[london 2019] part 2: lake district adventures + cambridge + warsaw

After 5 days in the city, I headed to the Lake District to spend 3 days surrounded by nature! Planning for this part was quite hard cos I really didn’t know what it would be like, and I didn’t want to drive by myself so had to rely on the infrequent buses around the area.

Took half the day to get there, by train from London to Oxenholme then transfer to Windermere. There are a lot of YHA hostels around the whole area, I stayed at YHA Ambleside cos it seemed like a nice quiet place & convenient enough to get to. I planned to do some hiking but didn’t know any specific routes beforehand; luckily the hostel staff helped suggest some routes around the area!

Lake District

Day 1: Attempted a walk up to Wansfell Mountain in the afternoon. The view along the way was nice! But as I got higher up it became very windy cos the mountainside was all exposed plains, and I didn’t have warmer clothes to layer on. Plus I didn’t see anyone around for a long time and the clouds were getting a bit dark… Didn’t want to get stranded there alone in the cold LOL so I decided to turn around and give up on reaching the peak.

start of the trail, at some waterfall
(possibly) the point where I turned around

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[london 2019] part 1: city & harry potter

(It’s been exactly 2 months since I came back from my trip hahaha but better late than never!)

I went for my first solo trip on 28 Sept – 7 Oct, to London and the Lake District! I’d always thought of visiting the UK while I have friends (ie. mostly cecilia and sean, plus some of my jc classmates in cambridge) studying in uni there, but unfortunately never got around to planning it until this year, when cecilia already graduated and left london. I asked around but nobody else was able to go during this period (all the rj guys on exchange) and I figured going by myself would be doable + less troublesome than trying to find other time that more ppl could go so… solo trip it was!

Anyway so overall it was a fantastic trip and a great adventure!! I spent 5 days in London visiting touristy places and doing harry potter things, 3 days in the Lake District chilling and hiking and appreciating landscapes, 1 day trip to cambridge with sean and meeting other old friends, and had an extra free afternoon in Warsaw, Poland as a stopover on my flight back. Each of the segments was pretty different but I enjoyed all of them!


Natural History Museum

I liked this so much that I visited it twice! From the gorgeous building exterior (I hadn’t expected anything cos I mean it’s a museum, you go for the stuff inside so I was really surprised by how nice the whole building is) to seeing the huge blue whale fossil when you first enter.


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first foray into film [part 1]

I’ve always thought that all those old analog cameras look really cool. Like:


A month or two ago, I randomly did some research and found out that film photography was actually still alive! So I decided to ask my grandfather about his old cameras and told him I was interested in trying film photography. He dug out a bunch of equipment from his dry box and ended up giving me his no-longer-used Canon A-1 and manual focusing 50mm f1.8 lens! I was amazed that he still had the camera’s battery (which, even more amazingly, still works) and user manual.

(Some background on the A-1: it was a very advanced SLR when it was first produced 40 years ago, eg. it’s the first SLR to have full program mode. And it’s better than the AE-1 pictured above but I guess more people like the AE-1 nowadays cos it looks more vintage.)

I went to Triple D, one of the last few film photography shops in sg, and bought two rolls of 35mm film – since I’m just trying out film photography for a bit and not sure how good my shots will turn out anyway, I chose the cheapest films. The first film that I loaded my dad helped me load into my camera is the $7 Kodak 200 Gold. It’s not expensive, but knowing that each shot costs money made me shoot very conservatively hahaha.

Ok enough backstory, here’s how my first roll of film turned out! (all photos were not edited after scanning)

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[thailand dec’16] markets & temples

Went to Ayutthaya, Bangkok and Chiangmai (ABC!) for my family’s end of year holiday!

Most of the trip can be summarised in 2 words: markets and temples LOL. Pretty much all my photos are of temples cos I didn’t want to carry the dslr around for the other stuff.

Highlights of the trip:

Food: had lots of mango sticky rice and thai milk tea! We ate at night markets/ roadside stalls quite a few times also, was v yummy and cheap 8) Most memorable was the first night in bangkok where we all went around to buy different stuff and ended up with too much food hahaha. The pork leg rice at chiang mai was goooddd too

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[ALP week 7-8] yellow mountain red village

So last week I took a 3.5h bus from hangzhou to go climb the famous 黄山!! I posted some photos on fb already (go see if you haven’t!) and they summarise most of the trip but just gonna write a bit here too.

