Tuesday, June 19, 2018

재회 경주 석굴암

When I first visited Gyeongju's Seokguram, a time when I pronounced Gyeongju like Gwangju, I have to take an hour walk up Tohamsan Mountain from Bulguksa Temple before reaching its entrance. Time changed and so do I; I was able to drive up to its entrance this time. I was back to rediscover my 초심 (初心).

Entrance to Seokguram Grotto

Along the way, cuddly chipmunk froze for its picture to be taken

The last mile before reaching Seokguram, all dressed up for the coming Buddha's birthday

Wisteria providing shade at the public car park below Bulguk Bell Pavilion

Sunday, June 17, 2018

정동진 비치크루즈

Jeongdongjin (정동진, 正東津) was about 4-hour drive from Seoul. Not a smooth drive getting there as I have to battle heavy rain and very bad visibility along Yeongdong Expressway. Once at Jeongdongjin, it was paradise. I stayed in a twin pool villa at the new Beach Cruise (new extension of Sun Cruise). The room was as superb as it looks in the picture and the sea view, priceless. The sound of waves played non-stop throughout the night, providing a calming background music for a good night sleep.

To do justice to the place, I uploaded the corporate photos (first and second) from Sun Cruise Resort's website.

Sun Cruise - Hotel & Condo (left) and Beach Cruise - Pool Villa (right)

Twin Pool Villa with Terrace

Sound of waves played non-stop throughout the night

꽃길만 걷게 해줄게

I used to tell my mum that I am not impressed by the flowers at the Gardens by the Bay. Flowers grown in enclosure never impress me. "There is a more beautiful world out there and I will show it to you one day", I promised my mum.

Flowers are most beautiful in spring, especially when they are out in the open under strong sunlight. My mum finally agreed with me.


International Horticulture Goyang 2018



Garden of Morning Calm - Spring Festival 2018



Tuesday, May 29, 2018

초보운전


Rookie driver, beware!

I am back, in one piece, goodness! I have not done it before; I rented a car and drove for seventeen hours over a period of one week in Korea. My workhorse, the humble Hyundai Avante AD, comes equipped with essentials like navigation, blind spot monitoring and reverse parking guidance. For good measure, I have the trustworthy KakaoMap apps installed in my phone as a backup for the in-car navigation. Despite many years of driving experience, I felt like a rookie driver all over again. Driving in Korea is not much different from driving in Singapore, but still, there are differences; one of these, Korea is right-hand drive and Singapore, the opposite. I cannot boast I drove off the basement carpark of Terminal 2 without some trepidation. Fortunately, all started well and ended well. With a car, I was able to re-visit distant places like Jeongdongjin and Gyeongju with relative ease. However, when in Seoul, it is still advisable to take public transport.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

LA 베니스 비치

Connected to and south of Santa Monica Beach is the Venice Beach. There is a change in atmosphere when you move from one to the other. The former has a resort-beach feel while the latter a carnival-like atmosphere, very much like Phuket's Patong Beach.

I only have a day in LA and between going to the beach and Hollywood, the beach was probably a better choice.

Venice Beach Skate Plaza

The land of the free does have rules and regulations

Sun-filled beach

Huge murals can be found around the beach and this particular one is "Venice Kinesis" which features goddess Venus in beachwear.

Can't figure out the end of the beach

Linnie Canal, one of the few remaining man-made canals around. One needs to have deep pocket to live by it.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

LA 산타모니카 해변

After work, it's time to hit the beach.

It seems summer has extended its stay in LA. The day was clear and sunny although it was temporarily interrupted by sea fog in the afternoon. I was told it rarely rains in California as its climate is that of a desert.

It is always a rejuvenating experience to be at the beach.

Santa Monica Beach, LA. End of trail but start of paradise.

Pacific Coast Highway (below), a thousand km long road that runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean.

Pacific Ocean. No word to describe.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

치킨먹고갈래?

One night before leaving San Francisco I had Korean chicken for dinner. It is as authentic as it can be because the outlet is run fully by Korean Americans. I ordered 10-pieces garlic soy sauce "Gangjung" old school Korean crispy chicken and it proved to be an excellent choice.

A cozy, informal restaurant serving quick, home-style Korean-American street food

The question of the day: Korean fried chicken or Gangjung chicken?

Garlic soy sauce "Gangjung" chicken glazed in layer of sweet and tangy sauce

Left San Francisco. Sunset at Bakersfield today.

Monday, September 25, 2017

클램 차우더

I am back at Pier 39 for its clam chowder. If you ask how it tastes? 엄지척! (thumb up) but I did not gobble down the sourdough bread bowl that came with it. The soup is thick and creamy and comes with handsome serving of clam meat. The mild sour taste of sourdough bread helps to enrich the flavor of the soup. The bread crest is firm enough to hold the soup well without risk of making a mess.

Pier 39 is a very crowded place. In order to find a seat, I need to go at an "awkward" time, i.e. a time too late for lunch and too early for dinner.

At Pier 39, you can enjoy both sea view and city view

I am back for you, clam chowder

Price of clam chowder is $8.99 before tax

Clam chowder, a must-try if you visit Pier 39 or Fisherman's Wharf

Sunday, September 24, 2017

눈부신 햇빛

I enjoyed a day filled with California sunshine but the day was neither hot nor warm; it was windy and chilly. The clear and high blue sky of autumn made everything pops. This kind of day is perfect for sightseeing.

My day started at the busy Ferry Building Marketplace, took a break to watch sun-basking Californian sea lions at Pier 39 and ended at the Golden Gate Bridge. There was a lot of walking but probably not enough to burn away the 900 calories from the "World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae" I had earlier at Ghirardelli Chocolate.

Alcatraz Island across Pier 39

Californian sea lion-watching crowd at Pier 39. The sea lions congregated on the floating pontoons to the left.

Vintage F-line streetcars at the Fisherman's Wharf. The place is well known for its clam chowder in sourdough bread bowl.

A day filled with California sunshine

A coffee truck by the sea

Clear blue sky of early autumn at the Yacht Harbor

Sunset at North Pacific Ocean

Finally, the Golden Gate Bridge

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Château de Villandry

If there is one compelling reason why you should visit Château de Villandry, it has to be its Renaissance gardens. Not just one garden but many. In my opinion, even the gardens of Château de Versailles pale in comparison. Château de Villandry is the nearest chateau to Tours but it is still 17km away.

Looking down at the "love garden" from the belvedere. The love garden comprises four squares each depicting a theme of love.

A moat runs around the chateau with ornamental gardens on both side

There are many vantage points which give breathtaking view and of one of which is on top of the chateau

Garden with geometric patterns formed by low hedges and flower beds

Entering the vegetable garden where real vegetables are grown with flowering plants featuring at corners and fringes

A refreshing view of lavender garden with water fountain on a hot sunny day

Lavender and chateau - a great combination

A wide-angle view of the lavender garden with the Saint Etienne Church of Villandry (not part of chateau) at the back

Grapevines covered walkway, providing relief from the blazing summer heat

Bunches of green grapes hanging over my head

The Sun Garden

Visitors taking a rest at the belvedere

Box-shaped lime trees like those seen at the back, lined the walking paths

Unobstructed view

Another vantage point

Inside the Chateau

View of the Chateau from the entrance /exit

Towards the farmyard