the lost vacation – us/canada trip!
(wow this entry is superlong. oh well. i don’t usually do long entries so enjoy the weirdness of it all. i guess.)
there were 3 parts to my us/canada vacation – one part in georgia, the next in michigan, and the last in canada. i only uploaded a few of my pictures, i guess you’d have to look for me personally if you actually want the whole bunch.
Act I – Georgia
when we first arrived in the states, we went to stay at my uncle’s place. it’s in a town near atlanta called conyers. don’t ask me to tell you more about it, i’d never really heard of the place prior to my visit =P
the place was BEAUTIFUL. really nice. it’s in the suburbs, a nice big house with like a grove behind it. it’s like… his personal miniforest! not that i love miniforests very much, but it’s just a fascinating concept.
as i recall, the main activity there was shopping. which was… urgh. average guy shopping tolerance level isn’t too high i guess. but it being the end of spring, there was a lot of clearance sales where prices were really low. got a few branded (at least, with brands i’d heard of) items for pretty good prices. like below S$30 for tommy hilfiger stuff. and nautica. and. uhhh can’t remmeber lah. i seriously didn’t shop that much.
we also ate a lot there. my uncle’s rather extravagant. he brought us to expensive eating places to eat steak and lobster. which were pretty good. portions were huge. standard stuff u hear about american food, i guess. but somehow i felt the bang-for-buck wasn’t there. paying lots of money for good food… would rather pay moderate amounts for quite-good food, myself =P
my aunt used her camera more when we were in georgia, so i didn’t take too many pictures… anyway since it was mainly shopping i don’t think there were many exciting ones to take.
Act II – Michigan
next we went on to ann arbor, where my brother was studying. since it was where i’d have ended up if MOE wasn’t so elcheapo and i wasn’t so heckcare about where i did my undergrad, i was pretty interested. we were overseas primarily (supposedly) to attend my brother’s graduation anyway. though i suspect everyone aside from my mum was there just to have fun =P
the full party consisted of my nuclear family less my dad, my mum’s sister, and sis-in-law. that’s… 6 people. my 2 aunts stayed in a nearby inn while the nuclear family went on to their new living quarters.
my sis, mum, and i stayed at my brother’s apartment. it came as a minor shock since i’d gotten used my uncle’s place (which was pretty cushy). the new place was quite messy, a little stale, yadda yadda. but eventually i got used to it (hey, my dorm will probably look much the same in the future). plus i wasn’t the one sleeping on the couch anyway. =P (yeah that’s my brother there. heh)
we spent time exploring the university grounds, as well as a nearby lake. happened to meet chelsea (council senior) there by chance. she didn’t exactly remember who i was, i think. not that it was a big surprise, considering i like never talked to her. haha. oh well.
anyway as you can see, my mum and sis have this thing for little animals. it’s cute i guess, but kinda embarrassing at times too. haha. you’ve gotta have been there to understand.
so a few days later it was the actual graduation. they had a lot of ceremonyish things there actually, the main one probably being the mass graduation thing they had in the stadium. it started with just about EVERY SINGLE FREAKING UNDERGRAD/GRAD STUDENT walking down the stadium steps, walking around the stadium and filling up their designated seating area. while it was quite an interesting concept, the thing got old after 2-3h of waiting for the area to get filled up.
then there were speeches. valedictorian speech, faculty speeches, etc. surprisingly they weren’t really boring! the valedictorian speech was especially good, i thought. much better than what i’ve heard in singapore (sorry ah allan). maybe being largely monolingual gives them an edge. but i think somehow they have a culture which breeds better public speaking skills. haha.
then sometime later in the afternoon it was his class’s graduation thingy. since his is a masters class, it’s kinda everyone taking the subject. so they held it in an auditorium and got some diplomat guy to speak. it was boring. superboring. think i had a good snooze that time. i think i’d take beack the comment on superior public speaking culture. maybe it’s just the uni.
so after all the graduation business was done with (seriously, these stuff aren’t very interesting. just about as interesting as saf parades, i’d say. which isn’t very at all), off we went to canada! observe how the steering wheel is on the left (this seriously confused me at the start, i tried to board on the driver’s side instead of the passenger’s) and how my
ster entertained herself with bubble gum on the road.
Act III – Canada
first stop was the niagara falls.
my mum was superthrilled by the falls. she has this thing for nature stuff. it was really big and huge and… big. and pretty. yeah. a picture alone doesn’t do it much justice. you’ve gotta be there to appreciate the scale of it all.
next we headed for toronto. it was mainly shopping there i think, so not many pictures either. we spent a lot of time in the asian part of the city, and along the way we came across this chinese restaurant. we were wondering why it was closed until we noticed the 2 notices plastered on its glass doors. not having seen many public bankruptcy anouncements in singapore, i thought it was pretty funny to snap a few pics.
while in toronto, we also went to the CN tower. originally it was meant to be just a trip up to look down at the world from the “world’s tallest free-standing structure on land”, but looking at the ticket prices we figured it was probably a better choice to just eat at the place. some revolving restaurant, something like singapore’s top of the m.
dusk crept upon us while we were dining, and i was lucky enough to snap a funky picture of the tower’s shadow looming over the cityscape. the shadow seemed to extend beyond the horizon for some reason, which doesn’t really make sense to me, but that’s what it looked like. anyone has the explanation?
after dinner we proceeded a level lower to the observation deck. the highlight of that level would probably be the glass floor. you can’t see too much in the picture, but it’s really freaky standing there over goodness knows how many storeys of thin air.
and after that it was down all the way to the first floor for… the SOUVENIR SHOP! that place was full of miscellaneous toys. but i found the mounties (with their oh-so-familiar triple chevron rank) and the giant soft toys the most amusing.
after toronto we headed for the country’s capital, ottawa. visited city hall, with nice buildings and more cute fuzzies for my mum and sis to pat.
somewhere around city hall there was a bunch of placards, mostly to do with christian stuff. this was one of them. kinda like a protest thing. i thought it was pretty amusing (not that i endorse such protests or anything, i merely have a sense of humour), so yeah. see if you understand what it means. i thought the meaning was pretty clear-cut, but apparently some of my friends took awhile to figure it out =P
near the end of the whole trip, we looked around at flowers. the tulip festival was just starting, so there were like zillions of pretty blooms all around. learnt some history too. i’m lazy to type out the significance of the festival, so i’d just let the plaque i photographed tell the story.
and then we went back to michigan (ann arbor) and then flew off the end.
(whew. keeping a conventional-style diary sure is hard work)