Observations of my home country, Australia

I have only been home a handful of times over the last 14 years because i have been living in Japan.  So much has changed over those years that I feel I actually felt some kind of culture shock the last few times I  visited.  I had heard people getting culture shock after returning to their country but I actually believed that couldn’t be true until now. So here are  the observations I made while in Australia.

1    We really do say mate virtually after every sentence.

 My friends always told me this in Japan but I never used to think we said it this much.  Everybody just says it I’m sure they don’t realise how much they say it, ask for something in the shops and their reply would be that will be 10$ mate.   “Have a nice day mate”,  “enjoy your stay mate,” even at immigration or customs the officers were using the word mate “please open your bag mate”,  “could you empty your pockets mate”

 After a few days I started singing a song IN Australia there was a mate, here a mate, there a mate everywhere a mate,mate. This was sung to the tune of Old MacDonald. Sorry I work as a kindergarten teacher so I might be around kids just a little too much.

2      We have all truly gained weight.

Women I’m sorry are big from any age, of course there are still  a few slim women ,but the bigger girl far out weighs the slimmer one mate. Men on the other hand seem to play a lot of sport and you don’t notice them as large until the age of 35. When they aren’t as active on the sports scene, their drinking their beers and yes that famous beer gut of ours does appear  then mate.

As I type this I look down at myself I’m  not as active either, and yes I do love a drink there does appear to be a bulge in my stomach. OOh no soon I’m going to have a beer gut just like Homer Simpson and I have the receding hair too, life does not look good for me,  DOH.

3       Supersize Me

Morgan Spurlock brought us the brilliant Supersize Me documentary, which I believe everybody in marketing a consumer product must have watched they took the idea of taking an ordinary  size product, well it was 14 years ago to  making it twice as big.

Come on mate every thing is just huge in Australia from a meal to a drink to even toothpaste everything is just gigantic. Morgan Spurlock probably tripled in size after eating all those MacDonald burgers so twice as big is probably not too bad.

4       Everybodies in a hurry

Having lived in Asia the past 14 years and having really enjoyed some great meals and some great company. I was looking forward to eating at some good restaurants in Australia. Some meals in Asia, I have spent  2 or 3 hours chatting over the meal but not here as I watched couples and groups of friends devour their food in about 15 minutes, not talking, just shovelling the fork into their mouths, not knowing if they are really enjoying their meal or not and when finished they simply get up and leave.

Is this how we enjoy our meals now or have they simply had enough of the waiters asking every 2 minutes if we need anything else or are we finished yet mate , even though there is still food on the table and the place is half empty. I’m now thinking to myself ………..and all i can come up with is Gee MATE

5        Driving

I thought I would hire a car, when I was in Australia. I don’t have one in Japan so I hadn’t driven in 14 years and i didn’t really want my mum to be driving me around everywhere i wanted to go.

I asked mum how much a litre of petrol was now in Australia and I think she recalled it was over $1.50 a litre. My mouth just opened wide  and no the word mate didn’t come out of my mouth, it was more like  #$#&$&$% .I guess you mates will get the meaning of that. It was only about 85 cents when I lived here.

 Every time I got in the car, went a couple of kilometres down the road I started thinking  about what was coming out of the exhaust pipe and no it wasn’t about the gasses coming out and polluting the air. All I could think of was there goes another $1.50 out of the exhaust.

6          You can be a tourist in your own country

I quickly found out that you can be a tourist in your own country. I visited a wildlife sanctuary while in Australia.  The main reason we went was so my Japanese wife and son could see Australian wildlife but here I was with my camera clicking away  taking a hundred shots of kangaroos, yes bloody kangaroos mate.

 It’s not that I haven’t seen a kangaroo before. I can’t count on two hands how many kangaroos I’ve seen oh wait a minute I can’t even count on my fingers and toes how many kangaroos I’ve seen ,then why did I take so many photos, that I still can not answer.

