Friday, March 30, 2007

Foreign Journey: Quebec City 2

Quebec's ice hotel, one of the two ice hotels in the world. The other one, being in Sweden.

Just at the entrance, an entire armchair made of ice. The journey to this ice hotel may not be as comfortable as this ice armchair. Due to its uniqueness, it cost $12CAN for the entrance, and $30CAN for a 45minutes bus ride return trip from Quebec City.
The interior temperature is 4 degrees below freezing, somewhat warmer than the outside air. To warm up further, the hotel even has a fireplace made from ice. Only the toilets are heated to room temperatures, the rest is made from ice.

The grandeur of the hotel. In order to achieve ice with crystal clear structures, reverse osmosis process is being used to manufacture the ice, rather than extracting them from the rivers.There is even an art gallery in the hotel

And even a chapel, where couples can hold their weddings in the hotel.

As well as arctic spas for guests to enjoy in.For some drinks, alcohol in a ice glass can be purchased at the counter for an icy price of $6.50CAN.
A night at the ice hotel cost a cool price of $600CAN, where guests get to sleep on ice beds, covered with fur and wrap in thick winter jacket.
For every suite, there is a entire different design and theme.

The chess theme.
Even students get to participate in the honour of constructing and designing of a ice hotel room.

The igloo theme, probably the coolest of all.
Just like the Roman empire, nothing great last; the ice hotel ends it glorious days by March.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Foreign Journey: Quebec City

Following beautiful Montreal, comes Quebec City, the capital of Quebec.

It is mostly unique as the only walled-city in North America, and that it resembles a typical European small city, much more than Montreal.
Even though it may be February, Quebec still have the festive year end atmosphere.

Parc des Champs-de-Bataille- Quebec's Battlefields Park, filled with fields of snow instead during winter.

It was indeed a luxurious hotel, with a luxurious price tag for a night stay. Travelers could join their tour at the hotel for $8CAN instead.

The green roof top is made of copper, which through the ages of more than 30 years, react to become copper oxide, thus producing the beautiful green. Within less than 30 years, most Singaporean buildings would have been long be demolished and be upgraded to new modern buildings. Thus, such encounter is truly unique.

The citadel of Quebec, once guarded heavily by the French from the invasion from English and the Americans, had to build high walls to surround this important city.
Some replications and interesting lessons on the history of Quebec. Quite a number of the first batch of the French colonials, could not survive the harsh Quebec winter.

Some unique way of communication in Quebec.

Quebec's streets at night.

Some local Quebecois food of meat balls and potatoes. Despite the deep history in the deep winter, this is some Quebec humour.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Foreign Journey: Montreal 3

A visit to the highest peak on the Montreal island. Similar to Bukit Timah, it is name Mont Royale.
This is the amount of activities available during the winter on Mont Royale.
And a cemetery is situated on a part of this hill.
Although, the day may seem bright, with clear skies, memories will remain that this moment was the coldest of all experiences. Likely to be much colder than the freezer compartment, it was definetely below 20 below zero. Plastic buckles on the bags started to snap, plastic wallet started to break while coins fall all over the snow-covered ground, and water in bottles start to turn solid. Hands started to numb, ears started to ache, and heart pounded ever faster, to keep the body from shutting down.

A church on Mont Royale.One of the many art works collected by the church, where one of it even originates from Singapore.
The interiors of the church.

The view of the city from Mont Royale.
The crowded streets of modern downtown Montreal.
Montreal may seem so far and foreign to Singapore, but for every Singaporean who watches "Just for Laughs", on TVmobile, will have to know this show originates from this city. What this show signifies for this city or this country, is the amount of creativity people display, the great sense of humour people portray, the willingness to help others, and the sheer tolerance for differences among each other. What could be just mere entertainment on a bus ride in sunny Singapore, is a reflection of how different culture may be, in a foreign modern metropolis.
Of foreign journey.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Foreign Journey: Montreal 2

A second day in the largest city of Quebec Province, Montreal.
A twin package visit to Biodome and the Olympic Village cost 16.50CAD.
Tropical piranah.
In Biodome, visitors get to experience 4 different climates and their respective animals and plants. It includes tropical, temperature, marsh and antarctica, and all under one common roof. Speaking of seeing the world.

Montreal, like Singapore, is a city built upon an island. As with Montreal, Singapore also hosted several world class events, including the Olympics seminar, and the only difference, will be the absence of hosting an international sporting event. Just as Singapore's ambition and appetite grow disproportionaly over its area, hosting an such an event, will soon be on this island state's never ending aim list.

A swimming pool, used during the Olympics during the 1976 event.

The ride up the Olympic tower, almost like a roller coaster.
Up on the tower, the winter city of Montreal can be enjoyed.
It may be white and foggy, with buildings and landscape being obscure, it is perhaps a better way to view the world.
Nature's white fog and snow, covering up the human world; from the truth behind, the ugly hidden.
As for the summer, the unobstructed view, where all the buildings can be observed and be seen.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. To acknowledge that this musuem is first-class, reflects little about the true quality of Montreals' art scene. This musuem holds permanent art works of famous artist like Picasso and Monet. Although Montreal may seem a little too far off from the island state of Singapore, it nevertheless a great city with vibrant arts scene. In any case, much more vibrant than Singapore.
A visit to the Archaelogical Musuem, where the history of Montreal, back from the French Colonial age till the recent age, is being showcase. Another point of interest, both Singapore and Montreal were colonial states previously.

Up on the observatory deck, the view of frozen river port of Montreal. Obviously, shipping lines have to be stop during the cold winter period.

And a dinner in Montreal, visited by even the famous and the rich. If not for the winter, waiting times will be extremely long, and the queues stretch endlessly. According to the waiter, the lines can stretch for several hundred of metres and waiting time can be several hours.
It is simple smoked meat, with fries and bread. This meat goes well with the mustard, and the fried goes well with the vinegar. Probably at around CAD$9, it cannot be considered cheap, but in the city of Montreal, it is a cheap dinner.
It may looked like a typical Singaporean coffee shop, except that it is enclosed to shut itself from the winter air outside.
After the dinner, it is a good idea to visit the shops and bars around Montreal, where it is famous for its nightlife.
Of foreign life, night life.


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