Sunday, March 28, 2010

Earth Hour Singapore, Before & After

The effect was not as dramatic as I thought - the street lights are too numerous, and Singapore is just too well lighted :|

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour 2010

Support Earth Hour tonight (27 Mar) at 8.30pm. Switch off all your lights for 1 hour (and if you want, more also can)! What started out in 2007 in Australia is now a global phenomenon!
Check out who/where/how/why is this celebrated in Singapore!
Earth Hour Singapore

Cherish Mother Earth so that future generations can see the wonders that we see today!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Merry Cemetery

While Maramureş is considered as rural Romania, it boasts a tourist attraction well-known throughout the country. Strange as it may sound, this star attraction is a cemetery.

Merry Cemetery is situated in the village of Săpânţa, just kilometres south of Ukraine. Interestingly, this cemetery celebrates death with humour, and life with the simplicity of a single picture. Founded by a wood sculptor, who started carving wooden crosses for the tombstones in the old church cemetery in 1930s. He painted them blue (the colour of hope of freedom) and inscribed humorous or witty epitaphs for the dead. The tradition was carried on by his apprentice, and now, there are hundreds of such crosses. Unfortunately, I could not understand the Romanian epitaphs, and so could not appreciate the humour. However, each tombstone is also painted a picture that depicts the life of the decreased, and wandering through the cemetery, you could almost imagine yourself walking through the traditional community of the past.

Besides the tombstones, the church in the cemetery have been refurbished, and the frescoes inside them are certainly worth seeing. We got to Săpânţa by a rented car, but if you are alone, there are buses to-and-fro from the nearest town Sighetu Marmaţiei. You may not feel "merry" visiting the cemetery, but I think it is still worth a visit!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rabat, Morocco

I didn't visit all the imperial cities of Morocco (I skipped Meknes), but from my readings, it appears that Rabat is the least popular. However, Rabat's charm I feel, is exactly that - a less touristy city for a more relaxing and less harassed stay.

The highlight in Rabat for me, is the Kasbah des Oudaias. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the kasbah is a delightful place to walk around in. The streets and the residential houses in there are all painted white and blue, and really pictureque. And as you reach the kasbah walls on the coast, the views over the Atlantic Ocean and the city of Sale are amazing! While there are quite a lot of people, most of them are actually locals enjoying the sun, air and the beaches. It was good talking to them, and knowing that they have nothing to sell to you ;). The 2 days that I was in Rabat, I came back each day to enjoy the sunset on the beaches... (as well as some photography)

The medina in Rabat was also enjoyable for me. It was unpretentious and walking in it, I saw daily life as it is, though I didn't really realise it then. Rabat was my first stop, and so I have not experienced what the medina was like in Fez and Marrakech. So, I'm glad I spent 2 days in Rabat, though sadly, most of my photos of Rabat was lost due to a harddisk crash during my trip. Ah well, at least the memories are still there....

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Changbaishan Canyon (大峽谷)

Another attraction in the Changbaishan scenic area is the Changbaishan Canyon (大峽谷). It is quite a deep canyon (going down 100m), with some interesting rock formations within it. However, it requires a separate entrance ticket, and its actually quite a distance from the Changbaishan park entrance at the northern slope.

The canyon itself is surrounded by pine forests, and looks really pretty in winter. There is a boardwalk running through the canyon, and makes for a very pleasant walk. The guidebook suggested that its a 40min walk, but I took almost 2hrs as I love photographing the winter scenes. Moreover, I seem to be the first and only visitor, as the boardwalk is covered with snow with no footprints at all. The boardwalk is on a raised platform, and with heavy snow, the edge of the boardwalk became barely distinguishable. So, extra care must be taken not to accidentally step off the boardwalk!

So, is the additional trip and entrance ticket worth it? Well, I enjoyed myself quite alot in there. However, in other seasons, the sceneries will be different, so your enjoyment mileage may vary :)