Stupid Genius

Making mistakes is our rights, Learning from them is our responsibilty.

"Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration" - Thomas A Edison

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Location: Singapore

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spotted this in the Dhoby Ghaut MRT toilet.


I have 2 things to say to that.

1) Don't bullshit me. Other than this asking people to use toilet paper frugally, thus saving some money, what other things have you (Dhoby Ghaut MRT) done to go green? Of course you couldn't put a notice in the toilet that say, "Please do not waste toilet paper as it cost me money", but I am sure there are other nicer ways to say.

2) I hate this centralized toilet paper idea. Other than saving some little money on the toilet paper holder, it really inconvenience people.

A long time ago, there is no such big roll of toilet paper, so when this big roll of paper came out, some toilets put this 1 big roll in a centralized location in the toilet instead of 1 small roll in each cubicle.

I don't know, is it that some people think that having centralized toilet paper saves money? It actually waste more. Nobody want to take too little toilet paper to the cubicle, so what do they do? They unroll a whole big stack to bring into the cubicle and use only 10% of it. the other 90% is thrown onto the floor. Talk about a waste of money. And since now 1 big toilet paper roll is servicing several cubicles, they got used up faster. A lot of times the cleaner did not realize the roll is finished and there's no toilet paper when you need it. They should just put the big roll of toilet paper each cubicle.

Monday, January 20, 2014

During my last China trip to Guangzhou, I observed 2 things which I thought China did quite well in their national education.

1) Annie sometimes brought me to travel on the mrt. The crowd in Guangzhou mrt is most probably worse than that In Singapore. On 1 mrt ride, where it's pretty crowded, I saw people trying to squeeze onto the train. They will be calling out to people inside to squeeze in more so that there's space for them to come in, and people in the grain generally comply. And they they can't squeeze any more, they'll say it out loud, and the person trying to come in will stop trying.

I can imagine a similar situation in Sg. where we won't call out to people in the train to squeeze, we'll just try to push our way in. And when it's too tight to squeeze, we probably won't tay it out loud. We'll be cursing under our breadth at the person, or shout at the person rudely.

China seems more civil than us for this. Of course, this could be my experience alone.

2) Annie brought me to KTV with her friends. One of them selected a few national songs. I can't imagine any of my friends choosing such songs. And if someone really did so, that person will be looked at with dread. But Annie and her friends just join in to sing the song happily.

Friday, January 17, 2014

I went to China recently. To Guangzhou(广州) and Lijiang(丽江) from 27/12 till 6/1. As I can't upload images to fb on the go in China, here will be where I log down what I did. This page may take some time to load, there's quite a lot of images.

Day 0 Setting off
[IMAGE: Air ticket stub]
It's a 22:05 flight, and I went to airport directly from office after work. I am supposed reach Guangzhou at 2:05am.

[IMAGE: 3 for the price of 1]
I am lucky enough that this flight is pretty empty and I get 3 seats to myself.

[IMAGE: Guangzhou hotel room]
Annie has helped me booked a room at Huamei(华美) hotel. However, as I checked in so late, and they couldn't contact Annie for confirmation, they have already let go of her booking. This hotel has a new wing where the rooms are not so accessible, need to climb a few flights of stairs plus a pretty long walk. These rooms are cheaper, and that is what she booked for me. I ended up with the 20rmb more expensive room that is pretty near the lift. The panaroma stiching in this pic makes things looked warped. :P

Day 1 Guangzhou
For day 1, Annie brought me to this restaurant opposite the hotel for lunch. No pics taken. Then we went to this park, where I forgot the name.

[IMAGE: Some park pictures]

[IMAGE: Some park pictures]

[IMAGE: Some park pictures]
The pavilions are supposed to be historical structures and is protected. We can't go inside, can only take pictures from outside.

[IMAGE: Some park pictures]

[IMAGE: Museum pics]
There's a museum in the park.

[IMAGE: Museum pics]

[IMAGE: Museum pics]

[IMAGE: Museum pics]
This structure is supposed to have some historical significance. Not sure what. :P

[IMAGE: Museum pics]
I forgot to take pictures of the museum building. But I found it in 1 of the exhibits in the museum.

[IMAGE: Museum pics]

[IMAGE: Museum pics]

[IMAGE: Museum pics]

[IMAGE: Museum pics]

[IMAGE: Museum pics]

[IMAGE: More park pics]
This wall looks like a mini great wall of China. :P My friend who has lived in Beijing for a long time thought I went to Beijing when she saw this pic. Haha!

[IMAGE: More park pics]
This is a nice looking tea house.

