[S-series] My favourite lens: The Tiny Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar T* 1.5/50 ZM

Hi good people,

The Zeiss Fanboy strikes again.

Zeiss lens made for the Leica M-mount will have a ZM behind its long name.. And lenses were made with different lens elements and configuration. Usually they name their lenses according to the configuration like “Planar” or “Sonnar” or “Biogon” etc. SO anyways, today I will talk the Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar T* 1.5/50 ZM. And I really love it.

Before I decided I wanted this lens, I got myself Zeiss Planar T* 2/50 ZM but I could never get back the same vibe from the Planar lens with my previous system. I read lots of reviews for 50mm lenses and found limited information about the C-Sonnar 1.5/50. But the images created using it was overflowing with character. I caught on with the retro film photography look and this lens delivers that.

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Firstly, the build quality is very good as expected with all Zeiss lenses, all parts were made with precision, no loose shaky parts found. The body is made of all metal construction and it feels very sturdy in my palms, even though its super small compared to DSLR lenses. Its slightly shorter than my previous Planar 2/50 ZM but a little broader in diameter. In my opinion, I’d rather my lenses were all short and fat. Because if its slim but long, it will become an odd shape when mounted on a camera, that would affect its portability when I stuff them in my bag. Maybe its because I like to stuff them in sideways instead of facing down, if you all know what I mean.

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The lens was super compact weighing at about 250g. We live in an age where big cameras equates pro-photog(rapher), so the modern lenses were all big as hell. Not all big things are good is what I’ve learnt over the years. Ignore what your natural instincts say. Large natural occuring appendages can cause excessive pain as well, just some random knowledge I read online.

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Do not let the diminutive size fool you, because it delivers amazing pictures full of old school film photo vibes. At f1.5 to about 2.8, your subject will take on an other worldly glow that’s actually the lens not being able to correct the blown out highlights. And after f2.8, at least in my copy of the lens, the focus would shift. Not a big problem to me. Although this lens has its flaws, I find its flaws appealing. I read online about people cracking their head between Zeiss C-Sonnar 1.5/50 and Zeiss Planar 2/50 lenses. Most people say to get the Planar one because its sharper, and nothing beats an interesting scene with a sharp lens, instead of playing with differential focus with the slightly larger aperture on the Sonnar. From the above sentence, they meant that the Planar design is sharper, and I can attest to that because I used to have the Planar too. But I ditched it for the Sonnar design. I am intrigued with the unpredictability and flawed old school film photography, and the Sonnar presented me with an option to replicate the same flaws of film photography physically instead of using some fancy software to create that unique film look. Anyways, after f4, the lens will become tack sharp like most other boring lenses.

The bokeh was buttery smooth IMO and I really can’t ask for more.

This lens was always on my Sony, almost like its welded together even though there was a time when I have up to 7 lenses. I only use the Sonnar for everything. But alas, I got myself the 2 Batis series and they were so much better than the Sonnar in everything except for the size and ‘glow’ that I had to part with it when I’m doing work. When I’m not working, I’ll bring The Sonnar out with either my Sony or the film Voigtlander R3M body. The lens doesn’t come with a pouch and lens hood, and to make the glow less distracting at larger apertures, I would recommend getting a hood.

In conclusion, I think you either love or hate this lens, depending on what you want in your life… I mean photographic style. I like those muted, low contrast, slightly faded style because I like to act like a hispter, if only I actually look like one.. But I’m not, unfortunately. Anyways I thought of putting together a list of Pros and Cons about this lens. But then I realised I will probably put all the point under both pro and con, because its very subjective, my pro is a con to another and vice versa.

So without further ado, I’m gonna say bye.

Simon Tey
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Sleeping at our new not-ready-yet BTO for the first time!!

Have you read our explore series special? If you haven’t then click here! 🙂

A few weeks ago we went to our house and stay for a night. Very exciting and fun but alot of things to do too!

