down, the greedy bastards are still laughing their way to the banks with their loot of insane bonuses; while the poor people are starving on the streets and being forced out from their homes. When the meltdown happens, I am very sure that we will not be able to retrieve a single cent from the banks if all of us were to queue up together to withdraw our money. It is because our money which we thought worth a dollar, are actually not worth a dollar. They are sliced up to share with few thousands other and the banks work on this theory that we do not need the money at the same time. So why not use our money without our knowledge, and sell it off as loans to others while charging high interest rates. While they make lotsa money from the interests, they don't pay us back anything for "lending" them the money. And if the loan goes bad, the bank just use more of our savings to cover up the bad debts, yet they still pocket their annual bonuses for the losses they incurred. Evil bastards.

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Day 2, I decided to get out from the chaos in the city. I joined a tour to the peaceful student town of Delft. Delft is also famous for its' pottery and china wares. Chinese porcelains were of course invented in China. But because of the rarity in ancient times, the price for such wares were extremely expensive. Therefore, the Dutch decided to copy the making process and produced it themselves. Thus the birth of the Delft pottery business in this town.

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The finale to this tour is the trip to Mini Holland, Madurodam; not far away from The Hague. If you are short of time but want to see the whole of Holland, then this is the place to see them all, in miniature size. I loved this place as the miniatures are very similar to the real ones and beautifully created. I was having my great Gulliver's Travel fantasy in this lovely place, imagining myself as the giant. And lastly, the plane of my company is proudly displayed here as well.

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Related link: Tulip Mania: Spring in Holland
Related link: Mini Travel Log: Amsterdam, Holland (1)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Summer Catalunya Tour

Weather was perfect for the weekend in Spain. Coming over from Milan, I really looked forward to the weekend for some summer heat and fun. 3 years ago, I backpacked Spain which included Barcelona. But it was such an amazing race that I did not really spend much time in one place. This time , I have a lot of time and planned to discover not only Barcelona, but the Catalunya region as well.

First stop was of course Barcelona. Hoping to get into the forever-in-construction Sagrada Familia, my hope was dashed once again. To my dismay, the queue line was just too long; snaking one round across the church's perimeter. Sensing not worth the wait, I jumped into the subway train to some parks which I did not visit from my previous trip. I came into a Ceramic Museum in the park which also features interior home designs and fashions from the old age to modern times. Surprisingly to discover that things invented 80 years ago that were deemed too futuristic, were actually what today called in-trend and in-fashion; being copied by designers and sought after by blind fashionistas who didn't know they were actually wearing outdated designs. The fashion section also showed an interesting shift in a woman's body from big bust and bum into the walking stick of a modern woman wearing loose fitting dresses.

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Day 2 was my excursion trip out from the city Barcelona. I headed up to the famous mountain of Montserrat. Here lies one of the oldest monasteries in Spain built on the spectacular jagged mountain of peculiar rock formations. Many pilgrims make their pilgrimage here to see the Virgin of Montserrat or more commonly called the black Virgin Mary or Black Madonna. The Montserrat Boys' Choir was the highlight of this tour. They are the oldest boys' choir in the world and their concerts around the world are much sought after. I was so lucky to be able to catch their performance in the monastery itself.

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What a great way to end the tour other than having an ice cold mojito by the beach, enjoying the summer heat and hot looking nude babes. Sitges is the place for the rich and famous. I visited the Bacardi house, founder of the famous Bacardi rum. Here I was served ice cold mojito expertly mixed by the bartenders. The best mojito I've tasted so far. Mmm...

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Related link: Travel Diary: Spain

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Iphone 4S(illy)

I can't help myself from laughing after watching the videos below. It is funny but it is also very true. Unless you speak perfect American or British English, Siri will not make you cool, but make you look very silly indeed. Without any localization, it will not help you find correct places. It will also call or send your messages to the wrong people. Reason being Siri cannot pick up names that are not in English. Try ask Siri to call your Chinese contact, or navigate to a Malay named road or place. Chances are it will give you rubbish replies, just like the videos below. Now add in our local accent, Siri will give you one helluva laugh. 10 points for entertainment. 0 point for functionality. And 10 points for the silly-factor. You don't really need to spend over a thousand dollar to look silly. There are many silly things that can be done for free in this world. Siri is not one of them.

