For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.


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Nature VS Concrete

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with my university friend, Darren, who has been interested in photography ever since our university days. It is definitely fun and relaxing to do a photoshoot with a friend! He had a ready theme in mind, and I was there to execute his vision. His theme was, you guessed it. Nature VS Concrete. It was to be a juxtaposition of these two elements which seemed to be entwined in an eternal battle with it other, but complement each other so perfectly in photography in their altercation. Indeed, photography, just like acting, is a lot harder than it looks. I learned a lot from him, for modelling is not exactly my line of work. The placement of hands and body curvatures; I didn’t have an idea about anything, no matter how many times I’d binge-watched different countries’ versions of ‘America’s Next Top Model’. Now I realised, deep thought is put into every seemingly effortless pose.

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The last two poses were almost identical, but one interesting thing I found out on the shoot was how a photographer’s eye works from normal people’s. I had liked the first one, indeed, I was enraptured by it because of the softness of my gaze, I have never really seen myself looking that way before. Yet, as a photographer, Darren quickly pointed out that the angle of my hand on my head was awkward as my fingers couldn’t be seen, though he agreed my look was on point! What do you all think? 😉


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Japan Travels: Nara’s beauty in Fall

Nara is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. I can’t believe I was totally disinterested in exploring Nara in the past. But perhaps, this time autumn really lent a great helping hand in its beauty. The fiery red and yellow leaves, interspersed with lush green, looked like intricate brocade from afar. Below is my very first jaw-dropping view of Nara. Isuien Garden (依水園) in its autumn grandeur.

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I dropped by Isuien Garden for lunch, and had an interesting traditional meal of mugi tororo (plain rice with thickened grated yam mixed with soy sauce, seaweed and barley). I must say though, the view was worth more than the meal.

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This is the ground yam.

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Pretty assortment of side dishes.

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So you pour the yam over the rice and you will get a sticky consistency almost like porridge but not quite. Doesn’t look very filling but I guess because it is a mixture of yam and rice I was actually full after my meal.

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This kind of scenery is something I always attempted to paint but failed because of my shoddy skills.

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This random hut area is gorgeous with the little rapids.

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This picture just makes me feel so poetic indeed. The green of the water is a reflection of the still green trees above, which brings out the ruby red of the fallen leaves.

After leaving Isuien Garden reluctantly, I moved on to Tōdaiji Temple (東大寺), which was sadly under construction. So I ended up exploring the park filled with deers. Curious, greedy deers who are not at all shy of strangers. They have even learned to bow for treats, and push their wet noses towards anything one holds, believing it to be food. The smell was rather off-putting, given that so many deer are gathered in an area, but they were so adorable I let it slide.

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Cute deer! Reminds me of Bambi =)

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This is how close a deer can get to you, my camera couldn’t even capture its nose! Too close-up!

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Deers drinking at a river flanked by fall leaves is a sight to behold indeed.

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Deers resting on blanket of gold.

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Curious deer sniffing at my camera.

And I finally ended my Nara trip with a really delicious crepe! Nope, the smell didn’t affect my appetite. I always do love a good dessert after a long walk. I ordered baked apples wrapped in a soft warm crepe covered with cinnamon sauce (if I don’t remember wrongly), at this random teahouse along the streets of Nara, so I didn’t think I would chance upon anything this fantastic. I remembered thinking all the other flavours were a little too outlandish for me to try, so I stuck with a relatively safe choice.

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I was sad to leave Nara at the end of the day, because it was just so picturesque. I’m sure, of course, Kyoto would be equally magnificent without all that crowd, as I have been to Kyoto before, but unfortunately, the crowd spoilt it for me. Also, the deers reminded me of my times back in university exchange, when I was at Miyajima, a beautiful island off Hiroshima. I was glad to be able to see Japan during autumn, for the fall foliage is simply breathtaking, especially with the ancient temples and shrines amongst them. Too bad I was one day too early for snow. But filming calls. Never mind. I will definitely see snow someday. And cherry blossoms. ❤

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Goodbye Nara, I will keep your fall glory in my heart. 

