Monday, September 26, 2005

24th September

The last theme park we had to cover from Disney is the Animal Kingdom. This is a typical zoo and it's mainly catered for kids. But we still had a romping time on the safari ride, seeing wild animals pretty close-by and the other ride, Dinosaur. I couldn't resist but bought a monkey soft toy today. You can see it in the picture. It's the lightest coloured one!

As usual, we ended early and we headed to the city. More happy hours for Pearlene!! As usual, at the end, I waited for her at Starbucks while she froliced merrily in the malls.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

23rd Sep: MGM Studios and Epcot

MGM studios was our last stop. Like I reiterated earlier in my entry, tower of terror was a highlight! You are transported to an elevator whereby you witness ghost apparitions and experience sudden lifts and drops. Very cool!

We headed to Epcot again for the world showcase and the illuminations (a spectacular show of fireworks accompanied by music and laser lights). We had crappy Japanese meal that day. Somehow, it was not authentic and the portions were miserly small.

22nd Sep - Magic Kingdom and Epcot

We attended the 90 minute seminar early in the morning. The saleman wanted to sell time-sharing shares (the owner will have title deeds/ shares to holiday homes and thus utilize or exchange this in many parts of the world) to us. For the saleman, meeting us was a disaster. Pearlene was upfront in conveying her message that we were disinterested and due to time constraints and my dying longing to get to Disney world quick, I backed her up with rebuttals too. The guy admonished his plans and we left for Magic Kingdom.

We had HORRIFYINGLY HUGE smoked turkey legs (photos are attached above) for lunch at tomorrowland in magic kingdom. We felt sick after our lunch as the turkey legs were, humongous, salty and fatty. The typical American diet (yucks!). We completed Magic Kingdom in a breeze as queues were short.

We hopped over to Epcot. Still nauseated with our legs, we drank coffee for dinner. The worst had yet to come. We went for a ride called Mission Space. No gravity and some Gs were imposed on everyone and this topped our most nauseating experience. After the ride, I was dizzy.. Pearlene had it worse than me as we sat outside for an hour trying to recover from it all. She even told me that there were signs that the coffee she drank in the afternoon spewed but she swallowed it back in! EW!! What a night.

21st September - Arrival and Factory outlet shopping

We got our return florida tickets for US$230. The plane by Delta Airways was funky and colorful. Seats were in shades of turquoise, orange, and purple. Live TV from 24 different channels and music from a varity of CDs were showcased.

Finally arrived at our hotel and we booked our Disney tickets. The lady at the counter offered us $US100 discount on our tickets if we attended a 90 minute real estate seminar. Well, $US100 discount and free breakfast before entering magic kingdom sounded lucrative. We picked up the offer with glee.

We rented a car and headed to the Belz Factory outlets. Pearlene was the driver (she is over 25 so insurance was cheaper) while I navigated. It was nerve wreaking at the beginning as roads in US works in the opposite way as compared to Singapore. Shopping was intense as we bought plentiful shoes, bags, jeans, pants, tops from DKNY, Calvin Klein, Polo Ralph, and Armani. Pretty good deals. Anyway, I hereby declare Pearlene as the ultimate shopping queen! She bought bags after bag and showed no sign of fatigue when her fave activity is concerned. Exhaustion overwhelmed me after a while and I slept in the car while our dear shopping queen continued her spree.

We went to Black Angus for ribs, steak and salad. Black Angus in the US is totally different from the one in Singapore. The one here is family oriented and even has karaoke after certain hours. Listening to some of the folks croon was pretty interesting. They dig into Elvis and country songs. Felt like I was in a restaurant with settings in the 70s or 80s.

20th September - Disgruntled and Jet-Lag

I stopped over at deserted Frankfurt airport at 630. I was so bored thus, I seated myself with this lady in the cafe. Haha..pretty daring of me. She was a 45 year old Philippino and she started narrating her story on how she migrated to Brussels. Started her own cafeteria. Well, business is doing well for her, and she is expecting to open a fourth one in Jan. Pretty interesting encounter.

I arrived at JFK airport at 1045. Major jet-lag, tired, thirsty, hungry.. Had so much time to spare before Pearlene arrived. I made my way to get florida air tickets in Terminal 3. Got a bit lost along the way. Circumstances worsened as I had to trudge my way with my luggage. I checked into Hotel Comfort inn near to JFK airport and then lost my mobile. Totally pissed at the bloody woman who got my phone. How can anyone be so inconsiderate and dishonest! I sound like a disgruntled pig here....

P.S. Look at how much food Pearlene brought..hehe
P.S.S. Photos from the Frankfurt Airport

19th September - Well Wishes

He called me and wished me well before I left. It has been months since I heard from him. Felt kinda weird....

