Wednesday, June 08, 2011

UK Trip 2010

Ok a real post about my trip. Our main focus of this trip was Scotland, so we did not stay in London for long. We did spend some time walking along Thames though, sight seeing places like Tower of London, Tower Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral.


Swiss Re tower as seen from Tower of London


Tower Bridge


Entrance of St Paul’s Cathedral


We were supposed to drive to Manchester the same day that we arrived at London. However, when we collected our car at the rental car center, we discovered the GPS they provided was not working. Upon returning it we were told that they did not have any other working GPS! So we had to actually buy a map (from a gas station nearby) and figured our way out of London. It was definitely an unforgettable experience…took us about 6 hours to finally get to Manchester.

In Manchester we stayed at a UofM senior, Zhi Wei’s place. He was such a great host! (it was his n-th time hosting a friend). Our stomachs were constantly stuffed with awesome Manchester food. Between stuffing ourselves and visiting places, I managed to get myself a parking ticket. I could blame no one except for me own stupidity (or maybe it’s the stupid MU’s fault)…I did not display the ticket face up!

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My mere presence (and my deposit in the loo) was not enough to stop MU from taking its 19th title…sighz

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University of Manchester…group photo with Zhi Wei (right photo)


Our next stop was Edinburgh. It was definitely one of the most beautiful cities that I have ever visited. We covered quite a lot in one day, among others the Edinburgh Castle, which sat majestically atop the volcanic Castle Rock; the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the monarch in Scotland; and Calton Hill, which offered spectacular views of the city.


Cannon, Edinburgh Castle


National Monument, Carton Hill


Salisbury Crag and Aurther’s Seat as viewed from Carton Hill


Old town in background


Edinburgh Floral Clock


Perhaps the most anticipated part of the trip was the Scotland highland tour. One of the attractions on the list was the Eilean Donan Castle. It was a place I fell in love in since I saw it on a jigsaw puzzle and had made it the subject of my form 3 oil painting. It felt surreal to finally be able to view it up close, and even entered the castle!!!


National Wallace Monument viewed from Sterling Castle


Sunlight flooding the valley


Eilean Donan Castle!!!


The bridge leading to the castle


The day before we left UK, we still managed to squeeze in Stonehenge and Bath into our schedule…



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To summarize everything in two words: great trip!!!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Power of PS

It’s been a few months since I last posted anything. Well, at least the hiatus is less than a year. A short update, just took my exam yesterday, and sadly it won’t be my last one…but let’s not get into that part.

So I think I should start with my UK trip back in 2010. It was my second time in London, and of course, one of the most famous landmark of the city is the Tower Bridge. Fortunate for us, the sky was gorgeous at that time!!


Blue sky…..yay!

And then, with nothing much to do, we sat there and waited for sunset…


We were awed by what we saw. Since our spirits were still high, we chose to stay at the exact spot for a few more hours. And our patience was rewarded…guess what? We saw aurora borealis!!!


Can you believe our luck????!!!!

Well…I can’t. And you should not too, just like anyone who is older than 3 years old. You might have even detected that there is something wrong with the photos…That’s what I have been doing since exam, learning some photoshop-ing skills. It’s been really fun to see to what extent one can modify a photo. Hopefully my amateurish attempts did fool you guys, even if just for a second :)

Here is the original photo taken back in 2010:


Sunday, September 26, 2010

My new baby

Since I drive so much, and my old car was getting old (mileage approaching 130k), I figured it might be a good idea to buy a new car. Financially I cannot really justify the purchase of a new car, but for my safety sake, and to make my 4.5 hour trip to Michigan more comfortable, I decided to went ahead with the decision.

As it would be my biggest purchase yet, it took me a while to decide what car to buy. Initially I wanted a Honda Civic coupe because it looks super cool, and I don’t mind driving a two door car as firstly, I drive alone most of the times anyways and secondly, a smaller car means a smaller carbon footprint (and less money spent on gas)?


