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Friday, January 08, 2010 { 6:56 AM }

Day 3 - 28th December 2009

Our day was supposed to start early at 7 plus Vietnam time, and we did! Upon checking out, we asked the receptionist at the concierge to help us dial for HCMC Tiger Airways Call Centre to upsize our luggage and to our horror, we realised that the number given to us by the airport staff is a wrong number! To minimise our time lost, we decided to have breakfast first. Breakfast at Green Nha Trang was the best we had, with a buffet spread of beef soup noodles, fried rice, fried noodles, baguette, toast, omelette, bacons, sausages, and the list goes on and on. PS somehow started 'terrorising' one of the chefs to teach her more Vietnamese, and so Jay and I left for the business center for their computer, hoping to find out the real number to call. Somehow we found another number on Tiger Airways website, and it turned out to be a wrong one too. Like, wth? Tiger doesn't even know their own number?! Finally we gave up and decided to fax them a note for help. Well, the fax number can't be wrong too, right? Went back to the concierge and asked if they could fax it for us but the receptionist directed us to their post office instead. A SGD$2+ was charge to fax just that piece of paper. Urgh. Still worried, Jay decided to call Francis for help. AND HE DID! YAY~!
By the time the entire nightmare of the possible need to pay SGD$18 for each extra 1kg of our luggage was over, nearly half the day was gone. With a not very happy heart, we immediately started our day as planned.
First up, to the Mud Bath and Hot Spring! Initially we were told it's only $VND75k for everything, but it turned out that that price was for the public pool, whereby you will be immersed in the mud, and later the hot spring, with any tom, dick AND harry. So we took the private pool at higher price, which I can't remember now. Dressed in bikinis (swimsuit for ps), and barefooted, we finally came to this large bathtub whereby upon a turn of the tap, greenish grey mud (marine clay, I reckon) came splashing out from the pipe and into the tub. The staff then motioned for us to step in, which we did after much hesitation. It was slightly warm, much appreciated for the weather that day was rather cold for us to be wandering around in bikinis, and the texture just felt like thick liquid with minute specks of fine sand. We were wondering if we should spread the mud on our faces as well (cause we saw many others who did so) and were glad to have not done so as one of their staff came and took a groupshot of us for free. After slightly more than 15 minutes, we headed down to the recliners, covered totally in mud, for a sunbathing session to dry up the mud, after which we washed them off with the HOT SALTY water (hot spring water?) from the shower stalls located just beside the recliners. So after the mud bath, it was hot spring time! We first had the hydro-massage therapy session whereby strong jets of the spring water will be spewing out from this two stone walls and you have to manuver yourself to get the jets to hit you at the correct spot. Haha! And after that manual hydromassage session, got to another bigger tub-like pool where it was filled with the NaCl rich hot spring water in the same matter as the mud bath session. The water was HOT! I'm not really a fan of hot water bath at all, so it really took me some time to get used to the temperature of the water, partially also because it kinda cooled down after some time. PS had a great time acting Yang Gui Fei using the coconut-shell ladle to scoop the water to rinse her back. -LOL- We had wanted to try the waterfall but didn't want to wait for out turn to come. The 38 degree Celsius swimming pool wasn't attractive to us either, and so we quickly wiped dry and change back into our clothes and set off for our next destination - Po Nagar Cham Towers.
Nothing much happened at Po Nagar Cham, and it's almost impossible for me to describe how beautiful the place looked like in words. The Po Nagar Cham Towers were built between the 7th and 12th Centuries and used as Hindu worship. Pictures to be up real soon, I hope.
After bidding the magnificent Po Nagar Cham Towers goodbye, we ventured slightly down the road over to the seaside whereby countless of fishing boats were docked and spent some time under the hot sun taking pictures and just enjoying the view. However, there came a point when all of us decided that we're going to either get burnt or melted and hence we hailed another taxi and headed off for Long Song Pagoda, which is yet another place I'm unable to describe with words, especially the magnificent 24m tall white Buddha statue and the 18m long Sleeping Buddha statue built from funds donated by Thailand. I WILL DEFINITELY POST PICTURES UP ONCE I GOT THEM. Anyway, since it's a Buddhist temple, there's no need for any entrance ticket BUT if you're planning to go there, do remember that you do not have to feel obliged to fork out VND$200k (around SGD$16) to buy that stack of just 10 postcards from those self-proclaimed students of the school next to the temple(with hints of affliations), in place of the entrance fee. If the need arises, be firm and walk away. Eventually, other more 'enthusiastic' students will follow you and bring you on a 'guided' trip and at the end of the trip, you'll feel more obliged to buy the postcards from them.