It is quite difficult for me to explain but we wanted to avoid moving in during the lunar 6th and 7th month. My mother in law told us that it’s not good to move in during the lunar 6th month because it’s ‘yi ban’ half (middle of the year) and 7th month because of the ghost festival.

Simon usually don’t believe in such things but I get influenced easily so we ended up doing something funny just to act like we have already moved in before the lunar 6th month.
We did some research and find out that we need to sleep, bathe, cook, switch on the electricity, bring in money to our house on that day to signify that we are moving in and yes this is my house so if there’re anything inside it’s time for them to go out! Anyway if you’re interested to know the dos and don’ts for moving house then click here!
We did not bring any urn in by the way but instead we pour the rice grains into a lock and lock container (he says this is more practical) and followed by sticking a red and gold sticker that denotes ‘Fullness’ (满). a printed piece of paper that denotes ‘fullness’. (满).

So far so good I think you’re following quite closely. Now I’m going to talk about cooking in our house. The thing is our stove is not ready yet! Our kitchen was bare back then so there was no way we can cook! I was quite anal about this part because we have to cook to complete the process! So you guess what we did? We brought over a induction cooker to simulate cooking. HA HA HA.

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Sigh… if only I had done a vlog. It would be so funny please. I also forgot to mentioned the condition of our house. It was dirty. Dusty. Toilets were half done. Heater not yet done. Lightings not entirely done, overall it was still a mess.

I realized I am quite anal about my house. I scrubbed the toilet bowl, wall and floors like mad. We did the vacuuming and mopping together, and he cleaned the windows. 24th floor is actually really scary especially when I stand at my windows and looked down. :O

We slept at 2-3am because the room was very quiet and the street lights were too bright. Oh yes we haven’t put up curtains yet. AHHH so many things to do!

Anyway yesterday was our final cleaning and already more or less completed! I’m really very excited to show you my furnitures, decor and all. Slow and steady yay!

I shall show you some pics for that night first! 

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I think Simon must be very sad to sleep on this girly bed. This set costs us about $170-190 after discount. zzz I actually wanted an all white sheet but our room is too plain right now, so if I were to put white, I think it will look very scary. (Imagine that)

I will probably switch this to white again after all the necessary items in our room are fixed up.

The day before Taobao also delivered our chairs and I’m very happy that they are in great condition! We got 2 black and 2 white chairs, eames inspired! and might be getting a few more. If I’m not wrong they are less than 20bucks each.

Totally the same concept as ikea, fix and drill yourself.

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it’s quite straightforward.

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There’re 2 legs where you have to turn the screw yourself because the space is too narrow for the driller/screw driver to fit in.

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After we are done with the chairs, he went to fix the bed so we can sleep!

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Got our bed frame from IKEA. The same one simon has at his own place. The bed frame together with the extension thing costs less than $200.

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He is quite familiar with this as he fixed one before but I think that day he was too tired so he placed some parts wrongly and got to redo again. lol!

And this is the very troublesome bed base, that can make our bed higher – something that acts like a bed riser i guess? This is about $50! Cheap but you have to individually fix the boards into the ‘small holders’.

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which he spend alot of time on as there were also colour codes to follow! Grey with dark grey, white with light grey.. This really takes alot of time.

While he was doing the bed, I was using this cooker to boil water so that we can make milo. lol!

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Using the induction can be quite dangerous I feel.

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Then there’s also our random stuffs behind.

The last thing Simon did was the mirror! This is super important to me as I need to makeup before going to work the next day! Got this from Ikea also! Costs less than 80. Mad love that there are hooks behind. Good for my hats and belts!

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and that’s it for that night! was very tired because we couldn’t really sleep well and have to wake up early for work. :O but now with the flat ready and clean, I can’t wait to move in already!! Hope you guys are as excited as we are! 😀

Will talk more about our house in the next post! Thank you for reading hehe.

Ciaoz,

Follow me on IG: claireaudreylim
Add me on snapchat to see how my house look like: claireaudreylim (and to see what im up to everyday too)

Talk to me/us: dreylim1@gmail.com 🙂

 

Explore Series Special: Our Top 5 frequented Date spots!

