Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Walk Along One Fullerton

The other day I was showing a friend around Singapore River, One Fullerton and the Merlion Park. It has been one of my favorite spots at night where you get to dine by the Singapore River in the twilight. Not that Singapore River is in any way spectacular but the atmosphere and ambience at One Fullerton all blend in magically with the soft lighting to make it an ideal romantic dining place with loved ones or friends. If you are looking for coffee, you can find Starbucks there too. Talking about Starbucks, I can still smell the aroma of the coffee; it really smelt heavenly.

One Fullerton at the Singapore River is not only a favorite spot for some Singaporeans where they get to savor a range of good restaurants offering international cuisines to local Singaporean dishes but also a good spot for tourists after a long day of malling and walking around Singapore.

If you like seafood, I would recommend the No Signboard Restaurant, a name given by the White Pepper Crab from No Signboard Restaurantcustomers. Be adventurous to try the famous Singapore Chili Crab or to try one of their specialities, the White Pepper Crab (take a look at the picture on your right). However, I have to warn you that it might be a little hot and spicy for people who do not take spicy food.

For those who are not into the fanciful restaurants and fine dining, I challenged you to buy your own food from the nearby Lau Pat Sat (which is about 5-10 minutes walk from One Fullerton) and have your dinner, the picnic style, at the Merlion Park. Imagine casually eating under the twilight, with the sea-breeze blowing gently in your face and the sound of the waves lapping against the seawall. Not to mention the stunning backdrop of Singapore's skyline at Raffles Place on one side and the Esplanade on the other side.

Merlion ParkOf course, not forgetting the Merlion. From Uniquely Singapore, the Merlion was designed by Mr Fraser Brunner, a curator of the Van Kleef Aquarium, the lion head represents the lion spotted by Prince Sang Nila Utama when he re-discovered Singapura in 11 AD, as recorded in the "Malay Annals". The fish tail of the Merlion symbolises the ancient city of Temasek (meaning “sea” in Javanese) by which Singapore was known before the Prince named it “Singapura” (meaning “lion” (singa) “city” (pura) in Sanskrit), and represents Singapore’s humble beginnings as a fishing village.

Oh, before I forgotten, please remember to keep the place clean and tidy after you are done with your picnic or you may be fined for littering.

A picture of Merlion with Fullerton Hotel in the background
A closer look at Fullerton HotelFrom the Merlion Park, you can also have a good view of the Fullerton Hotel, which is one of the premium 5-Stars hotel in Singapore. Back in 1928, it was the largest building ever built and cost over 4 million dollars. In the early days, the building was occupied by the General Post Office. It was also a place that witnessed many election campaign rallies.

Esplanade, Theatre on the bayWhile I was taking a walk along One Fullerton toward the direction of The Esplanade, the theatre on the bay. I can't help but fell in love with it; the lighting of the building and the reflection of the building on the Singapore River was simply beautiful. I managed to take some photos of it but it seems nowhere close to seeing it with your own eyes. The photo was taken using Sony Ericsson K810i Cyber-shot phone in the twilight landscape mode. The colors appeared closest to the naked eyes.

The whole tour starts around 10 pm and ended around midnight. If you want to take photos of the Merlion in the Merlion park, you do have to be there earlier because there will switch off the lighting and the water splashing from the Merlion at certain hour. Oh ... how can you get there? You can either take a cab ride or you can take the MRT to Raffles MRT Station and it will take you around 5 minutes to walk to One Fullerton.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Extreme Skydiving Adventures Will Not Disappoint

One of my friends has been talking about skydiving for a while and he has reflected to us that he need to keep his weight below 100 Kilogram (not too sure if this is a general requirement by all establishments providing skydiving service or it is the requirement of the establishment he enquired with). I have been thinking about it too after I tried bungee jump last year. Ever since young, I have been wondering how does it feel like to be 'flying' in the air just like superman. The closest experience I have, besides flying in the plane, was in my dreams where I was flying just like superman! I think I must be crazy!

Besides the dreams that I had, I reckon the next closest is skydiving. Bungee jump was fun and exciting but it could not really give me the feeling of free fall. Skydiving on the other hand will give me that feeling of free fall at speeds of up to 120mph. How does it feel like? I can read the testimonials or write-ups by others, but I will never know how it really feels like until I try it out myself. Since I have no interest at this moment to become a skydiving instructor and since I only want to have that skydiving experience, I think tandem skydiving will be the great choice.

According to, "Tandem skydiving is an incredibly easy, safe and enjoyable way to experience the excitement of skydiving without having to learn how. Free fall at speeds of up to 120mph and enjoy breathtaking views during you canopy ride. Feel a total sense of freedom while securely harnessed to your personal sky diving instructor. The exhilarating free fall combined with the peace and tranquility of the parachute ride makes your tandem skydive a unique experience you will never forget. Allow 2-3 hours of your time for the experience of a life time. Tandem skydiving is available 7 days per week, all year."

Skydiving! If the very word gives you a shiver of dread, you are hardly alone. Or perhaps you're one of those people who lives for thrills like these. Either way, an extreme skydiving adventure might be just the activity you've been looking for. People like to throw around the phrase "pushing your boundaries", but extreme skydiving actually delivers on this promise. Truly, no sport can give the same kind of adrenaline rush as jumping out of a plane into free fall at ten, thirteen, even as high as eighteen thousand feet above ground!

Now, not everyone is ready to jump, as it were, straight into this kind of extreme sport, save for the very most hardened thrill seekers among us. It takes more than a little bit of mental preparation (or a truly exceptional disposition) to be ready to jump out of a plane and plummet to Earth at speeds exceeding a hundred miles an hour. For instance, consider how far one falls in extreme skydiving. Say you jump out of the plane at thirteen thousand feet; typically one opens the parachute at about twenty five hundred feet and then gently drifts the rest of the way. This means there is a free fall of nearly two miles!