I was the one mostly planning the trip for my class so I researched a lot before we went, but even after all that huangshan was still kinda different from what I’d expected. But anyway I think we were super lucky + made some good decisions that led to a pretty good trip, all things considered:

– there were 13 of us altogether but because some people had class on wed (the day I wanted to go) and some people didn’t want to spend so much money, we split into 3 separate groups and walked around on the mountain separately too. I’m so glad we agreed to just split up, making decisions with a group of 6 people was hard enough lol can’t imagine trying to move around with soo many people. And we unintentionally met each other on the 西海大峡谷 the second day, took some photos, walked together for a bit then separated again cos we were going to diff places and walking at diff speeds hahaha

– cablecar-ing up the east side, staying at 白鹅山庄, then walking down the west side. When going down, we walked down stairs for like 1h before we reached the top cable car station i.e. if we’d taken cable car up the west side, we would’ve had to climb up stairs for probably 2h while carrying all our things before reaching the hotel. siaoo

– had reasonably good weather up on the mountain! On the first day when we first got up the mountain it was rly foggy

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cable car-ing in the fog

but luckily after we put our things down at the hotel and went out again, it got a bit better

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after some dehazing in lightroom (there’s really a setting called Dehaze LOL it works v well)

then we got to see a pretty sunset just outside our hotel, and at night the sky was totally clear so there were a lot of stars!!! :D

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me with the stars! the cloudy patch above my right hand is the milky way

My one regret is not staying up later that night to take star trails lol. Cos I thought should just go back and sleep earlier to wake up early for the next day’s sunrise, then the next night can stay up to take star trails

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but NOPE. the second night to third day morning was all foggy and rainy

Luckily we got to see one nice sunrise on the second day! We woke up super early and were one of the first people to reach the viewpoint so we camped at the good spots in front hehe.

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Sunrise at 光明顶! But sad that got no railing to put camera on, otherwise can take timelapse

Overall I wasn’t thaaat impressed by the views cos… it was foggy most of the time, but even when it’s clear everywhere kinda looks the same after a while….? hahahaha. I think I’ve been spoilt by the mountains in australia from ALPs (lol interestingly my 2 major sch trips so far have the same acronym, Adventure Leadership Programme/ Asian Leadership Programme – ok only the first word is different and they both happen to start with A HAHA). But yeah at huangshan marvin said “china mountains very different from angmoh mountains hor” and ya seems like it’s true.

After climbing down huangshan some of us stayed at 宏村 for one extra night, I figured since we’re there already might as well just stay one more day and chill/ explore abit (and accommodation is cheap once you’re off the mountain). It’s quite a nice village! Not that much to see other than the lakes and red lanterns haha but we just went to a cafe and ate waffles and gelato whooo / yilei wrote and sent her postcard.

The last day was very random lol we tried to walk to 塔川 (another nearby village) but got intercepted along the road by a woman who said that 塔川 is only pretty in autumn so there’s no point going there now, and she convinced us to take her car to go to the bamboo forest. After huangshan we thought we’d had enough of stairs for a while but guess what?? the bamboo forest turned out to be more like a bamboo mountain with never-ending STAIRS again. We died.

Then we went back to hongcun for lunch and met jiacheng and eliz (and smuggled them in using our tickets >D), then took the woman’s car again (long story but basically she kept pestering us and it was raining etc so we were just like aiya okok). And we got a lesson in how china works through back doors hahaha. The bus tickets back to hangzhou are supposed to cost 90yuan if you buy at the bus station, but the woman had a friend there who let us take it for 70yuan by getting straight on the bus without going through the station, and paying her directly. She literally drove in to the bus parking place (which had a “no entry except buses” sign right there) where we got quickly shooed up the bus and she immediately asked us for payment. And all this happened in like 10min, from the time the woman contacted her friend to the bus leaving the station to go to hangzhou. We were all like wow wtf is going on. But yeah we got back safely and all is well LOL

Gonna compile my huangshan video soon!! Look out for it on fb hehe

This week has been boring and uneventful in comparison haha I’ve been working on the app for our project and it’s coming along well!