I think every now and then there should be a specials in our explore series. And today will be our first special and I’m sharing with you our Top Five Frequented Dates Spots! These places are also featured on WhereTwo, an app where you can find trending activities and places to go with your partner/friends.

I’m not exactly sure why we love this 5 places so much, but these are the places we always go. Whenever we are there, we just kept talking and talking until we forgot about the time. Not that I’m complaining but I’m happy we are doing this as this will help us to communicate and get to know more about each other. ^^

You might think you know your spouse or boyfriend well but there’s always more and new things to know about someone. People are always changing, this includes their interests their thoughts and their taste. Sooooo it’s a never ending process!

Maybe it’s the calming atmosphere, maybe it’s the coffee, or maybe the food. But I really like this 5 places. ^^

1st: Singapore Botanic Gardens 

Holds alot of memories for us. When we first dated, we came here, our first picnic we came here too, even did our casual pre wedding photoshoot here because it’s our favourite place to hang out and chill during the weekends. Botanic Gardens is also a ideal place to take nice photos.

Even though it’s very crowded during the weekends, where everyone’s free to come here and get into each other’s photo. This sounds like what Simon would say… But everytime we come here, walking the same route, we always find new things on top of reminiscing the past, we help remind each other about all the things we said and do as we walk through the gardens. And new things that we didn’t notice the previous times we came here, like that bunch of flowering bougainvilleas near the NUS area and the little museum near that giant kapok tree which we passed so many times but didn’t realise that the museum was there. Everytime we’re here we realised that we indeed came a long way, in our own right. I’m sure everyone will have one or two special places like this that you and your partner shared right?

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2nd: Nylon Coffee Roasters 

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Gotta admit that we are serious coffee addicts. To the point that coffee doesn’t keep us alert anymore. We drink it because of the fragrance and the smell. Thank god we are both coffee lovers, can you imagine if one of us hates coffee? That would be terrible.

Anyway, Nylon serves really awesome coffee. The flat white is just so good and original. Simon thinks that the 5oz white is like the best coffee ever, even after we tried so many flat whites from so many different places, nothing beats Nylon’s in his heart.

3rd: Strangers’ Reunion Cafe 

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Simon used to be so crazy over Mcdonald, he loves fries so much! But over the years after being with me I think he start to get really health conscious. Well if you have a wife who eats salad everyday, it’s hard for you to be junky too. :p

Stranger’s Reunion is special to me because it’s our first hangout place after we got back together. It was quite a difficult period back then and thanks to the truffle fries and coffee that helps us to communicate more.

Flat white from Stranger’s reunion is our 2nd favourite by the way. The truffle fries are to die for too!

4th: Cedele Bakery 

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I first fell in love with Cedele when I tasted the carrot cake. It’s really the bomb. Up to now I still haven’t find any carrot cake that can win Cedele. I’ve been thinking to bake one myself but it’s such a tedious process. 😡 Maybe soon when I moved out. lol!

The 2nd time I fell in love is when I tried the curry pumpkin soup. It’s super good too! Don’t talk about cakes man.. even the salad is good. sigh… why oh why..

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Recently we started to try out other cakes too. Like this caramel cheesecake above? Awesome.

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And the last! Hakata Ikkousha Ramen!

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Other than the fact that they provide free flow hard boiled eggs, cos I’m a big fan of eggs. Their ramen is one of the best I’ve tried so far. Throughout the years we’ve been together, we’ve been to Hakata Ikkousha’s both branches like at least 6 times. The ‘Japanese taste’ option for their broth is a real draw, its so rich and creamy you won’t believe its not made of cream. With the awesome char siew slices that melts in your mouth and all the options like softness of your noodles etc. Its like drugs, the ramen had us addicted to it.

