Monthly Archives: July 2008

You are browsing the site archives by month.

Singapore Garden Festival – A Case of Orchid Overload!

Singapore Garden Festival 2008

I am not very much a plant person, but when my dear friend offered me some tickets to visit the Singapore Garden Festival at Suntec (he works for the Botanical Garden), I jumped at the chance. Two main reasons: (1) I thought it will be a very nice experience to go and discover the flora part of my inner self (whoa that sounded philosophical), and (2) it will be great to see Mak again!

So I went to the festival on Tuesday night. The whole exhibition was split into two levels. Most visitors will begin at Level 6, where the “flora design” winning creations were displayed. That was one mind-boggling sight. True, some were pretty normal-looking, but quite a few were particularly spectacular. The winning creation (the gold standard of all gold winners) was a botanical tale of under the sea, complete with bubbles and flickering light. I was half expecting a mechatronic mermaid will start jumping from flower to flower.

Then my friend and I descended to the Level 4, where the Orchids were. I was utterly gobsmacked the sheer number of orchid species there were. The whole hall was packed with it. The colour, the shape, the variation… my eyes were getting blurry. My friend said it was a case of Orchid Overload.

The exhibition was mainly an event for families, though I also spotted many, many photographers trying out their skills here. The festival provided ample opportunity with its riot of colours and shapes. Yours truly didn’t waste the chance and took many, many photos. You can view the whole set here. Let me share with you some of the better ones:

Read More →

Magical Day Trip to Hong Kong Disneyland

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 044

(This is a backdated post on my visit to HK Disneyland on 19th July 2008)

Despite my previous visits to Hong Kong, both on business and personal basis, I have never visited Hong Kong Disneyland. Usually that’s because my business trips were never over a weekend when I would have the time to pay a visit.

My last trip to HK allowed me one weekend in Hong Kong, and of course I jumped at the chance to whisk myself (via HK super efficient MTR, of course) to a magical ride in Hong Kong Disneyland. At first, the weather seems rather unforgiving. Dark clouds were rolling across the horizon. Needless to say, I was rather disheartened, but soon after around noon the sky cleared.

So I headed out. The journey from where I was took about 45 minutes by train. Your magical experience begins right in the Disney train!

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 003

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 005

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 006

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 007

The last photo is of me trying to catch myself in action. It is kinda sad travelling on alone :(

The station itself is situated some 100 m away from the main entrance, but the pathway was designed to excite you. You are entering the realm of Disney! Music was blasting from the lamp posts, each designed around a particular cartoon show. I was grinning like a mad man as I made my way towards the ticketing booth.

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 008

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 010

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 011

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 013

So I bought myself an adult ticket at HKD350 (that’s about S$70). The queue was quick – I was kinda expecting a huge crowd considering it was over the weekend and a summer holiday – and the courteous staff quickly directed me to the nearest counter. One thing I noted was that almost all the theme park staff were youngsters. It must be a holiday job for them. And the attire they donned were tastefully designed. I was expecting something… tacky, knowing it’s HK/Chinese and all. LOL.

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 021

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 023

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 019

My first stop, naturally, was the Main Street USA. I noticed that “Disney on Parade” will be on about 1 p.m., and it will take place at this section of Disneyland. Of all the sections here (there were four), this is my favorite. The buildings here are mainly shops, and the whole place was just infused by some kind of… festive spirit. Everyone was chatting, laughing, eating… general merriment. Eventhough I was on my old, I can’t help but got pulled into the festivities.

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 030

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 033

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 034

Soon, the Disney on Parade got started! I simply loveeeee parades, especially the marching band. The Disney parade was a small one, but being a tight group their sound was fabulous… or maybe that’s just me drunken on excitement talking. LOL. I also got to see many, many Disney characters waving and cheering from colourful floats. It was really a great experience. Too bad the parade was really short. It was over in less than 15 minutes. They should really call it Disney on a Short Parade.

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 049

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 051

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 065

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 082

The weather was scorching hot! I was perspiring profusely throughout the whole thing. Right after the parade, I bought some mineral water and headed to my next destination, the Adventureland.

The Adventureland emphasis on action and (of course) adventure. So characters like Lion King and Tarzan were featured prominently. Most visitors to this section will be undoubtedly attracted to the Festival of the Lion King, a half-hour show depicting the story of Simba by a superb cast. It was a spectacular performances, complete with duo-language script and animated props. Towards the end of the show, I teared shamelessly to the song of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”. I know, I know, I am a hopeless romantic.

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 086

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 097

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 090

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 096

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 100

Two more clips from the “Festival of the Lion King” show here and here.

