Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sun, Sand, Sea!

I am very sleepy as I write this post, and was taking 40 winks as I uploaded 5 photos at a time (damn you Blogspot!) and waited for all 60 to be included in this entry. Not the best condition/frame of mind to blog about something so fun as our family trip to Sentosa from 26 to 28 February, but I had better do it tonight - who knows what last-minute things will turn up tomorrow, especially as I have final packing/tidying up and my facial to attend to, so here goes!

After lunch, we drove two cars into Sentosa and after getting lost in the mega huge underground carpark - there is a minivan ferrying folks from the casino/hotels to their cars, so you can just imagine - we finally reached Festive Hotel.
It was a nice walkway with interesting features as we walked from the carpark, and it sure was a festive mood, being CNY period.
Casino was milling with alot of people, with foreigners having a short queue, whilst Singaporeans, needing to pay the mandatory, non-refundable SGD100 to get in, had a long line.
I believe all casinos have their fengshui done right (like chandeliers at the entrance, deadly piercing with alot of sha qi so you won't have good luck), and this tall/thin elephant with sharp tusks (that thing in the background, not me!) must also be there for a reason, because it sure doesn't look very nice!
Whilst waiting to check-in, the kids entertained themselves getting free balloons from the concierge area. They each also had a welcome kids' pack consisting of a puzzle, note pad, and a toothbrush.
The highlight of the room was the bunk bed, which Simon and Marianne kept wanting to climb up and down to. Wayne slept here...
Whilst Rosabelle and I shared the big, main bed. Sis was supposed to sleep on the same bed as me, but she was so afraid that Simon and Marianne would fall off the sofa bed on the floor, she just bunked next to them. Poor thing, I remember being so uncomfortable sleeping on a bed in my pregnancy, and she had to sleep on the cramped floor.

The rooms were all nice and new, but room service wasn't exactly the best as they were probably still in orientation mode - it took quite awhile to get extra pillows/blankets/towels/slippers, and it did not help that we made several calls to them at different times for different things, even asking for a non-slip mat so Rosabelle could stand on it for her baths in the shower (no bath tub). Haha! Sis and I were joking that their manager will be on alert and cautious about offending us as they will suspect that we are members from the media out to test their patience and write reviews about the hotel.
View from the balcony of the Resorts World background logo - Resorts World is the whole collective place for the casino, plus many hotels and facilities.
Even the 'Don't Disturb/Please Clean Up Room' sign was a nice-looking flower that you can entwine on the door handle, or around your own daughter.
The walkway linking the hotel to the other hotels and luxury brand shops had a feature of plumpish Adam & Eve, or as Rosabelle calls them 'Wawa, Yi ah!'.
It was also linked to Festive Walk, a line-up of garden surroundings leading to the Merlion, shops, and the monorail station.
You will see alot of the Merlion as we will pass by that every day going to the monorail station and back to our hotel.
A rare shot of the Loh sisters together since we are mostly the camerawomen...
As there were mime artistes and stiltwalkers performing around the area, we took the chance to take photos with them. Does Rosabelle look terrified in this photo? She turned around, saw the giants, and went 'No! No! No!' as my sister and I squeezed her with our heads to make her face the front for a shot, haha! The things I do to my daughter to camwhore...

At this point, I retire for the night and continue blogging the next evening...
That's my naughty girl wanting 'Mama' when Daddy carried her to pose with the rest of the folks whilst on the monorail to Palawan Beach. We decide to buy saver packs allowing us special prices for some of the attractions we wanted to go to.
Wayne wanted to try out the Segway, a very short 2-minute roundabout that he needed to do a dry run on first - posing with ambassador Jackie Chan...
Simon wanted to follow us and pose with the Segway as well.
I didn't try - maybe I was too afraid of the smelly-looking helmets, haha!
We had dinner after that at Koufu, but Rosabelle, having skipped her afternoon nap throughout, was so sleepy she dozed off a few spoonfuls into dinner that Wayne had to carry her on his lap, where she slept for about 1.5 hours, and woke up just in time for us all to catch the Songs of the Sea night performance, a laser/water fountain/song and dance show by the beach.

Rosabelle wasn't afraid of the dark, loud noises, or even the fireworks. In fact, when the actor asked for the audience to sing along to bring the Princess back, Rosabelle stood on my legs, swayed and hummed - so responsive!

The Shis then went back to the hotel earlier so we could bathe Rosabelle first whilst the Tohs ventured to recce around Hard Rock Hotel. This is Rosabelle having fun squeezing with the Toh kids on their already over-cramped sofa bed, and going 'Ge Ge! Ge Ge!' on our bed way after Simon had already fallen asleep.
It was a nice night sleeping, to get us fully recharged for the next morning, where Rosabelle had her avocado breakfast (I brought along various fruits and biscuits to keep her filled and entertained as well..).

We got an early start to first head to the Merlion, and we walked past Festive Walk and the atrium area first.
There it is - the symbol of Singapore, or as Rosabelle calls it - the 'awrrrrr' (lion roaring sound).
Cousins all - isn't it obvious which of the two kids Rosabelle prefers? Tsk tsk...
Me with my dearest nephew and niece in the Merlion (yes, it's that big... and you have to pay to get in).
Big enough for a lift...Somebody is totally oblivious to other people's photo-taking session. Must. reach. that. shell....
And we ascended the steps to reach the mouth of the Merlion, with alot of people milling around to take photos. The staff took photos for us as well, wanting to charge us SGD25 for a nicely cardboard-framed one, but I think this is good enough on our own camera, no?
The Shis in the mouth of the 'awrrrrr'.....
Story behind Wayne's and mine squinty eyes -
Me: Simon, open your eyes when you take photos! Look at the camera!
Simon: Aiya, you both are wearing sunglasses, you don't know how hot it is! And so they happily and gamely posed for a shot with eyes wide open... thanks to our shades.
After that, we claimed our free gifts of Merlion fans and mouse pads, and had lunch at Delifrance, where the chicken sphaghetti was totally misleading since the photos showed chunks of meat, but what was served was more like bits of meat puree. We made sure the service staff heard our dissatisfaction loud and clear!

