Life is better than death. Love; greater than either…

12 Hours Of Travel: Sydney to Singapore
27 August, 2011, 4:47 am
Filed under: Holiday, Singapore, Sydney

Its almost 4am Sydney time. Its only 12 hours ago that I took the pictures above, as I waited to board SQ242 to Singapore from Sydney. I am tucked into bed with my MacBook Air on my lap, accessing the hotel’s free WiFi network; occasionally sipping freshly brewed tea. Alas, few parts of the past 12 hours have been this comfortable.

Yesterday started frantically for me. Half a day of work was spent briefing colleagues about handing over of my accounts for the next two weeks of my time away from work. I’m reluctant to call it a holiday cause in a sense it’s not. In my head, I have labelled it a “two week trip”. A holiday is where you visit a new country and get to relax and to not think about anything in particular. This trip is essential and purposeful, a meeting of the in-laws. Yes, yes, Meet The Fockers style. That is the sole purpose of this trip, to prepare for the next big change in my life. Marriage.

I wheeled my Samsonite up to King Street and remembered my body starting to warm up under my sweater. Winter is waning, I remembered thinking. I waited about 45 seconds in 3pm traffic and waved to a cab to enter the side street so I could load up away from traffic. He concurred and flashed a big smile and a big friendly, “Hi!” This is going to be a great cab ride I thought to myself. He was friendly and nice without being overbearing. We chatted about the airport and the trip and the conversation started to wane as I was focused on conserving the battery on my iPhone for the impeding 8 hour flight. The cab was getting exposure to the sun too and it heated up pretty quickly. I didn’t really mind it, bit of training for the tropical weather I put it down as.

28 dollars later, I was at Sydney’s T1, International Airport. I checked in within 30 seconds and enquired about the TRS (Tourist Refund Scheme). The friendly Toll contractor told me sometimes its busy, sometimes its not. 5 minutes later, I saw the verdict for myself. Another 5 minutes later, I was out of the TRS area, couple of hundred bucks credited into my credit card. Its smart that they don’t do cash (unlike Singapore’s TRS which gives you cash in hand) to cut down on potential fraud. Nothing in the Duty Free area really interested me and Airport salespeople are generally unmotivated at the best of times, in my opinion.

Anyway, because there was no queue for the TRS and I allocated queue time for it, I was left with about 45 minutes of playtime. I tried to people watch but there was really, no one interesting in the airport. Couple of middle-aged travellers, another group of business travellers and that’s about it. What did catch my eye was this 30-something year old couple. They had matching “Australia” branded backpacks, Amazing Race style! I afforded a chuckle to myself.

Soon it was time to head to Gate 53 for boarding and that was when I used my MacBook Air as an external battery pack for the iPhone. It works pretty well actually! Expedia also provided free WiFi in Sydney airport and I think that has definitely generated a big ROI for them, awareness wise. Love it when companies are smart like that!

Ah Gate 53; was entertained by a large group of young Japanese girls. Loud. Loud, young Japanese girls. Nothing like those kimono-wearing soft spoken geishas you see on TV. LOUD. Remembered also this approximately 28 year old guy who had a 90s centre-parting hairstyle. Bespectacled. Buttoned up shirt and jeans. And talking to someone on the phone via handsfree. Seriously, who are you?

Anyway, 20 minutes after the Business Class people parked their bums on the satin sofas of SQ242, I moved into the queue. See if you time it right, the Business Class lane will accomodate Cattle Class and fast track you into your designated pen on the plane. A high majority of the people on the plane were Muslims, on their way back for the annual Ed ul-Fitr, the celebration at the end of the fasting Ramadan month. I am not sure if I’m used to domestic no frills flight or what but I found the food service on SQ242 extremely slow. My finished dinner took them probably 30-45 minutes to clear. You know how annoying this is when you have limited space on the plane already! But no dramas, the food was as good as airplane food gets and service not really lacking in any department in particular, maybe except speed.

So the next important thing is how to kill time on the plane. The 3-inched size screen is probably in dire need of upgrading in the SQ242. Resolution was probably 600×400 at best and sound quality was dismal to say the least. That made my watching of “Water For Elephants” forgettable during some parts but somehow my mind filled in the gaps and I really liked the movie. I tried to watch another one but was just too distracted by the quality of the entertainment unit that I gave up. Watching something longer than 20 minutes actually took effort. Singapore Airlines if you are reading this, please upgrade your entertainment system.

