Annual SG Picture Summary…

Yep! It’s that time of the year again when i flood you with images of our trip back to our homeland, the tiny red dot, the island nation of Singapore šŸ˜‰

This year, of course, we visited with family and friends and had a ball eating all the yummy foods we miss. But we did a whole lot more touristy things than previous years so i’ll be showing lots of places you can visit (whether you are local or foreign to SG).

The first place we visited was the S.E.A. Aquarium on the fun-filled island of Sentosa. The tickets are a little pricey but we thought the Aquarium was well done and worth the money. We were told to be prepared to queue even though we bought tickets online. But we chose a Monday and schools were already back in full swing so there was no crowd when we got there about 11am. However, it did start to get crowded later in the day. Your ticket enables you to enjoy the Maritime Experimential Museum as well which was good, but not very big. Tobias enjoyed it greatly as he loves all things ocean-related. If you wanted to cover the whole place thoroughly, i would advice giving it a whole day. We spent a little under 5 hours there, including lunch.

Tobias getting a henna tattoo of a scorpion at the Maritime Museum.
Tobias getting a henna tattoo of a scorpion at the Maritime Museum.
Some of the many sea creatures we saw. The last picture shows Walter and Tobias at the touch pool.
Some of the many sea creatures we saw. The last picture shows Walter and Tobias at the touch pool.
Left: The largest tank/window in the world. It was amazing to just sit there and watch. Right: At the celebrity restaurant, The Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora.
Left: The largest tank/window in the world. It was amazing to just sit there and watch. Right: At the celebrity restaurant, The Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora.

Talking about the ocean, Tobias had great fun at this Sushi place which served your order on race cars (see picture below). We also did a nice long walk from Shenton Way (the financial center) to Marina Square, taking in the river-front sights and the Merlion Park. The place has certainly changed. See this post.

From Left to Right: At the Merlion Park, relaxing at the entrance of the Fullerton by the Bay Hotel, enjoying sushi delivered by race car ;)
From Left to Right: At the Merlion Park, relaxing at the entrance of the Fullerton by the Bay Hotel, enjoying sushi delivered by race car šŸ˜‰

Next we headed to the far remote end of the island, Jurong, where the Singapore Discovery Centre is located. As the name suggests, it allows you to discover Singapore, its history and quirks. It was quite interesting. The Military Museum was just next door so we walked around that too. There you can learn what National Service is, how it started and what’s it like now. These places are free for citizens to visit. The highlight for Tobias was getting to shoot a real pistol and a standard-issued army rifle.

Brush up on your Singlish!
Brush up on your Singlish!
Shooting the pistol and playing TV stars.
Shooting the pistol and playing local TV stars.
Daddy showing the son what is known as the standard obstacle course (SOC) on a smaller scale. It is what all guys in Singapore go through in their National Service.
Daddy showing the son what is known as the standard obstacle course (SOC) on a smaller scale. It is what all guys in Singapore go through in their National Service.

Singapore started as a little fishing village and for a long time people lived in villages, called kampongs. Now there is almost none left except a remote kampong on the mainland and on Pulau Ubin (Pulau means island in Malay). We decided Tobias needed to see/experience this kampong before it is gone too. So we spent a day cycling around the tiny island of Ubin. It was tiring but fun.

Tobias was so ready to ride at the start of the day. It took a whole ton of encouragement to get him to finish strong as he was starving by then, even with small snacks in between.
Tobias was so ready to ride at the start of the day. It took a whole ton of encouragement to get him to finish strong as he was starving by the end, even with small snacks in between.
Won't you like to live in such tranquility? The simple kampong life.
Won’t you like to live in such tranquility? The simple kampong life.
Here's Walter trying to pet some of the wild boars and my favourite - the mangroves. i'm fascinated by how they grow and root themselves and the creatures which live around them.
Left: Walter trying to pet some of the wild boars. Right: my favourite – the mangroves. i’m fascinated by how they grow and root themselves and the creatures which live around them.

