Tuesday, December 28, 2004

All I wanted for Xmas was my Ultimate Matrix Box Set but I got taxed for it.

Was in Singapore for Xmas. My first time to experience Xmas in such grand scale. Took the Senandung Malam train again on Thursday nite (23 Dec). Reached Sg in the morning. Checked in to Holiday Inn ParkView, in Orchard Road area. The Music

Wasting no time, I went around music shops in Orchard Road like a butterfly, flying from flower to flower. At the end my bag was filled with the following titles: The Ultimate Matrix – 10 DVDs box set (Matrix trilogy and then some) Britney Spears - Greatest Hit: My Prerogative DVD (My eyes almost popped out watching Britney steaming up my tv screen with Toxic karaoke video. She was practically naked underneath those strategically placed diamond studs with whatever left of her decency covered by the karaoke lyrics.) Kylie – I Believe in You CD Single (very Erasure-ish, very 80’s hummable tune) Brandy – Who is She 2U CD Maxi Single (one of my fave R&B songstress) Hilary Duff – Fly CD Single (This is an impulse buy…I regretted it) Josh Groban – Live at The Greek (1 CD + 1 DVD) (Great voice, bad hair dude) Stephanie Sun’s The Moment (2 CD greatest Hits + 1 VCD) Dolly Parton – Live & Well (2 CDs) (No…This is not for me. It’s for a friend) I, Robot (Will Smith) VCD Yesterday Once More (Sammi Chang & Andy Lau) VCD Ashes of Time (Wong Kar Wai directed) VCD The Movies

In between the shopping, managed to watch 3 movies, all sequels. (Warning: Spoilers)

1) Blade 3 – Trinity : Crappy storyline, even crappier lines for the actors. I like the first and sequel but this one sucks. The vampire villain is not even menacing – looks a lot like a weak cousin of the Predator. Not even Wesley Snipe can save this bloody (pardon the pun) movie. 2) Meet The Fockers – Hilarious. I enjoyed it very much. I felt like I was the only one laughing out loud in the cinema. Was it me or the Singaporeans? 3) Bridget Jones – The Edge of Reason. Hilarious but sometimes I just wanna give that Bee-shit Jones (as the Thai pronounced it) as good slap for not knowing how lucky she was having a wonderful guy who cares very much for her. Stoopid woman! Happy ending with great soundtrack. The Xmas

The Good: Colourful lights. Great atmosphere. Caroling. Cute girls with Santa hats and cutesy raindeer horns on their heads. Dancing Xmas trees. The Bad: Traffic. Hordes of people. I think the whole population of Singapore flooded to Orchard on Xmas eve. Human stampede risk at its highest. The Ugly: Colour String and fake snow spray war. Spraying each other with fake snow from aerosol cans equal Xmas fun? I just don’t get it.

The Tax (Insert Expletive here!)

At the Tanjong Pagar KTM check point I was told to open up my bag for custom inspection. Insert Expletive here! Previously, I could go pass the checkpoint with no problem. This time a custom officer named Lau insisted I open up my bags for a thorough inspection. (Insert expletive here!). He took out my DVD box set and all my CDs and told me that he had to tax me SGD 60. (Insert expletive here). What? 30% Tax? That would be RM144! I didn’t know of such tax! Puaka cekik darah! I told him that I didn’t have that much money. I flipped through the notes in my wallet…All I had was SGD 30. He agreed to take it. I tried to “bargain” it down to 20 but that son of a biyatch won’t budge. (Insert expletive here!). It was horrible. At last, with trembling hands I hand over my money. Puaka Cekik Darah! (Expletive! Expletive! Expletive) This ranks as the worst Xmas I have ever had. All I wanted for Xmas was my Ultimate Matrix Box Set but I got taxed for it.


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

5 Things about Singapore Marathon 2004

Dec 3 (Friday Night)

Watch Mr. Incredible @ Midvalley – second time. Still as funny as the first time. Love Edna Mode.Dahlink! Bought some bread at Bread Talk for breakfast in the train. They ran out of flossy buns. Darn!

Had a strawberry sundae at McDonald. There was some commotion caused by a young guy with some elderly people. Not my problem. Continued to indulge in my strawberry swirl. Strawberry sundaes made me happy and forget about the world

Boarded the train – Senandung Malam. The only senandung (serenade) I heard was the noisy chatter of a bunch of annoying Indian who were on their way for an architectural study visit to Singapore. Reminder: To pack earplug next time.

Train left for Singapore approximately 10:30pm. Had fallen asleep despite the bone-rattling movement of the train

Dec 4 (Sat)

Awakened by some noisy kids. Loathe them. Arrived at JB. Malaysian passport were checked on board. Noisy Indians awakened and their chatting seemed unstoppable.

Got down with luggage into Singapore checkpoint. Long queue there. Filled up the immigration card. Was not offered one board. Decided to take some cards for future use.

Reached Tanjung Pagar train station. Took the bus to Chinatown for breakfast. Tan, CL, Amy decided to have bak kut teh for breakfast. Not my bowl of Teh! Don’t think I can ever choke on that stuff. Went to a café called “Kopi and Toast” for some what else but Kopi and toast and two ½ boiled eggs. Yummy!

