PEr FYI

June 23, 2019

Sandbox, Singapore…I battled zombies for 30 minutes and it was awesome

If you’ve ever fancied a high adrenaline zombie killing spree with 3 of your best mates, look no further. At sandbox, you can finally find out how you and your friends would fare if you ever found yourself in fighting off rabid, flesh-eating zombies and infectious rats.

Using cutting-edge virtual reality technology, this is a totally unique and immersive experience that will chill you to the bone. With Hyper-Reality it means that this is not just a passive VR journey, where you sit in a chair and get bombarded with visual information that doesn’t match what your body is telling you is happening. When I walk forward in Deadwood Mansion, I actually walk forward. Of course, pictures and words cannot come close to conveying how immersive the whole experience is, you’ll have to try it for yourself. Or you can take my word for it that, thanks to the sensations and blasters and rumble packs, there was a sense of panic as I battled these ghouls and, in particular, something approaching genuine peril as a certain giant monster appears towards the end. I confess I was sincerely relieved when that chapter was done.

A must for your Halloween itinerary, if you’re brave enough of course. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 23, 2018

Old Trafford Museum and Stadium Tour, Manchester….a day to remember

As a Manchester United fan since 1976, this 80-minute tour around the historic ground is like a pilgrimage to football mecca for me.

There is no match on today, so we’re able to access areas that are rarely seen by the average punter. We make our way to snoop in the players’ dressing rooms, through into their bathing room, walk through the tunnel on to the pitch, stand in the manager’s spot in the dug out, sit in the heights of the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand for a bird’s eye view of the pitch and marvel at the splendour of this impressive stadium.

After the tour, make sure you stop for a bite at the Red Café Restaurant. The gammon, egg and chips – 8oz gammon steak, served with double egg, pineapple, grilled cherry tomatoes & chunky chips is a plate full of goodness that will leave you feeling full but not bloated in the slightest. English staple at its best.

A day to remember. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 8, 2018

International Red Cross Museum, Geneva…a moving and humbling experience

Geneva is also the hub for a number of NGOs and International organisations, such as United Nations and Red Cross. This museum highlights how the Red Cross helps families separated by war or genocide; and the third details its work during and after natural disasters.

The sculpture right outside the museum –  of people with their heads covered (because International Committee of the Red Cross- ICRC supports all the war victims equally, irrespective of their religion and faith),  tied and hands are held at the back (showcasing their helplessness). There’s the museum’s extraordinary collection of six million record cards containing the fate of prisoners of war during World War I. There’s the platform game- Hurricane where it delivers a strong message of reserving the resources for an unpredictable natural disaster

A moving and humbling experience. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 16, 2018

IMAX Virtual Reality Centre, Bangkok…the future of arcade games is here

I’m speeding across rocky plains in my Batmobile and then I was battling sinister robots out to wipe out civilisation. Not bad, for a Sunday.

Bangkok’s first full-scale virtual reality arcade, IMEX VR Centre, is an interactive game space filled with 6 VR experiences. It offers customers a chance to battle aliens or robots or simply become Batman, Aquaman or Superman in a 360 degrees experience.

These experiences are pushing against the edges of the technology. It’s hard to let yourself go completely into these other-worlds, given the chunky VR rig strapped to your face and the relatively low resolution and occasionally out-of-focus graphics. The overall feel is simultaneously clunky and awe-inspiring like experiencing a galactic-scale vision and a primitive video game.

The ambition is admirable. The concept is very impressive indeed. All they need now is the games. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 22, 2018

Jucker Farm, Zurich…honestly fascinating & relaxing

There is one thing that will catch your attention the moment you make your way to Jucker Farm: The magnificent view over the turquoise lake and the rolling hills. In the background, you might even see the snowy Alps.

The food in the canteen style restaurant is not fancy but quite tasty. There are piles of cake, waffles, pancakes… fresh salads, müesli, smoothies… and also, hearty meals like rösti with fried eggs, quiches and on the nostalgic black stove simmer two different types of soup. There are amusement areas for kids – a dwarf goat petting zoo, a rabbit pen (including baby bunnies), and old tractors for the children to explore – including an apple garden – an accessible labyrinth made up of 5,900 apple trees that provide apples for the table and for producing cider.

Juckerhof in Seegraben, located on the picturesque Pfäffikersee is about a 30 minutes drive from Zurich.

Nothing spells relaxation more than having lunch on a table overlooking the tranquil Lake Pfäffikon. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 11, 2018

FIFA World Football Museum, Zurich…I have mixed emotions

This is the brainchild of FIFA’s disgraced former president, Sepp Blatter, who was banned from football after an ethics committee found him guilty of  abusing his position.

It tells the story of “the beautiful game” through artefacts, archival collections and memorabilia. Take a journey through every World Cup in history or learn the origin of FIFA. On the top floor there is an interactive area to kick footballs around and test your skills.  There is a referee game too, to check, if you would be a good referee or not

Not going to tell you whether it’s worth it or not. You can be the judge afterwards. I have mixed emotions. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 22, 2018

Bicester Village, London…Who needs the sale when you can shop here year round?

First, get the pronunciation right. It’s like “blister” without the “l”.

This rural England shopping centre – more than 160 stores and precisely 46 minutes by train from London’s Marylebone station – is almost as popular among Chinese tourists as Buckingham Palace.

This is the place to find deep discounts on designer and name brands. You will find everything you need from head to toe and from kitchen to living room. It is chockful of popular brands and perennial favorites, so anyone who is a loyal fan of any particular brands will want to check ahead to scope out their choices.

You will have saved so much. Even if you go in the poorhouse, you’ve spent your money wisely. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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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 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…

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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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