Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Hello peeps. Okay these are the pictures and stories from the trip. Brace yourself. In the initial draft, I had 56 pictures and so I removed some, but I am still left with 50 over pictures. I am quite surprised that blogger managed to upload everything. So sorry though if the page is loading very slowly. Well, I don't post picture often, so I suppose I am excused?
Alright, let's start. The hotel we stayed in Hong Kong is actually near the Mongkok area where there are a lot of markets and shops. So we hit there first when we arrived. To be honest I don't like it much. I am so lost there. I couldn't remember my direction. We were there on a Saturday night, so I guess there were more crowd than usual. Dewi had her shopping to do. His younger brother actually gave her a list of things that he wanted. As for me, if the argument that my attention span is like a goldfish, it could never be more true when it comes to shopping. I just lose interest easily and so I was really bored there. Dewi likes it for the fact that there were many shops side by side and across each other. I think the roads were closed actually, so there were only humans walking there and there were really lots of them. Seriously I didn't enjoy it
The plan for that night included checking out Avenue of the Stars and we were somewhat at some point got lost. Basically we just couldn't figure out where we are in relation to where we wanted to go, but we made it anyway. It's really cool that when you try to find your way to somewhere, the journey often leads you to other interesting stuff. We found some Olympic related exhibition on our way to Avenue of the stars. There were many lanterns of the Olympic mascots striking different sport poses. This is of 5 of them together.
Avenue of the Stars were quite fun for me. I had much fun locating all the names. Obviously I didn't know many of them, have never heard of them. The first one I saw was of Bruce Lee. I was seriously excited seeing that after seeing so many names which I don't know about. The night ended with taking pictures of the buildings and all. This one is perhaps the best one I had from that night. Can't figure out which building Batman jumped from.
The plan for the next day was to see The Giant Buddha at Po Lin Monastery at Lantau Island. We took Ngong Ping 360 cable car to go there. It is a very cool cable car, the best I have had so far. The trip was quite long and I think we were in between mountains. The view was of course quite nice.
In the Ngong Ping village we went around the souvenir shops and with the ticket we had, we went to Walking with Buddha and Monkey's Tale Theatre attraction. I don't know if attraction is the correct word. Anyway, I somewhat felt the 2 things were lacking in sincerity, I felt they feel more like a commercialized Buddhism. When were done, we went to climb the stairs to the Giant Buddha. Man, the climb was hard. There were many steps and the sun was so hot. We had to pause. I think you'll be so fit if you can go all the way up without pausing. However it's so worth it. Being up there kinda reminded me of Borobudur actually. In Borobudur, you could also see mountains surrounding the temple.
These are some of the statues surrounding The Giant Buddha.
A closer look at The Giant Buddha.
When we went down, we went into some of the shops again. Saw a chopstick shop. Kinda strange for me. Apparently chopsticks make for a good gift. Love the color of all the different chopsticks.
We went back using the cable car again. Inside the cable car there were these 2 Italians. A father and son. I knew they were Italians because I understood some of the words spoken. Then my phone rang with an sms from mom. They both looked for their phone. I said, "Io ... mio". After which, I pulled out the courage to ask, "Siete Italiani?". The father asked, you spoke Italian? I do though my Italian is not good. The boy said how strange it is to be meeting someone who speak Italian in a cable car in Hong Kong of all places, I guess especially when that someone is not even an Italian, an Indonesian actually We talked a bit. I refrained from asking much because I felt that my Italian is really not good and I don't know if I would come across being too intrusive. The dad asked me how Jakarta is. I answered something like some people may say it is a dangerous place. Dewi said why I said such thing. But it's rather true, a quick look in Wikitravel this morning didn't really make Jakarta an enticing city to visit. It's hard to move around the city. I love Jakarta but even me have to admit I couldn't actually make my way alone there. Still I think Indonesia is a nice and cool country. When we got down, the dad kindly approached me and said, "Brava!". He said I spoke better Italian than him speaking a foreign language. Oh God, I felt so warm and fuzzy inside and even now I can't help smiling. I told him I've never been to Italy and would like to go so much. He said, "dai!", they'll be waiting. We didn't exchange contacts. Again I felt that sort of things might be intrusive. Found out that they live in Milano. I said Milan is expensive right? He kinda proudly disagreed, he said it's not the most expensive city in Italy. I got remember to what Laura said the previous week, that generally Italians are nice people with the exception of the one living in Milan. I can't help smiling that time when I remembered that, obviously I didn't tell him. We bade goodbye with, "Buon Vacanza. Ciao!". What are the odds, I say. I kinda felt lucky actually after the whole episode. May more good things will come and I actually get to go to Italy.