We used to love Santouka Hokkaido Ramen too, but its been too long since we go back to Santouka, the most recent time was when we go to the branch near Cuppage road and maybe due to the fact that its more of a bar than a ramen joint, it was disappointing. So it didn’t really made it into this list..

So today’s post has come to an end! Now you know where you will spot us! lol.. Anyway not I want to promote or anything but recently I have been using the wheretwo app for new ideas as to where to explore so we can always try out new things and explore new places.

Wheretwo is like a dating guide app, giving couples idea where to eat, to go and what to do. I really think it’s an very interesting app because I get to see where other couples go and how they think or feel about the place through their reviews. It’s always better to listen to 2 people than 1 right? ;p The app is not only limited to couples though, especially if you are on dating app and have no idea where to bring your potential partner then I suggest you can try this app out too!

They also hold giveaways every now and then which is a great deal to me cos I’m cheapo like that! Especially when they give out those cute merry and milk stickers (well you only know this if you’re using the between app) and movie tickets. :p

Soooo if you are always checking out places to go with your partner or friends and at the same time wanting to win movie tickets and cute gifts then you should check out wheretwo!

Above post is a collaboration with Between/wheretwo app. But do note that all opinions are of my own. 

IG: claireaudreylim
snapchat: claireaudreylim (to see what im up to everyday)
email: dreylim1@gmail.com

[Simonseries] Relationship between taking good photos and making a fool out of yourself.

Hi

Not sure if the title made sense. I’ve always been worried about how i would appear to the general public. Not in terms of aesthetics, I look into the mirror everyday and I am aware of how un-handsome i look. I mean, whether my behavior will make me look like a weirdo.

I’ve already gotten many feedbacks about me looking like a ‘perverted middle-aged man’ so if i am caught with a camera in my hand, people might feel the need to call the police you know.

It is with this thought that has always made me refrain from taking photos in crowded place. Subjects that interest me doesn’t usually interest others, so when i take out my camera I feel people would tend to look for the most obvious subject, and if they can’t see what i saw, they might think I was taking a shot at a woman who just walked passed while I wasn’t paying attention and concluded that I am who they assume me to be. A perverted middle-aged man..

Hide one corner sneak a shot. Credits to wifey, of course.

And so, I developed a few ways to take pictures. I see a scene with potential, I’ll guess the distance of subject and sneakily snap a pic without bringing the camera to my eye-level. I’m just trying very hard to avoid attention, I think those street photographers are doing this already, I call it ‘waist-level photography’. But the 2nd way is the one which gives the most convenience, that is, I just drag my wife with me. LOL. She will be my decoy or concealment, because the general public will think I’m just taking a photo of her or I can just hide behind her. LOL.

Waist-level Shot example 1

Waist-level Shot example 2

Pros of having a willing subject.

All in all, I think this is only applicable to me. I very paiseh ma when I’m outside, don’t wanna draw too much attention to myself. Honestly I try to convince myself, as long as you’re not taking some weird photos of other people that compromise their modesty, as long you are able to justify your actions, there’s nothing wrong in taking photos of anything and anyone. When a person is out in public, he/she already dressed up to present him/herself to the public. So technically, taking a photo of that person is the same as me looking at him/her in public isn’t it? So it should be fine. Right? Then again I still failed to convince myself…

Simon

For more on Simon’s posts, you can go to Category: SIMONtey and Simon’s love for photography. 🙂

 

[Simonseries] Coffee Addict visits Highlander Coffee

I love coffee, milk coffee that is. Café Latte, Café Au Lait, Flat white, Cappuccino, basically any coffee with milk.

Recently I’ve mentioned that the place with the best coffee is Nylon Coffee Roasters. I loved their simple white coffee, they come in 3 sizes and they all consist of a single shot of espresso, just the volume of steamed milk differs. That means the S M L, 3oz 5oz 7oz as they call them, has increasing volume of steamed milk added to a shot of espresso.

I’ve been dragging my colleagues there a couple times already but its quite a long walk from my lab to Nylon, even though a few of them shares the same love of Nylon’s coffee, we all admit that its a long and sweaty ordeal. So I suggested another place to visit in the vicinity.

