Mandy’s Update: Part One

After being in Singapore for five days, I can safely say that Mary and I have done a good job of seeing the city together. Mary has done a great job of planning activities for each day, and we still have a few days of exploring left. Here are some of the highlights from my trip so far!

On Friday, we walked the shopping area of Orchard Rd and had lunch at Din Tai Fung, which serves dumplings other similar food. After, we did a little more browsing in the shops on Orchard Rd, but jet lag had hit me like a ton of bricks, so it was home to relax, have dinner and early to bed!

Shopping on Orchard RoadIMG_0262 Lunch at Din Tai FungIMG_0264

Saturday, Taylor, Mary and I hiked though a local park. The coolest part of this was the suspension bridge which took us across the top of the tress. After a hot and sweaty hike, we headed to Dempsey Hill for lunch. For dinner, we ate along the river at EM on the river.

Hiking IMG_0276

Sunday was a day spent back on the Singapore river. First we took the river boat tour of the river and the bay. I loved seeing the buidlings and hearing the history of Singapore. My favorite part was being in the bay and seeing Marina Bay Sands, the building topped with a boat like structure. There are plans to return to this awesome building this coming weekend. For lunch, we ate at Mary and Taylor’s favorite Mexican restaurant. Taylor was excited to finally have a buddy to drink the jugs of margaritas with him.

River CruiseIMG_0304 My 2nd Favorite Building IMG_0318

On Sunday afternoon, Mary and I ventured to IKEA (which is basically like going to IKEA in the states) and the Grandstand shopping area. We both bought awesome bamboo kitchen accessories to have, hers is yellow and mine is green!

After a quick check up on Baby B at the doctor (all is looking great!), Mary and I spent Monday morning at the Singapore Botanical Gardens. This has been one of my favorite parts of the trip so far. I loved walking though this well maintained and beautiful park in the middle of such an urban area. The best part is the National Orchid Garden, which is all orchids in all colors and sizes. After the orchid garden we did more walking and finally needed a break and ate lunch at the gardens! It was pretty hot and humid that day, so we headed back for an afternoon of relaxing (ask Mary about her new favorite TV show!)

Botanic GardensIMG_0330SBG-16SBG-21SBG-26SBG-34SBG-37SBG-55

On Tuesday, Mary had booked us a cooking class at Food Playground. This was a great opportunity to learn some Singapore history and culture though cooking. You can ask many of my friends and they will all tell you, I am not the biggest fan of cooking, so of course, Mary made me do most of the work (and volunteered me to be the helper when ever possible)! We cooked chicken and rice and dumplings. The food turned out great and we had a fun morning.

The IngredientsFoodPlayground-4Volunteer DutiesFoodPlayground-10 Making the RiceFoodPlayground-16 Prepping the Wonton DumplingsFoodPlayground-25Making the Chili SauceFoodPlayground-32Filling the Wonton Dumplings
FoodPlayground-42 FoodPlayground-40 FoodPlayground-52Our Finished ProductsFoodPlayground-56 Eating the Finished ProductFoodPlayground-59

Wednesday, we explored the neighborhood of Tiong Barhru, one of which had a great bakery where we indulged in some almond and chocolate croissants and a berry tart! We also headed back to Orchard Rd to buy a wallet I had eyed on the first day, and walked up Emerald Hill. This is a cute street with original architecture tucked away behind the craziness of Orchard Rd. I loved it! We continued on the MRT to another large mall on the hunt for a few things for the baby. We were kind of successful, but fun to see other parts of Singapore!

Our Baked GoodsIMG_0366

Emerald Hill IMG_0368

I have 4 more days left here until I leave for Australia on Monday. We have lots more planned and more to see! So far, it has been a great trip. I have loved seeing the city as well as living the life of an ex-pat at times!

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Australia Part 3: Sydney

Our last part of our Australia trip was spent sight seeing in Singapore. We had some rainy weather which slowed us down a bit, but it is a great city to explore! We explored the Opera House, Botanic Gardens, Sydney Harbor, Darling Harbor, and the Rocks Market. We stayed at the Westin which was great location to everything. Sydney was a great destination for us to play around with our camera. We took tons of pictures. These are just a few around the city.