After the trip to Lantau island, we went to The Peak. Wanted to take a tram there and in the long walk to the tram place, we saw a maid demonstration. It was actually quite peaceful and seemed fun. The maids mostly from Philippines and Indonesia I think. They actually dressed up in funny costumes for the occasion. I highly doubt their demonstration made a difference but it was still a good watch and I think the maids had fun themselves.
Anyway, in the end we made it to the tram station. Squeezed ourselves again amidst the tourists. In the Peak, we just went to Madame Tussauds Museum. Not as amazing as I thought it would be. Many famous stars are not there. Hello where is Johnny Depp? There was a section of horror which in the end I was too chicken out to go in and so Dewi didn't go in either. I just don't have the heart for such things. Let me just show you The Beatles there.
The way back was also using the tram and I managed to take some pictures. Hazy no?
After the tram we needed to take a bus to go back to the train station. Luckily the bus we took was a double decker with an open top. Honestly I think we were pretty lucky during the trip.
So that was pretty much day 2. Our way back to the hotel also involved going through Avenue of the Stars area again. If we had known, we wouldn't have rushed ourselves on the first day. Then day 3 was for Disneyland. Well, what can I say, some of the rides were not as amazing as I thought they would be but overall I like Disneyland. We did pretty much all that I planned. We started in Adventure Land where we took the raft to Tarzan's House, then we watched the Festival of the Lion King (I thought this was the best experience there), and then took the jungle river cruise, which reminded me of the boat me, la Gioia, and NanSee took in Bintan. Sure we didn't see any big animals but the experience was more worthwhile for me since the nature was real. We saw Prince Caspian from Narnia, thought we would come back later for a photo but he was gone. Then we went to Tomorrow land and we took the Space Mountain roller coaster. I actually couldn't believe that I did that. I wonder if the Chinese from China are not expressive, they didn't scream. I screamed at the beginning once then Dewi screamed continuously so I thought she screamed enough for both of us. Somehow her screaming kinda made it hard for me to concentrate on screaming, if that made any sense. I felt pretty queasy after it. In tomorrow land we also went for Buzz Lightyear ride (I reached level 3!) and Stitch Encounter. Next was Fantasy land, there were the 4D ride Mickey Phillarmagic, then Golden Mickey Show, Winnie the Pooh ride, and It's A Small World. I liked It's A Small World attraction though it was so like Istana Boneka in Dufan in Jakarta. I think even the song was the same. I think Istana Boneka would be better because they would showcase some dolls adorning the different costumes from all over Indonesia. The one in Disneyland perhaps can win because it is new. We also saw parades, Disney on Parade and Waterworks Parade and we also watched the High School Musical performance because the silly 26-year old Eka wanted to see it though Dewi have never heard of it It wasn't so good though. Then of course we also stayed for the Fireworks show. I had a good time. There were were too many people for my liking but overall it was quite an experience and I do want to come back there again. So here come the pictures, I felt the need to put this first one because I felt Eka often strikes this pose
The next few were from the parade. The last one of Donald was from the Waterworks parade. I think I like Donald Duck most.
From the It's A Small World castle, the outside view. I think at a certain timing, the characters would come out from the windows of the castle.
The Sleeping Beauty castle before the fireworks. Unfortunately we didn't go inside it.
Then the fireworks. I don't have good pictures. Anyway the fireworks were cool and I can't believe they do it everyday. Felt kinda a waste but everyone who goes to Disneyland should really have that magical experience and the fireworks are really really part of it.
The next day we wanted to go to Stanley and then Ocean Park. The bus ride to Stanley proved to be really long and along the way we saw Repulse Beach. We decided to get off there and check out the beach. It was quite early and I think there were many locals there enjoying their morning swim. Pretty cool actually to be able to go to beach easily.
Then we scraped off the Stanley plan and we went straight to Ocean Park. The first thing we went into inside there was the Giant Panda exhibit. They were so cute actually. When we came, there were 2 pandas (I don't know their names) being released into their so called show room. Entering the door, they first went to the window near their door, I jokingly told Dewi that perhaps they talked to their keeper first about what to do for that day. Then like somewhat choreographed, they took their position, facing us and started eating in a very cute manner. Goodness me, like they knew that this is what pleases the crowd.
After that we tried bungee trampoline. Quite interesting. Then we went to the other side of ocean park. To go to the other side you either take the bus or the cable car. The cable car looked pretty old and being it's so high up, it got kinda scary.
First thing we went into when we arrived was the Jellyfish aquarium. I had much expectation but it wasn't as amazing as I thought it would be. It was still interesting nonetheless and I actually took some good pictures there.
Then it was the aquarium. Again, I had much expectation after hearing about it from some people. Obviously they have never been to Seaworld in Jakarta because Seaworld is so much better. As I am writing this, I so want to go to Seaworld. Come people, visit Indonesia. Get a good tour, you'll be safe then.
