Friday, May 30, 2014

Bent and broken

The fear is real - of witnessing the final plunge into mediocrity for the entire life, all that you’ve worked hard for (assuming on days that we have definitely struggled) but having people striking you off on the basis of inadequate comparison… And then it sinks in, and acts as a constant reminder how much you have to fear of yourself and others, knowing that no matter what you do, you will always be on the shorter end of the stick. This will be a reminder, and a note to self to strive even harder for the future. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Macau/ Macao in a day




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What to do in Macau in a day? Well nothing much actually - Macau generally offers an abundance of food, historical places-to-visit and lots of casinos. Following my previous post of the Birthday Weekend with Ju in Hong Kong/ Macau, my friends and I decided to re-explore Macau (Senada Square and St. Paul Ruins), the two famous tourist-must-go-to attractions.


To save on taxi fare to Senada Square, you can take a shuttle bus from the ferry terminal to Hotel Lisboa/ Grand Lisboa (please make sure you’re 18 and above, because to head out you’d have to walk through the casino at the alighting point) and walk approximately 4 blocks across when you exit Grand Lisboa on your right. Macau is probably Macau, walk through Senada Square through the lanes of authentic Portuguese food, up to St. Paul Ruins and to Monte Fort that is just located next to it, that offers breathtaking views of the Cathedral (that is currently under renovation) and downtown. 



Built 1617-26, Monte Forte occupies 21,000 square feet in an irregular quadrangle with bastions at each corners. It contained barracks, cisterns and storehouses capable of sustaining a siege of up to two years. Constructed by the Jesuits of chunambo on granite foundations, with brick gauardrooms and cannon housings, the fort was part of a complex together with the college and church of St. Paul.

The cannons commanded very wide fields of fire, covering the Inner and Outer Harbours and the Chinese border. The guns were used only once, when the Dutch invaded Macau in 1622. A cannonball fired by a priest from Monte hit the invaders’ powder key, creating total confusion in which the Portuguese and their African slaves drove the Dutch back to sea.

Today the fort is a public park, with fine views of St. Paul’s and the city. It is also used by the meteorology department to study the weather which is open for visitors to see the tracking charts and weather-watching equipment. There is a tourist information office at the entrance.

Opening hours :
May to September - 6:00am to 7:00pm
October to April - 7:00am to 6:00pm

http://www.cityguide.gov.mo/tg/fortress/f_detaile.asp?lc=2&lkey=02040100000000000000



Here’s a little food-blog tip on Macau by Kampung Boy City Gal if you fancy having some delicacies in Macau, which we did not have time for it! We soon headed off to Venetian for some Lord Stow’s flaky egg tarts (again, I know) and then to the casino for some ka-chingz! There are a lot more casinos available in Macau that you can also try your luck with :> Sometimes, I just don’t even know where to start!  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Birthday Weekend in Hong Kong/ Macau with Ju

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It’s a little back-dated, and I should probably prioritize my time by studying for my last paper later at 6.30PM yet for the past 30 hours I’ve been doing everything except that. Flickr/ Yahoo! had been down for the previous 2 days due to their non-renewal of security certificate but as an avid Flickr user, I checked back today and all encryption and security-enabled features are back on! (Hurray) I’ve stuck with Flickr for a little too long to be resistant to change, high lock-in and switching costs for me and no other service provider have enticed me enough. Nuff’ said! 


So Ju came over to spend my birthday with me over the weekend, and we spent an entire day in Macau. There has got to be one thing that you have to try when you’re there: Visit Venetian (World’s biggest and largest Casino) and have the authentic Portugese Egg Tarts of Lord Stow’s Bakery, a truly iconic Macau’s treat, with its latest branch that is opened in Venetian. A one-stop-for-all where you get a suite, visit the casino, do your shopping, and have one of the best food and accessibility via its shuttles. However they do not operate 24 hours; check shuttle timings on Venetian’s website! 


And I truly love my stay(s) at the Regal Chain in Hong Kong. They have always been comfortable, huge and clean. Though old, but Regal Oriental (located near Mong Kok East) and Regal Riverside (located at Sha Tin) have provided me with one of the most value for money (comfort, accessibility and price) vacations in Hong Kong with my friends and families. With Summer approaching, the pool at River Riverside would definitely be a plus point over Regal Oriental! But a little further from Mong Kok and the hustle and bustle from the city areas. However, there are direct bus services to the airport or Mong Kok and even Central right outside the hotel; one word of advice though. A taxi fare back from Mong Kok back to Regal Riverside would cost you approximate 100HKD~ inclusive the Lion Rock Tunnel Toll fee! 


It was amazing, and we spent the remaining 2 days shopping and eating in Hong Kong, meeting our friends and heading to the Peak. We also avoided taking the Peak Tram because it was on a weekend, and the queues were filled with 2 hours of waiting time. We took a minibus up instead that was at a fraction of the price, without the authenticity of the oldest transport in Hong Kong. But that’s okay, time saved! 


Back to papers~


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How do you get to Regal Riverside without having to take the HK Express? 


Easy, simply go to the Airport Bus Terminus and look for A41! Alight at the 8th stop, you’ll definitely see Regal Riverside approaching (on your right when you’re seated in the bus) and press the bell to get off! Same way to get back to the airport. It takes about 30-45 minutes bus journey depending on the traffic on the highway, but you should be fine :) 



How do you get to Regal Oriental without having to take the HK Express? 


There are airport buses that gets to Mong Kok. So take any of those buses, alight, and take a taxi from Mong Kok! The area is called Kowloon City! If you’re travelling with luggages, mini-buses are not recommended but if you’re planning to travel from the hotel, hail the minibus right in front of the taxi stand of the hotel that states “TO MONG KOK” :P 


I hope these helps! Both stays range from about SGD130~SGD170 depending on off-peak or peak period. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

How Nam Shan Estate looks like in Hong Kong

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Cheryl’s mini kids’-sized choco shot from Pacific Coffee. Perks of being a student, even further discount from the (already) discounted prices on the menu!

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The sky became overcast with clouds after the rain, overlooking some distinct skyscraper buildings as temperature fell. The weather in Hong Kong is, unpredictable.

It would probably be one of the last times that we’d be dining at Nam Shan Estate together, so why not shoot some memories? The meals are overly affordable at Nam Shan Estate; that we’ve ordered 8 main dishes that comes with a drink per pax, and considering that we’ve ordered a few other bottles of beers added up to only 72HKD per person.

Alike Singapore’s combination of wet markets and food centers, Hong Kong isn’t lacking at all. They have plenty of them here - Mong Kok, Causeway Bay, and here in Kowloon Tong (Nam Shan Estate). The closed shutters are stalls that would be opened in the day for business, selling a range of food, to clothes and amenities that you’ll be able to find. Nested at the corners of these stores would be restaurants and food stalls set up for business from day to night; some of which are worth returning for.

Nam Shan Estate is famous for their egg-waffles (雞蛋仔) and waffles in condensed milk and sugar (格仔餅) - source 1 2 3 4. The home-owners, however, are really shy about it though. There’s something really just good about their mixture that makes such good waffles, with the traditional metal plates over the hot fire stove. Other food worth mentioning would be their squid and octopus legs but the queue for the waffles triumphs that any-time. Be prepared to queue though, but for less than 10 minutes as it moves pretty fast! Something every City-U student would go there for :)

Well… Nobody really wants to leave after curating this amount of memories here. But it’s all about time to go back home :) One thing I’ll defo miss about Hong Kong - The abundance of food, cafes, local delicacies and cheap shopping!

Ta!

Happy graduation everybody!