Singlish anyone? (This is a parody video. But I bet it will be the same scenario if using the real Iphone 4s)

Poor Japanese. At least he tried many times. But Siri didn't even get one right.

Scottish. The guy tried so hard to create a "reminder".

But then some people still think that Siri is cool because they think this is a new technology. Just so if they don't know, this technology has already been around for more than a decade. Even Google had it for more than a year on Android phones. Back in the days when Internet just took off, AI bots were created and people were already having conversations with it, without the accent problems of course. So if your Siri is giving you trouble, it's time to dump your useless "girlfriend". Talk to A.L.I.C.E. instead. At least she's got a better name than Siri. Try it here:

Oh and Alice is really a decade old. 16 years ago, she was already doing what Siri is doing now, minus the voice feature. Don't believe? Read it here:

Cleverbot is 2 years younger than ALICE. But is much smarter. Try it here: Type in the box and hit enter. Wait for the reply. Hehe.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Milan, Italy (2)

The last time I came to Milan, it was in awful cold winter time. The sun set very early and I did not have many photo opportunities. This time, it was a lovely summer week throughout Europe. Even though a short stay and very tired, I did not waste any chance to go out. Unfortunately before I managed to step out, I was distracted for a while to a couple of whiskey shots with colleagues early in the morning! Feeling on a high, I continued to the city. I think taking pictures while drunk opens up a whole new perspective. It was a challenge to hold the heavy camera still and horizontal, and to capture that picture while my world was spinning round and round. At the end of the day looking back at the pictures, it was not too bad at all to have some "drunken" pictures in my collection.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: Milan, Italy (1)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Generation 709: We Love Malaysia

My dear friends. We love our own country and would like to make it even better. Screw the BN dogs for playing and stroking racial tension for decades. After so many years of independence, we have only moved backwards and getting more intolerant towards other races. If only we open up our minds and build upon racial harmony and meritocracy, we can achieve the status of ASEAN dragon surpassing Singapore and even Hong Kong. So let's come together and boot those corrupt/evil/racist dogs out. One day --- we'll get them and put them into the deepest shit hole for what they have done to the country and people. Enjoy the music video below. Kudos to the bunch of talented people for making great music and video.

More great music and videos:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Summer Gladiators: Rome + Vatican + Venice

It was very unfortunate to arrive into Rome during their national strike day. It was a total chaos. Subways and many other public transportation were crippled. The country is already on the brink of bankruptcy after Greece, and yet the people still want to protest when their Government cuts the benefit spending; further crippling the economy. My honeymoon holiday was nearly ruined as I had such a hard time trying to find alternative ways to get into the main train station. Hours and hours passed with no trains in sight. By the time I reached the main station, I had to run for my life to catch the connecting train to Venice.

Once my wife and I reached the beautiful Venice, all our worries were gone as we were charmed by the beauty of this water city. Forget Paris, as Venice is voted as one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in Europe by The New York Times and Times Online. This water city is said to be sinking due to the rising water level. So do mark it in your future honeymoon itinerary before it goes underwater. Spend your most romantic moments in the gondola cruising down the canals with the gondolier singing "O Sole Mio".


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Back to the capital Rome, we had the feel of being a Gladiator. This was the center of the great Roman Empire. This city is filled with ancient Roman architectures and ruins to explore. We climbed hills, beat the heat and braved the traffic, just to squeeze every available minute to explore many places as possible. Not bad for a modern day Gladiators eh? =D

In this city also lies another city, The Vatican. This special little city is actually a country itself by definition. It has its own government headed by the Pope. It also has its own security forces, the charming Swiss Guards. Yup you heard it right girls. They are charming Swiss nationals, young age between 19-30 and well built. Go and grab your dream guy now. Fancy being an Italian citizen? Then you can if you're holy enough to be appointed to work in the Vatican. You'll be granted Vatican citizenship. Once your terms of work ends, you'll automatically get the Italian citizenship if you have renounced your original country citizenship while inside the Vatican.

