Friday, August 23, 2013

Another Dog Gone, Another Hole in The Heart

You know after 3 of my dogs died in this past 3 years, I thought I'd be able to handle it.

Like, you can accept that their lives are very fragile, and that this is what life is about.

They come, they love you, and they just go, with or without warning.  And they rip a little piece of your heart when they do.  Then they just become but only a shadow licking your face and an extra empty bowl.

Whether it's your first dog, third dog, or 100th dog, it will still hurt fucking bad.

Wan Wan got attacked by the neighbour's dogs yesterday evening.  We called out to him for more than two hours, and even crossed over to the neighbour's land to find him until their dogs came charging at us.  We were hoping he'd just be terribly injured, but still able to get back home after the neighbour's dogs are locked up.  He was found dead at a mini stream before noon today, at the foot of the hill where he might have fallen or attacked - all bedraggled and bloody.

By the time I got home from school, he was already in a white gunny sack, ready to be buried.  I didn't even get to say goodbye.  I didn't even get to play with him yesterday, only the day before.  My nasty looking but somehow super cute in other people's eyes, foot-wipe-mat-like dog has joined the others in heaven.

Sometimes I wonder why God created dogs.  Why must He create a creature that would love you more than itself, but can only do it for a short period of time.  Here's some snippets of his short life that I managed to blog about: post 1, post 2 and post 3.

Maybe it's to show us how precious life is; that we must appreciate the beautiful things in our life, if possible, everyday.  Damn, these tears are just making me fucking philosophical.  I think I have to stop here and go hug all my remaining dogs.

Rest in peace baby.  Until we meet again.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Singapore Trip: Singapore Flyer & River Cruise

Ok so besides attending Fall Out Boy's Save Rock & Roll Tour concert AND frolicking in Universal Studios Singapore in Singapore, we decided that once a tourist, once you've already reached a certain place, you have to go all out, with or without budget.  Yeah, carpe diem people.

So, we bought tickets package to go on the Singapore Flyer & River Cruise from Groupon.  The deal just costed us RM82.  Which is much cheaper than the usual price (Singapore Flyer - S$33, River Cruise S$18).

Singapore Flyer

What is it you ask?  Oh, it's just the world's largest Giant Observation Wheel (165m), where you can sit in a capsule to see Singapore's skyline for 30 minutes.

Here it is up close:

Here's what being inside of it looks like:

The vistas that you'll enjoy:

An urban landscape, if that's what you're into.

Was it scary? You're asking the wrong person, lol. Well, to make acrophobic you feel better and safe, the capsule is completely enclosed (even air-conditioned) and spacious.  It rotates very smoothly, with zero jaw-dropping shakes.  Unless hanging 165m up in the air an enclosed space with people you don't know scares you.  Was there an emergency exit and parachutes? Not too sure.

When you get down, you can just walk over to the river side walk to enjoy another beautiful view.  Oh, there's me in every photo below because I didn't bother to snap just the view, so enjoy, stalkers.

 The river side walk

The Marina Bay Sands

The Gardens By The Bay

How to get there? Take the MRT to Promenade.  You need to walk for about 5 minutes to reach the Flyer. And you'll figure out which way to go because that mother is huge.  By the way the flyer closes at 6 p.m. wtf, so there's no enjoying the city lights at night.

From there, we took a bus to Liang Court in Clark Quay to go for the River Cruise.  Singapore's public transport is just awesome.  At the bus stop, you'll see all the buses listed and all the places it'll go, so it's so easy to go anywhere.  But the part where we got down at Liang Court was by chance as we didn't know how Liang Court looks like.

Singapore River Experience

From Liang Court, we were told to find Novotel Hotel, and then from there, we'd be good.  Indeed, we found the jetty immediately.  You have to wait for a while as there'll be lots of people, especially those who come in big tour groups.  Since we bought our ticket from Groupon, ours was the walk-in type.

The cruise journey takes 40 minutes from the jetty till the end of the quay (and back again), in which your last sight would be the Marina Bay Sands.  When you get on the boat, make sure you sit outside for the best view.  And when the boat starts moving, snap photos like hell.

We rode the boat at 7 p.m., so it was between sunset and city lights.  Singapore looks majestic with its city lights surrounding us.

Managed to get this obscene photo with the Merlion. Teehee

Again, if you love sightseeing and taking photos, this cruise is for you.

How to get there? Take the MRT to Clark Quay MRT Station, then cross the bridge to the other side to get to the jetty.  And do go around 7 p.m. to enjoy both worlds of Singapore's day and night.

And after your little tour, take some time to hang out at one of the riverside's stretch of resto-bars.

But of course, food and drinks here are quite pricey.  This snack platter in Saigon costs S$45.  A small bottle of Heineken is S$15.

If you're Malaysian, just don't do the maths.  Just sit back, relax and enjoy your ice cold beer.

