Singapore Day 5: Country Wide Shopping

June 22, 2012

Our last day in Singapore… 😦

After sleeping in and having breakfast, we checked out and left our luggage at the hotel.

We had been told that Singapore is known for its shopping, but we hadn’t checked it out yet, so away we go!

We started at Bugis Street

Moved to Orchard Road

Then City Square Mall and a final stop at Mustafa Centre

You would need days to fully look through the shopping areas of Singapore – so many stores. Our tired feet cried and won out. After Mustafa, we walked back to our hotel to grab our bags and head off to the airport. It was about 8pm when we finally checked in and after a shop around their duty free stores, we were ready to chill out to board our flight.

Luckily, no delay with our Scoot flight this time! We were off at 10:30pm and back in Gold Coast before we knew it.

What a great trip… until next time!

Singapore Day 4: Dinner and Marina Bay

June 21, 2012

Turns out my aunt, Tam, is still working in Singapore!

She treated us to a lovely Japanese Buffet dinner at Kuishinbo in Great World City and it was great to catch up! Thank you so much again!

We then went down to Marina Bay waterfront in time for the 9:30pm Wonder Full – Southeast Asia’s largest light and water show. We decided to watch the show from afar so the show did not look as spectacular as we had anticipated. Or perhaps the shows are better on special occasions? Didn’t matter – good views and got nice pictures!

Debated going up that great hotel (Marina Bay Sands) but decided against it. But we walked around and saw lots of other pretty sights!

Louis Vuitton store on the water…

The Helix Bridge

ArtScience Museum (shaped like a lotus) on the left, seen earlier from afar

Michael taking a picture of Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Beautiful view!

Singapore Day 4: Chinese and Japanese Gardens

June 21, 2012

From the MRT station, we started off towards the Chinese Garden…

First visit, the 7 Storey Pagoda

The beautiful Bonsai Garden

Our Zodiac statues in the Garden of Abundance

Over the White Rainbow (13-Arch) Bridge to the Japanese Garden

Ran into my favourite flower! πŸ˜€

FULL ALBUM HERE!

Headed back into the city and met Bing and Lihuan at Hong Lim Food Complex in Chinatown for yummy lunch! Tried a number of dishes including

Bak Chor Mee (Mince Meat Noodles)

and Ice Kachang (colourful on left) for dessert!

Some shots of Chinatown

Neat idea – we need this

Back to Little India for some drinks (happy hour!) at our hotel before meeting my aunt, Tam, for dinner

Tekka Centre – where we had hawker Indian food a few times!

Singapore Day 3: Universal Studios

June 20, 2012

After breakfast at the hotel, we took the train to Harbourfront Station and then the Boardwalk ($1) over to Sentosa Island.

There are many tourist attractions on this island but we were focused on completing just one – Universal Studios – and my first time too!

By late afternoon, I started running a fever 😦 Fortunately, the short line ups allowed us to go on all the rides at least once and we felt happy to leave early.

What is amazing about having a fever? You can be outside in +40C and not sweat… at all!

As you can imagine, early night for me 😦 And breaking fevers is no fun when your bed is left soaking wet! At least Michael was able to enjoy happy hour at the hotel and Bing even came by later with ‘Dau Huay’ from Rochor Beancurd. Very similar to the Vietnamese hot tofu dessert with ginger syrup – except this one is eaten cold and doesn’t have ginger – yum yum!

Singapore Day 2: Singapore Zoo & Night Safari

June 19, 2012

After visiting the Botanic Gardens, we headed over to Ang Mo Kio for some lunch and to grab a bus (#138) to the Singapore Zoo!

We paid $42 SGD to visit both the Singapore Zoo (closes at 6pm) and the Night Safari (opens at 7pm) later that night.

And now… some of the wonderful animals we encountered!

Asian otters

Tapir! So cute!

Babirusa (not a warthog!)

