霞女之旅

Xia's Journey

有朋自远方来

on April 29, 2012

This has been a day that I have been looking forward to for a long time… I’ve always loved hosting my friends whenever they come Singapore; bringing them around, showing them what Singapore has to offer but most importantly – to catch up on each others’ lives. Opportunities of such are rare and few. Many times, we could only stay connected via social medias such as the Facebook or email. Nothing beats meeting them in person – be it at their countries, our home country, or at a third location. Hence, you can imagine the excitement I have when Justin, William (and their friends, Yanping & Yanling) made their way here to Singapore.

It is quite a story on how Justin and I got to know each other.

Justin & his frens were excellent hosts for Darren & I when we went Kuching in May 2010.

Back in May 2010, Darren and I planned for a trip to Kuching. Darren posted on the trip and sought out advice and feedback. Many reverted. Justin was one of them. At that point, Justin was one of the names in Darren’s 4000+ friend list. He mentioned that he was a tourism student and could give us advice and host us when we got to Kuching. Few weeks down the road, he needed to come Singapore for a work trip and we decided to meet up with him and discuss our Kuching plans. Finally in May, Darren & I went on our trip to Kuching and Justin & his friends hosted us really well. Darren and I were very touched by their hospitality and we vouched to do the same if they ever do visit Singapore.

In July 2011, Justin and I met up again on a trip to Miri. We did not plan to travel there at the same time but through pure affinity and coincidence – we did. At that time, they had a brief mention of coming to Singapore. And it finally did happen! They came by on the 15 April night, and we spent a full day on the 16 April at Universal Studios Singapore (USS) having fun, catching up and going crazy once again.

 16 April 2012, Mon

Attractions : Universal Studios Singapore & The Maritime Experiential Museum 

Cost : $70 / $68 (USS only)

I took the day off, met them at their hotel in Bugis area, had breakfast and set off for USS. Prior to their trip, I had proposed for USS since it has been one of the most raved tourist attraction in Singapore. I have not been there myself either and hence, it was going to be such a new adventure for me too!

The Universal Studios Singapore is divided into 7 zones; Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Far Far Away, Madagascar. And within each zone, it has its rides, shows and meet & greets. I did not have time to research on the place before their trip. And I only got to do up the below table whilst doing up this post. I did not realize that there was so much to cover at USS and that there were so many activities that we DID NOT cover during our day-out there. It was such a shame. (The yellow boxes indicate the activities / shows that we covered and the red texts indicate the activities that I would love to cover if I should get a chance to re-visit this place again!)

 

As we stepped into USS, we were greeted by the Hollywood BoulevardTM that was framed by dynamic architecture, palm trees and the famous Walk of FameTM. We felt as though we had landed in the center of the entertainment universe.

There were accessories stands hung with different caps, hats and head gear that we had such fun clowning ourselves with.

As we stroll along the New York sidewalks, we soaked in the impressive city skylines, neon lights, and facades that were almost like a real-time movie production.

We got in for “Lights, Camera, Action!™”,  created by Steven Spielberg. As like any typical Steven Spielberg production, we were blown away by the incredible special effects when the empty soundstage was turned into a Category 5 major hurricane about to hit New York City. As we stood in a boathouse by the harbour, we witnessed how a calm day suddenly turns stormy. We braced ourselves as hurricane-force winds sweep in from the sea and drive a cargo ship and debris towards the boathouse we were in. The ‘flames’ from the explosives got us heated, whilst the storm had us in showers. The special effects combined with the sensory simulations were definitely a sure-win formulae. Apart from it being a tad too short, it definitely was one of the best shows. 

We entered the Sci-Fi City and it was like we were transported to the future. Through the impressive portals of Sci-Fi City, we experienced the ultimate intergalactic battle of good vs evil.

Waited 45 mins in-line for The Transformers Ride and the staff going "No No No - No Taking of Pictures!" It was hilarious.

