Tuesday, June 25, 2013

CH170: SG Parental Tour

As I type this entry, I'm on my way back to the city after dropping my parents off at the airport. They were only here for a total of ~4 days and 3 nights. A quick visit as my mum doesn't have enough leaves to use anymore considering we went for a month just last November to the US.

It was initially hard to draft up an itinerary fit for the elderly. My dad is 66 and my mum is 59. So a lot of patience is required for elderly walking pace as well as endurance and stamina. :-) I'm quite happy though that the haze cleared up on the day we arrived and continued to do so until they left.

In summary I made the below itinerary for them. They arrived and checked in to the hotel around 4+ pm so they weren't able to visit my friend Ange for a tour in the National museum of Singapore.

Day 1 late afternoon - Bugis Junction, Bugis +, Bugis Street
Night 1 - MRT to Chinatown, Smith St, Temple St (souvenir shopping), saw the Hindi and Buddhist temples, (the food street is closed by the way for some construction), ION Orchard, Paragon (toys r us to buy something for their Grandchild - Leonardo Ninja Turtle that was out of stock in Trinoma haha they wanted to buy all four to give), H&M

Day 2 - Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay The Shoppes, Din Tai Fung lunch, Arts and Science Museum, Stomp at MBS Theater
Night 2 - MBS Lights show, Helix Bridge, Esplanade, Merlion

Day 3 - Singapore Flyer, Singapore River Cruise, SEA Aquarium in Sentosa, Vivo City, MRT to Ang Mo Kio
Night 3 - Night Safari

Day 4 - National Museum of Singapore, Airport

Because of the light haze and heat (which my mother complained about), I had to improvise with the tour. We weren't supposed to go to the SEA aquarium. We were meant to go to the Singapore Zoo and River Safari then Night Safari as those attractions are covered by the attraction pass my brother bought for us three - but because of the heat and my mum and dad not having enough endurance to continue for longer walks, I had to improvise.

I wasn't able to ask them what they enjoyed most but I think the tour was just right for elderly people. It would be so much better had I owned a car to drive them around :-). Because of the difference in their interest, and my mum having visited before, I had to put in more stuff my dad would like. My mum did enjoy the National Museum of Singapore  because of the audio guide I think. She's not big on reading history but she does like reading news or the Showbiz magazine in the PH - so listening to stuff she saw interesting was a good experience for her.

Stomp I think was also a different experience that they both enjoyed as its not typical for them to get to do stuff like it. So, for future tours I'll suggest to see shows in MBS whatever is playing. I mean, where else can one go to see them? Australia? London or New York are the only places I can think of.

It feels oddly satisfying to have spent for them. But, before we parted, my mum and dad gave me some sort of gratuity lol. I only expected them to pay back for the food or some entrances we went to as their hotel, flights and activities were funded through crowd sourcing (hahaha by me and my siblings). I was surprised after seeing what they gave...maybe it's their belated birthday gift - that's what id like to think. Now I wish I can tour them more! They paid me back for everything and more after counting. I love my mum and dad! And I love being the youngest offspring!

Monday, June 24, 2013

[Review] Stomp

Yesterday, my mum, dad and I went to see the show Stomp in Marina Bay Sands Theater. I got us VIP tickets as if I know it right, it will be my dad's first time to go see a show like it (as far as i know and remember). My mum has experience watching such shows as I remember when I was younger she watched "The King and I" with me in a Trumpet production (I think) in Meralco theater. When I was working already,  we went to see a Cirque like show in Resorts World Manila. Also, I remember getting us (mum, sister and I) front row tickets to watch the Repertory Philippine's take on "Sweeney Todd." So...I've said too much. The point being was that it was my dad's first time, and my mum's (almost seemingly first time) first time as well. So I told myself to just get the most expensive ticket as I don't get to pamper the both of them as often.

Stomp was amazing! As I was watching it, I tried to match it up with other "stage productions" that I have seen - and I came to the conclusion that it's definitely one of the top 5. In no particular order, I would say that the other productions would be: Wicked, Lion King, Mamma Mia, Sweeney Todd (and Stomp). I won't go into the details to compare all the 5 in detail. But just to share the other productions I have seen to give you an idea that not all would be in the same category if classified:

2. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe - this was when I was still in gradeschool/highschool (I dont quite remember) by Trumpets Inc at Meralco Theater
3. Joseph the Dreamer - I think I had to write a paper about this for school as it was required (also by Trumpets Inc at Meralco Theater)
4. The King and I - My sister's ex-boyfriend used to work for Meralco so he got free tickets for us
5. Avenue Q
6. Dirty Dancing
7. Viva Forever - Yes, CP and I watched this West End show in London with my insistence. The other option was the Bodyguard and I am not really aware of Whitney's songs except the really popular ones - whose titles I can't even remember at the moment.
8. Cirque-ish shows - I remember ID in Marina Bay Sands, but I don't quite remember the one I saw before in RW Manila

Of note, what I loved about Stomp (I'm not a theater expert or what) - was the lack of "active" musical direction - to which I mean, there's no conductor or what. Researching it online, references say they are a percussion group - so a band then in a way. But, I appreciate the fact that for the whole show and production to meld and make itself concrete, there would have been numerous rehearsals to get all the timing right.

