Flying Back from American to Paris

With the time difference (9 hr), it is kind of hard to say what is yesterday.  But technically, it was last morning when we have to get up early and drove to the airport.  Colin has been quiet since – May 4 – and he didn’t try to make any conversation at all.  It is very strange to me and I kept on thinking that maybe it’s me who has done something wrong.  On the other hand, maybe it is his personal reason.  Just that what a pity that the holiday ended that way.

Quite a long and adventurous travel for me as I have to fly from LA to Chicago and from Chicago to Paris.  Really surprised that my luggage can be automatically transferred through as the first trip was American Airline and the second one is Air France.  (Although at the end, the Air France part got confused and my luggage was the last one to come out.)  Watched Pulp Fiction a few times on board.  And the air hostess was drop dead sweet with a very nice smile.

Got back to my beloved hotel and my old room will not be ready until tomorrow.  Went for a haircut and my favourite barber was not around and I ended up with the one who can’t speak English at all.  Lucky Eric came out at last and it wasn’t too late.

Called up Sophie and she even wanted me to come to work in the late afternoon.  Crazy.

Called up Mohamed and we had an Indian food.

Tomorrow – back to work!!

Before I stop, I do receive 74 new mails today.  Wow!

Last Stop – Beverly Hills (Again)

Really don’t quite understand why Colin is so in love with Beverly Hills.  To be honest, today was the second time we visited Beverly Hills.  What’s in BH?  Well, a lot of expensive shops and a lot of beautifully dressed people. T his time, we wore a bit smarter than last time and we did feel a bit more comfortable.

How about the “Walk of Frame”?  I was kind of disappointed as the street looked really dirty and the stars on the floor just don’t look pleasant at all.  We had burgers at BH and I am certain Colin hated it.  What to do?  We are in America.

Throughout the whole day, Colin was very quiet.  Can’t really guess what’s go wrong.  Maybe my driving or maybe something else.  Actually, we had quite a lot of dangerous situation when we were driving.  Don’t think I am a good driver after all.

Spent quite some time to locate the Hard Rock Café and finally, we found it at the Beverly Centre.  Indeed, it is quite a big shopping centre.  Correction – it looks big but half of the building is car park.

Bought another deck of books and decided to watch the movie at the centre itself.  The movie is called “Volcano”.  What so special about this movie is that it was filmed in Los Angeles.  That is why we are.  And guess what, the eruption actually took place at the Beverly Hills.  Even more unbelievable, the ending of the film was filmed (well…) right in front of the Beverly Centre.  Isn’t that a very nice coincident?

Last day of the holiday already and the conclusion is that I have been very much enjoying myself.  And it is a very nice break for me.  I think I do learn a few lessons in terms of relating to other people.  Perhaps I am very spoilt and for that, I need to improve myself.  I do think it is kind of difficult to tolerate such a person like me.

Second thing is that I have been thinking of JP from time to time.  Thought I can forget about the whole thing during the trip but life doesn’t always turn out to be so predictable.  Guess Annie is right.  Forget about the fake Juliet and keep looking for the real one.

Oh, I just found about something quite interesting about the famous Route 66.  It started from Chicago and goes all the way across America and reaches Los Angeles on the other end.  Isn’t that amazing?  If you want to travel from the East Coast to the West Coast, all you need to do is follow the Route 66.  The whole road covers three time zones and eight states.  Which eight of them?  Well, that is IMKOTNAC.  That is how I remember.  To spell them out, we have Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

Another interesting thing that I have discovered is that none of the American actually knows where exactly, i.e. in which beach, Bay Watch is being filmed.  Maybe as one said, they film it all over the places.

Okay, back to work.

Sea World at Saint Diego – So So Experience

The Sea World in Saint Diego isn’t that fantastic.  Dauphins and Killer Whales (Orca), Sea Seal and Sea Lion.  I have seen all back in Ocean Park, Hong Kong.  Anyway, it is again, an experience.

Colin just couldn’t resist of going to Barstow again (for the factory outlet).  His wife wanted something from Esprit and well, that is truly understandable.  When I was having a girlfriend, and I know how it feels.  The outlet closed at eight and he didn’t have time to shop in Tommy Hilfiger . Actually, we just missed it and he was pissed off with the shop assistance.  That guy should have let us in.

