Oh Singapore

So here’s the main reason I haven’t been blogging. I was away. As in physically away from the computer.

Ok that’s not really the truth.

The Macbook Air got dragged along in our carry-ons to Singapore. With five of us flying there (two kids, the husband, my mum who had been visiting us, and I), we had plenty of things to carry on board the plane and as we are a very gadget-y family, plenty of electronics: iPad, iPhones, Macbook Air, husband’s work computer, his Nexus, my Kindle. But with a toddler and an infant, there’s so much else that fills the bags, allergy-free snacks (Singapore Airlines while accommodating nut allergies with nut-free kids meals, does serve nuts on board, so in order not to risk it, we had to pack snacks galore, from crackers to cookies to applesauce), baby formula, changes of clothes for everyone, toys, diapers and all kinds of other amenities for two young travelers. It was a long long flight after all (14+ hours from SF to Hong Kong, a quick transit – same plane but having to reboard and go through customs etc again, then nearly 4 hours to Singapore)!

Luckily it being a 1am flight (the choice was taking off at 1am or arriving in Singapore at 1am!), things went pretty well. Wee Reader was up way past bedtime, all excited about the flight, but conked off for quite a few hours not long after taking off. Wee-er Reader didn’t do too badly either, dozing off in the rather roomy bassinet, squawking now and then when he wanted to be held, but he’s not the screaming type, thank goodness.

Well we made it to hot muggy Singapore. The doors of the airport glided open and bam, we stepped into the sauna that is Singapore.

Heat and humidity aside, it was good to be back. To see my parents and sister, to meet up with friends and relatives I hadn’t seen in two years. To see the numerous changes in this constantly changing, constantly moving city-state. To marvel at the traffic, the malls that seem to have popped up everywhere (unfortunately with mostly the same stores), the construction sites and heavy machinery that my boy couldn’t help but stare and point out: “cement mixer! excavator!”.

We were all well fed, from my mum’s homemade quiche and kong bah, my uncle’s cold crab, my mother-in-law’s kueh pie tee, to Hainanese chicken rice, roti prata, horfun, orhnee. And plenty of flat whites for me.

Of course there were foods I missed out on – Tong Heng egg tarts, muahchee, kueh tutu, where were you?

We hit the touristy spots: the zoo, the Bird Park, Sentosa and its gorgeous brand spanking new aquarium, the Botanics.

But it was the simplest things that Wee Reader marveled at: double decker buses, the MRT trains, playing with the dog, and thunderstorms (we live in California, it seldom rains and never do we hear thunder).

So as you can imagine, the computer was seldom turned on, but the Kindle was put to very good use (thank you Alameda County library system for having Kindle e-books!). And hopefully I will have a post about what I read soon.

Oh and I bought books! Singapore is expensive compared to the US, not just cars, houses, food, clothing, but books are too. Still I made sure to visit bookstores and get my hands on some local works for myself and the kids. And plenty of kids books in Chinese too. It was a sizable haul! Friends and family added to the kids’ book collection!

All holidays must come to an end and it has been a struggle getting into a routine, especially with a baby still on Singapore time and waking several times at night! Wee Reader took a couple of days to adjust and is still a bit unhappy about sleeping by himself again (bedtime is a bit of a struggle). And we are all trying to get used to the dry and cold (yes, the Bay Area doesn’t really get THAT cold but it’s a huge change from temps in the higher 30s C!). Creams are smothered, baths taken to keep the eczema at bay.

And things are still waiting to be put away.

It has been that kind of week.

So while I tidy up my life and ignore this blog again, here are pictures!

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Wee Reader digs for gold at East Coast Park

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A very boozy sundae at Udders (Orange Chocolate Bitters is the flavour for me! Dark chocolate spiked with triple sec!). A lovely flat white at Melbourne-originated Brunetti. And a chocolate souffle from Bakerzin.

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We had all kinds of sushi, sashimi, seafood! Perfect for the hot climate.

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The number of indoor playgrounds (top left) in Singapore is mind-boggling. Just two years ago, I don’t think I remember hearing about any! And they aren’t exactly cheap, especially on weekends when the rate can be $20 for 2 hours (this small one at Changi City Point was I think $16 for unlimited play on a weekday). But with Singapore’s heat and humidity, and constant rain, sometimes indoor playgrounds are your best bet for entertaining a young one.

Top right: The fish tanks at Ah Yat Seafood at Turf City. Pick your seafood, watch them catch it, pay for it, and head back to your table for some tasty fresh treats. The prawns were simply cooked but their freshness just shone. Brilliant!

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The hipster enclave at Tiong Bahru. Old-school buildings, new-school shops (with prices that fit today’s pricey economic climate).

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Books Actually in Tiong Bahru. Pretty pretty books for hipster shelves. But they do have also publish local works via Math Paper Press. Of course the books they publish are good lookers too.

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The SEA aquarium in Resorts World Sentosa was just gorgeous. While I will always be fond of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, for being one of the first aquariums to blow my mind, this brand-new aquarium in Singapore is just beyond compare. From the way they flow the pedestrian traffic through the building, to their perfectly clear glass, to the many lovely displays both of the sea-creature kind and the historical sea routes kind, it was an exceptional visit.

The lories were part of our trip to the Jurong Bird Park.

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Ah the wonders of Singapore food. Top left: kueh pie tee (a crunchy little shell filled with a mixture of cooked daikon and carrots, topped with chili sauce and sweet sauce, prawn and coriander. A mix of spicy, sweet, savoury and herby). Top right: Starfruit! I miss tropical fruits like mangosteen, starfruits etc. Bottom left: Orh Nee. A sweet sticky paste made of yam, coconut milk. This one has pumpkin and gingko nuts. Bottom right: Ang ku kueh. The sticky exterior is made of rice flour. And the filling inside can be peanut or mung bean or red bean.

Since this is a rather food-related post, I guess it works for a Weekend Cooking post too.

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Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

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12 comments

  1. Beth F

    What an awesome trip. Loved getting a chance to travel along (calorie free!!) on your adventures and meals. Oh my, the food looks great

  2. Denise

    You’re a very gifted photographer as well as a writer. Looks like you had a gorgeous time away. It surprises me about the indoor playgrounds – as that seems a very Western concept but as you say perfectly suited to the Singapore climate.

    Thanks for the post and looking forward to more.

  3. Cecelia

    It looks as though you had a wonderful trip (even if there were less-than-convenient bits about it). Love the photos of food and bookshops!

  4. JoV

    Look at the food! I am going down there this Christmas and I’ll be sure to drop by in Sentosa and also visit all those mind blogging mega structures by the bay! Thanks for sharing the pics.