Friday, 29 February 2008

Changi -> Frankfurt -> Vienna -> Salzburg. On the move for 24 hours

28 Feb 23:20 - Singapore Changi Airport

The boarding areas were swarmed with Europeans and I was dwarfed in size. Amsterdam, Frankfurt, New York… those were where they were heading towards. Speaking in foreign tongues that I could barely understand, this was a preview to my world in the next 10 days.

29 Feb 07:00 – Frankfurt Airport

I have survived the 14 hour flight and reached Frankfurt. My old injury, however, has recurred at the most inconvenient time. It hurt so much to maintain a sitting position for long hours, as I once slipped and hit my “little tail” during my teenage days (right at the end of the spine), which never seem to fully recover. Ouch! I cannot imagine how much worse it will get as I grow older.

My connecting flight to Vienna was almost 2 hours away. In Vienna, it would be another leg of train ride before reaching Salzburg. 9 more hours of thrill and toil on the road! I was already exhausted. Why do people travel? So that they can get as tired as this and earn a good night sleep?

I was far too awake at 7am. First sign of jet lag-ness.

29 Feb 10:50 – Vienna Airport

I felt a gust of cold wind rushed upon me as I stepped out of the air craft. “Welcome to Vienna”! I could “smell” urban metropolitan and I knew right away that I am going to like it here. Starbucks said it all. A sense of nostalgia, or maybe not quite; just the comfort of seeing something familiar.

My stay at the Vienna airport was brief as I hopped on to the airport bus heading for Vienna Westbahnhof, where I would transfer to a train for Salzburg.

29 Feb 11:40 – Vienna Westbahnhof

Am I not glad that I allowed generous buffer time between my connecting transportation. I would have missed my train if I booked the one at 11.40am (which would get me too Salzburg 1 hour and 20 mins earlier than my current connection). Flight from Frankfurt to Vienna was delayed for half and hour and the bus from Vienna airport did not leave on time.

An hour more to my scheduled train. Few things that I should do in the meantime:

(1) Go to the ticketing counter to verify that my online train ticket is valid.
(2) Get provision (food and water) for the 4 hours train ride

Ok time check. 11.55am. I better get going.

Anyway, this is the last leg of my Austria trip in which I have done advance planning. So far so good. I am clueless as to how I will make it to my hotel when I reach Salzburg. Wish me luck!

Feb 29 12:57 On board Wagon 16 OBB Train 642 for Salzburg

Catastrophe! Just as I was happily enjoying the quiet company of the mother and son who were sharing the train cabin with me, a fat lady walked in at the first train station. I saw the mum frowned but I didn’t realize why… until…. I choked…. BO!! The fat lady carried with her an odour that is, ahem, not exactly pleasant. Would it be suffering for the next 3 hours to Salzburg? The train cabin was enclosed, which made it more unbearable. What should I do? Pretend to fall asleep? Or fix my mind on my book?

Half an hour later, fat lady rose and said goodbye. Phew! Within 5 seconds, the mother spoke to me in English and asked if it was ok with me to leave the cabin door open for air. Of course. Then she took out a bottle of body spray and promised me that it has the most wonderful smell and then she started spraying randomly inside our cabin. Haha…. I told her I thought fat lady was following us all the way to Salzburg and she laughed.

Feb 29 Dusk (I lost track of time)

I was wandering along the streets of old town Salzburg. It was late enough for museums and most shops to be closed. I remembered I read in the guidebook about the historic street in Salzburg old town “Getreidegasse”, where shops have wrought-iron signboard in front of them. That includes McDonalds.

I have booked myself on the “Sound of Music” tour tomorrow. This might be the only chance to do the tour for me this time as I was told by my kind hotel receptionist that the weather forecast is windy tomorrow afternoon and on Sunday. People are advised to stay indoor. Darn! But no worries, it will be museum appreciation day tomorrow afternoon then.

* * First mishap. I broke my filter.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Entering the twilight

There was once when I could have never imagined that other than an air-stewardess, there would be people like me who are jet setting to places, almost just as frequently. I also did not realise that the world is not quite so big, until I saw seasons changed, from summer to winter, only within hours of flight time. As a child, the world seemed to have endless possibilities, but now, nothing more than a playground of the feeble mankind.

Tomorrow, I will wake up in an unfamiliar city. I always felt strange about this, as if I have entered the twilight, and that dusk and dawn are confused. Not to mention that tomorrow is February 29.

For a day or 2, I will miss seeing you in my future and you will leave me behind in your past. The greenwich mean time separates us by just "7" because you are ahead of time.