Honda Civic coupe 2010

Then I decided that it would be too expensive to get a Honda if I were to load it with all the goodies I want. I did some searching and found out about Mazda 3, did some more digging and quite like it. Plus, it is cheaper than a Honda Civic, and it comes with more bells and whistles.

                  NA (US), SDN, SAP, s-GT, LHD, 2.5L, 5EAT, Aluminum Metallic M, Black Leather

                   Mazda 3 2011

I was pretty set about getting a Mazda 3, until I came across the US news affordable small cars rankings. Surprisingly, the first in the list was not a Japanese car. Honda Civic coupe and Mazda 3 were both in the top ten, but the first in the list was the Ford Fiesta 2011.

Ford Fiesta? It was the first time I heard of the model, and I was skeptical about the association of Ford with good quality. So I did some more research and found out that it is a model reintroduced to the North America market in summer 2010 after the popularity of the model in Europe. The more I researched, the more I liked the car. And also, the price tag was even lower than a Mazda 3!!! Being a cheap person that demands more for less money, I naturally fell in love with the car. Oh and did I mention it boast 40 mpg on highway?

However, it was the SYNC system available in the car that really caught my eye. With SYNC, you can connect any Bluetooth phone to the car and have hands free conversation on the road. Also, with SYNC you can give voice commands to do things like selecting audio tracks, playing songs by certain artists, and much more. The video below pretty much summarizes what the system is capable of doing:


And also there is this hilarious (and somewhat sarcastic) review of Ford Fiesta by Top Gear, a famous UK auto TV show. I figured I might need to be prepared to be chased by baddies in a shopping mall (or maybe a Normandy landing):


So I ended up being a Ford Fiesta 2011 owner…

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I like the headlights a lot…very futuristic (and hiao)

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Unconventional design


Yup it’s a manual…

So far the car looks and drives great. I still can’t take my eyes off the car and can’t help smiling whenever I see this baby. Let’s hope it will be as durable as a Toyota. Which is what I used to have. LOL…

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Filling in the blanks

So, it’s been a while lol. This blog is so dead that it is alienating even its most ardent fans, to name a few, KY, me and myself. Why didn’t I update my blog more often? I think the reason is that because I was free. Now that my fall exam is approaching, I think I will start updating it more and more often…

I wanted so much to start blogging about something else, but let me go back to where I left off. July 4th as every American know is a holiday, but sadly for me I had to work on July 4th, due to the fact that it was when the quarter end valuation work begins. So Pei Ying drove down to Carmel to visit me. And she rented a beetle!


Py beaming with her VW beetle…

In the past she has been getting some pretty unique cars. Like this one (a Hyundai Genesis coupe?):


So anyways I worked half day one Sunday, and in the afternoon we went to Greenwood (like Birch Run) to do some shopping. On our way back we stopped at Indianapolis to catch Toy Story III before we went to the Monument Circle to wait for the July 4th fireworks. IMO the performance was really mediocre, and was nothing compared to those extravaganzas in Asia. But at least it wasn’t raining this year…


Dinner from Au Bon Pain


The crowd (above), and the fireworks (below):

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Home sweet home

Went home in May. In the span of the 2 weeks back, I did nothing much except enjoying home as much as possible. It was too hot to go out anyways :D Since I’ve already posted most of my photos on Facebook, I will just show some of the pictures I’ve taken at home here.

Let’s start with some priceless artworks in my house:


“Eilean Donan Castle”, oil, 2000


Untitled, oil, 2003


“Jardin d'Eden”, oil, 2010

ok just kidding. That’s the yard of my house. There used to be two mango trees in the yard, now gone. The one left standing is a Rambutan tree.


Some green Rambutans


…and red ones!!! That good looking bunch actually ended up in my stomach…


Papaya tree. Not my favorite fruit.


Tomatoes. They were really much smaller than how they look like here…

Other small things around my house…

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Lastly, at home there’s always newspaper to look forward to in the morning…