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Still in one piece =p

Pearlene and I have been to all three theme parks so far, MGM studios, Magic Kingdom and Epcot and we did it all in 2 days. We are very fortunate as there haven't been any queues and going through all the rides have been a breeze. Excellent! But she's definitely one screamer. When we were on one ride, Tower of terror, she accentuated the fear of another young boy seated beside her and made him cry..But anyhow, this ride is fantastic. I'm totally amazed with Disney's use of visual technology to create ghost apparitions in an "elevator".
I'll be heading to Animal kingdom later...Woo I come!!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Updates in Florida

Fortunately, the flight to Florida was a smooth sailing one. Pearlene and I gave each other the stares when we were on board the plane as the ride was rather bumpy. But we both made it in one piece .

Phew! There are many things I wanna pencil down, but the timer at my computer is ticking away. So I'll probably write when my whole trip is over. Anyway, I lost my mobile phone in NY...#%$#%^$...well, most of the blame was due to my negligence and carelessness. The receptionist in my hotel was dishonest too. Shucks.

Looking on the bright side, I'm heading to Disney World Magic Kingdom today, the house of the everyone's fave mouse. Pearlene and I will go crazy here, taking all the rides..haha. Relive my childhood memories.

Monday, September 19, 2005

I am embarking on my hopefully final travel of the year. Have been drained with fatigue. But it will be awesome. Who can't get excited on going to one of the busiest and most exhilarating city in the world? In addition, I'll be heading to Disneyworld (sorry, I'm quite a child at heart..=p) I am not packed yet, but I will be in a while.

To the place of fastfood, anti-bush sentiments, father of globalization, "elite" ivy league universities, exaggerated and oversized "figures" I come!

Reach for your dreams

The "AHA" moment

Last night, JaneDoe came over to my place and we celebrated Mooncake festival. We had no lanterns, but one piece of durian mooncake (from Goodwood Park hotel which costs a hefty $10) and two little 'fish' and 'rabbit' were adequate. We complemented our desserts with a bottle of good wine from Gralyn (bought from Margaret River, 2003 Late Harvest Riesling), then chatted the night away, my side garden providing the perfect backdrop. I really appreciate her company as she could well be basking in the company of her soon-to-be husband or her family. Then it dawned upon me that all my girl friends are all attached and this triggered my "aha" moment.

I, right now, am going to pencil four points on how to be single and happy. I know...very cheesy, but you will find it useful and applicable to you in some sense.
  1. Build a life rich in pleasure. The pleasure of time, space, rich surroundings, luxurious body care, flowers, etc. are not just reserved for a lover to give as gifts. These are gifts you can give yourself. Look at life as something nurturing and fruitful, venerate in nature, exercise, a good meal, etc. You see, many singles (and even the ordinary rat competitors) love to be accomplished and sacrifice much quality time in their life.
  2. Build community. Building community means having people who are there for you, who care about you and your life. Community can cater many of your needs. Most people deem that the only way to get emotional needs met is through a partner. Well, you can build and strengthen community by participating in activities that interests you or by volunteering.
  3. Passion/Purpose/Vision/Action. Many singles are waiting for a relationship to infuse their life with passion and purpose, not realizing that having a loving partner is not a substitute for a meaningful life. Be powered by passion. Have a purpose for waking up in the morning. Have a vision of your place in the world and what you want to contribute to others. Take action about all of these. Single or with a partner, your life's purpose is your own, and will energize you when pursued. You will be happiest and fulfilled following your life purpose. Figure out what makes time stop for you, what lights you up to no end, what always fuels you with energy.
  4. Let go of the past. There is no surer way to spoil an otherwise great life than with resentments and anger about what happened in the past. Most people know they need to let go of the past and yet most believe that they can't. Your life happens now, today, and is not a dress rehearsal for when you have a relationship. When you want to participate in life, but by stopping yourself because you are single, you stifle your spirit. On the other hand, living the life you want now enlivens and energizes you. It gives you a sense of wellbeing and happiness.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A Wedding Solemnisation

I attended my cousin's (Dawn) marriage solemnisation ceremony yesterday. It was held in Goodwood Park hotel by the swimming pool. It was a fairytale setting with white, lavender and green hues weaving together as its main colour theme. Pink and white rose petals were strewn on the floor, paving its way to the solemnisation table. There were smiles galore, relatives equipped with cameras, her girl friends dressed in sleek black, specially crafted green bookmarks (made as an invitation card too) for every guest, a gorgeous ensemble of flourishing flowers on the table...very much like a dream.

It was a heart-warming sight, seeing her walk down the "aisle" with her father and somehow, I imagined that with my dad...kinda weird. Anyhow, I'm glad that Dawn has found someone she can rely on and share her dreams with. These few years will mark much changes in my social environment. There are so many of my close friends tying the knot and somehow, it's hard to find friends like me who do not indulge in common vocabulary that evolves round having kids, weddings, family planning, family vacation trips, furniture shopping, renovation plans. Haha...such an interesting phase in my life.

We ended the evening with a buffet dinner at the coffee lounge in the hotel. Lovely spread of oysters, crayfish, prawns, truffles....hmmmm

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Who will cry for the little boy?

