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jaygami1986

jaygami1986
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      03.11.2009 10:21
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      Bondi Beach..........

      BONDI

      Bondi beach is perhaps the most famous beach in Australia if not the World. The glowing white sand, the cool breeze from the sea and the glorious whether make it one of the greatest tourist's attractions in Australia. Everyone will tell you if you are in Sydney you have to go to Bondi Beach, and they are right, Bondi is one of the best experiences a tourist can have.

      History:

      Bondi Beach is located in the Area of Bondi, which is in Vaucluse, Sydney with an area population of about 10,000. Bondi which is originally an Aboriginal word means "water breaking over rocks or noise of water breaking over rocks".
      Between 1855 and 1877 the area was under private ownership and it was used to allow people to come and use the area as a leisure ground and picnic spot. Eventually the area of Bondi and the beach was taken over by the Government, and was used as a beach resort area. The government introduced a tram service that took people to and from the city centre to the beach, parking area were made for which people had to pay, and construction began on houses within the surrounding area.

      Bondi is very popular with tourist and I think the main reason is that it's very easy and accessible to get to. The first thing that you might note is that the beach isn't as close to the city centre as one might think. It took us a good 45 minutes bus ride from the city centre to get to the actual beach. However, buses, trains and trams all go towards the beach and thus it's easy to get to by modes of transport. The bus numbers tourist should look out for are 380 or 382 or 333, the busses will notably say going towards North Bondi, Dover Heights, Watsons Bay or Bondi Beach and thus its relatively easy in that sense. The price of tickets on a bus is calculated by the number of stops you go pass its like most bus services. You can buy a Red Travel pass which is a week's travel pass setting you back about $38.00 and this gives you full access to all modes of transport.

      When you arrive at the beach depending on what time of the year you are their you will notice how packed it can be. During the summer months you can see a whole wave of people sunbathing along the beach and thus I would recommend getting to the beach as early as possible to get the best out of it. The beach itself is used for a number of things such as surfing, sunbathing, walking, and or playing sports such as volleyball and beach football.

      If you are a surfing fan, but have never actually learned to surf then this might be a great experience for you. There are a number of surf huts located in or around the beach that offer surfing lessons and surfing equipment such as boards and suits for hire. Prices varies from hut to hut, however be assured to always learn with someone who is experienced even if they charge a little extra.

      Walking is another thing that a lot of tourists seem to do on the beach. The coast line is extremnely long and if you are up for some physical activity why not takes a walk from one side of the beach to the other. This is a great experience as it allows you to explore the Bondi area in greater detail, if it's a hot summer's day you really do see some great sights.


      The Bondi Beach Market:

      The local Bondi Market is only minutes away from the beach and it's a great place to do some shopping for things that you may not find in mainstream shops. These generally include necklaces, beads pictures and so on. Clothes and food can also be bought from the local market, and this is perhaps one of the only places in Sydney were you can do some haggling.

      The surrounding beach area has a number of shops and cafes were you can buy food, drinks and snacks. You are allowed to eat on the beach however please note that any littering is strictly forbidden and if you are caught you may be expected to pay a hefty fine. Alternatively you could use one of the thousands of bins they have located around the Bondi Area.
      Cafes and food courts offer a wide variety of snacks, I even recall a café offering the traditional full English breakfast with all the trimmings, and this would be needed after a night out on the town. Prices are relatively cheap, and thus you will not be paying top end prices. Its careful to note that any money you bring should be kept with you in a safe and secure place, a big tourists hot spot like the beach can also be an opportunistic place for people to take your belongings, its never happened to me but its worth being cautious.

      The beach is a great place to come and visit and surely enough cannot be missed. The beach is completely transformed during the Christmas and New Year period along with Australia Day. Drinking alcohol is prohibited on the beach, however during these public holidays their seems to be a less caution about it, and most police officers tend to turn the other way as longs as you are not causing any trouble. During Australia day, the local music station has loudspeakers around the beach playing the top 40 countdown, and it really gives you a party style environment.

      Accommodation:

      It's even possible to find accommodation near Bondi Beach, however if you are travelling its worth looking well in hand before you arrive as places can be pre booked. Prices can be quite high; however this is expected as it's a popular tourist area with some of the greatest views around. A best place to look for accommodation would be gumtree Australia, which shows all the places available for hire or rent.

      Overall a brilliant place to visit, it may seem like a normal beach, but the views, the people and the laid back lifestyle make this a brilliant place to be in. The easy transport links make it easy to get to, and there is plenty to see and do in the surrounding areas. If you are in the area I would recommend checking Bondi Beach out.

      Happy Travels!

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        02.11.2009 11:29
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        Luna Park.......

        This next review is on the famous and historical Luna Park, which is located at Milsons Point, on the northern shore of Sydney Harbour. This is another attraction which has become very popular with tourists and even the local population. The park one of the best theme park style events in Sydney, which attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year.

        History:

        The park was first opened in the mid 1930's and was used as a theme area for guests to come and have some fun, open during the summer and closed during the winter. The park was also closed when the Second World War broke out, however reopened soon after it was over.
        During the years the park was enquired by a number of different organizations and this continued for several years. In 1995, the park was given a $25 million backing to reopen and refurbish under the Open Space and Heritage Fund control. Redevelopment continued throughout the years and the park was again closed for changed to be made, and once again re opened in 2004.

        How to Get To the Park:

        There are several ways that people can get to the Park. The park itself is located on Milsons Point which is near the Northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and thus can be accessed by taking the train, the bus or even the ferry. Alternatively you can take the car their and they have sufficient parking space, however they do charge, last I checked its $7 an hour.

        Opening Hours and Prices:

        The park is open at different times and this generally depends on the time of month you are going and the season. During the winter the park closes earlier, whilst it's open a lot later during the summer. Generally the Park opens at 10:00 am and closes at 11:00 pm this is during the summer period. Whilst during the winter period it opens at 11:00 am and closes at 6:00pm.

        General entry into the park is free, meaning that anyone can come down and enjoy the sites the theme park has to offer. However, like most theme parks it will cost you to enter each individual ride, thus they encourage you to buy a pass before you go on, thus saving money if you intend on going on a few rides.

        A basic pass will cost you $10, this will allow you access to one turn on all the rides the park has to offer, this is limited to one turn per person. The prices also differ for other parts of the park, which are designated as children's areas.

        Theme Park Layout:

        Although a theme park, the theme park does not have all the big rides you may associate with traditional theme parks, its more like what you would get at a fair ground with the occasional rollercoaster, a Ferris wheel and other small rides, along with park games. The park has several different and areas, which I have listed below.

        Big Top Area:

        The big top ride was opened in 2004 it's a big seating area, which allows guests to observe live shows, music events and on some occasions the local circus. The Big has been used for many big shows, most famously the MTV Australia Music Awards.

        Crystal Palace:

        The Crystal Palace Area is another event, which has been used for several shows and events including the annual BMX competitions that are held in Sydney.

        Rides in the Theme Park:

        There are several rides within this theme park/ fair area, and it caters for everyone from the very young to the very old.
        The Wild Mouse Rollercoaster is the main thrill seeking attraction at the theme park, and is one of the more popular rides. The ride itself can seat up to four people in one cart, which goes around the track at a very fast speed. The great thing about this ride is that it being so tall you get a view of the entire park, and the outer areas of the Sydney Harbour. The best views are during the night, when the city is glowing with lights.

        Dodgem City is a lot like what we would refer to as bumper cars, there is a large designated area, where up to 18 people at a time can ride these electronic cars and have some fun. There is a minimum age requirement on this ride for health and safety reasons.

        Skylab Ferris wheel is another attraction that is very popular with the tourists and visitors. The Ferris wheel allows you to have a quite and relaxing moment or to and is a peaceful way of looking at the park from the op of the world. Once your cart is at the top, it will stay there for several minutes thus allowing you to get a great look at the area. Cameras are not allowed on the ride again for health and safety reasons.

        There are also a number of kids rides, which are more orientated towards children between the ages of 2- 10. However I didn't go on the rides so can not give any personal observations about them.

        Food:

        The park has a area designed just for people to sit down and have some food. With seating available it means there is no rush to get up and eat your food in a hurry. They have several food courts offering pizza, burgers and fish and chips. An ice cream parlour is also their which a great selection of desserts.
        Overall the park has a great feel and atmosphere to it. It's a great place for any traveller to visit, because it's not very commercial, it's like an olden style fair, with the basic rides, focusing more on people having fun with the family and less about waiting in line for hours to get on a ride. The layout of the park is very easy to follow, with different designated to different types of rides and games. When you enter the park the first thing you notice is the big smiling face as the entrance. Its gives you a great impression of the park as being one of friendly, opening and welcoming. The deco and art around the park make it almost a national historical theme park and museum.
        The prices for individual games are reasonable and prices for food it not too expensive.