 It didn’t stop there ,when it came to koalas I  was doing the same thing admittedly I had not seen as many in the wild as I had seen kangaroos but still I have seen my fair share. It even got worst I was asking all these stupid questions to the zoo keeper about koalas. Well DUUUH it wasn’t as if I hadn’t learnt anything about these animals in primary school . What the hell was i doing.

7           Yes we truly do exaggerate

Here I was going to Port Douglas. A town in Northern Australia, home to the great crocodile. I was visiting my parents in southern Australia before going up north and all I heard from my parents, her friends, even people I didn’t know, that you better be careful of those crocs don’t go near any water, don’t even go swimming at the beach. Well why would I go to Port douglas if I didn’t want to go for a swim.

Well let me make it clear to you mates, we do have crocs in Northern Australia and I did go searching for them on a river cruise, where we happened to see two dozing on the river bank but I can assure you all that the chances of you being eaten by a crocodile is virtually 0% but now I’ve told you that if you do go there you will probably be eaten mate. I always seem to give people bad luck.

8            A day that may really be bigger than Christmas

You may think that there is no bigger day in the world than Christmas, in some countries maybe New Years day would go close, but let me tell you there is no bigger day in Australia than Boxing Day ( December 26th)

On this day it  just happens to be the opening day of a cricket test match. My family and I sit all day on the sofa watching it while drinking a few beers, (there goes that beer gut), the next door neighbour is watching the game,even that looser at the end of the street is doing the same thing, but their not the only ones there is around 100,000 people at the Melbourne Cricket ground doing the same thing watching Australia play a team in a game that lasts 5 days and may still not have a result at the end.

9            Australia is really not that hot in the summer anymore

I was coming out of winter in Japan to the dreadful Australian Summer where it is known to have temperatures of 40 or more.  I get off the plane in the small Merimbula airport and walk across the tarmac in my shorts and beach sandals and what do you think is the very first thing I say to my parents after 4 years of not seeing them, it’s not hello, it’s not I love you or I miss you. The first words I say is that it’s bloody cold mate.

What is wrong with this summer. My parents tell me its the usual thing in Merimbula never hot, never cold just perfect. It’s a little coastal town that gets this strong cool breeze in the afternoon where the temperature never seems to get over 25 degrees. I’m thinking what in the hell is this town doing on the coast I have come to this town to swim mate. By the way most of Australia really is around 40 degrees this tIme of year.

Have you had any culture shock or noticed any differences in your country after returning  back to your country? We would love to hear all about it.

This post is not to be taken too seriously, just a bit of fun.

 

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The mesmerizing sounds of the gamelan

It wasn’t the dancer intricately moving her hands, quivering her fingers, swaying her head from left to right, making expressive facial expressions with bulging eyes that had captivated me.  It was the piercing sounds of the gamelan, a traditional musical ensemble from Bali or Java.

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The Indonesian orchestra consists of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, Kendang (drums) gongs, bamboo flutes, bows and plucked strings. Some gamelans have up to 100 members.

As the beautiful young dancer with ruby red lips, wearing a gold dress performed, men in traditional clothing tapped on drums behind her, to the right other men sat crossed legged with a metal hammer like tool striking the metallophones and xylophones. Gongs hang from frames, suspended in air while being struck rang.

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The gamelan stayed in unison, penetrating the air, the dancer moving to its rhythm. People were here to watch ‘The Legong Dance’ one of the most famous dances in Bali. While I was being moved by the mesmerizing sounds of the gamelan.

Over our two weeks stay in Bali, I heard the sounds of the gamelan numerous times, each time it was inspiring to see in small villages, villagers performing, practicing the gamelan together under the bale, an open air Pavillion. Seeing the sense of a group belonging to a community, each time I stopped and watched transfixed on the sound.

