Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from Singapore

Freaky Biker Barry and much more normal Laura wish you a wonderful holiday and fabulous New Year 2009!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Top 10 Reasons to Visit Singapore

Tired of the cold? Planning your vacations for 2009? This is a good time to consider visiting Singapore, and here are the top ten reasons why:
10. Fabulous guest quarters, including a balcony off of the bathroom for drip-drying, and luxurious spa treatments.
9. Exploring different religions, all within walking distance of our home.
8. Fabulous views day and night from our 18th story apartment. 7. Exotic local wildlife. 6. Relaxing by our pool by night.
5. Traveling to exotic, yet conveniently nearby locations.
4. Relaxing by our pool by day in the sunshine, under the palm trees. (Including the kids' pool)
3. Fabulous food of all flavours at low prices.
Including the occasional homemade truffle .
2. Eating lovely meals outdoors on a patio.
1. Spend quality time with friends on the other side of the world!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Green Rooves in Singapore

This entry is dedicated to my journalist friend Anu, and her work on green roooves. Though I'm less talented, I still think green rooves are good, so I decided to show you some around here. Singapore is a surprisingly green city, with huge trees and parks. With its rain and humidity, any minor crack or decay in a building can yield vegetation. Even trees. Here are some examples.

Happy Birthday Barry

Friday was Barry's birthday. At first, he was feeling a bit tuckered out.
Then, we went to the chocolate buffet. Everyone had a great time. Except for Dave, I guess he doesn't like chocolate.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Bikes of Singapore

With heavy taxes to limit congestion, bicycles and motorbikes are a popular mode of transportation here. These pictures illustrate the range avaiable, from Harley Davidson to beat-up run down bicycles with baskets, which tend to be driven erratically in the wrong direction. Cyclists prefer the helmet-free ride, sometimes enjoying use of the sidewalk, and/or talking on their cell-phones.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Historical Shophouses

Far prettier and more interesting than the tall skyscrapers are Singapore's under-appreciated shophouses. Historically, Singaporeans would conduct business in the open ground floor, and live in the second floor. Later shophouses were more ornate, adopting ornamental and art deco styles. Theses colourful buildings in my neighbourhood have survived Japanese bombing, urban development, monsoons, mold and the blazing sun. Here are more pictures.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Above and Underground Tourism

Exploring altitudes in tourism, Barry and I recently visited Singapore's Battlebox. This underground WWII bunker recounts, in a sometimes cheesy fashion, the fall of Singapore to Japanese occupation. The wax figurines of surrendering British forces, however, did not recount the terrible hardships endured by the Singaporean people during occupation, so we still need to visit the other war memorials. One of these is at Sentosa, Singapore's tourist island reached by cable car. The view from said cable car shows hotel construction at Sentosa in front of the port, in front of downtown.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tiger Brewery Tour

To appease our incessant intellectual curiosity, we toured Singapore's Asia Pacific Brewery. Sadly, since our guide's microphone only amplified vowels, we only learned the following:
1) Tiger Breweries, owned by Heineken, produces Tiger, Heineken, Anchor and Barron's and ABC Stout, and Kilkenny and Guiness via licensing.
2) ABC Extra Stout, the leading stout in Cambodia, is not to our liking.
3) Beer is made through a series of tubes and vats, which do important things, some of which involve caustic soda. Or, some vats are labeled "caustic soda" so that brewery visitors don't try to imbibe from them.
4) Beer bottles which are underweight are pushed off the conveyor belt, kicked around told to beef up.
5) During WWII, not only was Singapore occupied by Japan, but also only watered down small beer bottles were available.
6) You can sort of almost tell the difference between draft Heineken and Tiger with your eyes closed.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Several Updates

Here is what has been happening lately. The Deepavali decorations have been taken down, beaten to death as shown, and replaced with Christmas decorations. Barry demonstrated how to chase away geckos: you locate the lizard with the head lamp, then use one badminton racket as a shield while coaxing the gecko out the window with the other. Please make sure you're properly equipped should you be in an unwanted gecko situation. Finally, much joy was experienced due to these products at the Japanese Grocery store.
Mmmm, curry just like in Vermont.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

I think I'll go as a triathlete. Scary!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Laura goes to Pulau Ubin

This weekend, Barry and I went to a lesser known Singaporean Island, Pulau Ubin, located in the Johor Strait. Here are some of the challenges we faced:
Getting stuck in the past.Being careful of the rather large jackfruits. Then, a vicious dog ate our map:
There wasn't enough parking:And there was clearly a risk of falling coconuts, or sinking into the coconut bog.Please see more pictures of our adventure here.