Tuesday, April 26, 2005

China..again!

I'm at Changi Airport in Singapore right now. I got to Singapore this morning, and I'll be flying to Shanghai for a show with Daniel Law. Will tell more about it when I get back, as well as updating on the gigs and whatever stuff that happened last week.

Till then...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Upcoming shows... reprise! a.k.a Weekend Gig Updates

Upcoming shows for the weekend... two good shows you shouldn't miss!

So here it is:

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happy people Quintet @ Avanti's Restaurant, Sunway

We're back... and the five crazily happy guys bringing you some really exciting music, from cool to hot stuff from Yellowjackets, Bob Mintzer, Kenny Garrett, and even some originals. If you missed our show previously, come check us out next Friday night at Avanti's.

The Happy People Quintet are:



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Julian Chan - saxophones, flute
Eddie Wen - trumpet, flugelhorn
Charles Wong - drums
Justin Lim - piano and keyboard
Nazrin "AJ" Nasir - electric bass


The happy people Quintet
Venue: Avanti's Restaurant, Sunway Resort Hotel
Date and Time: Friday, 22 April 2005; from 10pm onwards

Admission: Free
Reservations: call 03-7492 8000 ext 3176

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Greg Lyons and Damon Brown

Live at Alexis Bistro – 22nd and 23rd April – 10.30pm

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Hi All,

Don’t miss this opportunity to catch the most talked-about British trumpeter on the European scene. He will be playing with my band, which on this occasion involves a couple of KL’s musical gurus. We will be doing a mix of Damon’s original material, renovated standards and other originals by the group: An eclectic mix of everything from swing to hip-hop and beyond!

Damon Brown – trumpet
Greg Lyons – saxes
Michael Veerapen – piano
Steve Thornton – percussion
Wan Asfarezal – bass

"A genuinely exiting new voice in European Jazz. Damon Brown is a vastly accomplished young trumpet player and composer." Dave Gelly, The Observer

After leaving the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Damon's unique trumpet sound and approach to music earned him the admiration of both musicians and audiences in a surprisingly wide variety of musical settings. This, perhaps, reflects his own tastes and influences which span from the classical music repertoire through to the jazz and improvised music tradition; from popular song to dance music, soul and reggae.

He has toured internationally and recorded with Maxi Priest, Paul Weller, the Pasadenas and visited Japan for the first time with acid jazz group Push. Damon has always maintained strong links with British Jazz and his playing on the Ska scene with artists like Prince Buster, Desmond Decker, The Specials and most notably, a long standing relationship, with Jamaican trombonist Rico Rodriguez have helped him to forge his individual voice as an improviser. He has recently returned from Japan and his work on the d├ębut Adam F album won him many new admirers. This crossover with dance and pop culture has been an important factor in Damon's development as a composer. His style blends British and American influences in a highly personalised approach to jazz. While rooted firmly in the blue-note tradition his continued reference to wider musical settings creates complex and emotional music with flowing melodic lines which seem to transcend boundaries. The music, although exciting and accessible, retains a classic feel throughout.

Hope to see you guys there...

Since I'll be playing at Avanti's on Friday, I'll be checking them out on Saturday!

SUPPORT LIVE MUSIC IN KL! SUPPORT JAZZ MUSIC IN KL!!!

To receive updates via email, please send an email message to jcsax78@yahoo.com with the subject header "I want gig updates" or "subscribe" and I will add you to my mailing list. Thanks you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Larian Mesra Rakan Cop race report

I only had about over 2 hours of sleep the night before. So when I got up at 5:30am, I was groggy as hell! Got up anyway, packed some stuff, and prepared myself in general. My friend Kay Ti, who also ran, picked me up.... thanks mate, didn't want to drive that day... and we met up with another friend, Alexis.