My favourite – the majestic White Bengal tigers

Ehhhhh πŸ˜‰

Catching his food

Celebes Crested Macaque

Brown Capuchin

An artist painting rhinos πŸ™‚

Zaboomafoo!

Ring tailed lemur

Meerkats!

Jaguar

Komodo dragon

Orangutan, haha

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ALBUM OF SINGAPORE ZOO!

After a short break for dinner, we headed over to the Night Safari. Very impressed that the Night Safari and the Singapore Zoo were separate entities – both with their own trails and animals. We decided to start with the walking trails, then ended the night with a 40min guided tram ride (included with ticket). What a great time! But by the end of the night and spending the entire day on our feet,Β  we couldn’t wait to just get back to the hotel and sleep!

Fishing cat

Barking deer

Civets! You know… the ones that eat and poo out super expensive coffee?

FULL NIGHT SAFARI ALBUM HERE!

Singapore Day 2: Botanical Gardens

June 19, 2012

Moon Hotel was great! Located in Little India with wonderful buffet breakfasts every morning, free mini bar that’s restocked daily, free wifi and free happy hour (5-7pm) with up to 5 drinks from a great selection. Nice modern room with everything provided. The only thing we lacked in our room was a window! We had curtains but no windows which made our room always feel like 6pm – the mood of being in the ‘moon’ hotel? Staff were friendly and courteous – would definitely come back again!

Tuesday morning started after breakfast with a short walk to Mustafa Centre to exchange money. Thanks to Bing and Lihuan for the recommendation because we received a great exchange rate. We then headed over to Farrer Park MRT (Mass Rapid Transit – train) station to get our EZ-Link cards (similar to Brisbane’s Go cards) and headed over to the Singapore Botanic Gardens!

The garden was easy to find with the great MRT system, such a beautiful place!

The Reflexology Footpath – felt great on bare feet!

A woman practicing Tai Chi in the morning

A squirrel and his spoils!

Entry to the garden is free, but $5 SGD allows you to visit The National Orchid Garden inside – worth it!

Only a very few of the very beautiful orchids in the garden

A ginger flower!

Sun-basking turtles

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ‘SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS’ ALBUM

Singapore Day 1: June 18

Arrived to the Gold Coast Airport at 7am to check-in for our flight at 9:00am.

After reaching our boarding gate, we waited… and waited. Then it was announced that were was a half hour delay, then another half hour delay, then a 2 hour delay, and then we were indefinitely delayed until further notice.

1pm came and went and we were still sitting around the tiny terminal. The only restaurant around was making a ton of money and I was surprised to see how patient the masses were.

Kids were still happily getting along

Others just chilling out and taking it as it comes

Eventually, Michael’s iPhone was dying so we hung out behind the Jetstar desk to charge up

Aww, the sad face!

I also don’t understand the lopsided gate numbers – it doesn’t look good!

Finally 2:30pm … we were boarding! 6 hours late!

We were randomly upgraded from Economy (blue) to Super Seat (yellow) with more room!

The flight wasn’t too bad, but they wouldn’t give you free water. We had to pay S$4 for a 330mL bottle of water!

Someone was not happy about it!

Check this woman out… a whole row to herself!

We finally arrived to Singapore around 9:30pm local time (we were initially supposed to be there at 3:30pm!) Bing and his girlfriend LiHuan picked us up from the airport and took us to East Coast Lagoon Food Village to eat local hawker food!

Bing and Lihuan!

Tried lots of dishes including: grilled stingray, carrot cake, chicken wings, char siu noodles and satay meat kebabs! Yum, thanks guys!

By the time we checked into Moon Hotel, it was already 12am. Called it a night and went to bed ready for a full day of activities tomorrow!

Photo #113: A Kid for a Day

June 20, 2012

Spent the day at Universal Studios Singapore – my first time ever visiting a Universal Studios – so much fun! Truly felt like a kid again and short waiting times made the day even better!

