Previous month:
September 2011
Next month:
November 2011

Our big surprise.....we are moving to Singapore!

 

Singapore 147

Oh......the excitement begins!  D was offered a job in Singapore and we accepted!  We move mid-December.   Yes - in two months!!!   Yipes....I am so excited about our new adventure but also very sad to be leaving Brussels earlier than originally planned.  And no, I never imagined we would live in Asia - let alone Singapore!

Donald's new region will include:  Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Australia, and New Zealand.  Some very interesting travel!


Singapore 82

 

A few facts about Singapore:

 

1)  Singapore  is a city and a country.  It is made up of one main island and 63 small islands (most are uninhabited). 

2)  The  country  is  240  sq miles.  Slightly smaller than New York city. Five  million people live there.  Apart from Monaco, it is the most densely populated country in the world.

3)  It  is  a very prosperous country with only 2% unemployment and a GDP grown rate of 12.5% last year.

4)  It is 85 miles north of the Equator - this means it is hot hot hot.

5)  It  has  a  tropical  rain forest climate with no distinct season.  It rains almost everyday.  The temperatures ranges from 83 to 90 degrees with the average humidity around 84% - which means hot hot hot.

6)  English  is  one  of  the  four official languages along with Chinese, Malay, and Tamil.  English is also considered the first language.

7)  There  is a 12 hour time difference between Singapore and US.  They do not practice daylight savings so it is 13 hours in the winter.

8)  They drive on the right hand side (opposite of the US!).  All cars must be  less  than 10 years old and are removed or destroyed when they reach 10 years.

9)  It  is one of the cleanest cities in the world and you can be arrested for spitting, littering, or chewing gum! 

10)  The crime rate is super low - making it one of the safest cities in the world.

11)  Singapore  is  a  foodies dream.  It has been referred to as the food capital of the world with a mix of so many cultures and cuisines {yeah}.

12)  It  has one of the best health care systems in the world and the best water.

13)  It is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in.  Their currency is the Singapore dollar and is about 78 cents to our dollar.

14)  They  say  Christmas is spectacular - guess I will be able to confirm this!

15)  Did I mention Singapore is hot hot hot   :  )

 

I could list many more facts.....but will save them for future posts.  I thought it would be fun to re-run the post of our visit to Singapore last November:

Singapore - November 2010

 

Singapore 71

 

Asia is not part of D's region (IT IS NOW!) so we were extra excited when he found out he had meetings in Singapore in november.  It was a long flight (12 and a half hours) for such a short visit (six days) - but oh so worth it.


Singapore 182

 

The population of Singapore extremely diverse.  We (Caucasian) were definitely in the minority.  The government recognizes four languages; English, Chinese (Mandarin), Malay, and Tamil.  All four are represented in the sign below.

 

Singapore 102

 

It has a tropical rain forest climate - whoa mama was it HOT!  On an average day, relative humidity is around 90%.  November and December are know as its monsoon weather and we had rain every day, at times very heavy.

  Singapore 114

 

 

 EATS

 

We ate every meal in Hawker stalls.  These are individual stalls selling inexpensive food.  They are everywhere, in every mall, large office buildings and many open air stalls just outside of the main part of the city.

 

Singapore 152

  Singapore 153

 

  Singapore 162

 

Singapore 150


We wanted to hit an authentic one so we took the metro out 45 minutes to check out this Hawker Stall.  It was the best and no tourist but us!

 

  Singapore 151

There was one old guy at this table (blue striped shirt) who was intrigued with us.  I asked to take his photo then he wanted to take one of us.

   Singapore 154

 

As we were eating, one of the women who owned a stall came over with a glass of sugar cane water (popular drink) and said, "your friend bought this for you."  He then came over and talked to us.  Very sweet.

A sampling of what we ate in Singapore:

 Tea-eggs or marbled eggs

 

Singapore 10

 

Singapore 12

 

A dish of the region, chicken-rice.

 

Singapore 69

 

Two different versions of duck with noodles.

 

Singapore 195

 


Singapore 156

 

Radish dumplings and although they do not look that good, they were delicious.

 

Singapore 158

And the unusual desserts, shaved ice with fruit - fresh and canned mixed.

 

Singapore 163

 

Yes, it was yummy!

 

Singapore 164


Another dessert we bought on the street from the motorcycle vendors, scattered all around the city were ice cream sandwiches.

 

Singapore 14

 
Most of the ice cream vendors were seniors and husband and wife.  Cost - one Singaporean dollar, about 75 cents.  We wanted to help the seniors...so we ate several the week we were there.

 

Singapore 116

The ice cream comes in a big cardboard box and they slice it with a big knife and place it in rainbow colored sweet bread.

 

Singapore 68

 

They had several flavors, the basics - chocolate, chocolate chip, strawberry and lots of other more exotic fruits - mango, honeydew, durian, and sweet corn.  It was best when the ice cream softened and melted into the bread.