        Overall a great day out with either your friends and or your family, if your in the area I would thoroughly recommend checking it out.

        Happy Travels.

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          30.10.2009 16:19
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          The Bridge...........

          My next review is on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is perhaps one of the most iconic monuments in Sydney, if not the whole of Australia. The Bridge is the main thing that stands out when you first arrive in Sydney, its like their gateway into and out of the City, and with its sheer size, its something that people should take the time to look at up close and personal.

          History:

          The bridge has a long history, original plans to create the bridge started in the late 1890's however construction didn't actually start until the mid 1920's. The bridge's total length is a mammoth 1149 metres (3,770 ft), and according to the World Records book the bridge has the tallest arch steel frame measuring 134 meters (429.6 ft)

          The bridge is accessible by many modes on transport which include, train, car toll, and walking. The bridge connects two main sides of Sydney and is frequently used by people travelling to and from work everyday. Pedestrians are also able to walk along the bridge, and there is a section from which a train service operates. If your staying in Sydney for a number of days I would try walking and taking a train through the bridge because it gives you a detailed look of the surrounding Sydney area.

          Whilst staying in Sydney you may hear from a lot of travels to take the Sydney Harbour Bridge Walking Tour. My review is going to talk about the tour in more detail because I think it allows travellers a chance to see what it's all about.
          The tour gives visitors a chance to walk on the bridge itself, dangling down and allowing you to see some of the greatest views anywhere in Sydney.

          The Tour:

          The tour operators give you a number of packages that you can opt for, each catering from a novice to someone who is a thrill seeker, and thus the tour will be more intense and exciting. The main tours can consist of The Express, The Discovery, and The Bridge climb.

          The most popular and most famous of all is perhaps "The Bridge Climb", which is a 3 and half hour thrill seeking climb, which takes you to the outer reach of the bridge on catwalks and ladders reaching a height of 134 meters. This was one exceptional experience, because you get to see the whole city from the top of the bridge, the people, and cars look so little from that height. The views of the local Harbour, the Sydney Oprah and the city buildings are simply stunning, and its best to go on a hot summer's day as the breeze from the sea really makes you feel cool.

          Safety is a big issue on the tour as you would expect all safety checks are carried out several times and an experienced, fully trained professional is in charge of the tour. Please check that you insurance covers these types of excursions, if not the tour operators can refuse to take you.

          The ladders you climb are easy to follow, you are sent up in groups of 14 people, these can be people you have come with or other tourists, its also a great way to socialise with people as you cant go 3 and a half hours without doing some talking.

          Safety:

          Before you climb you go through a safety check, which also include equipment such as a jump suite, shoes, head gear, harnesses, head lamps and a hard hat.

          Prices:

          Prices can be slightly expensive but this is expectable as it's a long tour and it's got a lot of additional features they give you. During Monday to Sunday daytime the prices for adults are $198 and $128 for children. Alternatively you can go for the evening option which costs $258 for adults and $188 for children.


          I would recommend that if you want the best possible experience you should go for the evening tour as it really is the most breathtaking experience anyone could ever experience. You can see the city in the dark with all the lights, the Sydney Oprah House lit up at night is such a treat, and the bridge itself is also lighted up.

          You also have the option of choosing to climb at Dawn or at Twilight, which is when the sun sets, overlooking the bridge. This is more focused on couples and is packaged as a romantic experience, so if you are travelling with a partner it might be worth looking into these packages.


          Visitors Centre:

          If the climbing experience is not for you, then you also have the option of making a visit to the Visitors centre which is located neatly along the pillar of the tower. It's open for anyone to come and have a visit, and is free of charge. It's a great place to come and learn more about the history of the Bridge, which shows photos of the construction stages and how it looked during the 1900's

          Alternatively you could just as easily walk on the pedestrian access routes the bridge has, it's free of charge and also gives you breathtaking views. However, please bear in minds it can get noisy from the ongoing traffic.

          At the end of your tour, you will receive a certificate to show that you have successfully climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

          For detailed info about the tour, please visit;

          http://www.bridgeclimb.com/

          Happy Travels.

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          30.10.2009 12:17
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          Blue Mountains National Park

          This next review is on my time on The Blue Mountains National Park, located in Sydney Australia. A few friends and I had decided to hire a van and take a tour of the national park, as we had been recommended it by several people we had met along the way. I am usually a fan of national parks; it gives you a chance to take in the scenic view, it gives you a chance to relax and unwind if you have had a busy week, and you even get to see some wildlife. It's a great experience, which allows you to camp overnight, whilst also have a magnificent driving experience.

          History & Park Info:

          The park covers 267,954 hectares, which included several mountains and rivers along the trek. The highest point of the park is Mount Werong (1,215 m), and there are some breathtaking views from the top. The area became a national park in 1932, and ever since has become a tourist hotspot for people who like walking and hiking.

          How to Get There:

          There are several ways to get to the national park; you can either take a car, or a van through the major highways, which leads you into the park entrance. Public transport is also available from many stations across Sydney, all taking you towards the park.

          This park is near...
          Katoomba (2 km, 5 minutes)
          Penrith (9 km, 15 minutes)
          Lithgow (20 km, 15 minutes)
          Sydney (50 km, 90 minutes)

          Fees and Opening Hours:

          The park is open from 8:30 am in the morning and closes at 7:00pm daily, the fee to enter the park if you have a car or a van is $7 per day and is operated by a coin machine, so it might be useful to have some change on you at the time.


          The Park and Tours Available:

          The park has several tours that are available for visitors to take part in and this is truly a great experience as it allows you to get an in depth view of the natural beauty of the park and its surrounding areas. The guides also give you some information about the wildlife you might see there, what plants and trees there area, and some general information about the park, which you may not have thought about. The tours are also a great way to meet like minded people, who you can enjoy the day with.

          The main tour has several key features which include a guided bush walk, a night time spotlighting tour which gives you a detailed tour of the park once it's dark, allowing you to really get a feel for what the park is like during the night time.

          There are several other detailed tours, which charge you for the experience, these include a detailed tour of the underground caves present within the national park, The Scenic Railway tour which takes you around the old train tracks within the park, also giving you some insightful historical background about the area. You can also opt to watch a documentary in one of the visitor centres, which gives you a detailed background of the park, which the first settlers were on the grounds and how the parks transformed within the last 250 years.

          If you do some research before you go its worthwhile booking a tour with Blue Mountains Tourism, which again offers a wide variety of packages for things to see and do within the park. They also offer some great accommodation if you choose to stay the night in the park.
          The website listed below gives you some great info on where you can find a place to stay, thus making you journey more pleasant and memorable.

          Great Blue Mountains Drive is a self service driving opportunity which allows travellers and hikers a chance to drive around within the park, I often found this to be more of a family orientated and thus only take it if you're willing to spend hours and hours of driving.

          My Experience:

          I had a brilliant time when I went to park; there was so much to simply see that we had to cover the park over a period of three days. The tour operators picked us up from or hotel and took as to the entrance of the park. One of the first things that hit us was Jamieson Valley, which was a vantage point and overlooked a magnificent view of the horizon, the sun was glaring down on us, and all we could see was the rich green trees, which looked very moist and rich. You also get to see some rock formation, which really emulates the beauty of the park and its surrounding area.

          We carried on with the tour and we came to some very key points such as the nearby rivers which are located towards the bottom, it's a long walk down, and it's a great feeling when you finally get to the bottom and see the clear water, which on a sunny day allows you to see you reflection against it.

          The next point of stop was Three Sisters rock formation at Katoomba. It's one of the most iconic parts of the tour and consists of three rock formations with and earthy texture to them, overlooking the surrounding park, which has mass amounts of trees. It was at this point that we got ourselves comfortable and had some lunch, which we had bought with us. It's important to note that anything you bring with you must be taken back, they done accept littering and it would be a shame to see litter so be considerate.

          I could go on about the tour for hours, but I don't want to make this review to extensive, however if your going to visit the park, its always worth doing some background information on what you want to see etc.

          Happy Travels.

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          30.10.2009 10:23
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          Taronga Zoo.......

          This review is on my visit to Taronga City Zoo, which is located in Sydney Australia. I had heard some great reviews about the Zoo, and was told if your ever going to Sydney its one of the best places to visits in terms of finding out about the local wildlife which is indigenous to that part of the World. I was truly amazed, I have been to a lot of Zoo's around the world, however I found the zoo, more exotic and exciting to visits and this however could be because it was set in a beautiful country, which was experiencing a 40 degree heat wave.

