Gong Xi Fa Cai 2013: Constellation on Steroids

For a few years now, I took great risks shooting in close proximity to exploding fire crackers – thinking back, it may have been too close for comfort and not something I want repeated. So this year while my dad continued the tradition of lighting the long string of firecrackers, to entertain the kids, I stayed on the first floor appreciating what’s happening downstairs from the balcony. And, each year my immediate neighbour would light the first blast and what followed simply dwarfed every other fireworks in our area — Gong Xi Fa Cai and happy holidays everyone! :)

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JAN_5530A-WPFireworks lights up like a constellation on steroids completely canopying the midnight sky.

Breaking Dawn: The First Light on Board Royal Brunei Airlines

This incredible breaking dawn moment was captured on Feb 14 2010 at 5.53am on the first day of Chinese New Year which happened to be also Valentine’s Day. With our flight leaving Brunei airport at around 4.10am most passengers were fast asleep following an exhausting reunion dinner just the night before. I can’t quite recall why I wasn’t sleeping but I would have most certainly kicked myself silly had some other passenger capture this and I didn’t. Quite an amazing first light of the Lunar “Tiger” New Year 2010 — I first shared this photo on Feb 19 on Facebook.

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Inside the Taipei 101 Mall and the Wheel of Good Fortune

On the day I visited Taipei 101 the weather was pouring hard. According to my guide, there was a long line of visitors before our group all waiting to head up to the tower observatory but to no avail — no one was allowed up due to poor visibility. The weather had pretty much locked us indoor and since we’re already here at the world’s 2nd tallest building,  explored the Taipei 101 Mall. These pictures were taken during Chinese New Year of 2010 just in case you wonder why the teddy bear in the photo below is dressed in a familiar auspicious red outfit and generally red overtones.

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The Taipei 101 Mall is located inside the Taipei 101 and it's one of the poshest shopping malls in not just Taipei but all of Taiwan. The floors are occupied by major luxury brands I wouldn't bother to step inside especially after I've retired from wearing them. Without a doubt, this is where the wealthy are seen shopping while the rest of us finds comfort and normality on Level 4 City Square.

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Sales staff at Taipei 101 Mall snapping a photo of their Chinese New Year teddy bear mascot much to the delight of little kids.

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As with any tourist attraction, there's no shortage of souvenirs and Taipei 101 memorabilia.

The Taipei 101 tower is an architectural marvel with a rich background behind its design and development.

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City Square Level 4: This is Taipei’s most striking space for music, art, fashion, and entertainment. Page One, the international bookseller, makes its debut in Taiwan, carrying an abundance of titles in Chinese and English.

A vertical shot of City Square Mall featuring a glass roof through which the Taipei 101 structure is visible.

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The adjoining skylit café, offering French pastries in an elegant atmosphere, likewise makes its mark on the urban landscape. European, Japanese, Thai, and Chinese restaurants offer guests a refined, expansive dining environment

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My wife fills out a card with our names written in Chinese for health and prosperity on the wheel of fortune.

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The large wheel is filled to the brim with dedications and well wishes from just about all walks of life, tourists and locals alike.

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My wife giving the huge wheel a spin for good luck.

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"To mary a rich man and lovely" — I hope this woman has found her dream man. It's been 2 years.