Archive for April, 2010

This table was made by my travel buddy.

Time To Do
1. May Sat 8.02 pm Arrive LAX
8.30 pm Bus Shuttle to Hostel Banana Bangalow
9.30 pm Arriving Hostel Banana Bangalow
Small Private Rooms, 4 nights
2. May Sun 9:00 AM Breakfast in the hostel
10:00 AM Hollywood Blvd
Capitol Records Tower
Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre
historic Roosevelt Hotel
Hollywood and Highland center
Grauman’s Chinese Theater
Walk of fame
1:00 PM Lunch
Walking back the Sun Set Blvd
4:00 PM Hollywood Sign
7:00 PM Dinner
8:00 PM Griffith Park Observatory
3. May Mon 9:00 AM Breakfast
10:00 AM Graumans Egyptian Theatre
Downtown Los Angeles
Olvera street
Historic Park
China Town LA
1:00 PM Lunch in China Town
Beverly Hills
Rodeo Drive
4:00 PM Universal City Walk
7:00 PM Dinner
4. May Tue Disney Land
Disney Land Hostel Tour
5. May Wed 9.00 am Santa Monica
1. 00 pm Venice Beach
10:45 PM Greyhound BUS to Las Vegas
6. May Thu 4:30 PM Arriving Las Vegas
Getting to the hotel El Cortez Hotel & Casino
3 nights, standart room
6:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Las Vegas Blvd
Venetian hotel: gondola
Ceasar Palace: statue, aquarium,
New York New York
MGM Grand
Stratosphere Tower
Luxor Hotel & Casino
Bellagio Conservatory
Excallibur Hotel
Mandalay Bay is the Shark Reef
Paris Hotel: Eifel Tower
“Welcome to Las Vegas” sign
1:00 PM Lunch: Grand Lux Café
7:00 PM Dinner
9:30 or 7:00 SHOW
The Beatles LOVE: by Cirque du Soleil at Mirage
7. May Sat 9:00 Breakfast
10:00 AM Freemont Experience
1.00 PM Lunch: Tony Roma’s, a ribs and chicken restaurant
3:00 PM Bellagio Hotel: Fountain show
Mirage: White Tigers roaming, The Mirage Volcano
Treasure Island Hotel: Sirens of TI
8. May Sun 6:00 AM Get the Rental Car for 2 days
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Tipps for LV Car Rentals
More Tipps
11:00 PM Grant Canyon
9. May Mon 8:00 Day Trip
Outlet Shopping
Red Rock Canyon
7:00 PM Dinner: Off the Strip
8:00 PM Greyhound BUS to San Diego
4:50 AM Arriving San Diego

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San Diego

  • 10. May Sunday (public transport)
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  • – HI-San Diego, Downtown – Information Desk: Plan your day the HI way. Find out what is happening in San Diego and the best way to get there. Volunteer run information desk staffed mornings (9 a.m. to 11 a.m.) and evenings (6 p.m. to 8 p.m.) daily.
  • – HI-San Diego Downtown – Walking Tour of Balboa Park * Free! * Balboa Park, America’s largest urban park is just minutes from HI-San Diego, Downtown. With over 85 cultural and recreational organizations there is something for everyone at the Park and best of all, the museums are Free on Tuesday, (free museums rotate weekly). Walking tour is led by local volunteer highlighting the free museums..
  • – HI-San Diego Downtown – Balboa Park Sunday Tour * FREE *: The International Cottages are only open Sunday, so don’t miss it! Tour begins at HI San Diego Downtown. Be sure to sign up ahead of time in the lobby (minimum 4 people).
  • –HI-San Diego Downtown– South of Broadway Walking Tour* Free! * Put on your walking shoes and slab on the sunscreen as you explore downtown San Diego on this newly inaugurated walking tour, This 3 hour, 3.5 mile tour, is led by knowledgeable volunteers who will tell you the history and revitalization of Downtown San Diego. There will be a 20 minute stop for coffee and croissants at St. Tropez Bistro.
  • – HI-San Diego Downtown & Point Loma – Movie Night * Free! * Relax in our comfortable TV room while watching modern and classic movies. The Hostel provides the popcorn and snacks.
  • – dinner at Cafe Pacifica
    Cafe Pacifica, San Diego, California
    Start your seaside vacation off right with some great seafood at this popular downtown restaurant.