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I have never been musically inclined, if you were graded in primary school on your ability to play the recorder I would have been given an ‘F’. This I felt I needed to try, needed to be part of . You have probably read or heard about people who have travelled to a country and found religion, yoga, massage, a language or art and never left the country as they have found a new passion.

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This is the way I felt after I had heard the gamelan I knew if I were single, not married or had a son that I would never of left. You would have seen me still now under the bale in amongst the group with a metal mallet in hand making the deep, intense chiming sounds of one of the instruments in the gamelan.

Have you been to Bali or Java and heard the sounds of the gamelan? We would love to hear what you thought of the sound. 

10 observations of Japan

I have been living in Japan for over the last 14 years, sometimes I feel that I am more Japanese in my way than Australian. These are my observations of Japan.

1         Japanese love to compliment people

Japanese really do love to compliment foreigners, it doesn’t matter if you can only say one word of Japanese and they’ll be saying oooh wow your Japanese is really good, too bad that might be the only thing they can say.

You are eating at a restaurant and your using chopsticks, the beautiful girl you’re having dinner with leans over the table, looks at you straight into your eyes, she whispers something into your ear. Your expecting it to be sweet and romantic words and this is what she says”Wow you really know how to use chopsticks don’t you”.

You meet someone for the first time you’re expecting them to say hello. How are you, nice to meet you something like that, but what blurts out more often than not is “wow your nose is big isn’t it” What happens if I have something else that’s big.

2         Be careful of Japanese Grandma’s they can be lethal

You are waiting for the train as it approaches, you all line up in an orderly fashion to board, its quite crowded as usual, you’re about to stand next to the door as you only have a 15 minute ride to where you have to get off, then out of the corner of your eye you notice a vacant seat.

You walk over to it, you’re already in the squat position, your bum is about to hit the seat when all of a sudden out of nowhere comes a flying tackle you’ve been hit hard by both of those boney elbows, you hit the floor of the train, you look up and looking down at you , sitting all nice and comfortable is a little old lady with grey hair smiling at you, probably thinking that my nose is big.

3           Japanese really do love brand name goods

It’s very nice how the Japanese people take great care and pride in themselves to look good, unfortunately they spend all their coin on luxury goods. I had always known that they love brand name goods but they really do go to the extreme.

From the age of 16 all they think about is fashion, all they want out of life is to have the latest Gucci, Lois Vuitton or Armani bag. They work their bums off for a lousy $ 7.50 an hour and when they have saved around $1000, what do you think they go out and do. They buy a bag and when they have done that they do the same thing again, over and over.

4         Peace

You know you have been in Japan far too long when in every photo that you take, there is you somewhere in the photo with your hands up doing the peace sign. The bad thing about it is that you have no idea that you are even posing like that until you send some copies to your parents and you get an e-mail back from them saying I love the photos Chris, but why does every photo have you doing strange peace signs with your fingers.

5         Japanese live in shoe boxes

Japanese houses have always been known to be small, just like most houses in Asia but I never knew they could live in a house the size of a shoe box. My best friend lives in one in Tokyo.

I went to visit him and I found myself with claustrophobia. You literally can’t turn around in the place, you have your futon (Japanese bed) a bench with a small stove to cook and your toilet and that’s the whole place. God help my friend if I needed to go to the toilet while I was there. I would of stank the whole place out.

6         Japanese like to practice their English

It’s always nice when you are on the train, in a bookstore or having a coffee by yourself , when someone comes and asks if they could practice their English. I’m always up for a chat so I tell them sure have a seat not a problem at all if you want to speak some English. So here’s how the conversation goes I was just wondering, if you could tell me what’s the difference between present perfect and past perfect.  Grammar I think to myself I thought you wanted to practice your English not have a University lecture.

7           Be prepared to go to Karaoke

This will definitely happen at least once while you are in Japan there is absolutely no chance of avoiding it. You can’t say you don’t know any Japanese because they also have English songs for you to sing.

So you’ll go to the karaoke booth with your friends or co workers, you’ll sit down have a drink while the others are singing away, you’ll have another drink and then another until all of a sudden you jump up and start singing.

