A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Bruce Lee Cafe

Such a Great Name for a Cafe

We've been getting some new cafeterias on campus, as the construction in University Town finishes new places are opening up. My favorite new place is the Bruce Lee Hong Kong Cafe. Not only does it have an amazing name, but the walls are covered in pictures of Bruce Lee. The best part about the cafe is the food: THEY HAVE REAL BREAKFAST! Now, by 'real breakfast' I really mean they have toast, and breakfast sandwiches with eggs and cheese and bacon and such. They have french toast, but it isn't real french toast so we avoid that one...

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Posted by Cassi 18:33 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Infinity Pool

Marina Bay Sands.. Again!

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After my parents stayed at Marina Bay Sands, I kept the room keys so I could have access to the pool on a nice day. Yesterday turned out to be a very nice day, and we had school off for Deepavali, so naturally we decided to spend the day swimming.

Kourtney hadn't been to the top of the hotel so we went over around 11 and just hungout at the pool all afternoon. Once again, the pool was amazing. The view from the top was perfectly clear into the city and out over the ocean in the other direction. We swam, tanned on the beds they have on the edge of the pool, and sat in the hot tubs (yes, even in the 90 degree weather). We both got very sunburnt, even though it was actually only sunny for like an hour of our time (the first hour was overcast, then it was sunny for a while, then a storm came). We can't figured out how we got so burnt in such a short amount of time under the clouds!

Posted by Cassi 18:34 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Deepavali

The Festival of Lights

Wednesday was Deepavali, the Hindu celebration that occurs in Little India. The whole street is lit up for the celebration, so Kourtney and I walked went down there for a few hours after swimming at MBS. We walked through the streets, did some shopping, and picked up a few souvenirs. The whole area was decorated for the event, so I took a billion pictures of the roads and lights.

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Posted by Cassi 19:46 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

The Rest of Sentosa

Beach in October :)

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I've been reading about the massive snow storm back home and seeing my friends facebook posts from as far south as VA complaining about the cold. And here I am in Singapore, where it has literally never snowed, enjoying the sunshine. So rather than take the sunshine for granted, me and my friends from Canada spent yesterday at the Beach on Sentosa, soaking up the rays and working on our tans. Once again, it was a beautiful day.

Then as we decided to head home (it is the rainy season, and it does downpour everyday around 1 or 2 usually with thunder and lightning) we realized we haven't explored the rest of the island besides the beach area. So we walked through the island along a really cool mosaic fountain up to a giant statue of the Merlion. You can pay to climb to the top and look out of its mouth, but we weren't sure exactly what you would be looking at besides a giant shipyard off the coast, so we didn't go up. In the middle of the island there are more fountains before you reach the Universal Studios entrance.

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We thought it was funny we spend so much time there and never seen any of this stuff! Although we haven't been to Universal yet, we hope to find a day where a group of us can all go together before the semester ends. It doesn't look as big as the ones in Florida, but it does have roller coasters like the Dueling Dragons at Island of Adventure and various other Universal rides so we think it would be really fun.

Posted by Cassi 16:10 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Happy Halloween!

Clarke Quay for Halloween :)

We celebrated Halloween over this past weekend, like most of the world, since Monday is not a good night to have a holiday. Thursday night we had a party organized for exchange students only. We had buses pick us up at school and bring us to a huge house on the east side of the island. Kids from NUS, SMU and NTU (all universities in Singapore) were invited, with buses running to each of the campuses throughout the night. Then Saturday night we all went out to Clarke Quay for round two of Halloween celebrations. We realized that it isn't a big holiday in Asia, as it was mostly the foreign students who went out and got dressed up for it. Here are a few pictures from the weekend.