We went back again to the island of Sentosa, this time we went to Adventure Cove Waterpark. It is filled with water-rides of the thrilling sort and the lazing sort. i don’t have many pictures as it is a waterpark and i don’t have a waterproof camera. There weren’t too many people (we went on a weekday and it was school-term time) but still Tobias was put off after having to queue just under 30 minutes for his first thrilling ride which lasted less than a minute. So if you are planning to go, try to go during non-peak times like we did. Or else be prepared to queue much longer. We spent a fair amount of time on the Lazy River and in the Wave Pool. The attraction which Tobias loved and gladly queued again for was the Rainbow Reef where you could snorkel and see the ocean reef-fishes.

Tobias all excited on the cable-car ride to Sentosa. A view of the waterpark as we "flew" over it.
Left: Tobias all excited on the cable-car ride to Sentosa. Right: A view of the waterpark as we “flew” over it.
Left: Tobias and my brother snorkling. Right: The overhead view of the empty and silent waterpark at the end of the day.
Left: Tobias and my brother snorkling. Right: The overhead view of the empty and silent waterpark at the end of the day.

Our final tourist stop was the River Safari, showcasing all creatures which live along the major rivers of the world. This is not yet fully opened, one of the main rivers (theĀ Amazon River) was closed, which was a shame as that was the only river which featured a boat ride. But ticket prices were reduced because of that so it was okay for us. Another main attraction here is the two Giant Pandas, KaiKai and JiaJia. A special enclosure in the middle of the Safari has been built for them and of course there were lots of Panda-themed merchandise and even food items you could get. Once again, Tobias enjoyed this as he loves water-creatures. However, because he has already watched so many documentaries about these creatures, he couldn’t be bothered to read more about them during this trip. So we finished walking around the whole Safari in less than 3 hours. But if you are going and if the Amazon River is open, then do plan for more time there. There are tickets you can buy which enables you to get entry into the Singapore Zoo, the River Safari as well as the Night Safari which are all next to each other. And if you are really into animals/birds, you can also get a ticket which would include the Bird Park (located in Jurong) as well.

Tobias really doesn't like being made the centre of attention in photos.
Tobias really doesn’t like being made the centre of attention in photos.
Some of the river creatures we saw.
Some of the river creatures we saw.
Top Left: Meekong River showcasing huge catfishes and kaps. Top Right: monkeys are actually quite at home near water. Bottom Left: The Red Panda. Bottom Right: a pair of Cranes.
Top Left: Meekong River showcasing huge catfishes and kaps. Top Right: monkeys are actually quite at home near water. Bottom Left: The Red Panda. Bottom Right: a pair of Cranes.
The Giant Pandas; KaiKai and JiaJia. Can you guess which one is KaiKai (male)?
The Giant Pandas; KaiKai and JiaJia. Can you guess which one is KaiKai (male)?
i thought the "dragon" boat was so funny. But it is apparently sea-worthy as it has a license number. Safari is built into a large river which already served the other attractions there.
i thought the “dragon” boat was so funny. But it is apparently sea-worthy as it has a license number. The Safari is built onto a large river which already served the other attractions there.
More furry creatures along the rivers.
More furry creatures along the rivers.
The Mantees!! Another highlight for me. Of course there were also scary fish such as the piranhas and this ancient fish with it's gills on the outside (those white brushes).
The Manatees!! Another highlight for me. Of course there were also scary fish such as the piranhas and this ancient fish with its gills on the outside (those white brushes).

Well, that was the touristy highlights of our trip this year. We would highly recommend that all the above be enjoyed in the great companion of family and friends. We loved our time with our family and friends, just enjoying each other and the food, of course šŸ˜‰

Till next year Singapore…
syc

Spring Holidays 2013 – Week 2…

So almost 2 weeks ago (oh my, has it been that long?) i wrote about our Spring holiday trip to Munich/Legoland. Now it’s time for a very short summary of what the 2nd week of Spring holidays was like for us this year.

This was the protective suit they all wore to go into the hive to look for the queen bee.
This was the protective suit they all wore to go into the hive to look for the queen bee.

On Monday, the washing and housework were taken care of. The in the afternoon, Tobias went to visit the bee-keeper in our village.

This is part of the FrĆ¼hlings Ferienpass, which a Spring holiday program run by the local youth/parent association. It has lots of different activities the children can choose from to take part in during a week in the holidays. i drove him there and went off to the supermarket. Then i picked him up again after 2 hours.

He said he had fun but he already knew most of what the bee-keeper told them because we have already watched documentaries about bees and about how they are dying worldwide. He wasn’t brave enough to ask the bee-keeper about the bees dying (colony-collapse disorder). But he did get to see lots of bees and help make some of the wooden slots which make up the hives the bee-keeper has.

