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New Year Celebration at KL (Part 1)
With a Day’s Trip to SG
ITLOG_No. 17
(29.12.2012-02.01.2013)

I had never spent the New Year Celebration away from home lest out of the country, and was very excited when my partner planned a trip with her family to spend the New Year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with a trip to Singapore to Visit Universal Studios. This would not be my first time to visit KL, because we visited Kuala Lumpur some time in the past. The plan was to fly in to KL on the 29th of December, then hire a van to take us across the border to Singapore and visit Universal Studios then travel back again to KL that day. The last time we did visit two countries in one trip was when we visited Vietnam then crossed over to Cambodia. We had our plane tickets booked months before and then some pitfalls came in our life that we could not side step, but this would not dampen our spirits and have a good time in our holiday.

We were scheduled to leave at around 1400hrs via Cebu Pacific Air and was picked up at the house at around 1030hrs, arriving at the airport and checking in our bags, we all ate lunch at Pancake House, where I ate spaghetti and some waffles. Passing thru immigration and then to the final screening, where they did not let us remove our shoes anymore, then waited for our flight at the lounge. Our flight was delayed for about 30 minutes and by 1200hrs we were ask to board the plane, after about half an hour we were on the tarmac and ready to take off. It was a long flight for me considering this was my second time to go to KL and got a bit bored on the flight.

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Arriving at KLCC Terminal at around 1800hrs, passing through immigration, then collecting our bags we headed for the exit. As usual, like I always do when we arrive at a foreign airport, I look for maps that would be available in the airport, and got a map of KL and others. As the van arrived to pick us up, we then headed for KL by 1900hrs, the driver said that only 10 persons maximum can ride in a van and they are strict about it, passing through a long highway like our NLEX or SLEX but the toll that they paid was about less that Php50.00, and they were traveling more than 100kph going to KL. We were dropped off at their respective hotels, and for us, we were dropped off at our hotel, which was Comfort Inn, which was in the vicinity of Bukit Bintang, were almost all the malls were located. When we arrived at the hotel, we were told that our room was not ready yet and would wait till 2200hrs for it to be ready, so we took this opportunity to go to Jalan Alor and ate dinner at some food stalls, where we ate spicy seafood rice and beef hofan noodles. Than walking a bit around the place to see what other things they sell in the place, we then ate some Turkish Ice Cream, where Carol got the Durian flavor, while I got Chocolate. Returning to Comfort Inn where we planned to take a rest in the lobby and wait for our room, then the one in charge said that it was ready and that we could go up to our room, we then headed for our room and fixed our things for our trip to Singapore the early the next day and then rested for the night.

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Waking up at 0400hrs and prepared for the day, going to the lobby to wait for the van that would pick us up, while waiting we witness a fight between two groups which started then one car hit the sides of another car, a long discussion started and a heated argument, then came the fighting which drew a lot of people and jammed the street. Because of this, the driver of the van did not see us hence he passed us and had to go around to pick us up. Heading for Paradise Lodge to pick up the others, then by 0530hrs, we were leaving KL, heading for Singapore, which would take us about 4 hours of travel. Stopping at a roadside gas station to use the rest room and buy nesi lemak for our breakfast. After a short travel we were then told to transfer to another van, which would take us across the border to Singapore. After about an hour of travel, we passed through the Malaysian Immigration to exit then headed for Woodlands crossing to pass through Singaporean Immigration to enter and have our passports stamped, where one of our companion was stopped for not declaring that he has with him cigarettes and was told to pay a SGD5.00 fine.

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We were now in Singapore and we first wanted to visit the One Fullerton and take some photos of the Merlion and its surroundings. I was not happy with the photos that I took because it was cloudy that day and our driver was rushing us to take us to our next destination.