Another thing I realised about the crew of Disneyland here was that most of them seems to be foreigners. If I had to venture a guest, I would say many of them are from Philippines. Hmmm… perhaps an idea for our own Resorts World.

After that, I rushed over to Fantasyland to catch some shows here. Fantasyland, as its name suggests, is a whole section dedicated to the world of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella, and the like. The games/rides here were very much catered to the kids. Well, to be honest… even if they were adult rides, I would still not have taken them. I just think it is plain silly for me to take the rides alone.

As a result, I didn’t take any of the rides here in Disney during my trip here. So don’t ask me about them – it will only get me all sad!

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 129

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 130

On to the shows. The first show I caught was PhilharMagic. The queue was supposed to be only 15 minutes, which means the shows will run for less than that, but God was the crowd huge! Everyone seems to be wanting a piece of this show.

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 133

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 134

As you would have probably guessed from the last photo, PhilharMagic was a 3D show, hence the stupid looking specs everyone was holding. But lo and behold, the show was damn good! Basically it tells the story of Donald Duck chasing after Mickey’s conductor hat through familiar scenes of Disney favorites, like Beauty & the Beast and Aladdin. The shows literally jumped in front of you, making many of the audiences gasping and grabbing in delight. Whooshes of air and sprinkle of water made the show even more realistic. It was so good that I returned for a second round later that day :)

The second show I caught here was The Golden Mickeys, a make-believe Grammy Award show for the bestest in various categories among Disney characters. Another good show, very cabaret-like. In fact, I was surprised the quality of the whole thing. Yes, the Cantonese portion of things were kinda off, but overall it was very enjoyable.

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 140

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 141

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 145

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 148

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 155

I took a couple of nice videos here of some of my favorite scenes – Beauty & the Beast, Mulan, Lilo & Stitch and Tarzan.

By that time the show ended, it was late in the afternoon, and my stomach was rumbling in protest. Decided to walk to Main Street USA for a bite, passing through Tomorrowland on the way. This section of the theme park focuses on space adventure and sci-fi. Sounds cool eh? I guess it was, for the rides, of which I didn’t take, so I found this whole section a big bore… though the impromptu percussion performance by these two “cleaners” captured my attention.

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 158

After my very late lunch, I went off to catch the “High School Musical” show right in front of the entrance of Fantasyland. The show was highly colourful and well coordinated. Though I wasn’t a fan of the Disney series, my fellow spectators obviously were, so the whole experience was rather enjoyable. Especially the part when the cast invited kids to join in the dance moves. It was truly hilarious and heartwarming to see how the kids learned so fast, on the spot!

By this time my camera is already running flat on batteries, so most of the photos and videos beyond this point were taken using my trusty Nokia. So pardon the quality :)

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 128 14

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 128 3

After the show, I didn’t have much plans to do anything else, except to catch the fireworks show later that night which was scheduled at 9 p.m. A good two hours away! So I walked around for a bit, before finally plonking down my ass at a perfect spot and wait.

Yes, I waited for close to two hours for the show to start, but it was worth it. “Disney in the Stars” was a spectacular show of lights, sound and effects against the backdrop of Fantasyland, the castle of Sleeping Beauty. By the time the show started, I estimated there were thousands of people gathered at the courtyard, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the sight in front of them.

I managed to snap some videos of the show:

The show only lasted a mere 15 minutes. I was kinda disappointed, especially after such a long wait. By then I was feeling all washed after such a long day here, so I lost myself in the hordes of people heading to the train station.

Magical Day @ Disneyland Hong Kong 165

The full set of photos I took can be viewed here.

So was the trip to Disneyland Hong Kong worth it? You bet. It literally transported me into my fantasy of what a Disney world will be. Somehow it worked its magic to bring much smile and happiness to is guests like me. I know that the park in Hong Kong is very small and not as exciting as those in Tokyo and US… and I told myself, if I have the chance to visit these countries, I wil definitely make a point to go to their Disneylands.

Perhaps I should make a pact with myself to visit all of them and blog about my complete Disney experience. LOL.

I am mad, I know :P

My New Baby, The MacBook

I know I should be blogging about my first ever trip to Disneyland, but this gotta come first.

I got my own MacBook!

Yes, after all these months of hankering after a new laptop, I have finally succumbed to the desire and got myself a brand new MacBook. The old desktop was dying on me too often, and I got really tired off lugging my office laptop home every weekend.

My new baby is the black one, with 4GB RAM and 250 GB HDD. That’s super fast loads of porn, mind you. Hahaha….

So here I am, typing away on my new notebook. Hehe. I will always remember the moment, when I unveiled in office for the first time (need to charge la) and at home (that was when I started to tinker with it… until now. LOL).