On a separate, funny note, I’m sure everyone knows about Shiroi Koibito (白い恋人). But have you heard of Omoshiroi Koibito (面白い恋人)? Shiroi Koibito means white lovers, while Omoshiroi Koibito means funny lover! It is a perfect representation of Osaka people. Just like them to come up with the idea of this souvenir as a parody of Shiroi Koibito. In case you don’t know, Osaka people are known for their comedic side. Many famous comedians come from Osaka. I love Osaka for its people, its culture, its slang, its food. ❤ But well, I didn’t buy it, so I don’t really know how it tastes like, but I heard the cream tastes rather like mitarashi dango, which is pretty good.

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Maybe I will try it someday! 


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Japan Travels: Kyoto/Osaka

I do regret choosing to explore Kyoto on the weekend. I didn’t expect it to be bursting from the crowd. One could barely move through the throngs of people within a scenic location, with many sight-seekers pausing to snap pictures of a red torii gate or a red-leave tree, stopping the human traffic like a red light. Everything would halt at that moment, as the people at the very front witnessed the awkward poses struck by their fellow tourists, and people towards the back, left with nothing to do, raise their cameras or phones to capture an artistic shot of the scenery around them. I was, doubtless, one of those irritating tourists, but left very unsatisfied with most of my pictures dotted with human heads.

Trying to capture a nice #ootd in Kyoto is near impossible with all the crowd. So I mostly played around with introducing the sights on my Instagram, and snacking along the touristy stalls down the streets.

My first stop was at Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha).

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Kitsune, or foxes. The messengers of the Fushimi Inari Shrine.I love how poised these kitsune statues look.

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Hello beautiful fall.

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Going through the Senbon Torii (Thousands of Torii Gates) In reality I think I only went through 50. Too many people. I had to get to my next destination!

My next stop was Kiyomizudera (清水寺, “Pure Water Temple”). It was a long walk from the station to the temple, and people were all literally lining up along the path toward the temple, making the walk slow and tedious. Once I reached the temple, I found the place to be inundated with people! Perhaps not just because it was the weekend, but also maybe due to the fact that Kiyomizudera’s main hall will be undergoing construction in 2017, as well as the autumn illumination which was scheduled to be held from mid November to early December, Kiyomizudera was bursting with a horde of tourists and locals. There was nowhere for me to take fanciful #ootds. I could hardly get a good shot of the temple itself.

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Look at the mass of bodies. I gave up entering further. I personally loathe being squeezed like a sardine. I don’t think anyone can get any good pictures or really savour the scenery with strangers pressed on them.

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Still, these are pretty breathtaking autumn trees. 

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These streets are gorgeous from top-down. It really brings one back in time. 

Since there isn’t much to talk about the sights, I shall move on to the mouth-watering food in Osaka. First, a stroll down the fascinating shopping streets of Osaka. So vibrant and alive.

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The cool dragon figure is actually the entrance of a Karaoke place!

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A really Japanese alleyway. I love the cobblestone streets.

And my first meal has got to be okonomiyaki. It is my favourite dish from Osaka. When I first tried it, I fell in love with it. That simple. And since then I have been craving for an authentic okonomiyaki. When I finally had to chance to sink my jaws into this inviting pancake loaded with cabbage and seafood, I felt sheer felicity and contentment. I was in okonomiyaki heaven.

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This side dish is actually cod fish intestines. O_0 It just tasted salt and was kind of chewy. But finding out what it was kind of grossed me out. I really detest innards, except pig stomach. Somehow I like it. Pig stomach soup. Mm.

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See this beauty shining with its okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise?

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Topped with aonori (green nori flakes) and katsuoubushi (bonito flakes)

Next, another traditional Osaka delicacy. Kushikatsu. “kushi” means skewer, “katsu” is a method of deep-frying food by breadcrumbing them. It is said to originate from Shinsekai in Osaka.

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I can’t quite remember what was it I ordered, but there were definitely quail eggs, pork and prawn in this mix.

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Berry Calpis Chuhai (Chuhai is also known as Sour, as I mentioned in my previous post I have taken a liking to this sweet alcoholic drink in this trip) Calpis is a drink similar in taste to Yakult, just thinner in consistency.

