Wednesday, March 17, 2004


First, Clay Aiken's The Way video failed to appear on MTVAsia tonight, thanks to a very strange "special repeat telecast" of the embarrassing MTVAsia Awards 2004 ( those Cupids still give me nightmares ). I have no idea if they'll screen the TRL episode in question tomorrow night, or skip it altogether for some reason. What gives?

Second, I'm on night shift - again. The same night as "CSI" and the first round of the AI3 finals too, aargh! Looks like I'll have to read recaps off the Net. Won't have any time to watch the recording tomorrow.

Something upbeat for all the docs out there. Got this email from a non-medical reader regarding the latest SMA News issue, and he had this to say (after all my complaining in the "Alternative Roles For ER Physicians" piece :)):

"Well Dr. Oh, I for one still have the utmost respect and trust for doctors because to me, you are all doing God's work of easing the suffering of mankind and that is a noble cause!"

On behalf of the medical community of Singapore, which gets blasted regularly by the press, and even more frequently by patients and their unreasonable relatives, we thank you. Also, please help spread the word. :)

A fellow doc who locums in my department asked about my Sensory LOTR tours article, so now I'm feeling very sad 'cos I miss NZ a lot . It's a pretty slow night so far, so don't mind if I just talk about my favourite place for a bit.

Queenstown, South Island

Words can't really do it justice, so get ready for a whole list of links.

Destination Queenstown Guide

Queenstown Photo Gallery

When I first arrived, its beauty literally took my breath away. It was summertime, so the place was swarming with tourists and native Kiwis who'd dropped by for some R&R. Queenstown is very pretty -- quaint and bohemian, boasting a vibrant nightlife, terrific restaurants, excellent hotels, a gorgeous jetty surrounded by The Remarkables mountain ranges, lovely people, and of course, its star attraction: the huge, sparkling Lake Wakatipu.

My parents and I stayed at the Lakefront Copthorne, which believe it or not, is only a few minutes' stroll away from the water's edge. No fences or barricades, mind you, so one afternoon, following an exhilarating jet boat ride down Dart River, I had some free time to grab an apple and my journal, then walk to the lake and sit only inches away from the lapping waves, munching away and scribbling in my diary. Later, I took my slippers off to dip my feet in the icy cool water. To my left were The Remarkables, looking almost surreal in their magnificence. The TSS Earnslaw, an old red-and-white steamboat, chugged along in the distance, while a parasailor glided past. It was peaceful and quiet, the weather perfect, and I couldn't remember the last time I'd been so happy. Honestly. I still dream of that afternoon sometimes. It sure helps when I'm faced with 40 patients, 30 of whom are NS boys or people with conditions that don't warrant a visit to the ER.

Food-wise, try Beach Street, which houses lots of Asian restaurants. The Mall, a lovely al fresco stretch, has many Italian outlets that serve gigantic portions of steak and lamb ( didn't try those, but my eyes almost popped out when I saw what the patrons were eating ). Then there's The Pig & Whistle, a very jolly Irish pub that's packed with revellers every single night. The boat jetty is perfect for post-dinner walks. I personally greatly enjoyed feeding the many ducks and geese. They're very tame, so they'll come right up to you and daintily pick pieces of bread from your fingers. Another activity I loved was eating Tip Top ice-cream while standing at the jetty and just taking in the scenery. Nothing more perfect than that! :D

Outskirts of Queenstown

1. Glenorchy

Check out this website.

This is where Dart River is located. I wrote about this in the Sensory magazine, and still get a rush just thinking about it! Amazing beyond belief, and yes, it features film locations for the LOTR trilogy. A must if you're a fan, and even better if you like high-powered jet boat rides and cheeky boat drivers. :)

2. Fiordland

Click on this link!

We took a full-day tour ( 12 hours! ) through the majestic Fiordland National Park, en route to Milford Sound. In a nutshell, it's just fantastic from start to finish! If only I could post my photos online! Picture shimmering rivers, lush greenery, snow-capped mountains, clear blue skies, a thundering waterfall ensconced in a forest, snow from a glacier piled next to the road ( which the coach drivers let you scoop up )... the list is endless.

Then there's the Milford Sound.

I suspect the various tour companies deliberately keep the really spectacular pictures off the Internet, 'cos what I saw for myself is so much better. The 2-hour ferry ride is guaranteed to thrill, whether a result of the breath-taking surroundings, the gigantic waterfall ( which the ferry will ease up to so everyone gets sprayed ), the sun-bathing wild fur seals, or simply standing on the top deck and almost getting blown off by the strong winds. The picture of myself which I submitted to Sensory was taken on one of the lower decks, but you can still see my hair flying all over the place. Gorgeous place, the Milford Sound.

Sigh. All this reminiscing has made me realize I'm back in Singapore, sitting in a freezing ER at 3am in the morning. :( But I'll always have my memories of NZ, with its unparalleled beauty, wonderful people, and mouth-watering cuisines. More updates another day. Time for me to get a cup of Milo then take a short nap. :)

P.S. Just saw the song list for last night's AI3 episode. Am tempted to watch the show after my night shift, but I can't! Need to sleep, 'cos my afternoon's going to be packed with errands, followed by the concert in the evening. Oh well. Important reminder: Clay will appear on tonight's results show to sing Solitaire. Something no-one should ever miss! :)

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