Review: Kooza by Cirque du Soleil

20170808_193538 Kooza by Cirque du Soleil

The 8th of August is a very special day for Singapore as it marks the eve of National Day for our country. Since it was such a special occasion, we decided to spend the night at the city, watching an iconic circus performance called Kooza Cirque du Soleil! I have to say that the performances by the actors and actresses were amazing, daring and had the ripple of excitement my family and I extremely wanted!

When I heard that the die was cast and I was going to watch a circus performance, I was ecstatic since I’ve never watched a circus before and I knew that the act was going to be a hit!

On that anticipated day, we strolled leisurely to the circus tent after a simple dinner at Lau Pa Sat. The tent was all the way near the pivotal Marina Bay Sands hotel! After passing through security and ticket checkpoints, we bought popcorns and took some pictures around the French-themed place. In English, Cirque du Soleil means circus of the sun. And just by its name, it sounds very attracting!

20170808_200030 Kooza by Cirque du Soleil

As we took our seats in the midsize main tent, the clowns were the first to reveal themselves to the crowd as they started doing practical jokes that made the tent lighten up for the fantastic performance ahead. At 8pm, the performance on schedule and as the 1st act played by, I knew that this circus was just over the top!

Throughout the performance, we got to see acrobats do their stuff: dangerous stunts around poles and walking on tightropes! We also got to see dancers gambol on stage, performing weird but entertaining dances. Lastly, we got to see solo performances where the cast did their own thing, such as stacking chairs and balancing on them!

Overall, the performance was really a great success and the presentation I liked the most was the one which involved contortionists balancing themselves in precarious positions with their bodies ‘deformed!’

I really hope I could watch a circus like this again I totally suggest for you to watch it for yourself. Just get ready to be amazed…

Good bye, Akshit

Dear Akshit,

Before I met you, I felt my life wasn’t complete yet. However, it all changed ever since I met you. We were best friends, through thick and thin, life was at times hard and at others fun. But now they come to an end and I am very heartbroken. I’m not used to have no one by my side in life.

I’ll try to get over with it with great memories together. Honestly, my life would be very different without you. We always got into sometimes got into arguments while playing together. Despite this obstacles, we remained the best buddies throughout childhood. And I really can’t say bye to you now. I just feel I needed more time with you as you were like my brother, friend and neighbor and much more all at the same time. You would be in my heart forever.

You liked my mom’s food, you played with me, and you interacted with my family as if you were an adopted soul in us. The way I see it, it is like you getting lost in the airport and not seeing us for a long time. My mom also thought you important life lessons while you were with us.

Throughout the time we were together, I enjoyed being by your side, we were best buddies in everything. We had little similarities, but I still liked you. I will be your best friend forever, even if you move away from me. We were always different in our opinions, thoughts and attitude which made us argue but made me change my personality deeply.

When we were in pain, we helped each other. I helped you in your studies and you helped me satisfy my life for years. We helped each other in many things and they are all coming to an end.

In the future, I hope I’ll still realise my life has meaning without you. I hope we could still remain in contact for years to come as we both start a new life with new horizons. I wish you enjoy your next life in India. I just hoped you could stay by me as a friend for a little longer as it is too hard to accept such a disappointing fact. Though I’ll get your phone number, it may still be hard to accept such a thing. I may be thinking of visiting you in India.

Though we betrayed each other at times, we would always end up as good friends in the end. Your presence lightened up my day and made me learn life in a different perspective.

I would also like to say goodbye to your parents for being very hospitable whenever I played with you at your house. It would also be quite saddening to not see them for a long period of time.

Our memories would also be gravely etched in my mind as I try to remain happy without you near me.

Good bye, Akshit. I wish to see you in NS.

Yours Sincerely,

Albert

_dsc8371-copy

 

Pokémon Go: Tips and Tricks

pokemon_go_logo

You all know the game that took the whole world by storm…you’ve guessed it. Pokémon Go is a game which is an obvious craze in Singapore. To help you become a pro in this great game, I’m sharing you some tips.