Photo #111: Passport Sticker

June 18, 2012

This photo was taken during our 6 hour delay waiting to board our flight to Singapore.

I was sad when I lost the ‘T’ sticker, which was placed on by my dad, off my passport this trip. 😦 When we were younger, he was the one responsible for our documents when we traveled. By placing our initials on the passports, he could easily tell ours apart without having to open them up.

Photo #110: Traveling Liquids

June 17, 2012

Going to Singapore with only carry on luggage so my liquids have to be under 100mL in a plastic bag blah blah blah – you know the drill.

But I’ve always wondered – sure there are ways harmful things can be created with less than 100mL? It’s always hard to protect yourself if someone’s primary intention is to harm right?

 

Photo #108: Quilling Wall Hanging

June 15, 2012

A section of my Yen Luong Quilling Wall Hanging

Quilling or paper filigree is an art form that involves the use of thin strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs. The paper is wound around a quill to create a basic coil shape. The paper is then glued at the tip and the coil shaped, these shaped coils are arranged to form flowers, leaves, and various ornamental patterns similar to ironwork.

Photo #99: Aloe Vera Yogurt

June 06, 2012

Aloe vera is one of my favourite drinks and now I’ve discovered something just as awesome – aloe vera yogurt! Tastes as good as it sounds, which is very! Too bad I haven’t seen any sold in Brisbane 😦

Photo #98: Wall of Tapes

June 05, 2012

One portion of Neo Kim Seng’s Mix: Re / Tape – part of the Visual Arts exhibit on display at the Esplanade in Singapore.

The description from the exhibit:

During its heyday in the 80s, the cassette was the choice format for sound recording. It eventually lost out to the compact disc, which today is also experiencing sharp global decline from the convenience of digital downloads.

Pre-recorded music cassettes return in this installation, reconfigured and remixed not only as cassette clouds but as fragments of walls of cassette shop to evoke personal memories.

The creation of the mixtape in this installation was inspired by how damaged tapes are repaired – the damaged portion is snipped off while the rest of it is spliced back together with clear sticky tape. While a few seconds or minutes may be lost, a remix of the song is created.

Employing the same technique, this mixtape was made from snipping segments from selected cassettes joined together with sticky tape, re-recorded and played back without any editing. The differences in sound levels and quality, including dropouts, are inherent in the re-taped music.

Photo #94: Black Lit Dogs

June 01, 2012

Little white dogs (and some elephants) under black light in a store at Universal Studios Singapore. Thought it was really neat (especially because I wasn’t expecting it) that the camera was able to capture the lighting effect!

Finally, a photo-a-day update

I apologize for being 25 days behind the project but I’m finally able to update πŸ™‚

My pictures from May 30 to June 09 were unfortunately corrupted, but they’ve been retaken during my trip to Singapore! πŸ˜€

Hopefully I never fall this behind again, enjoy the pictures!

Farewell Singapore, until next time!

Michael and I made it back to Australia safe and sound and ON TIME!

After 2 weeks of immobility studying for exams, our bodies are crying in pain from spending more than 12 hours a day on our feet. Wished we had podometers to see how many km we traveled!

Singapore, you have been good to us. Special thanks to Bing and his girlfriend Lihuan for picking us up at the airport and taking us for real local food a bunch of times! It was also great that my aunt, Tam, was still in Singapore – great to catch up and thank you again for the lovely dinner!

And now, it’s back to reality! Just a weekend to unwind, catch up with blogging before it’s back to school!

Quick update from Singapore!

I’m still alive!

Singapore has been great and soooo humid! I’ve held off blogging about my trip to Singapore because my iPad won’t let me upload pictures properly onto my posts so I’ll do it a soon as I get back!

In the meantime, I also have not forgotten about my daily photo project. That will definitely be the first thing I do when I’m back in Australia πŸ™‚ I have decided to ‘cheat’ and take new pictures for the days my photos were corrupted… I have tried to take neat pictures so I hope it pays off well!

