Sunday, September 28, 2008

Camouflage of the week

Try to locate the lizard in the above picture. Today we went to the MacRitchie Reservoir, a source of Singaporean drinking water, and apparently also monkey proctology examinations,long, lean monitor lizards,and aforementioned water.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dazzled by the Lights

Deepavali (Diwali), the festival of lights, brings us the above street bling. From our balcony, we watched these lights being painstakingly hung for about a month, and now we get to watch them in colour for another month! Sadly, these pictures only begins to demonstrate the fabulous spectacale that is our street.

Sunburn of the Week

Can you tell what number Barry was in his most recent half-Ironman race? Bonus points for figuring out who the sponsor was.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival

This weekend Singapore celebrated the Mid-Autumn festival, which is also known here as the Lantern festival or the mooncake festival, describing the traditions involved. Essentially a harvest festival, the mid-autumn festival involves parades with dragons,
children carrying lanterns,
worshipping the moon goddess, and eating mooncakes. These are very pretty and sometimes tasty pastries with egg-yolks and other sweet and savoury fillings.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fruit Eater of the Week

Barry has accomplished the nearly impossible, an even greater feat than the Ironman. Barry has eaten a durian and liked it. He described the taste as follows: like texture of avocado, but tastes like custardy Camembert cheese that has been sitting around in the sun for a few days, fried with onions in oil and covered in honey.
The other fruits of the week are the tasty but tricky to eat Pu Toh San and the Lu Gu. As they don't speak much English, they did not disclose their English names to me.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Searching for the Distant Pagoda

Last Sunday, Barry and I decided to find the one last alluring, temple-like building that we see from our 18th storey balcony. We knew neither the name nor the location of the mysterious pagoda, but were guided by estimates and our sense of adventure. Sadly, these were not accurate, and we ended up walking from one incorrect landmark to another for three damp hours. Here are some of the things we saw.
First, this is the Sim Clan building beside our apartment building. Though I'm not clear on the details, they are some sort of association of the extended Sim family. Apparently similar to a Rotary club, they are involved in activities like drum banging and parades for festivals, funerals and events in between, using the floats shown below.
After visiting the Sims, we stopped in for a little acupuncture and cauterization so as to prepare us for our journey.The first temple we found made up for its lack of pagodas via its collection of confusing Buddhist/Taoist puppets.
This mosque also did not incorporate any pagoda styling into its lovely architecture.After a washroom break at a sketchy mall that included its own, um, "sauna", we found ourselves at the Crocodile farm. You know, for skinning them and making purses. In urban Singapore. You never know when to expect a crocodile farm!
The crocodile farm made our brains explode a little bit, but luckily help was just down the street.
Next temple: Thai, and completely pagodaless.By the time we reached this green temple, we were jaded and grumpy.And, to our surprise and wonder, we see a tall green roof through the treetops! It turns out that our mysterious building was filled with dead people! That is, the Pagoda is the central building in the Mount Vernon crematorium, and offers eight stories of ashes, faux flowers, fabulous views and a fabulous sense of accomplishment!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi

Today is Ganesh, the Elephant God's birthday, a.k.a. Ganesh Chaturthi. Ganesh, shown above with his birthday cake, is the Remover of Obstacles, likes arts and science, and has been known to use his often numerous arms to woo the ladies. Ganesh is at least 2000 years old, or if you believe the kind men who sold us the above idol, he's about 5000, well worth celebrating!