Finally, another traditional dish from Osaka. Takoyaki. Who hasn’t heard of it? But I never knew that it originated from Osaka. It was invented by a street vendor in Osaka in 1935, and since then its popularity has spread across the world.

I went to this shop called Takoyaki Dotonburi Kukuru (たこ家道頓堀くくる), one of the famous takoyaki shops in Japan. But I wasn’t at the main shop, unfortunately, so there wasn’t any Bikuri Takoyaki (jumbo-sized takoyaki with octopus tentacles pushing out of the ball). And I didn’t have time to eat the akashiyaki (octopus balls dipped in dashi) as I was rushing for the next shinkansen. I was looking forward to akashiyaki, as the dumpling is not made of flour, like takoyaki, rather it is made of eggs. Pity. Next time I definitely want to try these two.

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Piping hot and yummilicious.

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Here’s a final picture of me enjoying the quail egg kushikatsu! My next and final post on my Japan travel will be on Nara!

 

 


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Japan Travels : Tokyo

I have never been comfortable with the idea of travelling alone. But perhaps it was time to step out of my comfort zone, to challenge myself. What better country to do that than in Japan, one of my favourites countries, a safe haven where there would be almost no language barrier for me (at least in terms of getting around). But once I started this journey of self-discovery (ok, I’m being melodramatic here), the experience rocked my nerves and made me feel terribly self-conscious of the surroundings around me. I have never felt more alone, unprotected, and small.

Also, as I took the Philippines Airlines, there was a transit at Manila before I reached Narita. Taking a plane at midnight, dozing uncomfortably in the cramped plane seat, being unable to sleep at all during the 2 plus hours of transit in the dead of night, before yet another gruelling journey towards the land of the Sun wore on me. All the exhaustion was forgotten though, the minute I stepped out of the plane and into Narita Airport. A fresh wave of excitement washed over me, and I felt ridiculously proud of myself for achieving this (tiny) feat of travelling alone. But once I reached Narita, I had another mission; to quickly get the JR ticket I bought and board the Narita Express, which takes about 45 minute per interval during that afternoon. It would take me another hour and a half to reach my final destination, and I had already made arrangements in the evening. There was no room for mistakes. I couldn’t afford to get lost. Luckily, there was no queue at the JR office, and somehow, miraculously, for all my lack of directional senses, I was able to make it safely on time, though lugging my heavy luggage and bags around the streets made me utterly regret my decision to travel all alone. At that time I was thinking miserably, “What have I put myself into?”

But all the pain was worthwhile as I managed to meet up with old friends, who kindly brought me around and sent me back safely. I no longer had to rely on myself for directions. Whee. So much for independence. Anyway, now I can finally focus on having fun. The scenery, the food. Yum. Tokyo’s scenery wasn’t much, since I was mainly in the city. The autumn leaves were beautiful of course, but I knew they would look like a painting in more traditional parts of Japan, which I was looking forward to.

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One of the prettier roads smattered with red autumn leaves.

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The trees on this street looked like they were adorned with gold.

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But the food was amazing, as per usual. Japan’s cuisine almost never fails to disappoint me.

My first dish (besides the amazing spread of buffet at TBS of course) was tonkatsu. It is at this shop called Katsusai Ebisu (かつ彩 恵比寿), which can be found in Shibuya.

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I ordered it for the cheese stuffed pork, and boy was I delighted to see the cheese oozing out of the tonkatsu.

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Grinded sesame seeds with yuzu sauce

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The best was the cheesy tonkatsu, and worst, surprisingly was the ebi. I’m normally partial to prawns, but I couldn’t taste the natural sweetness of the sea this time, so I deduced it mustn’t have been fresh enough.  

My second dish was Kyushu cuisine. It was at a random shop so I didn’t take note of the shop name. It  was my first time trying Kyushu cuisine. It is definitely quite different from the typical Tokyo food I have eaten. Apparently, Kyushu is known for mentaiko (marinated cod roe), so most of the dishes I ordered had mentaiko on them.