Sydney HarborIMG_5044 Opera HouseIMG_5053IMG_5077IMG_5074IMG_5093 The Rocks MarketIMG_5116IMG_5137 IMG_5162 Relaxing Before it RainedIMG_5183 Views From the Botanic GardenIMG_5190An Interesting Bird on our WalkIMG_5204IMG_5215Ferry Ride IMG_5260IMG_5284 IMG_5304Night Time PicturesIMG_5326-2 IMG_5339 IMG_5342 IMG_5347 IMG_5355

IMG_5357This last pictures creeped Taylor out. It was the entrance to a small amusement park at the foot of the bridge. It was pretty busy!

We took tons of pictures not only in Sydney, but throughout the entire trip. If you’d like to see them all. Please leave a comment below and I will send you a link to more pictures.

Australia Part 1:Port Douglas

Happy Thanksgiving! We will be celebrating Thanksgiving this coming weekend with friends coming over for a feast. I’ll share more on that this weekend!

We spent last week in Australia and had the most amazing time. It was a dream come true to take this vacation.  In the coming weeks I will be sharing about all of our vacation as we spent some time in different places. This post will be about our first three days in Port Douglas. I will share what we did on each day and at the bottom of  the post will be details about where we stayed, ate, etc. Just a warning, these will be pretty long posts!

Here is a map of where Port Douglas is located.

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Leaving Friday after Taylor finished working, we took an overnight flight from Singapore to Cairns(layover in Sydney.) Then rented a car for an hour drive north to Port Douglas on Saturday afternoon. The drive was beautiful and reminded us of Hawaii in many ways.

The Drive

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The first day we got there we had lunch, explored and spent some time relaxing on the beach. It was stinger season, so you could only safely swim in the netted off portion of the water.

Four Mile Beach

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On Sunday we woke early and quickly headed to breakfast to get our day started. We wanted to get to the weekend market that was put on in town. It was HUGE! Vendors sold many different things from food, candles, soap and jewelry. I purchased some jewelry, a wooden bowl, and a table runner.

Port Douglas Market

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IMG_4564After the market we drove about 30 minutes north to the Daintree rainforest. It is one of the oldest surving rainforest and is also a  world heritage site. We visited the Mossman Gorge area and hiked around for about two hours. We saw some amazing wildlife, interesting plants and trees, and many waterways.

Daintree Rainforest-Mossman Gorge

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Sunday afternoon was spent  relaxing on the beach.

We had a very entertaining dinner at  Iron Bar that evening. After our meal the restaurant/bar held toad races. Lucky audience members were picked to join the frogs. Guess who was a lucky audience member and called first? This girl. I had to hold the frog for a really long time, it felt gross, was wiggly and may have escaped a few times while I was waiting for the event. The whole race was pretty silly as we had to release the frogs and they jumped for a bit then we had to catch them and put them in the bucket. Needless to say I didn’t win, but I wasn’t last. It was an interesting experience!

Iron Bar-Toad Races

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Monday was by far one the days that we were truly looking forward to on this vacation. We went scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef.  We boarded the boat Calypso for the day. We have not had scuba diving experience before, but were still able to dive as introductory divers. Since we were introductory divers we could only dive to 12 meters, but that was plenty.  It is an experience that I can not even put into words. We participated in two dives near the Chinaman Reef and at the third we just snorkeled. The reef was amazing and our pictures do not do the beauty of what we saw justice. We were using an underwater camera, most of our pictures have a blue hue. We took over 200 pictures, I’ll only be sharing a few now, but if you’d like to see more I can share later.  The reef was so colorful and full of life. If you ever have the opportunity to dive or snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef, please do it!

The Great Barrier Reef

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The rest of our Monday, we spent relaxing and having a nice dinner.

We stayed at the Martinique on the Macrossan in a little apartment. It was a super convenient location as we were close to the beach and to the town.

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In case your ever visiting Port Douglas here are the details of restaurants we ate at along the way!

Port Douglas:Rattle and Rum(Lunch and Dinner),Iron Bar(Dinner),High Tide(Breakfast), Wrapped Up(Lunch),Java(Breakfast),Zinc(Dinner)

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Lastly, there was a little pond at the place we stayed. I had fun taking pictures of a little friend I found there.

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Next week I’ll post about our adventure in Hunter Valley!

