Thursday, August 21, 2014

Little India for Dinner

Took the bus into Little India for dinner. Had no idea what to expect other than what the travel books mention which is the place is overpowering with colors, scents, and sounds. We got off the bus one stop passed where we should have so walked around a very sterile and quiet hospital and university campus area for awhile until we got where we wanted to be.

Cross one street and turn a corner and BAM right in the middle of Little India. Wow what a huge change in just one short block! Stores and stores filled with flowers strung on ropes, colorful garments, odd fruits and vegetables everywhere. One shop just seems to blend into the next, the sidewalks go in and out of shops without any differentiation. It's like the stores are inside out in some way.

We stopped to eat at, what else, an Indian restaurant. We ordered a number of things and got a metal platter each with rice and three different bowls of sauces with a few bits of vegetables in them. I thought we ordered butter chicken but our waiter must have thought otherwise.

These sauces with rice were very very good and the garlic naan that finally came was hot and tasty. It was a good meal but definitely different than any other Indian meal we've had.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hiking and the Natural Side of Singapore

Ray and I found a web listing for a green way that runs 26 miles through the center of Singapore. It's a former train track that is no longer in use. Info on the green way was a bit sketchy so not a tourist spot. So we fumbled around after getting off the MRT and kind of found it by accident behind a Hindu temple.

Travelers Palm
By the time we found the green way, I was hot and sweaty already. Because the path was a former railroad line there are no trees or any form a shade other than the occasional bridge. We only saw about a dozen other people the whole 2 hours or so hike. Great flora – saw a traveler's palm tree that I've never seen before, kind of looks like a peacock tail – but very minimal fauna – hear loads of birds but never quite seen then except for pigeons. It's almost like the Singaporeans have filed wildlife into the zoo habitat to keep them out of their daily lives. Loads of butterflies and the biggest blackest bumblebee I've ever seen.

Took us almost as long to find a way out of the green way  and back in civilization as it did to find our way in. We ended up in a neighborhood called Holland which is single family dwellings that look much like high price Florida homes, gated and manicured.

Like I mentioned this green way extends for over 26 miles so we only scratched the surface. Next time we go back we will try to map out our course a bit better. The Google Maps mapping app is spotty here at best and always seem to not respond at the worse possible time – like when sweat is dripping in our eyes and we have finished off the last of our water and just want to get into an air conditioned spot.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Moved into Apartment in Tiong Bahru

Looking our through the
Thought you'd enjoy this article from a free local newspaper I picked up this morning.

I love the line "They struggled to contain their indifference". HA!

We have moved into our one bedroom apartment Friday night. We've been nesting on and off for the last few days, unpacking and buying stuff not being shipped over. The apartment is nice and roomy and very 60s in style with a little bit of Art Deco flavor to it.

The oddest thing is the kitchen. It is not part of the air conditioned area. It is in a long room behind a door that also houses the washer and dryer but the one end is open to the outside. The kitchen does not have hot water.

Ray was as happy as a clam once the cable and internet was installed. He's a man of simple needs.

The larger apartments with 2-3 bedrooms also has an additional room off of this kitchen area for the live in maid which is very common. I think Jens place has an extra room. She'll be moving in end of the week.

Tom and the kids are hear until Friday. They are doing the sightseeing world-wind tour stuff. They will just be getting over jet lag before flying home.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Misc. Singapore Impressions and Thoughts

It's funny being in a foreign country for awhile how easy it is to get used to not understanding surrounding conversations. I always thought it would bother me to not be able to eves drop. After almost 2 months out of the US Ray and I both were startled when hearing:

"Remember the pizza we had in Vermont?"

It will probably be a snippet of conversation we will remember.We never saw the couple and I'm not even sure where we were but I do remember how my ears perked up.

How many aisles of steam irons or coffee pots do you really need to choose from? Mustafa Center is on many of the “must visit” lists in Singapore for it's unique shopping experience. We were overwhelmed by not only the variety of items on sale and the amount of each one to pick from but underwhelmed by the visit. It was too much of everything.

A little Singaporean
We are settling into our one bedroom apartment over the past week. It's nice and roomy and has everything we need. The kitchen is a bit odd though. It is not part of the air conditioned rooms but is open to the outside. It's a long room with the kitchen at one end and the washer and dryer at the other which is where the open end is. It is an odd environment but one that I've gotten used to. There is no oven so guess I'll have to figure out another way to make Thanksgiving turkey.

Smog here isn't too bad in August although it is hazy some mornings and I do clean crusties out of my eyes from time to time. Everywhere we walk we see metal cans burning prayer money and fat piles of printed paper. Not sure yet if it's Hindu or Buddhist groups but it's everywhere. I feel that is where most of the haze comes from.

Things are expensive but better prices are around if you look hard enough. The S'poreans love to shop and eat, that's for sure.