Monday, September 20, 2010

Casinos & Universal Studios, Sporeland Style

So during the end of last month we made a trip down south to Sporeland with a few things in mind, and among the planned activities were paying a visit to the two new casinos and Universal Studios! Even though we'd planned for a nice long weekend there, the days were packed with walking and commuting and games from morning till late night, that we were quite grateful that we'd arranged our trip to leave on Monday night (by the overnight train, of course) and arrive back on Merdeka Day, giving us a day of rest before starting work again.

Imagine. By Monday our legs and feet were aching even after a leisurely stroll and by noontime we were considering heading back to our sis' place to rest instead of going about shopping. If we stayed till Tuesday, and headed back on the overnight train and arrived home on Wednesday, we would be in no condition to do anything productive.

So anyways Thursday night we made our way down, arrived in Sporeland on Friday morning, headed to settle our luggage and freshen up and our sis' place before heading out to have lunch at Kuishin-Bo. We were starving when we left our sis' place that we would have stopped for lunch at Suntec's Food Republic, where we did stop for a while to take photos of the decor.

If we recall this is not the first time we'd noticed the library-like decor at the Food Republic, but it's the first time we're paying attention to it. The Chief hurried ahead to leave us alone to suaku take photos like some awestruck tourist.

Propaganda attack: Dollar for dollar, you can enjoy a nice Japanese buffet lunch for $20-something, unlike back here where you have to break a fifty, or two.

Kuishin-Bo Suntec had this lunch offer where if you're done eating in under an hour, you pay only SGD21.90++, otherwise it's SGD28.90++ (we think we got the prices right). Certainly had our fill as we were already starving! A lesson learned here is to avoid the little chocolate desserts if we plan to make full use of the buffet spread in under an hour.

A leisurely walk around Suntec City (and our first hands-on on a working, jailbroken iPad) and Raffles after that, and by night we were back at our sis' for boardgames with the bro-in-law and his group of friends.


Saturday noon was off to Marina Bay Sands! Only, we forgot to bring our passport along, and so wasn't allowed entry into the casino. So we walked about the shops, took photos of the rain oculus, and like many other people, threw coins. Except we weren't throwing it at the eye, but trying to roll the coin in a spiral towards it. Fail.

Then later inside we saw the rain oculus from below. There were boat rides going on, and we wondered if anyone in the boats got hit by coins (honestly we keep picturing rich tai-tais screaming in pain as a coin pierced through one eye). The Epicentre there was full of people so we didn't get another chance at the iPad, and so we made our way to Orchard before heading back to get our passports. The night before's gaming session told on us as every time we commuted or whenever we sat down to eat, we would go into standby mode now and then. The Chief, patient martyr, let us rest and either played Mega Jump on the iPod Touch or looked out for when to get off the MRT/bus.

The Marina Bay Sands Casino was nice, and quite modern in some ways too - like for Baccarat Punto Banco, the croupiers at Genting Resorts World had to key in the results, while in Marina Bay Sands the system somehow catches the results (we're not sure how, the Chief suggests via CCTV) and displays it automatically without the croupier doing anything. After about nearly an hour on the main floor, we explored the upper floor and discovered the non-smoking section. Bah.

As we had to make our way back to get our passports, we ended up at Marina Bay Sands rather late, and so left rather late too (no, we missed out on heading up to see the infinity pool on the rooftop) and had to catch a cab (fairly quick and easy from the hotel) back. Where we found our bro-in-law and friends having another night of boardgaming.

We showered, played Starcraft a while on the bro-in-law's pc, joined them for a round of Agricola when they started a new round, and ended up sleeping at 4am.

Sunday was to Universal Studios! Initially we planned to go Universal Studios on Saturday but they were sold out for then, so Sunday it was. And since we were going to head on to the Resorts World Casino after Universal Studios, we packed along an extra shirt, predicting our time at Universal Studios to be rather sweaty.

The Universal Studios Globe.

And the Store, where we spend a long time inside but ended up with not much.

We'll say that Universal Studios Singapore is actually not that large if compared (rather hazily due to poor memory) Universal Studios LA, but it worked to our favour as we could cover everything in one trip. We arrived at noon (thanks to yours truly who stayed up late gaming) after brunch, and managed to go for all the rides, save the kiddy ones found at the Madagascar and Lost World bit and the Battlestar Galactica rollercoaster as it was under maintenance. If we arrived when the gates opened, we could probably fit in extras like taking photos with characters (we'd only managed to get photos with Beetlejuice and some Egyptian guard as it was) and seeing a few other shows.