(Update) Flight to Singapore delayed!

Woke up at 5:40am in order to get to the airport by 7am for our flight to Singapore at 9am.

It is now almost 11am and our flight is still delayed! 😦

I have already gone pee 3 times, finished reading a book (Pretend You Don’t See Her by Mary Higgins Clark), and I can only take so much butt-to-seat-cushion-pressure!

Please board soon!

11:10am

How disappointing! Delay has been due to “engineering” issues and there is now no estimated time of departure.

Scoot! Your airline just opened a few days ago! You are not making a very good impression on all of us so far…

 

World Cup Qualifier Australia v Japan

Mike took me to see the game the evening of June 12 (night after our 1st exam) – boy was I glad! And for a few reasons:

  • I was getting really tired of studying
  • The game was great πŸ˜€
  • Studying for a few more hours wouldn’t have made a difference for me on the exam the following morning

It was a much better game than the World Cup Qualifier Australia v Thailand we saw last year. Over 40 000 in attendance! An action packed game that ended in a tie 1-1, 2 red cards, 2 yellow cards, Australia (while short a man) scoring their goal on a penalty kick, and a ‘womp womp’ moment for Japan when the game ended just as they had set up for a free kick within scoring range.

A group of insane Japanese people behind us who would’ve made any other fan proud with continuous (loud) chanting, singing, telling the Australian players they need to eat more fish, yelling out ‘Let’s have a BBQ together!’ when there were disagreements in the game, and screaming ‘Horseshit’ when the audience was crying ‘Bullshit’ to referee calls – oh awesome fans!

Didn’t take many pictures!

About to start the National Anthems

Halftime!

First semester – done!

Phew!

Thank goodness my exams are finally over! I was seriously getting burnt out after studying for over a week straight and then having 4 exams in 4 days!

June 12 – Clinical Science Imaging (1 hr) exam – went well. Luckily I was in a small room and could see the screen fine but many I know were in larger rooms and had a hard time making out some of the pathology in the images.

June 13 – Clinical Science written (2 hrs) exam – Any more studying would not have prepared me better for this exam. Multiple questions testing random tidbits of knowledge. The level of difficulty of past exams compared to ours was like night and day. Did not like this exam as much and was really happy I didn’t have to regret taking the evening before off to go see a soccer game instead!

June 14 – Ethics and Professional Practice (1hr) exam – much better than anticipated! Although I wished for a few more minutes to have another read through of my answers.

June 15 – Global and Community Medicine (1 hr) exam – went well! But there were only 40 MCQs each worth 1.5% of our final grade – eep!

Our last exam finished around 12:30pm and with a huge weight lifted off our chests we spent the rest of the day hanging out with friends and relaaaaxing πŸ˜› Good times!

And today?

Lots of cleaning… and packing for Singapore! We fly out of the Gold Coast on Monday morning so going to spend Sunday there. Yay – excitement building! We still have to decide what to do though! Thank goodness for friends helping us out and giving us good advice! πŸ˜€

Designer handbags – real or fake?

Everybody has a different opinion, but I am very particular when it comes to designer (read: really expensive, high quality) handbags.

[Below is just my opinion! I understand everyone has their own point of view ^_^]

1) If anyone enjoys designer handbags (or clothes, etc) and can afford it without breaking the bank – then I feel it’s absolutely fine to own such luxury items – no judging! Yes, the costs are atrocious but they are great quality and last years if cared for properly.

Do I own any? Nope! And certainly not anytime soon with this $300K debt being racked up with med school! Perhaps you would like to shower me with such a gift? πŸ˜‰

2) Owning luxury items should also be relative to income. If you want to purchase designer bags, you also have to be able to afford a nice wardrobe as well. Otherwise wouldn’t you look a little ridiculous? Holding a $700+ hand bag dressed in a cheap outfit?

