Friday, November 5, 2010

Quebec, Canada (1): Summer 2010

Dorwin Falls, Rawdon, Lanaudière

The magnificient 60 feet Dorwin falls are on the Ouareau river.
The falls are within the walking distance from the Rawdon town centre.

Swimming is not allowed in the river as there are sly and fast currents. But we climbed down the small slope to soak our feet in the clear and cold water.

There are picnic facilities under the pine trees. Camping is not allowed though. This place is definitely baby friendly!

Mont Tremblant Ski Resort

Mont Tremblant is a well known ski place in Quebec. During summer, they have a series of activities such as the International Blues Festival, to keep the place busy.

Activities for children, like the 'spider web', incorporates all favorite kids activities such as climbing, crawling, dangling and bouncing.
Visitors can also take paranomic gondola to the highest peak in the Laurentians and enjoy Mont-Tremblant's spectacular views.

We saw children keep playing this: Taking the ski cable up to the mountain and then coming down with this go-kart thing.

This town at the base of Mont Tremblant is merely for the tourists. There are only hotels, resorts, restaurants, shops ... Nobody really live here. The 'real' town is at the other side. The 'old Tremblant' areas are the replica of the old town.

There is a free public parting below of Old Tremblant. From there, visitors can take the free cable to go to the base of the mountain. Otherwise, it is an easy and pleasant walking up for 15-20 minutes. There are shops and restaurants all the way up.

The beach of Tremblant Lake is only opened to the tourists who staying in the resorts or the local residents. Other visitors have to go to the public beach which is around 1-2km from the 'old Tremblant'. Even summer, the water is still quite cold when the weather is not hot hot hot.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Singapore (4 of 4): Sept 2009 - May 2010

The Integrated Resorts

The integrated resorts are the efforts of the Singapore government to diversify the country's economy by getting a share in the ever growing gambling business around the world (as least this is how i feel). The two large-scale resorts were conceived to meet Singapore's economic and tourism objectives for the next decade and they will have 30-year casino licenses, exclusive for the first ten years. We were there to catch the partially opening of the both resorts.

Resort World Sentosa

What are the major differences between Disneyland and Universal Studio? The cartoon characters? i think both are rather similar in the nature, to cater the need of small children and adults, with either the cartoons or the thrill games.

The foreigner got free entry, while the Singaporean and permanent residents have admission fees of SGD 100.

My sister said this part of the escalator with the wall murals of fishes and forest, the background music of birds and water, gave her a feeling of being in the tropical forest.

In general, i think resort world sentosa live up its name to cater the needs of the family. There are well equipped nursing room around and the areas are wheel chair or baby pram friendly. I later found out that, these facilities are not come in handy at the other integrated resort.

Marina Bay Sands

The Helix Bridge is a pedestrian bridge linking Marina Centre with Marina South. The bridge also functions as a gallery where children's paintings and drawings are exhibited for public viewing. When we were there, it was only half opened due to ongoing construction at the Marina Bay Sands.

The SkyPark is supposed to be home to the world's longest elevated swimming pool and also boasts rooftop restaurants, nightclubs, gardens hundreds of trees and plants and a public observatory with 360-degree views of the Singapore skyline.
It wasn't completed by the time we were there.

The casino is expecting to generate at least $1 billion in annual profit. People said, the interior of this casino looked more 'class' than the one in Sentosa.

At The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands or The Sands Expo and Convention Center, there is a good view from the deck to the opposite Esplanade.
The whole shopping mall has only one nursing room and poorly equipped, by the time of our visit. They probably do not plan to accepat any expo or convention relavant to baby or parenting.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Singapore (3): Sept 2009 - May 2010

Places to Visit

If you ask me where do i missing the most in Singapore, i would say, my previous work place. I quite like the working environment, my bosses, my colleagues but i did complain about my job getting routine and lack of challenges. After i haven't been really working much for more than 2 years, i miss the CMM, the caliper, doing FAI, doing MSA, doing audit reports... Not to mention that, i knew by the end of the month, there will be increment in my bank account summary. :) When i read the forwarded email saying: 'If you are complaining about your job, then that is a good sign! Because you have a job and income!' I feel this to be very true and there is a feeling of gratitute that i never had towards my old employer. I wish the company doing well, so that it can continue to provide for all my former colleagues.

People taking train passing between Yio Chu Kang and Khatib always see this park, The Bottle Tree. It is a private park opens to the public for fishing and event. There are 2 restaurant and a bar within the compound.

In 1921, the building of Phor Kark See Monastery started as the first traditional Chinese forest monastery in Singapore, by Venerable Zhuan Dao.
Since Phor Kark See Monastery is situated at Kong Meng San ("Bright Hill"), it came to be known as Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery.
Venerable Hong Choon with great perseverance, he progressively developed and expanded the monastery with his followers into the largest and most majestic place of practice in Singapore.
I was the volunteer temple guide in one of the year of wesak day celebration.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum in Chinatown. They used to provide free meals, but eventually stopped due to the widespread economic recession.