I like this mosaic-tiled area outside, very Gaudi-looking.
And we walked past a fake bird sanctuary on the way to Images of Singapore.
Wayne had actually visited the museum on our past visit together with us, but I thought it'd be a nice experience for Rosabelle, so in we went without the men (my Dad and Wayne), and first caught the 'movie' about the beginnings of Singapore. Pitch darkness and loud noises - thank goodness Rosabelle wasn't afraid!
You can pull the tiger's tail and help it roar. Daredevil Miss Shi was caught in the act biting the tiger's tail. Fearless.
Another short story behind this photo below - we had the 'luck' to be in the same group as a bunch of Indian tourists, and from the start, they were mesmerized with Marianne (pinched her cheek even until I told them that 'we Chinese do not like people to pinch children's cheeks as it will affect their appetites', which is true!), and I had to fend off another who wanted to pinch Rosabelle's.

One of the Indian men actually physically pushed me aside to get onto this rickshaw when the person before us came off. I literally shouted at him, 'Excuse me! I am carrying a child and you pushed me? You really have the cheek!' He was quite embarrassed (better be!) and let me go first, but not sure if you can see the outrage hidden in my smile here...
This is a fake cable car, and Rosabelle's carrying a fake capsicum she peeled off one of the displays, all of which chronicle life in Singapore, past and present. I've always liked the wax museum in Sentosa, with all its mystery and nice cosy ambience, and I'm glad Rosabelle had the chance to see it too.
After coming out, we looked for Gong Gong and Pa Pa...
And found them by the beer place (selling beers at 3x the price of that at food courts!) - Wayne said my Dad fell asleep after making a two-sentence conversation, haha! Typical of him...

They then went onto the Tiger Sky Tower - used to be branded by Carlsberg, but I guess somebody paid a higher bid, it being a significant Year of the Tiger...
Whilst our girl took a break and enjoyed some biscuits below...
The kiddos posing as soldiers...
And next stop was Butterfly Park, with just Wayne and I with the kids (did I look like a mother of three???).
Brave Marianne and a butterfly that the keeper perched onto her beautiful dress.
And our curious girl also had her chance.
What a nice brooch you have, my child! Yes, it's a real butterfly and yes, she attempted to pluck it away with her bare fingers. Simon, throughout this time, was hiding away as he was terrified of the butterflies - hello, my child, bad news for you, this is Butterly Park where butterflies are free to fly hah...
We bought some bird feed to feed the birds, and some landed on Rosabelle before she protested as their claws were scratching her rather painfully (left red marks that took awhile to fade).
I think it's something about girls and guts, though I think Marianne put up a brave front as the smile faded away after some time since the birds' claws were quite painful. Simon was again hiding away...
We also saw some beautiful birds around...
Simon needed to go to the toilet at this point and no way was I going to run out to the toilet with him, so I did something very anti-social - I asked him to do it in the bushes, making sure no one saw. Being superstitious me, I chanted 'Sorry, he is a young boy, and he needs to go urgently, sorry' - as the Chinese believe that if you do your business in the wild, you might do it on some *erhem* dirty spirits and offend them, so you had better be humble and appreciative for the outdoor loo... Ho hum.

And our girl then enjoyed a very cooling cranberry drink - she loved it!
By this time, she was uber exhausted and actually fell asleep on the bus on the way to the beach, so Wayne and I brought her to the changing station and let her sleep on the sofa in the breastfeeding room. Thankfully there were no other nursing mummies other than one Malay lady who shared the sofa at one point, and our girl woke up recharged for dinner at Koufu food court.
That's us on the tram on the way to join my family for dinner.
Matthias and I then brought the Toh kids for a pirate show at 4D Magix (that's us at the holding area), where Simon was quite terrified of the effect of bees buzzing around him, so I taught him to close his eyes and hold my hand tight. Wrong move. He literally had his eyes closed throughout. Heh... the simulation and effects were not as exciting/interesting, oh well...
The Tohs then hung out for awhile more to catch a performance at the atrium, whilst we brought Rosabelle first for a wash-up.
That night, my sis and brother-in-law went home with Marianne as they wanted to attend church the following morning, so my mum stayed instead with us. Wayne went to the casino after Rosabelle slept, since he does not need to pay to get in. He only spent 30 minutes in there as it was too crowded to play anything (good move, since we don't need to do charity and donate money to the casino!).

The next morning, we took photos around Festive Hotel...
And at the wonderful pool located at Hard Rock Hotel. All hotel guests have access to the pool, and if not for Rosabelle having a slight case of the sniffles on the first day we arrived, we would definitely have brought her down for a swim.
The decor and layout at Hard Rock Hotel was very interesting - even the kids found it so and amused themselves accordingly.
There was a Hershey's stall as well at the atrium, and we had to have alot of self-control to hold back our buying...
And who can forget Universal Studios - it was not opened when we were there, but of course we took photos with the globe. After that, we drove back home, and this time did not go to the over-priced/over-crowded Underwater World as we brought Rosabelle there when she was 5 months old, heh - next time perhaps?
So there, if you have finished following/reading this entry, congratulations! A pat on the back for you, and for me...for completing it. Finally.

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