The flight went by pretty quickly actually in between attempts of yours truly on iPhone apps – Paper Bridge, Incredible Machine and Simple Physics. Paper Bridge makes me think that I have a very low IQ, I couldn’t even get past the first level! If anyone’s an expert in it, any tips is highly sought after from you.

The plane landed with a jolt and the obligatory side-to-side force which almost always conjures images of the plane skidding on its wing and breaking apart in my head. I did think of standing up at one point in the flight just to see what the flight attendants would do but thought, what does that achieve? Yeah, precisely. Nothing.

I shot out of the plane and onto the travelators, floating past the majority of SQ242’s passengers, eager to get out of the airport. I was first in the line at the immigration choke point, I mean, check point and stood in line with the Business Class people to get my luggage off the carousel. I picked my luggage up and walked past the pilots, still waiting for their luggage. Remember George Clooney in “Up In The Air” and his tip about following Asians in airport queues? Yeah, that.

Taxi stand was my next port and as I looked back at the queue just before I boarded the taxi and 3 Business Class passengers were in the second row of the maze-like queue. Rough estimates would be that they were 10 customers behind me. I know I might seem like I’m picking on them but I’m not intentionally doing that, good on you if you want to spend thousands of dollars on an evening flight in Business Class on a Friday night. But honestly, what is the point? Wouldn’t that money be better off spent somewhere else? Starving humans in East Africa would be a good place to start.

Anyway, maybe they did and I have overthought and misjudged them. All I know is I’m checked in now in my favourite hotel in Singapore and it is almost 5am Sydney time now. Time for some shut-eye and hope you had fun reading my blog. I had fun recalling events in the past few hours and will continue do so as I afford the time for this activity called blogging over the next two weeks.

Thanks for reading and if you have any protips on traveling feel free to leave a comment.

God bless.


Things you miss while back from holidays…
5 September, 2008, 11:34 am
Filed under: Holiday, RanDom, Thoughts

OK, for one, taking a 5-week paid holiday is practically unheard of while working and I thank God that my boss is so gracious! 😀

OK, things I miss from holidays.
1. The heated bathroom mirror.

God bless!
P.S. I am so ready for work! 😀

Piccies from Surfers’ Paradise!
2 April, 2008, 5:42 pm
Filed under: Holiday, Pictures

Hello all!

So yeah, finally got down to uploading the pictures from my holiday two weeks ago at the Gold Coast. More things are actually on video but I accidentally recorded over the first day tape so I was pretty beat up about that.

*Note to self: Never, EVER fall asleep when reviewing day’s video.*
*And even if you do, PLEASE!!!, pretty please fast forward to the end of the tape on the next day. End of note to self*

There are about 25 pictures in the album (click the link through the image below) but I’ll upload more if time permits or if anything else pops up. I didn’t take a lot of pictures of the places of food we went to cause I don’t think sticking a SLR to a plate of organics you are about to consume is glamorous at all… Hehe 😛

But anyway, enjoy the pics!

God bless!

Gold Coast 2008
24 March, 2008, 6:43 pm
Filed under: Holiday

Just got back from the Gold Coast this week.
Loads of pics and vids but all that can’t physically replace SokLeng…

It’s not fair is it? The agony, the hurt, it feels like my heart is ripping apart and I can’t do anything about it. Nothing. Nothing at all…

It’s this period that kills the most. The period when she’s on the plane and I’m left here, picking up her semi-dried towels, the little things that remind me of her, her lingering scent, her little comments on things askew in my room… Unable to do ANYTHING but to go through everything alone…

Till the tears dry up…

God bless!

Hillsong Conference and Armidale…
8 July, 2007, 8:29 pm
Filed under: Amazed, Canon EOS 400D, God, Hillsong, Holiday, Pictures, St. Michael's College, Sydney

This week has been HUGE! Unless you were here with me, you probably wouldn’t even believe the things that happened this week! For one, Hillsong Conference was rocking! 20k+ delegates and an estimated 100k+ people attending the night rallies.

I volunteered for Kidsong World, Pre-school. So basically taking care of 3-5 year olds from 8am-3pm. It’s not too bad really, skills you pick up serving in Kids over the weekends certainly come into play here. The thing is I was rostered to work every night as well. So straight after Kidsong, I will bolt to get on the train; fight to stay awake on the train and then launch myself into work.

I wasn’t tired per se but I find that I didn’t have the energy nor the drive to entertain unnecessary problems that creep up. So after four straight days of Kids and work, Kids and work, Kids and work and…. KIDS and WORK… I had to head out to Armidale for my IELTS test.

