Follow by Email

Search This Blog

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Tokyo, at the Disney Parade


Seeing the people arriving at Disneyland in Tokyo, we can understand why Disneyland claims that it is “The Happiest Place on Earth”.  Since before the opening hours, many visitors excitedly rush out of the metro train to see how this place looks like.  Expecting a welcoming early entrance to site, their excitement dies out rapidly after seeing the massive long queues at the entrance gates.  

Everybody have to line-up in the long queues, kids, teens, parents, grand-parents, while they start to feel the Disney atmosphere during queuing.  Joy fully Mickey Mouse in his black tuxedo greets kids at the front garden, and their smiles are captured in the photos they make. Thus the long queuing experience is not so bad, thanks to the Disneyland’s hospitality and efficiency, as well as to the Japanese considerate behavior.  The long queues are even forgotten once the visitors enter the main gate of the Disneyland to a different world, a mini world from the eyes of kids as told in story books and movies.


But we can see that actually the number of kids is much lower than the number teens and young adults visiting the theme park, perhaps because the young adults are more mobile to go around while kids need their parents to accompany.  Surely Disneyland realized these numbers and provides a wide range of attractions to suit all ages and personalities. Here we can see that many of the attractions are made for the young adults, focusing on activities, ridding, adventures, and romantic musicals.  Further the adults and the teens can enjoy the nostalgia of their childhood by meeting Winnie the Pooh, Donald Duck, Sleeping Beauty after the rides on the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Indiana Jones  and the Jurassic Park.

 One of the most popular attractions in Disneyland is the daytime parade which features gigantic floats with Disney characters dancing to the music. The theme of the parade that time was “Happiness Is Here” which enhances the Disneyland’s claim to be “The Happiest Place on Earth”.   So to say, who cannot be happy watching the parade lead by Goofy on a horse, followed The Three Little Pigs pulling Mickey Mouse drum toy, and Pinocchio leads a magical train with Sleepy and Grumpy as passengers. Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Pluto, Chip 'n' Dale ride an enormous float featuring a carousel, canopies, and  Minnie Mouse waving on the back. Then the final float features Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse aboard a giant hot air balloon made out of Mickey Mouse balloons. The balloon is held up by Goofy, and Mickey and Donald wave goodbye to the guests.

It was definitely a memorable parade, the happy characters dancing to the repetitive music in tune with what Walt Disney once said: “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever."

THE END


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Dubai, at the Dubai Mall


Arriving Dubai at six in the morning, while it was still cool, at the world class airport, made us feel like arriving in a modern oasis in the desert. The dusts of sand were not visible, no one seemed to be sweating, and the fragrance of perfume from the local people dressed in their traditional robes filled the air, it smells like the smoke of incense.

Upon leaving the airport, I realized that the airport is practically inside the city, cars started filling the roads rapidly as people trying to avoid the traffic jams which would come in a few more hours, with the heat of the day.

Soon I can see why Dubai is called the business hub of the Middle East, the Hong Kong of the Middle East. Oil revenue helped accelerate the development of the city, which was already a major mercantile hub, but Dubai's oil reserves are limited and production levels are low: today, less than 5% of the emirate's revenue comes from oil. Dubai's economy today relies on revenues from trade, tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services. The most extravagant hotels, restaurants, attractions parks and beach resorts all made for us to enjoy the best this life has to offer.

One of the most sought-after leisure and shopping destinations is the Dubai Mall which attracted lavish shoppers from all corners of the world. Featuring over 1,200 retail stores, including retailers such as Bloomingdale and Galeries Lafayette, and hundreds of food and beverage outlets, the Dubai Mall covers more than 1 million sqm. It is the world's second-largest mall, a gargantuan complex with an aquarium, a virtual-reality theme park, an Olympic-size ice-skating rink, Gold Souk (Market) and hundreds of high-class boutiques and restaurants.

The Dubai Mall is structured like a city, with internal pedestrian streets, junctions and landmarks, integrated into the design and organized by wide, straight boulevards terminating at beautifully decorated junctions connecting the many shops. You can walk in the cool climate from Sega to Kidzania to the cinema, from Versace to Gucci at the Fashion Avenue to the electronic shops and drink, eat at the many restaurants and caf├ęs in between. After tired of shopping and stuffed with food you can go watch the movies at the comfortable cinemas. It really feels like walking in a city in an oasis in the middle of desert, where you see nobody is thirsty or sweating despite the soaring heat of above 40 deg C outside the mall.

