Saturday, December 31, 2016

Flight Reports Overview 2016 - Happy New Year and Best Wishes for 2017!

2016 would be remembered for Brexit, Trump's stunning victory, Carrie Fisher's passing, just to mention a few.  For myself, I thank God that 2016 has been another fruitful year, one that has passed by very quickly during to a hectic schedule. In 2016, new experiences were Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, Turkish Airlines (Economy) and Vietnam Airlines (Economy and Business).  Repeats included AirAsia, British Airways and Singapore Airlines.  All these trips have allowed me to continue my hobby of publishing Flight Review videos on YouTube - Guitar Singapore Travels - now exceeds 4.6 Million views (as at end Dec 2016).  Thank you viewers, for all your support!  And most grateful to God for the opportunity to travel and for the many new experiences!  

On this summary blog post, I post a summary of the various flights that I have enjoyed in 2016 as well as the memorable moment or learning point for each flight mentioned. The year started with an AirAsia flight from Singapore to Langkawi, Malaysia . Memorable moment, cabin crew were still serving the pre-ordered food even as the plane descended into landing.  I had food as the plane landed!  (Technically a safety breach)

The return flight from Langkawi to Singapore was on SilkAir, fully owned subsidiary of SIA.  I've not flown SilkAir in many years and couldn't remember what it was like.  Memorable moment - no In-Flight Entertainment system but I could use my own phone to watch some movies.

Next, was a long-haul trip to Washington DC, flying Singapore Airlines Business Class to London, before transferring to Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to DC.  This would be a long flight, across many time zones! This first video is Part 1 of the SQ 306 Singapore to London flight.  Memorable moment - caught up on many movies, including Star Wars Episode 7.

I had read so much about the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow, and so it was a real privilege to be able to use the Heathrow Terminal 3 Club House for a few hours before my connecting flight on Virgin Atlantic to Washington DC.  Memorable moment - the lounge serves a mean breakfast! This is arguably the best Business Class lounge in London Heathrow. 

Flying from London Heathrow to Washington DC was on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, my first time on this premium product.  Memorable in many ways, including this wonderful afternoon tea service which I had on board prior to landing.  Service was very good too!  I enjoyed my flight, but certainly didn't enjoy the almost 2 hour wait time at Dulles International to clear immigration.  (No Fast Track either!)

The return trip from Washington DC to Singapore was the reverse order of flight - Virgin Atlantic from Washington to London Heathrow, followed by Singapore Airlines from Heathrow to Singapore. But before that, I spent a few hours at the Virgin Atlantic Dulles Clubhouse, and this experience was awesome!  Food was great and so were the craft beers (Flying Dog Seasonal Hop).

From London Heathrow, I took the Singapore Airlines SQ 305 flight back to Singapore. It was on a retrofitted Boeing 777-300ER and I managed to snag seat 11K which was super private and comfortable, right at the front of the Business class section and just behind the First Class cabin (which had only four seats).  Awesome!

In the middle of the year, we tried something new - Turkish Airlines!  We had to make our way to Copenhagen, Denmark, for a cruise to the Baltic Seas.  We chose Turkish due to the good price and the fact that we could return from London Heathrow.  This was the almost brand-new Turkish Airlines plane we sat for the Singapore to Istanbul Leg, on flight TK55 out of Singapore.  Interesting experience with interesting food.  Memorable moment - Turkish Airlines have flying chefs and they serve passengers in Economy class too.

The second leg of the flight from Istanbul to Copenhagen proved to be interesting because one of our seats was missing a seat cushion!  Definitely a first for us.

After our cruise, we made our way from Copenhagen to London, by plane.  The flight was with British Airways BA815 (Airbus A320), and it was a glorious sunny day in Copenhagen.  Even though it was a relatively short flight, we still got something to eat, and I even managed to get whiskey to go with my coffee. Hilarious me. (We bought a one-way ticket from Copenhagen to London)

Flying back to Singapore from London Gatwick, was our return leg on Turkish Airlines.  This was our first time flying out of Gatwick (in many years) and I didn't like the experience much.  The airport was really far away. Anyway, Gatwick aside, the flight back to Singapore via Istanbul was fine.  The first leg on TK 1998 from London Gatwick to Istanbul on an Airbus A321-200.  This regional jet had personal In-Flight Entertainment system installed.

From Istanbul to Singapore, we flew on TK54, which was also an Airbus A330 (similar to the one we flew Singapore to Istanbul). The Economy seating was in a 2-4-2, which was more comfortable.   I must say that after flying a few times on Turkish Airlines, the food (in Economy class) started to taste the same.  Not that it was bad, but the taste was very similar across flights. (Yes, I got bored)

On a whim, we decided to take a short family holiday in Hanoi, flying Vietnam Airlines!  Fun and exciting.  It would be our first time on Vietnam Airlines, and we had no idea what to expect.  It turned out to be very good, given the price.  Food was good and service was also very good, given that this was a 3 hour regional flight.  The aircraft used was an Airbus A321, Flight VN 660.

The return flight from Hanoi to Singapore was also good.  On this flight, we had an interesting dessert, which I don't know the name in Vietnamese.  We have similar desserts in Singapore, but the concoction provided on the aircraft was nice.  Also tried Halida beer!

Towards the end of the year, it was a real privilege to fly again in premium cabins.  This was on the new Singapore Airlines Capital Express, connecting Singapore with Canberra (capital of Australia) and Wellington (capital of New Zealand).  This flight route started in mid Sep 2016. The video below was Part 2 of the Singapore to Canberra leg, which they call a sleeper service.  I booked the cook (choosing a beef dish called Soya Beef), which ended up being my breakfast before landing!

On the flight back to Singapore from Wellington, I spent some time at the Air New Zealand Business Lounge in Wellington before boarding the plane.  It was a decent lounge.  Star Alliance Gold members could also gain access to this lounge.

The first leg coming home was Wellington to Canberra.  SQ 292 would depart Wellington for Canberra at around 2100hrs local time. This was a relatively short 3 hour leg. A full meal (dinner) was served on board and I thoroughly enjoyed the food and service.  After the dinner, I managed to grab a 1 hour nap before the aircraft arrived in Canberra.

The next leg was Canberra to Singapore.  This was a sleeper service, as the aircraft departed Canberra in the early hours of the morning.  Given that I had a full meal on the previous leg, I wasn't hungry, therefore I chose to go to sleep shortly after take-off, and have a full meal just before landing.  Food was good, service was great.  Well done, Singapore Airlines.

And finally, the last trip of the year (with the family), was again on Vietnam Airlines, this time to London Heathrow!  Now, doesn't that sound exotic.  Yes, we fly Vietnam Airlines to London, from Singapore.  The first leg up was Singapore to Ho Chi Minh.  But before the flight, we checked out the SATS Premier Lounge at Changi Terminal 3, which came with Osim Foot Massagers and chair massagers.

The first leg was Singapore to Ho Chi Minh, on a regional Airbus A321.  Of course, being in Business class, we sat in front.  I found it interesting that the Business Class cabin only had 2 rows of seats, in a 2-2 configuration, with 8 seats in total. Service was good, meal was good!