Reached at about 6:30 - 6:45am (earlier than we expected), stretched a little bit, and warmed up by running from our parking spot (near OCM building) to the start point, where the Contingent Police building was. Met up a few of the Pacemaker fellas, like Tey, Sim Boon Haw aka pm25 (who didn't run due to injury), Jason Lim, and met up with
Jamie and Li Sar. Chatted with Jamie a while, and also saw Ronnie. Then we all gathered down the hill right on Jalan Hang Tuah, right in front of the Pudu Jail field, and the gun went off at 7:33am (on my watch),

The first 3k...Kay Ti and Alexis paced with me and we were conversing a little bit thru from Jln Imbi, right out of Jln Raja Chulan and then out to Jln Tun Razak heading towards KLCC. Even at our conservative speed, we were overtaking a whole bunch of high school runners (which we suspect as former NS trainees.. so much for NS training.. hahaha), as they were running and walking. The route went on into Jln Ampang, then left-turned into Jln Binjai (where Lotus and Nikko Hotel is) and then into Jalan Kia Peng.


5k... by this time, Kay Ti had already sped up a bit leaving me to pace with Alexis, but he's still a faster runner than me anyway. The route continued from Jalan Kia Peng into Jln Tun Perak past Hong Leong Bank and out right into Jalan P. Ramlee heading towards KLCC again. By this time I had sped up a bit. Because I didn't have that good rest, I could feel myself getting a little tired faster than I expected. As we turned into Jalan Ampang, we saw our first and last water stop, and i basically gunked some water and splashed myself with it. The sun's rays had almost gotten stronger since we started. Alexis had already begun stepping up on her pace... or I may have slowed down a bit at some point.

The route went on left into Jln Sultan Ismail past Concorde and TwelveSI. By then, there were some traffic problems with the cops and street cars... and I was just thinking to myself that the traffic control better be good (it's a POLICE-organised run, for crying out loud!). I am disappointed.. hahaha. Now, the good part... the HILL CLIMB left into the KL Tower road out to Jln Raja Chulan! My LEGS felt almost pancit from lactic acid at this point, so I decided to take a minute of walking to recover, before I resumed running.

Turning left into Jln Raja Chulan, I'd half expect that the route will turn into Jln Bukit Bintang.. but it didn't!! At this point I was thinking to myself: Where the heck are these bozos taking us! It's almost 10K and we're not there yet! The route went onto the right turn-off into Jln Bukit Bintang before Westin Hotel, with a slight incline. I ran slightly easy this time around to recover some more, and when I saw where we were heading... down Jln Bukit Bintang and left into Jln Pudu.. I stepped on the gas, right after Lot 10. At this point, I gradually increased my pace to about 5 or 10K pace, I think. All the NS kids were already walking their way back (lame!), and I kept left of the road to overtake them. We left-turned into Jln Pudu, and into the small road heading back to the police headquarters where the finish line was. Right into the HQ was a slightly steep, but short, hill. I still felt good even after running hard for 5 over minutes, I decided to pump it up and run up the slope hard and all the way to the finish line. My clocked time: 1:16:01. Not that great, but my conditions at the moment had pretty much decided on it, so I'm cool with it.

After cooling off, and chatting with my friends and the Pacemaker guys, me and Kay Ti and Alexis headed off to my (and Greg's) usual 'makan' haunt... Kanna's Curry House in Section 17 PJ. Nothing like some good food to end the race.

What's my next race ah?

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Boh Cameronian Arts Awards Party and Heineken Thirst DJ Competition @ Zouk

Friday 15 April:

3:30pm: Taught a student.

5pm: Went to Mid Valley to shop for a pink shirt (yikes!). I was invited to attend the Boh Cameronian Arts Awards pre-award party at Peter Hoe's, and it was themed "Pink Mischief", and invitees had to wear something PINK! Pink is SOOOO not my color, man... I felt darn funny wearing it. My first ever pink collar t-shirt... got it from Giordano, got that and a light blue t-shirt for RM79 (otherwise RM45 per shirt). But you know what was surprising? I bought "M" size! Good news for me... but of course, the Giordano promoters did say that the Giordano line is made a little bigger than other similar boutiques. Won't know when I'll be wearing that pink shirt again.. ahaha.. and I won't bother finding out.

7:30pm: Went for the Boh Cameronian Arts Awards party at Peter Hoe's. Seems Peter Hoe's place is about some interesting concept items, from decorative items to adornments, etc. He designed it himself, I think. You can get a lot of stuff from decorative lights, carpets, candles and candle holders, and more. Located at the 2nd floor of an office building (can't remember) at Jln. H.S. Lee, it was a little difficult to locate. But the space was big enough to accomodate 300 over people for a nice party.