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Posted by Cassi 00:31 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Embassies

Security or No Security

I don't think I have ever been to an embassy before yesterday. I know I've seen them in Washington DC, but I don't think I've ever been inside one. The only memory I have of an embassy is from Budapest, Hungary, when my parents and I saw the US Embassy and tried taking a picture. Apparently you aren't supposed to do that, as we were quickly told to put the camera away and keep moving. We watched cars get searched with mirrors underneath for explosives, and there were elaborate gates with those spiky things to pop tires if you go the wrong way, and of course there was armed security everywhere.

When I was in Cambodia, I was told the US Embassy was the most expensive building in the entire city, which doesn't surprise me. Apparently when James and Leah fist moved in they were invited for things like a 4th of July picnic every year, but slowly those events stopped happening. Today, an American citizen cannot enter Embassy grounds unless they have made an appointment 2 days in advance. That seems crazy to me, as I always thought one reason embassies are there is for emergencies, as a safe-haven for American citizens should anything occur while traveling.

But what I didn't realize is that US Embassies seem to be the only ones changing all their rules. Yesterday I spent the morning at the Vietnam Embassy. Considering Vietnam is a communist country, I always figured they would have a tough security process to get into the embassy, not to mention get a meeting for a visa application. But I was completely wrong.

We wandered around a neighborhood trying to find the Vietnam Embassy, through what looked like million dollar homes each with fountains in front and gates around the property. When we reached the address, the only thing different about the Embassy and the other homes was that a Vietnam flag was flying out front. The gate was open, there were zero guards, and people were coming and going as they pleased. We thought the second we tried going inside we would be stopped, but we didn't see anyone who looked like they worked there, so we wandered in.

There was a nice lounge area, with a few chairs, but no receptionist and still no security. There was a really nice staircase going upstairs, but a small sign printed on a regular sheet of paper taped to the railing said "Staff Only", and still no guards. There was a door to what looked like offices, with some people working who didn't seem to mind us wandering and looking lost. And there was one room that said "Visa's Here", once again printed on a regular sheet of paper taped to the door.

We filled out the form, found 2 employees taking applications, collecting passports, and accepting the fees, and we were done the entire process in under 10 mins. We never saw security guards or cameras, we were never stopped from wandering around on our own, and we were never searched for explosives or weapons or anything as I imagine would be done at the US Embassy.

It seemed very weird to me that a country like Vietnam, a communist country that has barely opened its doors to the world in the last 20 years, would allow anyone to walk in and look around the embassy without ever being approached by an employee. And a country like the US, who historically has been open to freedom since its birth, wouldn't even allow it's own citizens inside the gates (not to mention the actual embassy) without a prior appointment. Seems a bit backwards, don't you think?

Posted by Cassi 17:24 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Done with ME3112!

Until Exams Start...

I would like everyone to know that I am Officially done with ME3112... until the exam on November 28th. Today was the last day of class for Mechanics of Machines, a class that has had zero exams thus far, and the final consists of 80% of the overall grade! The only work that class has assigned was 2 lab reports, each 10% of my final grade. No homework, no attendance and no projects make studying for finals a little bit more stressful.. but being done class on November 3rd feels amazing!

Posted by Cassi 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Tour of Campus

NUS Kent Ridge Campus

This is my last week of school before exams, crazy as it sounds I am almost done my time here! And looking back through my posts I realized I haven't showed campus much besides my hall. So in the next few days I will be putting up posts from different areas around campus. As a note, it is hard to capture campus in a few pictures, my parents can testify how absurdly huge it is, with each of the faculties being about the size of Clarkson. To start off, here is a Campus Map from the webpage:

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I live in the very bottom left corner, right underneath the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. I put a yellow and red star right over my building. All those little purple buildings are part of my dorm complex, and Temasek, the Hall next to mine.

Looking at the map you might be wondering, why is the whole middle area free of buildings? Well there is a mountain right in the middle of campus (it is more of a hill than a mountain, but by "Singapore Standards", it is a mountain).