We had a rather long layover at Ho Chi Minh before the next flight.  No worries, we camped at the Lotus Lounge, which was nicely decorated with decent food, especially Vietnamese Pho.  Wifi connection was very strong, so the time passed quickly.  Here is the video of Lotus Lounge.

Finally, it was time for the Ho Chi Minh to London Heathrow leg.  This was the exciting part of the trip because we would be flying on a brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner which uses the latest Business class product for Vietnam Airlines!  Yes, it was the reverse herringbone 1-2-1 configuration.  The seat could easily turn into a flat bed, which was very good for a long flight of 13 hours. Flight VN 51 would bring us to London Heathrow, and it was a very good experience indeed.

In part 2 of the Ho Chi Minh to London leg, I called it Bed and Breakfast because I took a closer look at the bed.  At first, I could not deploy the bed fully into a lie-flat position and I wondered if my bed was not working properly. Turns out that it was my own fault. My backpack and shoes were blocking the way!  Silly me.  I also show you the wonderful Vietnamese Pho we had for breakfast.  It was an awesome experience and I drank up all the soup.  My first time experience Vietnamese Pho on board an aircraft - only on Vietnam Airlines, of course.

After our holiday in the UK, it was time to fly back to Singapore.  Vietnam Airlines operates from Heathrow Terminal 4.  Before the flight, we spent some time at the SkyTeam lounge, which frankly was a tad disappointing.  Food at breakfast wasn't great, the coffee machines weren't working properly and the empty cups were not re-filled.  The lounge looked pretty though, with the green walls.

This time round, we would fly to Hanoi first, before heading back to Singapore.  Yes, it was the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, though this time the plane was a bit older (more than 1 year), but hey, we were flying in Business Class so can't complain!  Looking back, it is a great privilege and humbling to be able to do this as a family.  This was a day flight (departing LHR at 1100hrs), so we didn't sleep very much on board.  Spent the time watching movies and day-dreaming.

We arrived in Hanoi on schedule (5 AM local time) and had plenty of time to kill because our next flight home wasn't till 1050hrs local time.  Thankfully, the Lotus Lounge in Hanoi was a nice place to chill for many hours, and I captured our experience in the video below. When we arrived shortly after 5, the lounge doors were opened but everything was still dark.  The staff had just arrived and were setting up.  Fortunately, they let us go in and rest.  Later on, all of us took a shower.  What was memorable in the lounge was instant noodles and instant Vietnamese pho.  You had to prepare the noodles yourself, using hot water from an electric flask, and then using the micro-wave to further heat the noodles up.  First time I see this in a Business Lounge - Fascinating.

Our final flight for the year, Vietnam Airlines Hanoi to Singapore.  This flight was completely full! Flight to Singapore was about 3 hours.  Meal service was efficient and thereafter, I managed to get a nap, before arrival in Singapore.

That's it! This wraps up my flight travels for the year 2016.  Looking back, it was a wonderful year of flying, with many new experiences and learning points.  Grateful for the opportunity and thank God for journey mercies, and the ability to see and experience so many new things.  I do not know what 2017 will bring, but I trust the Lord to open and close doors as He sees fit.  Wishing one and all peace, and a very fruitful and healthy 2017 ahead.

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2017.  Thanks for reading.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Vietnam Airlines Business Class Singapore to London Heathrow Dreamliner Flight Part 2

Blessed Christmas one and all.  This post continues from my previous post (Part 1), where I showed you our flight from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh.  Recap, we flew on an Airbus A321, from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh, and had a restful time at the Lotus Lounge in Ho Chi Minh.  Now it was time to board the Vietnam Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner bound for London Heathrow!

Vietnam Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
In the following two videos, I show you the complete experience of flying with Vietnam Airlines in her premium cabins on an almost brand new Boeing 787-9 aircraft.  We flew from Gate 20, which was a very short walk from the Lotus Lounge.  The Business class on this Vietnam Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner was the industry leading reverse herringbone configuration, with a 1-2-1 configuration, where every passenger had direct aisle access.  As expected, the seat felt very private. In the first video, I show you the boarding (we boarded early, at the first call for Business class passengers), and quickly settled into our seats.  Even though it was late, and we were tired, there was still a palpable sense of excitement!  A welcome drink was served (I took a champagne) and newspapers were handed out. I show you the amenity kit, which came in a very nice bag.  After take-off, the crew came around to take orders for supper.  I show you the supper, which was pretty good! This was a red-eye flight so the service was faster than a non red-eye flight.  Useful because passengers would want to eat and then go to sleep.

Part 2 - Bed and Breakfast

I show you in some detail the lie-flat bed.  In fact, I had experienced some problems with it because I could not deploy the bed fuller.  I soon realised that it was my own fault, I put my backpack and shoes in front of me and the bed could not fully deploy!  I show you with some detail on how to avoid this situation.  I also show you the wonderful breakfast we had on board, it was the Vietnamese Pho! Awesome breakfast.  The soup tasted great.  I drank up every drop.  Check out Vietnam Airlines Business Class on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner!  Very cool.

Thanks very much for watching & hope you have a Blessed Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Singapore Airlines Business Class Wellington-Canberra-Singapore Capital Express

After a successful trip to Wellington, it was time to head home.  This is the return flight, on the Singapore Airlines Capital Express, connecting Singapore-Canberra-Wellington, the capital cities of Singapore, Australia and New Zealand respectively.

Intercontinental Hotel, New Zealand
In Wellington, I stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel, which was the biggest hotel in town, so I was told.  This video review shows you the deluxe room that I stayed in. You could watch TV from the shower, quite neat.

Wellington Airport Air New Zealand Business Lounge
The airport was not too far away from the hotel.  I took a cab, and the cost was about NZ$30.  Wellington Airport is not a big airport.  In face, the runway at Wellington Airport was rather short, under 2,000M!  Good thing the Boeing 777-200 aircraft used by SQ on this route could still land and take off safely.  Check-in at the airport was smooth and very soon, I was resting in the lounge, waiting for my flight.  Singapore Airlines uses the Air New Zealand Business Lounge, and here is a review of the lounge.

Singapore Airlines SQ 292 Wellington to Canberra
The first leg of this flight from Wellington to Canberra.  This was a 3 hour flight, and a very good dinner was served on board.  For this flight, I had an empty seat beside me, so that made the flight even more comfortable!

The plane landed in Canberra and we had to transit for about 1 hour and 15 min.  There was no lounge for premium passengers at the Canberra airport transit area, however, I found out that Business class passengers got an A$20 credit to buy food and drinks at the bar, which was located in the middle of the lounge.   As I was very full, I did not utilize this perk.

SQ 292 Canberra to Singapore
Soon it was time to board the flight for Singapore. This time round, the flight was around 8 hours.  By this time, I was more tired.  Similar to the earlier experience, passengers were given the option of going to sleep immediately after take-off, and take our meal only before landing.  I chose this option because I was already very full from the earlier Wellington-to-Canberra leg.  I had a good sleep, and was woken up about 1.5hours before landing.  Breakfast was pretty good.  I had the noodle option.

Landing was very smooth and I was home!