The first time everyone is clapping they have been waiting for you to sing all night, then your song finishes it should be the next persons turn but you arer up there singing again, the song finishes but you can’t help yourself you just have to sing you feel like you are the next American idol.

8          Never be late

Japanese are very punctual people. They always arrive on time but most times they arrive about 20 minutes before they have too. This was the hardest habit for me to break being an Australian (we would have to be the least punctual people on the planet)

I would be meeting my friend say at 1pm for lunch and at 1:01 there would be a call on my mobile. I don’t answer it as I’m running up the stairs and will see my friend in 30 seconds. I see him and say konnichiwa and all he does is shake his head in disbelief that I am late. Come on its only 1:01.

9           Japanese love to travel

Japanese love to travel; most of them have been to many countries, probably more than me. I ask my friends come holiday time if they’re going anywhere and most of them tell you they are off to such exotic places or to some of the biggest cities in the world. One of my friends just returned to Japan from New York. I asked him how his trip was, interested of course to know. He tells me he went to New York for 4 days. Come on 4 days it takes a day to get there, a day to get back, you went all the way to New York for 2 days. Yes my friend said but they were 2 great days.

 

10        The company comes before family

There is nothing wrong with loving your job, it would be great if most people even enjoyed their job, but in Japan their job comes before their family. If their boss tells them to do it, they must do it, if their wife asks them to do something they have to ask their boss first for permission.

They cannot leave the office until their boss leaves if they leave early it is looked upon them as being lazy and not part of the family (company).

I on the other hand am not part of the family therefore I ‘m allowed to leave whenever I feel like it, so sometimes it’s good to be a Caucasian who has a big nose.

This post is not to be taken too seriously, just a bit of fun.

Next week see my 10 observations of Australia

If you have been to Japan, tell us some of the observations that you observed.

Milan, it’s all about DaVinci’s city

It wasn’t the most beautiful painting I had ever seen and it definitely wasn’t the biggest I had seen but Da Vinci had me so intrigued  as who the Mona Lisa was. Her flowing jet black hair swept away from her face, her bulging puffy cheeks and those lips, half curled up smile. Who was she? What relations did she have? Was it even Da Vinci dressed in drag?  I left the Louvre that day wanting to see more of his art,know more of his scientific accomplishments, after all  Da Vinci was a genius.

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Over the years I kind of forgot what I felt that day until Dan Brown brought out the brilliant novel The DaVinci Code. Even though the book was purely pulp fiction. My memories came racing back just like I had found the Mona Lisa so intriguing, Dan Brown had captured me with the way he had woven his story together.

Milan doesn’t have the best of reputations in terms of keeping the attention of its visitors for long, strewn in graffiti, a city made up of dark  limestones giving it a grey dull appearance. A city that had been severely damaged in the war and had been rebuilt to become a thriving cosmopolitan, the business centre of Italy, rich in fashion and opera culture. Luckily though the old historical centre area is well kept with the magnificent Doumo as its centrepiece.

DaVinci though was also a big part of Milan, seeking his treasure, following in his footsteps brought the city alive transporting me back to the 15th century like I was some kind of time traveller. While walking up one of the few cobblestone paths that led to Santa Maria Delle Grazie  Church, I felt like I was Robert Langdon as he was about to enter a church not knowing what to expect in his pursuit of the murderer. The church was a  red and white brick building, simple in design not elaborate like many of the churches in Italy. On the right a busy road with cars streaming by, tram rails lined the middle of the street. One could have thought that such a place would never hold such important work.

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A thick glass door preventing the 25 people who anxiously waited for the sliding door to open, people chattering amongst themselves, some tapping their foot “excussi, excussi” a woman politely said as she moved through the crowd. She stopped in front of the crowd and introduced herself, first in Italian then in English. She made her point perfectly clear that there would be no photography before pushing the button, the doors slid open. The guide led us to the room to reveal the mural of the Last Supper.