 

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Mentaiko and daikon side dish

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Salted grilled egg with mentaiko (my fave : usually these kind of eggs are sweet, which I don’t quite like, but savoury eggs, mm) 

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Chicken Nanban – fried chicken coated in thick, sweet and sour nanban sauce and topped with tartar sauce 

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Some yakitori with salt sprinkled over it

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Yakisoba with mentaiko. Not impressed. I prefer the usual yakisoba, which is crispier.

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Nice and sweet green apple sour. I took a liking to sours in Japan, I was basically ordering a sour every meal.

And… drum roll for my final dish. Ramen. To be specific, tonkotsu-soup base ramen. A shop based in Ginza, Hataka Nagahama Yatai Yamachan (博多長浜屋台やまちゃん),  the name of the shop is a mouthful, and it is a tiny nondescript shop filled with beer-guzzling men, but never judge a book by its cover. The pork broth is thick and silky, just rich enough to linger in my palate, but not overpowering. The chashu was cut in big, thin slices, with soft fat that melted the instant it touched my tongue. I ordered the noodles “katai”, which means hard, as I like my noodles, springy and bouncy, and also so that they won’t turn soggy fast. The egg was just the way ramen eggs should be, the orange yolk soft and runny on the inside. You will have the option of adding roasted sesame, pickled ginger, and some kind spicy pickled vegetable. I absolutely loved the spicy picked vegetable, it really added an extra pop of favour and texture to the ramen.

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It may look like any ramen, but it was sooo good. One of the best I have eaten. 

Now besides these main dishes, there were some other snacks like ice cream I tried. Despite the cold weather, soft serves are a must in Japan! I was introduced to this shop called Silkream by my friend, and they sold a particular brand of ice-cream called Cremia, which was soft, creamy and tasted like full cream milk. Just the way I love my soft-serves to be. My friend thinks the biscuit cone tastes like Shiroi Koibito, but I can’t quite remember how Shiroi Koibito tastes like, so I can’t confirm. But the biscuit cone definitely tastes much better than the usual factory-churned biscuit cones. It is sweet, and crumbles in my mouth. Usually people order take-away with the ice-cream in the biscuit cone, but we wanted to try other flavours too (and also because our feet were hurting so much from all that walking), so we had it in the shop, which was several hundred yen more expensive. Ouch to our pockets. One thing to note though: it melts really fast, so it was difficult to take a good photo of it. 

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We also tried another ice-cream, but it was not Cremia. As you can the the Cremia ice-cream is shaped differently from most other ice-creams. I think this is just a regular run-of-the-mill ice-cream. And it tasted predominantly of vanilla. It’s too vanilla-nye for my taste, but maybe fans of vanilla would like it. I can’t remember the crepe, other than it was soft, so it mustn’t have been delicious.

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Finally I tried something I have always wanted to try in Singapore, but couldn’t get the chance to, because the queue was always so long. BAKE cheese tarts!!! Fluffy and soft, they tasted like a soft, creamy version of cheesecake. Not uncooked cheesecake, as they were warm from the oven. I love cheesecakes, so needless to say, the cheese tarts won me over. ❤

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Alright, my Tokyo travel has come to an end. Next up, Kyoto! Please keep a look out for my next post! ^_^

 


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Real life vs Reel life – Pokemon Go

Their popularity may be slipping, but there are still pockets of people loitering around catching the cute little monsters, particularly in MBS, where I suppose all the rare monsters frolic about. Let me just set this straight. No I do not play Pokemon Go, nor am I interested in starting. The only things I have now connected to Pokemon was my manicure (which I really didn’t intend it to be that way – It was just meant to be a beautiful combo of sunny yellow and shiny chrome purple) and my lone Pokemon card. I do wish I could capitalise on the craze and actually have a collection to sell though. But anyway, back to Pokemon Go. I found it quite amusing to watch the anti-Pokemon Go people and Pokemon Go fans fight it out online. On one hand, the anti-fans insisted that Pokemon Go players cause accidents, and label them as nincompoop, revelling on the demise of ‘idiots’ who self-destruct on every turn they make on the street. On the other, fans concluded that Pokemon Go are what saved them from their previously sad, pathetic lives, allowing them to bond with their friends and family and even strangers, and that Pokemon Go actually helps uncover crimes as unsuspecting players stumble upon dead bodies led to them by their cutesy pocket monsters.

