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Macau Tidbits: Zaia vs. THODW

March 13, 2011

I tried to let myself cool off a bit after watching Franco Dragone’s The House Of Dancing Water (THODW) before writing this comparison with Cirque du Soleil’s ZAIA. I wanted to think it all out before making any errors that I would punch myself for in the future.

I watched the ZAIA last year, and just watched THODW last week. Before I go into any of my opinion-divulging, basic information to share:

ZAIA [ Official Website ]
Cirque du Soleil
Location: The Venetian Macau, Cotai Strip
Shuttle bus available from Macau Ferry Terminal, China Border Gate. Unsure if shuttle service is available from the Airport.
Schedule: Changes every week. Mainly 5pm and 8pm. Sometimes 3pm. Check complete official schedule.
Ticket categories: 4 categories: VIP, Reserve A, Reserve B, Reserve C, Adult & Child price available. Pricing table.
Seating notes: n/a

The House of Dancing Water [ Official Website ]
Franco Dragone
Location: City of Dreams, Cotai Strip
Shuttle bus available from Macau Ferry Terminal, China Border Gate, Macau Tower, Sintra Hotel. Unsure if shuttle service is available from the Airport.
Schedule: 5pm and 8pm, NO SHOWS on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Check ticketing website.
Ticket categories: 4 categories: VIP, Reserve A, Reserve B, Reserve C, Adult and Child price available. Click on "Tickets Only" in main page for pricing table.
Seating notes: Front row seats (say first 3 rows) may catch rain/water splashes. Also, the theatre is round, seatings in the 2 ends of the "U" shape may miss out on background props.

Well, I shall say that again, I watched ZAIA last year, so I’m not so sure about the plot line, but it was something about a girl dreaming about the skies and the outer space. THODW, on the other hand… despite it being fresh in my mind, I have no idea what it was about… just some Lady Gaga look-alike queen locking a girl away.

Not wanting to delve too much into actual plot-lines, my opinion, is that, ZAIA is the winner here. It was easy to understand, the costumes are very nice, the acrobatics, skills, choreography, and music are wonderful. Perhaps it’s also because I liked all the dreaming aspect of ZAIA too, so I like ZAIA a lot more than THODW.

THODW, is pretty much the same like ZAIA. Yes, THODW is a lot more impressive in the technological sense, but I don’t think that alone is enough to make it "the best show". What’s so special with their technology? The ground, or stage, of THODW can change from solid ground to deep pool of water in less than a minute. So we see acrobatics and extreme diving in the same show. But that’s it. The music is nice, but you can’t buy the soundtrack – it’s not available for sale. I was a bit confused by the story line. The costumes are nice, but not stellar. Choreography, hm….

 
THODW does have a motorbike show which ZAIA doesn’t have. I was pretty impressed by that. It’s my first time watching a live motorbike show (those jumping over things show?). However, that doesn’t really make THODW so much more different from ZAIA.

 
If I may make such a statement, to me, THODW is just ZAIA, but with some water.

When it comes to shows, I’m not too picky of the pricing, but I guess for a family show it does make a difference. The Adult ticket prices are a nice tie between the two shows, but for children prices, ZAIA wins again. Besides, there is a lot of strong lighting and booming noise effects for THODW, so younger children might get frightened off by that.

One more rant for THODW… I hate that backdrop/background goddess that appears and does nothing. It irks me so. Can’t they cut her out of the show? Doesn’t serve a purpose at all.
 
So… I guess that’s it for this? Finally, I have one topic off my draft list now >:D
I hope anyone visiting Macau and considering either one of the shows may find this helpful. Of course, if you go to both shows, you may gain your own impression 🙂
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Book: Making the Rounds with Oscar

March 8, 2011

Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat
David Dosa
Amazon Product Link