          Info

          The zoo was officially opened in 1916, with over 50 acres of free space which is home to some 2,600 animals.

          How to Get There:

          There are several ways to get to the zoo; these include taking modes of transport such as the bus, a ferry, a train and a local bus operator which offers a return journey, which I think most tourists, might find the easiest.
          Alternatively if you have a car you can park in their car park, however expect to pay a parking fee in the range of $15. The bus or coach fair has several pickup points which tourist use, they offer a relatively simple operation, prices set me back around $10, if you need more information you can contact +61 2 9969 2777.

          Prices and Rates:

          The ticket prices for admission can varies and it is usually down to the time of the year you are visiting the zoo, however the last time I checked the zoo prices were as followed;

          Regular admission was $41 for adults and $20 for children between 4-15 years of age; they also offer a discount for senior citizens, usually in the price region of $25.

          I actually travelled with a group, and we had the option of doing a group booking, which offered us a discounted price, as there were a large number of us. If you are going in a group, which is usually more than 12 people then you can expect to pay $32, which gives you a saving of $9. You can also have the option of booking a one day or two day pass, which allows you to cover the zoo over a number of days.

          Zoo Packages:

          The zoo opens at 9:00 am in the morning, and to be honest visitors have a wide variety of things they can do, they have the option of either going around the zoo by themselves, take up some presentations or stick with a tour guide who will show you around the park in great detail, making sure you don't miss anything, whilst at the same time giving you some detailed background information about the animal, its habitat, etc.

          Some of the tours included in the visit can include the Australian Walkabout tour, which is a group tour which usually takes about 1 to 1 and a half hours long. The tour includes a visit to the Kangaroo, koalas, wombats, dingoes, echidnas and Australian birds. This is a great opportunity to visit these indigenous animals up close and personal, the tour even allows you to how koalas in your hand which is quite and experience, there is also plenty of time to take some photographs.
          If you have the time I would also recommend taking the Wild Australia tour, which again usually last about 1 and a half hours. This tour is more of a hands on experience, you get involved with the zoo keepers and also get a chance to see what happens on a daily places in terms of how they look after the animals, how they feed them etc . The tour starts at either 10:00am or 14:00 pm. I was gob smacked when I had the chance to feed the baby kangaroos, its something that cant be done in most zoo's and it really does add excitement to the zoo tour.

          The zoo also offers Animal encounter packages, which charge you an additional fee to get up close and personal with some of the most magnificent animals, these include, Kangaroo, koalas, wombats, dingoes, echidnas and Australian birds. The package includes and induction tour and a photograph with you and an animal up close and personal. Fees for this type of package are as followed; The Koala Encounters cost $19:95, Reptile encounter $19.95, Hold and Owl is $19.95, the Seal encounter costing $39.95 and Giraffes in Focus costing $19.95

          Animals:

          The zoo has a wide variety of animals, which you may or may not have seen before. However, I found watching these animals so much more fascinating because they had some nice surrounding man made habitats. We also get a chance to see animals that you can only see in Australia; these include my favourite's kangaroos and Koala. There are also a great deal of water inhabited animals such as hypos, which also adds some fear and excitement, getting a chance to see these wild and beastly animals.

          The zoo also offers visitors a chance to stay at the zoo overnight in their accommodation facility, allowing you to be in a jungle type facility, sleeping under the starts and being close the animals. For more information please look at the following link.
          http://www.taronga.org.au/western-plains-zoo/plan-your-visit/overnight-stay.aspx

          Food:

          The zoo also has several places were you can relax and have some breakfast and lunch, or simply some tea or coffee. There is a wide variety in terms of food and with a very scenic backdrop it makes it a brilliant and calming environment. Its very relaxing unlike some of the theme parks you go to where it's packed, busy and full of kids.
          The Taronga Food Market is a simple and convenient food hut, were you can pick up easy and quick food such as burgers and pizzas, chips, hot dogs to name just a few.
          For alcohol you can visit the local licensed Café, which offers some cold beverages, which go down very well on a very hot summer's day.

          The local zoo shop is also there for visitors for people to purchase some great gifts that they can take back with them; these include photographs, key rings, and post cards.

          Overall the zoo is a brilliant place for people to visits; it's a really exciting hand on experience, which is very exciting. The exotic animals, the scenic views and the hands on experiences you can have make it one of the most exciting zoos in Australia.

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          29.10.2009 16:47
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          Darling Harbour

          Whilst on my travels in Sydney one cannot forget to visit the iconic Darling Harbour, which is located on the western outskirts of the business district. The Harbour has been around since the late 1800's and is a great place for tourist's to come and visit.
          The Harbour has a breathtaking view of the city and the surrounding areas; it's also packed with dozens of shops, and entertainment facilities. Allowing tourists to really get a feel for the city, its people and the lifestyle.

          A friend who lives in the area took me to visit the Harbour during a sunny summers day, now considering everyday is most likely going to be sunny this is a bonus, as there are a number of cafes and eating areas located nearby.

          The Harbour is packed with dozens of places one can visit; some of the attractions I visited included, Sydney Aquarium, Star City Casino, and Sydney's Chinese Gardens. I will briefly talk about each attraction, which should give a general feel for the place, what exactly each attraction has etc.

          Sydney Aquarium:

          Perhaps one of the main attractions of the Harbour is the Sydney Aquarium, which had hundreds of visitor's everyday. It's not as big as some of the other aquariums in Sydney; however it still had a wide variety of underwater sea creatures. The prices usually range from $10 - 15 dollars, and in a whole I think it's very easy to get around, making it family friendly and enjoyable.

          Chinese Garden of Friendship:

          This was a more pleasant experience, because it was located outdoors, and with some of the most breathtaking monuments, flowers and trees. It's a place where you can come and unwind, have a nice time with the family and take in the surrounding area.
          The monuments, trees and landscape all symbolize the Chinese culture and the relationship china has with Australia, it's got a ice lake in the middle, which on a hot summers day, reflects yourself.

          Star City Hotel and Casino:

          Star City Casino is not too far from the Harbour and is the second largest Casino in Sydney. Obviously casinos may not be everyone's cup of tea; however it's still worth paying a visit, because of its size, its glamour and its celebrity type feel. For us it was less about gambling and more about finding a nice place to eat, as it is known that some of the best restaurants are located inside the casino complex. A buffet service is available at some of the restaurants, with prices ranging from $5 onwards, serving a large variety of snacks. The casino also has a vibrant nightlife, which includes several pubs and bars, which are open till late; if you are a party animal it might be worth paying a visit to some of these as prices are very reasonable; however always carry personal identification with you.

          Transport:

          The Harbour is relatively easy to get to with modes of transport including the underground train service and a short ferry ride, from the inner city district. The ferry only cost us about $4 which included a return journey.

          Overlooking the harbour and the magnificent waterfront you can also find local shops offering sandwiches, jacket potatoes and quick snack, making it an idea place just to come and unwind.

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        • The Dark Knight (2 DVDs) / DVD / 15 Readings / 15 Ratings
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          28.10.2009 10:16
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          Batman, The Drak Knight.......

          My next review is on the 2008, smash hit the Dark Knight, starring Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman. The film was the biggest smash hit success of 2008, grossing well over a billion dollars. The Dark Knight was a highly publicized film, largely due to the untimely death of Heath Ledger who played the main villain "The Joker". Heaths death had made this film to an even bigger success than it may have been if he was alive, add on top the great cast, the great storyline and special effects this was a film that everyone wanted to watch. The film was directed by Chris Nolan, who had directed the first film, which I must give him a great deal of credit for. His vision of showing a great batman film was great, having watched the previous batman films I thought it was so child friendly whereas this film and the previous one where more darker versions, showing the truth about Batman's life and the villains he fights in Gotham.

          Plot:

          The film starts off with scenes of a bank robbery taking place in Gotham City. Several robbers dressed up as clowns have taken over a bank and have started to rob it, however one by one they start killing each other, until only the Joker is left with the money. While investigating the bank Robbery, Batman and Lieutenant James Gordon consider if they should include the new district attorney Harvey Dent in the investigation, Batman feels that Dent is untrustworthy. The Police and Batman are teaming together to cut the crackdown on Mod related robberies and to slowly reduce the power the mob has in the City, however it seems as though someone is working for the mob, controlling their robberies and doing their dirty work for them. Behold the introduction of the Joker character who is introduced to help eliminate Harvey Dent who is seen as a great threat to the Mob, it's up to Batman to help protect him. As the story develops, the joker is responsible for many attacks, and an attempt to take the life of James Gordon. The film is a clever game of cat and mouse between Batman and the Joker, what tricks will the Joker have up his sleeve, will he be able to control Gotham and eliminate Batman and Dent, or will Gotham's Dark Knight save the day once again?

