Tuesday, May 15, 2012

And so....

... - although I can't really believe it - my last day here in Singapore has come. I just returned from Bali (yes, that's the second visit) and tomorrow night I'll board the A380 direction of Zürich.

And it just hit me that I AM going to miss Singapore. As much as I'm looking forward to being home again, there are just so many wonderful aspects to Singapore.

Two of my favorite buildings: The Marina Bay Sands Hotel, elegant and funny, playful and iconic. It can be seen from almost anywhere in the city, and the more I saw it the more I fell in love with it.

And the building I instantly named 'Gotham Tower' or 'Batman's Singapore Penthouse'. I'm sure the building has an official name, but everybody here seemed to know what I was talking about when I mentioned the Gotham building...

Of course - and no surprise there - I will miss the food. As you will have realized from my many food posts, Singapore food is great. The food stalls, Hainanese Chicken Rice, and of course Sushi! And not to forget: Brunch on Sunday morning, by the Singapore River or neat Orchard Road, ready for shopping later on.

Shopping - it is contagious...

And of course the people - always friendly and good fun.

But probably most of all the city itself.

Goodbye Singapore - 'till we meet again ;-)...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mount Faber - a Piece of Nature

... with a touch of modern human. A few weeks ago I went for a walk on Mount Faber, one of Singapore's hills. Although 'only' 105 m in hight (remember, I'm Swiss and used to the Alps...), it provides a panoramic view of some of Singapore:

It can even be reached by cable car, though there's also a bus route to the top, and lots of foot paths.

The walking routs down from the top are well signed out, an in case you ever feel lost you'll be told exactly where you are - you just have to follow the yellow brick road foot prints (Yeti???):

But don't be fooled by the typical Singaporean thoughtfulness. Mount Faber is a dangerous place. REALLY!

I do believe they have been spotted. I just don't know of anybody who ever has.... But then that's not the only danger on Mount Faber. Nature itself is out to get you:

And for this I did find actual proof:
This path here is part of a kind of the 'Tree Top Walk'. For 20 minutes you walk on these kind of elevated walkways:
It was good fun, and definitely nothing for some of my friends who are not too comfortable with hights (yes, Momo and Isa, that's you ;-)...).

But, I made it. I was there.
So was Toto.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

More funny facts and observations

  1. When taking a taxi, the drivers - like most people in Singapore - are very nice and polite. One habit of theirs did confuse me though for some time: they will ask you which way they should take or rather if you want them to take a certain road. Like "Should I take Bridge Road?" - "I take River Valley Road, yes?". What's the answer to that if you're just a visitor and don't know the town...? I ended up usually just saying yes. Also if they ask me whether they should make a U-turn... Yes! - though I keep wondering if they'd expect me to pay the fine they could probably get....?
  2. The other thing - no surprise there - has to do with food: in the food courts and hawker stalls, but also in the normal / local restaurants you usually use chopsticks. Of course you can have cuttlery (and it's also asian people using cuttlery) but you usually only get a fork and a spoon. No knife. It does work though.
  3. Contrary to what I posted earlier, chewing gum is no longer forbidden. Yay! - But: you still can't buy them anywhere. Point taken.
  4. Singapore has a great public transport system - both buses and trains / metro. While the train map is relatively easy to read - four lines at the moment, with a fourth line to open next year - the bus map isn't. Or rather: there isn't a bus map. It's a bus book. There are 74 routes serviced by 1192 buses. Impressive!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Do you like me?

It's been a week since I last posted, I have to admit I was just too lazy this weekend to go through my many pictures and set up a post. But this morning there was this cute episode I wanted to share.

Singapore has four official languages: Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and English. And there are a lot more languages spoken in this multi cultural city state. Chinese languages like Hokkien, Hainanese, Teiochew, Hakka and Cantonese (not that I'd be ever able to tell the difference), Malay and Indian dialects, and other Asian languages. But the common language to all (or most) Singaporeans is English.

Still, that doesn't mean I always understand it... Like today: I went to my Juice Lady (from this post) and she thought about what fruit juice she would make for me. And then she looks at me and asks: "Do you like me?". I must admit I was confused for a moment. "Me? Do you like me?"...

But then I got it, smiled and replied: "Yes, I like milk!"

And as usual I walked away with a smile on my face and a delicious drink in my hand. Honeydew mixed with me... ehm... Milk. Try it, it's wonderful!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Swiss Intermezzo: Sächsilüüte!

I'm taking you on an excursion to Switzerland. This weekend it was Sächsilüüte in Zürich. As a kid I used to take part in the children's parade. This year it was my niece's first time! I must say this is the one event I really regret not having been there, but ai know that there will be more Sächsilüüte to come.

First some pictures.

My first Sächsilüüte together with my sister and my cousin. I was probably four years old, my sister six years:

And my nieces this year (two out of the 3047 children taking part in the parade!) - the same age as my sister and me on our first Sächsilüüte:

Some more info (shamelessly taken from Wikipedia and twisted to my liking...):

The Sechseläuten (Zürich German: Sächsilüüte) is a traditional spring holiday in the Swiss city of Zürich celebrated in its current form, on the 3rd Monday of April, since the early 20th century.

Following the parade of the 'Zünfte' (guilds), the climax of the holiday is the burning of Winter in effigy, in the form of the Böögg, a figure of a snowman prepared with explosives. Popular tradition has it that the time between the lighting of the pyre and the explosion of the Böögg`s head is indicative of the coming summer: a quick explosion promises a warm, sunny summer, a drawn-out burning a cold and rainy one. This year it took 12 minutes and 07 seconds, so we should have a faily warm summer!

In addition the Sechseläuten also include a children's parade in historic and folkloristic costumes on Sunday and the official very colorful afternoon parade of the 26 guilds in their historic dress costumes, each with its own band, most with a sizable mounted 'Reitergruppe', and horse drawn floats, to the 'Sechseläutenplatz' at the lakeshore where the Böögg is burnt. And while the pyre is on fire a ceremonial galloping of the mounted units of the guilds around the bonfire takes place.





Saturday, April 14, 2012

Faces of Bali

Some of the beautiful faces of Bali...


There is of course much to say about Bali, too, but at the moment I'm still just looking at the photos I took and thinking about what a great time I had.
I'll probably write a bit more in the next post....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bali - some first pictures...

What can I say about Bali...
It's wonderful, beautiful, peaceful.
Lovely, sunny, warm, beautiful.
Relaxing, interesting, beautiful.
The nicest people you can imagine, always smiling, always happy to see you and talk to you.
And beautiful.

But if you haven't guessed yet: everything about Bali is beautiful!


... more to come soon!