From Publishers Weekly
Dosa, a geriatrician with a strong aversion to cats, tells the endearing story of Oscar the cat, the aloof resident at a nursing home who only spends time with people who are about to die. Despite hearing numerous stories about Oscar’s uncanny ability to predict when a patient’s time is nearing, Dosa, ever the scientist, remains skeptical. Slowly, he starts to concede that there may be something special about Oscar. Dosa starts to pay more attention to the cat’s decidedly odd behavior, noticing that Oscar seeks out the dying, snuggles with the patient and family members until the patient passes; with others, he smells the patient’s feet, sits outside a closed door until admitted, or refuses to leave a dying patient’s bed. Dosa discovers how powerfully Oscar’s mere presence reassures frightened or grieving family. Ultimately, the good doctor realizes that it doesn’t matter where Oscar’s gift comes from; it’s the comfort he brings that’s important. This touching and engaging book is a must-read for more than just cat lovers; anyone who enjoys a well-written and compelling story will find much to admire in its unlikely hero. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

– + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Quite an interesting book. Didn’t really focus too much on the cat Oscar, but the reader gets to learn about what the family has to face when a family member has dementia/Alzheimer’s. All those descriptions led me thinking of my Grandma and ultimately, of the hard time my Mom had when she had to deal with her. I remember by the end, I was reluctant to go visit my Grandma because she didn’t even know who I am anyway, and I thought it wouldn’t make much of a difference if I did not show up. Little did i know back then that who needed me most wasn’t Grandma but my very own Mom. So now I’m feeling a bit down because of that.

Overall a very interesting book, with a few typos inside, though I don’t know if it’s really a missed typo or the conversion to Kindle had some issues, but those were still minor errors.

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My Favorite Place to Drive

March 2, 2011

It's hard to answer this question when the city, including the outlying islands and "countryside" is just under 30KM square. And considering I hardly drive nowadays, plus there is just no "driving for pleasure" around here… I have to say… my favourite place to drive would be Coloanne Island (so-called countryside here) but then that being the countryside it would mean polluting there when I drive there… so I tend not to go there too often.

Besides, there's no traffic lights… virtually no traffic (yet!) over there…

Anyway, if this were a question of what type of car to drive… then I'd have to say a tall car. Doesn't have to be a large car, just the driver's seat a little higher, so I can see everything! And that means, my car 😀 Toyota Echo Verso (I think in USA it's the Toyota Yaris Echo… or the IST….)

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My First Drive

March 2, 2011

Vehicle… would a bicycle be considered a vehicle? I guess yes, but I'm assuming this prompt is more about cars or scooters. Anyway, I'll answer for both.

The first time I rode a bicycle – I don't even know when it was. I only remember I was a wild, wild, crazy kid and I was riding down slopes, biking up slopes, skidding and stuff. That was when my Dad had a restaurant in a… um… not country-side, but a rather out-of-city green & nature area. Nowadays if you give me a bike, I doubt I could ride it like I did before.

As for cars and scooters… so far I only have a car driving license. My very first drive was the "technical" lesson I had on driving with Mr. Afonso. My mom was in the car as well, and this Mr. Afonso was nagging me about the basics. I was learning how to drive stick.

"When you drive, you have to look far ahead, so you know what you should be doing already way way beforehand. Look to the front!" he would say, and then when we were passing by the then still-in-construction Venetian Macau (Cotai Strip) he would suddenly yell "LOOK at that! See how fast they are building that giant!"

My mom and I were flabbergasted… and well, let's just say I was torn between telling him "I have to look to the front, no?" and… well, I dunno. But this Afonso speaks Portuguese only, and my Portuguese was (and is) crap, so yeah… it was a weird time.

But I'm also happy to say that nothing happened on that first drive.

There's also first "public" driving after I got my license, and first driving my very own car. But I'll leave it at that for now.

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The Farthest I've Traveled from Home

March 2, 2011

By looking at the world map, it will seem to be Portugal… Harbin is just a 5-hour flight whereas Portugal is a whole +13-hour flight (If a direct flight were available). I've been to Portugal a couple of times – mostly when I was young so I don't remember much. My most recent trip to Portugal was some time 2001 or 2002, when I did my Internship there.

The flight there was excruciating! First, I had to fly from Macau to Taipei… that was already a 2-hour or so flight. Then I had to wait for another 2 hours for a connecting flight to Vienna, with a stopover in Bangkok. Must have been a 16-hour flight. I arrived Vienna at the crack of dawn… It was some 5am I guess.