          Characters:

          Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne / Batman:

          Christian Bale plays the role of Bruce Wayne aka Batman. Bale done a brilliant job of portraying Batman in the first film, and again I think he did a great job with the second instalment. The character had two identities if you would Bruce Wayne and Batman. Unlike the first film, there is less emphasis on Bruce Wayne and more on his alter ego Batman. What really attracted me to this character was his emotion, unlike the typical superhero Batman is 100% human he has no super powers and thus can be hurt both emotionally and physically and as viewers watch the film they will slowly understand what I mean. Batman's character has a great chemistry with the Joker, they maybe enemies but they work well on screen together and go hand in hand. Overall a great portrayal of batman and by far the best batman we have seen.

          Heath Ledger as the Joker:

          Heath Ledger played the role of the villain the Joker, and I have to say this was his best performance in a film by far. The untimely death was a great loss to the cinema world, but boy did he go out with a bang with a spectacular performance as the joker. He personified everything Joker stood for, evil, corruption, death, and most importantly power. When you watched Heath playing the Joker, you almost get the feeling that the Joker is a real life person; he nailed everything from the walk, the talk and that memorable laugh. He was very cold, dark and calculated, he was there to create a villain that everyone loved to hate.


          Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent / Two-Face:

          Harvey Dents character was the one the made me intrigued the most, simply because as a Batman follower I knew what would happen to his character at the end, and it was interesting to see the transformation his character takes. Someone who was once a powerful person who stood for justice, but as something goes wrong, he changes into the alter ego Two Face. It was great the way the bought him into the film, and we are undecided as viewers as to whether to categorize him as a hero or villain.

          Final Thoughts:

          Overall a brilliant film that ticked every box, it has a great deal of action and suspense, the characterization of all involved was brilliant and they really tried to stay true to what the characters were like in the comic books. The film was easy to follow and thus we were drawn away from the main plot, and was action packed, so their was not a moment were you found yourself to stop and think about what was going on. The performance of Heath as the Joker is of course the stand out performance for me in this film, and that's not because he is dead, but rather because he was just so good. I mean anyone who can laugh like that in a role, has something going for him, he really looked as tough he was made for this single role, and he made the Jokers characters something that will live in our minds forever. If by any chance you have been away where there are no TV's then I think you should wake up and watch this film, its well worth the money.

          Running time 152 minutes
          Country United States
          United Kingdom
          Language English
          Budget $185 million[1]

          Gross revenue $1,001,921,825[1]

          Preceded by Batman Begins

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          • Prom Night (Unrated) (DVD) / DVD / 15 Readings / 14 Ratings
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            27.10.2009 10:11
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            Prom Night......

            Prom Night was released in 2008, and was directed by Nelson McCormick and starring Britney Snow as the main lead character.
            The film is a re release of the 1980 film of the same name. Hollywood has recently made a lot of horror remakes, notably Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre to name just a few. I hadn't seen or ever heard of Prom Night before this film was released and thus I wanted to watch it. From the name I got the basic premise that the film involves something horrible happening on Prom Night, and having a cast of teenagers starring in it you soon realize this is another teen horror film.

            Plot:

            The film starts of Three years ago, Donna Keppel (Brittany Snow) comes home one evening to find her father and brother lying dead in the living room. She goes to hide upstairs under her bead only to see her mother being killed in front of her own eyes by her former teacher. Since then the teacher was sent to jail, and Donna moved in with her aunt and uncle. Life finally seems to be going back to normal for this teenager under the circumstances; however she still has nightmares about the night she saw her whole family die. As prom approaches, her aunt and uncle want her to have the best possible time, the teenagers have planned to have their prom night at a hotel, and hope to stay the night their. All is going well until the sudden arrival of Detective Winn (Idris Elba). He comes to tell the aunt and uncle that Fenton the teacher has escaped from prison and is on the loose. The aunt and uncle are reluctant to tell Donna as they want her to have a brilliant prom night, so Winn agrees to keep quite about the escape and will instead have security present at the hotel to guard her.

            The kids start enjoying their prom night and things look like they are going well, until one of the gang decides to go upstairs to. She is soon greeted by the presence of Fenton, who brutally murders her and hides her body. One by one the gang notices the disappearances and something is horribly going on. Can the kids survive Prom Night, Will Donna finally meets her parent's killer, and if so what will happen to her, tune in and find out.

            My View:

            Brittney Snow plays the lead character of Donna Keppel, the young girl who witnessed the brutal death of her family and has never really got through that day. Her life seems to be finally getting back to normal and she looks to have a brilliant Prom Night, however it soon turns to death as a killer is on the loose, looking for her. Her character is the typical horror female figure. Beautiful but slightly dumb, I don't really understand why killers target these type of women, I guess their just easy to hunt.
            Her character was not a stand out one, did lack any emotion for someone who had lost so much or for that matter someone who was on the verge of being killed.

            The rest of the cast are just plain awful, this reminded me of a B movie I watched a while back, which made no sense, the plot was boring, the horror was rubbish it lacked any suspense and just seemed to go with the flow, rather than having an ultimate goal. Nothing about this film suggested horror, characters was plain and dull, music was awful and the violent ways people died were typical of most teen horror films we have now come to see. For me the best bit of the whole was the closing credits. If you are suffering from lack of sleep I would suggest watching this film, it will be moneys worth.
            Release date(s) United States:
            April 11 2008
            Australia:
            April 10[1]

            Running time Theatrical cut
            88 min.
            Extended cut
            89 min.
            Country Canada
            United States
            Language English
            Italian
            Budget $20 Million
            Gross revenue $57,197,876 [2]

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          • Never Back Down (DVD) / DVD / 14 Readings / 14 Ratings
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            27.10.2009 09:37
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            Never Back Down......

            This next review is on the 2008; film Never Back Down, starring Sean Faris, Amber Heard, Cam Gigandet, and Djimon Hounsou. I first watched this film on DVD, and again just recently on sky, so I though I would take the time to review the film. It has a relatively new cast with the exception of Djimon Hounsou who starred in Blood Diamond. I was a semi fan of this film, largely due to the whole premise of it being a fighting film, and I thinking it might be awesome.

            Plot:

            The basic plot goes as follows; Jake Tyler has just been kicked out of his old school for getting involved in a fight, and however he is just about to move into a new school. Upon arriving at his new school he soon find out that a student called Max Cooperman (Evan Peters) is getting beaten up by another student, Jake quickly rushes in to break it up, not realizing that he has just interrupted a street kickboxing match.
            The next day at school, Max invites Jake to come and learn martial arts from his instructor. Whilst at school Jake also gets invited to a party by the popular and gorgeous Baja, however upon arriving at the party he realizes he has been set up into fighting Ryan McCarthy her boyfriend. Baja however is unaware that Jake was going to be in a fight, and leaves disgusted with her boyfriend. The next day Max once again extends his invitation for him to learn mixed martial arts, in an attempt to fight Ryan, in a showdown.

            Will Jake learn to fight, will he be able to control his temper and what lessons will he learn. Watch the film to find out.

            Sean Faris as Jake Tyler:

            Sean Faris plays the main character Jake Tyler and his character is a typical American kid. Jake has gone of the rails with the recent death of his father; he now lives with his mother and younger brother, and has to learn to become the main father figure. He gets tricked into fighting and is soon humiliated in front of the whole school, he soon learns mixed martial arts and we start to see if his character can cope with the mental and physical hardships.

            Djimon Hounsou as Jean Roqua:

            Jean is the mixed martial arts trainer that teaches Jake how to fight. He's you typical trainer, big muscles, hard and strong. However, we soon realize that Jean is running and hiding from something, something that has haunted him since he was young. His only escape if fighting and teaching kids how to fight.

            Cam Gigandet as Ryan McCarthy:

            You will recognize Cam from the TV series The OC, his character was involved in the death of Merissa. Ryan is the typical bully type figure, with the exception that he is a really good fighter, however he doesn't really get the idea of self defense and rather uses it to show off. It's good to see whether he finally gets what's coming to him.


            Overall it was a decent film. The main plot is fighting so there's no surprise in that; however the best thing about this film is watching the fighting scenes and training. It's a bit like watching the Rocky films, it's slightly slow during the middle, but as soon as they start training and fighting it just lifts the film to a whole new level.

            The film has several morals, which do play a key to the whole film, once being taking responsibility, the other being always defend yourself and lastly Never Back Down. There is no stand out character performance as they don't really show any emotion, and this is shown in the film, however I suspect this is what the film is all about.
            Its worth a watch, but I wouldn't buy the DVD or watch it in the cinema, more a movie to watch if its on TV.