[IMAGE: More park pics]

[IMAGE: More park pics]

After this, we went for dinner, and had a ktv with her friends till 2am. And supper at the shop beside my hotel. Had some cooked oysters, yummy! Forgot to take pics. :P

Day 2 Guangzhou, off to Lijiang
As we by the time we sleep is quite late, I didn't see Annie on day 2, and I go to the airport on my own.

[IMAGE: Air ticket]

[IMAGE: Outside Guangzhou airport]
I didn't manage to take a picture of Guangzhou Airport on the way in. This looks like the control tower behind Pullman Hotel, taken from the door in Guangzhou Airport.

[IMAGE: Inside Guangzhou airport]

[IMAGE: Airplane meal]
And I thought there's no airplane meal for internal flights, and I had my meal of dumplings(饺子) before boarding the plane. Was pleasantly surprised to find that they did serve in flight meals.

However, this airline has a funny policy of phones are not allowed to be switched on, not even in flight mode. However, I see some people using tablets around me. I was quite pissed that they allow tablets and not flight mode phones. When they asked to me to switch off my phone, which I complied, and I became restless. I looked in the seat pocket and found that someone has left behind their tablet there. I thought that was lucky and planned to put it in my bag when we leave the plane. Then I got more restless and took out my phone again to continue my movie. I was told to switch off again. This time I tried to reason with them which they refused. I said that if people can use tablets why can't I? They said that that is not mobile phone! The air stewardess add that those specially allowed by the airline. Then I see the lady beside me took out a tablet and use too! This set me thinking. I took out the tablet that I found and look behind. I found a label stating that the tablet belongs to the airline. Haha! So I didn't found any leftover tablet after all. The tablet is actually the in flight entertainment system. No wonder they don't allow phones to be switched off. They want us to use their tablets.

[IMAGE: Lijiang airport]
Lijiang airport is beautiful. Kind of reminds me of the Bhutan airport.

[IMAGE: 他乡故事]
This is the inn that I stayed. I didn't take any day pic of it, so I show this night pic instead, taken on another day. I booked it from the internet as it has good reviews and I wanted a 客栈 kind of inn rather than the normal hotel. This inn is in Dayan Ancient Town (大研古城). Little did I know that, the road to the inn is not accessible by car. We need to alight from the taxi some distance from the inn and walked in. It's a pretty long walk in. But I could have done worse, as I found out on the 2nd day that there are some hotels that are even further in, and on top of a hill. Chugging my luggage to this inn is bad enough, imagine having to bring it up slopes and stairs!

By the way, the red lights in the picture is only switched on when there are guests who are not back yet. Makes it easier to find the inn. When all guests are back, the lights are switched off, and it's all pitch dark.

[IMAGE: 他乡故事-Front desk]
This pic is actually taken on the last day. Haha!

[IMAGE: 他乡故事-2nd floor]
This pic too!

[IMAGE: 他乡故事-2nd floor]
View of the 2nd floor from the courtyard.

[IMAGE: 他乡故事-Court yard]

[IMAGE: 他乡故事-Court yard]

[IMAGE: Tea with boss]
The boss is quite a nice person. he invite us to tea after we checked in.

[IMAGE: Streets of 大研古城]
After tea, we roam the streets of 大研古城.

[IMAGE: 新龙门客栈]
Come across this inn as we wander around. This inn is pretty high up, luckily I didn't book this hotel.

[IMAGE: Dinner]
We had our dinner in one of the restaurants serving local food. It's not exactly cheap, but it's pretty big serving and we can't finish the food. The hotpot is ok, the veggie is not nice.

[IMAGE: Local scripts]
This is Naxi scripts, 纳西文字。 You see them around the place in Lijiang.

[IMAGE: Streets of 大研古城]

After dinner, we went to a local pub, 一米阳光, for a drink only 6 small bottles of light local beer. Apparently this pub is pretty well known.

Day 3 Lijiang(2nd day in Lijiang)
[IMAGE: Breakfast]

Breakfast is provided free by the hotel everyday. Unfortunately, it's the same 3 cold sour dish + porridge + eggs + plain buns (馒头) everyday.

[IMAGE: View from 3 Little Bears (三只小熊)]
We heard that 万古楼 is the highest point in 大研古城, and we decide to go there. For some reason, I feel abit nauseous climbing the stairs. Something like I feel when I had too much alcohol the night before, but I had only about 4 small bottles of light beer! Anyway, I was panting terribly, and it was much better the night before and we were only halfway to the restaurant. So we decide to stop for tea at this place which claims to have a good view of town.