Saturday 16 April:

4pm: Went to do a recording session for Yasin (a local artiste who does production work as well... he wrote and sang that Salsabila Arabic tune.. which you probably wouldn't know unless you listen to local Malay radio). It was a nice club-dance like kind of groove, with some horn section lines. Recorded to solo parts, as well as the horn parts. Interesting.

5:50pm: Went to collect the bibs for the Larian Cops at the Police Contingent HQ at Jln Hang Tuah. Ironic, I registered on the last day, and collected the bibs and tees on the last day at the last hour. As I found out on race day, you could register on race day itself... sheesh.

6:30pm: Went to Zouk for sound check.. then went to KLCC to have my hair cut! I had only trimmed my hair less than 3 weeks ago. But it was just an adjustment trim, where I had intended to let my hair grow longer. But until yesterday, I couldn't take it, because it was hard to "control" how my hair looked. Tried styling it many ways, but couldn't come up with a nice style, because it was neither long nor short. I don't have the patience at the moment to let my hair grow. Maybe when I go overseas to study, I might do that.

10:30pm: Met my old friend from college, Henry. Caught up with him, and later on, I went on standby for my performance at Zouk. DJ Andrew started 15 minutes later, and I joined him after 15 minutes. I then waited for two hours for the competition to finish, and came back on stage to play for another 15 minutes.

1:45am: Balik rumah (went home!), and prepped my clothes and two bottles of Accelerade for the race. Slept at almost 3am.

Next up: Larian Mesra Rakan Cop race report.... stay tuned.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Upcoming shows!

Hey y'all.. it's a very last minute update, as I only got a booking just a few days back. If you haven't read the entertainment news already, the Heineken Thirst DJ Competition is happening tonight at Zouk KL. I'll be performing with one of the resident DJs tonight, before the competition and after the competition.

Heineken Thirst DJ Competition
Venue: Zouk KL, Jln Ampang
Date and Time: 16th April 2005 (TODAY!), 9pm onwards (but free entry before 10:30pm + 1 free bottle of Heineken)
Cover charge: RM40 + 1 drink


--------------------------

happy people Quintet @ Avanti's Restaurant, Sunway

We're back... and the five crazily happy guys bringing you some really exciting music, from cool to hot stuff from Yellowjackets, Bob Mintzer, Kenny Garrett, and even some originals. If you missed our show previously, come check us out next Friday night at Avanti's.

The Happy People Quintet are:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Julian Chan - saxophones, flute
Eddie Wen - trumpet, flugelhorn
Charles Wong - drums
Justin Lim - piano and keyboard
Nazrin "AJ" Nasir - electric bass

The happy people Quintet
Venue: Avanti's Restaurant, Sunway Resort Hotel
Date and Time: Friday, 22 April 2005; from 10pm onwards

Admission: Free
Reservations: call 03-7492 8000 ext 3176

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Secretary's Week and KLCC 8-lapper again..

Woke up super early... well, almost super early la. Went to Legend Hotel in KL to do the Secretary's Week gig with Ning Baizura. Easy gig.. but this gig a bit.. sedated la. Last year's gigs were a bit more happening. No horn section, just me, this time around. We did a couple of original songs, and English covers.

Went to KLCC park in the evening with a mind to do an 8-lapper. Got there at about 6pm. Saw Jamie and Li Sar already running. Was stretching a bit, and Mr. Kenneth "KNN PM20" arrived too. While running, also saw Rohaizad, Newton, then Justin, and later Ronnie as well.

I decided to take it easy to run this 10.4K, because I wanted to build my endurance base and try to run within the HRmax limit of 80 - 82%. But I found it a bit difficult on the later part of the run, due to the undulating surface of the KLCC track.

Distance: 10.4km (8-laps or 1.3km per lap)
Time: 1:21:13

1 - 9:50
2- 10:09
3 - 10:19
4 - 9:47
5 - 10:03
6 - 10:15
7 - 10:16
8 - 10:30

At the 6th lap, most of the guys already finish their laps.. they run dem fast... and they're just hanging around...

At the 7th lap, some of them already baliked.... thought they could wait for me..

At the last lap.. all balik already... *sniff sniff* left me alone... HAhahaha.. oh well, I AM really slow. AHahha...

