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Friday, October 29, 2010

Taking the train down to Nha Trang

I unabashedly took the liberty to lie down flat on the empty 3 seats. Very unlady-like but at least i wake up fresh and relaxed. I always buy 8 Days before departure because a) its cheap b) its a rather entertaining read c) its thin and light d) i can throw away after reading, won't heart pain!

but oh, how i resisted grabbing the Archie comics though. Why ARE THEY SO EXPENSIVE yet some content is repeated!!
I pointed at the card and asked the Tiger stewardess if i understood correctly (that it says NO SEX TONITE). Initially, she took a glance and said "oh, they're asking for your sex. Male or Female." I was like "DUH! Do i look stupid?" I asked her to look closer, then she smiled, apologised and gave me a new blank one. I swear someone was trying to pick me up with the arrival card!
It's the first time i travelled with ONLY a backpack. I relieved my school days again, and it wasn't cumbersome pulling a trolley. Did the whole usual routine of massage + dinner after touch down. Then i hopped on a dirty dingy old train travelling South!
It was my first time in a train and it was an experience! Narrow corridors, pretty cold, old with cracked windscreens with bullet holes (or so i'd like to think)!
We got the sleeper cabins which is about 40SGD two way for a 6 hour ride. The train leaves and arrives punctually. I slept like a baby on the train, despite boarding prepared with ear plugs and blind folds. Didn't need them. Bring a shawl to lay on the bed in case you have a thing about cleanliness. In general, i didn't see any cockroaches, but imagine the millions who've slept on this dingy bed. The sleeper cabins are considered first class, the economy class are rows and rows of cramped chairs. I would have taken a picture of the inventive ways the passengers slept,but i thought it would be rude.
 The brochures of Vinpearl were enticing and beautiful.
I was excited, but then i wondered how they maintained all the amusement rides when visitors only pay $20 for an all play ticket.Are the rides safe? I am quite a worry wart.
Arriving on the island, it was deserted (which is good, no queues!).It reminds me of Genting, a very very old amusement park. Except Genting has more thrilling rides but Vinpearl has a water park! There're in total 14 slides, one wave pool and one lazy river (complete with 'scary' tunnel, which has lame styrofoam statues but it still spooked me out a little because it looked like it could house REAL bats!)

My adrenaline tolerance is rather high because of all the extreme stuff i've done, so out of the 14 slides, only 1 really shrunked my balls (if i have them).

It looks harmless, but the moment you let go, it's a SHARP DROP. I saw girls who climbed all 5 storeys on hard metal steps, only to make it back down again without taking the leap.
Do eat before you go because the food there is crap. All around the island, its the SAME tasteless fast food around. They do have restaurants, but i never did see them. The cafes only serve Vietnamese deserts which you should try (starchy and sweet).
They have an indoor park which is AWESOME because you get to play EVERYTHING for free. Except they're all  video games. Old school ones, i don't remember Batman ever looking like that. Must be either VERY old school, or VERY fake. Like a little kid, i was overwhelmed with UNLIMITED credits on all the video games, but you get bored after awhile when you can simply hit the Continue button countless times. Where is the challenge?!?

There is a private beach as well, but it was cloudy so it wasn't quite inviting. The island is pretty big, so we strolled around and discovered this giant mermaid. A sign says EROTIC SHOW but nothing seemed to be going on. I was disappointed.

Nha Trang seem to love hosting Miss Earth. Vinpearl was the host for Miss Earth 2009, Diamond Resort also in Nha Trang also hosted couple of years. Can't imagine the pictures i see on the web to be the place i visited. I did see the trees they planted in 2008 in Vinpearl though (Singapore was missing!). It's a little amusing, because the trees they planted actually covered up these insect statues that were obviously there before. I guess Vinpearl never expected Miss Earth to come plant trees!
They also have an aquarium and it was quite an eye opener seeing fishes i've never seen before, though they looked sick. The most interesting were the catfish embryos. They have some rides in the land park, but the girl sitting opposite me on the Viking ship seriously looked like she was going to puke anytime. Vinpearl is not a must-do for Nha Trang, but then again there isn't alot to do in Nha Trang. So take a day trip, you might still be pleasantly surprised.