Rome + Vatican

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and is home for the famous Little Mermaid. After away for months in Shanghai for the World Expo, the Little Mermaid is back to her home and to the very spot she sat for almost a century. While her name is famous worldwide, she is actually not so large in real. She is a very small statue, only 1.2m high. Many visitors will be taken aback when see her for the first time, for they expect a grand statue for such larger than life name.

Copenhagen city itself is very similar to that of Amsterdam of Holland. However, it is bigger than the latter. And of course more beautiful, cleaner and free of cannabis smoke which can give an pleasant experience for visitors in Amsterdam. They also have the changing of royal guards similar to that of London. Like the Vatican City in Rome, it also has a city within city, called Christiania. This unrecognized city is home for hippies, homeless, gangs and druggies. As much as the city tries to be friendly to visitors from outside, it is still very uncomfortable to walk alone, getting suspicious stares from gangs and punks; whom enforces the no photography law. Even though the city proudly displays their no drug trade policy, open cannabis trade is rampant.

Visitors looking for amusement fun can head to Tivoli Gardens for the thrills of height and speed. This park just celebrated its 168th anniversary. Don't be fooled by its age, for the rides are extremely thrilling or you can chill in this beautiful park itself which opens till late night. The best ride in the park is the Vertigo, which puts you in the hot seat of a fighter plane doing insane rolls and pulling incredible G forces which can black out the unprepared.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Seoul, South Korea (2)

If you were a fan of Korean TV drama "Winter Sonata" and want to visit the beautiful places depicted in the series, again I need to reiterate that Seoul is not the place. It was filmed on a tiny island which is 2 hours away from Seoul. So if you really want to visit beautiful places with some Korean heritage, you need to get out from the city. Seoul has been over-developed with many heritage sites either being removed or destroyed. Even many palaces in the city were re-built instead of being restored; leaving just empty shells. This place is good for nightlife clubbing and shopping. Other than that, I really couldn't find anything else around the city on my 2nd time back to this city.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: Seoul, South Korea (1)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mini Travel Log: San Francisco, USA (3)

Last year, we were colleagues and went out as friends. This year, we were back there as husband and wife and celebrated our honeymoon flight back to the place where it all began; San Francisco. This city serves the best clam chowder in the world. And a testament to that, $11 for the chowder was all it took to win her heart and she agreed to marry me. Hahaha. Chowder aside, it was the wonderful work of God who crossed our paths together in this magical city and through many more miracles; that we are able to be happily married now. While SIA has got their TV ad being shot in this city, we too, had our own mini real life love story here. =D

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SIA Advertisement

Related link: Mini Travel Log: San Francisco, USA (2)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: San Francisco, USA (1)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Moscow, Russia

Moscow is a very nice city. Once used to be a superpower, many of their buildings are huge and magnificent to show off their country's might. The Red Square is the most popular tourist spot. Located here are the worldwide famous Kremlin and the St. Basil's Cathedral. Walking on the streets in Moscow can be quite intimidating. The locals are not very friendly towards Asians and compounded with their big bear sized bodies, you wouldn't dare to walk up towards them. Almost everyone one of them will give you a long sinister stare as you walk past them. As the city is notorious for its Russian mafia and organized crimes, it is advisable to tour Moscow with a tour group if you have different skin color from them.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Singapore NDP 2011 + Fireworks

Happy birthday to Singapore and my fellow Singaporean friends. Even though many young people have grouses and not happy with all the old men of the country, this country did achieved many great things. Success today doesn't come easily from barking like a mad dog in the self destruction and hate mongering forum like TR. If you don't like certain things and complain about the many social problems, why not you step out from that abomination first and not stoop to such a low life tard like them? If you are educated and talented, then walk the talk and do your part in the society. Go join the WP or NSP and be a servant to the people. If you can't even do what your preach and serve the people from the grass-root level, then you are only putting your foot in your mouth and giving the old men more ammo to shoot you. I don't mean to disrespect any of you, but like everyone says, respect has got to be earned. Another financial shock is coming. So sit back and enjoy your beer. Be merry, you'll live longer rather than being angry and depressed reading TR.