After leaving Long Song Pagoda, we started making our way to our next destination - Nha Trang Cathedral on foot. After asking for directions along the way, we finally found ourselves walking up a cobblestone path that really reminds me of Medieval England time. Once again, the infrastructure of the cathedral, the tainted glass and etc were all too beautiful for me to put down in words. So, look forward to my photo-blog in near future!
After leaving the cathedral, we head down to Dam Market, which is of walking distance from the cathedral. Well, quite near. QUITE. Dam market is bigger than Ben Thanh market in my opinion, and much more spacious and airy, with an open-air section selling food, drinks, fruits, flowers, shoes, apparels and other small trinkets, and a enclosed section selling stuff like cosmetics, lingerie, bags and etc. Didn't really buy anything. PS and Jay both bought a non-authentic Roxy duffel bag each and PS and I bought a hairband each and basically that's all. I was really tight on budget, you see. Found a roadside drink stall and finally got to sit down and rest our tired feets and quench our thirst before making our way back to Green Nha Trang again on foot, which took us 45 minutes to 1 hr, where the sleeping bus from Sinh Tourist will be picking us up.
Headed back to the small eatery beside Green Nha Trang for our Pho dinner again, and PS's terrorism strike again! The drinks menu at this eatery was organised such that one who doesn't understand Vietnamese won't be able to make any head or tail out of it. So, yup... PS can't really be blamed for this massive wrong order. But it was really kick-ass funny. On the menu, there was this column of small icons of different soft drinks like coke, sprite, mirinda, twister and etc, and right beside those icon are some vietnamese words. It just so happened that right beside the coke icon was cola, and so I guessed PS assumed that those words are how the vietnamese call those soft drinks. She wanted a Sprite (while Jay and I didn't want any), and so she pointed to the words beside the sprite icon, asking the waitress how to pronounce it. It was spelt something like 'Dauh Nahn' and sounds abit like doughnut. After a while, she came bounding back to us happily, telling us that Sprite in Vietnamese is called DAUH NAHN. After a while, the drinks were served. But instead of just 1 sprite, we were served a can of sprite, one cup of coffee and one cup of soya bean milk. We frowned, thinking 'Not again?'. Knowing how futile our attempts to explain the wrong orders to them in English would be, Jay immediately offered to take the coffee. But I do not drink soya bean milk. So PS attempted to explain to the lady that she only wanted Sprite. She repeated herself again, pointing at the sprite bottle saying: Dauh Nahn! But the lady shook her head and did something to PS that got Jay and I doubled over in laughter. The lady pointed to the soya bean milk and said: This is dauh nahn, dauh nahn is soya bean milk! Then she pointed to the bottle of sprite and said: This is sprite! *using her pen and tracing the words on the bottle as she enunciated the words painfully slow as if PS didn't know how to read SPRITE* SPUUU-RIIITEEEE. Haha! Poor PS! She needs a Vietnamese aunty to teach her how to read S-P-R-I-T-E. LOL
After our funny incident at the eatery, we finally got onto the sleeping bus (they were half an hour early and the staff was really pissed off at us for being 'late') and realised that we got the second row seats this time instead of the back row. After making its rounds through different hotels, the bus finally arrived at Sinh Tourists to pick up the final batch of passengers, whereby these group of Englishmen/Americans came on board. Two were seated in right in front of PS and I, while the other two sat further behind. Not going to really get into details here, but yeah you got it. They (the English seated in front of PS) tried to pick us up by offering us some cheap red wine. I somehow felt it coming when he was mumbling to the American in front of me about 'being weird by offering them wine'. And when he suddenly turned over to me after the American mumbled something like 'you can take the chance', I immediately turned my head over and stared out of the window as if those grass fields were the most beautiful thing I've ever set my eyes on, keeping a watchful eye on his reflection in the window, looking at him opening and closing his mouth a couple of times like a goldfish with that bottle of red wine hanging from his hand. Haha! I guess he eventually got the hint that I've no wish to entertain him and he gave up on that idea. *whew!*
Later that night, PS started eavesdroppping on their conversation while she pretended to sleep and guess what? That goldfish's other friend laid down a bet of VND$900K for him to pick us up before by the time we reach HCMC. And that American in front of me said: But how are you going to do that? They're all asleep!
Good one, American! Good one!
But seriously, 900k is just SGD$69! Like, WTF?