And the big no-no: buying a cheap knockoff because you can’t afford the real thing.

3) Unless the fake is a perfect replica (which rarely happens) anyone with simple knowledge of handbags will be able to tell it’s a fake with just a glance. Honestly, it’s embarrassing – why would you put yourself in that situation?

You often see people with a combination of the above:

1) Those who break the bank for a purse but don’t have a wardrobe to go with it
2) Those who buy fakes and try to pass them off as real and also don’t have a wardrobe to go with it

And now on to my story:

Last January, I received a ‘Coach’ handbag from a woman-who-shall-not-be-named. I had never read up about Coach or had any experience with their products but this lady often uses ‘designer handbags’ and made me feel like I was receiving a genuine product. I mean… you wouldn’t give someone a fake product as a gift without telling them… right? So without verifying its authenticity, I took it back to Australia with me and even used it a handful of times before thinking ‘Is this bag even real?!’

So I set out to educate myself about Coach purses!

For references below, I used the information on bagbliss and eBay

This is the purse I received:

“The simplest way in determining authenticity would be examining the layout of the signature C’s. The C’s should be lined up perfectly to the center.”

So far… looks good! But… crooked pendant and fraying thread!

“The Coach hardware comes in brass or nickel colors, and usually unpolished. Coach’s hardware will never be stamped with its material, only the logo, if anything.”

“The stitching should be perfect with no abnormalities such as overlapping or loose threads, and no uneven lines, or uneven stitches..one long stitch followed by one shorter one for example.”

“Every real Coach purse with exception to some small wristlets, swings, minis, and coin purses will have the Coach creed patch and serial number.Β The interior serial number should start with β€œNo”, the abbreviation for number, and have 4 numbers after the dash.”

Lack of spaces between words much? And look at that double stitching.

“The lining of Coach Signature purses will always be a solid color. And the lining will have the signature pattern if it’s the other way around.

My lining should’ve been a nice solid colour!

“Many of the replicas have the metal tags and they are very different from the authentic ones. The ball chain holding the hang tag is darker metal, and also inside the indention of the Coach imprint. The replica’s metal hang tags are usually thinner, and up close you will notice the Coach logo is imprinted a little differently from the depth, the cut, and to the size.”

“Dust bags should be dark chocolate brown with a red drawstring. In the bottom right the words in all caps β€œCOACH EST.1941β€³ written in white. Coach does not use cheap material to make these.”

What a joke!

Am I disappointed? Not at all, I should’ve known better and I’m not missing out on anything. Will I use this purse? Definitely not.

I am a little embarrassed for her though! If I can do a little reading and tell whether a purse is real or fake – anyone with experience can as well. Awkward…

Sad news regarding my Photo-a-Day project

Decided to take a break from studying today and catch up with my daily photo project… but something terrible has happened 😦

All my pictures taken in the past week or so are corrupted and unreadable 😦 😦

I don’t know how this happened and I don’t know if there is a way to fix it – if you have any suggestions, please let me know!

So upsetting! Not only did I have some good daily pictures, I had also tried out a number of new dishes that turned out excellent which I wanted to share – aarghhhh!

Study break ruined 😦

I’m still not sure what I am going to do about my Photo-a-Day project, I’ve lost over a week’s worth of photos! I don’t want to work backwards, but I think I would like to take more pictures and have a complete year long project than to leave so many days blank… sadface.

The importance of hand washing

It is unbelievable the number of people I come across who don’t bother washing their hands after using a public bathroom – especially when I’m at the hospital.

Oh people… that’s bad, you know that! Washing your hands is so easy. It prevents the spread of germs to other people and to your surroundings … it even protects you from infection and illness. Win-win situation for everyone!

Sadly, most people already understand the importance of hand washing, they just choose not to do it.

Those people need Hamish and Andy (with the help of ‘The MOB’) to shame them into washing their hands:

Starts at 1:26