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Monday, August 08, 2011

Paris: The City of Romance

City of Romance? Or a city of funny weather? Heatwave during summer is a thing of past. Mini winter in summer is the current trend. It had been cloudy for the past weeks. When it drizzles and the wind howls, temperature easily dips below 15 deg celcius. At times, it can be very chilly. I had to wear jacket during daytime in the middle of summer season. The weather changes very quickly too. In few moments, the sky clears up to reveal the sun and blue sky, but another wall of clouds move in quickly to cover up the whole sky again.

I have to give it up to the French to be able to sell Paris as the most popular honeymoon destination on earth. Every single love birds, couples and newlyweds would die for a honeymoon here at least once in their lifetime. But what are the essences that make Paris as the City of Romance? Many people will just say it's the Eiffel Tower, the charming French guys; or all those passionate kissing scenes in Paris that the TV and media show to the audiences. Having spent a lovely honeymoon here with my wife, I'd say people have got it all wrong. It isn't the Eiffel Tower, nor kissing everywhere in Paris that makes it romantic. You can create a City of Romance in any other parts of the world, not just Paris. It is about the things you do and quality time you spend together doing it - that matters. So you and your lover could have a romantic boat dinner. While passing by the Eiffel Tower, you'll just grab her by the waist and then swoop down for a passionate kiss under the beautiful lights of Paris and the Eiffel. Now that's what I call City of Romance. =D
(Disclaimer: I shall not be held liable if it backfires and you get a slap in return. hehe)

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Melbourne, Australia (3)

Many tourists don't realize there are beaches in Melbourne. Port Phillip Bay is a large bay which is connected to the Southern Ocean through a small opening called "the Rip". Because of this, many people thought it is a lake instead. You'll be surprised to find the water salty and dolphins living here. If you are adventurous, don't spend too much time in the boring Melbourne CBD areas. Take a tram or a train to Brighton Beach or St. Kilda. Along Brighton Beach, you'll be able to see rows of colorful bathing boxes which are printed in postcards found all over the world. North of Brighton is St. Kilda. Spend your weekend here with your family in the classic amusement park, featuring the wooden roller coaster. Take a stroll down the historic pier which stretches about half a mile out to the bay and enjoy the sunset. If you are hungry, there are many restaurants serving international cuisines to satisfy your taste bud.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: Melbourne, Australia (2)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: Melbourne, Australia (1)

Mini Travel Log: Beijing, China (4)

Temple of Heaven - The place where the powerful Emperor of China; regarded as God himself, offered his prayers and sacrificial offerings to the even mightier Gods in heaven for good harvests to the country. The huge complex and all the grand temples in it survived the occupation and looting of the foreigners, although some were desecrated and had collapsed. Through years of restoration, this temple is back to its magnificent days and also listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, it is opened to the public where it was once forbidden where only the Emperor was allowed to step foot into it. The surrounding park is a popular place for the older generations to gather for leisure activities.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: Beijing, China (3)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: Beijing, China (2)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: Beijing, China (1)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Christchurch, New Zealand (3)

I am so thankful for the earthquake happened right after I touched down at the airport. At a magnitude of 5.5, the airport buildings were shaking. But sitting in the big aircraft while getting off the runway, all of us didn't feel a thing and lucky to be away from the building as things could have fallen onto our heads.

With the double major shock and countless of other small tremors, Christchurch city is devastated now. Most parts in the city had already been locked down, beyond salvage, and needed to be rebuilt. To be safe, we were put up in a resort away from the city. This resort is called the Peppers Clearwater Resort and it is such a paradise considering the devastation around Christchurch. The staffs were as cheerful as ever despite the nightmares they had gone through. I really have to give it up to them and the people of Japan who had gone through similar tragedies.

This resort is so beautiful and peaceful; perfect for the family. There is a beautiful lake outside the balcony where you can BBQ while enjoying the sunset. For the golf lovers, you can play here while enjoying the peaceful surroundings.