Jesus sat in the middle of the table dressed in an orange robe draping over his right shoulder. Jesus had just announced that one of his Disciples  at the table would betray him. Some looked on in astonishment, some were angered, some wanted to know the answer and then there was Judas wearing green and blue slouched on the table who is taken back by the sudden revelation of his plan, Jesus hand rests close by.

The painting had been through alot over the years. It survived the war when in August of 1943, the ally forces bombed the church and the convent. The wall stayed intact after being sandbagged to protect the painting, the side walls were destroyed now these two walls are left painted in white. the painting had also been painted on a dry wall rather than on a wet plaster with tempera because of the method used the painting had severely deteriorated and has been restored numerous times. People whispered amongst themselves no one dared to speak in their natural tone so they would not disturb others, 15 minutes went by and my eyes  never left the painting, soaking in the importance of this work before we were led out of the room.

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In the dimly lit sacristy of the same church where DaVinci and Bramante often hang out together I was fortunate enough to view 50 pages of the 12 set volume of DaVinci’s Codex Atlanticus. A collection of 1119 pages of everything from studies of bird flight, sketches of complex machinery to writings about water.This was DaVinci’s notebook like a diary would be to us but this was his studies everything he ever thought about had been jotted down. Looking at his work was hard to define though the audio headset wasn’t worth a grain of salt. It gave a brief history of the book I learned that DaVinci had his own shorthand that he would write from right to left instead of left to right. Some scholars believed that he suffered from some kind of autism while most believe he was left-handed and was forced to write that way so his work would not smudge. Each piece had information about it in Italian that would rotate followed by an English translation however it would stay on Italian for like 10 minutes while staying on the English side for about a minute as much as I wanted to appreciate DaVinci’s work I found it increasingly frustrated so we left dispirited.

My spirits were lifted though at Sforzesco’s castle a rich red brick building,  steep  in history, originally a Visconti fortress, later the home to the mighty Sforza family. It was nice to wander around its green manicured grounds.The castle now houses numerous museums but the reason we were here was to get a closer look at the castle and this time to look at the defense system that DaVinci had designed.

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DaVinci had left his mark on this city through art, design and science and by the end of the two days Milan had left its mark on me. It may not be everyone’s favourite city but if given a chance Milan is a pleasant suprise.

Sentosa Island for Families

Sentosa  Island is where the locals and tourists go to  play in Singapore. The island is only a 15 minute train ride from downtown. The island which was once known as  Pulau Belakang Mati  ‘ the Island After Death’ in Malay has over the years had so many facelifts to help it be resculptured and rebranded  to become one big tourist attraction.

It is hard to imagine what the island used to be like before the likes of a casino, a shopping mall, multiple resorts and a Universal Studio theme park took prime land on the island.

Sentosa Island though can be quite expensive for a family as each attraction has a fee. You can have fun at Sentosa or you can be taken for a ride. The attractions below are the ones that we recommend for the family.

Universal Studios

The latest main attraction to Sentosa Island is Universal Studios. An action packed movie theme park with attractions over seven zones. The park features attractions for the little ones in Far Far Awayland and Madagascar to the exhilarating rides for the older  children in Ancient Egypt, as you plunge into total darkness on the indoor rollercoaster, The Revenge of the Mummies.  In Sci Fi City, you will join transformers in the battle between Transformers and Decepticons in the fight against good and evil, on this thrilling 3D ride.

There are enough shows to keep everyone entertained and ends with the nightly fire works display.

If you choose to go to Universal Studios then this will probably be the only place you will have time to visit on Sentosa Island, unless you choose to stay over night at one of the resorts on the island.

