Monday, December 28, 2015

US - Branson

I was thinking to visit another country during the Christmas holidays, but Steve mentioned driving to New Mexico instead. So, I searched for information about New Mexico and we planned the trip, but found that a bad winter storm was supposed to hit New Mexico and most of the places between there and St. Louis, so we changed our plan at the last minute, driving to southern Missouri instead.

Along the way, we stopped to see Stonehenge at the campus of Missouri University of Science & Technology (Steve's alma mater), in Rolla.  This is a half scale, partial reproduction of the original in England but, being on an engineering school campus, some design improvements were made, such as adding an analemma in the center and a Polaris (North Star) window on the north trilithon.

At noon, sunlight shines through the small hole in the plate on the south trilithon onto an analemma, illuminating the date.  

We also stopped briefly at Table Rock Lake before going on to Branson.

After we checked in hotel, we walked around.  All the hotels & tourist attractions along the road reminded us of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls (without a Starbucks on every block.)

It was sunny when we arrived on Christmas Day.

Most stores and restaurants were closed, some because it was Christmas Day, but many because it was off peak season, so they had closed until Spring.  So quiet.

The Titanic Museum

We found a restaurant that was open and very busy.

The next morning, we had nothing to do besides shopping. I found a small heart shaped dish (less than a dollar) in a big antique mall.

It was the first time I saw heart shaped dream catchers, they were in a gift store. I bought a purple one.   

It rained the whole day.  We still went to Silver Dollar City ($60+tax for adult).  They have several traditional craft shops - candy making, woodcarving, blacksmithing, pottery, etc.  In this one, they were making peanut brittle and fudge when we walked in.  

One batch of fudge is 60 pounds.  Steve liked this store a lot.  :-)

 A comedy Christmas show in the saloon.

A master potter demonstrates making pie plates.  The masters always make their craft look so easy!

The stores were open, and the indoor shows were playing, but none of the outdoor rides were running most of the day.  The train ride finally started running at 4:30 p.m., after the rain & lightning had stopped.

We had dinner back in town that evening, and while we were in the restaurant, we saw this red sign at the donut shop next door. The waiter told us that they give everyone who comes in a free donut when the red sign is on.  No purchase required.

It was true! We went in, and the staff was handing out donuts as people came in. Fun to see the donuts being made. 

Sunday it was still raining when we checked out of the hotel. We bought a Groupon deal for 50% off at the National Tiger Sanctuary ($25 per adult). We paid an additional $10 per person for the Feeding tour.  Most of the big cats here were rescued - formerly peoples' pets, magic show acts, and pay-for-play. 

This is one of their "homes", where they can stay dry & out of the wind.  There is an exit in back where they can go out to a large, outdoor area. 

Steve loves tigers, but the staff wouldn't let him go in the cage to play with them.  The tiger was sad he couldn't come in and play.

Steve tried to pass himself off as a tiger, but the staff was too smart.  They still wouldn't let him in the tiger enclosures.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Surprise points

It is free to sign up for a store's reward point system.  When you spent $10, you gain 100 points. 100 points = $0.10, and you can redeem whenever you purchase something in the store. I have been a member for a few years. However, I didn't like to go to this store because their checkout is always very slow.
 Last year, I got email notices that I got rewarded $5 in points a few times. Those reward points had to be redeemed within 2 days, otherwise the points disappeared. So, I tried to stay aware of their emails and go to get stuff to redeem the points.

This year, I couldn't believe they gave so much, called "surprise points". In mid-November, I was in Malaysia and missed an email, $20 points had expired when I read it. On the third week of November, they gave $12 points for apparel, I redeemed it as the above receipt shown.    

 The first week of December, they gave $10 points for women's clothing. I redeemed it and got something that cost $12.  I only had to pay $0.82.

On the second week of December, they gave $20 points. I redeemed it and got two pairs of shoes on BOGO, normally selling for $20 each, for a total of $1.06.

On the third week, they gave $7 points for men's sweaters. 
This case was funny. I purchased a sweater for $9.83, and the register staff found I had $7 points but he couldn't get the system to redeem it, so he wrote a $7 store credit for me to sign. After he keyed it in the machine, the receipt showed cash paid $7, two times (I think that was his mistake), and I had change due of $4.17. He saw it was not right, because I didn't pay any money yet, so he wanted me to talk to customer service.
The staff said she would do a refund, then repurchase, so she gave me $9.83. I explained to her: I didn't pay anything yet." She said: "I know, but I need to do the return first, then I will bill you to correct it."

 Then she billed me with the deducted $7 in points, so I paid $2.83, which was correct.

However, I still tried to say, "What about this money ($9.83)?"  She said "That's your money."   We both tried to argue with her, and she seemed to understand the problem, but she insisted it was our money because of the return.

Saturday, December 19, 2015



美男指的是K K。

我在檳城時邀Christy去K K的聽水廬坐坐。

Christy慷慨識做。而我送禮。算是祝賀K K。




Thursday, December 17, 2015


G Hotel 大廳的印度新年屠妖節裝飾美極了。