Disneyland, Paris

We become happier, much happier, when we realize life is an opportunity rather than an obligation.

~Mary Augustine~


Disneyland was one of the three theme parks I vowed to go to, and this dream was made true when I went to Paris.

One of the worthy places to go while in Paris.

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Disneyland was a little different than what I imagined it to be. Unlike Universal Studio or Movie World, Disneyland offers more entertainment than rides. As someone who has extreme motion sickness, this theme park suits me the best.

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Disneyland entertains its guests with lots of performances, bringing out all popular characters. It is easy to connect yourself to each of the performance.

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You can also take a train ride that let you experience “real” explosion and flooding phenomena as seen in movies.

After tiring yourself out walking around and taking photos, there’s a restaurant inside the area where you can recharge yourself. I couldn’t remember the name but we had quite nice fish and chips there.

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The fee entrance is of course expensive, especially when you’re paying in Euro, however the experience you got was worth the money.

Night in Paris

Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.
Louisa May Alcott

When Paris was set as one of my destinations, the only thing that came to mind was Eiffel Tower at night.

The term “City of Love” has little meaning to me.

To fulfill my wish, my friend booked an accommodation which was within a walking distance to the Eiffel Tower.

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My journey to Paris wasn’t a smooth sailing. Since I was on a budget trip, I decided to travel by a night train hence cutting cost on the accommodation. Unfortunately, at that time, the whole France was on a strike, affecting the public transportation. The train didn’t arrive and I was stranded at the Central Milan Station (of all places!)

It was scary since that station wasn’t a safe place when night comes. I could see that people were being handcuffed here and there. Police officers were everywhere. The station was locked from within so there wouldn’t be any people coming in or going out.

My eyes were barely opened but sleeping wasn’t an option. Desperate to get out of there, I opted to take the earliest bus out of Central Milan Station to Malpensa Airport. I looked for the earliest flight out to Paris and found Easyjet airline which departed at 6 am.

The problem didn’t stop there. I brought three pieces of stuff with me – main luggage, backpack and camera bag. Easyjet only allowed for 1 carry-on. Other commercial airlines would allow me to bring both camera bag and backpack on board, but not Easyjet. Like it or not, I had to check-in my tiny backpack for another extra $$$ which wasn’t cheap.

Finally arrived in Paris, the city of love did not live to my expectation at all. There was no love in the city. People were quite selfish, unlike the people I met in the other European countries. I was pushed when hopping out of the train while dragging my heavy luggage but none of them bother to apologize.

Oh well, at least I managed to visit the Eiffel Tower at night and the view didn’t disappoint me. Absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, I couldn’t say the same about the tower during the day 😀

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Thousands of tourists during the day and the beggars didn’t even give you the chance to take photos. They kept on pressing you on buying their keychains. They just wouldn’t leave you alone -sigh-

Will I go again to Paris? Hmm I might have to think twice ^-^

25th of April Bridge, Lisbon

Being content creates simplicity in life.

~John Heider~


Previously known as The Salazar Bridge, named after a Portuguese dictator.
When his regime fell on the 25th of April 1975, it was renamed to “25th of April” Bridge.

The 27th largest suspension bridge in the world, connecting the city of Lisbon to Almada.

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What really caught my attention was its design that is similar to The Golden Gate Bridge.
As a Charmed series’ fan, I was infatuated when I first saw it.

My cab driver was happily telling about the company that built the bridge, which he claimed to be the same as the one that built the Golden Gate Bridge.

But later I found out that the company actually built the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (not the Golden Gate).

To me, it didn’t really matter who built the bridge. Being able to see it myself, and actually crossing the bridge was enough.

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And to have dinner in a restaurant with the bridge as the background, while witnessing the day turned to night was an awesome experience.

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I’m truly grateful to my supervisor for giving me this opportunity, who fought for my right to get the fund from the university, and of course to the Computer Science department who paid half of the cost 😀

When Obsession Gets the Better of Me

Being content creates simplicity in life.