I’m in the average range as a Pokémon hunter. My highest CP (Combat Power) Pokémon is a 1572-CP Snorlax which has Lick and Hyper Beam as its attacks.  I’m at level 21 at the moment and my name is Puncher Albert. Fortunately, I don’t do all the work to catch Pokémons in the wild as my dad helps me too. Besides, it’s his phone so he could do what he wants. The good thing is, rare Pokémons sometimes appear at his workplace, Bras Basah.

Firstly, if you just started the game, you have a choice whether to log in via your Google account or you could also make your own Pokémon trainer account. Once that is done, the starting screen will tell you to be aware of your surroundings which is very important as there had been cases of people getting injured like being hit by cars while looking at their phones. Once the screen loads, you have finally began your career as a Pokémon trainer!

Tips for 1-5 level Trainers

1: Ignore the three starter Pokémon (Bulbasour, Squirtle and Charmander) and continue walking. Soon enough you will come across Pikachu which you could catch.

2: On the bottom right hand corner, you would see a sightings list. That means Pokémon included in the list are 700 to 1000 feet away from you.

3: To incubate eggs, go to the menu and click the Pokémon button. After, that swipe to the left and you could see all the eggs you have.

4: You could not battle in Gyms until level 5. So, try to catch as many Pokémons as you could before you reach that level.

Tips for 5-12 level Trainers

1: You have a choice of joining three teams, named Instinct, Valor and Mystic. I suggest you join the best team, Mystic led by Blanche. (Unfortunately, I joined Team Instinct!)

2: If you have enough Eevee candies name it! If you want to evolve your Eevee into a Jolteon, name it sparky. If you want Flareon, name it Pyro and if you prefer Vaporeon, call it Rainer! (Does not work always)

3: Use lucky eggs when you are halfway through a level or about to hatch or evolve Pokemons.

4: It is best to battle in gyms once you get 1000 CP+ Pokémon.

5: You could get water type Pokémon in parks and grass type Pokémon in parks!

Tips for 12-20 level Trainers

1: You finally have Great Balls! Use them to catch rarer Pokemon!

2: If you battle in a gym, use your weaker Pokemon first so that when you’re facing the gym boss, you’d have strong Pokemon ready to thrash that guy down!

3: When fighting, dodge for every 2 hits you make. (It really works as I can beat 1800 CP+ Pokémon with that method!)

4: You will only get ultra balls once you reach level 20.

That’s all the tips I know for now. I will update you when I reach level 30!

My mom’s 40th birthday

The 17th of July was my mom’s birthday eve. And to celebrate this special occasion, we went to Sentosa to try out Climbmax and Megazip and we had a whale of a time.

After having lunch at our neighbourhood’s hawker center, we took a long train ride all the way to Harbourfront, the last station of the North-East Line.

After buying a bottle of drinking water from one of the shops in the mall, we took the escalator to the topmost level of the crowded shopping mall, Vivocity. That was where we took the monorail from there to the luxurious island! I was excited as my heart was rushing with adrenaline.

After alighting at Imbiah station, the 3rd one on the line, we went to a local guide to ask for the directions to the registration place for the activities. To our astonishment, he unexpectedly told us that we should alight at Beach Station! It is the station next to Imbiah. Dismayed, we walked back up and took the train disdainfully.

After finally alighting at the correct station a few minutes later, we headed to the tram stop, where we would take a tram to the particular stop where we would register ourselves to try their facilities. We were ready for anything which was before us.

At the counter, we discussed and decided to purchase the eagle package, which consisted of both the Climbmax and Megazip rides, which we already planned to take earlier actually.

We took a fast buggy ride up to the top of the starting point which was on a hill after wearing our safety harness on our bodies.

As there was a heavy rain, my parents suggested that we should do the Megazip ride 1st as doing it under the rain may be once in a lifetime experience. I agreed with them and joined a long queue of people who were also waiting to try it out.

Before our turn, the crew took a family photo of us before we were hooked to a rope which would send us at around 60km/h to another minor island of Sentosa which wasn’t that far from us.

my-moms-40th-birthdayzipline-copy

Once we were released, air was blowing like crazy over our faces as we zoomed down towards the end. It was awesome! The scenery was extravagant as we arrived at the beachfront of mainland Sentosa before flying through the wind over calm waters and ending with a smooth landing. The crew at the other side unhooked us from the rope as we walked back down for another buggy ride back up to try the though climbmax!