Down to the last 4 weeks here already :'(

[japan 2015] part 2: mt fuji

Finally got around to choosing and editing the rest of the photos! And my school’s adobe subscription now includes lightroom so I used it to edit these photos – I’m still more familiar with photoshop but lightroom is pretty cool and more suited for editing photos I guess.

[japan 2015] part 1: exploring tokyo

I’m back from japan!! This was one of my family’s longest holidays I think? My parents and sis went first, then a few days later after my exams I flew there by myself to join them (that itself was quite an interesting experience, I had a 1h+ transit at bangkok but the sg to bkk flight was delayed so there was just enough time for me to go through the transit counter and briskwalk to the other gate and board the plane! And for once I barely slept on the plane, partly cos I was in the middle seat :( but the view of bangkok at night and also sunrise from the plane were rly nice!! But I couldn’t take photos cos yeah I wasn’t at the window seat boohoo)

We mostly stayed at airbnb places or hotels with onsens = sleeping on futons almost every night, and two of my mum’s friends stay in tokyo so we went around/ ate with them a few times. Quite cool haha I wonder if next time I’ll have friends living overseas too then we can visit each other :o

Disney sea was a bit disappointing?? Like not very magical leh… cos it’s so crowded and money-sucking HAHA. Ok the shows were not bad (but mostly in jap except some of the songs) haha but I don’t like how the park has no signs so you can’t navigate around easily D< I was thinking about how maybe theme parks can have some system to eliminate queues, like a fastpass thing but more effective. But I figured if there are no queues, there probably won’t be enough things for people to spend their time on so they won’t stay at the park for as long, which is bad for the theme park operator. So queues are most likely gonna remain LOL sigh. Oh ya but wow the japanese are so enthu about disney stuff, everyone there has like some disney character hat/ hoodie/ soft toy/ keychain/ popcorn bucket?!

Anywayy ok time for photos! Pls click on them to see bigger photos hehe


Lol I was going to post my travel journal here but I found out that wordpress is blocked in china…… and I didn’t bring my physical journal so I ended up writing on all the random hotel paper. But now that I’m out of the great firewall I can finally blog again!

It’s funny cos I brought 1984 to read on the trip then I realised the similarities (the censorship, cctv everywhere, street lights that flash whenever a car drives past) but ok 1984’s is way more extreme and boo the ending D:<

Anyway this trip was super different from my family’s usual ones cos it was on a tour group consisting of my extended family, there were 15 of us so we went around in a big bus and had a tour guide and the itinerary was all planned already. The main point of the trip was to go and visit our 乡下 in 莆田 (yknow like putien the restaurant), but we went to some other places too. There were so many cameras among us, I decided to avoid taking all the standard shots that other people were taking heh so I only took 550 photos in the 10 days!

土楼- cool old buildings made of soil which used to house like a whole village!
djg bday
my grand uncle treated us to a feast to celebrate his birthday, we got a room with a very big table (can seat 20 people!!)
3 sim
沈 (Sim) lanterns at the entrance to my grandma’s 老家
putien old house
my grandma’s parents’ and relatives’ house!
gonggong house
my grandfather’s 老家- so pretty but sad cos nobody’s staying there anymore, it’s locked up so we didn’t get to go inside :(
6 food
we had rice and about 10 dishes per meal there for every single lunch and dinner ._. this pic is the leftovers after a dinner with our relatives where we were served a crazy amount of food
8 yixiantian
一线天- it’s basically a very narrow path between 2 big rocks and there’s like one line of sunlight coming in. quite cool but it was super crowded and everyone was trying to squeeze in cos you can only go in single file T__T
9 autumn
pretty tree!
10 maple
idk why but i always think maple leaves are cool :D
11 raft
we sat on bamboo rafts at two different places (泰宁 and 武夷山) to see the scenery but it was very cold cos you just sit there for  1h+
read the middle lines hahahaha i love this

day to play

Did anyone else notice yesterday’s sky, it was really beautiful!!

full moon
the full moon! risked my life standing in the middle of the road to take this photo but it was worth it
aurora singaporis (just kidding it’s the flare from a street lamp!)

I was on the way home from gym (had to take bus by myself but it turned out to be a blessing cos if not I wouldn’t have seen the sky) and very tired from the whole day so I just wanted to go home and sleep asap, but I literally stopped and admired/ tried taking photos of the sky for at least 10 minutes. And I discovered that my phone camera can even take photos of stars so I’m pretty impressed with it!