~John Heider~


I guess by now it’s no longer a secret that I’m an anime/manga freak. Sometimes I immersed myself in the otaku world too much.

One Piece has always been my favorite. Oda-sensei is known to use real characters and places as the basis of his drawings. So when I got the chance to go to Spain in June 2014, I had decided to visit the world that was used as the setup for the current arc in One Piece, Dressrosa.

For those who haven’t known, Dressrosa was based on Park Güell in Barcelona. It was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. So as a big fan, I was really eager to go to the park.

But the problem was, I had only 2 and half days to spend in Spain (yeah, it was a very very short vacation). A must visit place for me was the Mezquita in Cordoba. And also I wanted to go to the Alhambra Palace. It would be a waste if I didn’t go there.

After balancing the pros and cons, I decided to go to Granada instead. If I wanna brag to someone, Alhambra would be more convincing than Park Güell, aye? 😛

So I took a bus from Cordoba to Granada. The journey wasn’t really nice because the guy next to me was asleep the whole time. Sleeping was not a problem but occupying my small space and falling to my side each time the bus drove through a corner was not acceptable at all. Could you imagine that I have to push him all the time for 2 and half hours?!! I felt like the most happiest person when we reached Granada bus station, as if I had successfully gone through a terrible ordeal.

On the way to the city, my eyes caught something very interesting – the Bull Ring! I knew straight away what it represented in the One Piece world – Corrida Colosseum. I wish I could stop but I had to follow my schedule.

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I kept on thinking about the ring. Well, if there is a will, there is a way. I really wanted to see the ring up close. Luck was on my side. I finished the Alhambra tour at 4.30pm. My train would be at 6.00pm. There would be more than enough time for me. Since many Spanish could not really speak English, I asked my tour guide to instruct my cab driver to make a quick detour to the bull ring before dropping me off at the train station.

The cab driver just went around the ring so I could only manage to snap the photo from within the cab. Even so, I was happy enough. But does it really worth it? I could not really say for sure. All I knew was if I didn’t follow my heart at that time, I would definitely regret it ^_^.

The Alhambra

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.

~Henry David Thoreau~


It is finally summer in Dunedin. Hot and sweaty, though not everyday. Yesterday was a bit chilly. I could say summer is quite a rare phenomena in Dunedin. And when it happened, for some reason this summery feeling reminded me of Spain. How nostalgic.

I went to Spain in June, when summer was at its peak. Spain has so many historical sites, and one of them is the infamous palace built by the Moorish emir, Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar, in the mid-11th century. It is categorized under the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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It was a day trip from Cordova to Granada. Departed by bus, the journey took more than 2 hours. In Granada bus station, I was greeted by Anne, my private tour guide. We went for a historical walk around Albayzin for a couple of hours, before going to the Alhambra in the afternoon.

The tour started with a visit to The Generalife. It is said to be the summer palace for the emirs (Kings). The palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens.

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The garden had undergone some restorations, and one of the restorations includes the water fountains. I was told that there were issues related to this. Some preferred the restoration to follow the original design of the fountain, where its purpose was to provide peacefulness through its soothing sound.

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The other design was focusing on strengthening the beauty of the garden. The latter was built, adding the nice touch to the garden but lose the reason why the fountain was built in the first place.

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From The Generalife, I headed to the palace. After centuries went by, the palace is still standing, proud and elegant. Its structure. Its architecture. The scripture written on its wall. I don’t have to be an engineer or an archeologist to be amazed by it.

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And there’s the Courtyard of the Lions, the main courtyard of the Nasrid Dynasty. At the center of it, the Fountain of Lions can be found – a fountain surrounded by motifs of 12 lions. It functioned as the water network that used to supply the palace with water, and also as a clock where the water would flow out from the lion’s mouth depending on the time (1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, etc).

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The system broke down after the Andalusia downfall, and another news stated that the Spaniards spoiled it even further when they tried to learn operating this impressive system.

The Alhambra is definitely worth the visit. Given a chance, I would love to come back to this amazing place.