Archives for the month of: June, 2013

rambutan

This first appeared on my facebook page when we first arrived. It is now here by popular demand. (Excuse me Facebook people for the repitition!)

So, the kids and I make a solo flight to do a ‘big’ shop. Go to Giant (aptly named) – think Asda, definitely not Waitrose. I am minding my own business yelling at the children, as you do, when an octogenarian Chinese Singaporean Granny accosts me. After much hand waving and shrugging, I work out that she wants my stamps from the check out (think co-op green stamps of old). I don’t believe I said yes, but she joins us anyway. She then waves her arms at me which translates loosely as ‘why are you buying that, you should have rambutan’. I wave furiously back that if she wants to come home with me and make them eat it, great, but I’d rather have my original choice of kiwi fruit. And so it continues.. She then mimes to the children that if they eat all the crap in the trolley they will have teeth like hers. Ned is by now completely sold on the ancient granny with no teeth. I decide to leave them with the trolley and our hijacker while I run around and grab some stuff. I come back to the trolley to see her loudly applauding Millie’s choice of Hello Kitty toilet paper and into the trolley it goes. I then hear much tutting and sharp intakes of breath as I put the beer in, thinking shit, I want gin too. I give up. I will save you the turmoil that was the checkout but our granny got 10 stamps for her pain. As Ned and Millie wave goodbye I point out that I don’t know why they are laughing as they are having rambutan on hello kitty loo roll for lunch………….

Tapas

We had a babysitter, I was wearing lipstick, so it can only mean one thing – a night out! On a recommendation from a family on our condo who actually have a social life we were told to go to mooch around Duxton Hill and particularly to go to a certain tapas bar.

Now, as we know, Dom has had 9 months here as a bachelor boy before the kids and I arrived to cramp his style so he begins to tell me about another place near Duxton Hill.

Dom “You go into a bookshop and get a password and then go into another part of the bookshop and have to give a password, they press a book in the wall and a secret door opens and lets you into a bar.”

Me “A speakeasy! OHMYGOD – LET’S GO!

Dom “It’s only 8pm, we are sober and hungry and have to be home by 11pm”

Me “Dammit”

So we go to the coolest tapas bar. And it was full of very fragrant, beautiful people. Whenever someone wafted past you, you were hit by a sniff of expensive perfume and Elnett. A glass of bubbles later and we ordered a few plates. Tapas are great for the rich and eternally thin as you can get away with clearing your plate with one mouthful, declaring you are full and still pay the same price as a full blown meal. Saying that, the evening was worth every one of our hard earned pennies. Recommend it for people-watching/lovely ambience. For those in Singapore it was Sabio.

Afterward we went to a bar for a last drink which will remain nameless because it was oh so awful in how hard it was trying; and then headed back home. On the way we decided we were hungry – alas the downside of tapas – so we did a quick pitstop on the Joo Chiat Road for a bowl of noodles and a Tiger Beer in our favourite street cafe and watched our local nightlife – more on that later….

waterliliessausage buildingat the top

When you think of expat, you think of a gilded existence – a relocation package, a huge condo in Holland village and money to burn – well we don’t. Not even a smidge. Yep, we are the shoestring expats. Can Singapore be done on a budget?

So we head out to another the Bond Street of Singapore – Marina Bay Sands. It is jaw dropping, unashamedly exclusive and well, dangerously teetering on twee. There is a gondola taking people down a ‘river’ between the shops. And the shops – Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Ferrari, Gucci and Clarks shoes (I know, that’s what I thought.) Walking through it was enough – it makes you want to brush your hair and put lipstick on. Once you are out you are by the broken eggshell building – named by Millie – which houses the Art/Science museum. One Egyptian exhibition later we wandered down to the Marina Sands Hotel. It’s the 57 floor skyscraper with the sausage/ spaceship on the top. This is where it pays to be cheeky. At the top we ‘fessed up we weren’t hotel guests but this is Singapore so we were invited to go to the viewing point (and they didn’t look us up and down in that snooty way that Parisiens definitely do best). At the top? An infinity pool and a bar of course! Y’know, it was slightly hectic, very noisy and jam packed with Chinese and Japanese tourists. For all the money in the world people……….

As we walk out there is a boy of six swinging a Fendi bag. The urge to grab him by his Ralph Lauren collar and peek in his bag just to see what a kid would want from Fendi is OVERWHELMING so I know it’s time to go back to Joo Chiat Lane.

joo chiat road

Things I have learnt since arriving in Joo Chiat:

  • It’s a hotch potch of shops, street cafes, posher restaurants and karaoke bars. By day, it’s artisan bakeries (baguettes on a weekend morning with a takeaway latte), my favourite Vietnamese cafe with it’s bowls of herb filled noodles, home-made ice cream shops and bucket supermarkets.
  • If you shut your kitchen window and cut a baby gekko clean in half, it is a lot like snapping a kit kat.
  • It is stressful finding a live gekko in your underwear drawer. Almost contemplated not wearing any but that would guarantee falling over in the street (every surface is a trip hazard and I am super clumsy).
  • Everyone likes to chat; it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s not the same language.
  • Kids are like chameleons and adapt much easier than their mother.

And lastly, in the UK you think nothing of a 30 minute walk to anywhere (usually to warm up), here you can last for 10 minutes before you wilt. Literally.

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