June - Singapore
1. Having been to Singapore too many times already, I had to get creative in finding places to visit. I decided to see Katong, which showcases Peranakan culture, and the typical shophouses you see in the rest of the city.
3. Some of the shops in this area are quite traditional.
June - Kuala Lumpur
5. Nothing beats a day trip by plane. I had some unfinished business in Kuala Lumpur, so I flew up for the day. It was my first time using the low-cost terminal, and it was quite a distance from the rest of the airport, although you could literally see the main terminal across the tarmac.
6. I nevertheless made it to the main terminal for some spotting in the end.
7. My unfinished business was in Putrajaya, the new political capital. It's a planned city, and deserted. There were barely any people walking on the streets. It was a very hot day, and I should have gone for the bus instead.
September - Europe
9. Autumn came and it was time to go to Europe again. 2009 was a bit special as it was my 3rd Europe trip for the year. Don't think I will beat that record ever again.
11. The weather forecast for Seville was rain and thunderstorms, but not a drop of rain fell during my entire stay and the blue sky came out. The food was great and cheap. What more can you ask for?
12. No smell of blood in here today!
17. Street sharing appears to work well here. There weren't many vehicles and the trams came only once in a while.
18. These cloth canopies are quite innovative to keep the heat out but the light in.
21. I experienced the biggest early departure ... flying Ryanair into Frankfurt. Unfortunately, the bus on the German side didn't come earlier to meet our arrival.
22. For an advanced European country, Germany is surely not an expensive place to eat.
23. Racing down the autobahn at only 130 km/h, my friend suggested a wonderful stopover at Bamberg on our way to Munich. This wonderful small town had a delicious curry bradwurst stand.
26. If you asked me at the beginning of 2009, I would've said going to Oktoberfest in Munich would be an insane proposition. But here I was, in the middle of this beer event, while not paying a fortune for a hotel. We stayed in the suburbs. Magically, I didn't get drunk during my entire stay!
27. Munich did have some things to see within its city centre. Here's a green roof that deserves honourable mention.
30. Their city hall is stunning!
32. Beer me.
33. Driving further south and west, the German countryside was beautiful to explore. Here's the Bodensee.
36. The Black Forest was cooler and had a very different tone. The first stop was an authentic Black Forest cake.
37. My favourite town was Schilitach, which had a huge array of well-maintained historic buildings.
40. Upon entering France, the traffic stopped, potholes came up, and the whole cityscape changed. Strasbourg had a nice cathedral and old town, but getting into and out of the attractions was a nightmare.
41. Yes, this is France.
43. Bilingualism .. but not with English.
44. After a pleasant visit to Spain and Germany, I was greeted with absolutely horrible weather in Amsterdam. I had to go twice as fast when the sun finally came out.
46. The buildings are old. Some slanted dangerously, but considering they date from the 17th century, I'm quite surprised how good they look for their age.
49. Get your own houseboat and roams the canals of Amsterdam.
52. You haven't been to Holland without having seen windmills.
53. Find your elixir of youth. Psst .. mix the red and yellow ones.
54. Rotterdam had a completely different atmosphere. They're daring to try new things. Although neat to look at, the layouts are hardly practical and quite unpleasant. Architecture and livability don't always correlate.
57. Plane spotting in London is always fun. This Qantas A380 sat next to my flight back to Asia. But the terminal didn't have enough seats for A380 and 747 departures side-by-side.
58. Manila - land of security checks and armed guards.
59. Taipei is the land of good food. Street food is quite popular, and there is a street in the outskirts specializing in everything tofu.
63. Temples are always an interesting place to visit. The traditional architecture and incense smoke give some good photo-taking opportunities.
67. I ended the year in Shanghai. I had originally intended to go months earlier, but plenty of travel got in the way. But the timing was perfect. The weather cleared up and there was no smog.
68. My last visit to Shanghai was in 2006. As expected, there were a lot of changes to the city. However, the history remains.
69. Nanjing Road is quite well-lit at night. It gets so bright taking decent pictures without a tripod is not a problem.
70. The Urban Planning Exhibition Hall is an amazing sight, and I had to go back since I lost my 2006 set of photos. Check out the planned new supertall for Pudong.
71. Traditional China is also close to Shanghai as well.