Finding Bobo (宝岛寻宝记)

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It has been a long time since Felicia last traveled alone. It is something she always wanted to do. 2 months ago, she told me that she was planning a 6-day solo trip to Taiwan. I was feeling very excited and also worried about her solo trip. Felicia planned a very comprehensive and detailed travel itinerary, even outlining the bus routes and travel time down to the very minute.

Deep inside me, I have been asking myself if I should hijack her solo trip. So, a few nights before her trip, I asked Felicia if she was expecting me to come along. She said she would love to but she understands my hectic schedules.  The sensible part of me told me not to intrude her solo trip but the other mischievous part of me urged me to give her another memorable surprise.

Of course, with the posting of this blog, it means I have listened to the mischievous inner voice. The truth is, it was a very difficult decision to make. Thanks to 3 great friends – Tracy, Chen, and Chowpo who persuaded and convinced me to take the leap. Felicia was already on the 2nd day of her 6-day trip, it wasn’t too late to surprise her, they said. Without much hesitation, I booked a last-minute air ticket to Taipei.

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Taking a flight to Taipei was easy. To track Felicia down was a little tricky. She was constantly on the move and it was difficult to pinpoint a location to “ambush” her. After studying her itinerary meticulously 36 hours before, I figured out the best location to surprise her was at Taichung’s Sun Moon Lake (日月潭). I took a 1-hour bullet train from Taipei to Taichung where Chen picked me up and drove another hour to the destination.

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Sun Moon Lake is massively big! Thankfully, I have my good pal Chen, a local resident in Taichung, who was extremely familiar with the tour route around Sun Moon Lake. We took a gamble and arrived at one of the stopovers 30 minutes before Felicia’s estimated arrival time.

It was the biggest and most ambitious “catching game” I ever played. It was so fun and exciting. Like 2 overgrown old boys, Chen and I hid at strategic locations to spy on every tourist. The second when we spotted Felicia, the adrenaline in us peaked! It was exhilarating!

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We followed Felicia for a good 15 minutes. She was walking around, taking photos. We were so afraid to be spotted by her. I have no idea when or where to make the “appearance”. We just have to tail Felicia to find the best moment to surprise her.

Watching Felicia from a distance, knowing she was traveling alone, showed me a new side of her that I have never seen. Felicia is more independent, braver than I thought. I could have just watched and followed her quietly from a distance. Seeing her enjoying her solo travel experience, I felt a deep sense of relief that she made the right decision. It is often me who tied her down, always worrying for her. At that moment, I just realized my wife is more independent and stronger than me.

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I will never forget the seconds leading to the moment when I surprised her. I approached her from behind, placed my palm softly on her shoulder. She didn’t react violently or in shock. She turned around calmly and saw my mischievous face. Those few seconds lasted like a lifetime. It was like the old days when I surprised her in Perth or when she surprised me outside my bedroom. We had countless surprises for one another, and every surprise never fails to bring a smile to our face.

Of course, being me, I acted cool. Felicia, like always, was speechless with my behaviors.

“Hey, so coincident to bump into you here? Chen and I were walking around nearby. What are you doing here?” I said. “Okay, got to go, bye!”

It is a priceless precious moment. One that we will remember for life. And fortunately, we have a nice video to replay this beautiful memory.

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Thanks to Tracy, Chen, and Chowpo for convincing to make this trip. I am truly glad I did. If not, it is something that I will regret for a long long time.

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Felicia and I spent the remaining 3 days in Taipei. I tried not to impose too much change to her travel plans. The only complain – she didn’t expect me to come so we squeezed ourselves in a tight cozy tiny backpacker hostel room.

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Enjoy the video. 

Sleepless in The Caffeine City, Seattle

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Long before the mass popularity of Microsoft, Starbucks and Amazon Go, Nora Ephron romanced the world with her classic hit “Sleepless in Seattle”. The perfect on-screen’s love chemistry between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan combined with the soulful duet of Celine Dion and Clive Griffin weaved an everlasting love story in the hearts of millions. It was through this 1993 movie that I formed my first and lasting impression of Seattle.

26 years later, I am finally here. And it was the lure of Amazon Go that brought me to Seattle. Chowpo was extremely excited to show me around, after all, she grew up in Seattle.