Singapore Zoo. This is a polar bear living in the tropical country. The pool and place to confine it is without air-con. Poor him.
Singapore Zoo followed the modern trend of displaying animals in naturalistic, 'open' exhibits, i.e. with hidden barriers, behind moats and shrubbery etc.

Nick named, the 'durian', by the local, Esplnade - The Theatre on the Bay, is Singapore major performing arts centre.
Also in picture, The Singapore Flyer ,is currently the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. It offers broad views of the city centre and beyond to about 45 km, including the Indonesian islands of Batam and Bintan, as well as Johor, Malaysia.

The Merlion is an imaginary creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, used as a mascot of Singapore.
The completion of the Esplanade Bridge, in 1997, blocked the views of the Merlion from the Marina Bay waterfront. By then, the original Merlion location was also no longer the entrance of Singapore River. So, in 2002, the statue and its cub were relocated 120 metres to the current Merlion Park that fronts Marina Bay where it stands on a newly-reclaimed promontory in front of The Fullerton Hotel.

Raffles Place was located on the south bank of the Singapore River. Near by is the pubs, bars and restaurants infected Boat Quay and Clarke Quay.
This is the central business district dominated by the skyscrapers with the flagship banks.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Singapore (2): Sept 2009 - May 2010

The Greens in the City

I was a nature guide at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin. At that time, the nature walk at Chek Jawa was still not really under the coordination of National Park. Volunteers like me were trained by the nature lover, Ria Tan. The amount of time that she put into propagating and helping to conserve the limited wild areas (mostly shores) in Singapore, had made her a personal legend to me. She was the one who coordinated with the visitors, guides, van drivers and managed all the other logistic, such as check the tide table. I always enjoy dinner of the guides at the coffe shop in Changi Village after the guiding. The guides would gossiping about the behaviour/attitudes of the visitors, about the discovery of the day and others. Eventually, N Park took over the 'job' at Chek Jawa. Chek Jawa is in the development blue print of Singapore. It is to be reclaimed and developed in the later time. I did not manage to visit to Chek Jawa for this time. I hope next time, i could do so.

I did not know there is this Sembawang Beach, not too far from where we stayed. The beach was a bit dirty when we were there, quite many rubbish and the water won't made you feel like to swim. May be because it was near to the shipyard. There were people harvesting mussels, family camping and picnic too. Johor Bahru is just right in front.

After my 1 month confinement, we went for a walk with our new born at Sungai Buluh Wetland.

There were quite a few monitor lizards sun bathing. I remember when i was young, there was a guy nick named 'eleven fingers', who was always catching monitor lizard to sell the meat.

MacRitchie Reservoir is Singapore's oldest reservoir. There are boardwalks skirting the edge of the scenic MacRitchie Reservoir and walking trails through the forest. The board walk is pram friendly until certain area. There is a TreeTop Walk offers visitors a panoramic view of the surrounding lush rainforest.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens is the only botanic garden in the world that opens from 5 a.m. to 12 midnight every single day of the year, and does not charge an admission fee, except for the National Orchid Garden. The Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage on Symphony Lake occasionally has free concerts on weekends. This is definitely a family friendly place. In the evening or morning, you can see people jogging, playing Qi Gong or walk their pets.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Singapore (1): Sept 2009 - May 2010

I called this place 'home' too

Singapore is my second home or my home after i finished my university in Penang. I am the permanent resident and i enjoy some of the privileges from this status. But yet, when somebody asked me, am i a 'local'? I never ever said i am. I always said, nope, I am a Malaysian. However, i knew this city better than Johor Bahru or Kuala Lumpur. This is the city or place except for the hometown where i grown up that i stayed for more than 5 years. I would like to call this place home and said i am a 'local', but i think i am still having the 'Singaporean' and 'Malaysian' identity issue. i think, a 'local' is someone who grown up there and holding the citizenship. But, how come i feel more 'home' and 'local' in Singapore than in any other part of Malaysia, other than my hometown?


It was Deepavali in October 2010. Streets at Little India were decorated.
The meaning of Deepavali is ‘Rows of Light’.
Little India is my favorite tourist area in Singapore.
May be because it is a bit like Georgetown in Penang.

Decoration at Orchard Road during Xmas.
When i was a child, i think the decorations are more grand.

Decoration inside the shopping centre, Ang Mo Kio Hub.
I think these looked better than those i saw at Orchard Road.

Decoration of Chinese New Year at streets in Chinatown.
My favorite part of Chinatown is around Ann Xiang Hill.
It has some cozy cafes and the whole atmosphere is more tranquil and less touristic.