  • 11. May Monday (public transport)
  • – San Diego Zoo
    San Diego Zoo, San Diego, California
    Don’t be put off by the high admission prices. This is the best zoo in the country and you’ll be glad you spent the money. It’s a huge place, so plan on spending a good part of the day here.

    ($37) http://www.sandiegozoo.org/tickets/zootickets.html

  • – dinner at Buon Appetito
    Buon Appetito, San Diego, California
    This restaurant’s tasty and authentic Italian food has made it a local favorite. The food is worth the wait.
  • 12. may Tuesday (public transport)
  • – morning trip to Mission Beach
    Mission Beach, San Diego, California
    If you get there early, you can beat the crowds and get a good parking spot and a good spot on the beach. Relax and enjoy the California sun.

  • – lunch at Hodad’s
    Hodad’s, San Diego, California
    Locals and tourists love this place’s excellent burgers. It’s casual and family-friendly, so it’s convenient after coming from the beach.

  • – afternoon at Balboa Park
    Balboa Park, San Diego, California
    If you have time left before you have to leave, explore this large urban park. Outside are many walking trails and shade trees, and there are some interesting museums and other indoor options as well.



  • 14. May Friday Cycling at Golden Gate Bridge and Park (take the cable car to the fishermen’s wharf)
  • – rent bicycle for 1 day $25 (10% web discount) http://www.baycitybike.com/baybike/index.php
  • 10 am The daily guided tour is a three hour excursion that leaves everyday at 10 AM. Guaranteed. We do not place minimums on the tour size. The guided tour takes you to all the “must see” places: San Francisco waterfront, Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito. Continue riding for the remainder of the day and use the included complimentary ferry ticket for a relaxing return to San Francisco. Add the Daily Guided Tour option when reserving your bike.
  • – spend time at the park in the evening
  • – rest of the day cycling around (we can ask them for recommended routes) then return bike
  • 5pm go to aquarium at the bay
  • – dinner at ghirelli square
  • 15. May Saturday (rent car) sacramento
  • 10 am: rent a car to sacramento from http://www.supercheapcar.com/underage-rentals.html

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  • go there via the BART ($8.10)
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  • 1 h 51 minutes drive. On the way, (11 am estimate) check out of Encore Express Hotel
  • also drop by UPS customer service centre to pick up package from musician’s friend
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  • http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/store_listing.asp?id=50
  • 12 pm Passing through Vacaville premium outlets, stop by for 4 hour of shopping
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  • 4pm – leave premium outlet
  • 5pm – arriving in sacramento – check into Good nite inn Sacramento
  • on the way stop by walmart for grocery and pickup of goods from walmart
  • Walmart Supercenter Store #3652
  • 755 Riverpoint Court
  • West Sacramento, CA 95605
  • (916) 373-2200
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  • Things to do: information below from http://www.efsmithsonian.com/eliterature/DBD/G/SCG.pdf
  • California State Capitol

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  • Tour the California State Capitol building where the governor and state legislature govern the United States’ most populous state. Built from 1861 to 1873, the building’s design was based on the U.S. Capitol in Washing- ton, D.C. The Capitol also serves as a museum, featuring paintings, murals, statues, flags and other artifacts that represent the state’s extensive history. During today’s tour, you’ll see priceless artwork, historic California artifacts and actual government rooms where bills are debated and passed into law.
  • California Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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  • Step outside the State Capitol and cross the grounds of Capitol Park to see the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The bronze statues portray the armed services’ men and women in the midst of military life in Vietnam. The memorial also lists the names of Californians killed or missing in action in the Vietnam War.
  • Old Sacramento