 

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I was very lucky to be blessed with great sunny weather during my visit as Seattle is one of the wettest cities in the world (and heavy downfall is generally expected between January and May). We visited Seattle’s most popular Instagram sites, the Snoqualmie Falls Park, the Space Needle, the Museum of Pop Art and Kerry Park.

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There is something unique and charming about Seattle. Perhaps its buildings and its people. Or maybe it is the weather and its spacious lush terrains. It is like falling in love with an old typewriter or a vintage car, I just can’t describe the feelings in words. I had a very good cozy feeling about this city of old-&-new and it intrigued me to stay longer. Good gracious, what kind of “charms” they put in the Starbucks drinks here? I am started to get addicted to this small city.

We visited the first Starbucks shop at Pike Place Market where I bought many souvenirs for my friends back home. It was a small shop filled with busloads of tourists.

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Chowpo then brought me to an unusual tourist attraction at the lower alley of Pike Place Market. It was the infamous grossest Gum Wall. At first, I thought it was fun but the pungent smell of gums and sight grossed me out. And being a brainwashed and law-bidding Singaporean, spitting chewing gum and vandalizing public properties are offenses that carry heavy, painful penalties, I didn’t even think of leaving my mark here. (I left that place with one big question – why aren’t there any ants on the wall??)

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Thanks to the connectivity of social media, I met up with my childhood penpal, Venina & family (our second meeting in 30 years!) and cousin Bin in Seattle! What a small world!

When I told Chowpo and my cousin Bin that I am meeting my penpal in Seattle, both of them asked me the same question separately, “You mean meeting a friend from Paypal?” I had to repeat it was a penpal. And their next question was “What’s a penpal?” (Yes, you can imagine my long unhappy face. Can’t blame them, I bet my son didn’t know this term too! Sigh….)

Venina was my first penpal. (I only had 2, one from Indonesia and another from Tripoli, Lebanon whom I lost contact) Venina and I connected when I was only 10-11. We first and last met in Singapore when I was 14 years old. We lost touch when she moved overseas and we managed to reconnect back on MSN and later Facebook. Till date, I still keep all the letters she sent. This is our second meeting in 30 years! And she is happily married to a wonderful doctor with 2 lovely boys! We met at Starbucks Reserve Roastery at Pike Street. Never expect to meet my penpal in Seattle! It was one of the best things that happened to me here! (Thanks for reaching out on Facebook and it was great meeting all of you, my old pal!)

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Our next stop – meeting Cousin Bin at Seattle’s must-visit iconic site. Housing over 40,000 plants, the iconic Amazon Spheres are impressive with its pentagonal hexecontahedron panels. The spherical domes are more than just a gigantic greenhouse, it houses Amazon staffs and a discovery center, Understory, literally at its first story.

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Cousin Bin and I went next door to visit the world’s first Amazon Go shop where we attempted “deliberate shoplifting”, in the hope of breaking its unmanned system. We sneaked products discreetly into our pockets and left the shop. For 2 days, I tried numerous methods and failed. No matter how carefully I concealed the products from the ceiling-mount cameras, Amazon Go knew what I took. There is no way to trick and confuse the 2-year old system.

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A day before we flew back to Hong Kong, Chowpo insisted that I should visit Vancouver as it was only a short 3-hour drive away. Our journey was affected by heavy fog that blanketed the entire highway. Driving through the thick fog and icy road at night was something new for us. It was a scary experience for me because the visibility was less than 20m away. Chowpo is an experienced, calm, confident driver, despite my worries and fear, she got us to and fro slow and safely.

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I had planned another surprise meeting in Vancouver. Earlier that morning, our ex-colleague, Raymond messaged me for a meetup. We planned to surprise Chowpo at her favorite Hong Kong cafe but it was closed. Finally, Raymond turned up and gave Chowpo a fright at the food court. What a pleasant surprise!

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It was great to see Raymond after so many years! 5 years to be exact! He gave us a short tour around town. Due to the heavy fog, we didn’t spend too much time in Vancouver City. I was trying to get back to Seattle before nightfall. We had a 2-hour tiring hike at Capilano Lake and headed back to Seattle. We were so exhausted and hungry by the time we crossed into the USA. We took a short dinner break at a Starbucks cafe by the USA border.