Thanks for watching.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Vietnam Airlines Business Class Singapore to London Heathrow Flight Reviews Part 1

We fly Vietnam Airlines (SkyTeam Alliance), Singapore to London Heathrow and return.  Excited!  This was the first time the entire family was flying together in a premium cabin, to anywhere.  So, let's get started.  From a cost point of view, this trip was made possible because Vietnam Airlines offers very competitive fares (by Business class standards) on the Singapore-London route.  So, we decided to give it a try.

SATS Premier Lounge
Our trip started with a visit to the lounge at Singapore Changi Terminal 3.  Vietnam Airlines (and a good number of other airlines) use this lounge, which is located right beside the Krisflyer Gold lounge.  The lounge wasn't too crowded when we were there.  It had a decent selection of hot food (including mee siam).  These Osim leg massagers as well as the Osim massage chairs kept my kids busy for a bit.

Vietnam Airlines Business Class Singapore to Ho Chi Minh
Airbus A321, Flight Time- 2 hours

Our first leg of the flight was to Ho Chi Minh.  The aircraft used was a relatively old Airbus A321. Curious that this version of the A321 had only 2 rows of Business class seats, in a 2-2 configuration, in front of the plane, making a total of only 8 Business class seats.  I was surprised because I had thought there were 4 rows.  The seats were wide and comfortable enough for a regional flight, however, they were old-school, and there was no individual inflight entertainment system.

Overall, service was very good for the short flight, even though the flight started out a little bumpy.   The usual hot towel and welcome drink (I got champagne) was served.  We had 3 choices for food, and the taste was not too bad.  More details in the video below.

Bus ride from plane to Terminal
Upon landing, there was no aerobridge, and passengers had to disembark via staircase and take a bus to the terminal.  Disembarkation is always tricky with stairs, because of cabin luggage.  Thankfully we made it.  Not sure how it is done if the passenger has difficulty climbing stairs!  For Business class passengers, there was a separate bus catered just for us.  So the 6 pax in Business took one small bus to the terminal, which meant we did not have to wait for the rest of the passengers and we arrived at the terminal very quickly.  Here is a video of the planes I saw on the way.  The bus had to stop because an Emirates Boeing 777 jet was pulling into an aerobridge.  If the bus didn't stop and we got in front of the jet, we may be sucked into (or blown away) the jet engines.

Lotus Lounge Ho Chi Minh Airport
The lounge was rather crowded when we got there.  Fortunately, the far end of the lounge was still empty and the four of us could find a very nice corner to park ourselves.  We would be here for quite some time (the layover was more than 6 hours!) because we arrived at around 7PM local time and the flight was not till close to 1AM the next morning.  If you were wondering why the flight connection time was so bad, well the answer was that we chose it to save money.  There was a later flight from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh that arrived at around 9pm.  However, taking the earlier flight saved us a few hundred dollars.  Since we had access to a lounge, why not.  Just chill, we were on holiday.

This review gives you a good overview of the lounge.  We enjoyed the hot Vietnamese Pho, even though we weren't very hungry as we had just had food on the plane.

In the next blog post, I will show you the Ho Chi Minh to London leg, this time on a brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.  But before I go, here is a video of us walking to the Lotus Lounge, while in Ho Chi Minh terminal.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Adblue Refill Experience Audi A6 Estate Car Diesel 2016 Model Rental Car

Audi A6 Estate Car Diesel - Rental Car for 10 Days - Virgin Adblue Refill Experience

Did a driving tour around UK in the winter of 2016. Even though it was winter (shorter hours for light), we decided to do a leisurely driving holiday around the UK, all the way to Scotland (Glasgow, Edinburgh) and back to London.  We landed, picked up the rental car at London Heathrow Airport from SIXT, and we were on our way.  The objective of this post is to show you the car, as well as the most challenging Adblue re-fill experience.

The Audi A6 car in a parking lot.  A6 car was long.

Rear view of the A6.

The car was almost brand new, with just over 3,000 miles on the odometer.  Plenty of gadgets to play with, including a very useful Satellite Navigation system that brought us to our destinations efficiently.  The car was roomy and the boot (or trunk) space was very good.  We had plenty of luggage.  Here is a video of the car, including the Sat-Nav system.

What is Adblue? This is a Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). DEF is used as a consumable in selective catalytic reduction (SCR) in order to lower NOx concentration in the diesel exhaust emissions from diesel engines.  How did this Adblue situation come about?  Well, shortly after I got the car and I was driving out from London towards Stonehenge, an Adblue warning indicator came out, telling me to refill the Adblue tank.  It said Adblue range 1,500 miles or was it 1,200 miles.  At first I ignored it, but something was nagging at me.  So in the evening, I went to read about Adblue and Audi online, and I soon learnt that if the Adblue tank dried up, the engine wouldn't start.  Well, 1,500 miles sounded like a far enough distance to cover my planned route. (Distance from London to Edinburgh was about 400 miles), but still I didn't like to live on the edge.

Then things got worse.  The Adblue warning kept showing up and the range dropped faster than the distance I had travelled.  At first, I thought I remembered wrongly since I wasn't paying too much attention to the Adblue indicator. Then I decided to pay more attention.  So I started the day, with the Adblue Range saying 1,200 miles.  By the end of that day, the warning indicator said 900 miles and I was very sure I had not done 300 miles that day.  The maximum I drove was 200 miles.  Now, this was worrying.  I wasn't confident I had 900 miles more to go, and I was in Scotland, and we were barely at the half way mark of our driving holiday.

Calling SIXT hotline
So, I called the SIXT hotline.  Had to wait to get through to an agent.  Thankfully I had free minutes on my UK SIM card which I didn't plan to use, so I didn't mind the wait.  (10 minutes or so?) I got through and was told that I might have to fill up the Adblue tank on my own. And to assist me, they would get an Audi technician to call me.  Oh, ok.  True enough, the Audi technician called me within the hour, and true enough, I was told to refill the Adblue myself and to claim the Adblue cost from the car rental company when I returned the car.

Alright, didn't sound too difficult.  But here came the twists.  This is the video that shows me refilling the Adblue after dark, while in Scotland.  Be warned, the video is kind of suggestive, especially the blue filler pipe.  Anyway, this shows you in great detail, how I managed to fill up the Adblue tank.

First Twist - Adblue Cap Couldn't Open
The Adblue cap (which was adjacent to the Diesel cap) couldn't be opened using my bare hands.  Audi technician told me to retrieve the wrench from the boot.  I couldn't find the wrench and was told to check the spare tyre . I still couldn't find it and I was told to REMOVE the spare tyre to look underneath.  I finally found it.  Removing the spare tyre in winter, wasn't too fun, but I did it.

Second Twist - 15L of Adblue Required! 
Audi technician told me to fill the Adblue tank with at least 15L of Adblue, otherwise the warning indicator may not go away. Ouch.  I thought maybe filling it up with 3L or 5L would suffice, but 15L?  Ok, that sounds like a challenge.  I went to a nearby gas station and I could only find 10L Adblue bottles.  So I bought 2 such 10L bottles.  They were heavy.

