Friday, 15 May 2009

Fourth month, fandango

This month, we have mostly been entertaining:

- Dash's parents (my soon-to-be-in-laws!). We kicked off their arrival with a homemade Malaysian chicken curry and the next day, enjoyed a walking tour of Kampong Glam and Little India after a ride on the Singapore Flyer. We were immensely glad not to have been trapped and winched down seven hours later.

View from the Flyer - you can see Temasek Tower (where Dash and I work) on the far left):

The next day, we journeyed East to Changi Village and stopped by Changi Chapel and Museum, which showcases informative accounts of the Japanese occupation and various prisoners' paraphernalia. We then welcomed the intermittent seaside breeze as we ambled along Changi Point Boardwalk:

They were then picked up by their Malaysian guide and driven around the mainland taking in the wonders of Malacca, the Taman Negara rainforest (one of the world's oldest rainforest est. 130 million years old), the Cameron Highlands, Penang and Langkawi for ten days before re-joining us in Singapore armed with a bunch of excellent tales of adventures and experiences highlighted by a super collection of photographs. Their favourites were the Cameron Highlands for its cooler climate and 'English kitchen garden' feel and staying in the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion in Penang.

On their return for another weekend in Singapore, we completed a tour of Chinatown, taking in the excellent Chinatown Heritage Centre, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, the Sri Mariamman Temple and inter-connecting streets and alleyways. We also checked out the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) which houses the futuristic models of Singapore (including the up and coming Marina Bay Sands Resort complete with Singapore's first [controversial] casino and eagerly-awaited sky park on the 51st storey):

Our final sojourn was to Jurong Bird Park and the lush peacefulness of the Botanic Gardens.

Eating highlights: Karma Kettle & Rhapsody (Dempsey) - rather eclectic "traditional European and colonial" menu. Wouldn't go back and can't now it's reported closed. Si Chuan Dou Ha - superb Chinese restaurant on the 60th floor of the UOB Plaza. Would go back just to witness the tea boy's ninja pouring skills. Melt @ The Mandarin Oriental - an array of international delights at this sumptuous buffet that never disappoints. Tiong Bahru Market - Tiong Bahru Pau did us proud and served up some breakfast items that were not too outlandish for our English visitors. Halia - beautiful setting nestled within the natural environs of the Botanic Gardens, one cannot fail to delight in the splendour of this restaurant.

- Tiong Bahru Tippling Club. We held our first party to christen our home with laughter, smiles and liquor. It was thoroughly enjoyable to welcome all of the people we had met so far to sample some of my edible treats and Dash's beats.

and being entertained:

- By journeying across the Southern Ridges. Our two hour walk encompassed the newly opened tree-top walkway at Telok Blangah Hill Park and the superbly designed highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, Henderson Waves.

- At Giles Petersen's Worldwide Festival. Sadly, a rather disappointing turnout due to poor marketing meant that the beach festival was lacking somewhat in atmosphere. The music was OK for a commercially sponsored event. We continue on our quest for the 'sound of the underground' in Singapore. Slowly slowly, catchy monkey, as they say.

- By the tremors felt after the explosion at Marina Bay. From Temasek Tower, the 'boom' was accompanied by views of the mushroom clouds of smoke after the blasts went off in triplicate. An odd scene in 'Safety Singapore'.

- By the amusing Chinese anecdotes that my colleagues have been treating me to. (i) Not only does Milo make you "heaty" but a whole bunch of other foods can also make you feel 'hot' or 'cold'. (ii) Putting too much Milo into your mix of hot water and milk will create a "Milo Dinosaur" and you can even order one of these in a coffee shop. (iii) The local Chinese pudding place at Amoy Street Food Centre sells such delights as 'yam paste with gingko nuts' and 'turtle pudding'. Now, which one of those is going to make me hot or cold (or just plain sick)? (iv) For not wishing to try the aforementioned puddings, I have been labelled a 'sua ku' (lit. mountain turtle). Yes, imagine a turtle that hid in its shell all day and lived in the mountains. True, it would not be a very adventurous individual. However, I reject the suggestion that said turtle would enjoy 'turtle pudding'.

Next month, more friend-making, party-attending and general enjoyment in the sunshine, as well as welcoming our next set of guests: my parents! Most excellent.

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