Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Creepy walkabout

Fort Siloso, Sentosa

Fort Siloso gives me the creeps. It may appeal to war history buffs, gun buffs or military types but for people like me who just happened to stray inside out of curiosity, the place is really creepy, more so 'cos I was alone.

It's a war museum relating to the capitulation of the British in Singapore and the occupancy by the Japanese during WWII. Built around the former British Army gun fort at the western end of Sentosa, Fort Siloso is the only restored fort left in Singapore. Albeit, the restoration was quite nicely done but it looks more like a park than a fort now. Too much vegetation.

Remembering that the place used to be called Blakang Mati (death behind you), and knowing that soldiers fought and died there, and with lots of old pictures showing you macabre scenes of the war, the whole atmosphere is really morbid.

It gets worst when you descend into the tunnel complexes! Boy, then it gets really really creepy. Dark, dank, smelly and full of twists and turns, your mind wanders and the hair at the back of your neck begins to stand . You worry that you will get lost and won't be able to find your way out, or worst meet the ghosts of the former POWS in there! That's the feeling you get wandering underground in the tunnels.

I'm not too sure of this place or what's it supposed to be, a gun museum or a replica of the old fort? In the end it appears to be a bit of both, sigh.

Here are some pictures I took of the guns there. Click for a larger image if you really want to, haha.

At least there's a myth I learned that was broken... We all know of the infamous " ...guns that pointed South when the Japanese invaded from the North..."
The guns at the fort were in fact rotated and pointed north to pummel the Japanese army during the Battle of Singapore in 1942. Token action a little too late.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

31 flavors at Baskin Robbins is passe!

The temperature today was a sweltering 33 degrees indoors!
I am a sucker for real ice cream and there nothing better on a hot day than digging into a tub of cold sweet delicious ice cream. Was doing just this when it struck me that I never did tell you all of the weirdest ice cream place you can imagine.

At the Sunshine City Complex in Tokyo, where I usually stay at the adjacent Prince Hotel, there is a theme park right within the shopping mall itself.
Namjatown, which was set up by the japanese video game manufacturer, is not the usual outdoor roller coaster type amusement park. It has several distinct attractions like Gyoza Stadium, serving all kinds of gyoza from all over Japan, video game world with the latest Namco video games, a haunted town area, and best of all... Ice Cream City!

There are about a dozen or so shops each selling various types of ice-cream, each unique in its own way. The Japanese call them Gelato instead of ice cream.

There are endless shelves and freezers full of freshly made creameries with all kinds of flavors imaginable.

Ok, the place is not weird but some of the flavors available can really freak you out.
The variety of flavors run the entire gamut available. If you are just a vanilla, chocolate or strawberry fan, then you will be sorely disappointed with what they can offer you.

Garlic, wasabi, pumpkin, really black and gooey sesame, tuna, octopus, squid, sea urchin and believe or not cow tongue flavor! And that's just for your appetizer.

Then there's miso, ramen, sakura flower, lavender, seaweed, curry, soya sauce and horrors, basashi - horse meat! I kid you not!
If you can get over your initial revulsion (and maybe prejudices), then Ice Cream City is more than just an 'amusing ' place to be.
By the way, I had my favorite pistachio, wrapped in nori seaweed and crepe, Japanese style.
Yes, they do sell the usual flavors too.

Sea Urchin ice cream, anyone?

Flavor of the month... COW TONGUE ICE CREAM!

Just another of the quirky stuff you find in Tokyo.
And people wonder why I always go back there. hahahaha.