Posted by Cassi 14:28 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Tour: FASS

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

I am going to start this tour of campus right across from my dorm and up the hill, at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (Lower Left Corner of the Map).

This is where I have GE2226, my Southeast Asian Studies class. FASS is comprised of 9 Buildings and has a cafeteria named The Deck, which has all types of food including Italian and Burger King, along with every type of Asian you can imagine. Note that in the following pictures, every building you can see (including the ones in the distance) are part of FASS.

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Posted by Cassi 16:41 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Tour: Central Library

How many libraries do we have?

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Central library is the next stop up the road from FASS, and it is the largest library on campus. Although each faculty has their own library, I can't imagine why that is needed with the size of Central Library.

It is 6 stories tall, and has everything you could possibly need in a library: silent study areas blocked off with glass doors, areas for group meetings, hundreds of computers, areas specifically for printing/copying/scanning, and mile and miles of books.

The library uses the same cards as the MRT and Bus system for printing. You can fill your EZ Link cards at the library, and use them throughout the city. This system is amazing, and can even be used to pay off fines for turning in books late. While at NUS I decided not to buy any text books because I won't be able to bring them home with me at the end of the semester. Instead, I have been checking out textbooks before exams and anytime homework is due, so being able to use my EZ Link card has made this process very easy. This beats Clarkson's library by like 100x....

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Posted by Cassi 20:25 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Tour: SDE

School of Design and Environment

Next on the tour we cross the road from Central Library and end up at the School for Design and Environment. I think this faculty has the prettiest campus, filled with trees and brick walkways. It is located between my Hall and Engineering, so I get to walk through it on the days I walk to class and don't catch the bus.

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Posted by Cassi 18:18 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Tour: Engineering

Yes, Engineering is bigger than the Clarkson Campus...

Just above SDE on the Map is the Faculty of Engineering, where I spend all my time. The engineering section of campus is larger than the entire Clarkson campus, and I can't count the number of buildings that belong to Engineering. Some buildings are specific labs, some are administration buildings, some a lecture halls and some are offices. We have a cafeteria named "Techno Edge" along with various other cafes hidden on the upper floors of a few buildings. We also have the only McDonald's on campus, which I have never eaten at because there are literally 100 other options.

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Posted by Cassi 19:15 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Tour: Medicine

NUS Hospital and School of Dentisty

On the exact opposite corner of campus from my dorm, we have the University Hospital and the School of Medicine and Density. Another sign that NUS is larger than Clarkson: it has its own Hospital. Although I have never had to visit the hospital, some of my exchange friends caught bad infections and have spent several days there.

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Posted by Cassi 19:16 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Tour: Science

Science and Math Classes

Next to the University Hospital is the Faculty of Science, where I have my Statistics class. All of the core Sciences (like Biology, Chemistry and Physics) as well as all Math Classes are taught in this area.

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Posted by Cassi 19:16 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Fun Facts about EH

Taking a break from the tour....

Now that I have shown some of campus, I think it is time for some fun facts about Eusoff Hall.

1) We don't have dyers... But who needs them?
Yes, after doing laundry we hang our clothes outside on lines. It is covered by a roof so the rain doesn't affect them at all, and you can leave them there for days at a time without anything happening to them.

2) We have a pet cat... and I don't know her name.
She is actually a homeless cat that wanders to our dorm each night. Some students buy her catfood, and some nights she even sneaks into the cafeteria and students steal food for her to feed her. She is the nicest cat I have ever met, if you stand near her, she will get up and come lay down on your feet until you pet her!

3) We have a "multi-purpose court"... right outside my window.
The local kids LOVE sports, and they play all hours of the night. My favorite to watch is some crazy Malaysian sport that resembles volleyball with a net and 6 people on each side (I don't actually know the rules...). Except you can't use hands! You use your feet and head and chest to pass the ball over the net, and you can spike it like a header in soccer. They are SO good at this game, it is crazy.

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Posted by Cassi 19:30 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

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