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Highlander Coffee: according to their website, they also roast their own coffee beans and they even offer courses about coffee. They offer more varieties on their menu and that appeals to some of my non-coffee addict colleagues and Claire as well.

Its just a perhaps 5mins walk from one of our usual lunch place within the hospital, so everyone’s up for it.

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After drinking a nice flat white from there. I have to say, its good. I almost always order a flat white wherever and whenever possible. After years of drinking different types of espresso based coffee, I settled on flat whites. According to Wikipedia, flat white is invented in Australia and further developed in New Zealand. It consist of a shot of espresso topped with fine velvety steamed milk in a 150ml cup. I find this combination to be the perfect balance.

Now if I have to grade the coffees I had from different places recently, mostly based on the flat whites i had or cappuccinos if the whites are not available, it will go as follows:

Starbucks: 3-5/10
Coffee Bean: 5/10
MacDonald’s: 2-4/10 (very inconsistent, sometimes its so-so, sometimes its sewage)
Spinelli’s: 6/10
Cozy Corner Coffee: 1/10 (maybe its the takeaway cups they use, it tasted like sewage!!)
Georgia Vending machine: 3/10
Nylon Coffee Roasters: 10/10 (best I’ve tasted to date)
Highlander: 8/10 (its good, seriously, but maybe just not to my taste)

Awww… Highlander was good, the flat white I had was a nice full bodied espresso topped with mildly sweet steamed milk. The balance was good, it was almost perfect, BUT perfect to me now already belongs to Nylon’s. Nylon spoiled my taste buds. :p

Simon

[Simonseries] Photography: Cat Portraits around void decks.

There will be times if you live around my area, you might see some weird guy walking up to cats, camera in hand, squats in front of them and snap pictures of them. Well don’t call the police just yet, it might be me you know, I’m a normal person, I just liked taking cat portraits. ONLY if you’re VERY sure that weirdo isn’t me, then you call the police.

This post will be short, what can I say? I like to take photos of cats, stray cats any cats as long as they are cute but hey all cats are cute what. So yah, I am a cat stalker, walking up to them in a suspicious manner and taking photos of them loh.

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Like that loh.. LOL. Just pictures of cats. The end.

Simon

[Simonseries] Thoughts: Working on the Weekends

Hi

Fridays people will exclaim: ‘TGIF!!’, because the weekends are here and most of us will have our time off from work, where we spend most of lives doing. But there are times when I too have to work on the weekends.

My job is mostly routine diagnostic work in a hospital lab, and hospitals don’t just shut down over the weekends. I’m lucky when I applied for this lab job, I didn’t get posted to a lab that opens 24/7, even so this weekend I happen to need to come back to work.

We work on a roster but because of the extra overtime income, I’m one of the regulars who wants to take the weekend duties. Its just my way to earn extra without moonlighting. And although most of my colleagues think its a bloody pain to come back to work on weekends, I kinda look at it in a different way. Sure coming back over the weekend sucks, but then its so quiet in the lab it doesn’t feel like working. No one there to distract you, just yourself and the work. Its therapeutic.

I would play some of my music which is very different from what you hear from our local radio, and slave on, happily though, through my duty. And my number one joy is the close proximity between work and my new found favourite coffee place. I would get a takeaway cup of excellent coffee and just relax outside my lab (no food and drinks allowed in the lab, for good reasons) and just relax before I start, or just drop by the coffee place before heading home.

Its such a relaxing day that I often go home refreshed and recharged instead of feeling worn out with work.

It is very sad now that I can’t be doing this as often as I want, because of some internal transferring of manpower, I’ll no longer be paid overtime for doing weekend duties, so I am taken out of the roster.

It is strange, people usually avoid working on weekends but as for me, as long as I’m free, I rather be working like this at my own pace. I’ll still get work done right? It’ll all be okay, just not done asap.