THE END




Sunday, July 21, 2019

Ave Maria Night at Lourdes



The famous French writer Emile Zola first visited Lourdes in September 1891 and was taken aback by the number of pilgrims that visited the shrine of Santa Maria. He returned the following year during August, which is the busiest period for pilgrimages, and spent time with the pilgrims, carrying out interviews and observations to form the basis of his novel, ‘Lourdes’ which was published in 1894.

During his visit Zola watched the Ave Maria evening procession and described it in his novel: 
”Thirty thousand candle lights were burning there, still and ever revolving, quickening their sparkles under the vast calm heavens where the planets had grown pale. A luminous glow ascended in company with the strains of the hymn which never ceased. And the roar of voices incessantly repeating the refrain of 'Ave, Ave, Ave Maria' was like the very crackling of those hearts of fire which were burning away in prayers in order that souls might be saved. “

Every day from April to October at 5pm the Lourdes pilgrims respond to the request of Santa Maria by gathering for the Eucharist Procession. The procession begins at the open-air altar on the prairie across the river from the grotto and is led by sick pilgrims followed by a priest, bishop or cardinal carrying a the Holy Eucharist.

Then at 9PM the pilgrims from all over the world gather for the procession of Ave Maria of Lourdes. The procession begins near the Grotto and continues around the esplanade ending in the Rosary square. The procession is led by sick pilgrims followed by volunteers carrying a replica of the statue of Santa Maria. The focus of this candle lit procession is the rosary. All five decades are recited, usually in a variety of languages. The Lourdes Hymn is also sung, with verses in different languages. Intercessions may be invoked followed by the Laudate Mariam.

In the serenity of the evening, each pilgrim carries his or her own personal intentions as the Ave Maria song was repeated over and over during the procession lit by thousands of candle lights. As Emile Zola wrote in the novel: “The roar of voices incessantly repeating the refrain of 'Ave, Ave, Ave Maria’, penetrates one's very skin. It seems to me as though my whole body were at last singing it.”

THE END




Thursday, July 11, 2019

Ave Maria Day at Lourdes


Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees in France. It lies at an elevation of 420 m and in a central position through which runs the fast-flowing river Gave de Pau. Every year, Lourdes is visited by millions of pilgrims, they come to see the site of a famous vision experienced by a young girl called Bernadette Soubirous.

Pilgrims may visit to be cleansed of their sins and to be cured of their illnesses. It is believed that spring water from the grotto can heal people if they are sick. Millions of visitors come to Lourdes each year in the hope of being cured. The one of the reasons for pilgrims to go to Lourdes, is to bathe in the spring water, to be fully immersed into the bath and drink the water for cleansing and healing. The bath is a symbol of baptism and also strengthening the faith of the pilgrims.

The history began on 11th  February 1858, as Bernadette Soubrirous, a 14-year-old local girl, went out with her sister Toinette, and a friend Jeanne, to fetch firewood near the local grotto.  Suddenly, a lady appeared to her in a brilliant white dress tied with a blue ribbon; her body was covered with a long white veil that fell to her feet. This lady later identified herself as "the Immaculate Conception" which is an attribute of Santa Maria.

Santa Maria then appeared 18 times to Bernadette, and on 25th February She asked the girl to dig up a spring of water where none had been found before. Santa Maria told her “Go and drink at the Spring and wash yourself there”.  Even though this area was muddy, the next day, the ground flowed with clear water. Almost immediately cures were reported from drinking the water, and since then many people were cured by applying or drinking the water. The Spring water of Lourdes became popular because of the miracles associated with it.

What is particularly striking to the casual visitor is the number of sick and disabled people present in Lourdes. All those traumatised by life may find a certain degree of comfort in Lourdes. Officially, 80,000 sick and disabled people from many countries come to Lourdes each year. Despite their wounds or disabilities, they feel they are in a haven of peace and joy.

THE END