            Music by Michael Wandmacher
            Cinematography Lukas Ettlin
            Editing by Victor Du Bois
            Debra Weinfeld
            Distributed by Summit Entertainment
            Release date(s) March 14, 2008
            Running time 115 min.
            Country United States
            Language English
            Budget $20 million
            Gross revenue $41,624,669

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          • More +
            26.10.2009 10:18
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            Harold & Kumar.........

            My next review is on the 2004, hit comedy Harold and Kumar get the Munchies, also known as Harold and Kumar go the White Castle, depending on where the film was released. Ill be honest I loved this film from start to finish, it was fresh, funny, and easy to follow and I could so totally relate to everything that has, or was going to happen in the film. I am always careful about teenage comedy films, since the release of American Pie, their have been several films that have come out trying to copy and imitate it with disastrous affects. However, I am glad to say that this was not the case with this film, and it delivered everything I would expect from a comedy, whilst staying new and hip.

            Plot:

            The plot goes as followed, Harold Lee and his friend and room mate Kumar Patel hate their lives, Harold is obsessively bullied at work and Kumar is always living his fathers dream. Long story cut short, one night Harold and Kumar smoke some weed, which gets them seriously high. One of the main affects of weed it getting the munchies. Harold and Kumar see a commercial of White Castle burgers and decide that they must travel to find a White Castle so they can eat their burgers. So they set off on a road trip type setting. When they get to New Brunswick they find out that White Castle has closed down and has been replaced by Burger Shack. However, they soon find out that there is a 24hour White Castle open in Cherry Hill, which is a fair distance away. Along the way the two find themelseves in some tricky situations, which they quickly get out of. Coming down from their high, Harold decides they need to take a detour to Princeton were they can pick up some more drugs, and also gives them a chance to check out the local talent. Once they have got their stash, they again set off on their journey to look for White Castle. Long story cut short, along the way they find themselves in some funny and tricky predicaments, which they must try and get out of. Will Harold and Kumar find their White Castle?

            Characters:


            John Cho as Harold Lee:

            Harold is the first of the two main characters; he is an American Born of Korean decent. He is the more responsible of the two characters and always tries to stay away from trouble; however Kumar always manages to change that. Harold hates his job, and is in love with the girl that lives across the hall, but he doesn't have the guts to tell her how he feels. Everyone ate work uses him and makes fun of him, and he generally just hates life. However, he always has fun with his best friend Kumar, whom he enjoys smoking weed with.

            Kal Penn as Kumar Patel:

            Kumar is An American born with Indian decent, and is the second of the two main characters in the film. He is the more down to earth laid back character who always seems to get himself and Harold into trouble. He is studying medicine, however doesn't like it too much, largely due to his father pushing him into it. His main ambitions in life are to sit and relax, be a loafer and smoke weed. He is a character that anyone can relate to, their in prankster, and their inner child.
            My View:

            I thought this film was brilliant from start to end. It was such a simple story with so much comedic elements in it. With every scene and every problem the two get themselves into you cant help but laugh with humor. This film has the whole American Pie effect on people, and it's quite rare in most films. The film has comedy from start to finish, the characters are very simple and people can relate to them. The comedy segments can be over the top, and to certain extents very extreme, however it adds edge to the film, it shows that there is no boundary this film will not go to. It's a film that teenagers and young adults will have fun watching, however it may not be everyone's cup of tea.

            Overall a great film, which made me laugh from start to finish, it interesting to watch their journey to see if they will ever get to their White Castle.

            Release date(s) July 30, 2004
            Running time 88 minutes
            Country United States
            Canada
            Language English
            Budget $9 million
            Gross revenue $18,000,000

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          • Blade: Trinity (DVD) / DVD / 11 Readings / 10 Ratings
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            26.10.2009 09:49
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            Blade Trinity.... the third one

            My next review is on Blade Trinity, released in 2004, starring Wesley Snipes, Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds's. Blade Trinity was the third and final instalment of the Blade series which is taken after the famous comic book series run. I had actually forgotten about this film until a few days ago when the film aired on TV. I was a huge fan of the first and perhaps even the second blade film. It was fresh, with the times, action packed and gory, which is everything one would expect from a vampire based film, so I was interested to watch the third instalment to see what direction they would take, and I must admit that it wasn't as good as the first two films.

            Plot:

            The film opens with a script narration about the original Dracula. We then see several vampires looking for the tomb of Drake, who is said to be the first vampire, the original one who is pure and perhaps the only one who can defeat Blade. The pot then moves relatively fast, Blade is framed by a group of vampires for the killing of an unfamiliar, and is questioned in the FBI headquarters. The police who are corrupt are ready to hand Blade over to the Vampires, however at this moment Blade is saved by Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds) and Abigail Whistler Jessica Biel. The two are part of a group known as the nightstalkers a group who seek to kill and destroy all the bad vampires. Blade soon finds out that Abigail is in fact Whistlers daughter. The daystalkers have created a new bio weapon called Daystar which will kill any vampire within a radius; however they need Drakes blood, as it's the only pure vampire blood left. However, Drake and the vampires have a plan to doom the world and run the world full of vampires, can Blade stop them or will the world be stricken with vampires?

            Characters:

            Wesley Snipes as Blade:

            I am not sure about anyone else, but I personally think this character is Snipes greatest success. He had a string of decent movies in the 90's but this series really put him on the map. Blades character in this film is much like in the other two, his whole purpose is to save the world and kill as many vampires as possible. We saw a little more emotion in this film; with the early death of Whistler is mentor. However, I got the feeling that Wesley really didn't want to do this film, he lacked the motivation and desire and this showed in his character.

            Jessica Biel as Abigail Whistler:

            Abigail is Whistlers daughter, and is a key character in this film. We see her character early on in the film, and also find out the origin of her character. She is a carbon character of her father, protecting humans from the vampire world. Her character is a specialist in bows and arrows, however I feel the whole purpose of her character was to bring a female figure in this film, to give the viewers some eye candy.

            Ryan Reynolds as Hannibal King:

            Hannibal is also part of the nightstalkers group, however he was an ex vampire, who use to be one of the bad guys, however he was rescued by Abigail and has now turned his life around. He is the hunk type figure of the film, and is perhaps some eye candy for the females; he also has a love interest in Abigail. His character again is not really needed; I don't really understand what the need for him to be in the film.
            Dominic Purcell as Dracula / Drake:
            Drake is the original Dracula and is resurrected by the vampires to help them take over the world. His character is also needed as the nightstalkers need his blood to create their new bio weapon. He is supposed to be the big, the bad and the ugly; however I really couldn't understand his character. He was supposed to be the big evil, but I could even see that in him, he really didn't look evil, or act evil.

            My view:

            I found the film to be all over the place, they tried to have one central plot surrounding Drake, however it just seemed to boil all over the place. The characters were unreliable and predictable. This film was suppose to be about vampires trying to rule the world, however they seemed to make it more of a PG 13 type film, which is what really annoyed me. Characters lacked emotion they just seemed to go with the flow, which really made the film disappointing. Overall a poor attempt to make a trilogy complete, in my view the blade series only consist of two films rather than three.

            Running time Theatrical cut
            113 minutes
            Unrated cut
            122 minutes
            Country United States
            Language English
            Esperanto
            Budget $65,000,000
            Gross revenue $128,905,366

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          • Disturbia (DVD) / DVD / 7 Readings / 7 Ratings
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            23.10.2009 10:33
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            Disturbia ..... do you no who your neighbour really is

            This review is on the 2007, American teen thriller Disturbia starring Shia LaBeouf, Carrie-Anne Moss, Sarah Roemer and Aaron Yoo. I watched this film the first week it was out in cinema and didn't really no what to expect, Shia LaBeouf was a relatively new actor, and their seemed to be an influx of teen thriller, horror films which had been awful. However, always the optimist I decided to pay the £8.50 cinema fee plus £6.00 popcorn combo and sat back and watched.

            Plot:

            The plot for the film is pretty much straightforward, to begin with we see Kale Brecht a 17 year old teenager going fishing with his dad. All seems to be normal and he looks like a normal teenager, however on the way home they are involved in a tragic car accident and his dad dies. A year later, we see a screenshot of Kale in Spanish Class his friend impresses everyone in the class. When it's Kale's turn to speak Spanish he seems to be unprepared. His teacher asks Kale what's wrong with him and suggests what his father would have thought of him, in that instant Kale hits his Spanish teacher. In court Kale is given a brake by the judge, who rather than imprisoning him placed him on three months house arrest.

