Monday, August 11, 2008

# Uncle's Funeral

Uncle passed away on 11 August 2008. May he rest in peace. I love you, shushu.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

# Grandma's Funeral

Grandma passed away on 12 June 2008. May she rest in peace. I love you, popo.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

宝贝- 张悬

(Tried to post a video from Youtube but the video failed to load, starting to suspect I am really technical-error-prone. Anyway, here is the video link.)






倦的时候有个人陪 (孤单时有人把你想念)


Thursday, May 24, 2007

# Trafalgar Green!

Let's take a short break before going to Santorini, and let's visit Trafalgar Square, which has been transformed into a green space today.

2000 square metres of turf would cover the square for two days to promote green villages in city under the Visit London's campaign. The turf was sourced from the Vale of York.

As we were already in China Town, we decided to drop over at the square to have a look at the rare sight of greeneries in London... and we saw this.

It was amazing to see that a small patch of grass would attract such a massive crowd! Makes me wonder how deprived Londoners are of greeneries...

We decided to join the crowd on the grass to enjoy the long-waited sunny weather in London.

When the weather is sunny, and when there is some greens to relax on, we can definitely see some bottles of beer in the scene as well. These guys below sure know how to enjoy a picnic.

We hang around there, looking at random people, watching the sunset, and just chilling out. As the blazing sun went down, the whole square was bathed in golden light...

Here are some people riding on the magnificent lion, enjoying the sunset.

I looked up and saw Nelson's column in golden glow, reflecting the beautiful sun rays.

As we were leaving the square, we saw a peculiar pagoda! On closer look, we realized it was actually the church under construction. It was very interesting how the construction work produced an illusion that transformed the church into a eleven-storey high pagoda. (And it looks good too!)

For comparison, this is how the church looks like originally...

That's a nice little trip to a GREEN Trafalgar Square. If only it can be green all year long...

Friday, May 18, 2007

# Greece - Athens (2)

After a refreshing walk in the National Garden, we arrived at the Zappion. It was the first to hold an indoor Olympic event in 1896. The building was to commemorate Zappas, the founder of the modern international Olympic Games.

(There are some controversies over who is the true founder of the modern Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) credited Pierre de Coubertin as the founder, while it is argued that Evangelis Zappas sponsored the first modern international Olympic Games in Platia Kotzia in 1859. I will leave the arguments to the historians and professionals)

As we walked further on, we came upon something that totally took our breaths away - the Temple of Olympia Zeus.
The magnificent Temple of Olympia Zeus
- look at how huge the columns are compared to human size

The Temple of Olympia Zeus is the largest of the ancient Greek temples. It was one of the first to be conceived during 6th Century BC, but was only completed in 131 AD by the Emperor Hadrian - after 700 years later. The construction of the monument was disrupted many times due to lack of funds and change of governments. Also, during the Classical period (487-379) the work was abandoned because it was believed that the Temple was too ambitious and symbolized the human arrogance to be equal to Gods.
The remaining columns, with Acropolis as the backdrop

Originally there were 104 Corinthian columns, but there are only 15 which remains standing today. It was believed that the temple was destroyed in an earthquake during the medieval period. Like many other ancient buildings, the stones were taken away for building materials - what a pity! Now, though only these few columns remain, I could imagine how magnificent this Temple must have been during its most glorious period.

Remember Emperor Hadrian who completed the Temple of Zeus in 131AD? He decided to erect the Hadrian's Arch in 132AD as well, as a gate between the ancient city and the Roman city of Athens.
Hadrian's Arch

As we were heading to the Acropolis, we passed by the Theatre of Dionysious, the first stone theater built, formerly used by the Romans for gladiator fights.
Theater of Dionysious

Finally, we reached the ever-famous Acropolis! The word Acropolis means "upper city" and it is the place where most of the sacred buildings were built.

The first few things that we noticed when we walked uphill are:

  • The place was pack full of tourists. Just look at the picture!
  • The marble pathway was very slippery to walk on. Wonder how the people managed in the past.
  • The view from the mountain top is marvelous! The sight of a sea of off-white buildings surrounding Athens was amazing. Every single houses below had different architectural design, yet together as a whole they formed uniform patterns which spanned across the horizon.
The sea of tourists & the sea of houses

This post would not be complete without a picture of the Parthenon. Designed by Kallikrates and Iktinos, built over 15 years and completed in 438BC, the Parthenon had housed the giant statue of Athena. It had been a temple, a church, a mosque and even a gunpowder storage place for Turkey. It was blown up when the Venetians bombed it in 1687.
The Parthenon, with lots of tourists

You can see from the picture that there were a lot of reconstruction work going on. It was quite a pity because I would have loved to capture the beauty of the Parthenon, minus the construction work and the tourists...