Anyway, I think I felt good for most part of the run. The last two laps, it's definitely a little more labored, but I try to relax as much as possible, and run comfortably. Feel so good.....

That's all for today..

Sunday, April 10, 2005

50 Cents Jazz Club reviews!

Here are some newspaper reviews from the 50 Cents Jazz Club show, at The Actor's Studio Bangsar on the 27th March. I managed to cut and scan them into my PC.. with some nice pics to boot!! Heh heh heh!! I'm so damn vain la.. hahaha.. but what the heck. Enjoy the read!





50 Cents Jazz Club review - NST Posted by Hello


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50 Cents Jazz Club review - The Star (1)


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50 Cents Jazz Club review - The Star (2)

China Trip

Here's my account of the China trip:

Day 1 (Monday 28/3):

12am - Rushed from Actor's Studio Theatre from the 50 Cents Jazz Show to KL Sentral and grabbed the last KLIA Express Train. Got there in time, thankfully. Our plane took off at 1:40am. I'm already exhausted, so I just listened to the inflight Jazz radio channel, makan-ed plane food, and nodded off.

5-something am - Touchdown at Pudong Airport, Shanghai. It was cold, around 10 degrees C, so we took out our jackets (last worn in Perth over 4 years ago) and worn them. Met our tour guides (Malaysian manager, as well as a national guide, Xiao Jiang), bus, et al, and first destination was a eating place a few minutes from the airport. Had porridge and condiments for breakfast. Cooking tastes different, china-style I guess. After that, we headed for Suzhou, at about 2 hours bus ride. Thank God for my iPod to keep me company! But I started to develop this sore throat, which was already brought forward from the day before. Weather was very cool, but very gloomy, like mist or haze.. not sure.

Reached Suzhou and our hotel, and I had lost my voice. Brief description of Suzhou: fairly big town, but with very low-rise builidings. Looks slightly less developed.

Checked in the hotel, rested for about an hour, and we gathered and left for lunch. There were 9 vegetarians in our group, so we were grouped in one special table. Vegetarian food is mostly stir-fried vegetables, but cooked very, VERY oily, loaded with MSG, and salt. Sometimes almost tasteless. After lunch, we checked out some beautiful garden place, with a 1000-year old pagoda up the hill. The local Suzhou guide, Fong Ling, talked a lot about the history of Suzhou. But I almost slept with my iPod in my ear, cos tired, too lazy to listen. So I missed most of the commentaries.

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Us at some pagoda garden in Suzhou

Next we went to another temple where there was, uh...I dunno what was the significance.. too distracted to listen. But just another temple. There was a bell tower, we paid some money, and we were given a chance to hit and gong the bell 3 times for good luck.


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Me hitting the bell three times at the bell tower in some temple (Suzhou)

Next, we were taken to some embroidrery place, and shown how intricate embroidreries were done. Had one piece of Mao Tze Tong, and another of Princess Diana. From afar, they looked like photographs, but they were actually pieces of embroidrery, which took at least 3 years to stitch, depending on the level of complexity.

Then, we went to eat dinner at this funny restaurant called Shangelila (Shangrila in Mandarin pronounciation! hahaha.. how ridiculous). They had some inhouse entertainers playing pipa and singing. First two songs were complimentary, subsequently, she takes request... paid request. About 20-30RMB Yuan a song! That's like rm10-20 a song. Gila.

Next, we were taken to a "night market", which is actually just a shopping pedestrian street in the main city area. No biggie. Too lazy to buy stuff. Went back to hotel after that to crash.

Day 2 (Tuesday 29/3):

6:30am - Bloody wake up call.. wake up so damn early for what??? Had porridge again, for breakfast at the hotel. Ate a lot.

Went to some other nice garden-y place. I also dunno what it was, I just followed only. Saw some funny rock formations in the garden, and also how living rooms and houses were like at some old period (iPod still in my ear...).


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Our tour group in Suzhou

Next stop, silk factory. Shown the silk making process. Bought 4 pieces of silk quilts and silk quilt covers, and 6 pieces of silk pillows. Crazy. A pattern is starting to present itself, in all these travel-designated spots... more on that later...then lunch.


