Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Transformers @ USS

Transformers is one of the latest ride to open in Universal Studio Singapore (USS). That was also the first ride that we went for when we reached USS.

If this is the first 4D ride that you want to go for, just turn right at the T junction and you should be able to see the entrance to the transformers 4D ride as shown below.

Near the ride, you should be able to see EVAC, the hero of the Transformers 4D show as shown below.

When you enter the ride, you will enter the "Restricted Area" queue as shown in the pictures below. However, be warned. The queue is quite deceptive.

Upon entering, you'll see some of the more familiar tablets as shown in the picture below, if you've watched the Transformers movies.

Do you think that's all to the queue? Along the way, you'll be briefed on the objective of the ride. A welcome change to the other rides in the theme park. I always like a storyline behind any ride. Below is the picture of the AllSpark.

Think that's all to the queue? Definitely not. You'll also see the severed tail of Scorponok as shown in the picture below. 

Yes. I think you get the idea. You'll go through many stations briefing you on the upcoming "mission" that you'll undertake. How do you know you're at the end of the queue? Very simple. When you're briefed on the safety instructions of the ride, that means you'll be soon in your ride.

I'll not write more about the ride but this 4D ride I felt is much better than the Shrek 4D ride. Go for it. It's worth it.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Going to Universal Studios Singapore

Universal Studios Singapore (USS) is situated at Sentosa, Singapore. Sentosa is located near the Habourfront MRT station. You can refer to the USS website here to find out about more details on how to get there and the ticket pricing. Do note that you can opt to purchase the Sentosa Express ticket even when you're inside the theme park, but you may want to do that if you do not want to queue 1-2 hours for a ride.

The location of USS is quite obvious once you reach Sentosa. You can take a look at the location below.

View Larger Map

In summary, USS is a place mainly for young adults as most of the rides there are quite "intense". There are rides that were toned down for younger kids but they are few and far between. There are a number of zones but the place is not big. You're able to purchase food and drinks in every zone so do not worry. There are certain types of food though that can only be bought in certain zones. However, do note that they are a bit pricy though.

Below is the "Hollywood zone" that greets you when you enter through the ticket gantries. Before you rush for the rides, you may want to get the pamphlets and the schedule for the day in this area, or within any of the shops before you go further. That was first mistake I made as I missed out quite a few shows as I was zooming in to go for certain rides before the main crowds come in. :)

You will see unique shops like the shop below where they based the food or product on certain characters. You can check them out anytime.

Walk a bit further and you will reach the T junction. I believe this is also the area where you will see the fireworks if you're there on a Saturday or selected days. I'm not very sure as there were no fireworks on the day that I was there.

Look to your left and you will proceed on to the Madagascar zone, as you can recognise distinctly from the ship you see below.

Otherwise, you can start your activities by walking towards your right. You should be able to see the building below after walking for a while. Hint.. If you want to go to Transformers ride first, go towards this direction. :)

Why I specially took the picture of this building is because I find that this area is quite a good place to see the Hollywood Dreams Parade. It's at the turning so the parade will stop there for a while to rouse the crowd.

Scattered around this area, you will see signs that provide very useful information like the timing of the next show, or how long you will need to wait for certain rides, as shown in the pictures below.

Do note that the time you need to wait for certain rides vary depending on the time of the day. There are cases where you have absolutely no queue for the Transformers ride. It really depends on the traffic for that day.

There are also certain shows scattered throughout the park. Below is the picture of the Monster Rock show located near the entrance and Waterworld which is further up. There is also a Live Donkey show that is to the right of the Far Far away castle which house the Shrek 4D ride.

Other than the live shows, there are also small shows that are scattered throughout the park. If you see scenes like the picture below where a large number of people has gathered, it means that a show is about to start. :)

Below shows one of the live shows you see scattered throughout the park. The breakdance boys. :)

I was thinking of putting everything in one post but that will be too long. Stay tuned for more posts on some of the rides in USS.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Problem with the population whitepaper

I recently had the chance to read the entire whitepaper and I realised that it is actually quite informative and it has an objective and conclusion. However, there is one big problem with the population whitepaper. It's name.

The problem is that the paper shouldn't be named the population whitepaper at all. Yes, the population has something to do with the objective of the paper, but that is not the main objective.

The whitepaper is about justifying the building of critical infrastructure to cater for the future. It's like building up 100s of HDB flats to cater for Singaporeans getting married and having their own flat.

If the population whitepaper is instead, named something like Critical infrastructure for the future, the reaction from the public will be different. Don't you think so?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Always be in perspective

I quote from John Sununu:
Perspective gives us the ability to accurately contrast the large with the small, and the important with the less important. Without it we are lost in a world where all ideas, news, and information look the same. We cannot differentiate, we cannot prioritize, and we cannot make good choices.

If you do not have perspective, you will be lost in what you do because you will be rudderless in the big ocean. Without perspective, it's best to observe and establish one before taking any action.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Auroras @ Inari

Obviously my aurora hunting will not end in Nellim, Finland. Since we're at Inari which is almost as far north as Nellim, we will of course attempt to catch the auroras one last time.

Why the craze over auroras? Well first of all, it's definitely not possible to see auroras in Singapore. Too much clouds and too much light pollution. So while you're there, you better catch as much "air time" with the aurora. :)

Hotel Kultahovi is not as an ideal place as Nellim to view auroras because lights can still be seen from the streets and there are buildings that are lighted all night long. However, I'm lucky that the auroras that appeared were quite strong and it was visible despite of the street lights and the full moon.