After that we took the Raging River ride. We didn't took the rest because they were pretty much the same like the ones in Dufan, Jakarta. Except for the roller coaster which were scarier in Ocean Park but since we are not brave people, we couldn't care much. Overall I wasn't impressed much with Ocean Park because Indonesia pretty much has the same thing. The best thing in Ocean Park for me was the Panda Exhibit, unfortunately you cannot choose to pay the ticket to see the panda only.
On our last night, we managed to see the skyline again and I took a better picture. I like the color reflection of the buildings on the river.
Then we were back in Singapore. Arrived here somewhat at 3 pm. Went to Night Safari. Didn't really take picture there. My of my, the place really have changed since the first time I went there which was perhaps 5 years ago. Couldn't see any fireflies. I found some of the animals were pretty docile, and after watching Happy Feet, I couldn't help feeling sad for them. Tell me, in real life, the big cats wouldn't be walking around in small circle right? Must be something that they ate *sigh*
The next day, we went to Jurong Bird Park. It was my first time there and I am so happy that finally I got to visit Jurong Bird Park, after 8 years peeps! The first picture is of an owl. I accidentally had my flash on (so sorry!!!) and with photoshop, the picture came out great.
I actually took some nice pictures there, like this one, it's not bad.
The man-made waterfall.
After that we went to Sentosa and again tried things I have never tried before, like going to the Insect and Butterfly Kingdom. An uncle said "hi" to us hearing us spoke Indonesian. Dewi spoke to him for awhile. Apparently he is a Singaporean and a staff there, he has visited all over Indonesia in search for butterflies. Inside the Insect and Butterfly Kingdom, this type is the one you will see the most.
Then we tried the luge and Sky ride (I was actually quite tense taking this). Then the Tiger Sky tower ride. If I'm not mistaken, previously it was called the Carlsberg tower. This is the view when we were up there. So Singapore, don't you think? The high buildings far away, the ports, then the casino construction. Singapore is really an ever changing city. When one leaves it for 5 years say, one will see much difference when returning. I don't know if it is a good thing.
Before we went home, of course we watched Song of the Sea. Not bad. I miss the musical fountain but Song of the Sea is not bad as well, though I think the princess is so not pretty at all
The fireworks at the finale. It was brief but I thought my shot was not bad.
The next day was spent with going to Bugis to pray and then the Singapore Garden Festival. I've always wanted to go to Singapore Garden Festival. To be honest, I kinda enforced Dewi to go to the places that I want to go. Luckily she willingly just went along with me The Singapore Garden Festival was good but a tips for you. Next time you want to go, go as soon as it opens. I went in the last few days and the flowers were withering. There were no purple lavenders, they were all brownie.
I love tulips.
From Indonesia. I forget what this one won.
I like this one because I felt it was so fantasy land, like from some fantasy movie.
The main winner with an underwater theme, which Dewi really loved. She forced me to wait for the bubbles to appear and take her picture with it.
I think this exhibit was from Sri Langka. They actually cultivate this type of plant.
The second area of the garden festival at the level below the main one featured local works where there were many orchids. The main exhibition area at the upper floor was more for the professional landscaping. I was telling Dewi that I wished I could have some of the things there for my wedding
After the garden festival, we went to ride the Singapore Flyer. Again it was me who wanted it the most. Dewi actually knew nothing of it, but her sister did send her an sms telling her not to miss this one. Had much difficulty finding our way there but we made it anyway. We took the ride later than I wanted. The sky was already dark but it turned out to be very lovely. Astonishing view. So worth the ride.
The flyer when we first started. We were not as lucky as Casryn who got the capsule all for her group themselves when they took the ride. We shared it with some people. I don't get why the staff felt the need to squeeze us altogether when there wasn't actually any people behind us.
A golf course.
That postcard view. I know it's small but I think for the Singaporeans or whoever living here, you can identify The Esplanade, The Fullerton, the stage for National Day Parade. They were doing some rehearsal, and it looked pretty cool. I think taking the flyer during the National Day parade fireworks will be amazing, as will the price I am sure
Okay we are reaching the last picture. On Dewi's last day, somehow we decided to go to Chinatown for breakfast. My eye caught the poster of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple there which I had never been before. So we went there and it was really an good found. There were some Italian tourists as well, I wonder what's with the Italians and Buddhism. Anyway didn't talk to any of them. We explored the temple and I thought the temple was really nice. Felt rather bad though taking pictures in the middle of service.
So that's all peeps. I had a good trip. I think we were very lucky and we truly felt very blessed that God gave us no rain during our trip and we went to most of the places we wanted to go, we were safe and healthy throughout and we found interesting things. Lastly I just remember, we took no taxi at all! So that's power walk for you all. I have to say, Singapore has trained me well
:) eKa @ 11:19:00 PM •
tweets.Tweets by @ekabuntoro