Monday, 17 January 2011

Singapore, Singapore!

The country that is a city in itself. Full of Asian people, but not really Asian in its ways. It's really interesting, if you ask me. I spent 4 days there, and happily observed the consumerism that engulfed its people. I guess in those 4 days, I became one of them. Walking in and out of stores and just admiring the myriad of products that are available in such a small place!

Coming from Australia where fashion and signature brands are limited, and growing up in Manila where shopping is a day-to-day activity, I think it's safe to say that Singapore tops them both when it comes to the range of brands available! There are also just so many shopping centres!!! To illustrate:

Walking out of Bugis station, first big structure I see: a shopping centre.

Another shopping centre - Bugis Junction

More shopping on Orchard Road

Still on Orchard Road

My friend Mirei inside another shopping centre

The way to Ion Shopping Centre

Yes, I told you there are heaps of shopping centres in Singapore. At some point, I couldn't be bothered to remember each building's name. Ha ha.

This is Singapore on a rainy day. (view from the 18th floor on Selegie Rd)

The highlight of this trip was going to the newly opened Universal Studios! I absolutely love theme parks and despite Universal Studios Sinagpore being tiny, I still had mad fun! Credit goes to my friend Mirei for taking all the following photos!

Me at the iconic Universal Studios globe

First stop: MADAGASCAR!

Next stop: The Mummy! Yes, dear friends, this is Imothep. Haha

Far Far Away!!!

At the Met Steps.

With the lovely Beach Boys of Universal Studios Singapore

After such a long day at Universal, off we went to Prince of Wales in Little India. It's a small Australian Backpackers' Pub. As soon as we walked in, I felt at home straight away. We had burgers and chips and a couple of beers (at first. Ha ha)

The streets of Little India

Prince of Wales (PoW) has live bands playing on different nights, and we watched a local girl duo (although we still believe they're migrants from Manila) sing hits of the 90s. It was pretty good. The beers are mighty pricey ($13 a pop!) but it was worth it - there's nothing better than to cap a trip off with ice cold Aussie beers on tap.

Leftover New Zealand!

Not keen to write about a trip I have done so long ago (to which I attribute to the excessive writing I've had to do over Spring semester), so here's a major photo dump of the rest of my New Zealand adventure!!!

I love how this photo turned out. Still at Sumner Beach, on the Cave Rock side

Warm Lamb Salad at Winnie Bagoes

Souvlaki/Kiwi Craving pizza at Winnie Bagoes

Mexi Lime Chicken/Marinara pizza at Winnie Bagoes

Cathedral Square

Me, being me, as per usual, on Worcester Boulevard

Penguins! Too bad they're not live ones.

The following photos are from our road trip to Akaroa, which is a small town that used to be a French colony. It lies on the edge of New Zealand, on the eastern side.

On the road to Akaroa!

At the hill top - our destination is where the water is!

Upon arrival, Akaroa Jetty :-)

Gorgeous flower in bloom, Akaroa War Memorial

Well, that's it for my little New Zealand adventure. Just a recap of everything I've seen in the 7 days that I was there:

  • Methven
  • Rakaia Gorge
  • Mt Hutt
  • Christchurch City
  • Akaroa
In summer, Methven is practically dead, so best to go there in winter for some skiing or snowboarding up in Mt Hutt. Rakaia Gorge, which is also in Methven is probably the only other place you can go visit in summer, where you can go rafting.

Christchurch City, though small and quaint, has a lot of great food and sights! Go to the markets on Worcester Blvd, or visit the Christchurch Art Gallery! Learn about Maori life in Christchurch Museum. Don't forget to grab a bite to eat at Winnie Bagoes. They have amazing gourmet pizza and a friendly, warm atmosphere. :-)

Next stop - Singapore!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Breathtaking Rakaia Gorge & skiing!

Tired from the countless stacks that we made from snowboarding, we decided to go up the slopes in the arvo and spent the day at Rakaia Gorge. It's absolutely gorgeous. It's probably one of the most amazing places I have ever been to! Driving down these are the things that you'll see along the way:

Mt Hutt as your backdrop

And lots and lots and lots of sheep!

Believe me, I didn't know what to expect of Rakaia Gorge - I had no clue as to what it would've looked like. When we arrived at the lookout...

This is what we saw. BEAUTIFUL!