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Buying silk stuff in Suzhou


After lunch: Left for Wuxi, our national guide, Jiang's hometown. Wuxi looks a little nicer, more well spread out development. Suburban area very nicely plotted out. First place we went to was the Three Kingdoms City. Weather also a bit more cooler. In the City, there are three palaces for each Kingdom. There was also a live show, with horses and stuff. It was a war simulation, with horse-riders dressed up as generals and soldiers going to war between kingdoms. Very cool. There was also a boat ride around the Taihu lake, a clear-water lake in Wuxi.


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Me and mum at Three Kingdoms City entrance (Wuxi)

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One of the Three Kingdoms palace (Wuxi)

After the 3 Kingdoms city, we went for dinner, and then visited the main city area of Wuxi. Looks like a big portion of Singapore city and Bangkok city.. a cross between the two. Went shopping at Parkson (in China? Wow.. cool!). Bought two nice sweaters for myself and my brother, from Jack and Mac (some American brand) or something like that. This is to prepare our trip up the Yellow Mountain. Later we checked into our hotel to retire for the day.

Day 3 (Wednesday 30/3):

6:30am - Damn wake up call again. Shit. Had porridge.. again.. for breakfast.

Checked out of hotel, and took a trip to the Teapot Making House in Wuxi. Showed us the largest teapot (not sure if in China or what). Then we had an introduction to the process of making teapots. Very artistic way of doing it, with different designs and ideas. Mum bought a very interesting set, at about 1000 over yuan.. can't remember. Crazy.

Next stop, the Pearl factory. Showed us how they make pearls, from ornaments to even facial cream and medicinal use. Mum bought a pearl set - necklace, earrings, and ring. And got some free pearl medicinal stuff, like the ones you apply on your face to avoid it from drying from the cool weather.

After lunch: 3-over hour bus ride to Tongxi old city, the foot of Huangshan (Yellow Mountain). Thank god for the iPod again! Stayed at one of the nice hotels in Tongxi and dinner.

Day 4 (Thursday 31/3):

6:30am - Bloody wake up call again... AND porridge (AGAIN!) for breakfast.. ugh..

..oh by the way, did I mention, that up this point, all the food we had for lunch and dinner sucks? Too much oil... too much MSG... too much salt.. and some totally tasteless... worse than bland.

Left the hotel with only a nights' worth of clothes change and supplies, and we went up Huangshan (Yellow Mountain). About over an hour's ride to the foot of the hill, and after lunch, went up the cable car to one of the peaks of the mountain. Then we had to walk about over half and hour trek (on stone pavements) to our hotel. Oh btw, to get up to the hotel, you either take a 5 - 10 min cable car ride to the lower peak, OR walk up 15km-long flight of steps to the same destination. FYI, to transport things up there (from construction items to necessities), labor-power is hired. They tie the items to a bamboo at each end and hold it up there shoulders like a scale, and walk up 15km-long flights of stairs up. So everything is more expensive up the mountain.

We reached the West Sea Hotel, checked in, and prepped for a trek up to one of the peaks of the mountain, a scenic spot. It took about over 30 minutes, and my mum gave up 3/4 of the way, because it was too much for her. Me, Dad and my bro continued up to the main peak, took some pictures and came back down to the hotel. Managed to get internet connection, and checked and cleared some mails. Wow, internet connection up the mountains. Oh yeah, I was on roaming on my phone, and China Mobile even works so high up the mountain.


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Me afraid of heights, and Dad at one of the peak of Huangshan (Yellow Mt)


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The view of the gorge at Huangshan (Yellow Mt.)

Day 5 (Friday 1/4):

8:00am - Forgone the early wake up call (5am) to check out the sunrise from the mountains to sleep in (much needed). Had porridge AGAIN (ugh! double ugh!) for breakfast.

Checked out, and proceeded to check out some more scenic climbs. Mum went straight to the cable car station to wait for us.


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Us at Huangshan (Yellow Mt.)

After the cable car ride back down. We gathered at the bus, and went for a free foot massage... well, ALMOST free. There's always a catch. They wanted to promote their herbal massage medicines. Lame. Went for lunch. Then headed for Hangzhou in a 2 - 3 hour bus ride. Thank God again for the iPod!