Tomorrow is the last day of holiday and for Colin, he will go back to Singapore, back to Gateway and most happily, go back to his wife.  Good for him.  For me, I will go back to Paris and face all the SIRs again.  Not a very pretty scene but then again, it is not quite the reality.  Think about all the good life I will have (for another three weeks).

The real reality comes when I return to Singapore.  I have this feeling that I am giving all the world can offer and suddenly, I am stripped down to nothing.  Where will I go after this SocGen project?  I have no idea.  Shall I stay in Singapore for a while and do a local project or shall I opt myself going for an overseas project?  Or will I ever have a chance to get back with JP again?  Or it is really not a good idea?

I don’t know.  How I wish I have more control on my future.  Maybe it is time for me to start thinking about my future.  My future?  Can’t believe I don’t even have one, holding the degree I have.

I see lovers all around me.  And I miss the great time I had with JP whenever we were having a holiday.  So magical.  Sad to say, our relationship went downhill.  Even if she gets back to me, it will not be the same anymore.  Not anymore. So why should I think about her from time to time?

Universal Studio Hollywood Is Awesome!

The Universal Studio Hollywood is definitely a lot more worthy than the Disneyland.  The special effects are a lot better.

The first one we went for was the Jurassic Park Ride.  It was awesome.  The big boat can accommodate forty people and it does look real.  Quite a few dinosaurs here and there and the final drop was awesome.  Everybody got really wet in the end.  My whole head was totally wet.  My T-shirt was partially soaked.  But it was fun.

The next ride was the E.T. Ride.  We managed to get the front seat.  Even before getting into the ride, the decoration (dark, a lot of tall trees) is great.  We were virtually “hovering” in the air.  Cars crashing in from our sides.  Police cars below us.

And then we moved onto Cinemagic.  Actually, there were three sections.  The first session talked about the show “Back to Future”.  Talk about how they filmed the scene inside the car (well, not exactly a car but only a “partial” car), how they simulated the “flying scene” with a small expensive computer operated car.  The second section talked about how they made a horror movie and the last one was about the sound effect.  All of them are truly entertaining.

Next, that was the Backdraft.  It wasn’t a ride at all.  We all stood in front of a studio and they exploded everything in front of us!  The heat was strong and it was just like a real life movie.

And the Waterworld show.  Just awesome.  They put a play with all the original settings.  Towards the last part, a plane came crushing down just in front of the audience.  Not to forget to mention about the Back to Future Ride.  It is the best simulation so far.

I can just go on forever but I am just too drunk with the Long Island Ice Tea.  Ah, we did have a BBQ dinner tonight.

Los Angeles Disneyland … Disneyland Paris Is Better, No?

Amazing that I have been writing diary for four months.  I shall keep it up.

Disneyland at Los Angeles. I was hoping that it will be better than the one in Paris but both me and Colin agrees that the former Eurodisney (now called Disneyland Paris) is far better.  The Sleeping Beauty Castle is so much smaller; even the trees seem to be bigger.  Anyway, this is the original Disneyland.  The biggest one is in Florida.

Okay, we started off in Adventureland.  The Jungle Cruise was just a laugh.  Everything (elephants and crocodiles and hippos) are so fake.  According to the guide, it was built somewhat forty odd years ago.  The next one was pretty good.  It was the Indiana Jones Adventure.  The ride was quite exciting.  I loved the last part where a giant ball was rolling towards us and we suddenly dropped.  By the way, we were riding in a jeep.

Splash Mountain was very much like the one in any theme park.  Riding on the water in a log.  The final drop and … splash … everyone got wet.

The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is definitely not as good as the one in Disneyland Paris.  The one in Paris, we have two trains going head-on-head with each other.  This one is quite primitive.

As for the Matterhorn Bobsleds in Fantasyland, it is pretty good.  A lot of spinning.  Don’t remember riding it in Paris.

The next one worth mentioning is the Space Mountain.  Very fast speed roller coaster.  But Colin told me that the one in Paris is far better.  Well …

All in all, we were kind of disappointed but it is an experience.  We didn’t take a lot of photos (indeed less than 5) and we left around three.

I just couldn’t help but thinking about JP from time to time.  The time we had when we were in Eurodisney.  I told Colin that I was hoping to forget about her in this US trip but he admitted that it is kind of hard for I will keep thinking back about the good time we had.  True enough.  True enough.