Climbmax is a huge obstacle course, which, if you remember, was one of the activities I tried in the P5 camp. If you didn’t read that journal entry, I’ll restate its description. It is a three-level obstacle course with 12 obstacles on each level. Level 1 is the easiest, with level 2 harder than one and 3 harder than 2.

my-moms-40th-birthday20160717_165624-copy

As thrill seekers, we decided to try out level 2 instead of level 1 first after the safety briefing given by the safety officials. Though I had a fall which was a little painful, I went through and was soon brought to the platform by the official. I then continued my skilled walk to the ending point without any more inconveniences.

As my mom’s hand was as red as blood, she did not go with my dad and me for the trek at level 3.

To my astonishment, I was better at my run on level 3 than on level 2. I suppose it was due to my knowledge of it when I took my walk last time at that level during the camp. I had no falls!

However, there was an extremely hard stopover which was really tough. You had to put one leg on one small platform and the other on another. And all the platforms were so small! Anyways, when I finished the solid task, everyone was satisfied as we completed the course. Moreover, I also made a few new friends during the course whom I talked to.

Because of the order that we performed the activities, we had to take a buggy ride back down to the counter. The staff told us that we should have taken the Megazip last. After asking if we could have an extra Megazip run again so we could go back to the counter, the kind official gave us the green light and accepted our request. Although there was a short misunderstanding between the staff about our exceptional situation, we were free to go as we blasted through the light breeze with a bit of sunshine shining on us.

With all this fun coming to an end, we left the tiny island and had a sensational dinner at the rooftop restaurant above Vivocity called Marche after taking a free shuttle bus back to the bustling mall.

 

Website: www.megazip.com.sg
for promotions click here

 

Our Trek at Pulau Ubin

We woke up late for our trek to Pulau Ubin. This is because it was raining there according to the weather ‘nowcast’ and we wanted to make sure it stopped. Anyway, it was nearing 8am. I woke up and had a satisfying breakfast before changing into track pants and shirt that would keep me protected for the whole trek from mosquito bites.

Our plan was to walk 10km in the lush scenery, hoping to unravel nature at its best. At around 8.30am, we embarked on the exciting journey by heading to the bus stop which was a stone’s throw away from my house. There, we waited for bus 89 before having an approximately 30-minute ride to Changi Village where we walked from there onwards towards Changi Jetty Terminal to take a bumboat service to the island North-East of the straits of Singapore.

20160521_095729_HDR Our Trek at Pulau Ubin

The bumboat service is very frequent. The only issue is the long queues. So, if you’re travelling to Pulau Ubin by the my route, the only one, in particular, I suggest queuing up at the terminal by 10am as any time after that would result in an hour of wasted time.

We paid the driver the one-way fee to Pulau Ubin before starting the exciting adventure.

20160521_101050 Our Trek at Pulau Ubin

You don’t really have to show long faces if you’re the type who gets seasick easily as the ride is only around 5 to 10 minutes. The welcoming of the island was quite pleasant with a board overhead saying ‘Welcome to Pulau Ubin’. We started our walk around the island after having a quick skim of the map of the 10.19km2  island. We walked on the sides of the main road towards a hill in the small island. It is called Puaka Hill and is quite a tall hill. The walk from the jetty to there would be around 2km. Unfortunately, before I go straight to the point, I’ve got to tell you this!

As we entered the road that would lead to the hill, I noticed something hissing: it was in a snake position and once I saw its tongue moving out, it was literally a snake! My mom was setting course on a probably venomous crash with the beast. Luckily, I shouted outmost crazily that there was a snake for three times! She was near to the beast and was extremely terrified on what was in front of her. My dad decided to turn back to warn the bikers about the snake all of us had not seen before. As I predicted, they were terrified, too.

