Archives for category: Uncategorized

We are not in Singapore any more but the adventures continue.

If you are interested pop along to http://www.sarahisnotinjoochiat.wordpress.com

Easy

x

Advertisements

waterpotplant

It’s rainy season. With bells on. It is marginally, fractionally, just a smidge cooler though after a blustery shower which makes wandering around a little less hot and bothersome. In fact, I actually felt a bit chilly the other day. Saying that though, today is a scorcher!

Now, Minx is saying that she isn’t getting a feel of Singapore from the photos I am sending home. I should point out that we lived out here as a family 40 years ago and the Singapore my mother loves so much is gone. Maybe that is why I spend so much time looking for ‘old’ Singapore, perhaps it is some early childhood memory I’m trying to find.

This photo perfectly sums up the change. Gentrification is everywhere. I don’t mind that, I just wish it always didn’t all look the same. I wonder if these neighbours speak. I doubt it somewhow.

old and new

Shopping malls are another part of Singapore life – the largest one I have ever been to in my life is called Vivo City at Harbourfront. It is absolutely enormous. It’s the kind of place that I go to thinking ‘Let’s go to Vivo City, all the shops are in one place, brilliant idea’. Then you get there and realise that the shop you want is 5 escalators and about 2km away from the entrance. Bleugh. The last time we went there Dom was going up an escalator in a daydream and looked at the brushes at the side of the step bit. You know the ones I mean – the bristles that stop any rubbish getting stuck in the sides. Dom thought ‘I wonder if that feels nice if you brush your foot against the bristles’. Of course the pharmacist is MILES away from where you are as your foot gets sliced and bleeds everywhere…. Millie rightly said ‘You won’t do that again, will you daddy!’

Away from the malls though, if you look down side streets you can still see old shophouses open for business. How long they will survive? Who knows. I love them. On a hot (or rainy day) you can walk under the archways keeping cool in the shade.

hardware store

greengrocers

I also want to find the painters that, when refurbishing yet another row of shophouses into posh residences, didn’t paint over this. So grateful.

lucky book store

lucky book store close up

In my quest for space, we took the kids around Macritchie Resevoir. I wonder how much of this has been recently man-made or if it has been preserved as part of Singapore heritage? The following are some pics from there. Hard to believe this is in the middle of Singapore. I am going to point out though that it took a great deal of patience (which I deeply lack) to take pictures without hordes of people in it. The walkers, families, trail runners and meanderers make this a less restful place than it looks…

view from tree top walk

monkey

macritchie resevoir

Singapore now. Singapore then.

I like to think I’m quite adventurous about what I eat but actually, I’m not. So far I’ve had some wonderful food and I’ve avoided what is possibly still wonderful food, I just have no intention of eating it. Ever.

The first – Yes, it’s the fish head curry. I’m sure it’s delicious and it’s a local speciality. This place is always packed and I keep telling myself to go and experience it but then that little voice in my head sings…. Pop goes the eyeballs.

fish head curry

The second is another speciality restaurant that we see as we stroll to the shops. There are two tanks outside – one is full of live crabs (Chill crab, don’t mind if I do!), the other is full of frogs. The kids think these are pets and Ned is quite keen to keep one in the shower. I don’t have the heart to tell him they are the key ingredient in Frog Porridge. It almost sounds like you’d eat it in a michelin starred restaurant as a taste sensation and not in a backstreet cafe for breakfast. Either way I’m going to complete my time in Singapore without consuming a frog or keeping one as a pet.

When I was in Japan I was taken out by one of my lovely group of ladies that lunch (and study English conversation really half-heartedly) and they insisted I ate a live sea urchin as part of a posh lunch. I’ve never quite recovered. I definitely remember drinking barrels of beer to wash it down, and then singing a lot of karaoke and after that it all fades into a distant hazy fishy drunken memory.

On the flipside

One of the best things I’ve eaten here is at a chain of restaurants called Din Tai Fung. (This chain is also in New York and Australia making it less exotic as I write). It serves Taiwanese steamed buns amongst other things called xiaolongbao. I was taken here by Aly from Thailand and her gorgeous mother when she visited Singapore from Chiang Mai. There are some people in life that are real ‘ladies’, proper ladies, and Aly’s mother is one of them. When we entered the restaurant you can see the chefs preparing these tiny buns ready to steam. Our conversation went roughly like this.

Aly’s mum: I wish someone had told me how to eat these when I first came here as I totally didn’t know what to do!
Me: (Feeling very suspicious that there was going to be a sea urchin involved) What’s the deal?
Aly’s mum: Well I was hungry and popped the whole thing in my mouth and bit it. And you know they very cleverly insert soup in to it so I scalded my mouth and ran around the restaurant screaming. We’ll get Aly to show you how to eat them as I’m a bit clumsy at it.
Me: Aly, how do I eat the soupy bun without squirting it over your mum?

So it transpires that you lift it delicately out of the steamer into your spoon where you then carefully insert your chopstick into it piercing the bun. The soup then streams onto your spoon. You then sip the soup and eat the bun. Delicious! And in all the countries I’ve visited no one has ever told me how not to make a total arse of myself in public so beautifully.

dai tai fung

temple

Best advice I was ever given; to discover a place you need to get lost in it. I didn’t particularly need this advice because I have raised wandering aimlessly to a new art form.

I recommend it.

Last night we took an accidental left and saw this Hindu temple on a suburban road.

Singapore is not what you think.

The summer holidays are rolling on here as the deadly duo start school at the beginning of August. They are like animals that have come out of hibernation a little bit too soon and have struggled going from the freezing UK to hot, hot Singapore. (As have I). Finding your way around a new place on the hunt for things to do can be a challenge… here are my top four places for lazy mothers of the summer (so far).

Our Pool. Lucky that we are to live in a condo with two pools I can officially record that it takes an eight year old and a six year old exactly one month to utter the words ‘nah, I don’t feel like swimming today’ after swimming twice a day for the past four weeks.

Singapore Art Museum. Free for them (always a bonus) and the kids summer art program was a surprise hit. I think it was the room where you sit on a bed and it spins through the wall taking you into a 3D nightmare that did it.

climbing the beanstalk

Botanic Gardens. Another freebie, wahey! I’m not going to lie I am heading back here the day they start school by myself. I enjoyed it more than they did, but you know, give and take and all that….

black swan1

The Beach. Hhmmm, jury is out. We live near the East Coast – it’s man-made; it shows. The kids ask if they can swim in the sea, ‘not if you have all the vaccinations in the world’ is my reply. The horizon is full of tankers queueing to get in to the harbour and the water is a grungy brown. Singapore, so famous for its draconian approach to gum, does not have the same policy towards dog poop. Kids love it, so there you go.

millie on the beachNed at the beach

GoanImports.com

Learn Goan and Indian Recipes

run ragged

a view from the middle

Ultra Runner Girl

Writing about running, war zones, and everything in between

Eat. Drink. Be Healthy.

The real scoop on how to live healthy without giving up the foods you love.

The Art of Running Slowly

A runner's meanderings.

Andie Duncan : Motherload VO

Where smart, silly and serious play extremely well together.

Did You Make That?

Leading UK sewing blog where we believe creativity is contagious

Lyrical Meanderings

Why get to the point when you can go around...

Alena Dillon

writer, snorter, sitcom watcher

a woven life

a parenting and lifestyle blog

catching days

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." Annie Dillard

Call of the Siren

Answer the Call to be a Writer. Don't Ignore It.