A lazy invalid afternoon. Did some reading, dwindled around in my room and ended up in front of my tv watching a great movie. The title of this movie is called Antwone Fisher, starring and directed by talented Denzel Washington.
"Antwone Fischer" is inspired by a true story. It is an inspirational one, the struggle and triumph of a young man over incredible odds. It speaks of redemption and a spirit of perseverance, both qualities that we can never get enough in today's society. I am especially tugged by one of the poems, but some of you may find it superficial and overly-saccharine.

"Who will cry for the little boy, lost and all alone?
Who will cry for the little boy, abandoned without his own?
Who will cry for the little boy? He cried himself to sleep.
Who will cry for the little boy? He never had for keeps.
Who will cry for the little boy? He walked the burning sand.
Who will cry for the little boy? The boy inside the man.
Who will cry for the little boy? Who knows well hurt and pain.
Who will cry for the little boy? He died and died again.
Who will cry for the little boy? A good boy he tried to be.
Who will cry for the little boy, who cries inside of me?"

GAS fashion show + Dessert at Max Brenner

It was an awesome night! JaneDoe and I headed to DXO (the Esplanade) for the GAS fashion show. GAS, an italian fashion brand, is well-known for producing demin jeans and streetwear. The models did their sashaying bit while the audience just gawked. There were two highlights tonight. First, JaneDoe won first prize: a $300 voucher (I took a photo when she was upstage) and Utt, the Asian MTV VJ muttered a few words and closed the show. Bet some of you gals are seeing green...heeh..

After that, we went to Max Brenner to relish some chocolate fondue. Absolutely fantastic! Thomas and Cheryl, whom I work closely with in NTU, joined us shortly after. Delectable food to end off the night!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Substitute for Oil

Hurricane Katrina has resulted in the soaring of oil prices. Well, it's comforting that Singapore petrol stations are still offering discounts to customers in the face of stiff competition and to gain market share. That's good news for consumers like myself.

If only we can use bottled water to run hover-bikes....awesome thought!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

More photos from Melbourne

My date, Melbourne city

My friend in Melbourne asked me once to describe the city in 5 words. The five words I am going to use are: Diversity, Cosmopolitan, Unique, Creative and Magical. The one trait that I find absorbing are the people. I mean in Singapore, we are multi-cultural as the races mainly comprise of chinese, indian, and malay. (We have a category, "others". To this day, I find this term mind boggling in this context as "others" can mean anything. If I were an alien, I could be categorized here too. It somehow lacks identity for people in this unit.) In Melbourne (I think this is similar to many other cities in Australia), I meet people from such diverse cultures. It's like a mini New York. In a short span, I see much immigrants whose parents originally come from South Africa, Israel, Japan, Ireland, Malaysia, Taiwan, Switzerland, India and Singapore. The diverse mix is incredible and I love how people from all races jell and the history and story imprinted on each person are fascinating.

In days when my friends had school or work in Melbourne, I walked hand in hand with my date, Melbourne city. There are plentiful facets to this city. I see mini riots (covering issues which involve Australia not giving enough foreign aid in the UN World summit although it was ranked third in the Human Development Index, stopping war in Iraq) on streets, bazaars, artists, camel riders, beautiful gardens, beaches, and cafes. In a way, one does not feel lonely as my date took care of me well, offering me so much sights. By the way, I just wanted to add that mini riots are time-consuming, money-wasting, space-utilizing and ridiculous. Correct me if I am wrong. What can you really achieve with 20+ people voicing in harmony their wants and demands? The worse happens when the rioter get its facts wrong and talks about the most airy fairy stuff, something not realistic. Is this the form of democracy or freedom of speech that Singapore wants? I encourage the discussion and the freedom of voicing out intelligent opinions but I am sure there are more efficient and productive ways to getting oneself heard. I hope I do not get a spate of opposing comments after airing my view.

I have attached some photos above. Check it out.

Heavy Crown

My head feels a little heavy today. Post travelling fatigue, post travelling reminiscence, post travelling duties, post travelling errands and post travelling work......

The "bling-bling" moment

Life works in wondrous ways. I believe that there are reasons why you meet certain people or encounter certain events in life. Similarly, with this current paradigm, I instill crptic meanings in my recent trips to Japan and Melbourne. Well, the trip to Japan was to get me attuned to my work and at the same time, to relieve my emotional stress and burden when I got to know students and "pursuing academics" from various cultures, universities and races. I was more motivated in my work per say.

The trip to Melbourne was somewhat different. It was more of an awakening to my personal life. I attended some seminars and met people of different vocations, ages, races, and religions. Interestingly, everyone had common goals and parallel lives. It does not matter whether you are fat, thin, ugly, beautiful, homosexuals, young and old. We share the same insecurities and dreams. Most people want to break free from the competitve rat race of the working society. Most people want to spend quality time with their families and have more leisure time. Most people want to have the buying means to achieve the certain lifestyles they want. I have been fortunate as I am able to pursue my dreams and am contented with my current lifestyle. So what is there for me? Well, Melbourne was to get me focused to what I wanted to attain in life and knowing that there's more to life to just get caught up with little disturbances and setbacks. I decided to rectify certain areas in my life domain and penned it down on my flight home.