            Fitted with an ankle monitor, not allowing him to go more than a hundred yards from his house, Kale is restricted to sitting at home and spying on the neighbors. He discovers two new things firstly a beautiful new next door neighbor, who he is infatuated with and secondly a male next door neighbor by the name of Robert Turner (David Morse). Long story cut short, a disappearance of girls being brutally murdered leads Kale to think his next door neighbor is the mass serial killer. Can he prove that Robert is the killer, or is he simply becoming more and more paranoid as a consequence of being stuck indoors, watch the film and find out?

            Characters:

            Kale Brecht Shia LaBeouf:

            Kale is the central character in this film, his character is one who has been through some tough times, and as a result of having an off day he finds himself on house arrest for three months. Kale is a typical character, he's young, and most importantly he's in love with his next door neighbour, which is a big cliché for most films.
            What's interesting however is the portrayal of Kale's character, you seem to follow his journey but at times you question whether he is believable or not, has he really tracked down the serial killer, or is he just really paranoid?
            Shia LaBeouf done a decent job with this character and for a first major role he didn't do too badly.

            Ashley Carlson Sarah Roemer:

            Ashley is Kales new next door neighbour who also happens to be his new love interest. Kale is infatuated with her, being home all day he spies on her constantly and soon she realises. She begins to join Kale's investigation into finding out just whom his neighbour is, however she also has her doubts.


            Robert Turner (David Morse): Robert is the next door neighbour Kale suspects is a mass serial killer. His character is very slick, cold and calculated, I guess when you're watching the film you get a feeling that he is a bad guy, but he has a way of making you feel he isn't all that bad. A decent performance as a suspected serial killer.

            Thoughts:

            Overall a decent enough film which I was happy to watch, I can easily say I have seen better films, but with this film it was less about blood and gour and more about keeping viewers under suspense, for me its like a teenage version of Sherlock Holmes. However, it does have the whole idea of someone being confined to their home, can they really be trusted, or are they simply going loopy, as viewers you question Kales motives and start questioning that the neighbour is not the serial killer he thinks he is.


            Release date(s) April 13, 2007
            Running time 104 minutes
            Country United States

            Language English

            Budget $20 million
            Gross revenue $117,760,134
            Starring Shia LaBeouf
            Sarah Roemer
            Aaron Yoo
            David Morse
            Carrie-Anne Moss

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          • Swine Flu / Discussion / 37 Readings / 30 Ratings
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            20.08.2009 14:20
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            Swine Flu...

            Now you will probably here a lot of stories in the news about the widespread outbreak of Swine Flu also known as the influenza A virus subtype H1N1, which has caused mass media hysteria for some months now. Now many people may have or may be in the process of writing a review about Swine Flu, but for me i feel as if i should be compelled to write a review, because i am currently at the end cycle of suffering from swine flu, something which i have been suffering for nearly two weeks now. I hope to provide as much information as physically possible, as well as share my experiences regarding the flu. Why? Well because i no just how powerful this nasty flu can be, and my aim is to try and help people currently suffering from it, to try and give some advice and what people should do, and perhaps just make people more aware of what symptoms they should look out for, anything that can either prevent or help to reduce the effects of influenza. I will also be giving some advice about the Tamiflu medication i am currently taking, what the side effects are etc.

            Background Information:

            I suppose it makes sense that i do give the readers some useful background information about swine flu. Well Swine flu which is also known as H1N1 flu, swine flu, hog flu, and pig flu, is an infectious flue, which is most common in the pig population, however sometimes the strain of virus can be passed onto humans. The type of strain virus, which has effected thousands of people in 2009 is the Strain A virus, which is known to affect both Humans and Pigs. The strain A virus is the virus that has been the headline news all of the world in the past months.
            The first ever recorded date the flu first hit was in 1918, their was no idea were the origin of the virus started, however it soon spread throughout the globe and turned into a pandemic, killing 50-100 million people.
            In 1976 the flu outbreak once again happened this time in America, vaccinations were handed out to the public, however the fatalities were much smaller, with less than 50 deaths. The flu once again occurred throughout the 80's and then stayed dormant, until 2009, when Mexico recorded the outbreak of Swine Flu and then the subsequent deaths of the numerous people infected.

            2009 Flu Outbreak:

            We fast forward to 2009, and in particular April 2009, i remember coming home from work early that afternoon, turning on sky news and at the bottom of the screen in highlighted yellow it said breaking news: Swine flu outbreak in Mexico, hundred infected. Now my first thoughts were what is swine flu, i like to think of myself as somewhat intelligent, but even i didn't no what this flu was all about. A quick look on google quickly educated me and i finally got the background information on it. Days and weeks passed and the news was just constantly thumped on the whole swine flu hysteria, people were now dying, and recorded cases were now spreading to the US, and even the U.K, i remember hearing the stories about the UK couple who contracted the virus whilst on holiday, and i was thinking how unlucky for them. So anyway weeks pass, and its said people are actually dieing from this illness, mainly people with other health issues, but a death is still a death, i remember thinking to myself boy am i glad not to be a swine flu carrier, boy was i about to get a big wake up call. In total since its introduction in April this year, Swine flu has over 208,000 cases all around the globe, with a recorded 1700 deaths. These may just look like statistic, but it really does make you think just how many people have been affected by this flu, it only hit me today that I'm one of those 208,000 people. Now i find myself just being another statistic to this global outbreak.

            The WHO (World Health Organization) has suggested that this figure will rise dramatically during the winter period, and one should expect this, doctors and scientists are even saying that everyone is likely to be affected its just a matter of time. Words which will make everyone think OMG.

            My Story:

            This next section will focus more on my story of how i caught the flu, my journey through it, and what steps i took and so forth.
            Well like most people, i figured i would be one of the lucky one's to escape the flu, i don't get colds and flu's often, i always eat my fruit and veg, and thus i had the notion that i was safe from it, but i guess that's never the case. I got home from work on Friday evening, slightly tired, but that was not unusual, i then felt an array of sneezes coming out of my nose, and a slight cough feeling. I thought nothing of it, it had never crossed my mind that anything was wrong i simply dismissed it. Friday, Saturday and Sunday pass, nothing out of the norm, again light coughing, a few sneezes here and their but i thought i was fine, boy was i about to be smacked in the face.

            Day 4 Monday Morning the Start of Hell:

            Now why not start with day 1, well to be honest i had not felt any affects for the first three days, and i was later told by doctors that if you are infected with Swine Flu, you don't always no you have been infected until the fourth or fifth day, this is when the agony and turmoil begins. I make my way to work in the morning, i have a headache and the cold i thought i had was getting slightly worse. I'm coughing on the train, and people are just starting to stare at me, the feeling of people all just looking at you on the train is not a nice feeling, i instantly thought they think i am a carrier, but i covered my mouth and tried to not cough, hiding the cough at times so i wouldn't be looked at. Arriving to work i started doing my normal duties, again the headache and coughing and sneezing was their, so i took some tablets and thought nothing of it. Around 12:00 i starting getting a stomach ache, i made my way into the bathroom and started splashing cold water to keep me cool, all of a sudden i felt sick in the sink. I haven't been sick since i was 8, and even when i drink i don't vomit, this is when reality really set in, all those cases of swine flu, all those people saying you might have swine flu, it suddenly hit me. I went to see my boss, i explained my symptoms, vomiting, headache, high temperature and i was told to go home, and do the NHS online test.

            The journey on the way home was awful, it was hot, i was tired, sweating, coughing, and i even started feeling dizzy, no matter how much water i tried drinking, it was as if my body was trying to spit it back out, i knew i was ill. So i get home, and to my surprise see my mother at home, same symptoms as me and then i knew i had it. So next step i go tohttp://www.direct.gov. uk/en/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/documents/digitalasset/dg_178842.htm , and do the online test, answering the questions truthfuly, it was reccomended that i take Tamiflu tablets. It gave me a unique referece code, and gave me a list of local places i could pick it up from.

            The notion is that if you have the flu, you should have a flu friend to go and pick up the drugs for you, that's exactly what i did. My friend took the reference number with him, along with my ID, as well as ID for himself, it seems as if they are really careful about who they give it to, its understandable when people are selling Tamiflu on EBay, what idiots.

            So the evening comes and I'm tired as hell, i have just managed to eat one slice of toast and sipped as much water as i could, but my body just seems to have shut down, i bones and muscles are aching, temperature is really high, and I'm getting this constant feeling of being sick. I decide to take my dose of Tamiflu and go to bed around 8 o'clock. I manage to sleep through the night, but then its just one day so far.

