November 26, 2020

Singapore 2018

A lot has changed since the previous post (Costa Rica 2018): we moved to Florida at the end of October, visited The Hunters on Saint Simon Island, GA on our way down and added an new granddaughter, Evelyn, on my birthday (making 11 – grandchildren, not birthdays). In addition, we had visitors to our new home – friends whom were part of our Singapore book club, now living in Minneapolis and visiting their son at university in Florida. At the end of November, my son-in-law, Tom, had to go to Singapore to teach a seminar on film making and asked …

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Singapore (May 5 – June 30)

When we left Singapore, with Jenny and family staying behind, a return trip was in our future. We finally picked May 5. Our original plan was to leave Singapore on July 5 and fly to Paris for 2 weeks. We decided to wait until June to book the flight to Paris – good thing, since our plans were changing! Between the time we booked our flight to Singapore and actually got there, Jenny announced she quit her job and travel the world with her family! Her last day in SG was to be June 30 (a week before we were …

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The Last Kampong in Mainland Singapore

I thoroughly enjoyed a walking tour yesterday sponsored by the Friends of the Museums. The tour was called “Nostalgic Singapore”. We drove in a tour bus north from Newton Circus Food Center up to Kampong Lorong Buangkok, the last remaining kampong (village) in mainland Singapore. This kampong is home to 30 families with houses connected by dirt roads, built of wood with zinc roofs. The kampong dates back to 1956 with electricity added in 1963. The land is currently owned by Miss Sng Mui Hong who still lives here. She inherited the land from her father. The families pay about …

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Balloons on Vacation

Patti P. from Minneapolis visited Singapore last week. She brought Drew and Drake balloons one of which enjoyed some pool time. Ray and I gave Patti a walkabout downtown, including a reflecting ball sculpture. Drake got to show off the Tiong Bahru Market with it’s array of fresh fish, vegetables, and fruit as well as a local restaurant with a gelato case. A flavor for everyone. Patti treated me to a night out at the top of the Marina Bay Sands Resort and their restaurant Sky on 57 overlooking the freighter-filled bay and Gardens by the Bay. There even is …

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2015 The Year of the Goat/Sheep

Ray and I took a guided tour of Chinatown the week before Chinese New Year (CNY) to gather some more facts and legends related to CNY in Singapore. As with any media and market-driven holiday many of the “must have” items are not part of the traditional celebration. As newcomers in Singapore we have been asking everyone what we need to know. Many of the traditional foods and decorations are chosen for their names and what they sound like. Many Chinese traditions have evolved because the word for something sounds similar to powerful or fortunate words. The key CNY words, …

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A Visit to Arab Street, a Place of Material Beauty.

My inner-Hippie has been satisfied. A trip to Arab Street in Singapore transports visitors to the likes of Istanbul and Moroccan street markets: brass pots, hookah pipes, and pashmina scarves in every imaginable color. Arab Street is in the Kampong Glam neighborhood of Singapore and the home of the Sultan Mosque. Arab Street is where people go when looking for beautiful fabrics for dresses and decorating. In fact this is what prompted us to bus down there – a hole in Jen’s couch cushion. Each shop offers rows and rows of material beauty. There are tailors in each shop willing …

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Japanese Garden, Singapore

The whole of Singapore island is urban++. There are sky-scraping apartment buildings everywhere. There are also parks and green patches that help break up the concrete jungle. Jurong Lake is a freshwater reservoir in the western part of the island. Surrounding the lake are the Chinese Gardens and the Japanese Gardens. Both are delights to visit. Ray and I took Drake to the turtle and tortoise farm in the Chinese Garden last month. It was a very interesting exhibit and the rest of the gardens were great, too. That large tortoise with Drake was just walking around, greeting the visitors. …

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Pulau Ubin Saturday

We have been wanting to visit Pulau Ubin since we arrived in Singapore. Getting there is not very easy. It’s across the island about an hour bus + a 15 minute bumboat ride away. We made the bus trek once already but I got distracted by the beaches along the Changi Village shore and we never got all the way over. Well today we did. I kept looking towards the island and away from the beaches. We got there this time! It is an island that is cut off from the civilization-crazy Singapore. There is a small population living here …

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Home again in Singapore

Ray and I are back in Singapore filled with memories and jet lag. We were in airports and airplanes for the last 43 hours. Enough of that for awhile… Our Patagonia trip was exciting, educational, and fulfilling. We saw volcanoes, glaciers, and mating guanacos. We drank mate (Yerba Mate) like the locals, ate Argentinian beef and lamb, and met new traveling friends. We were as South in South America as you can go. Punta Arenas was one of our brief stops and is the last large city in Argentina however we did get to fly even more South into the …

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Hawker Centers (or Cooked Food Centers)

Yesterday, Ray had the opportunity of talking to a good friend from Ohio, Gil Reis. One of the subjects that made it into our conversation was about food and Ray mentioned Hawker Centers. These are all over Singapore and needed more explanation than he could do justice to on the phone. Thus… Hawker Centers were created in the 1950s and 1960s by the Singapore government to replace the street hawkers who were often selling unsafe food. These centers, or food courts, are now licensed with health and cleanliness standards set by the government. Compared to most restaurants in Singapore, the …

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