When you stop to think about it, what other sport or activity will allow you to hurl towards earth at speeds of up to 120mph and then gracefully float onto the ground. This experience is unmatched by any other adventure sport.

Obviously, you can't just jump out of a plane completely unprepared. Skydiving lessons are a necessity, not just a good idea. There is of course a small degree of danger associated with extreme sky diving, so lessons are an absolute must. Skydiving certification can be obtained relatively quickly, depending on the particular skydiving instructors and methodology used. Sometimes you can become certified in as little as two days.

Be sure to pay careful attention during your classes and ask any questions about anything you are not totally clear on. There is literally nothing unimportant covered in skydiving lessons. Don't worry about sounding silly in class, everyone was new at this at one time, even the instructor. You will learn hand signals to communicate while in the air, how to operate your equipment, all the necessary information will be covered in your skydiving lessons. Again, and this cannot be stressed enough, pay attention and ask lots of questions.

After learning a little on how to handle yourself and your equipment while extreme skydiving, you should feel much less apprehensive than before if you were, and more prepared whether or not your attitude was more of the "I was born ready" variety.
And as with anything else, preparation is key. Extreme skydiving can be an unparalleled thrill, but without proper preparation is hazardous. With the required number (or more, never do a real dive until you feel ready) of skydiving lessons under your belt, you will be perfectly ready to experience the unmatched exhilaration that skydiving, and especially extreme skydiving have to offer.

About the Author, Steven Milstone: Find the latest information on skydiving visit as well as

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Extreme Bungee Jumping Adventures

I had a hell of an experience last year when I tried bungee jumping for the first time in my life in Phuket, Thailand. I had always wanted to try out bungee jumping, at least once in my life, before that. When I was in Phuket last year, I happened to come across World Bungy at Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand and without thinking twice, I went for it! The rest is history! I must say it is truly an eye-opening (or were my eyes closed) experience. Everything happened in a flash and so fast that before I knew it, I was already bouncing up and down like a Yo-yo.

The owner explained to me the procedure, process and charges for the whole bungee jump. I remembered signing up some declaration forms stating that I was in the sane mind and physically fit to take up the jump. After making the payment, the owner told me that I can take a look at a jump first before deciding that I will surely go for it.

My friend and I proceeded to a clearing where we could see someone preparing for the jump. The crane took the person up to the 60m height and we saw the man standing at the edge of the platform. He was looking down at his friends who were shouting to him in a language that we did not understand. The shouting went to and fro for about 5-10 minutes and I guessed the man was thinking too long that he did not jump in the end. As we watched, the owner said to us, "He should not have looked down and should not have waited too long to take the leap. The longer you wait, the harder it will be for you to make the jump. So when you are up there later, don't think too much and just jump."

After witnessing the failed jump, the owner asked me, "Are you still going for it?" "Yes!" I affirmed. Looking at the pond below the jump, I asked the owner, "Will the jump takes me into the water or it'll be out of the water?" The owner replied smiling, "Do you want to be in the water or out?" Looking at the dirty pond, I laughingly replied, "I want to be dry!"

Getting tied up and ready for the jumpThe preparation for the jump took about a short 10 minutes or less. First, my weight was taken and then written on my palm. The staff then carefully tied up my ankles with sort of a protection before they asked me to kangaroo-hop to the crane that will bring me up to the height of 60m for the jump. I would say I was a pretty good and obedient student; I followed their instruction almost perfectly. The owner of the establishment told me again, "When you are up there, don't think too much and don't look down." That weren't too much information to remember too.

Taking the ride up the crane for the jump at 60mI still remembered on my way up to the jumping height, I was talking to the staff that was going up with me and he was giving me the last set of instruction. "When you are up there, you will move to the edge of the platform. When I say 'ready,' you will echo back 'ready.' Then I will count 3, 2, 1 and you will jump out of the platform with your arms opening wide like a cross." He said. I went through the instruction that he had given me in my head and I pictured myself doing the jump. It is too late now to give up the idea of jumping as I remember a few words the owner told me, "No jump, no refund!"

Standing at the edge and getting ready for the jumpIt took the crane about 5 minutes to reach to the height of 60m and I did a kangaroo-hop to the edge of the platform.Standing at the edge of the platform and holding on tightly to whatever I can hold on to. I was waiting for the staff and I took a quick look downward (so I wasn't exactly obedient but I wanted to see how high I was and how it looked downward at this height). Somehow, my friend and all the people below looked smaller and I can barely hear what my friend was shouting. I brought my head back to the horizontal level and took a glance at the scenery in front of me. The staff shouted, "Ready?" I echoed back, "Ready!" He then counted down, "3 ... 2 ... 1 ... jump!" The actual jumpAnd I hurled myself forward and out of the jumping platform. That split seconds of falling and for once the clock stopped ticking and I could only hear myself screaming, "Woooooooooohhhhhhhh!" I was already reaching the ground. What followed was the dangling action like a yo-yo for about a few minutes before coming to a stop.

I was 'fish' to back to the ground with a bamboo pole and I gladly grabbed the pole. The staff pulled me in to a platform besides and pond and untied me from the support. What an exhilarating experience! Yes! I had finally done my bungee jump! What's next? Skydiving? Maybe.

When I was back at home and some of my friends gotten to know of my jump, they were saying I must be crazy ... who in the world with a sane mind would do such a thing. Maybe they are right ... but I know that bungy jump, although it seem like a dangerous activity, is safer than driving to a large extent.

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