Saturday, 30 April 2011


It's been eight days since I left Bali. Since then, I've had two final presentations and traveled to South Korea by way of KL. I don't really remember what I was going to write about the island. So, I've decided just to share some haunting images from long, long ago (i.e. last week).

Kuta. A city built for tourists.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Bali: Island of Beaches, Leeches, and Motorbike Screeches

I went to Bali over Easter primarily because my brother seemed enthused about surfing there. I'm all for recommendations from trusted sources. Besides, he has to live vicariously through someone, right?

It was an awesome experience. I don't quite know how to encapsulate it. Like Gaul, the trip was divided into three parts.

Part 1: Kuta and Legian Beaches
We surfed and hung out at the beach. We paid exorbitant tourist prices. We were continually attacked by vendors hoping to sell us bracelets, transport, beach chairs, surf boards, and everything else we didn't want.

Part 2: Begdugul and Mt. Catur
We hiked a volcano for 5 hours in a torrential downpour, sustained numerous leech bites, and then slid down the steep, narrow, rocky, half-stream-half-mud-river, overgrown "path" to the bottom. There were all sorts of signs in Indonesian along the trail, but all we could translate was the word "beware." They probably said something important.

Part 3: Kerobokan and Denpasar
Anja went home to study, and I hung out in the city and some temples. I relocated to a hostel that provided a motorbike free of charge for guests. Very cool, if only I knew how to ride one.

That's the cliff notes version.

The end result is that I'm back in Singapore tanner, poorer, wanting to surf, and more aware of God's rich blessings in my life. When I am a foriegner in a strange land, I become conscious of how little control I have over my life. The people I meet, the circumstance that fit together, my safety and health--that's all up to God in the end. He has blessed me far more than I deserve.

Universal Studios Singapore

Today, Jason and I had no class, so we seized the opportunity to go to Universal Studios Singapore (USS) in the middle of school week, as any good theme parkers should. The day was ideal. All the rides were open, and we got to do everything we wanted to do, and then repeat all the best things, just for good measure.

We arrived around 10am, the hour when the park opened, and went immediately to the Battlestar Galactica dual coasters. This took us through the Hollywood-theme and New York-theme lands, which were both very nice and a little retro. Their way-better-than-life depiction of bygone days in big cities was charming – I loved the ambience. And somehow, the transition to the space-themed land wasn’t jarring.

Once at the coaster pair, we got in line for the Cylon side. The coaster was inverted with plenty of inversions, and an incredibly fun first ride. One highlight: plunging into fog-filled holes. The white of the fog matched the white of the surrounding ground pretty well, and since we were in the front, the illusion of impending impact was excitingly convincing. We went on the human side less, and it was a much more standard coaster. Not inverted and no inversions or fog holes, but still fun J

The BSG coasters don't scare Jason.

Next, we went to the Egypt-themed land and went on the Revenge of the Mummy ride. It’s apparently very similar to the one in CA, but I’ve never been on that one, so it was new to me. And ridiculously fun. Indoor steel coaster with excellent theming. It was kind of like Space Mountain and Indiana Jones mixed together and set to the Mummy plot.

I felt just as awkward as I look

Next, we went to the rapid ride in the Jurassic Park land. Now, I almost swore off rapids rides altogether, as getting wet is far more frightening to me than long vertical drops or corkscrews or any of those purely fun coaster elements. But this was Singapore, where at least the ride’s water is better than the sweat that’s already drenching you. And Jason let me wear his rain jacket. The ride was very fun, complete with the requisite Tyrannosaurus Rex near-death experience.

Awww...a baby Velocijase. Careful, he may bite.

We finished up Jurassic Park land with a short kid-oriented inverted coaster and a quick-but-satisfying climb up the amber rock wall. Then, we went to Far, Far Away, where we were ushered into the “Donkey ‘Live’” show, which was a sad, sad attempt to do what Disney has done so well with “Crush.” The effects and theming were as quality as the rest of the park, but the jokes just weren’t funny. But that’s ok, because we went to the Shrek 4D experience next, and it was very entertaining and fairly funny. Far, Far Away also had a short-and-sweet kiddy coaster.

The last land in the circular park was Madagascar-themed, and the giant boat made a nice backdrop to the area. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have much in the way of attractions yet, but we went on the Merry-Go-Round, which was fun. It’d been a while.

Having gone on all the worthy rides, we got some tasty pizza and started into ride seconds and shows. The Universal classic monsters rock musical was kinda weird but in an entertaining way. We got to see some impressive B-boy dancers in New York land, and the Waterworld show was great.

All in all, I loved USS. The park only opened in March 2010, and everything felt just as new as it was. The theming throughout the park was impressive and delightful. The Wednesday crowd was so thin, we hardly ever had to wait at all for rides. We even got to go on the BSG coasters three times each! It’s hard to imagine a better day.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Henderson Wave Bridge

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


what waterfalls look like in Singapore
well, maybe without the looping...
Before arriving, I heard three main things about Singapore:
- Strict Rules
- Food
- Rain
Though the first item hasn't shown itself as much as I expected it to, the latter two have certainly been as promised. Oh yes.