Nha Trang is a bustling town (not as busy as Saigon) by the sea. They have many good cheap Italian restaurants around. The 5-star ones are undeniably The Sailing Club and Louisana. Plenty of tourists there.
Louisana brews their own beer, and nothing beats a refreshing ice cold beer with wind swept hair.
Diving is cheap in Nha Trang. The cheapest i've done so far in Asia. Costing USD 40 for 2 boat dives, Scuba Dive provides lunch as well as free flow of cake and fruits during the trip. That helps when you set off at 8am.
The water is warm, the visibility is poor at this time but i liked it! I got to see alot more coral fishes than anywhere else.
We chased a squid.
We found Nemo who is very curious and played with the human hand!
I felt bad picking up the sea cucumber the instructor handed me. I was afraid i am hurting it! But i think with my gloves, the creature probably feels nothing. No human oil can reach its glands.
Eating in Vietnam is always a challenge! When you read local menus that don't quite make sense. Swimming bladder and shark's finger soup?
Sucking calfs too.
If only i had a GPS smart phone (something that is encashed so no expensive roaming charges), we would be able to reach our destination in 20 mins, instead of 2 hours. Relying on an inaccurate local map, we set off in search of the heard-about most beautiful Cam Rahn beach.

It was a disappointment, but at least we found it! The journey there was romantic and somewhat scenic.
How blessed we are to be able to soar to the skies. Caught this beautiful moment, and marvel at Creation.

The Deal about Birthdays

Do birthdays actually mean more to girls than boys? It could possibly be.

On my birthdays as a young child, my dad would ask if I preferred Pizza Hut or Macdonald on this special day. Sometimes I’d pick Pizza Hut, but most times I’d choose Macdonald. I’ll dress in my Sunday best, and skip into the Palace of the Golden Arcs and ask for a Happy Meal.        

 A cheeseburger, a small coke, a small fries and a TOY for a small me. 
I remember this toy that I kept dearly and took a long while to pack it to the Salvation Army. It was Mama Bear from the fairytale Goldilocks. It was special, because it was from my dad on my 10thbirthday, the first birthday when I actually start remembering them.

On my 12th, I had my first birthday party. It was a family friend’s function room and they hired a magician for me. I was never the most popular in school, in fact I befriend the ones who always get bullied (like that girl my mum is trying to shove away for my personal poloraid). 
With that MAGICIAN AT MY BIRTHDAY PARTY, I became the COOLEST kid in school. Today, that won’t raise any eyebrows, I just witnessed a ONE YEAR OLD having her birthday party thrown at the Hard Rock Hotel in Sentosa. They cordoned the entire hotel pool for it.
My brother is SO cute then.
I was quite a planner since young, so at 12, I planned party games that included bananas. The games were innocent, seriously. I gave out prizes of $5 Macdonald vouchers and go to Blanco Court for goodie bags of candy treats.
Then at 14, I had my second birthday party. This time, just a very casual BBQ. I learnt that BBQs are never good, especially when your different groups of friends don’t gel. And at 14, they’re not into party games. However, I remember being pretty stoked about my crush attending. Except he came with his girlfriend, who was my best friend (they just got together MINUTES BEFORE COMING TO MY PARTY).
At 16, birthday parties in clubs were all the rage. Some popular girls from school were booking clubs and making friends buy tickets to their “birthday party”. Many obliged, because at 16 we weren’t legal to enter one yet. My dignity held me back from making money off my friends yet I could no longer ask my parents to hold me one…so I did nothing. Only to have my dearest girlfriend, XC threw me one on the sly. If only I could be intimate with a girl, the female species are SO MUCH more sensitive romantic and everything else than a man. They just wouldn’t crush cockroaches.

She invited my best friends from childhood, summoned the gang and brought a picnic onto Sentosa.
My birthdays have never been one filled with fireworks, especially not one that is overflowing with gifts. That is why I throw birthday parties, in the hope of getting some. To put it blatantly, it was like buying love.

The excitement over birthdays dwindles (or so I thought) as I grew older, I told myself that birthdays are not about the child but about the mother who went through labour. I brainwashed myself just so to not feel sorry and disappointed if nothing happens, but deep down inside like a forlorn Cinderella, I still wish to be a princess and that the special day will be all about me.

I’d say birthdays meant more to girls than boys because up till then, my brothers never had one birthday party. Nadda, in fact I don’t even know what they did on their birthdays (likely to be out drinking with friends) because my family don’t typically celebrate birthdays! Unless we ask for it (i.e. me), otherwise my dad just takes us on a one-to-one birthday dinner. It’s more like, Ok-now-that-you’re-a-year-older, let’s-reassess-your-life-goals sort. Oh, but my dad would give us each a $50 ang pow with some of his famous words at the back of the packet. This stopped since I started working.