The drive takes 6 hours (official websites say) but I drove for 8 hours before arriving my destination on Friday morning! Took a few breaks and even had a nap in one of the rest areas! Hehe! I could not stay awake… The tiredness from the past few days have taken their toll (Probably had like 22 hours worth of sleep for the past 4 days; average of 5 hours a night!)… Like the signs keep reminding me, “Stop. Revive. Survive.” I think I would have crashed if I didn’t take that nap, my eyelids were so so heavy!

Anyway, checked into the local YHA and then went for a quick roundabout the town which was quite cool hehe Your usual Australian countrytown with its K-Mart, Target Country, Coles, Woolworths, KFC, McDs, chinese restaurants… hehe most of the towns I passed through were pretty interesting too. Feel like writing a compilation and a book from all these small towns… hehe

Anyway, had an early night and I might add I had the whole YHA to myself! The kitchen, the BBQ area, the room, the toilets! Wah… haha quite cool but funny that I didn’t feel scared hehe It wasn’t spooky! Yeah I think that’s it… It was… comfortable 🙂 Go YHA!

So woke up on Saturday morning, had commercialized packaged breakfast and went for the IELTS test. Don’t know how much I’m allowed to expose here but it was pretty alright. Not that hard obviously but not that straight forward too. My speaking interview was at 1340 and I seriously thank God it was that early (the latest candidate was 5pm!). The UNE staff did a great job and I seriously want to commend them!

Decided to drive back home since I was feeling energetic and 6 hours & 500 odd kilometres later, at 9pm, I turned off the car engine back at good ol’ St. Michael’s…

Now for the piccies!

The YHA was surrounded by caravan parks and horse paddocks!

Said horse paddock.

I should’ve taken a wider shot; didn’t realize the reflection was there till later… 😦

Oh! This school was beautiful! The leaf-less trees lining the field when viewed from the road bathed in the sunset light was magnificent…

The morning greeted me with this on my car. And my windshield water thingy was frozen! I couldn’t get the water to squirt out!

My biology training tells me this is some sort of cuckatoo 😛

The dividing post…

Take care girls and boys! More photos here.
Till next time!
God bless!

Sydney the 5th…
24 February, 2007, 1:10 am
Filed under: Amazed, Friends, Holiday, Malaysia

So I’m back in Sydney. My 5th year. It was a pretty bad day yesterday, emotionally… haven’t felt so alone for quite a long while. But then found out that SokLeng has made the most important decision in her life already and I felt more at ease… Cause now she has what I have… Ahhh…

But I thank God for my connect group members… They are really great friends first and foremostly and they probably minister to me more than I minister to them…

Finished up my car’s rego (road tax) today (did everything online!!! – Hoorah also to Malaysia’s online passport applications!) Then attended powerHouse tonight and people were so happy so see me! That made me happy too! lOl It was almost a full-house tonight and with the correct attitude and wisdom, we can only get better! What with Sydney Uni’s O-Week next Wed, Thurs and Fri and what we have in mind for Hillsong Campus! And what such change the church is undergoing! More to come in the near months I guess… Exciting exciting!

Anyway, more Holiday piccies in this post till I digest some of the things I’ve been mulling over over that period and etc… Hehe

The glorious Mount Kinabalu… remeasured last year…

SokLeng and me enjoying the cold mountain weather with unpictured friends haha 😛

Then it was over the sea to Pulau Manukan the next day… Valentine’s Eve…

Where we saw this and picked up a few hundred mozzie bites…

Then we skip to post Valentine’s… Japanese dinner with 4 great friends!!!

Then it was Chinese New Year… Bring on the year of the PIG! Woo-Huh!

We did manage a trip up to Kudat and the tip of Borneo on the 15th of Feb; pictures maybe later 😉

But for now…
Quote of the night…
“…live our lives with nothing to hide and nothing to prove…” (Catrina Hendersson, Hillsong 2007)

God bless!

The holidays so far…
9 February, 2007, 5:19 pm
Filed under: Holiday, Pictures

Now I understand what we take for granted as students… The at-your-fingertips access of the Internet… It’s been so frustrating not having broadband during your freetime and you have to go onlinbe during your non-free time… Like when you need to choose whether to go out and ‘play’ (physically) or go online… There’s no competition really… hehe

Anyway, holidays are always good…
A brief summary of what we were up to…

That’s all folks…

God bless!