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On our last day in Seattle, Chowpo brought me to another unusual tourist attraction. It was an underground city tour of old Seattle town which was burnt down a century ago. We spent an hour walking through old underground tunnels, immersed in historic and haunting stories about Seattle’s founding pioneers.

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On our way to the airport, we made one last stop at the most instagrammable site of Seattle, the Gasworks Park. We had another beautiful view of Seattle city from the other side of the lake. The sun was setting and it was time to go.

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Looking forward to coming back soon. Hopefully, with my family, old folks and kid to experience Seattle hospitality and charm.

Valleys of Wonders (Part II – Death Valley)

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Las Vegas McCarran International Airport never fails to delight me with its unique fanfare of bright and chirpy whimsical slot machines. The sounds of play companied by vibrant visuals of promised payouts create a celebratory atmosphere of winning. Lining right outside the connecting airbridge, these visually stimulating slot machines are the first and last things travelers see when they visit Las Vegas. Never underestimate these harmless-looking game machines, they are built with deep psychology insights to lure and keep you coming back.

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I love CES! More than just an expo of the latest tech offering, it is a big trove of everything! I get to touch and experience some of the latest and most interesting gadgets. Best of all, I get to ask all the questions I need to know about the magic behind the tech. The effort to put together such a great show requires infinite resources and millions of hours of creativity, research and development, production and planning. It is worth every cent, effort and time just to be here.

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This year, we were much more mentally and physically prepared. We knew where to go to look for the kinds of stuff we needed. We actually walked lesser and covered more grounds. We paced ourselves pretty well.

2019 is going to be another exciting year with many AI-aided innovations. From smart watches to autonomous electric-vehicles, every smart gear that you have will only be smarter as AI is taking over most of the control. The presence of powerful optic, audio, and atmospheric sensors enable AI-engines to be faster and even more precise. You don’t even need to give any vocal command to Google or Alexa, predictive patterns and AI-analytic models are going to remember your movement, preference and anticipate what you need. When technology is being put to good, sustainable purposeful applications, it fulfills mankind with A Better Life, A Better World (echoing the core aspiration and value of CES).

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What’s delightful to know was despite the advancement of better tech-offering, many suppliers are keen to keep retail prices at an affordable range. A 3D-printing-cum-laser machine used to cost around USD2,000 is now priced at USD800. It is something Apple must learn to avert its falling sales.

This trip, I didn’t visit any casino (other than the exhibition halls at Venetian Sands) or any naughty joints. Some cheeky friends texted me to visit Playboy’s Mansion. Guess they didn’t know that the infamous joint closed down for many years.

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Instead, I went to have a drink at a pretty well-known bar, Tipsy Robot Bar. It is the world’s most famous unmanned theatric robotic bar that is capable to mix a cocktail in less than 90 seconds. Ordering is easy via a tablet, just pick and pay with a credit card. The robotic hand picks up a cup and start to draw different blends of mixers from the ceiling. It then shakes the concoction in true robotic style before pouring the mixture into the cup. Just before the cocktail is being served, the robotic arm gives a final touch with decorative garnishes. I paid USD15 for the drink. It was fresh and rich in taste! And yes, no tips required.

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Just before we fly out of Las Vegas, I wanted to make a quick visit to another world’s famous valley, the Death Valley. Not sure what kind of terrain we will be encountering, we rented a 4-wheel-drive Jeep. The Death Valley was a 3-hour drive away from Las Vegas City. The entire journey will take us about 8 hours to and fro the valley.

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We were blessed with terrific weather. It was clear sunny blue sky! Due to the recent US government shutdown, we drove to our first destination with uncertainty. True enough, we were unable to proceed to our first destination as the road was closed due to the federal shutdown. Thankfully, we were able to visit the other attractions as there were friendly park rangers working without pay.

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Death Valley is full of wonders. It is certainly not a dead place but a big gallery of timeless canvases of colors, textures, and formations. Crafted by the forces of nature and time, each canvas is sculptured vibrantly with unique depth and style. Here, we don’t just see the art, we literally live and breathe in the art. Walking through the gigantic terrains and deepest point (85m below sea-level) of USA, we get to see its artistic form in various different dimension, lighting, and perspective. Feeling so small in its majestic presence, it is a humbling and awakening experience for both of us.