Pokemon Go is just a game. It doesn’t have the power to kill or the power to bond. All these incidents happen due to the users of the game, who are humans and hence have the ability to create positivity or cause chaos, because we are living, breathing creatures. So really, anti-fans and fans should stop hating on each other. True enough, as a non-player, I can’t comprehend the craze, and was inclined to mock at the players initially. Till I realised that people close to me have started playing, and I asked them what exactly drives them to play. For most, it is to be closer to their loved ones, who play the game as well. With a reason like this, how can I continue to scoff at the players? Even without such reason, it is just a game anyway, I used to be an avid gamer myself, so I should very well understand how it feels like to indulge in gaming.

I wish though, there could be a game that is more engaging than just catching Pokemons. I get it, they are kind of cute, I guess. But I have always been more into games with beautiful graphics like Final Fantasy, that’s why games like Pokemon Go will never grab my fancy, even if they are based in the real world. If my kind of game could be based in the real world, well I think there will definitely be chaos, since it’s hack and slash. But if, actually I think it’s more of a when, when players can venture into virtual reality (something like Matrix) rather than just augmented reality I would totally jump on board. There is this particular manga (or should I say, manhwa, as it’s a Chinese comic) called ‘1/2 Prince’, which explores this concept of virtual reality playing in the future, where humans can transform into any cool character they want to be, and perform amazing stunts like casting spells and executing suave moves with a sword.

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My old sketch of 1/2Prince ❤

Okay, I digress. Again, as per usual. Back to Pokemon Go. While I have no issues with the game, Pokemon Go players can be a mild annoyance and occasional source of amusement, depending on my mood. Once walking down Orchard, I marvelled at the fact that I had to walk in a zigzag line down the very straight street along Wisma, due to the sheer amount of people merely standing together in groups staring down at their phones. Whether they cause accidents or not, really depends on individuals who are aware of their surroundings or are just simply too absorbed in their phones. We don’t need Pokemon Go to have people who injure themselves while using their phones, as evident from cases of unfortunate selfie-inflicted accidents. I have almost fell down a flight of stairs myself just by focusing really hard on my phone. So it is up to yourself whether you want to protect yourself from pain and danger even as you indulge in your game or just plain net-surfing. So have fun, but don’t forget to be vigilant!

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It’s a… Ponyta! I kept it because it is just so pretty. I do have a collection of Sailormoon cards though. Can someone make a Sailormoon app game turn into a worldwide phenomenon please?

 

 


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Dreamworld – Big 9 Thrill Rides (SBTS)

Final episode of Science Behind the Scream took me to Australia, Gold Coast, again. This time it is at the biggest theme park in Gold Coast, Dreamworld. I have heard from so many people about the exciting, heart-stopping rides in Dreamworld such as the Tower of Terror II, so I was beyond thrilled to have the chance to finally experience the rides firsthand.

In the final episode, I had to challenge the famed Big 9 Thrill Rides, and challenged them I did. I have listed the rides in order of their thrill factor, from least thrilling to most. Just to make it clear, this list is my own personal preference of course.

Tail Spin, is a fun ride where you strap yourself into one of the mini-aeroplanes and then get rotated on an inclined circle circumscribing 1.0m off the ground to 22m high, at highest speed of 33km/h. You can choose to glide along or be like me, spun 360 degrees by controlling the carriage wings. But one thing to note, the carriage wings do require some skills to control before you can achieve the dizzying 360 spinning effect. It took some practice for me and a few takes before I could start the plane spinning. I ended up with pretty sore arms in the end, but I felt totally accomplished.

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Hot Wheels SideWinder, is one of the tallest, high-speed (90km/h) gravity rollercoasters in the Southern Hemisphere. The fun part is the music that pumps through the carriage throughout the ride, amplifying the adrenaline pumping in my blood.