Then I went Australia, and I didn’t have many friends. In my first year, I was pleasantly surprised to find a bouquet delivered all the way from Singapore. With another delivered from the UK.
I was greasing it out serving hot plate tou fus (oh, how I HATE those hot plate dishes) at Chin’s on my birthday and I was SO touched to come home with the lights off and my house mates presenting a birthday cake complete with out-of-tune song! I nearly teared, because I never thought they would do so because I wasn’t close to them. I was most of the time holed up in my tiny room, sleeping by 11pm and waking at 7am while they did the opposite.

Then at 21, I moved out but those old housemates still remembered birthdays and we celebrated together. They even pooled money and presented me with a spa voucher! How luxurious it is to get a spa in Australia, AS A STUDENT! Friends away from home, they meant so much. 
I organised a steamboat dinner at home in my second year in Australia. I bought my own birthday cake because I didn’t want to face disappointment, only to have my housemate buy me one too (bless her!). On the actual birth day, i was greasing it out this time at Dome. My colleague felt sorry for me and took me out for a drink. My FIRST sex-on-the-beach.
I continue telling myself that birthdays don’t matter so much, because I am afraid of disappointment on my own birthday. I knew how it feels and so I try to make them special for close friends on their birthdays.
Making it special for special friends.
Once I woke up crying, feeling like nobody remembered. My mother knew and gave me a red packet. Then I cheered up and went to watch Harry Potter with my brother.

At 22, I watched Saw 4. At 23, I threw another party to celebrate my hospital discharge as well. 
So why do birthdays mean so much again? I think birthdays mean more to girls than boys. My brothers don’t get upset when their birthdays are forgotten (or so I think), my dad won’t too (he don’t even remember his own birth date), but my mum…when we neglected her birthday last year ( I did give her a present though!), it was a HUGE DRAMA.

I remember birthdays whereby I just went out and shopped. And I used the “it’s my birthday today!” excuse to haggle, and some shops in Far East Plaza really gave me a discount! It was liberating, to know I did not need to buy love but I could love myself.

This birthday, it's Koh Samui. I found a nice hotel on a cliff

where I get a candlelight dinner in between two mountains (part of the package deal)

and the hotel will surprise me with a FREE birthday cake (and i know when). Was pretty impressed there's such an option when i made the reservation.

A girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. If birthdays mean so much to you, then see to it that it happens.

If you feel sorry for me, feel free to still send me a gift from my wish list:

1) Samurai Umbrella from ($35 w/o shipping)

Because i want to be the coolest kid in the neighbourhood when it rains.

2) Why Men Marry Bitches (last i checked 2 months ago, sold out at Borders. Not sure about Kino. $28)   PURCHASED.

My GF swears by this book although she is NOT married yet. Ha ha ha.

3) Tokyo Vice (last i checked at Borders, it's also sold out. Maybe Kino. $18)
I hope it covers more than the usual drugs and gangs,namely i want sex!
4) Strip Aerobics ($10 from Poh Kim)

I missed out when i saw it at Poh Kim, went to Borders and felt abit embarrassed asking the dude for a Strip-xercise DVD. He looked at me blankly.

5) A Retro Passport Cover ($20 w/o shipping)
If you really want to, click here.

6) Card Holder
Preferbly an expandable soft leather one, because i have ALOT of discount cards.
 7) G-Shock Crazy Colour ($60 at Bencoolen Plaza)
I love watches, and i need one to be titled My Travel Buddy. One that can go diving with me, one that can keep me on track, one that can rough it out. I was contemplating over a G-shock and a Adidas calculator watch (very useful when i go shopping you know! All the currency conversions).

8) Charm Bracelet
Wouldn't hurt to have another charm bracelet since my fake Juicy one from Hong Kong is scratched.

9) How to Make Money Like a Porn Star from ($40) PURCHASED.
By my fav author Neil Strauss, this is banned in SG. It's a graphic novel and i SO WANT IT! 
Don't we all want to make more money?

10) A Diamond Layered Bracelet
The diamonds don't have to be real.

11) Camera Pouch from ($20)
 12) Lugguage ($200 Illuma, small shop near the linkway to Bugis Junction)
I don't care if it makes me look like a kid. I want to spot my lugguage from afar!
13) All things Electrical

Time i get a smart phone to go mobile literally. Also, a laptop to really do some serious work. 
Need an external portable hard disk (520GB) for serious storage too. ($80)

 14) Ticket to Universal Studios ($74)
Transformers is slated to open in 2011 in Singapore. If they can even get the Cyclone ready for riding first.
15) Dance Course from Groove Studio ($120)
I want to start like this bitch.

And end like this bitch.

No wait, and end like this dude.

I think i will be home on 16th November, in front of a computer like a geek and swipping my credit card like a freak.

But otherwise, thank you ma ma for giving birth to me. I can now stand on my two own feet.
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