PEr FYI

May 1, 2017

Camp Greaves, Seoul…reel to real

The chance to spot movie locations is a favourite game the world over. But even better than spotting recognisable places on the screen is spotting recognisable film locations in real life.

Home to one of the major hit 2016 South Korean television series – Descendants of the Sun – Camp Greaves,  the former US military camp near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Paju, north of Seoul, is one of the best movie sites in the city. Here you get to visit Song Joong-ki’s waiting room, try on soldiers’ uniform, make military dog tags, get a photo taken in front of a green screen photo booth.

Though I am not familiar with this K-drama, judging by the high octave excitement of the folks in my group, this has been a reel to real experience for them. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 18, 2017

Asia Tour MICE and Leisure Co, Bangkok…fixer – par excellence

The popularity of escorted tours is on the rise.

Asia Tour MICE and Leisure Co, led by Panyawat Peter Tongprasert (CEO – Chief Entertainment Officer) has proven itself to my evident satisfaction. Its portfolio is wide-ranging: from Fototastic Challenges and party vehicles to team building activities and golf tournaments and police escort services. They customize sophisticated itineraries which cater for every type of traveler. With excellent planning, good contacts on the ground and close attention to detail, they set extremely high standards of customer service and his staff have consistently delivered.

If you are looking to book anywhere in Thailand – either a detailed itinerary or a fairly straightforward trip – you won’t do better than to get quotes from Peter and Asia Tour MICE. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 4, 2017

4DX Theatre, Paragon Cineplex, Bangkok…the next generation in movie watching

4DX theaters come with the technology providing environmental effects synced with the movie. Imagine seeing a movie in 3D (glasses and all) but with added physical sensations like wind, rain, and a moving seat.

I tested the technology for the first time through Disney’s new release, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” I have to admit that at times watching the audience seems more compelling than the movie I was viewing. Perhaps, thankfully too, I could not detect any smells during the movie. I am not sure whether a malfunctioning system, a programming error or my sinus allergies were to blame. Whenever someone was firing bullets, compressed air was fired at my head. The flashing lights on the side of the auditorium that were supposed to represent lightning and timid sprays of water whenever the action got near bodies of liquid. Whenever punches are thrown, your chair pokes you in the back, like an airport massage lounger gone berserk

The short of it? 4DX is unlike anything I’ve felt in a movie theater before, and it was just cool enough that I would recommended splurging on a great movie. However, movie selection is key. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 21, 2017

Dragon-I, Hong Kong…cream of Hong Kong’s club scene

Whether you’re looking to meet someone new, dance to the biggest DJs in the world or just want to have the kind of legendary night you’ll keep secret until the day you die, you’ll find it all in Hong Kong.

Dragon-I is an amazing uber-chic club with a stunning setting. A dining area known as Red Room, a dance floor and bar space with New York-style booth seating called Playground. It doubles as a modern restaurant and the food is surprisingly good. The crowd is those that know and those that want to find out.

Dragon-I is the cream of Hong Kong’s club scene ensuring a great night out in style. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 18, 2015

Beyond the Barricade, Singapore…Only after the interval was I looking on the bright side of life

“Beyond The Barricade”…when I read those words, the first thing that comes to my mind is… Les Miserables. When I got tickets to see Beyond The Barricade I honestly didn’t know what to expect apart from the fact it has something do with Les Mis.

The show stars past principal performers from Les Miserables. I was distanced by the opening numbers, taken from Miss Saigon. I’ve never seen the musical so it didn’t really have enough substance to draw me into the performance. The following choices, the secondary selections from the immortal Phantom of the Opera, was equally nonchalant. The compilation of Juke box musical numbers from We will rock you, Jersey Boys and Mamma Mia were trivial and forgettable. It was not until after the interval when the show really began for me, leaving me happily toe-tapping along. Stands out included the adorable showmanship displayed by Andy Reiss on “Suddenly Seymour” and “Master of the House”, David Fawcett and Rebecca Vere’s humorous and funny rendition of “Song that goes like this” from Spamalot, Katie Leeming’s phenomenal and passionate version of “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”, Andy Reiss soulful and emotive take on “‘Jesus Christ Superstar” and Rebecca Vere’s gorgeous and melodious performance of “I Dreamed A Dream”. That said, I was truly disappointed in David Fawcett who had been an understudy/cover for Jean Valjean. His introductions to each set of songs were brief yet informative with just the right touch humour but he was also the weakest link of the night with the poorest expression, unstable vocals and singing technique.

This show is a mixed bag that lurches from the sublime to the ridiculous with some uncomfortable moments that mask the genuine talent of the performers. Personally as a seasoned musical theatre-goer I would like to hear these incredible performers sing a better selection of songs. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 11, 2015

Universal Citywalk, Orlando…super touristy but I love the atmosphere

Universal Citywalk is a shopping and entertainment area that is free for anyone to enter. You don’t have to go to the parks. You can hang out here. Located at the entrance of their main theme parks, there is a lot to see & do; plenty of dining options, drinking holes, souvenir shops and cinemas. All or almost all of them are chains so you aren’t getting any local flair here.