Third Twist - Hard to Fill  Adblue Tank
I thought re-filling the Adblue would be easy, since filling the car up with Diesel was so easy.  Boy, I was wrong.  I had to physically pour the Adblue solution into the Adblue tank using this blue filler device, and the flow of the Adblue was very slow.  You have to watch the video to understand why. The filler device was long and very tight-fitting.  Due to the design, very little air could escape as I filled the tank, making the progress very slow.  A lot of wiggling and jiggling! I managed to sort it out, finally.

Fortunately, everything worked.  I filled the tank up with about 15L of Adblue and the warning indicator went away.  When I returned the car, I claimed back the cost of the Adblue (each bottle cost 11 pounds). I had sent an email earlier to SIXT to register my feedback but I was never given an explanation why the Adblue tank was not filled up prior to SIXT handing over the car to me for my 10 day rental.  Of course, I could have made a big deal out of this, but since I managed to get the Adblue sorted, I figured no point raising a ruckus and ruining my holiday.

Audi at fault? - Adlue Range too Low? 
Furthermore, when I was reading through all the Internet documentation on Audi and Adblue, I learnt that an Audi A6 on a full Adblue tank was supposed to last up to 10,000 miles. When I got the car, the odometer only showed slighly more than 3,000 miles.  I could not reasonably fault the SIXT people for not re-filling the Adblue tank.

All that said, SIXT and other car rental companies should really pay more attention to this Adblue issue.  Hirers like myself rent the car for extended periods, and want to drive many miles.  If the Adblue indicator comes up, the car hirer needs to know what to do, otherwise he or she would face inconvenience or worse, the car may stall completely because the Adblue warning light was ignored.

Car hirers, take note. If you rent a car with an Adblue tank, you should be aware of what needs to be done.

Audi Car Adblue Design Flaws
Since I have gone through this Adblue experience, here are the design issues that Audi should seriously think of how to improve.

First, there needs to be a better Adblue indicator on just how much Adblue there is left in the 17L Adblue tank.  I read that the first warning only comes up when the Adblue falls to the reserve level, and the car has just 1,500 miles more to go.  Since Adblue is as important as Diesel (because without Adblue the car will not start), why did Audit not have a running indicator (like the Diesel tank) to show how much Adblue is left?  Why wait till only 1,500 miles range to show Adblue?

Second, please design the Adblue cap for easier opening.  Even if the cap requires a special tool, can this tool not be hidden under the car tyre?  Getting the tool was no easy task.  I had to remove all my luggage (which was a lot) and then open up the base of the boot and remove the spare tyre to get the tool.  This wasn't fun at all in winter.

Third, filling up a large quantity of Adblue, like 15L at one go, was no joke.  The bottles were heavy and the flow of Adblue into the tank was slow.  Worse, I was told by the Audi technician to fill at least 15L otherwise it may be futile.  Why was the Adblue system designed like this?

Anyway, the above are my bugbears.  I don't own an Audi car and I have no plans to buy one.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Ms Aung San Suu Kyi Visit Singapore Local Market Ghim Moh plus Food Videos

A rare visit by a famous foreign dignitary to our very own local Ghim Moh Market!  This famous person was none other than Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, who was in Singapore for an official visit at the invitation of our Prime Minister.   This morning, she visited the Ghim Moh Market and even had breakfast, featuring local delights, at the food centre!  I was there for my normal breakfast when I spotted this large group of people (including media), gathered at the drop-off point at the nearby HDB estate, waiting for some VIP to arrive.   What a treat to see Ms Aung at such close range.  Awesome!

Now, what so great about Ghim Moh Food Center?  Well, it is an awesome place to get food!  Here let me post some videos.  First, how about some prawn noodles?  Yes, prawn noodles, dry.

Next, let's check out some hot and fluffy pancakes from Granny's pancakes. Very nice to eat, but surely high in calories too.

Care for some delicious carrot cake? It is an awesome place to get carrot cake and many other dishes too.

And some noodles, or Mee Pok Dry. I patronize this store often. It is very nice.


Won-ton Noodles - Kong Shang Hua - this is my favourite store for Won-Ton noodles at Ghim Moh Cooked Food Center.

Let's check out the Braised Duck Rice store, which operates during lunch, and is right next to the Kong Shang Hua Won-Ton noodles store. Also very nice!

Care for some famous Chwee Kueh? This uncle has been selling Chwee Kueh for decades. He is certainly getting on in age, but his store continues to be very popular. Try some, before he retires!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Singapore Airlines Business Class Singapore-Canberra-Wellington Capital Express Flight Review Videos

I fly on Singapore Airlines Business Class, from Singapore to Wellington via Canberra.  This was the new "Capital Express" route, connecting the three important capitals of Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.  This route commenced 21 Sep 2016. This would mark the first regularly scheduled international service into Canberra.  SQ uses the Boeing 777-200 on this route, with 38 Business class seats in 2-2-2 configuration and 228 Economy class seats in 3-3-3 configuration.

SilverKris Lounge Changi Airport Terminal 3 Teochew Cuisine
Check in at Changi Airport Terminal 3 was very smooth. I start my trip with a visit to the SilverKris Lounge for SIA Business Class passengers.  They were offering authentic Teochew cuisine and I had a good meal there.

Singapore Airlines SQ 291 Part 1
SQ291 would depart Singapore at 2300hrs, or 11pm. Today, we departed from gate B10, which was a very far gate from the main area in Terminal 3.  In fact, at gate B10, you are almost at Terminal 1. Anyway, I didn't mind the walk.  Boarding was smooth and this first video shows boarding, and I get settled in my seat for this first leg, which would take around 7 hours.  Turns out that passengers can choose whether to have the meal service shortly after take-off, or before landing, or both.  So I chose to get some sleep shortly after takeoff. 

Singapore Airlines SQ 291 Part 2
In Part 2, I show you the meal before landing. The cabin lights were turned on about 2 hours before landing and the pre-landing meal (in this case breakfast) service began. Starting with a bowl of fruit, we went on to the main course. I had 'Booked the Cook', so I got the Chargrilled Soya Beef for breakfast. A most interesting breakfast indeed! However, I wasn't too hungry and didn't eat much.

Canberra Airport Landing and U-Turn on Runway
Landing into Canberra airport was smooth.  The runway felt pretty short and the Boeing 777-200 jet had to do a U-turn at the end of the runway, before taxi-ing to the terminal.  An interesting experience!  Here is the landing video, in bright glorious sunshine.

Canberra Airport International Departures Lounge
We had to wait at the Canberra Airport for about 1.5 hours before we could re-board the plane to resume the journey.  Here is a short snippet of the Canberra Airport international departure lounge. This lounge was opened to all passengers, not just premium passengers.

Canberra to Wellington Flight and Landing
This was the final leg of the flight, from Canberra to Wellington. The flight took about 3 hours.  I was very tired and slept throughout most of this flight.  I didn't eat at all.

Here is the Press Release by Singapore Airlines on the launch of the 'Capital Express' Service from Singapore to Canberra and Wellington.

Singapore Airlines Launches 'Capital Express' Service To Canberra And Wellington

21 September 2016 - Singapore Airlines has launched its new ‘Capital Express’ service, linking Singapore for the first time with the capital cities of both Australia and New Zealand.

