Monday, July 29, 2013

Yosemite: Where The Immortal Giants Live

The giant sequoia trees can be found in Yosemite National Park. They can live up to 3000 over years old and even after death, their wood still stays the same for another few hundreds or perhaps thousands of years. The wood is highly resistant towards fire, termites and decay. The only way a sequoia can die is either through the axe or when it falls over upon it's own massive weight. Words and pictures cannot describe how massive and impressive these trees are. When I stood beside these giants, I was awestruck by their massive height and size. I looked like a rat in a dinosaur era.

After the hike to see the giants, I spent the rest of the afternoon in the Yosemite valley. Once again, I was dwarfed by the granite boulders that rise 4000ft straight up. I was literally holding my neck and looked upwards most of the time to see these majestic boulders like the El Capitan, Sentinel Dome and Half Dome. This visit during the summer was just an introductory trip for myself. Perhaps in the future, I will return again during different seasons especially winter time to enjoy that white serenity feeling or spring time to see the great water falls come to life with it's gushing water.

Click on the image for picture gallery

Monday, July 22, 2013

I-City: Bright Lights, Dull Future

I-City in Shah Alam opened to much fanfare and promise. When it was just opened, many locals flock to this area and came back with beautiful pictures of this LED-lighted park. But beautiful pictures don't translate to actual atmosphere and tourist satisfaction. In my opinion, it was all down to bad planning and bad management. The beautiful park sucks up tons of electricity to power up the LED-lighted trees and maintenance is not cheap. In order to stay afloat, good attractions should be in place to continuously generate interests among visitors so they will return again. However, this place is half dead with only the trees shining brightly. The only visitors keeping this place filled are students from government sponsored schools which come in bus loads. Many commercial buildings around this park are vacant. Without commercial and shopping activities, there will be no drawing power to bring in visitors. The only attractions at the moment are the small water theme park which operates in the day and the boring amusement park cum snow center which operates at night. Parking fee is exorbitant and if you want to rely on public transport, then you're out of luck as this place is in the middle of nowhere. The boring rides at the amusement park are very costly if you pay a-la-carte. Perhaps the management should learn from the success of Sunway Pyramids. LED trees alone will not grow money nor attract investors and visitors. Currently, residents in Klang and Shah Alam have to travel far to Mid Valley or Sunway for weekend entertainment cum shopping activities. If you put a nice shopping mall beside the park, then there are more reasons for the residents here to come down to I-City rather than one time affair with the LED trees.

Click on the image for picture gallery

Friday, July 05, 2013

Best Peking Duck Restaurant

If you are in Beijing and want to eat Peking duck, you can try DaDong restaurant in one of the four branches in the city. I've tried the one in NanXinCang (南新仓) cultural and pedestrian street at Dongsishitiao Rd. (东四十条). It was the best Peking duck I've tasted in my life. The chef of this restaurant is well known all over the world based on the awards, stars and pictures on their Hall of Fame wall. Since this place is popular among expats, you should come earlier during dinner time. If you don't mind the queue, you can always hang out and socialize at the very modern open bar at the entrance. Although considered fine dining restaurant, the bill is not too exorbitant. I had a ten course meal with Peking duck for just 200 yuan or SGD$40 per person.

Click on the image for picture gallery