Oh yeah I finally changed phone! My considerations were 1. not iphone or samsung, too mainstream 2. not sony, I had one before 3. not LG, somehow I don’t like the design of their phones 4. not htc cos then I might as well just stick with my htc desire x which I was quite happy with. So I was left with no choice but nokia I decided to try getting a windows phone cos aesthetically they’re v nice and ya just try a new system for fun! My sis thinks I’m weird hahaha but it’s really not bad what, yeah it might not have a ton of apps but why would I need a ton of apps, there’s everything I need so that’s good enough for me. And I love the screen!!

Haven’t had time to blog cos I have long days almost every day and when I come home I just want to eat shower and sleep. On tuesday benji came to my house to make chocolate peanut butter cups for his valentine LOL and I made a chocolate cheesecake too! Getting a sore throat from eating too much chocolate sigh oh I got ferrero rocher and kinder bueno from my “secret admirer”s hahaha yay :DD

Had to wake up ridiculously early for take 5, sean didn’t want to take the monorail (ihni why) so we met at harbourfront then walked to sentosa! It was funner than I’d expected cos a few of our classmates joined and luhao and benji were very good entertainment throughout the walk x) it took us almost an hour but we were only a bit late! Watched tiff and beatrice perform (if yall see this good job guys!!!) then went to join our class picnic. Egg sandwich and chips and fruits! And frisbee-playing but our frisbee flew into the sea thanks to jiun harn HAHA. Spent most of the day with benji and george, we wandered around and played the obstacle course racing thing- other people were lousy and just took their time but our races were INTENSE hahaha and we played multiple times until the guys somehow had quite bad abrasions?? We watched the teachers captain’s ball too mr teo vs ms ma!!! They both not bad haha even benji was impressed

We walked to the far end of tanjong beach and back thinking we’d see benny playing captain’s ball but didn’t find him, just random people playing other games lor and our teachers playing frisbee with the frisbee people! And every time we walked past sean & band gang they’d all wave to me LOL. Oh he went out with band after take 5 so throughout the afternoon everyone who saw me asked “where’s sean” then “what?!? he ditched you on valentines’ day??!?!” hahahaha aiya it’s one day!

Celebrated benji’s birthday at the end of take 5! We hid wasabi in a green tea cupcake but this zhang wen went to keep it in his bag and when he took it out all the frosting got destroyed LOL. So impromptu change of plans, we caked him instead hahaha. Then we went for lunch at rws malaysian food street! At first it was like a weird triple date with ruhui zhang, benji deangee plus me plus george lololol but deangee went home so benji joined the single gang. The food was good! Not cheap but quite cool because the whole place is designed to look like a real street with stalls in each building. After that we went back to vivo and ruhui zhang made their disappearance, leaving george benji and I to wander around vivo haha it’s seriously huge!!! I don’t get why it’s so crazy crowded though it’s like at one end of the island… the guys got koi and I got ice lemon tea from the supermarket hahaha then we sat at random lepak places and talked about random things. Had a good time with them! :)

Then met yiyin and we went back to school for training. Everyone was v tired so jiaolian said we could end early! We did a bit of jacknives and superman then 400 calf raises!! then 400 jumps on the tramp with the vest weights. Still tiring but I’m glad we did that instead of moves lah I’m quite sure I’d just fly everywhere if I tried to connect.

Got my SAT results and yay I fall into the range where I don’t get slapped or laughed at by benny hahaha. My essay got 6 D: but other than that it was good!

the president’s office

On 初二 my family decided to go to the istana! Apparently we went before but it’s probably really long ago so I don’t remember at all. Uh I have not much to say so here are some photos I took there

the queue was some long snake near the entrance of the istana and it stretched all the way to outside plaza sing!! we queued for around 45min I think
the istana gates :O
the inside is just a huge open space! the actual istana building is further in, on the left side of the photo
it’s like the president’s private botanic gardens haha there’s even a pond
really nice blue sky and the flag flying in the distance!
yay symmetry
look at the crowd!!

Sorry the last three photos are just typical symmetrical uncreative shots haha but I still like them! We didn’t get to see inside the building cos it was near the closing time already D:

sunset-ish haha
there was a whole bunch of guards having some phototaking thing? then they marched off
view from the istana x)

Overall nothing much lah haha but it’s interesting to go and see at least once!