One day pass  

Adult       13-59       $74

Child      4-12         $54

Senior   60+           $36

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Sentosa Skyline Luge and Skyride

Sentosa skyline luge is part go-kart, part toboggan, steer yourself down the 650 metre track as it veers down the steep hill. If you’re after more excitement then try ‘The Dragon Trail’ with tighter curves. This track is 688 metres of fun. Riders are instructed how to control the luge before setting off.  Fun for all the family the little ones can ride with parents while the older ones can drive by themselves.

Unfortunately this is paired with the Skyride, which is a chairlift offering views of the surrounding area of Sentosa Island.

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Underwater World

Underwater  World was the prize attraction on the island before Universal Studios came. It has more than 2500 marine animals. It starts with a hands on touch and feel exhibit,  giving children the chance to touch aquatic sea life.  There is also an 83 metre tunnel which you can look at an array of marine life including coral reefs, sting rays, moray eels, turtles and sharks.

Tickets

Adults   $29.90

Child     $20.60

Underwater world also gives you the opportunity to dive with sharks, dugongs or swim with dolphins. These programs come with an additional charge.

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Sentosa Island Beaches

Sentosa Island has over 3 kilometres of beach with Palawan beach, Tanjong beach and the most well known Siloso beach. The white sandy beach is a perfect spot to laze around, play in the sand or play beach volleyball.  The island has had sand shipped in from Australia to form the artificial beach.  The water is not the cleanest due to ships, cargo carriers, oil rigs passing through the ocean, which you can see from the beach. The water is still swimable and a pleasant escape from the heat of Singapaore.

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The Crane Dance

Sentosa Island has another light show but why pay money when you can see the love story between a pair of magical mechanical cranes and how their love for each other transforms them into real birds. Using visual technologies, astounding light and water affects be awed by the cranes graceful courtship ritual. Shows start at 9pm.

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Have you been to Sentosa Island ? What attractions would you recommend? Our readers would love to hear your experience.

In Search of the pink dolphins in Hong Kong

Some might think that the closest you can get to eco tourism in Hong Kong is watching a shark’s fin floating in a bowl of soup but if you are tired of the crowded concrete footpaths, gleaming skyscrapers and glitzy shopping malls why not try to find the endangered Indo Pacific Humpback Dolphin, not only are they endangered but they are also pink,yes you read it right it is not a typo. Only around 150 of these exist in the waters around Lantau Island.

In the morning we were picked up in the lobby of the Kowloon Hotel by a guide from Hong Kong Dolphin Watch, which was established in 1995 to increase public awareness of these dolphins plight.

Once on the boat we were joined by about 25 other guests. First we were shown photos of fishing nets stuck to the dolphins and another dolphin with a scar below his blow-hole.

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We were told that dead dolphins are routinely found on the shores of Hong Kong’s beaches, they usually tend to be young, some believe the baby dolphins especially the first ones to be born get a heavy dose of toxins from their mother’s milk.

Once out on the sea, taking in the sun on the roof of the cabin, eyes focussing on the water I could see why these dolphins were endangered, the new Hong  Kong airport is located near by as well as a huge power plant that Homer Simpson would feel comfortable working in, plus all the boats that also use these water ways. I thought to myself dolphins boats and pollutions just don’t mix.

With nearly an hour gone past I was thinking that our chances were slim but our guide hadn’t given up with a 97% rate of finding these elusive mammals she was still as keen as when the boat first started sailing. The children on board by now were mostly sea sick and even my son couldn’t help but to contribute to the pollution in the sea.

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“So why are these dolphins pink ” I asked the guide, who was always keen to answer a question.”Well they don’t really know she responded there are a number of  theories, the dolphins don’t have a need for camouflage because they live in brackish water where the river meets the sea, where sharks aren’t found. The other one is that the dolphins are actually white but look pink because they are actually blushing while regulating their own body temperature”.

Whenever the boat saw a fishing vessel, the boat would turn off its engine and let the boat idle as everyone watched the tail end of the fisherman’s boat where the net entered the water.