[IMAGE: View from 3 Little Bears (三只小熊)]

[IMAGE: View from 3 Little Bears (三只小熊)]

[IMAGE: Wan Gu Lou (万古楼)]

[IMAGE: View from Wan Gu Lou (万古楼)]
Looks similar to the view from 三只小熊? They are actually quite near to each other and I didn't realize until I reach here, haha! This is actually not 万古楼 yet. This taken from near the main entrance to it. There is still some flights of stairs before we reach the pagoda, and then the viewing point is at the 4th storey.

[IMAGE: View from Wan Gu Lou (万古楼)]

[IMAGE: View from Wan Gu Lou (万古楼)]
I took some pics from the top of 万古楼, but it's not well taken, and therefore this is the only pic uploaded. Can see Mount Yulong(玉龙雪山) quite clearly here.

After coming down from 万古楼, I was feeling quite sick, and we went back to the inn to have a rest before coming out for dinner. I bought some medicine, the pharmacist said it's food poisoning, had a nice merlion experience and feel better.

[IMAGE: Cafe in 大研古城]
After dinner, we had some drinks in a cafe. They sell the coffee bun, aka Roti Boy, there too.

Day 4 Lijiang (3rd)
We booked a 茶马古道 package via the innkeeper. It cost us rmb280 when it advertises at about rmb80 in all tour agencies we saw in the town. According to the innkeeper, the extra we pays goes to:
  1. We have a mini van to ourselves, which means we can start it anytime we want and not have to follow the a fixed schedule.
  2. The lunch is the local 土鸡火锅, which is better than what some other agencies offer.
  3. The boat ride is using a canoe-like boat which has a better experience
  4. We have 1 horse guide to ourselves, compared to 1 guide for 6 horses, which is more dangerous
  5. We have a longer route for the horse ride
I am not sure how significant are the differences, but since the innkeeper is a nice person, I just listened to his recommendations.

[IMAGE: Boat ride]
We set off at about 11am, right after our breakfast. We are not hungry yet, and the horse ride will take 3 hours, by which time, the lunch will be over, so we had the boat ride 1st. Must be the effect of the extra rmb200 what empower us to adjust the schedule as we see fit.

[IMAGE: Boat ride]

[IMAGE: Boat ride]

[IMAGE: Boat ride]

[IMAGE: Boat ride]

[IMAGE: Lunch 土鸡火锅]
The steamboat is ok, not that fantastic.

[IMAGE: Lunch 土鸡火锅]

[IMAGE: 茶马古道]

[IMAGE: 茶马古道]

[IMAGE: 茶马古道]

[IMAGE: 茶马古道]

[IMAGE: 茶马古道]

[IMAGE: 茶马古道]

[IMAGE: 茶马古道]

[IMAGE: Feeding the horse]
Reached the resting point (for the horse)

[IMAGE: 茶马古道 pond]
There's pond in 茶马古道, which they claim is the source of water for Lijiang.

[IMAGE: 茶马古道 pond]

[IMAGE: 茶马古道 pond]

[IMAGE: 茶马古道 pond]
Paying respects to the pond

[IMAGE: 茶马古道 pond]

[IMAGE: 茶马古道 pond]
The water at this spot is supposed to be drinkable. But look, there's money in there!

[IMAGE: 茶马古道 waterfall]
There's a waterfall that feeds the pond.

[IMAGE: 茶马古道 waterfall]

[IMAGE: 茶马古道 waterfall]

[IMAGE: 茶马古道 waterfall]

[IMAGE: 茶马古道]

[IMAGE: 茶马古道]

[IMAGE: 茶马古道]

[IMAGE: 束河古城]
We opt not to return to the inn after 茶马古道. We have the driver drop us off at 束河古城. It's much smaller than 大研古城, and it looks more planned and orderly than 大研古城.

[IMAGE: 束河古城]

[IMAGE: 束河古城]

[IMAGE: 束河古城]

[IMAGE: 束河古城]

[IMAGE: 束河古城]

[IMAGE: 黑龙潭]
From 束河古城, we took a taxi back to 大研古城. We are supposed to alight at 大水车, but due to constructions, we were dropped off a distance away. And due to the changing conditions of the constructions, the signs are all wrong. We spent quite sometime before making it back to 大研古城, and it's not at 大水车. It's somewhere between 黑龙潭 and 大水车.

Some of the parks in Lijiang needs to show the receipt of the 古城维护费 on top of the entrance ticket before you can go in. You can pay for the 古城维护费 in the hotel. 黑龙潭 is free entry, but you will need to show the 古城维护费 receipt. We read in a book that if you want to go in without paying the 古城维护费, you can go after 8pm. We have already bought it, but that information to us, it means that 黑龙潭 is opened even after 8pm.

