Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer is a state of mind

I miss Summer.

This may seem a strange thing to say given that I live in Singapore where it's summer all year round. Let me explain.

Summer is not just about the weather. Sure we look forward to the warmer temperatures after a long cold winter, wearing summer dresses & open toe sandals after having to be covered up for months.

But mostly summer is about BBQs, trips to the beach, concerts in the park, lazy days by the pool & the longer days. So to me, summer is like a different world after winter. I'm missing it especially when I look at friend's photos on Facebook or hearing about their plans to go to the beach.

I need to re-create that summer feeling here in Singapore.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Design & Public Places

It's no secret that I adore good design and especially so if they are public places. Everytime I come across a building that I like, they seemed to be by local architectural firm WOHA. Remember SOTA & even tho I haven't blogged about it before, Church of St Mary of the Angels & another building in our neighbourhood, Newton Suites.

The Stadium MRT station won the President's Design Award 2010 & I only recently ventured out there. I missed taking a photo of the best feature - the entrance but you can google it or better yet, go check it out yourself.

MRT stations have never looked better

Speaking of MRT stations
Saw these at Dhoby Gaut

Such fun !

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Going to the Zoo again

We love the zoo but haven't been there in 2 years. During the last Youth Day holiday, we went back to revisit our favorite animals.

The proboscis monkey always makes me smile

Otters are so adorable

"Sangia" she shouted
the French term for wild boar

The beautiful & oh so rare White Tiger

We took the Boat Safari but word of advice, skip it
There was nothing to see or do during the 20 min journey
The highlight was this piece of reptile skin they passed around

We used to skip the petting zoo cos we get to see these when we were back in France
but I thought we'd drop by to see the goats, rabbits & ponies

I didn't realise we could buy $10 ticket that will entitle you to all 3 rides
(carriage, pony & carousel) & ended up buying $6 each
Another tip cos the kids would want to do all 3

Riding lessons in the horizon you think ?

The ever popular Elephants at Work & Play

I love Zebras

& Giraffes

but our all time favorite is
The Fragile Forest

You get to be up close & personal with the animals
You never know what you are going to see round the corner

Note for next trip :

I need to plan better to time our visit with animal feedings. The Zoo website has a suggested itinerary.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Little Boutique Hotel India

In New York, they refer it as gentrification - the upgrade & restoration of deteriorated urban property by upper or middle class families thus changing the character of the area.

We call it modernisation. However you want to call it, that seem to be the way Little India is heading . Even Mustafa has upgraded. Loh Lik Peng, the wonderchild of Singapore's boutique hotel is quite a success story. I've raved about the New Majestic Restaurant which is of course located in the New Majestic Hotel. The best thing is that he has restored & brought new life to these old buildings.

Wanderlust, a former school building

I like the Peranakan effect outside

But a very different industrial feel inside

The wallpaper to remind you which neighbourhood you are in

A disadvantage to have a French partner who is a chef is that we hardly ever eat in French restaurants. He would take one look at the menu, gives his stamp of approval (as in he recognises the traditional dishes) & then say, oh we can have that at home (which is probably true when we were back in France but over here, we don't eat French that much at home, hint hint).
Anyway I like the homey feel of the restaurant &
determined to check it out one day with or without him

Cute little bar area

Yet another boutique hotel Moon
right next to the Wanderlust

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lorong 9 Geylang

X is constantly amaze at the eating habits of Singaporeans. The latest being their ability to eat at roadside stalls but more importantly, how Singaporeans of all walks of life would do so. One day they could be dining at a high end French restaurant & the next day they would be eating at Geylang. You would never see this in France. Mostly because French are snobbish when it comes to food (& I mean this in a good way) & more so because they are finicky about hygiene.

No matter how good the food is, I would NEVER bring his folks to Geylang. I can't imagine them sitting by the road or drain, using utensils that are washed in a pail of water & a table that has been wiped with a cloth that has seen better days.

Judging from the crowds of people there, these are obviously not a concern with a majority of Singaporeans. As long as the food is good, we'll be there.

Pictures taken from my iphone leave much to be desired
but I'm going to post it anyway so indulge me

The famous Lorong 9 Frog leg claypot

Across the street for the Beef Horfun
Tender slices of beef with horfun
Still delicious after all these years

Oyster omelette
One of the best I've had
You can taste more of the egg & less of the starchy flour

We ordered one with ginger & spring onions
but much preferred the spicy ma la flavor

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tree top Walk MacRitchie

This is by far the most challenging of the walks we had done so far. Definitely not a flip flop type walk. I had put off going there when the Girl was younger even though I've heard really good reviews. From MacRitchie it's a 4.5km to the entrance of the Tree Top Walk making it 9km round trip - not your stroll in the park.

But I figured she's ready now & just in case, I roped in my nephew. So together with my brother, his family & us, we decided to do the Trail which ended up being 12km.

From MacRitchie Reservoir, head towards the canoeing sheds. Past that & the trail to the Tree Top Walk starts from there. If you want less of walk, there is another entrance from the carpark @ Venus Drive.

I always get excited when I find mushrooms
Can't help it

Water Storage Facility

The Tree Top Walk is only 250m & closed at 5pm so if you're going in the afternoon, make sure you factor that in. Another point to note is that it goes 1 direction only so make sure you enter from the entrance.

It's pretty awesome even tho it's only 250m
We're about 20 m off ground

Most of the trail is well paved unlike what I remember of the mud paths in the past

The last part of our walk

The beautifully manicured lawns of the golf course

My nephew's scooter
Not a good idea tho, my brother ended up carrying it most of the way. It would have been a nice shot if not for the green towel hanging on it, ah well. Despite the distance, the kids did pretty well.

It is beautiful

Water monitor lizard
(I believe that's what they are called
sorry I'm not much of a nature guide)