A Week of Outings in Singapore

This was a super busy week back in Singapore. I had scheduled three different outings that I was super excited to get back to. Here is what I was up to this week!

On Thursday I went on an outing with the spouses group from Taylor’s work for a Hawker Center Tour. We went to the Zion Riverside Center, which was super close to our place. I had no idea it was even there, we only had driven by it a dozen times! It was nice to go with this group and try new things. This go around I believe I tried Prawn Mee from Noo Cheng Adam Road. It is a dish that consisted of noodles in a broth with prawns and pork. It was full of flavor and the prawns were very large. I think I payed $8. The only downfall was that I am still a novice chop stick user. This made eating a tad difficult, but I managed. I also shared some carrot cake dishes with others. I posted about carrot cake in a previous post, to see this post click here. Over all this dish was OK, I’m not sure if I’d go out of my way to order it. I’m not a huge fan of noodles anymore and it did have a big seafood taste. I also ordered a mango juice drink to go along with my meal, it cost $3. photo (65)photo (66)

My adventure on Friday was with the American Women’s Association of Singapore and we went on a markets of Singapore tour. Our first stop was at the  wholesale market at Pasir Panjang. This market is one of the first stops in food entering Singapore and where it is the most cost effective to purchase food. The market was broken up into three sections fruits, vegetables, and dry foods.  I bought a jicama and two peppers for $2.50. I would have purchased more produce, but I did not want to have to carry it around all day and have it spoil. I will be going back to this area. There were also other small shops and stalls that catered more to Asian cuisine.

This is an example of how the food is displayed for sale. IMG_1664There are a lot of rows like this. IMG_1665Mmm…I love pineapples!IMG_1671This is a Jackfruit tree, you’ll see this fruit sold in Asia. I tried some, I didn’t really care for it. IMG_1669The fruit grow to be really large. This is a medium size fruit. IMG_1670This is the dry goods area, selling dried sardines and shrimp.
IMG_1663I couldn’t pass taking a picture of this. Not something that we would often see being sold back in the States!IMG_1662

The next stop was at the Tiong Bahru wet market. This is an open air market selling meats, eggs, and produce. It also has a food center attached with it. We arrived late in the day so most products were sold. It’s important to get there early!

Flower Stall at Tiong BahruIMG_1672Egg Stall

IMG_1674The last stop of the day was at the flower markets on Thompson Road. These stores were amazing! I love flowers and plants. They carried everything! From outdoor trees and flowers to fresh cut flowers there were so many choices. I purchased a dozen purple roses, a bunch of orchids and a bunch of Gerber daisies for $27 sgd. If I were back home the roses alone would have cost me more that that! I will be heading back to  these markets for sure! Here are some of my pictures, I was truly impressed by the large and inexpensive fresh cut sections!IMG_1675 IMG_1676 IMG_1677

My week of outings continued into Saturday with the start of the photography class I was taking. In the first day alone, I learned a ton! Next week I’ll be posting more and hopefully you’ll be seeing some better pictures too!

Bugis Street

**Note: This is from earlier in the summer. I’m back in the States this week for a quick trip back.  I will return to Singapore next week where I have a busy week planned exploring the city through food and photography! Let’s hope Taylor survives on his own!**

Bugis Street Market is an interesting shopping destination in Singapore. It is an indoor and outdoor market area that sells food, drink, clothing, eclectic items, souvenirs, and many other discounted merchandise. Stalls go on row for row with goods and extend to the outdoors. At first glance, shopping at Bugis can be intimidating because there is so much stuff. You will not find high end merchandise or high quality goods here. Some stalls you can haggle on price. In some respect, it reminds me of going to a flea market or visiting Shipshewana, Indiana with the amount of things there are to look at. Is it a shopping destination for everyone? No, but it is an experience!  It is located off the Bugis MRT station on the green line.

Here is the outside of the market:

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Inside view:

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Fruit Vendors: photo (44)

This is the durian fruit(below), it is one of the smelliest things I have ever smelled. This fruit is prohibited in enclosed spaces>(i.e. the mrt) I have yet to try, but they say it is tasty. photo (39)

More outdoor shopping:

photo (43)My treat to myself, pineapple juice. It cost S$1, super cheap!

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Once again, sorry for the iphone photos!

Would you try eating the durian fruit?