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

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Melbourne, Australia (2)

It is the golden season Down Under. Everything is in golden color and you can feel autumn is here. While the northern hemisphere welcomes spring and the start of summer, Melbourne is turning cold and going into winter. Many other Australian cities don't really have significant autumn months. Melbourne, which is located closer to the southern tip, is enjoying more of the season change. I think this is the best city in Australia to visit during this time of the year, to be able to see the spectacular colors of autumn.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: Melbourne, Australia (1)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mini Travel Log: London, UK (4)

Wow...the Queen loves to summon me to London. This is the 4th time in the year I come to London for royal treatment. Your Majesty, I love this place and really appreciate your invites, but if you confer me with a royal title or grant me a knighthood, then it will make my travel so much easier into the country. Oh and I will definitely take up residence in this lovely country of yours.

In return of your kindness, I visited the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, and contributed back to your royal funds. I have to say I'm so amazed by this garden. After having visited many other botanical gardens around the world, this Kew Gardens is a league above the rest; a class of its own. Boasting the world's largest collection of living plants, this garden really deserves for being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For visitors, this garden is a must visit. Apart from being able to see the world without getting out of the country, you can sit back and relax in this vast scenic park while enjoying a cup of tea under the cool sun. There are also many beautiful attractions and historic buildings/museums to visit; particularly the Kew Palace. So your Majesty, perhaps we could arrange for a royal high tea in this palace on my next return? I would like to reserve a room with the garden view. =)

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: London, UK (3)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: London, UK (2)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: London, UK (1)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Narita, Japan

I had a short stay in Narita which is just about 200km from the nuclear disaster zone in Fukushima. Japan is still reeling from the massive earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown. Many tourists and foreigners are shunning the country for fears of radiation. It is evident when I walk the streets in Narita and also Tokyo on my subsequent trip. Tourist spots are eerily deserted. Businesses run as normal but I can see how hard it is on them when they don't get many customers. Yet the people here remained calm and resilient. It's a spirit not commonly found in other countries which rely on free handouts from their governments or spoiled brats who think living in luxury is their automatic right instead of earning it through hard work. A very good example will be a spoiled brat whom recently wrote to the paper in Singapore that she couldn't afford to stay in a $3-5 million condo in the posh area of Orchard and blames the government and the rich foreigners.'ve got to earn it and not beg, miss. And you expect to land a $1 million salary job as a fresh graduate? Stupid. When you've earned it, you can buy and live in any shit hole you want on earth. And there are many other rich Singaporeans living in style in other countries. So do you want the locals there to blame them and burn their homes as well huh?

Anyway, Ganbaro Japan. The world is with you. May you rise again, and back stronger.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Los Angeles, USA

Los Angeles, the home of Hollywood and some of the biggest stars on earth. This is where the films and movies being mass produced and sold to the world as American Dream. So what is this American Dream? Fast cars, posh Beverly Hills homes, sex, drugs and alcohol. Hollywood sure does know how to sell their movies and implant the American culture in every youth on earth. While I was here, Arnold Schwarzenegger was all over the news for breaking up with his beautiful wife because he was banging his old hag housekeeper. Yawnzzz...nothing new. Everyone is banging each other and I think it is a norm in their culture. This is the American dream and culture yo! If you ain't doin' it, then you ain't cool. Remember kids, you follow the American dream, you're gonna live dangerously and die young; just like MJ. After coming back from here, I only have one word in mind - "I'll...Be...Back...". Damn...even I couldn't resist the glitter of this Tinseltown. I'm gonna go back for the Universal Studios, the Disneyland and of course shopping spree. Now I understand why this flight into LA is called a charity fight despite the handsome pay. I just contributed to the economy revival of USA. And I'm not even a charitable person. =(

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4 looneys, 1 cool Mustang, and a stupid camera. Driving on the streets of LA in the middle of the night. The result = awesomeness.

