My trip to see my friend Starlene, just happened to work out right around her birthday. I was so glad I could be with her for her special day. I actually missed it by one day because of my unplanned stay in Japan. We went straight from the airport to Morton's Steakhouse for her birthday dinner. Morton's is a big treat, always very good and I always leave too stuffed for my own good! I couldn't get over how much her girls had grown since I last saw them, the summer past. Her oldest looked so mature, with her long hair in a braid...
They took me to this restaurant, called "Red Dot", which is named after the restaurant's home-brewed beer. It was on a great site, with a great view.
The place was magical, really. One of those moments when you are glad you have the privilege/ chance- to travel to places so far-out from your own. The weather that night was warm like a blanket, but not hot- with a breeze coming in. It was perfect.
Perfection that might move one to compose a sonnet, a beautiful piece of music or to paint a picture.
I did none of those things,
but I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving just for being there
and I sat.
on your right you have the sushi bar. Starlene's family is on the lower left, right in front of the desserts.
a strategic place to park ourselves, I'd say.
the waffle/crepe bar was around the corner from that, and then from there you would get lost in Indian food. I had yorkshire pudding for the first time! I have to admit I was disappointed, I thought it would be a bread pudding thing...not. Starlene gave me a cultural lesson on that, since her parents live in London.
I loved how green the trees were, and how green all the other tropical plants growing on the trees were.
can you see all the plants growing on the limbs? Click on the photo to make it bigger...
I told you I'd spare you the photos of trees...
This tree was growing in the courtyard at the girl's school. I think Starlene said it was a camphor tree... see the vines growing on it?
I regret I didn't get more photos of the school. I always feel a little funny taking lots of photos at a place with lots of children...
The school was for international students. I was so impressed with how clean and well-kept the buildings and grounds were. It is really a nice school, nice set-up, nice teachers.
the view was pretty cool. The weather was not, tho. They had those mister/sprinklers around the patio here. I cannot imagine doing any kind of exercise beside swimming here. It was hot! And humid! The older kids were all out doing their sports thing. Amazing.
I saw people out running too. Amazing. I couldn't even imagine running in heat/humidity like that. I came back home with an appreciation for our weather in So. Ca.
Okay, Rush hour in Singapore as I witnessed it, was not like this! I would have refused to get onto this train...
still, it was an experience.
I love being in a different place. Things are just so, so...different. um, yeah... But seriously, it is so interesting to see different things, different ways. I thought this was interesting, -ERP- my first day in town I was riding in a taxi with Starlene to Morton's, and suddenly the taxi driver warned her that we were entering an ERP area. Starlene told him to go ahead. The ERP areas seem to be congested parts of town that you pay to enter into during heavy traffic times. The cars and taxis have electronic devices that charge you as you drive in - and I think, out! The amounts change reflecting how busy the hour is.
I thought this was a lovely shot of Starlene with her youngest daughter at the Shangri-la hotel. We went to the biggest, most lavish buffet I have ever been to here. Get this; they had a bounce house and balloon guy for the kids, and a separate kid-food bar. La-dee-da! It was a great place for people/fashion watching. The families at the buffet clearly lived in a different sphere than I do! I saw a mom who looked just like Nina on 24. Then we saw her again at Gymboree on another day. Maybe? Do movie stars live in Singapore? It gets better..she spoke German!
Starbucks. I know people like to knock it as being so franchised/redundit or something...but I love finding Starbucks in different countries. It's just so comforting, so American, so home. They are all the same, and thus a comfort in a foreign place. I am collecting photos of me and Sky at different Starbucks around the world.
You can't think American without Mcdonalds. Good or bad, there it is. As a mom, Mcdonalds has played a bigger part in the backdrop of my life than I care to think too hard about.
In Singapore, Mcdonalds delivers! I was consumed with this thought in a disquieting/unproportional way. I was wined and dined by Starlene and Eric all week, so I did not get to experience having Mc-dees delivered hot right to my door....!!! (Starlene will have to chronical this delight over at her blog.)
I was flustered one afternoon however, upon being asked if I wanted a carrier for my coke.
Well, no. It was just one coke, right?
Wrong. I was thinking of the american cardboard holder for 4 drinks.
Singapore has a plastic bag/carrier for the solo coke.
Accessories for my diet coke. How cool is that?!
And, um... an Island. A tropical Island.
This was my favorite street, Orchard Road.
It was my favorite for two reasons;
it is very picturesque (1) and
it's the main shopping drag (2)
good, we will move on
Shopping, shopping. Everyone is shopping.