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We were told that it’s a common place to spot them as the dolphins find it a chance at an easy meal. Through the morning we had stopped near three boats but had no such luck but on this occasion the guide shouted “look,look 10 O’clock, there’s a dolphin at 10 O’clock”. Everyone looked where 10 O’clock would be if the sea was a clock and sure enough there was a dolphin. Over the next 30 minutes we spotted a few, even one of the regulars that the guide had named.

The dolphins are shy unlike the common dolphin that is often seen in other waters. They did not come near us, or leap out of the water, they were content amongst themselves but wearie of the environment around them at the same time, they did not seem to play but glide through the water, the only time you would see them was when they would come up for air every two or three minutes.

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The guide was in her element telling us where to look and was happy with what we had seen but in a way it left us all a little disappointed to only see a glimpse of these mammals

As we sailed back I went to the cabin. I had a good look at the photos again and looked outside  the window, coming back in view was the airport and I was left wondering what will happen to these dolphins will they survive or will it be just another creature that is lost to this world because of man.

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Tour Information with Hong Kong Dolphin Watch

Hong kong dolphin watch is the only company currently guiding tourists to see the dolphins

Tours take place every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday

V.I.P style on the Singapore Flyer

The Singapore flyer became the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world when it began operating in 2008. It stands 165 metres high, located near the Marina Bay Sands hotel complex.

We had purchased our tickets online for the signature cocktail flight upon our arrival we were escorted to  their complimentary flyer lounge for an exclusive check in, where we had the room to ourselves to relax, read, use of a computer and a refreshing drink while we waited for the capsule to be ready.

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Later, we were shown to our capsule as we passed the large queue of people waiting in line, I felt nervous as we passed everyone, knowing that they would be wondering why we were able to race to the front, we aren’t celebrities, we aren’t famous, we just thought this would be a good package for our family.

The capsule has a 28 person capacity but because of our plan we had the whole capsule  to ourselves. As we entered we were handed over our cocktails and Rei his mocktail.  The drink was a concoction of whiskey, sour apple, lychee syrup, triple sec, caracao, lime juice topped off with soda. I wouldn’t rave about the drink but it was nice And quite strong.

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The Singapore flyer takes approximately 30 minutes to make a full revolution . The panorama views from the capsule captures the Marina Bay Skyline and on a clear day glimpses of Desaru in Malaysia and Bintan and Batan Island in Indonesia.

The speed of the wheel is slow and after the initial excitement that lasts a few minutes, the view is kind of monotonous. Singapore’s skyline doesn’t match up to the likes of London even though the Singapore Flyer is 30 metres taller than the London Eye.

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With alcohol and music blaring from the speakers with the likes of Katy Perry,  Rihanna and Bruno Mars singing their lungs out, the rest of the time was spent dancing away with our night club moves.

Since returning from Singapore we have read that the Singapore Flyer has gone into receivership.

Details on why it went bankrupt are scarce but the fact is that observation wheels can find it difficult to survive on revenue alone. Even the most famous and arguably most successful wheel in the world, the London Eye, has had to depend heavily on sponsorship.

Perhaps one reason why depending mainly on revenue to survive is difficult, which is what appears to be the case for Singapore Flyer, is because the novelty factor of a giant observation wheel wears out real fast.

Of course, all tourist attractions experience that eventual loss of novelty. But it is harder to regenerate excitement and repeat visits for a wheel compared to other tourist attractions.

A zoo or an amusement park can continually bring in new displays or new rides, construct new sections and expand, or even have an entire rehaul of the place. That can be tough to do for an attraction which consists of one main draw – a huge and heavy 42-storey-tall wheel.

Another possible reason is just bad timing.

Construction began shortly after its owners secured financing in 2005.  Just two years after the Flyer’s opening, Marina Bay Sands was up and running, offering a higher and arguably better view of Singapore, immediately dwarfing the Singapore Flyer and nudging it towards irrelevancy.

Have you been on the Singapore Flyer? What was your experience like?