Let the photos do the talking!

Read More →

Pained

I am pained that I didn’t realise your call for help

I am pained that I wasn’t there to listen when you cried

I am pained that you might think I am ignoring you in your time of needs

I am pained when echo of your sorrow reached me, it’s too late

Most of all, I am pained that I didn’t, couldn’t be a better friend

My pain is nothing compared to yours, my friend. I could only say, I’m sorry.

My thoughts, prayers and well-wishes go out to you.

Photo Credit

Brewerkz: The Beer That Wow-ed Me, And More…

042

I rushed home from work and running errands to let the good people from Brewerkz to collect their apparatus. As I was walking towards my block from the bus stop, my handphone vibrate.

“Mr. Razlan, I am outside your house already. See you.”

I mean, how nice was that? He didn’t rush me, he turned up on the dot, and he actually SMS-ed me.

I always had good experience with Brewerkz. It is one of my favourite place for dinners and gatherings with friends. Those who attended my birthday parties will know that Brewerkz beer featured prominently in my kitchen, every time.

Come to think of it, indeed I ordered from Brewerkz everytime I hold a party, big or small. I remember my first time, and I loved it. So I became a loyal customer.

Why did I love it so much? Many of my fascinations have no rhymes nor reasons, but for this one, I have good reasons. Seven of them, actually:

1) Ordering is a breeze. Their online beer shop is real easy to use. Payment is done using WorldPay, so it is secure, and once your payment is through, your order is confirmed immediately. Once I called up to confirm my order, and the staff told me (nicely) that if I have received a confirmation email from them, my beer order will turn up!

2) The variety of sizes and flavours is enough to keep the fussiest beer drinker satisfied. Of course the selection is “restricted” to Brewerkz’ type of beer, but usually they have about four to five types of you to choose, ranging from the mild one like Golden Ale, to not-for-the-faint-hearted Indian Pale Ale. Size wise, just choose if you want a pig (about 8 litre) or a keg (about 30 litre). I have tried both, and I strongly recommend a keg if you have sufficiently large number of guests.

3) There is no delivery charge. Sure, a keg of beer will set you back some S$300 plus, and you have to account for GST. But other than that, there is no hidden cost! Do note, though, if you order a pig (a pig. hehe.), delivery is not included. One of my reasons for (2)

4) The keg comes with the whole set up. A keg of beer. A gas tank to keep things pressurised. An ice box to chill your beer. Trust me, having beer on tap during a party sure beats drinking from a can. It is fun to see ladies try to pull beer from the tap only to see half their glass is filled with foam. LOL. Yes another reason for (2)

Read More →

Plurking Your Way to Insanity

I have been toying with Plurk for some weeks now, and to be honest, I really, really like it! Even my current Twitter is set to reflect what I have Plurk-ed.

This is an example of the kind of funny shit you can see on Plurk, everyday:

LOL. So, join me on Plurkville and have some crazy fun whenever you get bored working, studying… or whatever that is you are doing. And check out these cool badges – just remember to credit if you use them!

See ya on Plurk!

Tales of Phuket 2008

View from After Beach Bar

And so, finally I am done with my Phuket posts. You can read all about my fifth trip to the sunny island here…
http://www.razlan.name/blog/category/travel/phuket-2008/

… and view the collection of photos here on Flickr.

The last trip was enjoyable, albeit a bit too predictable to have that edge to keep me interested in coming back again. Some new experiences this time. I would want to come back – for nostalgia sake – but the next time must be accompanied by someone.

Traveling alone to such a familiar place can become a (dare I say it) bore.

But I will miss Phuket. In my heart, I will miss the people I got to know, the sandy beaches, the delicious food, the exciting night life.

I wonder when will I set foot there again?

Tales of Phuket – Third, and Last, Night in Phuket

And so… the final night of my Phuket trip beckoned. As I need to start my journey to the airport next morning at 7 a.m., I knew I couldn’t afford a hectic night out.

So my plan was simple. A massage. A dinner. A drink. And then back to hotel.

Headed to Wanida again, and to my delight the next therapist in line was the pedicure lady whom I mentioned in my earlier posts. As usual she was very cheeky with me, but I didn’t mind. Her skills in foot massage was… phenomenal. Easily the best I had. I was so relaxed and pleased that, when she was doing my shoulders and neck, I asked if she does Thai massage as well.

Of course she does. So I said, let’s do another hour of Thai massage.