Honestly, I've never seen water as blue as this. It's just absolutely breathtaking!!! Hahaha I can't stop raving about it because it's just so calming and serene.

We didn't stay for too long as we were running late to catch the bus to Mt Hutt and so we decided that the next day we will go down and walk along the water.

In our proper clothing & gear, thanks to Jaces Ski Hutt :-) Jace is amazing and so is his team, better get your stuff there when you do go!

This time, we went skiing. I've never gone skiing before and Walter had to teach me. He was smart - he took me to the carpet hahaha wherein I totally made a fool of myself! I was so close to giving up because I was just in so much pain from snowboarding (did I mention he crashed into me and his board hit my spine?)... Thankfully he was an absolute gentleman and was patient enough to help me all throughout... :-)


Since we were still so sore and tired, we didn't go up the slopes. We just hung back and spent the arvo drinking good coffee and playing on the snow :-)

Methven and around

As far as trying to be updated with my blog... I believe I'm not trying hard enough. :-( Sad to say I can't keep up with my tasks and I'm not as organised as I think. Oh well, such is life. I was thinking about New Zealand today and how much I miss our short holiday, and I realised I haven't finished my series of blogs on how it went.

To recap, we arrived in Christchurch, had dinner with one of my friends, then drove to Methven. We got lost on the way, but it's all good :-) We were flat out tired so we slept really early just to have a good head start for the next day. We got up at 7, keen as anything to go up to the slopes, and then caught a bus to Mt Hutt.

Mishaps really never fail to catch up with me, so halfway up to the mountain I realised every person on the bus had their gear on, whereas the bf and I were in our jumpers and trackies...

Ha ha ha.

I started to freak out a little bit, then I started freaking him out by imparting my observation. We looked at our vouchers and we realised we had to pick up the gear somewhere in town. With that thought, we still managed to convince ourselves to actually think that maybe the ski shop was up the top. Ha!

Lucky the people at Mt Hutt were so nice and accommodating. They set us up - gear, clothes and all! We were so grateful to them for helping us out :-)

Everything got sorted for no extra cost! YAY. LOOOOVE the people in Mt Hutt :-)

We were ready to snowboard all day. I must say - I haven't snowboarded in 4 years and I was really really rusty. Rusty enough to forget that I should've brought Walter (who has never snowboarded before) to the carpet first and try to teach him with my very limited skills. You can guess what happened next.

We got up to the top, all happy, but failed to realise we'd be stacking it all the way down. SMART!

Walter exhausted from stacking it

Nonetheless we had an amazing day making fun of each other! We had millions of bruises, which wasn't fun at all - it was a pain to sleep!!! All's well that ends well though, we managed to get a lot of rest and went up to the slopes again the next day... for skiing!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

New Zealand/Nueva Zelanda/Neuseeland

A few months back I decided that I wanted to see New Zealand. I never really thought it would push through as I had so many troubles along the way. The embassy misspelled my name on my visa and so I had to wait another few weeks for them to return my passport with my visa printed on it, my travel agent really didn't do that great of a job, and so many other things.

However, it did turn out to be a surprisingly good trip.

We planned to go to so many places (which we did, but didn't fully cover our initial plan) and didn't expect to even cover as much as we did. New Zealand is absolutely stunning and is just beyond words.

On our first day it seemed pretty bad as it was raining and it was gloomy, but a lovely dinner with one of my old friends from the Philippines saved it all. We ate at Strawberry Fare and the food was just so filling and beautiful!

Chic menu!

Walter & I had a dish called Simply Salmon (Hot smoked warm Akaroa salmon, salad greens, ciabatta, caper & dill creme fraiche):

Perfection on a plate!

We then drove to Methven, to a place called Mt Hutt Bunkhouse. We had a lovely stay. It was detached from the internet (although they do provide access for a minimal fee), clean, cosy and homey. Giles (owner/manager) made sure we had everything we needed. It was so comfortable and at the same time very affordable. Would definitely stay there again when we do go back for another visit. :-)

Walter & I at Mt Hutt Bunkhouse

View from across our lodge at 8 in the morning the next day! :3

By the time we got there we were absolutely buggered and wanted to be up bright and early for our first day up the slopes. The 2 photos above were taken that morning before we caught the bus to go to Mt Hutt which was so amazingly nice, but that's for the next blog!