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  • From the establishment of Sutter’s Fort to the California Gold Rush and beyond, learn about Sacramento’s intriguing history at Old Sacramento, a state historic park that features a wide range of historical attractions, museums and more.
  • California State Railroad Museum

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  • The development of the Transcontinental Railroad proved absolutely vital to California’s growth through the years. The California State Railroad Museum celebrates that history with an impressive display of lavishly restored locomotives, compelling exhibits and special events.
  • 111 I St., +1 916-323-9280. A huge museum of railroad history with a large collection of old yet well-preserved trains and equipment. If possible, take Amtrak to the Sacramento station to get into a trainy mood for it. $8 adults
  • 16. May Sunday (rent car) sacramento
  • Nimbus fish hatchery

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  • The Nimbus Fish Hatchery works to prevent the loss of fish habitats in California. During your visit to the hatchery, you may see fish “climbing” a ladder to a shelf area where they can safely breed. The new fish are kept here until they are large enough to be released into the Sacramento River.
  • Marshall Gold Discovery SHP

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  • Effective November 1, 2009 – May 28, 2010 the park will be closed on Sundays and Mondays
  • Park will be open Tuesday – Saturday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • From May 29, 2010 – Sept. 7, 2010 the park will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays
    Park will be open Thursday – Monday 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • North Beach Picnic Area will be closed November 1, 2009 – May 28, 2010.
  • • Visit the site where James W. Marshall first discovered gold in 1848 when he was building a sawmill. His discovery led to a massive migration and changed the course of California’s history. See a replica of the old sawmill and historic mining buildings or enjoy a hike at this picturesque, historic location.
  • Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park

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  • Visit the site of John Sutter’s agricultural empire, New Helvetia. After aiding a group of stranded immigrants, Sutter became known for his hospitality, and his fort was often the first stop for new immigrants to California.
  • 17. May Monday (rent car) Yosemite
  • 10 am Travelling to Yosemite 3.5 hours ($20 park fee per car)
  • 2pm Spend the day at Yosemite (I have a pdf map)
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  • 6pm leave park
  • 8.30pm Return to encore express san fran in 3.5 hours
  • park the car at nearby garage ($8) as the car rental closes at 430pm
  • http://www.yelp.com/biz/sutter-stockton-garage-san-francisco#query:overnight%20parking%2C%20union%20square

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  • 18. May Tuesday
  • 8am return car in the morning, take BART back to Chinatown ($3.90)
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  • 9 am From hotel to California academy of sciences
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  • 12pm from California acadaemy of science to de young museum
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  • 3pm to Chinatown for dim sum late (only $3) .
  • Take bus back to hostel first then cable car from powell
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  • Best place to get off is Washington & Mason (near Cable Car Museum) or Powell & California. Walk down a few blocks and you will be in Chinatown.
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  • – Cheesecake Factory outdoor dining for dinner in San Francisco is very nice, especially at night. http://www.thecheesecakefactory.com/
  • 19. May Wednesday (flight home – Ning) (flight home – Ashwin)
  • 8am Grace Cathedral
  • 9am Lombard street (winding street)
  • 10am BART to airport ($8.10)
  • 11am check in
  • 1pm boarding
  • http://www.sfmta.com/cms/mfares/passports.htm
  • overall map

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  • navigable map below

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Exam… Stress?

Woah the biggest exam venue in UofA. It is the end of 3 exams. I think they are manageable. If I don’t have SEP student attitude, I think it is possible to do quite well. Oh well there are 2 more exams to worry about. Then it will be a sad time because I will be bidding goodbye to Edmonton. Sigh. Time flies really fast!

I just hope bidding goodbye to Edmonton will not mean bidding goodbye to the few friends I made here.

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Jasper Trip

This is long overdue, so i have to do this before i forget the event.

My trip to Jasper

Jasper is a very small town along the canadian rockies. The group of us decided to take the Good Friday long weekend as an opportunity to visit Jasper



We rented 2 cars from discount car rental for the 8 of us. In the morning, we met at the parking lot of lister centre.

