samedi, mars 31, 2007

US$75 KrisShop inflight voucher

On our trip to Singapore back in Feb, we took the new plane from Boeing 777-300 ER with Singapore Airlines. Once aboard, we could see and feel that this plane was new. The carpet was shiny and the seats were inviting. Instead of the dull purple in other SQ planes, this one was in calm and cosy shades of cream and beige.

There were many enhanced features that delighted me. I will just highlight a few. The video console is located just underneath the screen instead of being by the side of the armrest. The screen is bigger and there is a reading light underneath it. The intensity of the reading light can be adjusted and it lights just enough for you to read without disturbing your neighbours. As for the foldable table, there is a slide that reveals a vanity mirror. After meal or deep sleep, just take a look at the mirror to make sure that you are presentable.

The KrisWorld entertainment was to provide the usual movie-on demand and games. There were some online learning provided as well. I usually could not sleep in planes, even for long overnight flights. I started to watch one or two movies. I watched 'Singapore Dreaming'. I love it and encourage you to watch it. As we were reaching Singapore, I played with the online learning. I tried to learn Dutch, French and Spanish. Then, I saw that there was online learning for Excel. I tried that. While loading the content, my screen went blank. It hung and stayed like this for 10 minutes. I checked around and the screens of others were functionning.

I called for help and the air steward tried to reset my machine but without avail. He explained to me that this KrisWorld entertainment system was recently upgraded and there was a technician on board the plane during this trial run period. He assured me that we were not testers as the system had been well tested. I told him that I was able to reproduce the bug (that's part of my job) and showed how I managed to do that on Seb's system. Obviously, Seb was not too happy that I blocked his screen. Fortunately, the technician managed to reset Seb's system but not mine.

Before landing, the air steward came to me and offered me a US$75 KrisShop inflight voucher. He apologised for the inconvenience caused. I was surprised as I did not expect this kind gesture. Of course, I happily accepted it. As I did not have enough time to decide on what to buy, I used it on my return trip from Brisbane to Singapore. I must say, US$75 can't buy much for the things they sell at KrisShop.

I did not want to put this up earlier as I wanted to be fair to the system. To give it time to be fixed so that readers will not be able to profit the situation upon reading this.

While I was writing this, Seb was on his way to the airport to catch the flight to Boston for a week's training. He just called me from CDG airport. He is heading home now. I will write this later as to why he is not taking his flight today. So come back soon to read.

mercredi, mars 21, 2007


Big vegetables roasted meat soup. Yummy! I made a big pot for the second time on saturday. And I managed to finish all of it by sunday night.

Lotus root soup. Yummy! I made a pot for the first time on monday. And I managed to finish it as tuesday dinner.

I am sure most of singaporeans know about lotus root soup. In a pot of water, put in pork ribs, sliced cleaned lotus roots and dry red dates. After 30 mins of cooking, the soup is ready.

As for big vegetable (translation from Hokkien) also known as bitter vegetable, it goes so well with roasted meat, tamarind juice, sliced ginger, whole garlics, dried chillis and tomatoes. All in a pot of water and the soup will be ready in 30 mins time.

The last strain of winter is still here and it is really cold this week. So soups really warm me up.

jeudi, mars 08, 2007

MAO The Unknown Story

A few months ago, I read Jung Chang's book, the Wild Swans and was aroused by China's history during the reign of Mao Tse-tung. Recently, when I was in Singapore, I came across another book written by Jung Chang. It is titled MAO The Unknown Story. I had only reach one tenth of the book and am totally disgusted by Mao. I had seen documentary about chinese praising him as a great leader. But this is really not true at all.

I could not continue reading. I think I need a few days to cool myself down before I pick up this book again. It was reported that he caused the death of 70 million people in his 27 years of ruling China. I shall stop here. :(

mercredi, mars 07, 2007

Moreton Island

During our time in Australia, we went for the rustic, good old camping at Moreton Island. We joined the Blue Planet Tour for a two days one night Moreton Action Safari.

As Moreton Island has no concrete road, only 4WD cars are allowed on this island. At 7am, we waited at the Brisbane City train station to be picked up by the four wheel drive. Each 4WD could take up to 8 passengers.

We headed for the ferry terminal and took the miCat for the one hour ride to Moreton Island. Upon reaching the island, the ferry embarked directly on the beach. We sat in our 4WD and began our fun; being transported from the ferry directly onto the beach.

The beach on this part of the island was calm.

Our first stop was our camp site. As Blue Planet Tour organised regular trips, it had its own permanent camp site where tents were already set up. We chose the cleanest and driest tent and after that headed to the beer shop to get our drinks for the evening.

Right after our cold chicken sandwich lunch, we went to the only resort on the island for a snokelling trip. Wet suits, masks, snokels and fins were provided and we snokelled around the wrecks. We spotted some colorful fishes and lovely corals though I must admit that this was no Great Barrier Reef.

We drove around the island and as it had rained the day before, Melissa, our guide, could not stop commenting that the drive was smooth as the sand was compact and the 4WD did not bump too much.

We reached our next destination. The sand desert. Moreton Island is the third largest sand island. Her eldest sisters are Fraser Island and Stradbroke Island who are just nearby.

We tried out sand tobogganing and it was really not as easy as it looked. I tried once and ate sand. For the next 3 days, when I scratched my head, I found sand particles between my finger nails.

We used a plank and we rubbed wax from candle on one side to make it smoother and faster. After that we lied flat on the plank and held up the front of the plank with our hands. We had to lift up our elbows as high as possible in order to protect our face from the sand.

Tim and Seb tried out a few times. And once Tim even went really really far. Do you see the tiny speck in the left image? That was our Singapore Rocket Tim.

When we went down, we obviously had to come up. The climbing up part deterred most of us from going down.

It was really tiring to walk up the sand hill. Still, we had much fun at this desert.

For the rest of the evening, we went for a swim in the sea, tried to watch the sunset (but there were too many flies at the beach), had a good BBQ dinner and drank and chatted around the campfire.

The oldest couple was from England. The man was a retired fireman and it was cool to have them with us. There were many young people. A few from Germany, a few from Korea and the others from the rest of the world.

The next day, we visited the other side of the island where the waves were big and strong. We visited the oldest lighthouse in Queensland. We had lunch along the 33km long beach. We swam in the sea. We watched surfers surfing in the waves. We went inland and swam in the Blue Lagoon where the fresh water was supposed to be 7 times purer than Brisbane water.

Soon, it was time to leave this natural, undistubed island. Moreton Island, you will be missed.