It was slightly before 7pm at that time and we decided to go to 黑龙潭. From 黑龙潭 to our inn, we will need to pass by 大水车, so it all makes sense.

You can see from the picture that 黑龙潭 is opened when we reach there.

[IMAGE: 黑龙潭]
There's a nice water fountain feature beside the entrance to 黑龙潭, and we took some pics of it.

[IMAGE: 黑龙潭]
Only to find that 黑龙潭 closes at 7pm. Bummer.

[IMAGE: 大水车]
Look! They Mac here! It's only the night before when I commented to my friend that, though we see only local food stalls here, Lijiang being a such a tourism place, should have a Mac.

[IMAGE: 大水车]

[IMAGE: 大水车]
Nice effect on the buildings with the lights.

[IMAGE: 大水车]
The 大水车.

[IMAGE: 大水车]
There are Pizza Hut and KFC here too!

[IMAGE: 大水车]

[IMAGE: Dinner Cross River Noodle 过桥米线]
Dinner is 过桥米线 today. When we went back to the inn, the innkeeper tell us that the locals normally go to this stall that sell at 1/5 of the price we paid.

[IMAGE: Dinner Cross River Noodle 过桥米线]

[IMAGE: Dinner Cross River Noodle 过桥米线]
Origin story of 过桥米线. It's a different version from the one 1 read in Singapore. Haha!

Day 5 Lijiang(4th)
This day is going to be a short entry. Slept late, only went out at 11am.

[IMAGE: Lunch at Pizza Hut]
A bit sick of local food. So it's Pizza Hut for lunch today!

[IMAGE: 黑龙潭]
Since we didn't manage to see 黑龙潭 yesterday, we go back there again.

[IMAGE: 黑龙潭]

[IMAGE: 黑龙潭]

[IMAGE: 黑龙潭]

[IMAGE: 黑龙潭]

[IMAGE: 黑龙潭]

[IMAGE: 黑龙潭]

[IMAGE: 黑龙潭]

[IMAGE: 黑龙潭]

[IMAGE: Steamboat Dinner]
Since it's the New Year today, the innkeeper decided to treat us to 辣排骨火锅 dinner at the inn. 辣排骨 is a local food. It's quite nice. Free flow alcohol. The way they eat steamboat is that you cook and eat the meat first. Then you cook and eat the veggie. It's all green in the pictures because I forgot to take the picture at first.

Day 6 Lijiang(5th)
[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]
I grew up in a tropical city. I've not seen snow all my life. The reason for going China at this time is partly I thought I might see snow, or at least spend time in a cold country. So to visit a snow capped mountain is going to be the highlight of this trip.

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]
We took the cable car up. There's 3 routes. We took the longest route.

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]
The ugly orange coat is provided by the tour agency.

[IMAGE: Oxygen Cannister]
So is this oxygen canister.

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]
We were at 4506m above sea level.

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]
The tour guide says, "看自己的身体怎么样,能爬多高就爬多高". I didn't really climb up. Was walking up halfway when a cold gust of wind blows, and I see that my friend is struggling, so I tell her that we shall forget about going to the top and head back.

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]
After the mountain, it's lunch, followed by the 印象丽江 performance. However, we were late and has to go to a later show, and the tour guide bring us here to take pictures.

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]

[IMAGE: Mount Yulong 玉龙雪山]

[IMAGE: 印象丽江]
印象丽江 is an outdoor performance designed by Zhang Yimou (张艺谋). He designed the stage against the backdrop of Mount Yulong, which makes it very grand. The cast are made up of locals, members of the minority tribes in Yunnan, dancing their tradditional dance, telling us about their way of life.

[IMAGE: 印象丽江]

[IMAGE: 印象丽江]

[IMAGE: 印象丽江]

[IMAGE: 印象丽江]

[IMAGE: 印象丽江]

[IMAGE: 印象丽江]

[IMAGE: 印象丽江]

[IMAGE: 印象丽江]

[IMAGE: 印象丽江]

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]
Next stop is to 蓝月谷. The lakes there are very beautiful!

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]
This is a panorama stich of 2 pictures. You can see that they 2 pics are taken with different aperture/shuttle speed settings.

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]
This is another badly stiched picture...

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]
I found snow on some parts of 蓝月谷. They are very small patches of snow. Just enough to create an impression that I go I am at a place with a lot of snow.

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]

[IMAGE: 蓝月谷]

Day 7 Lijiang back to Guangzhou
It's the last day of our stay in Lijiang. Woke up pretty early this morning to walk my friend to the main road to take the taxi to the airport.