So it's goodbye for now, as I drift away... not into the sea but above the clouds. And when you think of me, just hum "Eine Kleine Nacht". Then we will reunite.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008





这次有一点特别,就是在2月29号飞行。之前跟某位提到了我的顾虑,结果被狂笑一番。我说,4年才有一次的2月29,飞机会不会就这样飞入另一个时空里,4年后才再度现身?机上1日,地上4年,哈哈! Paranoid x 2,又一个我的歪理。


Windowless Window Seat is like "Bah Chor Mee without Bah Chor".


Saturday, 23 February 2008

A walk down memory lane, the National Stadium

The Singapore National Stadium has earned a page in our history. Opened in July 1973 with a seating capacity of up to 60,000 people, it was once the venue where major sports affairs, national events and entertainment performances were held. Did you know that Billy Joe, Elton John, Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson held their concerts here? Wow! And even the Pope John Paul II conducted a public mass here in 1986. What glorious track records!

Not forgetting our most important national event, the National Day Parade. It was held in this stadium for 18 times.

As it is in life, histories are not just filled with glamour. In 1977, a mass stampede occured during the Malaysian Cup and 1 man died (of heart attack), with 44 others left injured.

I remembered very little about being at the National Stadium. The only time that I was there as a adult was in Secondary 4, when my school was involved in one of the Youth Festival mass display item. I didn't remember the National Stadium was so rundown, even though my memories were faint. Of course that was many years back! But today, what's left behind are only worned out tracks and dirty chairs; the whole place looks deserted.

Even the city skyline has changed a fair bit. The new condominiums, modern skyscrappers and our latest addition, the Singapore Flyer are now visible from National Stadium.

With the National Stadium's official closure on 30 Jun 2007, it opens up a new chapter in our nation's brief sports history. In it's place, the new Singapore Sports Hub will be built. In 2010, we can once again celebrate the birth of a magnificent new structure. And also just in time for the 1st Youth Olympics that we have recently won the hosting rights. Here's a sneak peak into the "cool dome" design of our new sports hub.

(Source: CNA website)

It was a meaningful day to make a trip down to National Stadium this morning, to collect some memories of our country's first stadium. At the same time, also for a great game of soccer (without the ball and the players hahaha...)

Always trust my dedicated model to do the job right! (more like dashing towards the finishing line) Know all about Orion, here!

And my friends, no no, they are not a couple.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Ready... Action... NG!

After I have compiled an almost perfect photo album for our inaugural flight on the Singapore Flyer, my colleagues and I were thinking of what to do with the 2 remaining pages in the album.

Right, an ingenious one suggested some NG photos. My god, they are embarrassing! Being the "editor" of the album, of course I could have spared myself from any disgrace; but that wouldn't be fair, would it? As the Chinese saying goes, 有福同享,有难同当 (sharing riches and woes together)。。。有脸一起丢!

I still can't believe I am posting these. I have just made fun of myself and my colleagues, also my boss and my boss's boss's wife! Oops... Hope you have a good laugh though.

Life's never perfect, as are these photos.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008


I never realised that I am mildly claustropobic until as an adult, when friends described those symptoms to me.

That explains why as a kid, I barely survived the tunnel at the playground because I would be busy catching my breath at every ventilation outlet, while other kids pushed me from behind to hurry me to continue; and also why I felt frightened when I was inside a maze and became hysterical when I found the exit, as if I was Colombus who discovered America.

I didn't have much difficulties with lifts, probably because I am accustomed to them since a young age; except that I always look out for the cleanest spot inside, where I can sit down and rest if I ever get trapped. As a matter of fact I still do that today. The invention of mobile phones helped to relieve some of my anxieties riding in lifts, although signals may not always be available.... I make it a habit to check for phone signals in those lifts that I frequency ride.

And the underpasses, I never quite like those. The echoes of people talking and the amplified sound of footsteps misrepresented the number of people inside "the cave", as if there were twice as many. I don't know what comes into your mind when you think of an underpass, but for me, there are only 3 words: Congestion, Compression and Collapse.

Strangely, I do not have problems with trains or train tunnels, though I cannot say the same about driving through an underground tunnel. CTE tunnel... my nightmare, irregardless of how many times I have been through it! When I am inside, I felt like daylight is lost forever and the dark tunnel will continue indefinitely... For a second (just 1 split second), the world's end seems to have come. I am being dramatic? That's why I say I am claustrophobic!

And do you know the movie "Daylight" starring Stalone?? I watch it everytime it's shown on TV.


Are those weeds that I am seeing everywhere around this blog? Clearing, clearing, clearing....