Took the MRT from Chinatown to City Hall. Walked through the Citylink Mall to Suntec City. Got distracted by HMV. Almost walked into it but managed to pull my legs out of it and continued walking to Suntec Mall. Saw many people passed by, whom I assumed runner with the Sg Marathon as they were carrying the elegant dark blue new balance shoe bag. Hurried my pace.

T-shirt and race pack collection was well organized. Got mine in a jiffy. The only interesting booth at the expo was the New Balance. Bought 3 pairs of socks at SGD10.

Cheap I guess.

Checked in into Marina Mandarin at noon. Kinda fancy.The atrium was breath taking.

Top 5 Reasons I love to stay at Marina Mandarin (MM) for Singapore Marathon

1) Suntec City is practically at the doorstep. Suntec houses Tower Record and Blue Max DVD store.

2) MM is linked to Marina Shopping Mall with linked to Cineplex and funky looking Marina Food Loft.

3) MM is linked to City Link Mall which in turn linked to City Hall Interchange.

4) 5 min stroll from Esplanade, starting point.

5) Great view of the Marina area – Can see the Merlion doing a projectile vomit into the sea. Hahah!

Unpacked my stuff and had a light lunch of pita bread with tuna spread.

Then, I went out to do the

5 things that I shouldn’t be doing on the day before Singapore Marathon:

1) Spend hours browsing books about running and yoga at Borders

2) Walking up and down Orchard Road looking for a magazine to redeem some goodie bag (It seemed to be a good idea then to look for the SGD2 Chinese magazine in exchange of a Nivea Men Toiletries Goodie bag)

3) Spend hours looking for a Six Sigma book in Kinokuniya for a colleague

4) Spend hours at HMV and Gramophone flipping through thousands of CDs and VCDs.

5) Watch a 3 hours butt-numbing epic movie like Alexander the night before the run. (It seemed to be a good idea at first but then my legs couldn’t be stretched, adding to the tiredness. The movie was the bigger (epic), longer (3 hrs) and uncut (no censor) version. Seem them all – Alexander bed romp with his butt naked wife- Roxane, homo kiss between Alexander and some Indian male dancer and Colin Farell’s posterior. Was impressed by Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of Alexander’s mommy, bewitching with tongue-rolling accent and her fondness of snakes. Sexy this!

Arrived back to the hotel at about 11:00pm. Gobbled up a McD Savoury Beef Burger I bought earlier. No pasta party this. Went to bed with my tired soles. Regret! Regret! Regret!

Dec 5 (The day has come) 5 Things I did right for Singapore marathon that I might do it again next year.

1) Eat 2 whole meal pita with peanut butter. Never felt hunger or acid reflux. Drink load of 100 Power plus.

2) A relaxing bubble bath in the tub with lavender soap the night before. Love this aromatherapy shit.

3) Leg Muscle rubdown with analgesic balm before the run. Reminder: Wash hand properly after rubdown. Do not touch scratch the groin area without washing the hand. Ignoring this reminder might cause some fiery consequences.

4) Chewing gum. (Is this still illegal in Singapore??) Keep my mouth moist and my breath fresh. Haaaaaahhhhhhh!!! Smell that? Heheh!

5) Stopped at 10, 20 and 30km to make my Power Gel shake. Don’t really like to suck on the sticky sweet goo. So I squirted a pack into the cute 2Tang 250ml mineral water supplied, closed the cap and shook the bottle as I ran. The 2 Tang bottle is cute and practical for running as it fits in the palm and enable running while drinking.

Was at the starting point quite early at about 4:45am. The girls were nowhere to be seen. Walked up and down the Esplanade. Slowly moved to the back where the slow runners were – 5-6 hours pen. Saw a guy wearing a huge birthday cake suit. My vote was for him to win the best dress entry.

I followed the crowd, jostling down the street after the blast off. Not able to run at all at the start. Stepped on the timing mat while U2’s Beautiful Day was playing in the air. Great song to start the day.

I have got nothing much to report on the run except that I took my own sweet time to “baby jog” and took photographs till 33km where I completely hit the wall. Then, I did the Big Walk all the way back to the Padang.

5 Things I love about Singapore Marathon

1) Highly well organised. Effective and efficient. I have nothing but praises for the organizer. Good traffic control. Drinking stations well stocked. So far the best marathon I have ever run. I only ran two so far but my first marathon; KLIM 2004 was light years behind Singapore Marathon. I still can’t forget the traumatic experience that I was made to wait under the hot sun, queuing up to return my timing chip and get back my cash deposit after running 42km in KLIM. Hope these people can learn something from our neighbour.

2) Great carnival like atmosphere – spunky cheerleaders and fun expo.

3) Scenic route – skyscrapers, beaches, park.

4) Motivational sign boards along the way. Keep the spirit high.

5) Very nice finisher medal and T-shirt.

After completed my run, I dashed back to the hotel to shower and check out. Returned to the Padang to collect my medal and finisher tee. Had a bowl of yummy beef noodle at Marina Food Loft – a great place to chill out and grab a bite. If you sit outside, you can enjoy the scenic Esplanade area.

Left Singapore at 3:30pm from the Golden Mile Complex which pratically can be known as Thailand in a mall. Took the express bus back.

I discovered that one of my middle toenails has turned black. Soon it will fall off. Same thing happened to me in KLIM 2004. I guess my feet are not made for running marathon heheh. It will take 3 months to grow back, just in time for the KL International Marathon 2005. :)