Thursday, January 07, 2010 { 6:02 AM }

I just have to blog this before I continue with Vietnam Trip day 3.

Just in case you didn't know, I own a less than 1 year old Sony VAIO laptop. And like one month ago, it started to crank up. I do not use the battery when I'm using the laptop at home, so I noticed the problem at the very first second. Electricity gets cut off from the machine as and when it likes to. The adaptor is working fine, judging from the green light, but my laptop just like to black out by itself and I can't switch it on again.
Tried using it with my battery and noticed the not-trendlike-at-all kind of trend. Electricity is cut off from the machine as and when it likes to be cut off. This second the battery is charging, next second it's not. The next second, adaptor is plugged in but not charging, and the next, it's not plugged in. One word: UNSTABLE.
So I brought it in to Sony, but it freaking started working fine there again.
Alright, blame my luck. So I carried it back home again, thinking that the problem is solved.
I was so wrong.
One week later, 17th Dec 2009, I had to send it in to Sony again and this time the customer service officer didn't bother to check if it's really not working and sent my laptop in, battery, cable, adaptor and all, to the technicians. I was told to wait for 1 week.
Just the next day after I sent it in, the techician called me insisting that my laptop is working fine. I insisted it's not and explained to him and problem. He claimed to have understood the problem, and I believed him.
Two days later, I received a miss call from Sony, to which I chose to ignore.
The very next day, the techician called me again, insisting that my laptop is really working fine. I explained the whole problem to him AGAIN, and he claimed to have understood the situation AGAIN, and I even suggested that perhaps some connections are loose.
Another few days later, on Christmas Day, Sony texted me saying my service job is pending for spare parts.
I thought: Yeah! They've finally found out the problem!
And so I waited for the collection text message. And I waited, and I waited.
Finally, yesterday evening, 6th Jan 2010, Sony texted me, informing that my laptop is ready for collection. Eager to get my non-lagging computer back, I headed down earlier today, only to find out that they've misplaced my battery. However, as I was so glad to have my laptop back after such a long wait, I actually reassured the flustered customer service officer that it was fine, and that I'll drop by tomorrow to collect it.
Haha, and drop by tomorrow I will.
Upon reaching home, I immediately switched on my laptop to get my first shock. They've restored my system back to default factory settings. All my applications and softwares are gone, including the authentic MS words I've borrowed from someone else. I checked the repair certificate and realised they changed the motherboard, when I thought it was just a pin vs pinhole connection problem. Nevermind, they're the computer engineers, right? At least it's working fine now, right?
After barely 1 hour of usage, my entire computer hang! It has never hang beforeI sent it in for this shit repair service! It's not even one year old! Okay, nevermind. I told myself it probably hang because it.... just so happens to hang.
After 3 hours plus of usage, I switched it off to rest my eyes.
And now? I can't switch on the blardie machine! Same problem! No electricity! WTF?!
Just what kinda shit repair service does Sony Singapore provides for their customers? HUH?

Sunday, January 03, 2010 { 5:00 AM }

Day 2 - 27th Dec 2009
It was nearly 6:15am when the 3 of us woke up on the bumpy sleeping bus ride. I took a glance at out of the window and realised that the road is much less chaotic than those in HCMC. Yup, we're in Nha Trang! After another 15 minutes, our bus veered past Nha Trang's Sinh Tourist and the 3 of us quickly started packing up and getting ready to jump off the bus once it stops. Typical kiasu singaporeans, yes. But, our effort were not rewarded as the 3 of us were to check in to another hotel different from the entire bus (which none of us knew at that point of time). This was when the exasperation of us not understanding Vietnamese and them not speaking English set in. Jay showed the driver our receipt with our hotel name - Green Nha Trang on it and asked if we've reached. He nodded. So we scrambled off the bus and waited. Somehow I felt really uneasy and Jay double confirmed with another staff. He nodded again and I wondered if he really understood us. Jay asked another time, and he nodded, asking us to wait. After the entire bus was cleared out, he motioned for us to get on the bus again. I was like, "HUH? WHY? EVERYONE HAS ALIGHTED!" But Jay managed to persuade me to follow them and said if they really drove us to a wrong hotel, we can still hail a taxi back. And so the 3 of us climbed aboard again and after 5 minutes, we reached our correct destination. Green Nha Trang. We were slightly happy as our hotel, though painted a horribly bright TKGS uniform green, was much cleaner, newer and bigger than the previous hotel. The receptionist, probably due to Sinh Tourist, allowed us to check in at 7am when the norm was 2pm. And wow, we were exceptionally pleased when we saw our room, and also quite disappointed that we'll only be staying for one night. Our room was equipped with the basic: one double and one single bed, mirror, dressing table, cable tv, good working fridge, closet, two small armchairs, bathroom with bathrub, and a balcony with seaview. We then started to wash up and get ready for our island boat trip when Jay announced that she's hungry and when out to search for breakfast. After more than 1/2 an hour, just as I was trying to call her on her cell, she came back with a Pho Ga, 3 Vietnamese coffee, and a Banh Mi(Baguette with meat and egg). Even though I wasn't really hungry, I still ate my fair share of the Banh Mi (I'm a great fan of baguette!) and a mouthful of the Pho Ga. PS and Jay both loved this Pho Ga to bits, but I'll prefer Pho24's. Anyway, we all got ready to leave by 8:15am to wait for our minibus. At around 8:30am, it came... and off we went for our boat trip with No.4 Boat Trip!
The boat is of a decent mini-ferry size, and I am thankful for the calm waters. Our guides introduced themselves, but somehow only two with weird english nicknames were remembered. Monkey Boy and Lady Boy. They were also the two entertaining ones. Our first island was the Mieu Island, which housed the Tri Nguyen Aquarium, along with a fishing village. An entrance fee of VND$35k was required and so we decided not to go onto the island. Sinh Tourist has failed to notify us of the extra expenses and we only brought like 600k in total.
After Mieu Island was Mun Island, whereby we got to go swimming/snorkeling for free, along with other paid water sports/games like jetski, parasailing, banana boat etc. After much counting and haggling, we finally decided that we should have sufficient funds to try out banana boat. I'm glad we did! It was sooooooooo fun! The speed boat dragged us out at full speed all the way out till Mun Island was a mere dot, and we were surrounded by the bluish green seawater and pale blue sky. One bad thing is, you'll get water splashing on your face from time to time (all the time, if you happen to be right in front) and it's so salty! =.=" After the banana boat ride, we were thinking if we should go snorkeling. I was hesitant because I can't tread water at all. And with my lousy water stamina, it's gonna be really tough for me to keep on swimming and swimming and swimming once I jump into the sea. Plus, they don't give you a life jacket but a buoy, so you'll look retarded with that white ring around you. Plus, as we got back onto the boat for snorkeling, i saw a few coming back with bleeding gashes on their feet/legs as they got cut by the rocks. So yeah, you got your answer. I chose to stay on the boat and look after the belongings as jay and PS went swimming.
After Mun Island, we stopped by Mot Island and had lunch with the rest of the passengers at a huge table that spans nearly the entire boat. Lunch was more than enjoyable. We were served (cold, and possible *coughcough* recycled) rice, seafood, noodles, spring rolls, pork, soup and etc. A Korean family sitting beside us refused to touch anything on the table apart from the rice, even though the rice was really the worse 'dish' of all, and whipped out their own packets of kimchi to go with the rice. So we ended up with more servings of the food. *hiak hiak* After lunch, we were entertained by No.4 Boyband, singing a mix of Vietnamese, English, and even Chinese, Japanese, and Korean songs. Haha, and of course, the Korean song has to be Arirang. -LOL- Soon, the 'floating bar' was opened, with Lady Boy jumping into the sea in the middle of a lifebuoy, holding a bottle of red wine with many pastic cups. Hahaha! So if you want the wine, you have to jump into the sea to get it. Nope, we didn't join in the fun.
After the floating bar at Mot Island, we were ferried to Con Se Tre - Bai Tranh Island whereby we were given free time to chillax, with an entrance fee of VND$20k. PS did parasailing here at a price of only VND$300k and after that we just sat down on sunchairs on the beach, drinking really cheap tiger beers, eating quail eggs and soaking in the sun. Before we knew it, it was already time for us to leave the island for the main island of Nha Trang. On the way back, we were served yet another large table-full of tropical fruits.
After getting back to our hotel, we ventured out in search of food and came across this massage/facial/nail all in one beauty spa. PS and Jay were tempted for some massage and I wanted to try the facial. I had SERIOUS breakout that time, but I didn't feel safe to try the acne treatment facial in fear of worsening my condition. But they insisted on that, even though it was much cheaper than the one for sensitive skin which I was opting for. It turned out to be fine, judging from my skin now. Well, it WAS rather swollen because of all the squeezing but it just went away after a day. While having the mask on, the staff started doing some massage on me and that was when I was glad I didnt go for the massage with ps and Jay. At some point of time I was really tempted to kick that lady and ask her to stop tickling me. Oh nvm, guess I'm really not a massage person, huh!
Dinner for that night was a... rojak dinner, comprising of Ban Xeo(Vietnamese food that's like a pancake with seafood and beansprouts, to be eaten with fresh lettuce), Com Tay or Com *something* (Vietnamese bbq pork chop rice), and Texas styled fried chicken with french fries. The owner of the western resturant just came back from US two years ago and so he speaks English! Got alot of help and directions from him for our free-and-easy day tomorrow, to be touched on in Day 3. =)

Saturday, January 02, 2010 { 6:08 AM }

Yes, I'm back from my 7 days Vietnam trip with ps and jay! It was overall an enjoyable trip, but seriously, the communication problems+bad services really made me exasperated. Our trip of 7 days 6 nights consisted of 16 self-sourced meals, and only 3 were without wrong orders/ignored requests. 2 out of the 3 aren't Vietnamese food. And that final 1 gave all of us diarrhoea.
And there traffic too! Traffic light is a rarity there, and zebra crossings are totally useless! The art of jay-walking has attained the ultimate level - You do not even need to look left and right to wait for gaps. Because it will never come. Just walk straight with a steady pace. The vehicles will shun you. Well, most do.
Alright, let me stop ranting and start on my detailed day-by-day account of my Vietnam Trip - Ho Chi Minh City + Nha Trang + Mekong Delta + Cu Chi Tunnel.

Day 1
Jay and PS came over to my house for the night as we're taking a 0745hr flight on Tiger Airways to HCMC and we need to check in at 0545hr. Then we realised that our chared luggage is 13kg, just merely 2kg away from the limit of 15kg. Jay then suggested of upsizing to a 25kg and we got a HCMC number(the call centre) from the airport staff. Since it's a HCMC number, it makes more sense for us to call upon reaching in HCMC and this marked our number 1 nightmare, to be revealed in Day 3 account.
Upon touching down at the airport at HCMC, Vietnam time 0800hr plus 0900hr (Vietnam is one hour before us), we immediately tried to get a taxi. Friends have suggested taking only Vinasun and Mai Linh as the rest may tweak their meters. But what we didn't know was that we had to go approach that particular taxi company's staff with a walkie-talkie to call for their taxi. But we did, after some observation, and we successfully got onto a Mai Linh taxi and was driven to Pham Ngu Lao District 1, where our hotel, Red Sun Guest House, was located. After confirming our booking with Red Sun and knowing that we can only check in at 2pm, we left our luggage with the hotel and left, in search of Sinh Cafe, now known as Sinh Tourist, to book our domestic tours. Sinh Tourist turned out to be of walking distance and we successfully booked a 2 days 1 night trip to Nha Trang for their Island boat tour on their sleeping bus leaving at 830pm at night and reaching Nha Trang ten hours later at 630am the next morning, another 1 day tour to Mekong Delta - My Tho and Ben Tre, and a 1/2 day trip to Cu Chi Tunnel.
After leaving Sinh Tourist, we started walking around HCMC, armed with only the city map, hoping to find this particular Vietnamese restaurant recommended by Jay's friend, supposedly situated at District 3. Our first challenge was posed - to cross the road. We stopped by the zebra crossing and attempted to wait for the motorbikes, cars and buses to show signs of slowing down or any form of gaps in between them such that we can attempt to CHARGE across the road. We waited, and we waited, and waited somemore. Neither happened. Finally decided that it's pointless to wait, we finally picked up our courage and took the first step out, right into the stream of busy vehicles. Our first attempt was rather comical with mousey-scurrying plus hysterical shrieking that totally screamed: WE'RE TOURISTS! WE'RE NOT LOCAL! But oh well, we're still in one piece! Soon after we started to realise that we're getting lost and hence Jay started grabbing random passers-by to ask for direction. This was when the second uneasy fact dawned on us. Most of them do not speak nor understand basic English. And so, we started relying on the point-point wave-wave gesture-gesture body language. Got a couple of directions in returned, along with 'near' and '20 minutes'. Yeah right, 20 minutes my foot. After our first 20 minutes, we asked another passer-by and got another 20 minutes; after the 2nd 20 minutes, we asked another passer-by and got yet another 20 minutes. After like an hour (perhaps?) of aimless walking, my constipation induced intestinal pain started acting up and we decided to just stop at some random eatery for lunch. And lunch was also an exasperating experience.
First up, drinks. PS ordered coconut, I wanted Twister and Jay wanted Mirinda. PS got her coconut, Jay got a Sarsi (she was too thirsty to change it), and I got Heineken Beer. Told them their mistake and repeated that I wanted Twister. Then I got Jay's Mirinda in return.
Second, food. We ordered some chicken and the vietnamese spring roll thingy (didn't remember what it's called). We pointed to the one with shrimps and pork on the menu and the waiter nodded his head. Soon, the rolls were served and Jay and PS ate theirs first. I wanted to wait for the intestinal pains to subside a little before eating, and thank goodness I did. The rolls weren't stuffed with shrimps and pork. It was beef, and I CANNOT EAT BEEF. Jay pointed out their mistake and asked for them to change the remaining one beef roll into shrimp and pork for me only. They took that remaining 1 beef roll and served us another 3 shrimp and pork rolls. We ate those 3, thinking that the wrong orders will not be charged because, HEY! it's their mistake! But we were wrong, they did charge us for all 5 rolls. wtf. The rolls aren't even nice. The skin is too tough and all I could taste was the raw spring onions. Eew....
After lunch, we walked back to Red Sun to check in and rest for a while. Their staff are all nice and friendly, and their room clean and well equipped with comfy beds, cable tv, fridge (albeit not very cold), wardrobe, and a bathroom. Bathroom has no bathtub though, but their heater works fine. After resting, we decided to head down to Ben Thanh Market. With my navigator skills plus Jay's 'socialite' skills, we finally made it to Ben Thanh Market and both PS and Jay found a tailor there. Jay wanted to made a suit and a dress, while PS very spontaneously wanted to tailor make a vest and also Jay's dress. After much haggling, they finally settled on a relatively cheap price and off we went to Pho24 for dinner. I ordered a Pho Ga and Jay and PS decided to share a Pho Bo. On top of that, we also ordered their spring roll upon recommendation by the waiter and Lipton Honey Lemon Green Tea. The spring roll turned out to be really nice, so is the Lipton tea! Too bad it's not available here in SG. But then again, came the wrong orders. Instead of just 1 Pho Ga and 1 Pho Bo, they served us 2 Pho Ga and 1 Pho Bo. *sigh* Nevermind, their pho is good too! Blame it on the communication barrier.
After dinner, we went back to Red Sun to pack our bags and prepared to leave for Sinh Tourist to catch the sleeping bus tp Nha Trang. One the way, we bought some mineral water and bread for the night/next morning from this nice looking bakery also at Pham Ngu Lao called ABC Bakery. Arrived at Sinh Tourist and waited for our bus to arrive. The bad thing is that none of the staff bothered to make any proper announcements on the arrival of our bus and if it weren't that we asked, we might have missed the bus. Finally made it onto the correct bus and off we went to Nha Trang!

Monday, December 14, 2009 { 8:40 PM }

Yes, it has been quite a movie marathon for me last week. After watching NA on Friday after my last paper, I caught 2012 on the following Monday with zhenzhen, and New Moon with MeiQin on Tuesday. Review for New Moon will be done a few days later.
People has been telling me: What, you've not watched 2012 yet? You're a NOOB! =.="
It's not that I don't wanna watch it you know? E-X-A-M-I-N-A-T-I-O-N-S!
Okay, nvm. Back to this movie. Oh, and before I move on to the spoiler, 2012 has a couple of official posters but I chose this. Somehow the backview of a Larma staring at the impending tsunami intrigues me much much more than crumbling pieces of the Earth.

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
Friends of the friend who went to watch with me told him that 2012 is actually quite a sad movie. Critics on my local newspaper has told me that apart from CGs, this movie has no other biggie worth to be discussed.
For me, it's somehow quite the case. Basically what you see on the trailer is more than enough for you to know what's going to happen. Yes, this movie is totally PREDICTABLE. You know what's going to happen next. No wait, you know what's going to take place, and probably can also guess the ending spot on, without watching it at all.
It all starts with the findings of an Indian scientist, which all pointed to the fact that our planet Earth is doomed. The centre core of Earth is heating up way too fast and every little details seemed to match with the end of the world marked on the Mayan calender. 21.12.2012.
Byebye, Mother Earth. Byebye, human race. Byebye, living things. Byebye everything.
But no, the goverments of the world refused to sit by and wait for doomsday to descend. Together, the governments tried means and ways in a desperate attempt to save the human race.
And that's how the story unfolds, along with the patching up of a once broken marriage between the lead male and his divorced wife. Oh, what's the best way to rekindle lost love other than the fear of losing one forever and ever?
Oh, nvm! So the destruction finally starts when the male lead finally managed to pack his two children, ex-wife and her new hubby into his car and I started to wonder just how lucky he is to have the road forever crumbling after his speeding car; to have the bridge falling down slow enough for his car to scrap through unscath; to have the millions of huge blazing stones falling from the sky missing his vehicle again and again as his adorable daughter wonder why those blazing stones are following them on purpose (when it's not. They're just falling everywhere and your genius daddy just know how to shun them); to be able to climb out of the vehicle which has fallen into the huge crack on the surface of the earth without even suffering a scratch. And Lady Luck continued to shine on him, and his ex-wife and children as the destruction goes on. And I guess Lady Luck was too busy shining on them, so much so that she couldn't help Gordon, his ex-wife's new hubby, who eventually died when he fell into the crevice of the 'saviour ship' movable bridge and got crushed. Of course, how could their broken love be rekinlded when ex-wifey's new hubby is well and alive?
Apart from losing Gordon, there is really some sad scenes, especially when the US president refused to board the ship and abandon his state, and how he just had to wake up, after having been knocked out from the initial impact of the crumbling tower, just in time to see the oncoming of the monstrous sized tsunami coming to end his life. The part where the selfish Russian rich-ass, after abandoning his lover and his supposed-to-be companions on the run, actually sacrificed his own life to save his two sons also served to give the audience the idea that no matter how selfish people might be, they will never choose their own life over their children's. Oh, how noble the love for their children! Yet, it's still for THEIR OWN CHILDREN only. Oh well, better than nothing, huh!
*End of Spoiler*

Despite the unbelievable luck shining on the male lead and his family, this movie did set me thinking on the possibility of having the end of the world happening in my lifetime. What will happen should fellow human continues to release carbon oxides, nitrogen oxides, methane and etc into the environment? What will happen should the greenhouse effect be allowed to worsen? Will the melted polar ice caps flood our entire earth, forcing our future generation to evolve into mermaids/mermen? Or will the entire earth explode just like what happened in 2012? Are we going to have any future generations, even? Governements of various countries have started promising to cut down on emissions, but are we in time to really save our mother Earth?
What do you think?

Sunday, December 06, 2009 { 11:06 PM }

YES, it's RAIN! Jung Ji Hoon. Ninja Assassin.
I've finally watched it just after my last paper. For a Rain fan, it's fabulous. But for a non-Rain fan, males especially, it's probably going to be a crap show because 99.99% of the time, you're staring at Rain's *coughcough* hot bod/chocolate bar abs/well defined obliques+triceps+biceps+whatever other muscles you can see on a topless body, and that's why I LIKE IT! =)


Frankly speaking, this movie has a very weak plot. Rain plays Raizo, an orphan picked up by the Ninja clan and trained totally inhumanely to become a fearless assassin. The girl ninja in his clan, whom he likes, decided to escape from the clan one night and was killed as a form of punishment. When made to carry out the same punishment on another girl ninja for running away, Raizo decided to turn against his clan and became a traitor.
Naomi (is that her name?) plays Mika, a forensic researcher, who believes that a Ninja clan exists somewhere out there and people are getting killed by them. Her theory was not only proven right, but also got her into trouble with the clan, who wants her dead.
Raizo, who wants to wipe out his entire clan and kill his 'father' turn up at the nick of time to save her and that's how the story unfolds with more fighting, gore and.... a happy(?) ending.
Those scenes I totally adore are the part where Raizo practised in his rented apartment, especially his handstand. That was OTT man! And the scene whereby he stood in the slightly blazing room, waiting for Takeshi with two swords in his hands was cool too!
And then the fighting scenes.... Generally they're quite exciting, albeit a bit too dark. But then again, they're ninja and ninja are creatures of the night, moving around in shadows. So it'll be kinda wrong to have them fighting in strong spotlights as well. And the gore... well, kinda fake. Especially the blood. They totally resembled ketchup to me. But it's still cool, (for a mini-sadist like me) especially when Raizo cut up the girl-ninja who wanted him dead and stuffed her body parts into the washing machine; and when Raizo cut up Takeshi's hands, and finally used his chain(see the weapon on the poster)to bind his arms up and slicing the blade into his carotid artery such that his ketchupy blood will spew out like a fountain.
There was ABIT, I repeat, ABIT of 'fun' scenes. Well, two actually. One was when Raizo was fighting the girl ninja in the laundry shop, and the shopowner was watching some korean historical drama on the tv in a room, whereby the girl in the drama was getting tortured and screaming. And just outside that room, the girl ninja was getting her arse kicked (and also cut up) by Raizo and was screaming too. The other one was when Raizo told Mika: The only time you lied to me was about your size.

Okay, so on the whole, I'll rate this movie a 4.5/5. =) GO GO GO, GO CATCH IT!

Friday, December 04, 2009 { 11:53 PM }

Yes, it's finally over. a crazy semester of 8 modules with 7 papers to sit for plus fyp is finally done.
Let me do a review of this semester. FYP is still chui. Slabs to be cast during early oct is still undone. Don't even dare to think about it.
As for my papers, let's see.
First up was Solid Waste Management. This paper could have been quite bad, at least for me, because I totally had no motivations to study for it. Lecture notes are literally useless and I had no expectations of what's probably gonna come out for the paper. Thank goodness we met some nice people along the way, and he helped us... Quite a lot. =) Really gotta thank him man. For the kids' vitamin, 3/4 hashbrown and candy too. LOL.
Next was EnSoc paper. Haha, another ~~ *hand motion* paper. Didn't study for it at all! It's basically all about SG's history, and err stuff like Total Defence and etc. So basically I crapped my way through the entire paper. Hopefully I know enough about my own country to not fail this paper.
Then the day right after my EnSoc was the craziest day of my exam period. RC paper at 9 till 1130, followed by Civil Engineering Management paper at 1. RC paper was.... well, supposed to be do-able for me, but not really manageable in the sense that I couldn't finish all 4 qns in 2.5 hrs. Ended up totally leaving the last qn blank. Susanto Teng's qn! ONE-WAY SLAB! stupid me. I should have started with the last qn! But it's all too late for regrets now. =( And immediately after RC paper, I was desperately trying to cram all the CEM stuff into my head. Totally entered panic mode and was close to yanking all my hair out. Jonathan's attempt to calm me down by saying 'all the infomation is in your mind...' totally didn't help. But still, I think I can manage to pass the paper la, huh? At least a D?
After that crazy day was my steel paper. Still manageable. Nothing much to rant about. Thank goodness we went to harass, no i mean... consult professor chiew about how to calculate our own radius of gyration and etc the day right before our paper, because it did come out again for this year. So yup, basically that consultation saved me.
After Steel was wastewater engineering paper. It's my worse paper for this semester. I really wonder if i can pass it. Even though everybody (both civil and envi) said it's tough. But somehow I have a feeling that they wont be as chui as me. So.... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOo~~~ I dont wanna fail! *prays*
And finally, came my last paper for this semester. Structs 2. Sighz, I was really hoping to ace this paper. But it's really impossible now. I hope I can get a B. 4 questions in total, 2.5 hrs paper. Just doing 2 qns already took me 2 hours! I was like, staring at the clock and screaming 'NOOOOOOOOOO~" in my head. And of course, I couldn't finish the blardie paper. Urgh....
Nevermind, it's all over.
Went to watch Ninja Assassin with zd, ys, gr and andy just now. RAIN~~~~~~~~ His body sooooo zai la! zero percent excess body fat HOT BOD! Haha, will talk about that tmr maybe.