Friday, November 28, 2008

The Great Wall

Whale and Tan's Beijing tour has been a great great experience. We spent about $10AU each yesterday to visit all those landmarks, and today was the peak of our tour - The Great Wall of China!

Our tour (it was a mandarn guide) cost us $40 AU in total for the day including lunch and all entry fees into tourist spots.

We visited:

1. Ming Tombs

2. The Great Wall of China - Badaling Section

Both were great experiences. Here's some pics of the Great Wall:

Here's how we got up half of the mountain to get to the great wall:

Very sophisticated huh...

Beijing Day 1

Arrived this morning at Beijing!

Here's what we visited today:
-Temple of Heaven
-Olympic Site

-Tianamen Square
-Forbidden City
-Best Duck Restaurant in the WORLD!

-Supermarket to buy 23RMB WATER ($4.60AU)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shanghai Day 4 Highlights


I gazed in amazement today at this person's skills...

He has the ability to:
- Ride a motorbike at 50km per hr
- Talk on the phone with one hand
- Smoke with his mouth and his other hand

Run for the lifts:

Been really accustomed to the lift run over the past few days...

Ping has a REALLY REALLY small bladder.

Once I walked into the lift and saw a puddle of yellow liquid next to Ping...

The other time... I spited him by pressing all the level buttons (level 2 til 10) before our level : )

And also seeing him dance around in pain trying to keep it in....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shanghai Day 3 Highlights

Best things about Shanghai:

- The food (price and quality)
- Shopping (prices and discounts)
- Ping's house = best accommodation

Crap things:

- Smoking everywhere
- People spitting
- Pollution

Interesting happenings:

- Ping walks to the wrong side of the escalator (and almost on it) TWICE
- Some girl who is on TV every 5 minutes that apparently every shanghai guy wants to marry
- Ping looking at girl's clothes at the shops
- Yet another breakfast for $1 AU (steam buns, dumplings and soy milk)

Tomorrow night:

- Off to Beijing to see the Birdcrap and the Ice Cube

Monday, November 24, 2008

The best breakfast in the world....

Steam Buns and You Tiao (oil sticks) in Shanghai!

Cost: $1

Satisfaction: 100%

Fullness: 100%

Sorry, no pictures.... whale's internet is as slow as his brain :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008


View of Hong Kong from TST at night
Will fighting against Bruce Lee at the Avenue of the Stars. Check out the awesome background!

Wonder why tom is stoned....

Hmmmmm what happened there?

Its my new magic trick!

The awesome foursome in Venice! (Yes, we went to Venice!)

Lost in Hong Kong

Today I went on a totally unplanned and unorganised trip to Hong Kong Island to find some iconic buildings around the city. I never really imagined this small journey to be such an awesome experience....

Had lunch in Mongkok..... then declided to MTR down to Admiral Station, because the closest landmark I could find on my (chinese) HK map was the Bank of China Tower (Has diagonal features going up the building). I managed to find my way out of the station to behold the building a block away from the MTR exit. The buildings in HK are so much more interesting than the stuff in Brisbane. The nightlights are spectacular. I realised (after seeing the IFC close up) that maybe buildings in HK are designed to be gazed specifically at night. The Bank of China Tower doesn't look as spectacular as it does at night, and the IFC looks quite plain and even ugly up close.

After the Bank of China Tower I wandered around a couple more buildings and through a few gardens to stumble across Richard Rogers' Hong Kong Shanghai Bank (HSBC) building. Built in the mid nineties.... and famous for its iconic 'clothes hanger' structural system expressed on the facade, employing columns in tension (instead of in compression) and hung from these 'clothes hanger' elements. Also, the famous undercroft at the ground floor, which we've seen many photoes of, did not dissapoint. The central atrium, even though I could not get up to actually see it, was an amazing sight.

Lastly was the IFC towers. The complex is made up of two towers, one being the tallest tower in the HK skies, and the other a miniature version of the bigger one. This tower has been made famous in Batman: The Dark Knight, where Batman its capturing Lao. The crown of the towers is a claw-like feature which sticks up into the sky. Personally, I like the smaller tower up close. It looks a lot nicer and you can actually see the claw feature from close up, unlike its bigger neighbour.

Anyway, rambled on long enough.... Will talk more about other stuff later :)

What's wrong with Hong Kong?

I've been in Hong Kong for about 5 days, and its been a really good experience. The MTR is by far the best thing the place has to offer. The city is built on a really smart infrastructure that Australia has never seen before. Even though a lot of the buildings are old and crap, and the streets smell and the air is polluted and smoggy, its just amazing to see a city built on an intelligent foundation, and little snippets of the cool techniques which work in this place (like bamboo scaffolding on 40 storey buildings, and the walkway covers on top of curing concrete).