[IMAGE: Last breakfast]
I was pretty sick of the hotel breakfast, when I remembered the innkeeper mentioned to me before he lead a simple life had instant noodles for lunch sometimes. So I asked him where I can buy instant noodles as I would like that for breakfast. So he go buy 3 packets and have me cook it for our breakfast. :)

[IMAGE: Lijiang Airport]
The view outside the airport.

[IMAGE: Lijiang Airport]

[IMAGE: Lijiang Airport]

[IMAGE: Last meal]
This is my last meal in Lijiang for this trip. It's a pretty big bowl!

When I got to Guangzhou, I checked in to the same hotel. I took the room in the new wing this time. The old rooms has risen by 20rmb as well, so now the new room is cheaper by 40rmb and is bigger.

Annie came bring me for out for dinner, and we go meet her friends for more KTV and beer and supper.

Day 8 Guangzhou
At first, we planned to go 长隆 theme park. But Xuanxuan, Annie's friend, said that she wanted to do bungee jump, which is at 白云山.

[IMAGE: Mount Baiyun 白云山]
We took the cable up to the top, and slowly walk down. Bungee jump is at the middle of the mountain.

[IMAGE: Mount Baiyun 白云山]

[IMAGE: Mount Baiyun 白云山]

[IMAGE: Mount Baiyun 白云山]

[IMAGE: Mount Baiyun 白云山]

[IMAGE: Mount Baiyun 白云山]

[IMAGE: Bungee]

[IMAGE: Bungee]

[IMAGE: Bungee]

[IMAGE: Bungee]

[IMAGE: Bungee]

[IMAGE: Bungee]
To be honest, I wasn't too keen to do the jump this time. I was concerned about the safety, it being in China. But Xuanxuan went ahead and pay for my jump, so I thought, "what the heck"!

[IMAGE: Bungee Video]

Password: aWenHaoShuai
This video is taken by the Bungee people. Cost rmb60 to buy from them. They also took pictures of jumpers, which cost rmb30 for the set. Mine had about 19 pictures. All rmb90 paid by Annie. :D

[IMAGE: Lunch]
There's an eatery somewhere near the bungee place, and we had dimsum there.

[IMAGE: Mount Baiyun 白云山]
Continue down the mountain.

[IMAGE: Mount Baiyun 白云山]

[IMAGE: Mount Baiyun 白云山]

[IMAGE: Mount Baiyun 白云山]

[IMAGE: Mount Baiyun 白云山]

After we left 白云山, Xuanxuan has to go catch a train to Shenzhen. Annie and me go back to the hotel to check out, and she drop me off at this Sauna place.

Day 9 Guangzhou. Going back Singapore
[IMAGE: Sauna]
This is a family style place. No hanky panky, at least I didn't see any. But I do see people come with girlfriends, wifes and children. In the sauna area, there's 2 hot water pool and 1 cold water pool. The hot water pools are at 37 and 40 degree, while the cold water pool is at 15 degree. It's so cold. I couldn't stand being in there for more than 1 minute. The 37degree pool comes with the water jet spray thingy. After I am done with pool, I head to the meal area. They serve food buffet style round the clock. Only at the times where they are preparing the food where meal is not available.

They had quite a number of mahjong rooms, and a snooker room, and a gym. Obviously I can't play mahjong and snooker as I was alone, and I am not up to chatting up strangers. I am not a gym person either.

There's a movie theatre and a resting room. Both these rooms have airplane first class kind of seat, where it's so comfy that you can sleep in it. They also have charging cable beside each seat so that you can charge your phone. In the movie theatre, they screen movies at a screen that fills the wall. In the resting room, each seat has it's own tv where u can watch the various channels in China. The charge was rmb230+ per 24hour with $30+ as service charge.

[IMAGE: Sauna]
About 24 hours later, I leave the place. They told me I was 7 minutes late and I have to pay for the 2nd day. That I can leave the place for awhile and come back later. But I can't come back later as I am catching a flight that night home. And it's abit ridiculous to charge me 1 day for 7 minutes, so I asked the lady to go talk to his manager about it. In fact, I also realize that the time on my phone, where is sync with the telco, is earlier than the time reflected on the receipt as my checkout time. Their clock were fast, that's why I was late! Anyway, good sense prevailed, and the manager waive off my 2nd day charge.

Annie come join me for dinner and we chit chat till about 12, when we parted and I hail a cab to the airport.

[IMAGE: Airport]

[IMAGE: Airport]

[IMAGE: Airport]

Finally it's time to go home. My flight was at 2:05am, but it was delayed, and I only managed to board the plane at abt 2:40am. I reached Singapore slightly before 7am. I went home to put down my stuff and head to office to work.