The Claw,  propels its riders nine storeys high (approx. 27.1m high) and swings them back and forth like a giant pendulum up to a speed of 75km/h while twisting 360 degree full circles. It swung really high indeed, and I could see most of the park when I was high in the sky, but because of its relative low speed, the thrill factor was moderate at best.

Pandamonium, apparently has 2 lines, the ‘not-so crazy’ line and the ‘seriously crazy’ line. I only took the ‘seriously crazy’ line of course, whereby I was sent soaring 8 meters high round and round, side to side and upside down at up to 3.8 G-forces. It was a pretty fun ride, especially since the safety harness keeps the riders firmly in place, unlike the similar ride in Taiwan Lihpao, Energy Storm, where the harness was made up of a thin metal rod that couldn’t prevent me from sliding perilously to the edge of my seat during the 360 spins. Now I could scream and laugh without fearing for my life.

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Mick Doohan’s Motocoaster, has a track with varying elevation and sharp turn-corners, reaching just over 72 km/h. The tracks almost seem to emulate an off-road rugged course a motorbike racer would take. The highlight of the ride are the life-size replicas of 500cc racing bikes. It is the first time I get to ride a rollercoaster with my legs astride and hands on the handles of a bike. I definitely felt like a hot biker chick.

WipeOut was again, another ride similar to one that I took in Taiwan Lihpao, Galactuc Spin. But the ride’s thrill factor definitely was more than severals notches higher. Its two independent rotating arms lash out in erratic 360 degree twists and turns that reach 14.5m high. And just when I thought the ride is beginning to end, and I finally can get a breather, a second tidal wave surged and the arms break into spasmodic whirls again.

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WipeOut on the left and The Claw on the right behind me.

Giant Drop, was officially declared the ‘tallest, vertical free-fall ride in the world’ by the Guinness Book of World Records in their 1999 edition. I was sent up the tower rather slowly, till I reached about 39 storeys (119m high). There the carriage just halted, suspended in mid-air. I was nervous, and babbled whatever little I could think of to the camera, because truthfully my mind was a blank. I didn’t know when the carriage would drop, and the wait felt like eternity. When the imminent drop came, the speed went up to a whopping 135 km/h, and my body lifted from my seat during the sharp descent.

BuzzSaw is the highest inversion ride experience in the Southern Hemisphere. It began with a slow and suspenseful 46m vertical ascent until I was dangled upside-down 15 storeys in the air before the carriage free-falls through a 360 degree heart roll, plummeting down a final vertical drop at speeds of up to 105km/h.

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Tower of Terror II, was the first ride in the world to break the 100 km/h barrier. The carriage blasts backwards rocketing out of a 206m tunnel at rapid speed hitting up to 161 km/h in just 7 seconds. I tried my hardest to keep my head to the headrest but the G-force was too strong. At its peak at 100m high, I was able to admire the entire park’s scenery for several seconds before plummeting back to the ground…face first screaming in exhilaration into the tunnel.

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The spine-chilling, blood-curdling entrance to Tower of Terror II

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At the back side of Tower of Terror II you can see a tiny carriage at the top. That’s the Giant Drop. Yes they are at the same tower.

With all this ranking you might think Tower of Terror II was my favourite ride, but strangely no. It was… (drumrollllllWipeOut! Why? Tower of Terror II, whilst being the most thrilling, was the shortest ride as well. BuzzSaw too, had a relatively short ride time despite its high thrill factor. But WipeOut lasted pretty long, and the crazy rotating arms really sent us passengers literally spinning over the edge. I am all for the length of the ride, because that to me, would justify the waiting time. Well, though I didn’t have to wait for the rides in Dreamworld because of awesome filming privileges. But still, as a normal ticketing customer, one definitely looks for value for the price they paid, and the time they waited. With an average waiting time of 2 hours for each ride during peak days, wouldn’t you want the thrill to last longer as well?

Now, just wanna throw in a few shots of my free time in Gold Coast. For you can’t really say you have been to Gold Coast without visiting its famous beach. It was fortunate we managed to end early on the last day so we could make a quick visit to the beach before the sun set. Now just soak in the beauty of nature. Wild, dangerous, gorgeous waves crashing into soft sand. And when the waves retreated, you could see the reflection of the sky above.

