PEr FYI

July 8, 2018

Aladdin, London…bland Disney magic

Colourful designs and lively song and dance routines. The songs themselves are a mixed bag: the big romantic number A Whole New World is completely upstaged by the magic carpet that floats through the air with no strings attached. Not visibly, anyway. The Genie’s big show-stopper Friend Like Me – a jazzy riot of infectious trick-mustering showmanship that conjures the spirit of Las Vegas and hits the jack-pot in terms of hummability.

There’s so little of Lion King’s fecundity of imagination here that the ideal target audience would seem to be much younger, and more easily impressed. There’s been a cull of the animals – Abu  and Iago – that featured in the 1992 cartoon. It barely rises above the generic.

My honest advice, save your pound sterling. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

aladdin ldn

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June 2, 2018

Tanger Outlets, Washington DC…small but you get your money’s worth

I’m a certified outlet mall junkie. Going to outlet stores meant a treasure hunt of last season’s clothing at up to 90% off.

Tanger Outlets at National Harbor is rather small compared to many outlet stores in the USA. There are a total of 73 shops. All the usual suspects are present: Nike, Calvin Klein, Under Armour, Polo Ralph Lauren.

It may be small, but you’re getting your money’s worth. his is the true truth as I say it as it is…

tanger wdc

May 13, 2018

Cambridge Chauffeur Punts, Cambridge…enjoyed the views but not the narration

Punting is the most elegant and romantic way to navigate Cambridge’s River Cam. Who could visit Cambridge trying getting a punting experience.

A punt is a traditional square-ended, flat-bottomed boat, usually propelled using a long pole. What’s punting like?  It’s a calm, soothing boat ride on a river, something like riding in a gondola in Venice, except that gondolas are propelled by oars instead of poles.

The boats are kitted out with blankets for the colder months and especially after the sun goes down. The chauffeured punting took us on a 45 minute tour through the College Backs – a great way to see the river and experience the history of Cambridge. Though the guide was informative, telling us about the beautiful university buildings that line the river, he didn’t speak loud enough for us to hear him clearly.

This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful stretches of river in England. The views are unmatched! his is the true truth as I say it as it is…

punt caqm

March 30, 2018

Warner Bros Studio The Making of Harry Potter, London…an absolute must-see for Potter fans

A movie fanatic would always enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at how the films were made. Unlike the theme parks at Universal, this is the actual studio where they filmed the movies, and actual props. And there’s no doubting that Potter aficionados will love what they see here, because it is the real deal. Potterheads rejoice!!

You’ll see things like the Great Hall (yes it was as dramatic as it appears in the movies!), #4 Privet Drive, The Hogwarts Express, the Knight Bus and the forbidden forest. If you’re really big on details, get the audio guide, note there is a cost but you can book it advance with your ticket. This is 100% worth the price. The highlight – which drew gasps from me – is the model of Hogwarts. Built to 1:24 scale, it was used in the exterior shots for the first six films. The attention to detail is incredible. Even if you are just a mild fan of Harry Potter like me, you will love this place. It’s incredible! Definitely allow a lot of time for this excursion but it’s truly worth the trip. I binge-watched all 8 episodes after visiting this studio.

If you want to book a tour, you should be looking to schedule a time slot about two months out, otherwise there is a good chance it will be sold out. There is also a large shop at the end where you can buy all kinds of Harry Potter and Hogwarts swag. Definitely don’t forget to get some butterbeer or butterbeer ice cream.

The tour is a must-see for Potter fans. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 25, 2018

RSM Muay Thai Academy, Bangkok…mastering muay thai in Bangkok

My Muay Thai journey begins in  a gym at Sukhumvit 55. I’m half expecting to walk into some kind of a sullen meatheads pounding punchballs. Instead I’m greeted warmly by the jolly receptionist and then a master who wasted no time in getting the session started.

A raised boxing ring flanked by swaying punchbags dominates the training space. We begin with some stretches. Thai boxing is a sensational way to keep fit and build self-confidence hence expect training to be physically demanding. The master guided us through fight technique and blend it with an inclusive, sweat filled fight conditioning class.
This is not a cardio kickboxing class. It’s a class that teaches you Muay Thai fighting while also giving you a great workout. Fear not though, you won’t be sparring or fighting unless you are experienced enough and want to.