8pm - reached Hangzhou tired and sleepy. Muscles already aching from staying in the bus too long. Had dinner in some fancy tourist restaurant. More oily, salty (but tasteless) and MSG-y food.. ugh. After that, we headed to our hotel, checked in and retired.

Day 6 (Saturday 2/4):

7am - Ahhhh... more sleep. Ugh Ugh Ugh!! More porridge and condiments for breakfast.. very bad ones, too! Ack!

11-something am: Took a trip to the Hangzhou West Lake Gardens, a 60-over sq km worth of gardens. We visited the big temple in the Gardens. More temples and stuff, no biggie. Next stop, Green Tea. We went to the area in Hangzhou where the best green tea is produced. Three types of green tea are produced in China: Spring (the best), Summer (second best), and Autumn (third best). Summer and Autumn tea are exported, while Spring tea are kept in China. Go figure. Mum bought rm450 worth of green tea. Crazy.

Then had lunch at the West Lake restaurant.. ugh, still full from breakfast. Then went to a ferry ride on the West Lake itself.


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Us at Westlake, Hangzhou

Next stop, another high pagoda visit (from the White Snake Lady tale), the LeiFeng pagoda. Then we were brought to the Baoshutang Medicine shop... more promotional shopping. Boring. Mum also bought some medicine stuff. *sigh*. Later we had dinner at some Botanical Gardens. Then we went to the main city area.. for more shopping. It's a more metropolitan shopping complex. Didn't buy anything but candy titbits. Went back to hotel and retired.

Day 7 (Sunday 3/4):

6:30am - Wake up call again.. argh! Porridge again? Shit.. this time I ate only fried eggs, "man tau" (bun), and some corn for breakfast. No porridge for me.

We were then taken to the Water Village. It's a very old village with a river in between. It's about 600 over years old, like what you'd see in those Hong Kong medieval kung fu movies. Brother didn't feel well. After lunch, he threw up, and got sick with flu. After that, we headed to Shanghai on a 2 hour ride.

About 5:30pm: Reached Shanghai... a massive city, about 600 (or was it 6000) square km! First stop, Shanghai Museum. Then we walked to Nanjing St. where we saw the biggest shopping pedestrian street in China. Brother and Dad relaxed at McDs with a hot drink, while me and mum walked along the street just to look around. Bro still not feeling well.

Ate dinner at this Yunan restaurant, where they had traditional Yunan dancers doing some really nice tribal dance. Food still sucks. Brother didn't eat.


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Me and mum at Nanjing Rd, Shanghai

Next stop, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. The third largest building in China (or something like that). Went up 263m up to the second "Pearl" level, where we could see the massive stretch of Shanghai City from almost every corner, and also the Bund river.


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Oriental Pearl TV Tower

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Me on top 263m up the Oriental Pearl TV Tower (Shanghai)

Went to the Bund river for a short while... remember The Bund???? "loooonnnggg pannnnn!! Deng deng deng! Loooonnnngg lauuuuuu... Deng deng deng!!!!" Well, there you go! We then balik-ed the hotel to retire.


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The Bund... looonngg pannn... deng deng deng... looooong lauuuu... deng deng deng!

Day 8 (Monday 4/4):

6:30am - Even I felt slightly uncomfortable from all that oily food from the last 7 days. Stomach felt bad. Morning felt better. Time to pack our bags properly and check out. Had porridge again for breakfast... well, I didn't.. had eggs and corn and bread again.

Last stop before the airport, the tomb of Sun Yat Sen's wife.. forgot her name. She was the "Mother of the Revolution" in China. And then some more "promo shopping".. Feng Shui stuff. Luckily Mum only bought some small trinkets and not more!

Went to the airport, to check out. Said our goodbyes to our tour group members.


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Us with our tour guide, Xiao Jiang

3:45pm - Flight back to KL. Watched two movies-on-demand on the inflight entertainment - Elektra, Six Strong Guys, and part of a Korean movie called Springtime. Inflight food... UGH.. almost similar to China food. Just rice, some bland, pathetic tasting vegetables. I even mixed the vege salad with vinegarette into the rice, and it made it taste better.

9:10pm - Reached KL... yay! Home sweet home!

That's it!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Baru balik from China

I just got back from China... will write about it soon... but very tired la.

Stay tuned..

How's everybody?