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Everland – A Lovebirds’ Eden (SBTS)

Before I get into my experience in Everland, I need to make a quick statement on why my face seemed swollen on certain shots, if anyone has noticed. After a few nights of wondering what was causing my face and neck to itch terribly and break out into rashes that I could luckily cover up on the first day, but however turned into a swelling that no amount of cosmetics could hide, we finally figured out the cause. And it was the bedsheets!!! After requesting for a change, even when the hotel receptionist insisted that they change it every day, the next day (which was the final day in Korea and filming has already ended!), the swell finally subsided and my face and neck no longer itched. I had wanted to look like a Korean beauty in my Everland filming, alas, a pig head is forever recorded on film!  Oh well, such is life. On a bright note, I saw cherry blossoms! They still weren’t in full bloom, but I managed to capture a photo of one up close. So lovely and fragile.

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Now, moving on to Everland. Everland is based in Yongin, a city in Gyeonggi-do province, South Korea. It is South Korea’s biggest theme park, and the ride that everyone stresses is a must-ride is the T-express. It is the steepest wooden rollercoaster in the world, with a drop angle of 77 degrees and maximum speed of 104 km/h, it is the second best ride I have ever rode in the series and in my whole life. What’s the first? Arkham Asylum. Want to know why? Check out the Movie World post to see why Arkham Asylum tops my list!

But back to T-express. I have always wanted to ride on a wooden rollercoaster ever since I was about seven, and finally got my wish fulfilled. It didn’t disappoint me one bit. Despite its lack of inversions, the thrills it provided more than made up for it. The first drop was really high, and the speed made me feel like I was plummeting to my screaming doom. I loved it!! Also, because it is made of wood, the ride is particularly bumpy, and I loved this very organic, nostalgic feel to it. As modern coasters are all made of steel, the rides do feel a little too smooth in comparison.

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The crew with our Korean fixer and the most adorable, lovable little contestant in this series. We felt so bad for him when he had to challenge me on T-Express for this ride can be a little daunting even for adults, not to mention a little boy barely 11. He was a brave little soul to have conquered the odds!

Other than this iconic ride, Everland is a great place for all wildlife lovers with its Lost Valley dotted with animals that you would only see on National Geographic or in Africa. You get to travel in this convertible amphibian vehicle which turns from a bus to a boat the moment it gets into the waters, and get really up close with this particular giraffe which has absolutely zero guards around humans as long as it can get its food. This giraffe will stick its head into the window just to grab pieces of lettuce from the park keepers. All my life, having just seen giraffes on the screen, it was quite amazing to see one just inches from my face… I was quite terrified to realise just how big a giraffe really is. Other than this fascinating experience, I got to see a few exotic animals that I haven’t seen before and was quite taken by them. Everland is indeed is a huge theme park, to be able to ride in rollercoasters and experience wildlife rides all in one place is pretty much impossible in Singapore, where even finding adequate space for housing is a problem for our tiny nation.

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Fennec Fox: found in North Africa and Asia, it is the smallest and cutest fox in the world. They’re the size of a chihuahua! I really wanted one as a pet. 

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Black-Tailed Prairie Dog: Cute little rodents native to the grasslands of North America

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I was mostly attracted to the interesting bit of information that states that white-handed gibbons are the only apes that stick to their mates and further adds, “These happily married couples sing of their love in a duet.” This park is definitely marketed to couples.

Aside from the caption above, you will soon see why I proclaim it as a lovebirds’ paradise. Besides being inundated by a rainbow of tulips because it was tulip season, Everland also has rose gardens with four romantic themes. The rose gardens with its various themes: Victorian Garden, Maze Garden, Venus Garden, and Cupid Garden, were all not in bloom yet, as it was still early spring. But with the installation of artificial white roses that light up at night, along with romantic Cupid statues and photo-taking booths specifically for couples, love songs filling the air, many young couples can be seen posing for their selfie sticks.

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At this beautiful moment we had actually been wishing that the LED lights were warmer as we were freezing to death.