The Loire Valley: Fairy-tale chateaux, stone houses, wine, and wonderful cuisine.
In De Wulf - Restaurant - THE BEST EVER!

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


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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!

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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


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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.


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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!


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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.

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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


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A dish of the region, chicken-rice.


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Two different versions of duck with noodles.


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


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


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Yes, it was yummy!


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


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


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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.


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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.


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


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


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


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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?


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


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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.


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The caramelized onions were cooked to perfection!


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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.


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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.


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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. 


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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.


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



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


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.


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Chinatown is a colorful mix of old and new.


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

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Beautiful handmade brushes.


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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.


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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.

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


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

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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.


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Singapore at Dark


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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".


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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.


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Little India has a very robust night market.


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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?


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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!




Hi D! Welcome to Singapore! Hope you have a great time in the country and the region as well!


Dear Donald and Cathy,

I am Grade 1 teacher working in Hong Kong. My students are currently studying a unit on how people's lifestyles differ around the world and I came across your wonderful blog! I would like to ask for your permission to use some of the photos from your blog. I would like to print some of the photos from your trip to Cambodia for the students to analyze and discuss. This is strictly for classroom use and I am not using the photos in any commercial way.
Please let me know if this is ok with you. Enjoy your continued travels!

Kind regards,
Shannon Eves


Oh my goodness! I was just thinking about you and thought we should meet up. I flipped over to your blog and saw this. Congrats on the huge news! I'm so jealous but I wish you the best time! What an incredible move!!


WOW!!! Can you say culture shock? What a fabulous posting!
Oz and NZ, eh? I have friends there ~ a visit is on my bucket list...

Safe travels!


That is really an adventure!
I hope that D. and you will have a wonderful time in Singapore and I am looking forward reading about it and seeing your beautiful pictures.
Good luck with all the things you have to do before you move.

Greetings from Jolande

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