We got out of Disneyland and headed off to Beverly Hills.  Quit a long ride and we stopped by a tiny Chinese Restaurant and had a meal (at 5!).  The American Born Chinese (ABC) look so different.  Heavy makeup, dyed blond hair and perfect American English.  We parked somewhere in the middle of the Beverly Hills and all the shops are so high class.  Even the women on the street, they all look so gorgeous.  Must be a lot of plastic surgery.

Really tempted to buy the single “You were meant for me” by Jewel and send it to JP.  But as Francis said before, for every action, there must be a purpose.  If I don’t intend to get back to her again, what is the purpose of sending her the single?  The original reason of doing so is to let her know why I feel right now, but on the other hands, what do I get out from this?  Does she really care at all?  Wanted to ask Annie (when I return to Paris) if JP has already got herself a new boyfriend but then again, what’s the use of knowing or not knowing this piece of information?

Destination Los Angeles

Today we needed to hit Los Angeles therefore we both woke up pretty early.  I set the alarm clock at 6:45 am and I woke up naturally.  More correctly, I woke up by a nightmare.  In my dream, I was in bed with JP. And before we got into real business, she admitted that she had slept with more than a hundred guys while I was away.  I was furious and shouting up to the sky (something like the show ‘Romeo and Juliet’) and I could feel my whole body felt with rage.  And I woke up with cold swears falling from my forehead.

Must be the songs from ‘Jewel’.

Guess what. I woke up at 7:20 am instead.  Feeling very tired and we stepped out of the room at around eight.  Had a simple breakfast and hit the road.  I felt a lot better today and Colin and I got along well just like Day One.  Kind of strange that my mood changes so suddenly.

At first Colin decided that he would drive all the way to Barstow and I would take the cue and finished off the trip.  In the end, he got tired after one hour of driving on a very straight road and I took over.  We swapped from time to time and it was fun.

The factory outlet in Barstow was huge.  We both spent a lot of money there.  In the end, we were frightened and tried not to step into any shop.

The inn was very decent indeed and we relaxed quite a fair bit.  Colin was into … erm … movies while I just took a nap.  He was craving for Chinese food so we have decided to go for Chinese.  It took us a long time to get there and the food was no good.  But he still thinks that it is better than cheese and bread (Western food).

During the whole day, I was thinking about JP again.  Thinking about the possibility that we will get back together.  But will I ever even be able to bear the shadow of not being able to know what she has been doing behind me?  After all, we have officially broken up.  And do I really care if she is really flirting and sleeping around?  Guess I shouldn’t.  Thought that the purpose of such a trip is to forget about the past but the past is just too difficult to be forgiven.

Some Traveling Partners Are Not Meant to Be

Last night, we slept very late and hence, today we woke up very late too.  Got up just before midday and decided to tour around Las Vegas.  Throughout the whole day, there has been some kind of fiction between Colin and me.  Right in the morning, I have decided to go the Wal*Mart and get some water.  I do need to drink some decent water.  I think Colin doesn’t really need to drink any water at all.  And I wanted to drive this morning but he refused.  Hence I was very quiet throughout the whole day.  Towards the end of day, I had a headache.  Not a nice day for me.

Went to Luxor (which I wanted so much to go all the while but Colin just …) and it was just as great as it was on TV (Jay Leno Tonight Show).  The Caesar is great too and there is a very nicely decorated indoor high class shopping area and I bought a pair of jeans in Guess.

I don’t think Colin really listens to what I say.  And he always disagrees with me.  That make me think that being agreeable is very important.  And I didn’t have my decent seven hours of sleep and didn’t feel very good at all.  Being understanding is very important as well.  Not surprisingly, I have been thinking about JP the whole day.  I even took her photo out of my wallet and starred at it.  Now, I can truly (close to) feel how she felt and I welcome that.  I hope I shall keep this in mind and shall not step into the same recurrent mistake once again.  And when I am moody (not enough sleep), I just want to be left alone.  That was exactly how JP treated me but obviously didn’t understand and always blamed her for making the day so bad.  Sometimes, little requests may seems not important but it is very important to the one who raises them.

And one thing that really annoys me is that to Colin, the next day begins exactly after midnight.  Tonight, we were talking about what we had last night and after some deep confusion, he told me that we didn’t eat dinner last night.  It was this morning.  To me, the day ends when I go to sleep.

So much differences. Doubt if we’ll ever get along.