Anyway, if you've never been to Singapore, you should.  The currency is double the value compared to our puny Malaysian currency, so spend your hard-earned money on experiences, and not on shopping.  If you can't leave a country you visit without going shopping, you can go to Bugis Street (take the MRT to Bugis) and there's this pasar malam kinda outlet where cheap clothes are sold, starting from S$10.  You can also buy cheap-ass souvenirs for your friends here.

The clothes are brand new, but of those low quality clothes from China, the ones you always see sold online.  However, you can't try on these clothes.  So if you have lots of sisters you can just donate to if the clothes don't fit you, you probably can buy the whole store.

Get an EZ-link card for S$12 so that you can travel without hassle.  There's a S$7 value in it.  The food here is actually quite cheap according to Singaporean standard.  Like, a plate of cheese-baked rice is S$4.90. Can you get a RM4.90 cheese-baked rice in Malaysia? Nope.  You'll only get white rice with 2 slices of cheese on top.  

If you're a city person, you'll love Singapore.

And Singapore, I'll be back again someday for my roller-coaster ride and this:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Singapore Trip: Universal Studios Singapore - Recap & Tips

My only intention of going to Singapore was to attend Fall Out Boy's concert.  One spontaneous action led to another, and somehow we ended up buying tickets to go to Universal Studios Singapore.  Since we were going to have a whole day to spend before the concert at night, why not sell our other kidney for this excursion?  We only live once anyway.

Since we had to be at Fort Canning Park by 5 p.m., we needed to plan our activity well at Universal Studios.  The plan was to be at USS at 10 a.m. sharp when it opens.  Alas, we only managed to get there at about 10.30 a.m.

It was a weekday yet the lines were absurd.  See those people behind me? Yup, they were lining up to get tickets.  If the F.O.B. concert lines were as long as the Great Wall of China, the lines here goes right to the moon.  We had already bought our tickets online (THANK GOD), but my aunt and her daughter hadn't.  Somehow she managed to jump the impossible queue by going to a desolated booth at the Waterworld/Aquarium section.

Only by 11.30 a.m. we managed to get in the park.  The place was just crawling with tourists.  We'd wonder why were they not working on a Tuesday...then dropped the subject when we looked at each other.

Anyway, finally we got in!

Since we then only had 5 hours to spare, we proceeded with the rides first.  The park is divided into 7 areas: Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Far Far Away and Madagascar.  We heard that the best roller-coaster ride is The Battlestar Galactica at Sci-Fi City, so that's where we headed first.


To our major, major disappointment, both roller-coaster rides, the Human and Cyclon were closed for inspection.  I WAS SO DISAPPOINTED.  SO SO DISAPPOINTED.

Yeah, fuck you too, roller-coasters.

These roller-coasters were the only attraction that made me think forking out RM185 was worth it.  I had to remind myself of achieving my lifelong dream that night and so I moved on in like, 3 seconds.  There was another attraction at Sci-Fi City, which was the Transformers Ride.

Now that ride was mind-blowing!

The lines were again, impossible, but luckily throughout the queue, there were so many replicas from the movie to see (and play).

I think it was barely a roller-coaster ride, it's just that we were served a 3-D screen and a 4-D experience, making Megatron's attack on us so real, including the sudden heat blast during an 'explosion'.  Also, we felt like we were falling from a 20-storey building, though I bet the coaster just tilted 90 degrees.  If you are told if you have to line up for 1 hour and 20 minutes (like we were told), then just freaking do it.  Of course when you're at Sci-Fi City, you have to take photos with the famous characters there.

You actually have to line up to take photos with famous characters - the que was too long so we decided as long as Optimus Prime was visible, it's something.

The third best ride to go was the Revenge of the Mummy ride.  Again, the line was ridiculous but this time, we were as if exploring a tomb while lining up.  The details are just magnificent.  It's like, you're waiting for bats to appear anytime while queuing up.  1 hour later, we got on the roller-coaster.  The ride was pretty exhilarating as it was fast, there were sudden drops from the front and rear and it was dark with special effects everywhere.  For me, it wasn't THAT terrifying, but it is something different.  My cousin was terrified though, as she was quiet the whole time - I thought she fainted.

While waiting for my cuz to buy our official roller-coaster snapshot, I had to take the opportunity for snapshots.

Revenge of The Mummy Ride entrance

With a guard? God? Army? 

With a Branden Fraser doppelganger! 

Must be an awesome job to be a character impersonator - you just have to smile all day long.  Under the blazing sun.  With hundreds of people, day in, day out.  To still stay energetic and smiley til the park closes at 7 p.m.  Yeah, real awesome.

From the Ancient City of Egypt, we headed to the next area which is The Lost World.

There is also a not-to-be-missed ride here, which is the rafting thingy.  In which, yes, you will get wet.  But there are ponchos sold (S$3) upon lining up (again!).

There was nothing much to see while lining up as the area is designed like a research facility warehouse.  There are some clever signs along the way though.

This is the rafting ride:

The ride is less thrilling than the Mummy and Transformers ride, but it still fun as there's water involved.  