While in Singapore I've had the honor of witnessing quite a few great thunderstorms, of an intensity I've rarely seen outside the tropics. Unfortunately, I'm ill equipped to effectively share the sounds with you (that would take a nicer microphone on my end and a THX-certified room on your end), but I'll do my best to share some of the sights.

Singapore's civil engineers, as rightly they should, take rain seriously. I mean, very seriously. In an impressive attempt to keep Mother Nature under control, it seems they have lined every river in Singapore with cement. Take a look:

what rivers look like in Singapore another Singapore waterfall
But, as you can see, even with such effort put into controlling the water, Nature, with the help of Moore's EDIT: Murphy's law, still manages to overflow the ditches and flood the sidewalks occasionally. After every storm, the tiled floors of my hall's stairwells become reminiscent of an ice rink and climbing the stairs becomes an adventure!
I guess you just can't contain the power of a tropical storm!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Poems on Everyday Things

Well, I haven’t posted in a while. We have explored Singapore pretty effectively, and there hasn’t been too much going on with me that is not part of what I’d consider normal college life. Lexi says it’s National Poetry Month, so maybe I will spice up some of my daily routine with a little rhyme and meter.

Artsy Library
Entertaining, Teaching, Chronicling
Comic geeks in heaven

That one was a cinquain. There are so many types of cinquain, that the word really doesn’t tell you much more than that the poem is five lines long. The Arts, Design, and Media Library has provided both Jason and me many, many hours of joy, mostly through comic books and movies (not to mention the A/C!). Alright. Too much prose – need poem:

Eat more sushi to better please
Your culinary expertise.
Come with a hearty appetite
To slowly soothe in delight
As fishes from the seven seas
Enchant your tastes with gentle ease.
What magic do the Japanese
Impart to each and every bite!
Eat more sushi,
And a happy heart you’ll soon seize;
Your many worries, you’ll appease.
Forsooth, the day is ever bright
When sashimi relieves your plight.
And so I end with this reprise:
Eat more sushi.

That was an attempt at a rondeau. They are a lot harder. But Japanese food is worth the effort! I don’t think any non-dessert item can beat some good salmon sashimi with sushi rice, soy sauce, and a tiny bit of wasabi. So good! Japanese food has become an important part of my diet in Singapore, much to my delight :D

I hope your day is filled with excellent reading material and good food!

This is how it's done: the Breakfast Set

Rose has already sung the praises of the Singaporean "breakfast set" once. It's a song worth singing twice.
These are things I will always remember:

The lady behind the counter -- always there, every morning, week in, week out
These people make breakfast preparation
into poetry
sees me in line, "same? with tea lah?",
passes the order on to her team: yells: "A SOM TE!"

The toast lady, patiently nursing toasts on a grill to perfection
pre-sandwiched, pre-spread with kaya
she plates three pieces when they're ready
and not a moment before.

The tea man of the team hears the order
tea comes from a kettle held on high, the arc three feet long
boiling water from a tap
condensed milk on a spoon
all the while continuously in motion
not a drop spilled until the teacup is on its saucer, delivered to the counter in front of me
when it hits the counter, it always spills

Two eggs, half-boiled, but sometimes more like three-quarters or 0.3
keep the experience unpredictable.

And so, this experience having played out over a few dramatic moments, I sit down with my tray and begin my meal, which occurs in 1:5.7 syllable format:
Toast: crunchy, smooth and sweet. Makes me a happier guy.
Eggs: half-boiled, runny. I must learn to concoct these.
Tea: bitter, sweet when stirred. The perfect way to finish.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Photo: Tree Under Observation

I can offer no further explanation.

Monday, 4 April 2011

An ode

It seems fitting to write an irregular ode to express my heartfelt sentiments today, as April is National Poetry Month and regular odes appear more challenging.

Ode to Those Who Comment on Blog Posts

With your replies and my posts intertwined,
A conversation can emerge about
Life or mankind.
When others read and enjoy what I spout,
I feel exuberance to write and find
Intriguing stories and adventurous tales,
That somehow convey
Experiences I had while away.
Your comments are like getting airmail.

Thanks for reading our blog!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Things I don't like

For every 7 positive blog posts you write, you must write a negative one. I think there's a law like somewhere.

And since most things make me happy or at least don't cause any ripples in my tranquil pool of complacency, it is high time that I throw in the towel, rustle up my indignation, and carpe diem!


When I first got here, it was clear that every day was a new adventure, and every weekend was an opportunity to do something brand new. Time was moving at a normal rate or somewhat slower.

Due to some strange warping of the space-time continuum, the weeks have been accelerated to a frightening rate. Monday happened just a little while ago, and now bam, it's Friday. It's a testament to how used to this place I've become. Here are some other indicators that I live here now:
- I walk places on autopilot, and when people ask me for directions, I can help
- I have local friends in my classes and I usually remember their names (this takes a long time for me...)
- The lady at the breakfast stall recognizes me and knows what I want without me saying a word.
- I look the correct way first before crossing the street. Vehicles no longer startle me when they make a turn into the left lane.

Yes, my mind has gotten used to this place. I wonder what culture shock I'll have when I get back to the U.S. of A...

On another note, check out our alternate blog views: