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Thursday, 30 April 2009

Photo Memories of My USA Trip

Here are some of my favourite photos of my USA trip.



Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Social Responsibility

I am supposed to go in for counselling today. However due to the facts that I have just returned from California, USA and that there are some cases of confirmed swine flu in California, I emailed the school to explain the situation. Both the school and I agreed that I should go in only next week even though I don't have any flu symptoms.

Better to exercise caution as I am not only responsible to my counsellees, but also indirectly to the other students in the school and I should not put any of the children at risk unnecessarily.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Lucky Pennies

I have been very lucky when I was in the USA. I don't know if it is related to the pennies I have been picking up lol. :P

Since my first day of arrival, I have almost been picking up a penny a day. :) Sometimes right there on the pavement, sometimes in the fitting rooms of stores, sometimes just in the oddest places, like once on the seat of a roller coaster ride lol. Somehow, I tend to find the penny even though I am not looking for it because I would accidentally step on it. It was as if the penny wanted to be found by me haha. :) Don't know why but I would be very happy to find the penny and would always without fail pick it up. :) I have been putting those pennies I found aside. :) It has been an old habit of mine lol. You see, I have always been lucky in finding coins/ picking up coins. So far, the largest amount I have found is a $10 note (ok, that's not a coin lol). But for that one, I donated it to charity. :)

I didn't know a lot about lucky pennies but since young, I always have this belief that if I found a coin, it must be lucky and I will keep it aside until I decided it was time for it to go. Call me strange if you like but it was my belief and it still is lol. While browsing, I found this website about The Lucky Penny. Hmm, so it isn't so strange of me after all to think of found coins as lucky! :)

Monday, 27 April 2009

Jet Lag and Swine Flu

It has been a day and a half since I came back from the USA. I am suffering from jet lag. :( My body is telling me to eat and sleep at the wrong times! Hopefully I will be back to normal soon.

Due to the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, I have some friends who were concerned for my safety when they knew I was still in the USA. They were relieved that I am back safe and sound in Singapore. No worries, Friends, other than being jet lagged, I am fine. No sign of swine flu for me. :P TOUCHWOOD lol.

When I was in the USA, I saw the news about the swine flu in Mexico. Honestly speaking, it sounded serious and sure brought back memories of SARS. Now, the confirmed and suspected cases of swine flu deaths has hit over 100 in Mexico and there are 20 confirmed swine flu cases in the USA (with 7 cases in California). The USA has declared a public health emergency and some countries have installed thermal scanners to screen travellers from the USA. When I returned in the wee hours of Sunday, I missed the health screening at Changi Airport by a few hours lol. :P

I hope that swine flu could be contained in time and not become a pandemic like SARS did. Once again, Friends, thanks for being concerned about me. I am lucky to have friends like you guys. :)

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Journey Home

I took some more photos before I left my "home" - Room 205 where I have been staying for the past 8 days. It has been cosy enough for me. :)

My Room 205 which is on the second level

The reception building and the breakfast room (green door on the right most bottom corner)

The swimming pool and the jacuzzi/ spa which I never got to use

Anaheim to LA International Airport
The coach arrived right on time at 10:35am outside my hotel lol. I had a nice chat with the driver as I was the only passenger he had picked up so far on his round. He picked up another 2 more passengers before he drove us to Disneyland Hotel where we would be taking different coaches to the various airports. At 11am, I was on my way to LA International Airport. The journey was very smooth. By 12pm, I was delivered right to Terminal B where Singapore Airlines is situated. :) Check in was a breeze, done by 12:10pm. I had my lunch at Daily Grill restaurant instead of the food court. I wanted to spend my money lah haha. :P I ordered a Manhattan Clam Chowder (US$4.95) and a Turkey sandwich (US$9.95). The clam chowder was tasty and different from the usual cream based ones. The sandwich was huge, I had to pack the other half to go lol. :P

Clearing immigration was really quick too, under 15 minutes. However, once I cleared immigration, I realised I made a mistake. There are very few shops inside or they are rather small size. I didn't get to do any airport shopping. :(

LA to Tokyo
Flight SQ11 took off at 3pm (USA time 24 April Friday; Singapore 25 April Saturday 6am). I was very lucky, the seat next to my 37G was empty again. Let's hope for the next leg, it will be empty too lol. There were some turbulence on the way to Japan which I didn't mind at all lol. :P Again, I had diabetic meals and they were pretty delicious. Good thing with pre-ordering meals was that I could get to eat earlier and I could use the washroom to freshen up after my meal before the others hahaha. :P

Lunch: Chicken salad, Chicken with steamed tomato and artichoke

Light meal before arriving in Japan: Green salad, steamed salmon with veggies

I managed to watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and half of Revolutionary Road before my personal entertainment unit conked out on me. I had to finish watching Revolutionary Road at another empty seat. Didn't realise Benjamin Button was such an emotional show, I cried! Not a good thing to cry on board the plane - very awful puffy eyes and blocked nose! :( I touched down in Japan at 5:10pm (Singapore time 25 April Saturday). After clearing immigration again, I managed to buy some mochi for the girls at the Narita Airport shop before rushing to board the plane at 5:40pm (Singapore time).

Tokyo to Singapore
My flight was supposedly to depart at 7:10pm. However due to very heavy rain earlier in Tokyo, there was a back log of airplanes waiting to depart. My flight didn't get to depart until 8:15pm. However I couldn't get to do any shopping due to the delay because when they made the announcement about the delay, the cabin door has been shut! :( So we just sat in the plane doing nothing. But I think I fell asleep lol. :P Real lucky, the seat next to mine empty again. Must give thanks. :) Didn't watch any more movies because of my faulty entertainment unit. Instead I read my Hamilton. It was interesting lol. Didn't take photo of my diabetic dinner meal because it was the same as what I had when I left from Japan to LA.

I finally arrived in Singapore close to 2am, safe and sound and somewhat tired. By 3am, I was back at home. By 4am, I was ready to sleep but sleep didn't come. Oh no, jet lag?!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Farewell, USA

I am leaving USA and heading for my home today. My flight is in the afternoon, 2:45pm (24 April Friday USA time). I will catch the Disney Express which will bring me to the LA International Airport. The journey will take about an hour and a half.

It is always bitter-sweet when a holiday ends. On one hand, I am looking forward to seeing family and friends again. On the other hand, I was enjoying roaming, wandering and exploring around on my own, the freedom and space I have had lol. I am a wanderer/ traveller at heart lol. Oh well, there is always the next trip to somewhere hahaha. :P

Guess this will be my last blog post from the USA. The next time you see me, I will be back in Singapore. Farewell. See you soon.

Friday, 24 April 2009

A Silver Lining

I woke up early to get ready to be pick up at 8:25am for my OC Experience day trip today (23 April Thursday USA time; 24 April Friday Singapore time). However at 7:30am, I received a call from the tour agency that the day trip has been cancelled because there were not enough people to form a group, needed at least 8 people and we were short of 2 persons. Sigh. I was kinda disappointed because I was looking forward to visiting the beaches of OC such as the Newport Beach.

Due to the cancellation of the day trip, my whole day was immediately freed up. Hmm, what shall I do? The temperature has also dropped significantly. The max was only about 21C. It was chilly. :( Was surfing the Internet when I discovered that there is a mall, South Coast Plaza which has 280 shops. The great thing is there is a shuttle service to and fro the mall from Disneyland Area hotels such as Hyatt Regency which very near to my hotel. :) Since it was too cold in the morning, I decided to go over to Hyatt for the 1:45pm pick up.

Arrived at South Coast Plaza at 2:10pm. I intended to go back with the 5:15pm pick up so that gave me about 3 hours to shop/ browse. There were indeed many shops spread over two building. I only shopped at specific stores such as Macy's to get my PI's stuff, Disney Store to get my girls Disney Princess t-shirts, H&M and Victoria's Secret for my stuff! Lol. The rest was just window shopping. I didn't even bother to cross The Bridge of Gardens to get to the other building which is part of South Coast Plaza.

Me taking a break on the Bridge of Gardens

Returned to Anaheim about 5:45pm. Decided to have an early dinner at Coco's again lol. The waiters and waitresses recognised me lol. I decided to give myself a nice treat for dinner. Ordered a Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken ($11.69): chicken breast served with sun-dried tomato cream sauce, creamy mashed potato and vegetables, added $1.99 for a Chicken Wild Rice Soup and for dessert: a Cream Cheese Pie with Cherry Topping ($3.99). I was hungry haha. :P The soup was actually very nice with the wild rice, there was bite and chew to the soup. The mashed potato on its own was already fabulous! With the sauce, the mashed potato was even better. :) The chicken as usual was moist and tender. :) By the time I was done with my main course, I was too full to polish off my cream cheese pie so I packed it to go lol. :P