The food in Hong Kong is really and also cheap... we splurged the other day on yum cha and then japanese.... Yum Cha ended up about $10 per person, while the Japanese was about $25...... and we were all full both days.

I didn't come to HK to learn about history, but it was an eye opening experience both at the History Museum and also in Macau visiting the fortress and the various cathedrals.

Lastly, the buildings in HK and Macau are awesome! Been snapping away on my new camera for the last few days :D

Next Post: In China!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Overseas Trip!

Most of you know that I'm going overseas on Monday for a whole month! If you have any tips or you'll be in those cities when I'm there, please reply to this and I'll either go look into your tips, or try to arrange to meet up with you guys!

Here's my Itinerary:

Monday 17th Nov: Brisbane - Hong Kong
Sunday 23rd Nov: Hong Kong - Shanghai
Tuesday 2nd December: Shanghai - Singapore
Thursday 4th December: Singapore - Kota Kinabalu
Friday 12th December: Kota Kinabalu - Kuala Lumpur
Monday 15th December: Kuala Lumpur - Brisbane

Hope you all have a good holiday and have a great lead up to Christmas :) I'll be back for all the parties!!!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Perseverence and Trials

Went to the night service, and had a timely reminder and encouragement on my walk with Christ. Thought I would share this wonderful message with you all.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Keep persevering. Keep honing your faith in Christ through the many trials and tribulations the world throws at you. Keep holding on to the precious hope of salvation given freely through Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Architect's Folio

People think architecture students have it easy. They think its as simple as an arts degree. Some think that we laze around because we don't have any exams or anything. But I reckon architecture students have the most contact hours and do the most late nights out of any other courses. All this hard work usually revolves around this document called a 'folio', or a design portfolio which encompasses the semester's work of design and technical projects.

Our folios usually consist of sheets between A3 and A1 size, and they are posters or drawings which describe our final designs for projects within the semester. The smallest folio I've handed in is probably 26 A3 pages, and the largest one is our most recent one (pictured), which went up to 84 A3 pages. The average A1 folio was approximately 12 A1 pages (equivalent to 48 A3 pages).

Folios are 100% summative, which means our overall grade for the semester is unknown until the results are released, and most of us don't know if we passed of failed until then. However, we get these presentations called critiques, which is when we pin up our drawings and tell a guest architect about our design, and get critical feedback (usually negative) so we can work on our designs more.

Our last folio was the craziest... I spent like a day just to put drawings on a template 84 times, and then another day to print. Luckily I have an A3 printer at home which saves like $5 x 84 of prints (like 420 bucks). The final folio was like..... 2cm thick :S

I'm so happy uni is over until 2010 for me :) no more folios!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Economic Downturn and God

As all of you should know by now, the global financial market is on the brink of a recession, with the dollar going down, billions being wiped off the stockmarket every day, and the insecurity and volatility of the financial market in general. People are whinging, stealing, killing, committing suicide, and all sorts of other crazy things, because of its effect on people and their families.

Although money is an important asset and we would probably not be able to survive in the modern world without it... and that the downturn is quite severe and is hurting a lot of people, I don't really know why people are insanely paniccing about this.

First of all, I would like to say that a lot of us are in an infatuation of low prices, that we have forgotten about the bigger picture. People complain about the fuel price, and yes it has gone up a lot, but from day to day... the price probably fluctutates about 20 cents max per litre, and you get a 4 cent discount if you have a voucher. We spend so much time whinging about these prices, when in reality, its only like $2-5 difference per fortnight. We spend lots of time and energy looking for that special deal, more often than not more that we should, with the motivation of what some would label 'greed' or love of money. Sometimes I think that by the time we find that special deal, we have probably paid for the difference in price by the time and effort we have put in. This is not to say that finding something decent priced isn't good. Either way, most of the time, we could have spent our time wiser instead of dwelling on these things.

Secondly, for us christians, I think some of us really need to practice what we preach. God is in control of the world, everything that happens, and yes, that includes this economic downturn. We are not God, and we cannot see what is in store for us in the future, and how its all going to pan out, but we can put our trust in God, our financial security in God, and let Him take care of all that's going on. God doesn't care if your USD went down from 98c to 60c, or if your superannuation investments went up or down. But one thing He does care about is your investment in Him and His Kingdom. During this doom and gloom, can we come to God and tell him that we've added one, two, three or more to His Kingdom? Can we tell Him that we've shared His message and planted the seeds in hundreds of people? Lets invest not on USD, or Rio Tinto, or Barrack Obama.... lets invest in God - He is the sure winner, He will pay you dividends, He will not collapse or go bankrupt... He is our firm foundation, so lets stand up and keep investing in His awesome Kingdom.