The inaugural flight, SQ291, departed Singapore Changi Airport at 2300hrs local time last night and arrived at Canberra Airport at 0815hrs local time this morning. Following a short stop-over at Canberra, it continued on to Wellington and arrived shortly after 1500hrs local time.

Customers departing from Singapore and Canberra were treated to an assortment of food and beverages at special boarding gate events held to commemorate the inaugural flights.

The ‘Capital Express’ service will operate four times per week on a Singapore-Canberra-Wellington routing, with return services operating on a Wellington-Canberra-Singapore routing.

Singapore Airlines is the first airline to operate regularly scheduled international services to and from Canberra. It is also the first airline with flights between Canberra and Wellington.

Flights will be operated with 266-seat Boeing 777-200 aircraft fitted with 38 Business Class seats and 228 Economy Class seats.

The new Canberra services will add to Singapore Airlines’ already extensive Australia network, which includes flights between Singapore and Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Regional arm SilkAir also serves Cairns and Darwin, while low-cost subsidiary Scoot serves the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. The new Wellington services will complement existing services between Singapore and both Auckland and Christchurch.

Singapore Airlines’ network in Australia and New Zealand is further enhanced through its extensive partnerships with Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand.

Thanks for watching!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Supermoon in Singapore 14 Nov 2016 9:52pm

Managed to get this video footage of the supermoon in Singapore, just as the skies cleared a bit. Super moon!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Vietnam Airlines Singapore to Hanoi Airbus A321 Flight Review

Flew Vietnam Airlines from Singapore to Hanoi and back, for a quick getaway with the family.  As the tickets came in under $1,000 for the four of us, we thought this was a reasonable price to pay for 3-hour flight each way.  Anyway, we hadn't been to Hanoi and we wanted to stay at the JW Marriott there (can't really afford JW Marriot elsewhere), so why not.

Turned out that the flight was pretty good.  Here is the flight review video.

Let me go through a few notable points.  Vietnam Airlines operates the Airbus A321 on the Singapore-Hanoi route.  This version of plane has 4 rows of Business class seats, followed by Economy class seats in a 3-3 configuration.  The Airbus A321 is a single aisle aircraft, commonly used for short haul, regional flights.  This video footage shows the Vietnam Airlines Airbus A321 landing at Changi Airport.  This was the same plane that we would be taking to Hanoi.

The pitch was surprisingly good.  There was plenty of legroom, which puts many of the Boeing 787 Economy seats to shame (notably Qatar's 787).  Very comfortable, and they even had a leg-rest.

Food and Service
Very enjoyable.  We had a full meal service, no less than what you would get on a long-haul flight in Economy.  The stewardesses went around serving additional wine, coffee and tea.  I can see that Vietnam Airlines is trying hard to up their service.

This was the Fish with Rice.  My wife had the Beef with rice, you can see that in the video.  The bun was hot and nice.  The fresh fruit platter was awesome!

Unfortunately, the plane was not fitted with a personal In-flight entertainment system.  There were overhead screens that you could watch.  But since this is an Airbus A321 operating on short-haul routes, personal IFEs would not be common.

Would I fly Vietnam Airlines again?  Yes.  The price is attractive and the service on board was good. This was our first time, and probably not the last time.

Before I end, here are some other videos I made from video footage taken at Singapore Changi Airport.  Good footage on this EVA Air Hello Kitty Boeing 777.  This must be one of the cutest airplanes in service today! 

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Pasir Panjang Food Center Chicken Rice, Thai Food, Sambal Stingray and more

In this blog post, I feature some food from the Pasir Panjang Food Center, which is a mid-sized food center located right beside the Pasir Pajang MRT station.  This place reminds me of Newton Food Center, except that the prices here are definitely cheaper.

Sambal Stingray
This place is well known for grilled BBQ style seafood.  We came here once to get BBQ Sambal Stingray, to bring back home.  Here is what it looked like.  This serving for $10.  This place is crowded during weekend evenings, as you can see in the video below.  This section of the food center is open air.  There were a few stalls to choose from.  We picked one randomly.

Thai Food - Tom Yum, Pad Thai
On another day, we tried this Thai food store, which had many different choices of Thai food to choose from.  We took a $8 Tom Yum seafood soup, which came with plenty of seafood, as well as a Pad Thai, all to share.  Taste was very good indeed!

Hainanese Chicken Rice
On another day, we dropped by during lunch hour for some food.  This time, I tried this Hainanese Chicken rice store, which I think is only open during lunch hours.  I chose the Chicken Rice set and this was what I got.  A decent sized portion of tender white chicken meat, an entire hard-boiled egg, a good serving of boiled vegetables and chicken rice.  All this for $4.  Very good deal!

Prawn and Pork Rib Noodles
Tried the prawn noodles one later afternoon as I was feeling hungry and there weren't that many stores opened.  Turned out that the noodles weren't great.  It was just ok.  So now you know.

Char Kway Teow with Plenty of Vegetables
This store featured a rather unique type of Char Kway Teow, one that is served with plenty of vegetables.  There were many news paper cuttings in front of the store, so many until I can hardly see the uncle frying.  Decided to give it a try.  It tasted really good!  I wouldn't mind eating it again.  Definitely recommended.  The portion I got was $3.   You can always buy a bigger portion if this wasn't sufficient.

Thai-Style Steam Fish, Green Curry and Fried Kang Kong!
There are at least 2 different stores selling Thai food. We tend to dine at this Thai store (which is run by 2 men), on the sheltered side of the hawker center. Today, we had Thai-style steam fish, with fried kang kong and green curry. Very awesome!


Thai-Style Food - 4 Dishes for $21, including rice. 
On another day, we had Tom Yum soup, Fried Kang Kong, Fried Egg and Pandan Chicken, for $21 including two plates of rice.  So much to eat and so delicious!

Care for a mini hot-pot? This serving for $5. Look at all the delicious food, plus a generous portion of white rice. Wonderful meal and very delicious. There were three types of broth - chicken, tom yum and milk. Chose the chicken broth as it was the the most neutral. Plenty of flavour from the chilli. Got a coconut to go along with the meal too. Good!


Some Phad Thai? Quick and easy meal. $4 for this serving and piping hot!
Thanks for reading and watching my videos!

Nespresso Used Coffee Grounds Fertilizer for my Lime Plant

What do you do with your used Nespresso capsules? I used to throw them away. Then I was given a recycling bag by the Nespresso boutique. I asked the boutique staff how they recycled the capsules and they told me the grounds were used as fertilizer.

I found this link online - - the coffee grounds were indeed used as natural fertilizer in a vineyard. Nice. Then I figured if this fertilizer was good enough for a vineyard, it would be good enough for my potted plants. And that led me to start using the coffee grounds for my Lime plant, and this video shows you how. Very easy. Just cut the soft aluminum top open and pour the stuff out. We used a disposable chopstick to help extract the coffee ground. Grow, lime plant grow!

Thanks for watching!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Far East Flora @ Queensway Flowers Plants and Other Gardening Stuff

Along Queensway, beside the McDonalds, there is a large nursery which is a branch of Far East Flora.  We like to come here to take a look at plants and other gardening stuff.  A pleasant place.  Some of the flowers are very beautiful, like this moth Orchid.