It is, after all, a mystically deadly and beautiful place.

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She got me a ballroom for my birthday!

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Surprise after surprise, I had a wonderful birthday weekend with my family and good friends. The first surprise happened 8 hours before my birthday. I came back from Shenzhen to an apartment filled with colorful helium balloons! There is something magical about floating balloons, no matter how old one is, balloons never failed to delight. It levitates happiness.


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At the struck of midnight, Elkan and Felicia brought out a cake and a present from the kitchen. It was my favorite black-forest cake! Felicia and Elkan presented me with a very special and priceless handmade gift – it was a unique photo book made of fabric, imprinted and sewn with all our past holiday photos.

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Harshad, Tracy and Chowpo contributed their parts too. Knowing I love to sing and drink, they organized a small karaoke buffet for me at Causeway Bay. Christin arrived 15 minutes before midnight. Thanks to her, we sang till 3am.

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Just when I thought my birthday was over. I received a photographic message from Felicia at 4am. The photo showed “Pit Stop 1” and we were asked to arrive at the mysterious location in our sportswear before 10:30am the next morning. That was it, there wasn’t any more clue. Is this another amazing race, I wondered.

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The next morning, Elkan woke me up. He said Felicia had left the house early in the morning. Still recovering from last night’s drinks, I wasn’t in my best form. Felicia sent more photographic clues about the mysterious meeting point. The message also said, “Penalties for Late Comers”.

With the clock ticking away, Harshad, Tracy, Elkan and I took a cab. Tracy was the one who solved the mystery. She told the cabbie our location and off we went. Thankfully, we had a very knowledgeable cabbie who shared with us about the place. It sounded pretty physical and brutal.

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We arrived at D2 Place where we went searching for Felicia. After a quick breakfast, we arrived at an activity space by the name of Crossfire Arena. There, we saw many human-sized balloons or commonly known as Zorb Balls. Felicia signed us up for an hour of strenuous games. Never underestimate the harmless looking games, most of us weren’t physically prepared for it. (All of us suffered 2 days of intense muscle cramps).

We had 30 minutes of bow-&-arrow and another 30 minutes of Zorb Ball Soccer. Just 45 minutes into the games, all of us were super exhausted and we canceled the last game. It was very fun but just too intense for a fat man like me. Until now, my body hasn’t really fully recovered.

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Just when we left Crossfire Arena, all of us received new photographic messages from Felicia. It was only then when we realized she had disappeared again.  It was a clue directing us to the second and final pitstop. Unable to decipher, Harshad, Elkan and I roamed the mall aimlessly 3 times! Tracy disappeared too and we had no idea where she went.

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Just when we were to give up, Tracy disclosed the answer to us. We exit the building and made our way to the final pitstop. Thankfully, it was nothing physical but a nice cozy cafe with good food and drink to rest our tiring bodies.

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Thanks for organizing this special post-birthday activity for me and our dearest friends. My wife, Felicia is no doubt more than meets the eye. She is a meticulous planner and life is never boring with her and Elkan around. Mmmm….. What’s next?

Sex and the City (of bikes, cheeses, weeds and clogs)

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My new start-up life is hectic, no doubt, but I am enjoying the freedom and satisfaction in the remarkable pursuit of creating tomorrow’s innovation. My team and I were indeed very lucky that our product generated so much interests and demands. Since July, I was on the road to numerous cities, meeting new people and making countless presentations.  It was indeed time-consuming and I didn’t even have a decent break when my dad, mum and family were here.

A few months ago, I had a few business invitations to demo our new innovation to a couple of potential partners and clients in London. Suffering from aero-phobia, I never look forward to any long-haul flight. I was hesitant to go. Knowing a couple of close business friends will also be there in London during this “post-summer-holiday” seasons, I dragged myself on board a very bumpy 12-hour long flight.

Escaped from the endless violent typhoons and heat waves in Hong Kong, I had a marvellous and rewarding time in London. It was unreal to dine with my old friends  (Ricky, Olivia, Vicky & Cynthia) from Hong Kong (who have now moved to reside in London) in the unusual cold weather of London. Christy, Chowpo and Bianca also joined us for some light city-touring and dining. This was Chowpo’s first taste of Europe and I extended 4 more days to show her around.