The auroras are slightly different than the ones at Nellim. They are very beautiful and as you can see, the auroras are quite strong. I've used RAW this time compared the ones at Nellim as the pictures will show up better, especially in low light. Just imagine, the first picture was taken right outside my hotel room. :) Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Inflation is up 3.5%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2013:
January: 3.6%
February: 4.9%
March: 3.5% 

Transport and Housing are leading the pack, rising by 6.9% and 4.1% respectively year on year, where transport is significantly lower due to the sharp decrease in private transport costs. The drop in both food and transport inflation resulted in the sharp decline of the inflation to 3.5%.

The transport inflation is mostly driven by private transport, which means the COE is again causing anomalies in the inflation readings. Other than transport inflation, there was also a sharp drop in inflation for seafood, causing the food inflation to drop.

COE prices will again wreak havoc on any inflation forecast but I am curious on the drop in food inflation. Good to take a closer look.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Food @ Inari

During our stay at Inari in my Finland trip, both breakfast and dinner are provided by Hotel Kultahovi, also known as half-boarding. The breakfast is a buffet while the dinner is ala-carte. The waiter/waitress will advise you on what will be in your menu for that night. Apparently, coffee/tea seems to be only available during breakfast. I did not see any drinks/juices available for dinner though. No matter. The kettle in my room will suffice. :) Refer to the pictures below for some of the breakfast I had

and some pictures below of my yummy dinner.

Below are pictures of my lunch at Siida museum. It's about 12 euros and is nothing to shout about, and includes salads, reindeer meant and potato, and bread. Coffee/tea and juices are included

Below are pictures of my lunch at Hotel Inari. The food is quite good and the total price of my lunch is slightly below 50 euros, shared by 3 people. The first is an salad, next is the vegetarian appetizer, a pasta kid's meal and the reindeer meat pizza. They are all quite big though. :) Needless to say after eating this lunch, we almost had no appetite to eat our dinner.


Below are pictures of my lunch at the pizza & kebab shop. Except for the burger which I feel is a suitable size, the other dishes are very big, not that I'm afraid of it. :)

In summary, I felt that the food at Hotel Inari is the best, followed by the Pizza & Kebab shop. :)

Stay tuned for my aurora photo at Inari!! :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Siida Museum @ Inari

During our stay at Inari in my Finland trip, we decided not to do all sports activities so we arranged a day where we could go to the Siida museum to learn more about the cultures in Finland, in particular the Sami. You can a look at the link I provided just now for the location, tickets and operational hours of the museum because it seems that there are different operating hours during the different seasons.

As stated in my earlier posts, the Siida museum is just maybe 10 mins walk from the Hotel Koltahovi (turn left at the main T junction). Below is what you'll see when you're reaching the museum. The funny thing about the museum is I couldn't find any sign that says that this is Siida museum except for the blue board you see on the left hand side. :)

Anyway, the day was rather beautiful don't you think? You can see the souvenir shops (that only opens in the summer) on the left-hand side in the picture below

This small little statue is "guarding" the museum up in front. Apparently, this is a Lapinporokoira, a medium sized dog which is also known as the Lapland reindeer dog and this statue was there since 2003.

Upon entering the Siida museum, you'll see the main gift shop. You can buy the entry tickets to the museum from the cashier. There is an aurora "show" so if you do not know the time and the staff forgot to mention it to you, ask the cashier or any of the staff there.

There were 3 exhibitions available when we were at the museum. Below is the first exhibition talking more about the Sami culture in the Laplands. Below is a picture of some of the more traditional clothing worn by them. This exhibition is not really that big.

The second exhibition is all about the nature of the Laplands. It's a very big exhibition and you'll need some time to go through all of it, assuming that you read up on all the descriptions at each section. Below is a wide-angle shot of the centre of the exhibition.

In the centre of the exhibition, it's describing more of how the Finnish people "evolve" from the traditional way of life, to the current way of life using technology and vehicles such as the snowmobile.

Surrounding the exhibition in the centre are descriptions of the life cycle of the animals, insects and plants in the Laplands. It's pretty interesting to read up on how they are inter-related to each other. They talk about plans, insects and of course birds. Below are some pictures of the birds (not real of course) in exhibition.

Mention was also made to the animals in Laplands and below are pictures of some of those animals.

Just to prevent any confusion, the picture above is the picture of baby Wolverines, not baby bear cubs. :) They look rather alike and yes, they are Wolverines. The animal kind, not the X-Man kind. :)

The last exhibition seems to be a temporary exhibition, showing the 50 years of snowmobile history in Finland. Below is the picture of the type of snowmobile that I was driving for the past couple of weeks. 

It's not so difficult to drive it, as you can see from the controls below. There's even a heater for the handle bars so you will not feel so cold driving the snowmobile. :)

Below is the picture of the first generation of the snowmobile. Uh-hem. :)

What was surprising to me is that the snowmobile could actually be driven on water, and they actually have competitions for this kind of spot. Apparently, the snowmobile can be driven on water if it is driven fast enough. Below are some stills I took of the TV showing the competition in 2012.


I guess the Finnish people really know when to have a lot of fun. :)

The museum has a cafe on the second floor if you wish to have your lunch. The buffet lunch is 12 euros, consisting of the salad bar, reindeer meat and potatos, and some dessert that I couldn't get to try because they did not refill it. :p Free-flow juices, water, coffee/tea are also available. Food is pretty normal, compared to the other places that I tried but it is affordable.

We spent almost the whole day at Siida museum because the exhibition is really big, and we spent some time at the souvenir shops. I think we might have spent almost 5 hours in the Siida museum. :)

Will be writing more about the food at Inari, and of course, the auroras that we saw there. Stay tuned.

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