I didn't manage to capture a decent photo of the Erecthion. With the barriers standing in the way, the distance was too far for my poor k800i to capture the beauty without seriously reducing the picture quality. So I have to "borrow" the picture below from

The Caryatids which stand at the porch of Erecthion are actually copies, while the original ones sit in the Acropolis museum. And one of the original statue is still in British Museum, who claimed to be "safe-keeping" it, despite most people would have wanted it to be reunited with her other companions.

As our time is running short (we have to catch a ferry to Santorini at 5pm), we have to forgo a lot of interesting places such as the old town Plaka, the vibrant Thission and the fun Psiri. We stopped by Ancient Agora briefly, and we walked by the famous Monastiraki flea market rather too quickly.

We had some Greek food like Souvlaki, Tzaziki, stuffed tomatoes and mousakas in Monastiraki, I will write about the food in another post, they deserve a special post on their own. I have been very impressed by the food in Greece, it is amazing that healthy food can be so delicious that you would keep wanting more! More on these in future post.

As the ferry departure time is drawing near, we rushed to Pireaus, the port of Athens. With such a fleeting moment spent at the port, we haven't got time to explore the port area, but just got a grasp that it is a very busy port.
Our ferry to Santorini

Off we go to Santorini... where the real adventure begins! We will continue our exploration of Athens after we come back from Santorini yea.

More photos at my Flickr site.

# Greece - Athens (1)

We arrived at the Athens airport at around 4a.m. in the morning. It's still to early to go down to the city centre, and we are still feeling tired as we have not had a good sleep on the plane. Here is what Athens airport looked like early in the morning...

And here is how we looked like early in the morning...

After some attempts to get some sleep, interrupted constantly by the airport announcement, we finally decided it's time to go down to the city centre. We took the bus down to the city, and it was then I experienced the driving skills of Greeks. Boy! How the bus driver sped! As we sped down the highway, we realized that every other car was also on full speed. It was certainly a thrilling experience sitting in a rickety bus which threatened to run down anything that came between it and its destination.
Don't underestimate the ability of the bus...

We met up with another travel partner, ZZ, at Syntagma Square. There was a saying that "No matter where you have to go in Athens, if you can find Syntagma Square you can find your way there." Shows how famous and central this square is in Athens, if not all of Greece.

The square has a long history. The name Syntagma means Constitution, and many major events have happened here - it has witnessed the WW2, it has survived the battle between communists and governments, it has gone through its own civil wars and battle between communists and right-winged governments in 1940s, and it has marked the beginning of the Cold War. More recently it has been the place where massive political rallies took place.
At present time, Syntagma is a large public square with nice walkways, trees, benches and cafes.
It is a place to hang out, hold holiday concerts and festivals.

We walked to the Parliament Building nearby, which was formerly the King's Palace, built between 1836 and 1840 by King Otto. The palace was guarded by elite soldiers called the Evzones, who were selected for their height and strength. Their official uniform foustanela, the pleated skirts, which were worn by Greek fighters in the 1821 revolution. Like the guards at Buckingham Palace, they endured endless tourists taking their pictures or observing whether they make any movement at all. We witnessed the change of guards, during which the Evzones did some march with interesting kick steps. I particularly like their sarouchi shoes with the small furry balls at the front.
The change of guards - to be precise, the Evzones

To get to our next destination where Acropolis and all the ruins are, we cut across the National Garden, which was like a tropical paradise right in the middle of the old and dusty city of Athens. The garden was so tropical that for a fleeting moment I thought we were back in Malaysia.
So tropical!

There was a small zoo which has been known to have Bulgarian wolves, antelopes, monkeys, a lion, etc... But we only managed to see some chickens, ducks, some birds, and LOADS of cats and dogs. Apparently the duck and turtle population was also out of control. Interestingly, despite the over-population, don't ever think of sneaking away the ducks/turtles, as they are the "property of Greek State". ^_^

National Garden

I shall end this first part by quoting what Henry Miller wrote about National Garden in 1939:

"It remains in my memory like no other park I have known. It is the quintessence of a park, the thing one feels sometimes in looking at a canvas or dreaming of a place one would like to to be in and never finds.

Seeing lovers sitting there in the dark, drinking water, sitting there in peace and quiet talking in low tones gave me a wonderful feeling about the Greek character. The dust the heat, the poverty, the bareness, the contendedness of the people, and the water everywhere in little tumblers standing between the quiet, peaceful couples, gave me a feeling that there was something holy about the place, something nourishing and sustaining."

- from Inventing Paradise: The Greek Journey 1937-47

A peaceful morning in the National Garden

(To be continued... )

More photos at my Flickr site.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

# Peanut Butter Jelly Time

I was watching "Family Guy" the other day on TV (older season) and there was one scene where Brian did the Peanut Butter Jelly Time dance. I just burst out laughing, remembering the time a few of us flooded Moody's Neo Chatbox with the dancing bananas...

Here is the excerpt from "Family Guy"

Here is the original version

Hope you survive the song, it's quite annoying if you are not used to these kinds of things. ^_^

Oh help, I think I am seriously getting more lame each day...