Venice Beach, LA

The Grove; Hollywood Walk of Fame; Downtown LA

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Tulip Mania: Spring in Holland

I am so blessed to be given a flight to Amsterdam during the best season of the year, Spring. Of all the places in Europe, the best place to be during this time of the year is of course Holland. Tulips at one point of a time during the Dutch Golden Age, was so crazily revered and sought after that it was worth more than gold and diamonds; thus leading to the popular phrase of "Tulip Mania". One tulip bulb is already so beautiful. Imagine that you are now swimming in the endless ocean of tulips while enjoying the blue skies and windmills as the picturesque background. The scene was so beautiful and forever etched in my memory. As this entry would normally be in my "Mini Travel Log" section, the beautiful landscape however made me feel like I'm already on a holiday; thus earning a place in the "Travel Diaries" section instead. Please enjoy the beautiful pictures from Holland below.

Amsterdam: Springtime Fun in the City

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Marken + Volendam + Zaanse Schans

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Keukenhof: The Garden of Europe

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: Amsterdam, Holland (1)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ipoh Mali, Ipoh Ipoh Mali

Before I talk more about Ipoh, let's have a look at the video below by Point Blanc titled "Ipoh Mali". Yeah baby, that's my hometown, the best in Malaysia.

Ipoh is best for its food. The white coffee, "hor fun" noodle, chicken rice and bean sprout are the trademark of Ipoh which the rest of the world tried to copy. There is no other place to taste the best other than having it in Ipoh. This city is also known for its pretty girls. If you ask me, I'd say pretty girls are everywhere but Ipoh girls stand out for being down to earth. There are some nice and exotic places to sight see in Ipoh; especially if you like old rustic buildings which is perfect for portrait photography; or you can explore the many natural limestone caves. Don't get the wrong idea that we stay in caves. We do have quite a number of modern hang out places for the teenagers. If you have the money to buy a cramped apartment elsewhere in the world, then you'd definitely be living like a king here in Ipoh. The same amount of money will get you a huge bungalow and perhaps with 1 or 2 Olympic size swimming pool included.

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Related link: Perak Cave, Ipoh
Related link: St. Michael's Institution, My Alma Mater
Related link: Chinese New Year '09: Ipoh

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Waitomo + Rotorua, New Zealand

While many people are fascinated with the Lord of the Rings movie and its location of the movie shoot which is located on the South Island, they did not notice the hidden beauty and treasures that are on the North Island of New Zealand. The glow worm caves hidden in the region of Waitomo for example awe tourists more than any other plain mountains of the Lord of the Rings. Inside the pitch dark caves, you can imagine yourself floating in the vast darkness of space with millions of bright universe stars shining brightly above your head. Why is that so? This is because of the rare glow worms found only exclusively in New Zealand live inside the caves and emit lights to attract other insects for food. If you find fireflies are cool, this is ten times cooler. Next up, destination Rotorua. This city is known for its hot springs and geysers. There is also a big beautiful lake named after Rotorua as well. With so many geysers spurting and big sulphur deposits, the city smells of rotten egg and earned the nickname Sulphur City. The Pohutu Geyser in the area is a main attraction and it spurts almost every hour up to a height of 100 feet (10 storeys).

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Beijing, China (3)

Spring time in Beijing can be as beautiful as the over-rated sakura season in Japan. If you are looking for a bargain holiday to enjoy the spring blossom, then China is your destination. Food here is fantastic, lodging is cheap and the surprisingly convenient and modern public transport only costs around 2 yuan per trip! For a more comfortable ride, you can always take a cab which is very cheap as well. Jingshan and Beihai Park are located just behind the Forbidden Palace and they offer great panoramic view of Beijing city. During spring season, you can also view beautiful flower blossoms inside the park.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: Beijing, China (2)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: Beijing, China (1)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mini Travel Log: London, UK (3)

The Queen must have loved me so much, for I was summoned back to the UK after I left in less than a week. Thank you for your invite Your Majesty, for if not, I would have left rotting in the house for a week. But so sorry that I did not pay you a visit at Buckingham Palace this time, for I had a date with your ancestor King Henry VIII at his Hampton Court Palace instead. Boy, I have to say his castle gardens are much bigger and more beautiful than your St. James Park. I had fun getting lost in the Maze Garden but bollocks, for the exit was actually the same entrance. Ahh...what a trick.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: London, UK (2)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: London, UK (1)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mini Travel Log: London, UK (2)