The largest Hard Rock Café in the world, The Bubba Gump Shrimp & Co and many more…no matter what your taste, you can find something you love here! For what they do, Hot Dog Hall of Fame is great. The place itself was pretty teeny tiny but they offer a line up of 9 hot dogs all served with French fries. The Detroit: Koegel dog, Abbott’s coney chili and diced onions was simply outstanding. I wish I had ordered two.

CityWalk’s Rising Star, Bob Marley-A Tribute to Freedom, Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville, AMC Universal Cineplex 20 with IMAX and many others provide entertainment that comes alive when the sun goes down. More than 10 million people worldwide have experienced the unique style of Blue Man Group. Three mysterious, talented, and energetic bold and blue characters takes the audience ona goofy, kiddish, colorful, big ole party…which would be fun for kids. It’s definitely so overloaded with skits/acts that you almost forget there’s legitimately no substance to them. I’m not sure why the audience was laughing so hard; either they were into the silly acts or they were all high.

Super tourist-y or not, I love the atmosphere and hustle & bustle of CityWalk. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

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July 3, 2015

Faulty Towers Dining Experience, London…a thin imitation which is only intermittently funny

For the uninitiated, Fawlty Towers, a cult classic BBC sitcom which ran for 12 memorable episodes is one of the funniest programmes of all time, frequently topping polls of viewers and industry insiders.

Faulty Towers Dining Experience – with a subtle spelling difference, presumably to avoid legal confusion – is only intermittently funny, serving up a thin imitation. That becomes obvious in the aimless pre-show, when people-hating hotel owner Basil and his “dragon” wife, Sybil merely argue bitterly, with limited English-speaking immigrant Spanish waiter Manuel. Once seated, our group of five was seated with a family of five on a table. The show is touted as an “immersive” experience, and it doesn’t get much more immersive than having the actors move round the tables, often serving you, frequently interrupting you, and occasionally – yes, this happened – climbing up on your table and performing matador impressions. Part of the ‘show’ is scripted so that means the actors get free reign to ad lib and directly engage with guests as well but the cast struggle in their improvisation to evoke the quality of the original. 

The 3-course 70s-inspired meal is fairly underwhelming; more cafeteria than restaurant, so don’t expect fine food or you’ll come away disappointed.

If, and only if you are, like-minded, hard-core Fawlty fans, go, but whatever you do, don’t mention the war. And remember to check your soup before you taste it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 1, 2015

Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N., New York City….doesn’t deliver enough bang for the buck

At this Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network), we went through an “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” recruitment simulation and given an ID card and then led to a debriefing room.  We were then taken right into SHIELD and the Avengers HQ with supposedly what is meant to be interactive displays devoted to Captain America, The Hulk, Iron Man and Thor, with all kinds of computer screens and places where you can test your grip against Captain America, see Iron Man’s armour.

The Captain America room was first, in which you could take a number of physical tests showing the difference between what Captain America could do and what you could do. In The Hulk room. witness the neurological effects of Bruce Banner’s transformation into the Hulk. The Thor room boasts a hologram representation of his hammer and is filled with Asgardian memorabilia like Loki’s helmet and scepter and the obligatory Chitauri costume. The Iron Man display, is the most polished of the lot, but even this feels somewhat barebones because of how few artifacts they have for a rather oversized room. The animatronic hand (which was broken down when I was there) and the motion detector showing technology similar to video-game technology we already have,  wasn’t as fulfilling as it could have been.

At $30 a pop, this exhibit doesn’t deliver enough bang for the buck. Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. may be a co-production of Marvel and NASA, but it is not as revolutionary as one might expect. IT certainly won’t convert anyone who finds superhero movies immature. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 26, 2010

Olde Hansa, Tallinn…the toilets are an eye opener

This is a tourist trap. I think it’s over-rated. It’s extremely dark and whilst the candle light is atmospheric its disorienting and  hides what is on the plate. The food is so-so. To me, it’s a notch below pub fare. Everything is served in old crockery type dishes and bowls and old-style glassware.  The waitresses and waiters are dressed in very traditional looking garb (right down to the leather shoes). The whole place looks like a set for a historical reenactment.

The toilet is an eye-opener. It’s also quite dark and done in as medieval a style as possible for indoor plumbing. Visit the toilet before you leave…and bring a camera.

Yes, this medieval restaurant is touristy. But that doesn’t mean it’s not good, though once is good enough for me. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

June 17, 2010

Cookin Nanta, Seoul…if there’s one thing you must do in Seoul, it is this.

Filed under: Activities, Entertainment, South Korea, Travel — Tags: , , , , , , — PEr @ 12:21 pm

This is highly recommended. HIGHLY!

It’s a story of 4 chefs preparing for a wedding reception, this non-verbal show is a big “WOW!” with its captivating drumming and comic hilarity. Though officially billed as a non-vocal show, however there was a small use of Korean, Japanese and English throughout. This is what you get when you cross STOMP with the set of a Korean kitchen – Nanta sees its chef protaganists energetically turning all kinds of items – broomsticks, pots and pans, dishes, knives and even each other – into percussion instruments while cooking.

They engage the audience and overall it’s an entertaining show, so if you head to Seoul you MUST check out Nanta! Playing with your food takes on a new meaning. This is simply the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

 

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