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While in London, I was contemplating a short 3-day trip to Iceland to fly my drone. After checking with Olivia, a 3-day trip was a little too short. Also, there wasn’t any return air-ticket. Just when I was about to book a train ride up north to visit the distilleries at the Highlands, there was a failed bombing incident in London subway and another fire incident that disrupted the key railroad to Scotland.

In the end, I decided to take a train to Amsterdam (a city I intended to visit during our last family trip to the Artic Circle).

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Amsterdam is an unique and intriguing city. At the first glance, it was like a giant Venice with bigger canals, wider alleys and killer bikes. However, Amsterdam is more than just the “Venice of the North”, in my opinion, it is the unofficial “Sex and the City” or the “City of Weeds, Cheese & Bikes”!  Frankly, it was the infamous Red Lights Districts that enticed me to this city. Certainly not the power of Van Gogh or Anne Frank. And 100% not the windmills and Dutch Lady in heavy wooden clogs..

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For 4 days, Chowpo and I explored Amsterdam on foot. We walked nearly 100,000 steps (average 25K steps a day) – an incredible personal record and feat for both of us. We experienced all kind of weathers throughout our short stay – sunny blue sky, grey raining cloudy and even white foggy mist!

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First stop, we went window-shopping along the infamous Red Light Districts and visited its sex-themed museums. Wow! Big eye openers indeed! Many of these brothels are just located right beside a holy church! No wonder there are so many confession rooms in the church. On a serious note, the Dutch society is very liberal, after all, they are the first nation that legalised gay-marriage. There is nothing shameful or taboo about sex. It may be such openness that most Dutch households don’t close their curtains even when there is no one at home. It was quite an unique experience walking by and peeping into their beautiful homes.

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This is definitely a big Disneyland for the adults. There are so many sex-themed shops and coffee joints (selling weeds, space cakes and magic mushrooms)! Unfortunately, to the disappointment of many, we didn’t try the dope at all. Not even a puff. Why? At first I was tempted but after I listened to the horrific tale of Christy and Jeff that I lost all interests in those “magic tonics”. Maybe next time with my brothers-in-crime, I might.

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With only 800K residents, Amsterdam is certainly a big tourists magnet. Despite its kinky and naughty reputation, this city of slanting and crooked buildings charmed me deeply. We saw people chilling out by the edge of the canals and sun-tanning on the decks of their boat houses. What a pleasant and relaxing lifestyle! Unlike the stereotypes I heard about Dutch people, the people we encountered were generally warm, chatty and very humorous!

Here are some of the attractions we visited during our short stay. 

1) The Heineken Experience Tour

Like most Amsterdam’s tourist attractions, this place was overwhelmed with crowd. Beware of the crazy long queue and it is important to get a “quick-pass” to enter. For Heineken fans, this will be a great place to discover the heritage and brewing process of the world’s most favourite beer. There were so many interesting digital engagements and not forgetting 2 big bars for you to enjoy the beers! Remember to create your own “Personalised Beer Bottle” on the way out.

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2) WindMill, Cheese & Clog Factories (Zannse Shans, Volendam & Marken)

We joined a big group of tourists (50 of us) and explored the country-side of Amsterdam. Just a short 1-hour bus-ride away lies the famous Zaanse Shans windmills, the quaint fishing villages of Volendam and Marken’s Dutch cheese farm. Despite the big travel group, it was actually very enjoyable and relaxing. The tour guide was so chatty and fun to hang out with. The entire tour took about 4.5 hours. It was basically a touch-&-go tour, with little time to explore more at every stop.

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3) Canal Cruise (60-min Relaxing Ride)

There were many canal cruise operators. We got ours free when we signed up for the Windmill Tour at “Grab-You-Guide.Com”. The cruise comes with an open glass top ceiling. One important tip for the shutter-bugs – DO NOT BOARD THE CRUISE WHEN IT IS 80% PACKED. The next cruise is just 15 minutes away, board the next cruise so that you get a good window seat to snap the photographs.