Even though I return to the same places I have visited last time, London still has its charm. I had a wonderful time here with my fiancee. We were blessed to be able to meet in London out of the so many flights around the world. This is the first of the many more honeymoon trips to come. I am looking forward to that.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: London, UK (1)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Munich, Germany (2)

What will a person do on a cold day? Snugging beside a fireplace and sipping warm coffee would be perfect. Unfortunately for a restless person like me, I just couldn't sit still. On a freezing cold morning, I got out from the hotel to brave the cold. Bad decision. I couldn't stand it and ended up in a warm restaurant. I had one of the best Bratwurst for my lunch. Feeling warm and comfortable now, I decided to change my sight-seeing plans into indoor activities. So I headed to the BMW showroom and museum for some fantasy shopping. If I cannot afford one, at least I was there to touch and smell the leather seats.

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The BMW Mega Challenge: To all the Beemer fanboys out there; it's time for you to prove your worth. See if you can identify all the models in this album. =D

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A very cool show from moving balls.

Related link: Mini Travel Log: Munich, Germany (1)

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Salzburg, Austria

Flying on my birthday is not cool. And arriving to a foreign place alone on Valentine's day makes it even sadder. Since I couldn't sleep and missed my fiancee badly, I decided to take some fresh air outside and hopped on a train to cross the border from Germany to Salzburg, Austria. This small romantic town was where the classical movie "Sound of Music" filmed. If you grew up in the 80s, you'd probably be able to recognize many places here from the film as you've watched it countless of times while singing along to the music of Do-Re-Mi. In this town too, a great music composer was born by the name of Mozart who brought wonderful music to this world. Along with him, another great scientist by the name of Doppler was born and lived here as well. Comparing to many other places in Europe, this is one of the romantic town that you must visit with your loved ones or for your honeymoon. The charm of this town will definitely melt the hearts. Visit during the summer for the best view and to relive your "Sound of Music".

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo has become all too familiar to me. I've been there for the past 3 consecutive years. Knowing this complicated metropolitan city inside out is a big bonus. I can now walk without maps nor even need to speak to the majority of Japanese who don't want to speak English. Without prior planning, I can now just hop onto any train and go to where my heart desires. While shopping in Shinjuku, I decided to bring my colleagues for sushi. Among the hundreds of Yakitori pubs in the area, we managed to find a secluded sushi restaurant which serves fresh sushi on conveyor belts. We had the best meal on a bargain price. You don't have to pay premium price for good sushi if you know where to find it. Nor you need to wake up 4-5am for Tsukiji Fish Market sushi.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Penang and Phuket Combo Trip

Hello all readers. Sorry for the lack of updates. I have been away for holidays and then bogged down with multiple backlogs and work. I took a trip to Penang for my colleague's marriage. Penang food is superb and I don't mind returning there for more.

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Continuing on from Penang, I took a flight to Phuket for my vacation. This small coastal town is the gateway to even more beautiful islands like the Phi Phi Islands. The scenery is just amazing and out of this world. In Thailand, one will not leave the country without trying out the massage. The Thai massage is just so good and cheap. For a person like me who doesn't like massage, I enjoyed it for the first time and did it almost everyday while enjoying the sunset by the beach. What a beautiful life!

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mini Travel Log: Christchurch, New Zealand (2)

4 months since the massive earthquake that struck Christchurch, aftershocks continue to shake this region almost daily. In my 2 days here, I had already experienced 2 aftershocks powerful enough for the building to sway. Devastation from the earthquake is still visible in some parts of the city after so many months away. There are some parts in the city being cordoned off with rows of buildings still in ruins.

With nothing much left to see in the city, I took a trip down south to the mountains. Unfortunately, weather was not on my side this time. It was cloudy for most of the day. Nevertheless, I had a fun time with the speedboat that does insane speed down the beautiful blue mountain rivers. The trip ended with a 4WD around the farms and hills.

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Related link: Christchurch, New Zealand (1)