After that adventure of nature, we walked up the steep slopes of Puaka Hill, which is lower than the one in mainland Singapore, Bukit Timah Hill. Still, the reward was a nicer view than that of the one of Bukit Timah Hill, which made me remember that Bukit Timah had no scenery at its top at all.

20160521_105230 Our Trek at Pulau Ubin

For the other 8km, we decided to walk near Chek Jawa Wetlands which had 50% of its trails in rough terrain.

Overall, I enjoyed my walk around the small island and hoped to have a better one by seeing wild boars in our next visit. By the way, the snake we met earlier was called an Oriental Whip Snake. As shown in the images of Google’s website, it is light green, just like the one we saw. Luckily, this snake is not poisonous as its venom is very weak.

 

Daddy’s 40th birthday

We had arrived at our hotel, safe and sound. We were given our new room card, since we had to transfer to another room. We had to wait one minute, however. When we came to our new room, we had a complete surprise.

On our bed was two elephants kissing each other, made of towels, and a birthday cake on our bed! It was such a beauty! There were also rose petals on the cupboards and beds! We were very happy with their service and would choose this hotel as our first choice the next time we’re visiting Hanoi. Their service was just like a five star hotel, to be honest. We did a video of daddy blowing the candles around the room, there were even some in the humongous bathroom at the far end of this room. We ate the cake and rested for an hour before continuing our journey to the restaurant which is part of a hotel.

The walk wasn’t that long. We were happy the restaurant wasn’t that far. This hotel and the series of events would be forever etched in my brains.

When we arrived at the restaurant, we were greeted and were asked for our reservation particulars. After the confirmation of our arrival, they gave us a thick menu. There were numerous choices, from Vietnamese pho noodles, to a Western Hamburger. I had to make tough decisions and had to sacrifice others. In conclusion, I decide to order Italian Bolognese Spaghetti.

I soon knew I chose the right thing since the food was mouthwatering, with its tenderness, I could not resist its variety of tastes. My parents also enjoyed their meal and were really contended with their day so far.

All of a sudden, at one moment, the lights went out! My dad was shocked and thought it was a serious blackout. Before his thoughts were concluded, a cake came out from the kitchen, and came the lyrics of the song ‘Happy Birthday’. We all sang to the beat while the cake came to our table. My mom took some photos and the lights went on again although the music continued. We thanked the staff for such a memorable surprise and the cake before paying our bill and saying our farewells to the hospitable staff. We did not have this type of service in Singapore and suggested the staff to open a branch in Singapore.

_DSC9260 Hanoi

That night, I had sleep with a lot of wonderful thoughts in my mind.

Our first morning in Sapa

We had finished checking in but could not yet go and see our room since it was not ready! Unfortunately, we still had to wait for five and a half hours until twelve noon since it was only 7.30 in the morning! So, the only thing we could do was walk around our area. Our hotel, not far from Sapa’s center, was only less than 100m away. We decided to walk and saw street sellers, from young to old, selling their valuables.

Since their church was also near in sight, we went there to pray for a while since it was Sunday. It was a small and typical church, just like the one in our neighborhood. We then walked upwards by a built staircase on a hill on the roadside to their market district which was booming with business and activity. There were many toy guns which are not real ones. Despite that, I can’t carry them on a plane, to my surprise since I like this stuff. My parents also looked around for souvenirs and tried bargaining them at a cheaper price. Eventually, we neither bought anything nor continued our way up as we came to one part where we had to pay if we wanted to resume our journey.

With that two hours of exploring coming to an end, we came to this beautiful cherry blossom garden which was filled with colourful, bright and blooming plants. There was also a fountain in the middle of it all where I took some solo photos. As we ended our tour, we came to this statue which was carved with some Hmong maidens. It was big but the writings weren’t that clear, though.

_DSC8756 Our first morning in Sapa

Since I realized I needed to urinate, we had to go back to our hotel since they have common toilet there. As we waited patiently to be served with a room after my business, a staff member told us that our room was prepared, thirty minutes before the middle of the day. Another good news was we were upgraded to a family suite without additional charges. We thanked him for the early allowance and stayed in our room until lunch time. The view from our room was fantastic we could see the town centre and the Tonkinese Alps.