That would be the first time I did a body massage at Wanida, so I didn’t know what to expect. Would it be sleazy? I doubt so… considering how the girls here were dressed – simple T-shirt and jeans. The pedicure lady (of whom I still don’t know the name!) led me to the upper floor, into a dimly lit room. Some mattresses were on the floor, separated from view of each other with a curtain.

And so she did me. LOL, that sounded dirty.

But she did me good. I was groaning and panting a bit as she cracked and worked on my tired body. I can hear giggles from other “mattresses” – obviously I was pretty loud – but I couldn’t be bothered.

At one point my right leg was folded on top of my left knee, and my left leg was raised high up, the sole of my feet facing skyward. The cheeky lady said, “You must give me big tip ah… if not I can kill you now!”

As if to demonstrate her threat was real, she pressed on my feet. It was painful.

But I decided to play along. I said, “No tip for you!”

Cue more giggles and laughter from the others that I couldn’t see. And then she pressed harder on the sole of my feet.

The pain was excruciating! Then I said, “OK! OK! Big tip!”

That was fun. I planned to tip her big anyway, and I did. The grin she had as she ushered me out of the shop was worth every baht. I hope she will be around when I visit Phuket next.

After that I went to have a simple dinner, again at The Orchid. After that I took a nap, before went to find Yot again. It was almost like a repeat of the previous night, only more relaxed, more cosy with friends.

It was almost 3 a.m. in the morning when I went back to my hotel. As I drifted off to sleep, I was hit with the realisation that, again, I will Phuket when I leave the next morning. But this time, I will be able to get over it quickly.

Tales of Phuket – Road Trip to Central Phuket

After the rather successful roadtrip yesterday, I decided to continue on my journey, this time into central Phuket, away from the beaches. The last time I did this was during my third trip, with the help of the map. This time, I ditched the guide, and followed the road signs.

It was proven to be a good decision.

After a quick breakfast, I hit the road, heading towards Phuket Town. My intention was to look for Wat Chalong first. I have been there before, the biggest temple on Phuket island, but this time my aim is less spiritual. I wanted to get some souvenirs! I figured that other places will be way too touristy, so I decided to get some gifts from the stalls at Wat Chalong. Took some really nice pics, and bought some nice, unique stuff at very good price. My advice – the next time you want to buy gifts, head to the temples. The sellers there are less likely to rob you. For obvious reason, LOL.

Wat Chalong

Wat Chalong

Stall @ Wat Chalong

More photos from Wat Chalong here.

After that, I took the exhilarating ride up to Big Buddha of Phuket, a 45 metre high Buddha located on top of the hill, still under construction. The ride was especially thrilling as it winded up the hill, and the road was less than perfectly safe. The last time I was here, again my camera battery was flat, so I didn’t manage to take any pictures. This time round, I took plenty, including those “shit-shaped” pieces of marble, which I later discovered mean to be the hair of the Buddha. Bought two special gifts from here, and donated a marble tile with my name on it for 100 baht.

Of course, the view from up here was absolutely phenomenal. The Buddha, went completed, will command a perfect view of the vista that is Andaman Sea. My camera couldn’t even begin to do the panorama justice.

But I tried. More photos from Big Buddha of Phuket here.

Big Buddha of Phuket

Big Buddha of Phuket

Read More →

Tales of Phuket – The Second Night

After a quick perk-me-up at the hotel to wash away the dust of my road trip, it’s time to explore Patong again. Earlier in the day, I was reading a publication that says “many tourists decided to spend their entire holiday at Patong Beach, as it is very well equipped to entertain their every whims and fancies”

Hmmm… that was kinda true. So I decided to spend my nights at Patong. Went to hunt for a night roadside stall, and found a place that looked good.

Patong Night Market

What I didn’t realise was that the food stalls were actually part of the Patong Night Market. I discovered a whole side of Patong that I never seen before as I walked beyond the stalls.

Patong Night Market

Endless cute hut-like bars, with half-drunk tourists playing games against their hostesses. Rows upon rows of stalls selling every touristy trinkets imaginable. The market wasn’t crowded, as the evening was still rather early, but I had a good time trawling along side the few early birds. In the end I didn’t buy anything, but had a satisfying dinner at the stalls.

After my little adventure, I decided to return to hotel for a little nap before the clubbing begin. It was almost 11 p.m. before I head out to find Yot at his place, which is located above a karaoke bar.

And he brought along his sweetheart – a little Chihuahua named Kwai Jin! The name means “homeless” in Thai. I wasn’t a fan of Chihuahuas, thinking that they are all yelping and biting little dogs of terror… but Kwai Jin proved me wrong. She was a sweet little thing. And I was very sure she has taken a liking to me.

Kwai Jin & Me

Read More →