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4) Sex Museum 

Located near Central Station, the Sex Museum is worth a visit. In my opinion, there are so much more to see here than the Museum of Prostitution. For a low price of Euros 5 bucks, it is worth every sense.

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5) Van Gogh Museum 

Having seen one of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London, I wanted to see the other version here at Amsterdam. In the end, I was so drawn into the sad tales of this extraordinary artist. This is another star attraction with a long queue. The Van Gogh Museum is worth a visit. With over 200 paintings, 500 drawings and more than 750 letters to discover, the museum reveals the colourful life of one of the world’s most iconic and misunderstood artists of our time. (No photography and bags allowed in this museum).

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6) Amsterdam Duck Store 

If you like the giant floating Rubber Duck by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, you will like the rubber collections at Amsterdam Duck Store. With so many duck characters to choose from, I couldn’t resist my shopping addiction. In the end, I walked away with 2 DuckVaders and I am now thinking if I should get a “Donald Duck Trump” to expand this rubbery dust-collection hobby.

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So, this is it! A short European “Eat, Play, Work” trip. Back to work and presenting more demos. Haven’t blogged for almost 5 months, I am getting rusty with my vlog and blog. This time, it took me more a week to put all the photos, videos and stories together.
This was more than just a business-vacation. This trip brought out the happy vlogger and excitement in me. Finally, I am back on the road once more, with my Osmo and Mavic Pro.  More happy trips ahead!

She booked me a wrong trip – to Vietnam!

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It has been an exceptional hectic year, I was working till the final hour before Christmas Eve. Felicia and Elkan flew back last week and I had no plan for Christmas holidays. Originally, I wanted to surprise the Wahbiang clan in Malacca but the dates were too tight for me. Since I was overwhelmed with work and had no time to check with the tour agency, I asked Tracy to book us a short weekend trip to ZhangJiaJie City (张家界) at Hunan. I always wanted to visit this scenic place where the movie Avatar was filmed. It will be a fantastic location to hike and fly my new drones.


Knowing Tracy, she is always unpredictable and full of surprises.
Of course, I didn’t share with her my full intention of a “droning tour”. She totally disregarded my initial instruction to book a pair of train tickets to Hunan, she got us two air tickets to Ho Chi Minh City instead! When I found out, it was too late to make any changes. I had been to Ho Chi Minh so many times and it wasn’t my ideal destination for a short break. Worse, this city is notorious with confusing regulations for drone pilots like myself. I feared another Yangon deja vu. Will my drone be confiscated at the custom?

With less than 18 hours to flight time, I decided to take a risk. Instead of bringing the new DJI Phantom 4P+, I packed the smaller DJI Mavic Pro (without the propellers to avoid custom hassle) into my large suitcase. With my past experience in Yangon, it was much safer to check in than to hand-carry the drone. I was stopped previously in Yangon because of the odd-looking drone backpack. It is always wise to blend in with the crowd.

It was a nerve-wreaking 2-hour flight from Hong Kong to Vietnam. I was mentally prepared for the worst-case scenario. Reading other travelers’ experiences on the internet didn’t help a bit. Vietnam is still a communist country and drone is a highly controlled item. Losing a drone is nothing new for me. I have lost an Inspire 1 on my birthday 2 years ago. I was prepared to give away a free Mavic Pro to the custom on Christmas Day.

Moment of truth! My decision to bring a smaller drone was wise! The custom officer at Ho Chi Minh airport didn’t stop me at the X-ray checkpoint. The large suitcase went through the X-ray machine without activating any alerts. It worked! What a great relief and joy! Truly merry Christmas! (On my way out, I was stopped and questioned about the large sized Mavic Pro batteries. I told them those were camera batteries. As I put the batteries in Li-po safe bags, the strict custom officers at Ho Chi Minh allowed me to bring them on board)

We parked ourselves at a very small boutique hotel (Fusion Suites) with very zen-and woody decorated interior. I love the hotel settings and its warm friendly staffs. The best thing about this hotel was their daily complimentary breakfast and oil-massage for all hotel guests. I tried the 60-min oil-massage and it was terrific!

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Ho Chi Minh City changed quite a bit since my last visit in 2013. There are many more malls (Saigon Center, Takashimaya) sprouting across different districts. There are a lot of new condos and offices constructions. It is no longer the sleepy city of yesterday. It seems like a city in transformation.