See this video compilation for more Orchids.

Some more flowers in this video.  Grab some home to grow if you wished, but we didn't.

They also have plenty of indoor furniture, as well as indoor plants, which you can see in this video.  Some claim that having indoor plants in your home will help you fight the haze.  Not sure how true this is, but here they are.

Back home, we decided to grow some humble Coriander.  Good fun to have fresh coriander at dinner. The plant in the pot seems to be thriving, under a tree.  Pretty neat.  The taste was good!
Far East Flora @ Queensway.  Check it out if you like plants.

Alexandra Village Food Center Various Food Shops Compilation

Alexandra Village Food Centre is a very famous cooked food centre along Alexandra Road.  Very busy during weekday lunchtime, and even in the evenings, this place has plenty of good food.  In this blog post, I will put a compilation of the various food that I have enjoyed at AV Food Centre for your easy reference.

The Old Stall Hokkien Street Famous Prawn Mee

Had a hearty bowl of dried prawn mee (kway teow plus yellow noodles mixed) for breakfast at this store, which is in the middle row.  The store has many newspaper cuttings on the signboard, you won't miss it.  It sells its own specially made chilli powder and has a very cute sign on 5 'must-eat' reasons.  Did I enjoy it?  Yes, good taste.  Worth a try if you like prawn mee.

Soya Sauce Chicken Noodle (Hong Kong style)

This Hong Kong inspired eatery specialises in soya sauce chicken noodle.  They claim that this is the only store, and no other branches.  How did it taste?  The chicken was good.  Tender.  The noodles, well, just average.  Overall, quite a decent meal.  Give it a try if you fancy some Hong Kong style soya chicken noodles.

Jin Pai Zi Char - Beef Kailan Rice

A hawker store selling Zi Char?  Yes.  At first, I was skeptical, given that the store looked so small.  There was just one cook and one lady helping (I assume they are husband and wife).  But I noticed that their business was pretty swift, so I decided to try a one-dish meal and chose Beef Kailan with rice.  I was blown away!  The portion was very generous, the beef was tender, the Kai lan was soft, the sauce was good and all that for just $4!  Impressive.  You would be aware that Zi Char stores at coffee shops and other eating places are not that cheap these days.
Jin Pai Zi Char Kung Pao Chicken Rice 

Same store as above, this time round I get the Kung Pao chicken with rice.  Again, serving was generous, cooking was not bad.  Best of all was the price.  $3.50.  Good stuff!  Support local hawker fare!

Dover Road Kai Kee Wanton Noodles
Bought lunch for the family from this store, after a friend told us that this store had a long history.  In fact, they started decades ago, at the Dover Road Market (which is now closed).  There was a good queue.  We bought many packets for the family and brought home to eat.  At $2.50 per serving, it was a good size portion.  Makes for a cheap lunch!  Enjoy!

Lian Kee Bak Chor Mee
Had this Bak Chor Mee for breakfast one morning and it wasn't too bad.  Price was $3.  Enjoy!

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Book the Cook Singapore Airlines Business Class Meals

Book the Cook is a premium service offered by Singapore Airlines where you can reserve your main course dish up to 24 hours before flying.  They have a comprehensive list of dishes available for selection, from certain departure airports, with Singapore offering the most choices.  On this blog post, I will update on the Book the Cook dishes that I have tried, for your easy reference.  All the videos and pictures are from my travel experience on Singapore Airlines Business Class.

Screengrab from Singapore Airlines website.

Classic Lobster Thermidor (ex-Singapore)
Arguably the most famous Book the Cook dish - Lobster tail sauteed in butter, flambeed in brandy, sprinkled with cheese and served with creamy mushroom sauce, garlic and spicy mustard, and buttered asparagus. 

Watch my enjoy the Lobster Thermidor below, from the 9:00 minute mark of the video.  This was on flight SQ 322, Singapore to London on the A380.  

In the same video above, you will also see the Book the Cook breakfast of Dim Sum Selection.  This is a shorter video showing just the Dim Sum breakfast.

Lobster Thermidor (ex-London)
A slightly different variant of the Lobster Thermidor is served when you fly London to Singapore. Instead of rice, potatoes are used.  The dish was beautifully presented on this flight from London to Singapore.  Watch the video below from the 9:00 minute mark for the version of the Lobster Thermidor served out of London.

Nasi Lemak
I have had this dish a couple of times for breakfast.  According to SQ website, the description is fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk, accompanied by spicy sambal prawns, fried chicken, fried anchovies with peanuts, spicy pickled vegetables (achar), an omelette wedge, and grilled fish cakes (otah).  The online reviews of this dish are not good but I enjoyed it thoroughly!  I must say that it constitutes a very hearty breakfast, and hence not suitable if you don't like eating a lot of breakfast.

Sliced Grouper Congee
Grouped cooked in rice porridge with spring onions and ginger - this was a wonderful (and light) breakfast I had on one of my flights.  An excellent choice if you want something light, yet sufficiently flavourful.

Singapore Chicken Rice, Satay, Beef Brisket Noodle
You may wonder, why even choose Chicken Rice (which is widely available in Singapore at hawker centers) on a premium Singapore Airlines flight?  Well, you've got a point there.  The first dishes I tried on Book the Cook was the Lobster Thermidor.  But there was a particular trip I made where I reckoned that after being away for some time, and flying home, the Singapore Chicken Rice meal on board SQ would be quite cool!  So I did it! (Bucket list item).  This flight was on SQ 305 ex-London.  In the video, not only will you see the Singapore Chicken Rice (lunch), you will also see the Satay Service as well as my breakfast choice which was beef brisket noodles.  The breakfast choice was  from the menu (i..e not Book the Cook).

The description of Singapore Chicken Rice from the SQ website as follows - Poached chicken, sliced and served on long-grain rice cooked in chicken broth.  Accompanied by dark soya sauce, tangy ginger and fresh chilli and lime sauces.

Citrus Steamed Sea Bass - Deliciously Wholesome Selection
Singapore Airlines added many new dishes under a 'Deliciously Wholesome' section of Book the Cook starting April 2016.  I chose a dish called Citrus Steamed Sea Bass with Lettuce Puree, Legumes, Radishes and Sunflower Seeds in Citrus Vinaigrette.  See the video from the 1 minute mark.  Certainly a mouthful of a name, and it looked pretty much like a forest when it was served.  The large chunk of white fish was refreshing and suited my taste.

Duck Rice at 35,000 feet. This was on a flight from London Heathrow back to Singapore. Served on the bone, much like what you would get in any Cantonese restaurant. May not be suitable if you are not used to eating meat from the bone though. The taste was decent, but because I just had some fantastic duck in London, it wasn't a great choice for me.

Chargrilled Soya Beef On a flight from Singapore to New Zealand. It ended up being served for breakfast, instead of supper. Why? Watch the video to find out more! To be continued as I fly more on Singapore Airlines!  Thanks for reading and watching the videos.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Kai (Sea) Japanese Eatery and Wangz Cafe at Plaza Singapura

Had a nice sashimi lunch at this casual Japanese eatery called Kai (Sea), which is located at the basement level (B2) of Plaza Singapura, next to a Wangz Cafe.  I felt like having some Japanese that afternoon, and I chanced upon this eatery.  Didn't plan to eat here, but glad that I did.  I chose the sashmi set which was on promotion and the video shows you the food and some of the surroundings.