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Happy weekend guys

Simon

[Simonseries] Living with Claire: Our Virgin trip to USS! Part 1

You can check out Part 2 over here. 🙂

Hi,

I decided to exclude the “ep#” in all my series, too much effort trying to check and double check that I didn’t use the previous number by mistake.

Anyways, we finally went to Universal Studios Singapore! When it first came up in 2010, I told Claire that I need to take her there one day. But that day never came till recently. We never went because either I say the entrance fees are too expensive or she say its too expensive lets save money. Lol. We’re not the adventurous type so we weren’t sure if we would enjoy the rides. I remember the time we went Hong Kong Disneyland we only rode the slow moving car ride and some children’s rides hahahaha. Ok lah partly due to the long queues and those damn ah tiongs cutting our queues like we’re invisible.

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So Claire was plenty excited and seeing this girl behaving like a little kid going for an excursion made me excited for the trip too. You can see her vlog of this trip here or below.

We arrived at Vivocity and knowing the food over there will be unfairly priced, we bought bread from erm.. Breadtalk, and some coffee because I cant live without coffee. Now we’re all set for the fun that awaits us! Once we arrived, we of course go take a couple of pictures of the huge revolving ‘Universal Studios’ globe. Then we went in!

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The first place you would see is Hollywood, this area is filled with a nice vibe with buildings in designs you won’t find in Singapore, but then, other than all those pretty shops and snack carts, there’s nothing much here. I think there will be some street shows but we didn’t encounter them.

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After this we will reach a T junction around the man-made lake. We took the right turn and reach New York. I keep telling her: “nah, I brought you to New York liao, you wanted to come here right?” Or something like that LOL. Because she keeps whining about how much she wanted to visit New York in the USA.. We were just walking and suddenly characters from Sesame Street just pop out from I dunno where and swarm of people rush to them to take a photo. Nowadays with camera hand phones this common, every time something out of the ordinary happens, first thing you will see is people digging out their hand phones and start snapping…

I asked her: “Do you wanna take a photo with Elmo?” (A horde of people are currently surrounding Elmo)

She said: “Nahh, actually I prefer Grover (seems un-popular).”

And she ran off to Grover lol! There’s an unofficial queue and a crew member is stationed beside him to help take your photo. But NO ONE SHALL TOUCH MY CAMERA! actually its because I’m using a lens that doesn’t auto focus so its better I do it myself lol.

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We went to the Pasta in Peril Sesame Street ride, its just a cute kids ride with lots of mild effects to surprise kids. I suppose we became kids too because we were laughing like kids in the ride. Check out Claire’s video if you wanna know how its like.

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And then she thinks cookie monster’s cookie must be very nice and she went to buy it.

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I made Claire act like shes using a jackhammer prop along ‘New York’ and she held it like a I-dunno-what-to-make-out-of-that. Lol.

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Shortly after we arrived at Sci-fi City and we took the Transformers Ride 3D. We waited for 30mins though, or was it 45? I lost count. And the queue was only at half capacity. The line was freakishly long, its like it can support a whole barn house full of humans. The ride was great though, I’m really curious how they do it but that ride was really fun! How they recreate a virtual world inside the ride using computer graphics and still can make us feel all the sensations of prolonged falling etc, I thought I’m back in army doing static-line jump again. Zzz.

It was really fun anyways, and when we came out it was drizzling. I told Claire to take out the disposable rain poncho I prepared earlier and I dug out my rain jacket. We took awhile to don our jackets and as soon as we’re done, the drizzling stopped. Bummer.

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We went on to the Egyptian area, I guess its the set of the Mummy Returns? But we didn’t take the ride thinking it might be too scary. Then we saw another mellow ride called something treasure hunter? I dunno but never mind, its quite forgettable. Super boring for adults, its more like a family ride looking at thing that might scare the me from 24 years ago maybe? And we wasted about an hour queuing. Sigh….

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this is getting too long-winded…

TO BE CONTINUED….

Simon