There were other rides in The Lost World, like riding a Pterodactyl with your legs hanging out, but then we had enough of lining up.  Seriously, they should call the park,'USS: Where The Fun Starts After You Line Up For An Hour.'

Now that we're done with all 3 rides (only *sob*), we started snapping photos EVERYWHERE.

At Far Far Away:

The entrance

Shrek's home 

Fairy Godmother's shop

The Friar

The attractions here are mainly for kids, but there are shows you can enjoy here.  We didn't have much time so we figured, maybe next time.  I still have to go back here for my freaking Battlestar Galactica roller-coaster rides.

Next to Far Far Away, is Madagascar.

Check out the poor dude

Here, there will be special appearances from Alex and his friends.  By the time we got there, their little dance performance was over.  Like Far Far Away, kids will love it here.  There was also that huge African tree and the colossal wrecked ship here, but we didn't get to snap it. Oh, there's a small portion of the tree in the pic above.

Next, we went to the New York City area, which was my personal favourite. 

The awning is the only give away

There was so many New-York-y sites and items.  The detailing is so amazing, you could trick your friends in making them believe you were actually in NYC.

And the fact there were too many Asians in NYC

The one and only manhole cover

Sometimes I wonder if the park workers live here

Remarkable details

The subway

NY Public Library

An alley  

The obligatory Marilyn Monroe pose

There's a Steven Spielberg show here you can watch on special effects and a Sesame Street ride/show for kids.  It's just mostly eyegasm for me here. Would love to come back here again and do a Carrie Bradshaw photoshoot.  And by photoshoot I mean just making unfortunate family members take photos of me all over the place.

The last area we went was Hollywood, which is a stretch of area heading towards the entrance/exit.  Hollywood is also a photo-snapping haven as there are also lots of old and new Hollywood glam in it.

Again, damn awnings ruin my otherwise deceptive shot

Found this baby just lying around

Real acapella performers! Singing oldies like 'Surfin' Usa'!

Ugh, these celebs take so long to come out of their trailers

The Walk of Fame!

In fabulous Hollywood is where all the famous characters e.g. Kung Fu Panda Po, Betty Boop etc come out to play.  If you're lucky, you might catch them and take photos.  You have to line up (as always) of course.  If you're on a budget on you're wondering what to get yourself, you can get your "Hollywood" souvenirs here.  I got this 'Actress' cap for myself for S$21.90. 

Yeah, it's a bit expensive for a cap simple black cap, but it's worth making my kids believe I had a movie stint before.  Acting in a local band music video is something, okay?

In short, we managed to do all the things above within 5 hours.  Though we couldn't get on the mother of all roller-coasters, USS is still worth a visit, whether you're a kid, a thrill seeker, a movie buff, or a photoholic.

Here are some tips to maximise your time if you take the 1-Day Pass:

1.  Since you only have a day to enjoy USS, you have to beat the queue.  So get there early.  Like, be there at 9 a.m. even if it opens at 10 a.m.  You have to try to beat the lines.
2.  The best thing to do to beat the lines? Buy your tickets online.  A 1-Day pass is S$74.
3.  If you are an impatient person, you can add on the Express Pass for another S$30.  I suggest you take it because you will only be wasting your time lining up.  And do buy it online too.  Topping up at the park itself will cost you a whopping $60.
4.  Hate humans crowding a place? Go to USS on a weekday on a non-pubic holiday in anywhere in the world.
5.  Once you're in, get the park map, and go for all the rides first before taking photos.  You WILL be tempted to take photos along the way.  
6.  Do your homework on the shows and rides so that you will know what you will be experiencing (or not).  You can read this and this.
7.  Once you're done with the all the rides, take photos till your batteries run out.  Of course, make sure the batteries are full.  You will want to take photos with everything you see.
8.  Dress comfortably - Light clothes, flip flops and shades.  It will be blazing as you are on an island.
9.  You can bring your own food and drinks, or not - but it will be slightly expensive.  But hey, while you're there, why not try the food there too, right?  Go all out.
10.  With that being said, bring enough money for food and souvenirs.  Note that there are only 4 Universal Studios theme parks in the world, so get at least one official USS memorabilia.

The mother of all tips?  Just let yourself go, be a kid again and enjoy everything in sight.

How to get there: From any MRT station, ride the purple line to Harbourfront Station - you will alight in Vivo City.  Go to Level 3 (highest level) to Sentosa Station.  If you have an Ez-link Card, you can just swipe it at the entrance.  If you don't have it, then you have to line up (the very first lines of lines you will be doing) to buy train tickets.  Get on the train and alight at the first station - Waterfront Station.  USS is just there.

In fact, there are other things to do in Sentosa Island, so do plan your trip well.  

As for me, yes, I will be coming back someday for my roller-coaster rides.  And if they happened to be under inspection again, I will not hesitate to do a nude strike until they let me up the roller-coasters.