And here is a still picture of the sashimi set.  The pieces of sashmi were thick and very fresh.  Very enjoyable indeed.

After lunch, I had some coffee right next door which was a Wangz cafe.  Good coffee.

Food in Singapore.  Thanks for watching!

Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine Singapore

Had dinner at the Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine restaurant. This restaurant (operated by Jumbo Group) is located within Chui Huey Lim Club (190 Keng Lee Rd).  This place was very crowded during the weekends, so you should reserve in advance otherwise you won't be able to get a place.

This video shows you the food we tried, including braised duck, ngoh hiang and some other teochew favourites. For dessert, we tried the Orh Ni and Tau Suan. Overall, a fine meal and the price was attractive because one of my relatives had a voucher to boot. Cool!

Some of the food on our table.  You can see the Ngoh Hiang, the Duck and the Salted Egg Prawns. All very good!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Pokemon Go Craze Hits Singapore!!! Videos on catching Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go craze has hit Singapore. No doubt about that! I'm a grown adult, but I have jumped on the Pokemon Go bandwagon to collect these cute monsters from the Pokemon genre. Fun. In this first video, I show you how to set up the Pokemon Go Game on the iphone. Very easy.

Setting up Pokemon Go game on iPhone, and catching Charmander!

Second video, catching a RAT on the HDB void deck. Yes, a rat.

Continuing on the Pokemon theme, more monsters caught here.

Now, here is my first ever Gym battle against some 2000CP behemoth. Needless to say, I lost.

To be continued - more videos. Here is a Pokemon Rarity Chart from Reddit. (made by Rotom Guy)

Here are the specific names:
Rattata, Pidgey, Weedle, Caterpie, Drowzee
Virtually Everywhere
Eevee, Zubat, Venonat, Oddish, Magikarp
Very Common
Meowth, Spearow, Bellsprout, Paras, Krabby
Clefairy, Nidoran♀, Nidoran♂, Ekans, Cubone, Goldeen, Poliwag, Shellder
Jigglypuff, Growlithe, Gastly, Geodude, Exeggcute, Slowpoke, Psyduck, Jynx, Onyx
Ponyta, Vulpix, Koffing, Sandshrew, Staryu, Tentacool, Horsea, Magmar, Tangela
Very Rare
Abra, Machop, Grimer, Rhyhorn, Voltorb, Lickitung, Scyther, Pinsir
Dratini, Magnemite, Electabuzz, Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan, Chansey
Lapras, Snorlax, Porygon
Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Pikachu, Omanyte, Kabuto, Aerodactyl

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Tallinn, Estonia, Cruise Port of Call - Serenade of the Seas

Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It is situated on the northern coast of Estonia, on the Gulf of Finland, 80km south of Helsinki. Population is under 500,000. Tallinn's Old Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the best preserved and intact European medieval cities. The city was known as Reval from the 13th Century until the early 20th Century.

We arrive in Tallinn on the Serenade of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) cruise ship and would spend some hours in the city today. We did not take a ship tour, but we went about on our own. We relied heavily on Rick Steves Northern European Ports guide for how to walk, as well as navigated with my smartphone GPS.

In this part 1, I show you how we walk from the cruise port all the way to the Fat Margaret Tower, which houses the Estonian Maritime Museum. We didn't visit the museum today. The walk took about 15 minutes, max. It felt good to walk. The weather was gorgeous.

We continue our journey. Using the Rick Steves travel guide, we start at Fat Margaret Tower and walk along Pikk Street. Fat Margaret was built in the early 16th Century. Called fat because she was the largest part of the city wall's fortifications, and also built to impress visitors coming by ship. So we just followed along Pikk Street till we came to the town square. It was early, around 1000hrs, and many shops were only starting to open.

Continued from the previous video, from the Tallinn old town square, we headed in the direction of Olde Hansa, which is a restaurant featuring the medieval way of eating. This was a restaurant recommended by the cruise ship, so we came to take a look, though we decided not to eat here. Just outside the restaurant, there was this lady selling some spiced sweets/nuts, at 4 Euros per packet. She said it had medicinal value! Well, it tasted like sweet stuff to me.

We followed the walking directions in the Rick Steve's guide and headed up this smaller and narrow walkway, towards the upper part of the Tallinn. This would bring us to a place called the Danish King's Garden (with plenty of shade) and we took a rest near the flower bed. Then, we headed towards the Orthodox cathedral, called the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, went inside briefly to take a look. And we walked on.

Near the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, there were several very good viewpoints to see the lower city. We visited two of them, and to get there, you walked past many foreign embassies. This area was near the Parliament and the Government center of Tallinn. After taking in the sights, we started to make our way back down to the lower city center. We found a cafe that we walked past earlier this morning, and decided to stop there for some coffee and beer!

The Tallinn Old Town, including Toompea, is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Her old town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe.

After doing the walk (as per Rick Steve's guide), we went to an info counter to figure out how to take a tram to the Kadrioru Park. Managed to find the train stop and we paid for the tram ticket with cash (Euros). It was an interesting ride, and not far. Kind people on board the tram told us where to stop. And we walked around the park a bit. There was some large playground with amusement rides, but we didn't ride any. The plan was to take a taxi back to the cruise port but we had difficulty finding one. So we ending up walking all the way back! It was a rather long walk, I think almost 3km, but we made it. All that exercise was good! Was the park worth going? Well, probably not. May be better to spend more time wandering around Tallinn old town. More charm.

And we reach back to the port gates after a long, long walk from the Kaidrioru Park. Plenty of sun to go around. There were three ships in port, and ours was docked closest to the port gates. Walking is good, stretch the legs. Be mindful of the sun though. It was very bright. Bring a cap and sunscreen if needed.

Back on board the ship, I didn't take any video of the lunch we had. Must have been too hungry! We probably had our lunch in the Windjammer, I can't remember. Anyway, the next video footage on my camera was this footage from the Park Cafe in the Solarium.

And then I stand on the sun deck looking at the port of Tallinn, and I decided to give you some commentary on how easy and convenient the port of Tallinn was to do, by foot! This angle gives you an idea of how near (or far, it is all relative) the old town is. Many cruise passengers do it on foot, as you can see the lines of people walking back to the ships.

Opposite us, in Tallinn, was the Holland America Zuiderdam. On closer look, her hull paintwork looked to be in a rather bad shape. I am not sure why they didn't paint the ship more professionally. It certainly did not look good in the sun!

This wraps up our day in Tallinn, Estonia. Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Singapore Airlines Jet Caught Fire - Nobody Hurt

A Singapore Airlines jet made an emergency landing at Singapore Changi Airport on the morning of 27 June 2016 and her right wing and jet was on fire. Plenty of black smoke and looked very scary. 

Thankfully the Changi Airport Fire service swung into immediate action and put out the fire within a very short time. No injuries, but it certainly looked like a very close call. More information from various press sources.

This Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER jet (serial number 9V-SWB, a 9 year old plane) was bound for Milan and turned back to Singapore after about 2 hours, due to a fuel leak. The flight number was SQ 368. The plane caught fire after the aircraft touched down at around 6:50am. There were reportedly 19 crew and 222 passengers on board. After the fire was put out, the passengers disembarked through stairs and were brought to the terminal by bus.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Turkish Airlines Singapore to Copenhagen in Economy Flight Reviews & Airport Lounges (Videos)

This was a family holiday to Europe. Originally we planned to book Singapore Airlines for the 4 of us, but the option of Turkish Airlines came along and we could save almost $2K for the 4 of us. So we decided to give Turkish a try. I made several videos of our experience.

I was informed by the check-in staff that I could use the SATS Premier Lounge (even though I was flying in Economy) because I was Star Alliance Gold status. Well, I recently attained Star Alliance Gold Status and I didn't even have my card yet, so I wasn't expecting this. Anyway, it was great, though I could only bring one guest. At the lounge entrance, I asked nicely if I could bring both my kids and the reception staff kindly agreed. My wife stayed outside though, she went shopping. Later on, I found out that SATS Premier Lounges were also Priority Pass lounges, so we could have used the lounge, albeit for a fee. Here is the video of the lounge, which is used by a good number of airlines. I guess this is called a contract lounge. They had a decent hot food selection, not as good as the SilverKris, but good enough for most. There was the signature laksa, which tasted good. Also they had 3 OSIM massage chairs at one corner. Cool!

Our flight was TK55 and departed at 2200hrs from Changi Terminal 1. The plane was almost full, with a good number of passengers from Singapore, including some aunties (if you watch the video, you can hear some of their voices during boarding, exclaiming that 2-4-2 is good). What is 2-4-2? That's the seating configuration on the plane, 2-4-2. Flight time was 11 hours and two meals were served. Flight was smooth and we got to Istanbul slightly ahead of schedule.

We arrived in Istanbul slightly ahead of schedule and the next flight was a good 3 hours or more away. We had already decided beforehand, and having read how busy Istanbul Airport would be, that we would park ourselves in a Priority Pass lounge. Both my wife and I are Priority Pass holders (get the card free from our credit card), but we have to pay for lounge admission at US27 per person. Well, since we had factored in this expense, we went for it, and it was a good decision because the airport was indeed crowded and the lounge provided a nice oasis to rest for a bit, with some food and drink. Here is a video of the experience.

We enjoyed the peaceful time in the lounge, and when it was time to board, we made our way to the gate. We had to take a bus to the plane bound for Copenhagen which was flight TK1783. The bus ride was nice, could see many planes. When we boarded, we found the missing cushion that I had talked about earlier. Once that was fixed, everything was smooth. Flight was good and we got some food to eat. We arrived in Copenhagen about 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

We didn't really spent a lot of time in Copenhagen. The objective of going there was to board a cruise ship for a cruise to the Baltic seas. Thanks for reading and watching my videos!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Light Dinner at Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge before Flight

Enjoying a light dinner at the SilverKris Lounge at Singapore Changi Airport before a recent flight. The porridge was very nice.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Lee Wei Ling versus Lee Hsien Loong saga

This is getting exciting.  What in the world is happening?

Today, 10 April 2016, marks the first salvo by Dr Lee against PM.  She released an email correspondence with SPH where she accused PM Lee of 'abusing his power' and she went on to use words like 'dishonourable son'.

With such strong words, PM Lee responded within hours, calling all the allegations untrue.  Here is a snapshot of his Facebook post.  PM says that he is deeply saddened.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bikinis and Snow - You mean they go together?

Well, apparently so, at least according to these pictures and movie clips.

These Chinese ladies were in their bikinis at some event.

Yet another group of women, also in their bikinis, at a ski resort.  I really wonder whether they feel cold.

Alright, you may think the above were just being done as a marketing gimmick to attract eyeballs and you are probably right.  What about ski-ing or snow-boarding in a bikini?  Yes, people have done that too.  Check out the video below.  One thing is for sure, this lady can snowboard pretty well.

Encouraged by all these bikini ladies, some amateurs also wanted some fun in the snow and they decided to strip down to their bikinis at at a ski resort in order to take some photos for a keepsake.  What happened?  Quite funny - see this clip.

Well, it is now no longer a novelty to wear a bikini in snow, or is it?  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hainanese Chicken Rice - Hail Chicken Rice!

According to BBC Travel, this dish is worth the 15 hour flight from Europe!  The BBC article is a wonderful read.  I didn't know much about the history of Hainanese Chicken Rice even though I eat it fairly often.  Well done and thanks to BBC for profiling this awesome dish from Singapore.

On this blog post, I share some videos I made of the chicken rice that I have enjoyed.  First up, is the Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice.  This is their outlet at United Square.

Chicken Rice is widely available everywhere. In food courts, coffee shops. Here are more examples. This one is at Funan Digilife Mall (which I think is going to be renovated)

Here is another example, from another local food court. A Chicken Rice set meal. Always delicious!

Yet another chicken rice store, in the suburban areas. This one is near Jurong East MRT station.

A store selling chicken rice in Toa Payoh.

And yet another plate of chicken rice in a local coffee shop. Wonderful!

Thanks for watching!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Let's Make a Musical Friend - Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Orchestra Harry Potter Theme

Attended a cute event by the Yong Siew Toh Consevatory of Music of the National University of Singapore.  Here was the Orchestra coming together, to play the well-known theme from Harry Potter.  Very good performance!


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Let's Make a Musical Friend - Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music National University of Singapore Concert for Kids

Attended the 'Let's Make a Musical Friend' outreach event by the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore.  This event, held annually, is designed to entertain and attract younger children to be more interested in the instruments of an orchestra.  You will see from the videos below that the event was fun!

Held in the Conservatory concert hall, and complimentary, kids of all ages were welcomed.  Many families attended, and some brought their babies along.  Not often you can bring young kids to halls like these.

This is the opening - on the woodwind section.  In this part, the emcee (whom I think is a faculty member and conductor of the orchestra later on) introduces the flute, clarinet, oboe and tuba.

In this second part, we look at the brass instruments.  Like a marching band! Oh when the saints go marching in!  French horn, trumpet, trombone and tuba.  I didn't know that the French Horn was 4 metres long if unwound, hence the sound was very warm.  The trumpets were very regale.

In this third part, we look at strings. Very classy.  Violin, viola and cello.  The violins could make a very high sound.  The cello could go very low - hey it rhymes! 

In part 4, check out the percussion.  He did not go through all the instruments because he said there were too many.  Instead, we were treated to this wonderful percussion performance!  Good stuff.

Last, but not least putting everything together, the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music orchestra perform the theme from Harry Potter. Watch their performance on this page. Very good performance indeed.

The crowd (and kids) certainly enjoyed the show! There were many young children and I must say that the hall was rather quiet when the musicians performed.  I think the kids enjoyed it!

After the main performance, it was time for sectionals.  And we attended the woodwind section.  There was an oboe-ist, who played beautifully a short excerpt from swan lake.  Check this out.

Overall, it was a wonderful event for the family.  My kids enjoyed it, and looking around, it was clear that the other families had a good time too.

Keep up the good work!!