Monday, November 29, 2010

Leave the gum at customs

Being in Singapore almost felt like we had left Asia.  This is largely due to the people living there - a large part of the population (42% wikipedia tells me) are foreigners.  Walking down the street you see people from all over the world, and we heard languages ranging from Chinese to French with a lot of English.  On our hotel TV there was a channel in Chinese, one in English, one in an India language (I'm not sure which) with a variety of subtitles on each.  We also felt the British influence - people drive on the left, signs ask people to queue, and people spoke in British English.

The city was pristine (except for that gum I ironically stepped in after our cab driver told us it is true that gum is not allowed in Singapore). The metro was easy to use to get around the city.  Everybody was very nice and helpful.  All things that make for a great trip.  And it was a great trip.  Except... the malls.  Now I admit our hotel was located on Orchard Road, the shopping area, so our vision of Singapore may be skewed compared to others'.  But there seemed to be malls where ever we went.  Upscale, really nice, expensive malls.  On a 15 minute walk home we counted 3 Dolce and Gabbana stores.  The feeling of constant consumerism wore me out.

What did we love about Singapore?  The food, the diversity, the colors, the pretty authentic feel of the Little India area, the reverse bungee ride, and the view of the city at night.  And amidst all those malls were Christmas trees and decorations, which, being a sucker for Christmas decor, I loved.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Abroad

Since we were working through our Thanksgiving holiday break, the chaperones of the trip decided to celebrate with as traditional of a meal as we could get.  Luckily, Singapore had options for us.  We ended up at the Hyatt Hotel where in addition to their normal menu, a special Thanksgiving set meal was served.

Everyone walked away satisfied and almost uncomfortably full - just as it should be on Thanksgiving.  We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Greetings from Singapore

Hey folks, that's right, we're in Singapore for work.  Can't wait to post some of the pictures we've been taking - let me tell ya, Singapore is ready for Christmas!

PS Hello to all the new readers from Matador Abroad!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Best tofu ever

We eat at a Japanese restaurant near our house often - sometimes a few times a week.  The menu is all in Chinese, so we've depended on the kindness of the staff to help us and boy have they come through.  I communicated early that I was vegetarian and for quite awhile I stuck with udon noodles and a tofu that wasn't my favorite.  One day Jeremiah came back with sān bēi dòufu - three cup tofu.  In its normal form this dish is sān bēi jī - three cup chicken, but our friends at the restaurant offered to make it veggie for me (though to be quite honest I'm not sure how veggie the sauce is that they cook it in).  It is now one of my favorite dishes - cooked in an earthenware pot and chock full of basil, whole cloves of garlic and ginger (which I don't usually like but it works for me in this dish).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Team waiguoren

This weekend Jeremiah and a friend played in a badminton tournament.  They play with a group of Taiwanese people and always joke about how bad they are compared to everyone else.  So naturally, they went in pretty sure they would get smashed but held their own and ended up winning one of their games.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Have an announcement?

Share it with the world, or at least those passing by, with these awesome signs.  I'm pretty sure they are used for weddings and funerals, perhaps more.  Whatever the occasion, they sure brighten the sides of the streets!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I'd never had a guava before, and when I first got one at the market shortly after arriving in Taichung I didn't like it.  But lately, paired with plum powder, this is my favorite snack.  I've gone through 4 this week!  I scoop out the seeds, but some of my students have told me they like to eat them.  I've heard there are pink varieties in other places in the world, I'm keeping my eye out to try them!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dried plums

The package says "it tastes sour and sweet" - they aren't joking about the sour part. I hated these at first but they've grown on me.  They are kind of like the candy warheads - sour on the outside but once you suck on them long enough they are sweet.  I enjoy them just as they are; sometimes they are served in tea (yuck!) and even in the middle of candies.
I'm pretty sure you can get these at asian markets in the states - I encourage you to try, just for the experience.