I stepped out of the gym feeling buoyed. I’ve sweated buckets but instinctively feel I could now hold my own. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

rsm bkk1

March 24, 2018

Miss Saigon on Broadway, New York… pretty schmaltzy

Miss Saigon is back in New York. Known as “the musical with the helicopter,” it’s a tale of   doomed love affair between a young Vietnamese woman and an American GI in the last days of the Vietnam War. I am one of a whole new generation of theatregoers who never saw it during its run 20 years ago, and jumped at the chance to see it now.

Much of those songs are sweeping, melodramatic ballads. The likable and undeniably talented Philippines actor Jon Jon Briones, the show’s slimy pimp known as the Engineer is equally contemptible and charming. He delivered the stunning upbeat ‘American Dream’ number to perfection. He even threw in a joke about making America great again (something that surely wasn’t in the original script).

I can’t say I was deeply moved. Still, it’s a pretty schmaltzy show. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

miss saigon ny

March 11, 2018

The Thai Café & Spa, Bangkok…the most amazing feeling

If you liked to be pulled, punched and stepped on, this is the place for you. You’re there to be worked on. And walked on. Your treatment will be half-ecstasy, half-exorcism, and if you’re into that sort of thing, it’s pretty great.

Khun Pop (#53) will gouge with knuckles and knead with fists, contort limbs and lean into elbows to loosen tendons and ligaments. It’s a kind of deep-tissue bodywork that can be so intense that some jokingly liken it to masochism.

The reward is you feel such a relief when you leave that it’s just the most amazing feeling. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 10, 2018

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London…100% worth a visit

If you are already planning your year end holidays, here’s how you can make your Christmas extra special and magical.

If you fancy some festive atmosphere, Winter Wonderland is an annual event in London’s Hyde park with fairground rides, Christmas stalls, markets and entertainment for all ages. Entry is free. This is truly a wonderful wonderland thanks to the sheer volume of what’s on offer. There are pre-bookable attractions that you can book online.

Wrap up warm for The Magical Ice Kingdom as it’s -8C in there! Last year the Magical Ice Kingdom presents an ‘Deep Sea Adventure’ – an immersive walk through experience filled with ice, snow sculptures and a bubble wall. Bar Ice is next to the Magical Ice Kingdom and this time it’s about -10C. Here, you’ll be given a winter cloak and gloves. That’s because the seats, tables, walls and even your glass are made of ice.

As it gets really dark the whole place seems to shimmer with light and it does indeed feel very festive. The food on offer looked tempting – including the usual bratwurst and German beer, to fish and chips, hog roast, minced pies and mulled wine.

They’ve got every kind of ride imaginable… Christmas coasters, carousels, waltzers and dodgems. They’ve got a Fun House which is four storeys tall! The Haunted Mansion is actually a mansion. Of all the thrill rides, highlight for me was Air Maxx. G’s all the way. My inner adrenalin junkie was truly satiated.

The Grinch would have a real challenge stealing all the Christmas from Hyde Park. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 25, 2018

Reborn, Petaling Jaya…will revive even the most jaded execs

Filed under: Activities, Malaysia, Massage, tui na — Tags: , , , , — PEr @ 2:33 pm

I’m very happy I chose this tui na therapeutic massage place on a whim.

The masseur gave me the longest, deepest massage I’ve ever had with the perfect amount of force and leaving me sighing with pleasure instead of writhing in pain. She exerted long, firm strokes, crisscrossing my rigid lower back with her powerful forearms and softening my tension-locked shoulders. She worked silently and efficiently; I’d tell you the details, but I fell asleep 20 minutes into it. The only unbearable part of my massage came when it was time to leave.

Friendly, inexpensive, and my back doesn’t hurt anymore = yay! I’m a fan. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

reborn apple kl

February 24, 2018

Pandemonium, Boston…nothing extraordinary

Filed under: Activities, American, board games, Books, Entertainment, games, USA — Tags: , , , , , — PEr @ 3:09 pm

The board game is enjoying a resurgence. Sales in the U.S. grew 28% last year and worldwide, the industry is worth nearly $10 billion. Why? Probably it’s just fun to spend time with friends and get immersed in something completely unique.

Pandemonium has got a really decent selection of books (mostly used paperbacks, focusing on sci-fi and fantasy) and they put conscious effort into getting material from local authors. The game selection is good, though tabletop RPGs and a fairly decent area (if you can overlook the unattractive smelly basement) for the gaming community to meet.

This store isn’t terrible but it’s nothing extraordinary for a game shop. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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