I visited my buddy, Kevin (a Singaporean friend I met in HCM back in 2007)Strange but true, we have never met each other in Singapore. All our last meetings were in Hong Kong and Vietnam. I visited his beautiful new office and he bought us delicious local delicacies for lunch.

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Tracy and I spent the next 3 days shopping, eating and exploring different districts. It was planned to be a “recharging and relaxing” retreat for my super-exhausted mind and body. We didn’t pack this trip with any crazy itinerary.  It was just a simple, quiet and lazy holiday. We did the usual touristy stuffs and explored the city mainly on foot. There are so many new and beautiful retail shops and cafes around.

Ben Thanh Market was a huge disappointment, the vendors were greedy and aggressive. They offered the same things I saw 3-10 years ago, nothing new and more expensive. It was becoming a tourist trap for first time visitors. With more competitions, Ben Thanh should reinvent itself, if not be replaced and lose its glory over time.

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This city is best to be explored on foot than from the air. I didn’t spend a lot of time flying the drone. There isn’t much landmark or natural scenery to capture. No doubt, Vietnam has many beautiful scenic places for drone-pilots, HCM isn’t the right spot. The city was way too congested and I didn’t feel safe flying. In fact, I had a difficult time trying to find a quiet and safe spot to launch the drone. The narrow streets and walkways were packed with scooters and people. There were too many hanging electrical cables, roof-top satellites and lamp-posts obstructing the drone. After 2 days of serious considerations, I decided to climb up the hotel’s rooftop for a short drone flight.

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The drone flight took less than 3 minutes in total. There were strong signal interference everywhere. Ascending to the rooftop was much more exciting and fun than flying the drone. Tracy and I were trying to figure our way up to the top without being caught by the hotel’s security cameras or staffs. Just a little thrill and fun to spice up the quiet day.

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Fully recharged and geared to face another uncertain new year. For sure, I be back to Vietnam very soon for my next drone flight. Stay tuned.

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Mid Autumn Reunion with my darlings!

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I have been away from my blog for almost 2 months. Work has been hectic and my personal life has nothing worthy or special to blog (except for Aaron Kwok’s super fancy and spectacular concert!). Time flies and it is already September! My mum, wife and son arrived separately for short mid-autumn reunion.


I took 2-week leave to accompany my family.
Unfortunately, my mum and me fell ill during the first 2 days of our vacation. The change of season and the awful wet weather worsen our sickness. I decided to postpone the original trip (to Guilin) and settled for something cozy nearby. I booked 2 very spacious and special accommodations for the family at Macau and Shenzhen.

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The weather was gloomy and it poured heavily everyday.
We stayed mostly indoor throughout the trip. We didn’t do a lot of shopping in Macau and Shenzhen. Couldn’t resist the temptation, Tracy and I bought the latest mobile-gimbal gadgets at DJI’s first Flagship Store located just right beside our villa. Mum wasn’t feeling well and slept throughout the vacation. (Guess she misses the company of Auntie Amy.) Thankfully, Tracy and Elkan lightened up the villas with their endless jokes and laughers.

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The rain finally stopped for a few hours and we resumed our “violent play” out by the private pool. Poor “Clumsy Tracy” slipped and took a nasty, painful fall into the cold water when she tried to kick water at us. It was such a comical and scary sight that got my sick mum up from her bed! Despite the gloomy and wet weather, we had so much fun playing by the pool (playing a new game Elkan taught us ~ Bottle Flip). Nothing fancy, this was a simply lazy, relaxing bonding trip.

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It was a very short 4N3D reunion for Felicia, Elkan and I.
 Felicia and Elkan flew back to Singapore this evening. Harshad came by to finish the 3 chapters of the Uncharted 4 game with Elkan. No teary goodbye at the airport station this afternoon – now that’s a first! My boy is finally a grown-up! Tracy and mum will be flying back to Singapore tomorrow too. My Dad will fly in to Hong Kong this Wednesday to fill up the void. For the least, I won’t be lonely this mid Autumn Festival. I pray for mum’s speedy recovery and hope for sunny weather when dad arrives.

Enjoy my vlog and photos. Till we meet again in the next 6 weeks!

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