The wide array of instruments (non traditional - as in to say a trash can, a matchbox, lighters (to light fags: the british term for cigarettes :-)), broomsticks, etc etc) they used to create the music they created is beyond awe. There is no story, no singing, no words, no drama, just the music they were making with different sort of pseudo-percussions they had and bits of comedy to stimulate the audience (with very young kids when we went).

Stomp was uncomplicated to experience. I think that's why my mum and dad enjoyed it as well. It was simple, easy to watch and understand. I meant uncomplicated as in to compare it to Wicked (admittedly still the best production I've ever seen) where there is no story to comprehend, no characters to dissect, no vocal  spectacle, no high notes anticipating to be reached, nothing. 

I'm really glad we got to watch the last performance they had scheduled in Singapore. I would say that it was worth every penny!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

[Random] After Vacation Updates

Feeling so exhausted now after almost 13 hours in transit from Heathrow London to Singapore. And not even a moment of rest accorded to myself as my parents are visiting Singapore.

Anyway, I just wanted to share some pictures I was able to take from my phone (panoramic shots). I took about 2000+ photos from my camera that I have yet to sort...but that may take a while....I have to unpack, wash my clothes, get my medical check for my new work on the 15th of July.

But, needless to say, London was amazing and beyond words beautiful. In short, a city worth an entry or two plus a few more for the attractions we went to. And of course, the magnificent Edinburgh, Scotland...

Photos taken from the London Eye

Photos from the top of St. Paul's Cathedral

Photos of Edinburgh (from Edinburgh Castle and Arthur's seat)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

CH169: What's Been

It has been admittedly quiet here...until...

Aside from being busy preparing for the coming vacation in the UK this Friday, I've also been planning and arranging hotel booking, tour and activities for when my parents visit me in SG. They're arriving 3 hours before my plane lands from London...

This will be the first time my mom and dad will be visiting me since I arrived here in Singapore. Come to think of it, none of my family has visited me since I started working here. :-) Although, my parents did plan to go before (CH35: Panic), but my mom had an accident and had to have surgery and rehab. She slipped on a wet pavement when she was walking our dog and smashed her knee cap #TMI.

So, yes, they'll be visiting SG soonish and it was a bit of a headache drafting their itinerary since consideration has to be made as to make the tour "old-people-friendly." :-)

Saturday Weekend
Over the weekend, CP and I had planned for a relaxed and relatively cheap way to spend the day(s).
Well that was the plan though....but like some plans - that's all they remain as...plans.

We went to the World Street Food Congress last Saturday. It was overall an OK experience, but I wish they could have made it so much bigger. Arrangement wise, I would have preferred that they set up the place in a grid style rather than an L shape layout. But I understand how they wanted a common area where people can stand to eat and drink beer. As a first time, it would suffice. Pictures and items we tried are after the break :-)

Got to meet up quickly with Ange, MKSurf8, Chris and Alex, but since we've been there for almost two hours before they arrived, we were quite full already. I would have thought that there would be Filipino food stalls as what I remember hearing on the radio ad, but maybe they're coming days after as I noted that the Denmark food stall was just to open the week after we went (the event runs for 10 days).

After, we went to Acid Bar in Emerald Hill and met up with other friends while listening to acoustic music.

Sunday Weekend

Sunday was just a lazy day, what's different is just spending the afternoon getting a tan in Sentosa. CP bought a cooler from FairPrice so we put it to use - although we didnt really make good use of it as we didnt bring down anything alcohol after the previous night.
In the evening, I seared some pork and made Yorkshire pudding pancakes (using the mix CP got form the UK), and it turned out well I should say. The porks were cooked beautifully (below picture is not the finished product).

In just 48 hours, we will be flying off to London! I don't feel that excited yet admittedly considering that I'm still waiting for my IPA to be approved in the new employer I'm moving to. Yes, I know, this will be the fourth employ since I arrived in SG (that's a total of 2 years 3/4 months?). It will be a good change and the role is much more strategic and challenging. Hopefully, the IPA gets approved before we fly off that way there's one less problem to worry about.