            Day 5, The Pain Begins:

            Day 5 occurs, i am lying in bed, body temperature at 102, an I'm seriously ill, my body is aching all over, i felt as if i was trapped in a 100 year old body, i couldn't move, my arms, legs, shoulders were soar and tense, my rips were very tight, i was having problems breathing and i honestly thought i was dying. It took all but 2 hours to get the strength to wake up and go for a shower, i feel hungry and actually manage to eat 2 slices of toast before taking another dose of Tamiflu, big mistake. About an hour after taking the medication, my stomach starts hurting, i feel like I'm being stabbed from the inside, i decide to sit next to the kitchen, and their it comes, i feel sick again. Now i really wasn't sure whether me being sick was due to the flu or due to the medication. The medication does have side effects, some being vomiting and diarrhoea. I done some research, and heard that Tamiflu does have a bad reputation of being something that can actually make you worse, but i wasn't about to give in, i stuck with it and took the pain. Day 5 was the worse for me, the constant coughing, headaches were getting worse and my throat was so soar, all i wanted to do was sleep, which was actually suppose to be a bad idea. I rang the doctor and he said the best idea was to walk around the garden and get some fresh air, which actually helped me alot, it helped calm down the sickness and helped to get my joint points down. Day 5 was the worst, i had been through pain like i had never been through before, and as the night progressed my temperature was still at 101, i was hot and sweaty, we rang the hospital, and i was told that as my temperature was not as high as 102, and because i had swine flu, they said it would be best if i stayed at home, telling my parents to monitor me over night. I mean that just really pissed me off, i was 1 degree out of their required criteria and they didn't want me anywhere near them. Gradually my temperature went down and i started drinking more water, finally getting to sleep at 2 am.

            Day 6 More of the Same:

            Day 6 was much like day 5, however the only difference was i didn't have a high temperature, and the vomiting had passed, instead i now had diarear, and was getting more and more pissed off with this Tamiflu.

            Day 7, The days just get better:

            I finally starting feeling better, i could walk about, temperature was down, vomiting and diarear had both stopped, the cough, the sneezing and the breathlessness was still their, but i was told that this was natural.

            For the next few days i started getting better, i mean as i am writing this my body pain has all gone, and i only get the occasional headache, but its always worrying to no if your flu has actually fully gone. I rang up work, and made them aware that i was feeling better, but they insisted that i take 5 days to recover, they said it would be in everyone best interest, as passing germs on at work would cause more people to get sick and the cycle would continue, which i actually agreed with. The pain my body went through was enough for me to say that i don't want to pass this onto anyone else, i don't want to be responsible for giving someone else swine flu.

            As i write this article/ review or what ever you want to call it i find myself being one of the really lucky ones. I have read the papers and seen the news, people with no underlining health concerns dying from the flu, and i thought thank god that wasn't me.

            What To look For:

            Now people always ask this question and even i found myself asking the question as to what the difference is between the normal flu and swine flue. To be honest i couldn't tell for the first three days, like most people i thought it was either a small cold, or a small passing flu, the symptoms were not show able yet, i had the cough, the cold, the runny nose, but that's what most people think at first. However, when you start to feel sick, when you might be having diarrhoea, if your joints, muscles and bones are hurting, along with the breathing difficulties then i think you really should speak to the NHS helpline. The important thing is to get a correct diagnoses, you don't want to be getting Tamiflu if you don't have Influenza, because the effects are bad, as my article has noted, the online service is great i used it, but you need to answer the questions truthfully, if you are not sure then you can always ring the hotline, which is;

            England: 0800 1 513 100
            Scotland: 08454 24 24 24
            Wales: 0845 46 47
            Northern Ireland: 0800 0514 142
            (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

            Please try and ring as soon as you start getting ill, it is no good leaving it thinking its nothing because the longer you leave it untreated, the more your jeopardising your health as well as the people around you. And remember what they say, catch it, kill it, bin it.

            Remember the symptoms you should really look out for are;

            - Chills
            - Fever
            - Soar Throat
            - Muscle Pains
            - Headache
            - Coughing
            - Weakness and general body discomfort
            - Vomiting and diarrhoea in some cases.

            Medication:

            There is a number of medication that you can take to help prevent the pain and help the flu to go away, the common one's which i used were;
            Tamiflu, Night nurse, drinking honey in hot water with ginger and paracetamols.

            Night Nurse is great for helping to get rid of the symptoms as if it was a normal cold or flu, it also help you get a great nights sleep, and even if you are taking Tamiflu you can mix medication as i have been advised, but only as recommend on the box, theirs no need to over do it with medication. Remember, its about resting.

            Paracetamols are good to stop the constant headaches, which you will get during the flu outbreak, i was advised to take one every 2 and a half hours, never exceed what the box tells you.

            TAMIFLU:

            Now i used Tamiflu after i went through the online process of self examination, however you may have heard that Tamiflu has both a positive and a negative press about it.
            Tamiflu also known as Oseltamivir, is a anti viral drug that slows the spread of non-resistant strains of the influenza virus between cells in the body. The drug acts as a transition-state analogue inhibitor of influenza neuraminidase, preventing progeny virions from detaching from infected cells. In other words, it prevents the Flu virus strain from replicating and splitting up, thus reducing the number of cells in the body, allowing medication to attack only the cells that are present in you body. A lot of science behind it which i cant really be bothered to go into, but it seems it worked wonders for me, but not without the side effects.

            Side Effects:

            Tamiflu has a lot of side effects, which can include both stomach aches which can lead to vomiting and diarear. When i started taking these tablets the idea was to take two a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. Every time i took the tablets, an hour would pass before i started feeling really sick, my stomach would be in pain and i would be in the toilet. When you have Influenza the last thing you want is to be ill all day, who would really want to take medication that is suppose to help you get better, but in theory its making you worse for a short period of time.

            You don't have to pay for Tamiflu as its free for everyone on the NHS, however i am still troubled that children are also given this drug. The drug worked really well for me, but i am a grown man, i don't really no what the effect is on little children per say. I have heard stories were children are worse off once they take tamiflu, and i really wouldn't want kids to go through the side effects i went through because they can suffer.

            'Flu friend'

            Your 'flu friend' - a friend or relative who does not have swine flu - can use this number to pick up your antivirals from the local collection point for you. Your flu friend must show their own ID as well as yours.

            Acceptable forms of ID include:

            * a utility bill
            * passport
            * a credit or debit card
            * driving licence
            * NHS card

            Antiviral drugs - Tamiflu and Relenza

            Swine flu is being treated with antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu and Relenza. Antiviral drugs work by preventing the flu virus from reproducing - to be effective you need to take them within 48 hours of the symptoms beginning. This can reduce the risk of complications and possibly shorten the illness by a day.

            If the National Pandemic Flu Service or your GP confirm you have swine flu, you will be told where your nearest antiviral collection point is so your 'flu friend' - a friend or relative who does not have swine flu - can pick up antiviral drugs for you.
            Adverse reactions to Tamiflu

            In some cases, antiviral medicine can cause side effects, such as:

            * nausea
            * vomiting
            * diarrhoea
            * stomach ache
            * headache

            Swine flu vaccine

            As swine flu is a new virus, a new vaccine had to be developed to deal with it. Vaccinations are expected to begin in late September or October. And i guess once they have got the vaccine licensed and approved everyone will have to take the vaccine, however my question is if i have already suffered from the flu, and if i have already taken my dose of Tamiflu, will their be a need for me to have this vaccine, even just as a precaution?
            Vaccine priority groups

            The following groups will be prioritised in this order:

            1. people aged over six months and under 65 years in seasonal flu vaccine at-risk groups
            2. all pregnant women, subject to licensing conditions on trimesters
            3. household contacts of people with reduced immune systems - e.g. people in regular close contact with patients on treatment for cancer
            4. people aged 65 and over in the seasonal flu vaccine at-risk groups - this does not include otherwise healthy over 65s as they appear to have some natural immunity to the virus


            How to use the Online NHS Assessment?

            To be honest its actually simple to use and only really takes a few minutes before you get an answer, however if you feel you need to ring up and speak to someone then you should do that, i actually think that is also a good idea. However, to asses online go to;http://www.direct.gov. uk/en/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/documents/digitalasset/dg_178842.htm

            When you get to the main page it should read pandemic flu and have the picture of the British Isles. If you scroll down, their will be a section called (click here for your symptoms to be assessed), clicking on this will lead you to another page.