We had 2 red cars, medium hong on the left which i sat in (and drove at one point) and xiao hong on the right which the NTU champs squeezed into.

After punching in the destination of Jasper into my iPhones Tom Tom GPS app we were off. At this point, the GPS was rather quirky, giving strange instructions and not getting a good reception. After browsing the map manually however, I managed to guide us onto the Yellowhead Trail which put us on the direct route to Highway 16 and towards Jasper.

Xiao hong at one point, decided to speed up and got a large lead ahead of us, but unfortunately, with less than superior navigation skills on the occupants’ part, they ended up getting a bit lost while looking for the place to stop for lunch, and of course, medium hong was following them obediently thinking they knew what they were doing.

However, we soon found our rightful location and stopped for KFC. It was my first KFC in Canada and I did not mind having the unhealthy meal. After sharing the family meal, we each spent $6 only, and i consider that to be a good deal.

After the meal we continued onto Jasper. We stopped at the toll booth to buy a park pass and xiao hong got lucky as they were charged 1 day’s entrance fee when we were going for 2 days. The sad thing was that the toll booth operator would have to pick up the tab for her mistake.

We soon reached Jasper and had to find our way to the International Youth Hostel.

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It was a bit away from the small town, but as we were driving we were able to get to the hostel quite easily. We stopped by for directions in Jasper anyway.


By the time we had put our stuff into the hostel, it was about time for dinner already, and so we went back to the town to do a bit of walking around and find dinner.

Oh but before that we went around Jasper looking for a bike rental shop. Turns out there were 2 shops, but only 1 of them had a tandem bike so that was the natural choice because one of us could not cycle.


We also took a photo with the statue of a bear that really looked too cute and unlike a real portrayal of a big bad bear.


We went everywhere to find food! But we could not decide on something nice for dinner. Eventually though, we did find something to eat.

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Three of us ordered steak. Unfortunately for the other two, only mine turned out just right. It was quite a 8 oz steak actually. But at least dinner was settled.

After dinner we went to watch a movie. The cinema was lousy but we wanted to watch Alice in Wonderland so we went to the cinema and caught the 9pm show. It was an interesting show, but i somehow feel I should have watch How to Train Your Dragon instead.

After the show, we went back to the hostel to see if we could find some internet and possibly play some games before sleeping.


The next day, we were up and psyched up to go cycling. Before that we had to fuel up with a nice breakfast which we did at the Bear Paw Bakery. I tried the recommended Apple Strudel (which they had another spelling of) and i think it was just right, not too sweet and just the right texture. The place was also well decorated with a vintage twist and custom painted signs.

After breakfast we went to the bike shop where we went to the day before. They had 5 hard tails out but 6 of us and being the slow one i had to wait for another bike to be brought out. And lo and behold, I got a bike which had never been used.


It was a kona wabasso. The 18″ frame was just right for me, though I would have preferred the handlebars higher. It was a great bike. Good tires, mechanical disc brakes, decent suspension with lockouts and a comfy seat. Being used to the crappy kind of bikes available for rent in Singapore I was taken by surprise at the way Canadians regarded their bikes. We were also given helmets. The others had a tire kit under their seats, but as mine was new, they did not fit one on.

Soon we were off with experienced biker Alex leading the way with map in hand, camera in the other.

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We went across the Athabasca river and cycled to a few lakes. I believe they were lake Edith and Lake Annette. We decided to test the integrity of the ice in the river and did some major artillery shelling on the lake. Our conclusion was that if we were rocks, we would certainly be able to stand on the ice as although it was thawing, the ice was still rather hard. We had fun extracting plates of ice from the shore and posing with them.

As we were travelling we saw many different animals. Geese, Deer and Elk were around and it was really nice seeing them all up close.

Soon our three hour bike rental period was about to be up so we headed back to Jasper. We found the welcome to Jasper sign and took a photo of that.