Of Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam

Grand Canyon.  That was today’s plan. Well, I woke up half an hour later and Colin was very impatient.  Seriously, I need at least seven hours’ of sleep in order to be able to drive such a long distance.  And last night, we slept late.  As I have said before, if I have to get up early the next day, we better sleep early the night before.  Also, I do need to wash my hair and so on in the morning and as for him, just wash up, dress up and go.

That goes back to the first agreement that we have – a relaxing holiday.  I think, in the end, our definition of relax is different.  For him, it is less of travel and for me, it is more of sleep.

That also make me realised that the way I treated JP was not quite right.  Last time, I always didn’t understand why she needs to sleep for ten hours and I always waited at the door impatiently for her.  That is good that I feel that way now.  At least I can truly put myself into her shoes.  After all, people are different from each other and there is no way to change.  But to understand and accommodate.  Am I right?  Pity that it is a bit too late to realise this.

Therefore, I don’t blame Colin for feeling that way.  In fact, he was quiet the whole morning.

OK.  Back to the trip.  Took an hour drive to reach the Hoover Dam which is in Arizona.  The reason of building such a dam is because of the flooding of the Colorado River.  It is the largest dam in America and it is quite spectacular.  And after visiting the dam, we rush off to Grand Canyon which took us another four hours to reach.  As pressurised by Colin, I was driving at 90 mph.  Kind of quite exciting.

Basically, the national park has a few views for us to stop.  It is the most breathtaking scene I have ever seen.  It is somewhat like a very long stretch of “cliffs” and the formation of such a wonder is still a mystery to me.  Whether it is worth of driving ten hours today is still in doubt.

The West Rim can only reach by the shuttle bus.  And we managed to catch the last bus and managed to see the sunset.  While we were in the bus, waiting to return to the part centre, there was one very old couple and one young couple.  As the conversation exchanged, we learnt that the old man has been through the World War II while the younger one has been through the Golf War.  We joked that Colin should tell them that he is from the Singapore Army and get ready to start the World War III.

More Factory Outlets and Gambling

Second day of my holiday.  Planned to visit the Grand Canyon today but Colin changed the plan.  It is true that there isn’t any point of going there if we do not set off early in the morning.  So we had a very basic breakfast at the inn and set off to one of the factory outlet.  (Again?)

Driving in the middle of the desert was fun.  I mean I always see it in the movie and today, I was actually doing it.  Straight road (have to watch out for traffic lights) with valleys of sand all round me.  Rocky hills from a distance, bright sunlight. Just me and my car and my radio on.  It was just like a dream.

Bought a few T-shirts and really wanted to buy a pair of trousers.  Sadly, I am not fat enough to fit into any of the US size.  Swear I have to get fatter.  As for Colin, he has got some clothing as well.  Basically, we both like to shop.

Returned to MGM Grand (Casino) for buffer lunch.  The food was good.  Really good.  One of the best I have for my whole US trip so far.  I virtually clean the plate up.

After lunch, we went for another factory outlet (that’s right, again).  Spent a great deal of time there and visited the biggest shopping mall in Nevada.  Pity that we have arrived too late and we ended up in yet another book store.  Very depressed that I couldn’t get any book at all.  I think I needed more time.

Had dinner at Monte Carlo.  We paid the tips up front (paid before eating) and indeed, we were treated differently.  And the cashier actually underline the tip on the ticket.  The food was not that fantastic.  Maybe I was still too full with the heavy lunch.  One thing good about Las Vegas is that the food is very cheap. I mean for ten bucks I can have a good buffer here.  We both agree that it would have been a good place for honeymoon.

Colin spent quite a lot in gambling.  In the end, he has donated eighty bucks to the society of Las Vegas.  As for me, it is always interesting to watch the players and the play.

The whole day, I have been thinking about Uncle Pang.  Not sure if he has been to Las Vegas or not, but it will be a paradise for him.  So, I am going to send him a postcard and advise him to come over one day.  And inevitably, I have been thinking about JP.  What to do?

And right now, Colin is enjoying one of the … ahem … movie. As for me, I have seen it all.

Goodbye Autumn, Las Vegas Here I Come!

Hey, finally today was the beginning of my holiday.  Right now, I am in Las Vegas, the city of desert full of casinos and very gorgeous women.  Okay, let’s rewind a bit and talk about what happened yesterday.