The Merlion (Malay: Singa-Laut) is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, used as a mascot and national personification of Singapore. Its name combines “mer” meaning the sea and “lion”. The fish body represents Singapore’s origin as a fishing village when it was called Temasek, which means “sea town” in Javanese. The lion head represents Singapore’s original name — Singapura — meaning “lion city” or “kota singa”.
The symbol was designed by Alec Fraser-Brunner, a member of the Souvenir Committee and curator of the Van Kleef Aquarium, for the logo of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in use from 26 March 1964 to 1997 and has been its trademarked symbol since 20 July 1966. Although the STB changed their logo in 1997, the STB Act continues to protect the Merlion symbol. Approval must be received from STB before it can be used. The Merlion appears frequently on STB-approved souvenirs.
The merlion— a mythical creature with the body of a fish and the head of a lion— occurs in a number of different artistic traditions. Lions with fishtails can be found on Indian murals at Ajanta and Mathura, and on Etruscan coins of the Hellenistic period. Merlions, or ‘heraldic sea- lions’, are an established element of Western heraldry, and have been used on the coat of arms of the cities of Portsmouth and Great Yarmouth in the United Kingdom; the City of Manila; and the East India Company.

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After some ice cream and some popsies, we got back to the van and headed for Sentosa to go visit Universal Studios. Our driver let us down at the drop-off area and was told that we should be back at 1800hrs for our trip back to KL. Going to the second level, we then waited to our tickets near the entrance of Universal Studios. Upon entering, we were told that no food was allowed inside and as Filipinos we brought a lot of snacks and drinks. We were told that a locker was available at the side of the entrance, while trying to rent a large locker, the card that we were using got stuck and had to call the staff, then we tried other cards but still we could not rent a locker, so the staff told us that she would let us use a large locker for free, which was nice of her (and I forgot to get her name). Entering Universal Studios and walking around were we were amazed on how full the place is, we then headed for Loui’s Pizza to eat lunch, I got pasta with sausage and a large slice of pepperoni pizza with a large cola.

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Universal Studios Singapore is a theme park located within Resorts World Sentosa on Sentosa Island, Singapore. It was a key component of Genting’s bid for the right to build Singapore’s second integrated resort. On 8 December 2006, the Singapore government announced that the consortium had won the bid. Construction of the theme park and the rest of the resort started on 19 April 2007. It is the second Universal Studios theme park to open in Asia (Japan being the first), and the first in Southeast Asia. The official plans for the park were unveiled to the public when Universal Studios Singapore released a park map to the public on 20 October 2009. Universal Studios Singapore has since attracted more than 2 million visitors in the 9 months from its opening.
Universal Parks & Resorts markets the park as a “one-of-its-kind theme park in Asia” and promises that the park will be the only one of its kind in Southeast Asia for the next 30 years.

After lunch, we then went our separate ways and would meet by the entrance at 1730hrs, Carol and me first visited Light, Camera, Action, which was a large soundstage used in movie sets and was hosted by no less than Steven Spielberg, but in video form. We were grouped with others and were headed for the front row where I saw that the floors were wet and thought that the water would splash on us and I was carrying two cameras and was protecting it. With 3D sound effects and some visual effect plus things flying around and walls flying away, then the fire came burning through the water and felt the heat intensifying and then a large ship came through the huge doors and the boats that were hanging came falling down and splashes of water came our way then all of a sudden it stopped and you could hear a voice saying reset, that was a thrilling experience. We then headed out and met Beetlejuice and took some photos of him with Carol, we then saw the line in Transformers The Ride was short, not unlike earlier that the line was long, little did we know that the line snakes around inside and it took us more than an hour to ride it but it was really worth the long line, using 3D glasses and the ride moving though the scenes, even getting wet with water where in the scene one of the bots leaked oil, moving forward, back, side to side, up and down then after the exciting ride it ends, exiting to a store where they sell merchandizes, as usual when you pass by a place where there are merchandizes like these most of the people passing trough would have the urge to buy, we bought some key chains, ref magnet and pins as souvenirs of Universal Studios.

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With lots of people in long lines, a day spent here would not be enough, and would be spent by the days end, when the time came for us to meet at the entrance we saw a lot of people sitting on the floor resting. We all met up at 1730hrs and headed for the drop-off area to wait for the van, by 1800hrs we boarded the van and headed back to Woodlands Crossing to cross back to Malaysia.

Passing through both immigrations, we traveled along till we reach a place where bus stops and the passengers rest and eat at the place, this is where we will change vans again for the trip back to Malaysia. Here we ate our dinner where I got nesi lemak again and then waited for the van. Heading out again we were so tired the we did not notice that we were nearing KL, and after dropping the others at Paradise Lodge, we were dropped off at Comfort Inn and then rested for the night.

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All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

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