Monthly Archives: January 2007
For some inexplicable reason I find myself insatiably hungry right now.
-Eats Tim Tam–
Natalie Imbruglia demonstrates the Tim Tam Slam.
(Audio out of sync)
I’ve got to try this someday.
I’d played a bit of Lego Star Wars before (on the Xbox), but my disc was faulty so I never really got far on it. I wasn’t that big a fan of the Star Wars prequels, anyway, but they more recently released a sequel based on the original trilogy, which I just got myself a copy of.
I haven’t played that much of it (there’s a lot more work this term, I doubt I’ll be playing many games until the next vacation), but it’s really cute. I love how all the violence has been Legoised… like explosions and deaths are simply bricks falling apart.
It goes through the storyline of the original trilogy as well, which I actually don’t remember all that well, so the combination of Star Wars + Lego actually serves to create an extremely nostalgic feel for me…
I really enjoy it when I go to mass. Even though it’s held in a Lecture Theatre on campus (which, though extremely convenient, does affect the ambience somewhat), I almost always am able to feel God’s presence in Catholic mass. Maybe it’s just the familiarity of the rites, or the familiarity of the songs, but that seems to be where I gain the most… spiritual utility, so to speak.
Apparently it’s Christian Unity week, but underneath all the talk of embracing your brothers lies trickier questions. Do you accept practices which you believe are wrong? Do you try to spread the practices you believe are right? Just who is your brother and who isn’t, anyway?
It seems like the world would be a better place if everyone just forgets about all these and focuses on living in harmony, but if you genuinely believe that you could be improving other people’s lives, what do you do?
(Yes, toilet paper dispensers are more shocking to me than vibrators are. Maybe it’s because I’d heard of the latter first)
Does anyone else think people should stop being quite so attached to their iPods? =P
I caught the second trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles recently, and I really want to watch it now. I think the animation is really quite cool, but more important there’s the whole nostalgic feel to it.
I was never really a big Ninja Turtles fanatic, but I remember once when I was young, I was hospitalised and my family got me the Leonardo toy (I think my brother chose that, being his favourite turtle), which kinda cheered me up. Although I promptly proceeded to lose his katanas somewhere in the ward (sorry, bro), and a weaponless mutant turtle just isn’t that fun a toy.
I’ve always wondered if the heroes were in a hard shell or half-shell (I hear the latter but the former seems more logical), but this site seems to indicate the latter, so… oh well. Half-shell it is.
Pictures are up! Added captions too, so go look (and comment?) at them, if you’re thus inclined. I think I got tired of annotating as I went along, so the later photos have funnier (and crappier) comments.
A (not-so-)quick summary follows.
We were trying to save on transport costs, so we chose to leave on New Year’s Day. After a doughnut toast, some snoozing, and general bumming around in the airport, Jason, Yiwen, Ailin and I were off to Istanbul.
I was actually quite excited about visiting Istanbul, since it was actually an extremely rich historical centre (formerly known as Constantinople, it was formerly the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, then the Ottoman Empire, and I’d figured it’d have a lot to offer. Alas, it seems that it has fallen to a similar fate as its Western cousin (Rome). It’s somewhat run-down now, and its greatest offering to tourists would probably be its array of mosques (many of which were converted from Eastern Orthodox churches after they were captured by the Turks).
The most famous example of this would be the Haghia Sophia, which was for a thousand years the largest cathedral in the world. It was captured and used as a mosque for about 500 years, then more recently it has been secularised and converted into a museum, showcasing both Christian and Muslim elements within. The juxtaposition was quite interesting, really.
Unfortunately we were in Istanbul during the Eid ul-Adha, a Muslim festival. Apparently it’s the custom for all the locals to holiday during this period, so many things were closed. One of this was the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets in the world. We probably should have suspected something when we first saw its closed gates being used to display wares.
We did manage to go for a Turkish bath, which though refreshing was somewhat overpriced. The ‘massage’ aspect of it seems to be somewhat overhyped as well. I suspect these Westerners simply have never met an Asian masseuse. =P
The Acropolis, basically the ruins of the ancient ‘high city’ of Athens, was isolated from the other parts of Athens. While this is arguably touristy, I kinda preferred it since it allowed you to temporarily forget that skyscrapers existed. It was like walking in a gigantic open-air museum.
It was also a religious festival in Athens, Epiphany, but instead of everything being closed, we got to see a parade.
The presidential guards in Athens had the funniest uniform I’ve ever seen. Since it was a national holiday, they were wearing a traditional variant which is even more colourful and frilly than the usual one. They also have a totally unique way of marching. Funny stuff.
We took an overnight cruise ship to Crete, which turned out to be a really good idea because although it cost the same price as an air ticket, it provided us with (clean! comfortable!) accommodation for the night.
Crete, though pretty, was somewhat less exciting than Athens. Winter is probably the worst time to visit the Greek islands, since everything kinda shuts down during this time. We basically rented a car and drove around, which was still fun in its own way, though winding mountain roads are really quite scary to drive on. Especially at night.
I’d booked a bus back to central London arriving after midnight, because I was under the impression that Kings Cross station would be open all day (because of this site which lists the reception as being open 24h), but apparently the station shuts down for the few hours between the last train and the first. We were basically shelterless for the three hours in-between, and were about to just wait it out at the bus stop, but in the end decided to just fork out the money and stay in a hostel instead. I can’t say it was the best value-for-money decision I’d ever made, but at least the others seemed happier for it.
(I wanted to take a picture of us at the bus stop, but I figured that the others would not take so kindly to my desire to document our hobo-ness)
But now we’re back and school’s started. Sigh. Back to work!
As mentioned before, I’d been considering starting a Project 365 for myself, essentially taking a photo a day and building a scrapbook of sorts out of it. Some of my friends have already started one, but I thought it’d be nice to wait till some major milestone before properly starting one.
I’ve been using the picasa embed on the right of my blog to post some pictures for awhile now, but 1 January 2007 marks the official start of my own Project 365. Hopefully I’ll keep to it and end with a nice album for the year.
Without further ado, I present to you…