After that we proceeded to return our bikes and get lunch. I was surprised that we were eating beef again, but apparently the beef in this restaurant was better.

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Instead of eating beef i went with some peachy pork, but Alex was agreeable to trade half the pork for half of his beef and so i got a hybrid meal and was able to taste the best of both worlds.

Exploring the waters

After lunch we proceeded to visit the different watery areas in Jasper. For the scenery. First stop was Maligne Lake. We were hoping to see the Spirit Island that was depicted in many postcards, but we were at the wrong end of the lake.


This is a river, not the lake. We follow xiao hong as seen below.


After a 45 minute drive, we ended up at Maligne lake. It was just white. Nothing else to see. We were really quite disappointed with Maligne lake. It looked so different from the post card. At least Alex got to do some tobogganless tobogganing and had his fun there.


On the drive back towards Jasper (as it was a dead end to the lake) we decided to stop by the Maligne Canyon which offered a much better sight. However, it was quite slippery and a steep route to hike, and so we did not go very far.


Ashley found her spot to plant her baby sapling. Hopefully it will not become an alien species in this forest.


After that we went back towards Jasper, took an about turn and went down I-93 towards Athabasca Falls. After peering at the scenery, I decided to put on my UWA and do some photography. I think UWAs are a cheat. It makes landscapes look so nice.

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The falls had become half melted. It was just as well, for with the full fury of the fall unleashed there would have probably been a lot more mist which would wet the camera.

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On the way back we saw elk on the side of the road.



After returning to the hostel we cooked dinner. We were making pasta for us and did a simple meal out of linguine, a lot of pasta sauce and a lot of minced beef. Unfortunately, the pasta was a bit too watery because we did not drain it, so we had a bit of a soggy issue with the pasta. In spite of that, I still managed to eat until I was simply too full to do anything. We had some leftover pasta and sauce but nobody could eat it so we had to dispose of it


We played pictionary but the other team had a good taunter and a very quick guesser. They also kept drawing cards that they did not have to share with us and we kept drawing cards that we had to share with them. halfway into the game it was clear who the winner was going to be but we still played till the end anyway. After that, it was good night and a good sleep. Fortunately today nobody was sleeping in the bed beside me (because we were side by side!). I will try my best not to sleep in a dorm style hostel again! It was also noisy on the first night.


After checking out we headed back to the town of Jasper for some breakfast, and this time we went to The Other Paw, which was really a branch of the original Bear Paw.

I had something nice but i cant remember what it was now. And I failed to take a photo of it. But after that pastry i decided i was still hungry and ordered the coconut chicken soup which proved to be really really nice and filled me with a lingering nice sensation for the rest of the day.

The road home

After breakfast we made our way home, keeping our eyes peeled for the edmonton sign. And we found it!, but xiao hong overshot the sign and missed it.

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I was asked to photoshop the occupants of xiao hong into the picture, but i really don’t know how to do it.

After returning to edmonton we went to have lunch at Buddy’s and that was the conclusion of the Jasper trip. I think I spent about $300 CAD on the trip, including transport, food and accomodation. The memories, of course, are priceless.


I have uploaded albums with many pictures of my Jasper Trip On Picasa

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School’s Out

Its funny when school stops on a monday. My exam starts next tuesday (20 Apr), then I have 2 exams on friday (23 Apr). Thereafter another on monday (26 Apr) and another on tuesday (27 Apr) and I am done. So, I am trying to study…

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The accomodation and transportation for my California Trip have been settled. I have one travel buddy, a girl from germany who is studying in UCal. It is a strange thing, how we are now going on the trip together, but at least I am not going alone, after being abandoned by my original travel buddy. I will update details of the trip at another time. Suffice to say the 1/2 of the trip that i was supposed to plan was done so meticulously and it is a grand plan.

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Jasper Trip

I am going to Jasper with a bunch of singaporeans over the easter weekend. We have no real plan. Good luck to us!

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