I just ignored that I couldn't afford to actually shop in most of the lovely stores on this road.... I didn't have bag envy,
I could afford the McDonalds.
I couldn't afford the Border's bookstore, but I purchased, anyways...you only take a 22 hour flight once in a blue moon, so- what the heck? live a little...
Okay, the bread shops were not on Orchard Rd, but probably more 'real' Singapore.
It was a carbohydrate-addict's dream, really.
this one was in a mall. A mall we reached after riding the subway during after-work rush-hour.
I was only a smidgen traumatized. I suddenly discovered I might be a little claustrophobic. Or not, maybe only on crowded subways with an armpit in your face and a stranger's back pressed into yours.
maybe. I might only be theorizing this. So, how many times would one have to ride a crowded subway in Singapore to know as fact that you are claustrophobic?
it will have to remain a theory.
Flying to Singapore to visit my best friend, Starlene- I knew it would be more of a "mommy working" visit, as in; her darling husband works during the week, and someone still needs to mommy their two girls, pick them up from school, attend to their needs... I was going to more or less "hang out" with her, (which is what we do best as friends) and that was all I really expected.
Her husband was very gracious, had her book a night at a nearby resort/island, and then took care of things at home, so we could get away for some 'girl time'. We went to nearby Sentosa Island. Very tropical. Here is a view from our hotel room.
Look, we stumbled upon a pea-hen and her chick on our way from the beach to the pool. I have to tell you all that the pool was as warm as bath water, which is the only way I like pool water. We both commenced swimming laps, to work off our humongous buffet adventure. And then we just lazed around in the water, chatted, floated...and then swam some more laps.
Later, we decided that all the laps entitled us to a trip to Ben & Jerry's. -which was closed, so we hiked on down the beach to New Zealand natural ice cream. The extra walking entitled us to two scoops, of course!
Here is a water-fall in front of the hotel. I didn't mention how we got to the island did I? We took an air tram, like one of those rides they used to have at Disneyland...kind of cool, but always a bit of a challenge with my severe motion sickness. I did okay with it, had more of a problem with the crowded bus afterwards! I still cannot get over the tropical climate of Singapore, it was very warm. I love warm. I loved this waterfall! I also loved all the big, tropical trees with lots of green things growing among their limbs and branches. I have lots of photos of trees. Lots. I'll spare you, promise. Sky had to look at them all, tho...
You know, I thought it would be a good idea to hop on a plane and visit my friend Starlene.
She lives in Singapore, as in Asia. You can click on over and read about her in an old post *here. Anyways, I had this idea, so I acted upon it in Jenny fashion- asked Sky, and booked my flight a few months ago. A funny thing called swine flu pandemic happened right before I left. (or not so funny, really...) I think I live and move in a Murphy's Law zone...
My connecting flight was in Japan. A few people on board were coughing. Sooo, what fun, Murphy's-Law-type-thing happened to me?
My entire planed was quarantined
Thank goodness only for 3 hours! But I missed my connecting flight to Singapore. Funny me, I thought a 2 hour window between flights would be a good enough cushion for delays...I forgot about the world pandemic possibility. We sat on the plane for 2hrs until they finally got a health worker on board to screen us. Then they made us all put on face masks (a snapshot which made a great profile pic on fb, by the way!) and then they let us go. A group of us were booked on the next available flights, the next day! - And told, basically, "too bad, so sad, see you tomorrow, and by the way, you can't even sleep here because the airport closes at ten." Sky was in quite the tizzy, because I was alone in a foreign country without him.
I really lucked out though, in our group were two little ladies from Singapore- and 'tenacious' is the best word I can come up with to describe them. Once they were done with their uh, bull-dogging negotiations, we had free shuttle service and paid- for hotel rooms, and free meals.
The photo above is of our little 3-hour tour stranded group. Three of us were Americans, three from Singapore, and one from China. We had a nice time, it was really good to not feel so alone in this little ordeal.
I made it safe and sound a day later, we went to Morton's Steakhouse for dinner, and then the next day I went to church with the family.
Here is a photo of the street where we had breakfast. We went to a Bread shop, there were several on this street. It's a carbohydrate addicts dream, really. I had french toast squares with kaya sauce for dipping. Starlene doesn't know what kaya actually is, but it looked like green jelly or applesauce, and was kind of sweet. No maple syrup. Starlene had a toast sandwich with kaya in the middle.
After Church, we headed to the Shangri-la hotel. This was really, SOME hotel! Beautiful, lush, expensive...I had a 15$ singapore, gingerale.... We had brunch there, and it was by far, the biggest, most lavish buffet I have ever been to. More pics later....