From there, I had to wait 12 hours for a connecting flight to Lisbon… via Frankfurt. And so, I spent the 12 hours out in Vienna touring a bit.

There's a bit of info I should add though. I had this itinerary because it was cheaper that way, and there was actually no flights that flew directly to Lisbon, even from Hong Kong. I had family in Austria, so I decided to do this "nice" detour of sorts.

After my 2-month internship in a Travel Agency in Lisbon (was staying with family as well), I was on my merry way back to… Vienna, for 2 weeks. This time I had to go down to Styria and really spent some time with family.

So even though I've traveled away from "home", I was just practically going to my "other homes" XD

Given that, does that mean the farthest I've traveled from home is Harbin, China? Maybe…

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Review: Norwegian Wood

March 1, 2011

Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I know, Haruki Murakami, great author and all, lots of fans and whatnot, but this book just didn’t do it for me.

It seems that… there is no plot, there is seemingly no climax (I’m still trying to think which of those incidents is supposed to be the climax) and the ending is just as baffling. I don’t get it. At. All.

I guess it somehow reads more like a diary or a journal. We start with this current Toru Watanabe thinking about his past… but usually, with this kind of setting, wouldn’t the ending of the book be a wrap up of this “thoughts of the past” and then zoom back to the current character and I dunno, say some sort of conclusion?

The way the book ended felt like it was just cut off. For some people, it may seem that it’s very good, and great and that it ended with the right mysterious flavour, but for me, I still have the beginning of the book, clearly in my mind, so, I keep asking, “so what’s this got to do with the beginning of the book?”

It’s just this Toru going through his late adolescent life, his friends die, blah blah, he’s stuck, he’s lost, sleeps around, meets a new friend, nice girl and all, starts to like her, stops sleeping around, then sleeps with a woman 19years his senior 4 times in a night.

I’m not really discriminating about the age. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but if he already liked a girl enough to ask her to “wait for him” then I think it’s just common courtesy to not sleep with anyone else. Or maybe something’s wrong with me, I have no idea.

Once again, this is one of those books that it was enjoyable while I’m reading it, but when I reach the end, the ending just… is either inconclusive, doesn’t wrap things up, no closure… or just simply doesn’t make sense, whatsoever with regards with how the story started. Sorry.

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Plinky: The Farthest I’ve Traveled from Home

February 22, 2011

This was actually a Plinky post from a few days ago, but for some reason, it seems Plinky isn’t exporting my answer into here… the thing just says it’s “posting” and it just never stops “loading”, as it says… so… a copy and past job is here!

The Farthest I’ve Traveled from Home

By looking at the world map, it will seem to be Portugal… Harbin is just a 5-hour flight whereas Portugal is a whole +13-hour flight (If a direct flight were available). I’ve been to Portugal a couple of times – mostly when I was young so I don’t remember much. My most recent trip to Portugal was some time 2001 or 2002, when I did my Internship there.

The flight there was excruciating! First, I had to fly from Macau to Taipei… that was already a 2-hour or so flight. Then I had to wait for another 2 hours for a connecting flight to Vienna, with a stopover in Bangkok. Must have been a 16-hour flight. I arrived Vienna at the crack of dawn… It was some 5am I guess.

From there, I had to wait 12 hours for a connecting flight to Lisbon… via Frankfurt. And so, I spent the 12 hours out in Vienna touring a bit.

There’s a bit of info I should add though. I had this itinerary because it was cheaper that way, and there was actually no flights that flew directly to Lisbon, even from Hong Kong. I had family in Austria, so I decided to do this “nice” detour of sorts.

After my 2-month internship in a Travel Agency in Lisbon (was staying with family as well), I was on my merry way back to… Vienna, for 2 weeks. This time I had to go down to Styria and really spent some time with family.

So even though I’ve traveled away from “home”, I was just practically going to my “other homes” XD

Given that, does that mean the farthest I’ve traveled from home is Harbin, China? Maybe…