What we really liked about Universal Studios was how thematic it was, down to the small details! Umbrella stands were made to look like a barrel to hold weapons in the Far Far Away, in the walls of the Lost World you see amber with mosquitos in them. Of course, if you never watched the shows, you might not appreciate some of the details, but there's lots of other stuff like how toilet signs and decor differ depending whether you were in Madagascar, Far Far Away or in Ancient Egypt, that help make you feel like you're in some fantasy land and more importantly, feeling like a kid again.

We went trigger happy with the camera taking photos when in Far Far Away!

And the stuff we came across the Lost World were a tickle, from their clothes shop...

To the refreshment counter!

When we arrived at Ancient Egypt, we were quite taken in with the effort in making monuments and impressively large statues. And then we came across guards on stilts that reminded us of fauns and satyrs.

We'd no idea who he was suppose to portray, since he was off duty and was heading elsewhere ignoring a gaggle of girls who chased after him.

We didn't find anything we'd buy from the souvenir shop, and we wonder who will actually buy this throne for SGD2,800.

We went crazy at Sci-Fi City's souvenir shop buying a few Battlestar Galactica themed souvenirs. Didn't get anything that read What The Frak, though. There's more souvenirs we're keeping track off that we didn't get this time, well, because we thought the Universal Studios Store near the entrance would have all the stuff we might come across in the other stores at their respective areas (obviously not). Good thing we decided to get the BSG souvenirs when we did, otherwise we'd have to run all the way back to Sci-Fi City to get them!

After Universal Studios, our legs needed a rest and we headed for dinner, and then we were off to the casino! A quick stop at Bread Story just outside the casino showed that thematic settings didn't just stop at Universal Studios...

Resorts World Casino doesn't have that posh feel that Marina Bay Sands has, as seen by the less formal way the gamblers dress, but at least upon entry we were in the non-smoking section. And we came across the Star Wars: Light Side slots machine there! Genting has the Star Wars: Dark Side slots, and we weren't sure if there was a Light Side version till then! And we won SGD50 playing it!

That night, once home, we played Street Fighter 4 with the bro-in-law until somewhere 2am, we think. After that, we helped him get his iPad up and running, which he bought that day and left to charge till night. There was the installing of iTunes and setting up and account which took a fair bit of time, and after that we left him to play with his new toy while we went to bed.

Come Monday, it was supposed to be a rather free-and-easy day and the Chief took us around town. First up, to Sporeland's Ikea for a look-see. We haven't been there for some four years now since our sis took us there once, and remembered it differently (perhaps because our sis brought us there at night), but we found it smaller compared to the Ikea here.

After that, we crossed the street for the Katong Laksa, ate using only a spoon. Even though our legs were hurting by the afternoon we still managed to cover Queensway Mall and Chinatown before heading back to pack up our luggages!

Sis and bro-in-law then brought us to Oasis for Taiwanese porridge dinner. The place is situated at a rather nice park, and would make for rather scenic walks if not for the humid weather.

After dinner it was time to rush to the train station! It was a close call as we arrived on time with only a few minutes to spare, and we were held up by our own customs people until another officer hollered to them to let us go and stop holding up the train.

Can't remember. Think we slept throughout Tuesday. Heh. We'll be heading back to Universal Studios probably in a couple of years, when the Battlestar Galactica and Transformers rides are up and running!


Legolas said...


Jaded Jeremy said...

Re Food Republic: highly recommend Hamoru Japanese set meal. I believwed Set J is the most popular.

Re Kuishin-Bo: used to be that during lunchtime it was 18.90++ if done eating within an hour.

Janvier said...

Legolas: Anything is possible!

Jaded Jeremy: Will try if we ever eat at Food Republic! Yes the leaflet we had stated that price too but we were a year too late!

J said...

This comment probably comes a little late, but the character at Ancient Egypt is the Scorpion King. He was first seen in the Mummy Returns, before having his own movies. He was originally played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. His character is supposed to be kinda fierce, so I think he was just portraying the character.