 

Singapore 67

 

One evening we met up with Dave and Fatima (they live in Germany) and went to the popular Glutton's Bay Hawker Market. 

 

Singapore 85

 

We ate the black pepper crabs and grilled stingray - both are specialties of Singapore.

 

Singapore 84

 

D stood in line for 30 minutes for the black pepper crabs. 

 

Singapore 83

Worth it?  Not really.  Good but expensive and a long wait.  We actually enjoyed the grilled stingray more, and the coconut juice fresh from the shell.

 

Seaweed Pringles anyone?

 

Singapore 15

We took a 4-hour cooking class with Ruqxana, the one on the right.   The class was in her home. 

 

Singapore 87

 

She used all fresh ingredients.  We made a Cambodian dish - chicken curry with young jack fruit, one Indian - spice mutton with caramelized onions and one Indonesian - fish curry in coconut and tamarind gravy with basil.

 

Singapore 89

 

The caramelized onions were cooked to perfection!

 

Singapore 88

 

Okay Okay - I know I have pretty much shown you every meal we ate...but I have just one more to show you.  Handmade noodles.  The best, and very fun to watch the chef make them.

 

Singapore 208    

 

PLAY

  Singapore 183

Visit to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

 

Except for the weekend, D worked every day we were there.  So a lot of the Play is me playing!  The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum houses the sacred tooth relic composed of 420 kg of gold.  No photos allowed in this room but I can share that it was a special room and had a very spiritual feeling.

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the authenticity of the tooth - was it really from the Buddha?  Many say it is too long and looks more like the tooth from a cow or buffalo.

 

Singapore 172
Below is the hundred dragons hall where they hold their meditation ceremonies.  I was lucky to be in attendance while meditating/chants were taking place.  I asked the guard if I could photograph the inside and she said yes.  I felt like I was imposing on such a sacred time, but also thought how cool it would be to share this with my blog readers. 

 

Singapore 175

One day I visited the National Orchid Garden, that is part of the Botanical Gardens. 

It was extremely impressive.  I thought it would be indoors, but Singapore is so hot and humid, they grow beautifully outdoors.  They have over 60,000 species of orchids, many of them rare.

 

Singapore 62

 


Singapore 23

 


Singapore 49
 

 

To see more photos of the beautiful orchids, CLICK HERE TO VISIT MY ART BLOG MA VIE TROUVEE.

 

Neighborhoods

As I mentioned there are many ethnicity's that make up the population of Singapore, which creates very diverse and interesting neighborhoods.

Chinatown

The Chinese community is the oldest and goes back to 1330.  Up until 1961 Sago Lane had death houses, where people went to die.  Today they house tourist shops like the stores below.

 

Singapore 186

 

 

Singapore 188

 

Chinatown is a colorful mix of old and new.

 

Singapore 189

 

From family run stalls and medicine stores to textiles and jewelry supplies to dim sum shops.


  Singapore 190

 

Beautiful handmade brushes.

 

Singapore 193

 

While I was checking out the EXTENSIVE jewelry supply stores, D decided to relax and get a foot massage.  Was it relaxing?  When I came back to meet him, the lady was pounding and I mean POUNDING on his legs.  But he looks pretty relaxed here.

 

Singapore 122 

Oddly enough, the largest Hindu temple is in Chinatown, the Sri Mariamman Temple.  It is also the oldest temple, founded in 1827.  Sri Mariamman is the goddess known to help people.

  Singapore 111

 

It is free to enter the temple, but you must remove your shoes.  I think this is such a cute photo of D.

 

Singapore 109

 

Since the temples inception, it has served as a refuge for new immigrants.  Today it is also used for worship and community events.

Singapore 106

 

The decorated roof is known as Vimana and is dedicated to the various Hindu deities.Singapore 112

 

In the Muslim neighborhood, a man preparing himself (washing his feet) to enter the temple.

 

Singapore 165

 

Singapore at Dark

 

Singapore 197

 

The Merlion is the city's most famous icon.  It is part lion and part fish.  The lion head represents Singapore's original name Singapura meaning "lion city".

 

  Singapore 73

 

Singapore 81

 


Singapore 70

 

 

  Singapore 72

 

Hindus celebrate the annual festival of lights called Diwali.  It is one of the most important festivals of the year and lasts for five nights.  We were lucky as the night we visited Little India, the lights were still up, it was the last night for them.

 

Singapore 126

 

Little India has a very robust night market.

 

Singapore 128

 

And the colorful purple Christmas Street lights on Orchard Road, the main shopping street in Singapore.  They were not going to be turned on until the weekend after we left, but for 15 minutes, they were testing them so I got to enjoy them.  Beautiful but odd.......Christmas lights in 90 degree weather?

 

Singapore 205

 

 

Singapore 206

 

Stay tuned for more info on our big move to Singapore!  Most of the weekly updates will be on my art blog ma vie trouvee  - so stop by each week and catch up with our move on my "Move Monday" post!