He simply loves his strawberry ice-cream!
He simply loves his strawberry ice-cream!

The next day was spent relaxing around town with mummy and enjoying ice-cream in the warm Spring weather. Our local chocolatier/tea-room serves lovely ice-cream.

We took a day to go see the Qin Exhibit at the Bern History Museum. It showcases the terracotta soldiers from the Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang DiĀ and other interesting elements from his reign.Ā i wasĀ initiallyĀ worried if the exhibits would hold his interest but we bought the audio guide and he was hooked! He loved all the facts given in the guide and i enjoyed seeing in reality what i had only studied in books (i did Ancient History in school).

This was the little book he bought from the Qin exhibit which is now his diary.
This was the little book he bought from the Qin exhibit which is now his diary.

i would highly recommend the exhibition to anyone who is interested in the terracotta soldiers and wants to know a bit more about ancient chinese history. If you do bring kids (preferably school-aged), it is best to get the audio guide to help them understand more about the exhibit (great for the adults too). No photography was allowed once you passed through the ticket gates and you can not exit the museum and return again that same day. Which means you would have to finish the whole exhibition in one go. But that shouldn’t be a problem. However, your ticket does allow you to visit the rest of the Bern History Museum so if you do go without children, it would be a good opportunity to see the rest of the museum after you are done with the Qin exhibit. The downside is there is no cafe or restaurant in the museum itself. You would have to exit the museum to eat. They do have a special chinese restaurant setup to tie-in with the Qin exhibit, near the gift shop area but we didn’t eat there. We went to the outside cafe and had a pizza and soup. The exhibition runs from 15 March to 17 November 2013.

That Thursday was given over to a visit to Basel where we enjoyed a nice relaxing afternoon and evening with friends who live there.

Here we are enjoying the fruits of Tobias' labour at the butcher's... He made a special patty for himself which had a smiley :)
Here we are enjoying the fruits of Tobias’ labour at the butcher’s… He made a special patty for himself which had a smiley šŸ™‚

On Friday, Tobias went to another Spring holiday program. This time he went to the local butcher to learn how they makeĀ sausagesĀ and handle the meat. The butcher very generously (if you knew the price of meat here, you would say it was generous too, considering we pay nothing for this holiday program) allowed each child to bring home theĀ sausagesĀ they made as well as some beef patties.

The weekend was family and church time… then it was back to school.

syc

It’s a Birthday for Daddy…

This post is actually 10 days after Husband’s birthday but the week has been crazy busy and we did celebrate it late (he was away for work).

So 2 days after his actually birthday, i cooked a seafood dinner (well, sort of, we had 2 seafood dishes and a veggie dish) in celebration. In the late afternoon, Tobias helped to prepare the cake or more like cakes. i decided that since it was just us i will not make a whole cake; it would take us forever to finish it. And there was a recipe i wanted to try: Chocolate Lava Cake… an absolutely calorie-filled yummy cake! Or more like mini cakes.

Left: Tobias helping to mix the batter, Right: the mini cakes before they go into the fridge.
Left: Tobias helping to mix the batter, Right: the mini cakes before they go into the fridge.
The traditional birthday shot.
The traditional birthday shot.

It was a small simple celebration at home but we enjoyed it, and the cakes too. Although it was a little too bitter for Tobias’ taste; it was made with dark chocolate.

Oh and that very long present you see in the picture above, that is a Scratch Map; where the countries are all covered with a golden foil and you can scratch off the places you have been too. SoĀ appropriateĀ for constantly travelling Husband/Daddy, don’t you think? You can read more about it here.

In case you are interested, the recipe is from Chef John at FoodWishes ; he has some great recipes and i love his videos!

And here, as Chef John said in his video, is the money-shot:

The chocolate is supposed to be a bit for liquid, i think it's a bit overdone here... next time i'll get it right ;)
The chocolate is supposed to be a bit for liquid, i think it’s a bit overdone here… next time i’ll get it right šŸ˜‰

Hmmm… hungry just looking at it…

syc

PS: even though it was 4 mini cakes, we didn’t finish that last one, even after a week, cos it was just so rich! But oooh… so yummy… šŸ˜›