Back at the hotel, I started packing my stuff because I am going home tomorrow (24 April Friday USA time; 25 April Saturday Singapore time). Gosh, I really bought a lot of things! :P

PS The cream cheese pie was absolutely delicious! :)

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Relaxing Day

Yes, being on holiday can be relaxing too, not always rushing here and there. :)

I have nothing planned for today. Just decided to do what my mood takes me. Woke up late, close to 9am (22 April Wednesday USA; 23 April Thursday Singapore). Lazed around a bit. Decided to go to The Block again. Caught the 11:24am bus. I was by now very familiar with the layout of The Block lol. First stop was to browse at Borders. Went to a few shops after Borders and bought some stuff lol. I think I missed those shops on my earlier visits to The Block. Hahaha. :P Returned to hotel via the 3:12pm bus. Took a nap and only woke up at 6pm haha. Told you it was a relaxing day.

I decided to go to a nearby restaurant, Coco's for dinner. I ordered a $7.99 Big Meal Deal of Parmesan Crusted Chicken (chicken breast topped with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese which came with Caesar salad and spaghetti with marinara sauce) and Apple Pie. The chicken was most moist and juicy and the apple pie was great, not too sweet. :) I think I will be coming back to Coco's lol. :)

The lighted palms on the pavement back to my hotel

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Shopping Mania

Today (21 April Tuesday USA; 22 April Wednesday Singapore) is designated as outlet shopping day. :)

My friend and his wife picked me up from my hotel at 10am+ and we set off for Desert Hills Premium Outlet after a short detour to Target for some essentials. We arrived at Desert Hills Outlet in slightly over an hour, at 12:35pm. After deciding to meet up at 5pm, we went our separate ways.

There are about 130 shops, with a large collection of designers and brand names. I wasn't really interested in the designers and brand names like Coach, Prada, etc as I feel those could be found in Singapore too. I was more interested in buying from brands unknown in Singapore because whatever I wear will definitely be one of a kind in Singapore haha. :) But I must admit, the only brand I went after at the outlet is Kipling. I bought 3 bags at one go! Hahaha. :P I am so happy. Friend and wife saw me at the Kipling shop and told me our meeting time was extended till 6:30pm. Yippee, more time to shop lol. :P By 5pm, I had browsed through all the shops (those that I was interested in) and had bought quite a few things. I took a break at the food court as well as took in the sights and took some photos too. The outlet has the mountains in the background. It is beautiful.

On the way back, the sun was setting and I took some shots of it too. I just love sunsets. My friend and his wife dropped me back at my hotel around 7:30pm. Thanks for giving me a ride to Desert Hills. I had a great time shopping. :)

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Being A Child Again :)

Today I was a child again. :)

I bought a 1 Day Park Hopper ticket so that I could go to both Disney's California Adventure Park and Disneyland Park. I went to California Adventure Park first as it closes earlier at 8pm whereas Disneyland closes at 10pm.

California Adventure Park
I went straight for Tower of Terror in Hollywood Pictures Backlot section, a free fall roller coaster ride lol. I had the time of my life, screaming in the darkness not knowing if I was going up or free falling down several storeys. It was darn fun. Next I went to California Screamin', another roller coaster ride in Paradise Pier. This ride has many big ups and down as well as a loop! HAHAHA. Again, I had so much fun screaming and laughing when I was on the ride. :) In fact, I had so much fun that I went back for a second time lol. :P However, I didn't go on any more rides as the heat got the better of me. It was a hot day again, 34C. I settled for a chocolate mint ice cream while I took a break. After my break, I browsed through the stores because there was air-condition lolol. It was almost 2 pm when I decided to go over to Disneyland.

Disneyland Park
It is a LOT bigger than Adventure Park. It was de ja vu when I walked into Disneyland. Hong Kong Disneyland was an exact replica of this one, except HK Disneyland was a lot smaller in size! I went mainly on the rides: Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean in New Orleans Square; Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland; Indiana Jones Adventure in Adventureland; and Buzz Lightyear, Space Tours and Space Mountain in Tomorrowland. Of course, I browsed in most, if not all of the Disney stores. :) Stayed for a peep at the 7pm parade: Celebrate! A Street Party. Unfortunately, there was no fireworks so I left early rather than stayed till the closing time. But no real loss for me as I have seen the fireworks at the other smaller Disneyland.

I came back to my hotel around 7:30pm really tired but really happy. For a day, I was a child again lol. :P