We waited 45 mins in line for the newest kid in town – “TRANSFORMERS The Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle”. It was so much raved about and despite the estimated 1 hour wait on a Monday morning, we decided to keep in line. We finally got to our turn and got into this ‘little car’. We ‘raced’ through the city, zipped through subway tunnels, city streets and across high-rise rooftops. We joined OPTIMUS PRIME and the AUTOBOTS to be freedom fighters in the ultimate 3D battle against the forces of evil. It was such a hyper-realistic 3D thrill ride that got us screaming our lungs out and hanging on for our dear lives.

 

It was a big shame that we did not get to go onto the “Battlestar Galactica: HUMAN vs. CYLONTM  as none of us had extra pants to change out. I can imagine the exhilaration with the twists and turns on this world’s tallest duelling, intertwined roller coasters as they race towards each other and engages in near-collisions.

We went on a milder version, “Accelerator®” that was a test on our intergalactic stamina with the non-stop whirling and twirling.

Came lunch, and as like any tourist attractions, we had our lunch at the eateries with exorbitant prices. A set lunch costs $10+ and the 4 sets came up to $49.

 

 

As we ventured into The Lost World®, it comprises of two themed areas: Jurassic Park™ and WaterWorld™. We did not have a change of clothes and had to give the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure® a miss as we saw how most participants came out drenched and soaked from the river raft ride.

We hurried along to watch “WaterWorld™”. Based on the blockbuster film, “Waterworld”, the show was a tidal wave of death-defying stunts, along with thrills and spills from real explosions of fire, water and pyrotechnics. Prior to the show, the artistes engaged the audiences in cheers, games and water soaks. There was a lot of audience participation and engagement which upped the adventure ante. One has to be wary of where they sit as sitting in the wrong sector would mean getting soaked and drenched in this sensational live water show.

Our adventure at USS ended with Far Far Away’s ‘Shrek 4-D Adventure’.

At this indoor 4-D film, we joined Princess Fiona, Shrek and Donkey on their honeymoon adventure. Through the miracle of OgreVision (3D glasses), we could actually see, hear, and FEEL the action right from our seats with jumps, bumps, air blasts and water sprays that bring every action to life for the audiences.

There were more than a dozen rides and shows, many of which that were 4-dimensional with sensory simulations, special effects and pyrotechnics. The facades, set-ups, meet and greets were a cam-whorer’s paradise. The $68 price tag was worth every single penny. The attraction did indeed lived up to its raves. It was made even more enjoyable with the company that I went with. This was really an experience that no amount of money can buy nor exchange for.

We left USS at about 5pm and headed for The Maritime Experiential Museum. We spent an hour embarking on an exciting journey to discover Southeast Asia’s maritime trade between the East and the West from the 9th to 19th century. We had our passports stamped as we called at the 8 different ports from Palembang to Malacca to Muscat.

Featuring more than 400 objects, The Maritime Experiential Museum is the first and only museum in Singapore dedicated to showcase the history of ancient maritime trade. 

We experienced the wrath of the sea in the Typhoon Theatre, a 360-degree multimedia theatre that took us on a perilous voyage on board a 9th-century Chinese junk.  Laden with cargo, the ship runs into a storm. The sea roars, the skies darken and the ship rolls, pitches, turns and finally sinks. At the end of the show, we found ourselves in the depths of the ocean, up close with the shipwreck. It was such a phenomenal experience going down with the ship.
There were lots of literature and games at the interactive kiosks. And only later at dinner, did we found out that the literatures at these interactive kiosks were written by none other than our dear friend, Darren.

By 8pm, we were really bushed out and took a cab to Amoy Street for dinner.  It was a sumptuous, Cantonese Zi Char restaurant named Swee Kee (96 Amoy Street) –suggested by Darren.

We ordered many of their specialties;  Seafood Tofu, Prawn Paste Chicken and my favorite Cereal Prawns! It was an indescribable warm, cozy feeling as we had our dinner. Although we visited Kuching two years ago and had dinner together, we had never imagined that we would get to meet up and eat at the same table again after two years. It was a rather surreal feeling when we were once just a name in each other’s Facebook accounts.

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