            First thing you should do is read all the information correctly, you need to read the terms and conditions and agree to them, but once this is done you have got the ball rolling. Each stage will have a specific set of questions which are carefully designed to asses your condition. I really would say answer them truthfully, if you have a cold condition but you don't have a headache or vomiting feeling then you answer no. The questions are different for both men and women, if your a women i believe it asks if your pregnant etc. Once the questions have been done, it will either say you need treatment or your fine. If you need treatment then it will give you a special cod, make sure you right this code down, as without it you wont get your Tamiflu. It will also give you a list of the local place you can pick up you medicine from with regards to you geographic location.
            Prevention:

            To reduce the risk of catching or spreading the virus you should:

            * cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, using a tissue
            * throw the tissue away quickly and carefully
            * wash your hands regularly with soap and water
            * clean hard surfaces (like door handles and remote controls) frequently with a normal cleaning product

            Remember please Swine Flu is serious, if you have it please get the help needed, try and rest as much and don't go to work the last thing you really need is to pass this onto someone else.
            Stay safe and stay healthy, if anyone needs any advise please contact me i will be more than happy to answer any questions

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            • The Ruins (DVD) / DVD / 18 Readings / 17 Ratings
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              17.08.2009 13:13
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              The Ruins......

              The ruins is a horror film that was released in 2008, directed by Carter Smith and starring Jonathan Tucker, Shawn Ashmore, Jena Malone, Laura Ramsey and Joe Anderson. The book was originally based on a Novel that was written by Scott Smith. I had the pleasure of watching this film, last week, and I was one of mixed feelings. At times this film was brilliant, a fresh new plot, which didn't have any ghosts, or villains, but at times it was hard to pick up the film, in the sense that there were moments were the film slowed down. A great horror film should be one that has a constant flow to it, one that constantly keeps you on the edge of your seat.

              Plot:

              So the film starts of in a dark cold place, the viewers see a woman, who is trapped in a dark dungeon type area, one that looks more like a well, or a cave. She tries to call for help, but with no success, she has her phone with her but she can't seem to pick up a signal, then suddenly she is dragged away into the dark by a mysterious force, that we can't see, I guess this is to add a great suspense and a greater build-up. So we fast forward now to a scene that is of a different nature, Two young American couples (Jeff and Amy, and Eric and Stacy) are on a holiday in Mexico, sitting by the pool, they soon realize that they want to do something exciting and different on their last days in Mexico. They soon befriend a young man by the name of Mathias a German tourist. Mathias lets the others no that his brother Heinrich and his girlfriend went to visit an unmapped destination in Mexico; he has not heard anything from him in days and wants to locate him. The group decides to join him; this is the chance they get to visit somewhere new and to do something out of the norm. The young German makes a copy of the map and leaves it with his friends just in case they go missing, smart move mate.

              The groups arrives at this location, and soon see an Aztec type pyramid, it's an extremely breathtaking view and something that will live in their hearts forever. They make their way to the top; the group soon fined an empty tent, which belongs to Heinrich. His brother soon locates his body, and the group soon decides that they should leave the pyramid. Upon making their way down, the group meet the local residents, who have guns, refusing them to come off the pyramid, having killed one of the members accompanying the group, the others have no alternative but to go back up the pyramid and wait for rescue. The German decides to go down the well, but falls after a rope breaks. The group soon have to rescue him and ring him back to the top, with broken legs and an infection, it seems he is not going anywhere at the moment. The next day things take a drastic turn, when the Germans legs are covered in vines, which must have come from the plant, they seem to be eating away at his body, and the group soon realizes why the locals want to keep them away from them. One by one, the group starts to become infected, and the story follows their journey for survival. Can anyone get off this ancient pyramid and escape the locals, watch the film to find out.

              The characters in this film are a mixture of people we may have seen in other films, it's not a big Hollywood cast, but they do a decent enough performance. The film for me is less about the individual characters and more about the man eating plants that live in the ruins. However it's clever watching how the idea of being stuck up their turns each one of them against one another.

              For me the film had a unique plot, you get hundred of horror films coming out, this one focused less on serial killers and ghosts and more on man eating plants. The film was written and directed in a way in which it didn't seem cheesy or lame; it gave us a real compulsion to interact with the characters. The films main focus is on survival, and how can this group of friends survive, and more importantly will any of them get infected, or will any of them get of the pyramid safely. The film can be slow at times, which is perhaps the only downside to the film, but regardless of this you still want to watch it, to see what happens, who survives and so on.
              I would recommend this film to any of the readers of this review, it actually inspired me to read the novel, which I have just started and hop to finish soon.

              Language English, Spanish, Mayan
              Budget $8 million
              Gross revenue $22,375,067
              Directed by Carter Smith
              Produced by Ben Stiller (executive)
              Chris Bender
              Spyglass Entertainment
              Written by Novel & screenplay:
              Scott Smith
              Starring Jonathan Tucker
              Jena Malone
              Shawn Ashmore
              Laura Ramsey
              Joe Anderson

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            • Drillbit Taylor (DVD) / DVD / 11 Readings / 11 Ratings
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              17.08.2009 12:33
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              Drillbit Taylor

              Drillbit Taylor is the 2008 comedy starring Owen Wilson, as well as an sable cast of young kids, you are not yet really known, however one of the kids is the main boy in the Ring, yes you no which boy I am talking about, the creepy, weird looking one.
              Now my first encounter with this film was when I ordered it office box office, it was a boring Friday night, back from work and nothing to do. I flicked through the pap per view channels and the trailer for this film just looked funny and fresh. I am a huge comedy film fan, and I have often liked most of Owen Wilson's movies and thus I thought why not give it a go and watch it, and I have to admit I was pleased by this film.

              The plot of the film revolves around Ryan (Troy Gentile) and Wade (Nate Hartley), to young boys and friends who are just about to start high school, however like most high school experiences, one kid happens to be fat, and the other looks like a total geek. However, they soon make friends with another geek by the name of Emmit Oosterhaus (David Dorfman). The three soon find themelseves with the biggest problem high school seems to offer, bullies. Two bullies, Filkins (Alex Frost) and Ronnie (Josh Peck), make it their ultimate mission to make these three kids high school life their nightmare. The three geeks soon device a plan to hire a bodyguard that will help protect them from the school bullies, they have tried talking to the principle but this has just made matters worse, and thus they have no alternative but to get some professional help.

              Enter Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson), a MIA soldier who now lives his life as a street tramp, living with his friends on the streets and trying to make some extra cash so he can fulfill his dream of moving to Canada. He soon realizes that the kids could be an ideal way of making some extra cash, whilst ripping them off at the same time. He offers his services for a reasonable price, and the kids soon accept his offer. He starts off by visiting the kid's homes, taking items that can supposedly help them in training; however he plans to sell them for the cash. However, he soon finds himself staying for longer, as he thinks he can make some more money off them, he starts teaching the kids the ways of life, how they can defend themselves and how they can get away from the bullies. He soon finds himself, pretending to be a school teacher, to help the kids with their everyday high school bully problems. Will the bullies take their revenge on the kids, will the kids find out what Drillbit is really up to; watch the film to find out.

              Characters: The characters in this film are brilliant, each of the three kids have their funny sides, which are shown throughout the film, and something which makes the audience laughing with tears. Owen Wilson's character is funny, some of his films have a habit of not being funny, but his character in this film, is both pleasant and funny to watch. It's quite interesting watching how he takes these kids for a ride, his interior motive being to con them. However, as the film develops he starts to grow and have a relationship with the kids, he realises that they are just normal folk, and they really need his help from being bullied, hence why he starts to go into school to keep a closer eye on them.
              The three kids are also very funny, and it's so typical that they have a fat kid, a tall lanky kid and a kid that is just weird altogether. The fat kid Ryan is the one that really makes you laugh in this film, first of all he just has the look that shouts out comedy and his whole manor and style of talking and acting is funny to watch. There are several scenes where he comes out with some of the funniest answers, the opening scene when his mum catched him naked in the room, and his response is I am a growing boy, just starts the film in a light mood. When he and his friend are practicing fight moves, this scene is perhaps one of the highlights to the film. His friend Wade, is the typical tall geeky type person, he's got the whole look that just scream Mcloving from Superbad. He has a love interest in this film, but he's too shy, and it doesn't help that he constantly gets bullied by the bullies. However, he's the character that everyone respects; he finally starts to stand up for himself, and this is identifiable as the film progresses.

              Overall a great comedy caper, it's got everything that makes you laugh, the characters, the plot and the relationship they have with one another. It's not the best comedy film, but its one that you would have no problem watching about 10 times, you can always have a laugh watching it.



              Budget $40,000,000
              Gross revenue $49,690,625
              Directed by Steven Brill
              Produced by Judd Apatow
              Susan Arnold
              Running time Theatrical cut:
              102 minutes
              Extended cut:
              109 minutes

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