In fact, I have to go back to two nights ago.  Thursday night that is.  Well, Colin slept early but I thought of going to the Social Centre for no one would be around the subsequent night.

Went down there at eleven and met Kevin, Ciaran and their mates.  Decided to go downtown with them, we set off at eleven thirty.  There were altogether six of us.  James (American), Ciaran, Kevin, two Austrians and myself.  It was, later on, quite obvious that the two Austrians felt in love with each other.  The gorgeous little one is called Racheal and the guy is called Mack (?).  Anyway, we went to the pub called Scotland Yard and just in time for the last call (good timing, huh?).  We ordered one round of shots and each ordered their “main course”.  I ordered one beer.  In the end, we ended up having one more shot and I was basically pissed.

As it was kind of early, we decided to go the Cadelae Ranch (?).  The one I went for during my last trip (by the way, exactly one year minus two weeks ago).  We had some fun but the atmosphere was different. Last time we had (or more correctly I knew of) more nice babes. S tayed there till three thirty and had to get up at half six.

Okay, back to yesterday.  Obviously I was very tired the next day.  We finished the coding and busy doing documentation.  In the end, I think the presentation was pretty good with me doing the “keyboard man” and Ciaran be the Mr. Charm.  Autumn stopped me and examined my tie and she seemed to like my “tie of the day” as well.

Lunch time came and I felt very void.  Really missing those great guys I have meet.  I always have that kind of feeling.  One week is really too short to get to know anybody in depth.  It is just like another phase of life and one has to just move on.

Started packing up for a while and had to meet up with CH at two.  Three of us (Colin, CH and me) went to Charles Town Mall and “wasted” three and a half hours there.  If only we held the car key (which we didn’t).  CH wanted to buy toys for his kids.  What to do?

Headed off the Chicago at half five, caught in a traffic jam and for me, I just slept in the back seat of the car all the way.  Colin and I wanted Pizza but CH was the fussy one.  In the end, we ended up in the Hard Rock Café where the food was not really that fantastic.  Returned to the Centre at half past twelve, packed up my stuffs, sent a fax to Jennifer as I haven’t filled in my time report (and I can’t because the floppy drive of this notebook doesn’t work).

Hence (wrapped the long story), slept at two o’clock and have to wake up at half past five this morning.  Not enough!

The flight was at nine in the morning and arrived at Las Vegas sometime in the late afternoon (another 2 hours different).  At a first glaze, the place really looks like a desert to me (yet to find some cactuses).  But seriously, really amazed in how wonderful this place is.  Took a lot of photographs and hope they all turn out fine.

Sorting out the accommodation and the rental of the car was really a headache; but in the end, we have got it all sorted out.  The motel (called “Comfort Inn”) really looks like the one in Pulp Fiction but it is not as bad I hope.

Went out and had a very nice (and inexpensive) dinner.  We had the main course – Steak and Lobster – for just seven bucks each.  Colin gambled a few times.  The first time, he put in twenty bucks and got back the original amount (he could have more if he pulled out earlier).  The second time he walked in, he lost thirty bucks.  His favourite is the Roulette and as for me, I just don’t want to get into gambling.

Called up my Dad this afternoon and it is always a pleasure talking to my old folks.  The whole street (called the ‘Strip’) was full of neon light attraction and of course, with a lot of people.  The way that the casinos spend building those wonders is just unbelievable.  My favourite one is the Treasure Island.  At around ten, we saw a large group of people gathering outside the Treasure Island.  First I must (try to) describe this hotel.  On the right hand side of the Hotel, there was a large ship (later on found out that it is a fleet from the British Navy).  On the left hand side, there was yet another smaller one (the pirate ship).  These two ships are separated by a bridge and the ‘sea’.

At ten, music began to play.  Two pirates in a small boat rowed towards the pirate ship and the play started.  True as I predicted, the one on the right moved towards the centre of the ‘sea’ and a quarrel started.

They fired at each other and got to say that the effort was very realistic.  Water shooting off from the ‘sea’ (as cannon missed the target), building on fire (again, missed) and ship on fire.  The effort was just great and really can’t find any other words to describe it.  Anyway, in the end, the British ship sank (partially) into the sea.  Really worth the fifteen minutes wait. Mirage Hotel is great as well.  A lot of decent waterfalls and they simulated a volcano eruption.  Using a lot of fire and lighting effect.  I just love the place.

What will we do tomorrow?  You will see.