Sunday, December 23, 2012

Egads Christmas is here!!!


I know I know, we look dumb and even dumber. But warmest Christmas greetings from very very very far away.

Boy, being here for Christmas really shows us what is important about Christmas. Not that we needed the lesson. It is ALL about family and friends. 

It is Christmas Eve here. It is 70', actually a very nice day. Light overcast so not hot. A lovely breeze. 
We will go to midnight mass at 9 tonight. I think I would like to go for a swim after, just because I have never done that on Christmas Eve before.

Tomorrow we will be part of a pot luck orphans Christmas dinner. Rod and Nancy are hosting. In spite of Rod flying tomorrow!! (a daytime flight needless to say). Nancy will use our oven for roasting the turkey. She doesn't have a big oven. When roasted we will carry it over to their building across the way. There will be anywhere between 8 and 14 for the meal. There will be apps, turkey, dressing, gravy, vegs, desserts. I bought a Christmas Pudding at Marks and Spencers and will make hard sauce. Several couples Jewish, so Christmas Pudding will be a new one for them!

Thought I would show you my beautiful flowers. The top photo is a gorgeous table arrangement from my dear kids. Since that was ten days ago, some flowers have been pulled, red and white roses. But it is still beautiful. The second arrangement is from Heinz and Sylvie. For Christmas. Bless their hearts. (They are the friends who were just visiting)

Our beautiful Christmas tree stands alone. A very few goodies under it, waiting til the kids get here. I think we will do a mini-Christmas when we get to Thailand. 

An update on  my tomato plants. Top plant has about 25 tiny (2" tomatoes on it. See second photo.)
Bottom photo is of my second plant. It has about 40 tomatoes on it. Note the look of fatigue. (Needs watering, Jane!) Because of the stiff breeze it dries out all the time. So having planted the seeds in September, now 3 months later, maybe I will have fresh tomatoes by Easter! HA! Please note my Christmas decoration on the stakes. I am just so creative. 

(And our red Christmas hats are in fact table napkins held on our heads with paper clips, and cotton balls held on with paper clips too. Necessity breeds.)

Don't want to sign off. Again, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May it be filled with health, and filled with family and friends.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

OMG Christmas is coming

I just can not get my head around the fact that Christmas is coming. In 5 days.
I was away in Borneo and came home to a Christmas tree all decorated. I seem to not want to celebrate because it only accentuates that the kids are not here. For me Christmas is kids and family. But Tim wants Christmas, so we are doing Christmas. He got the tree given to him by Norm, our wonderful buddy downstairs. Norm is going home for Christmas, to Montreal, and both Tim and Rod are working one of his days so he has a week off. He had an IKEA tree and boxes of decorations so while I was away Tim put it up and decorated it beautifully. So I guess it follows that we will celebrate Christmas. Actually Rod and Nancy are doing a dinner on the 25th. So we will be a part of that. I will see what unfolds.
I must say, Christmas is everywhere here. Carols played everywhere, lights, poinsettias everywhere, and the stores and malls filled with chutchkas. I was downtown yesterday and you would have thought they were giving everything away. Line up to wait for a change room, line up at the cash to pay. I never am around in the stores for the pre-season crush. I make sure I have it all done way before, and we usually go away.

These photos are all out of order. My computer is misbehaving (still) so I am making do with these that came through. Hopefully my IT team that arrives soon, will help me fix this. So photos jumbled.
Women dressed in various tribal dress outfits
 George, an orang utan at the refuge.
 Our Christmas tree that Tim  put up and decorated. Pretty nice job, eh?
The market and a table of fresh chicken
 Soon to be put up on the table with his kin.
So I went off to Borneo. Where is Borneo you say. As did I. It is a very big island to the east of Singapore. Borneo that I learned about in school was filled with tribes at war, dressed in tribal gear, big ear lobes, faces painted, men in loin cloths, women bare breasted. And they were head hunters!!   Do you know they only outlawed head hunting in 1963!!!!!
When I came back from BC friends of ours had already arrived. Heinz and Sylvie, who were our neighbours in TO, then moved to Kelowna and are a little more distant neighbours from us in Vernon, BC. They are on a tour of Asia and came to Singapore for a week and then I went with them to Borneo. MALAYSIA.
Borneo is a big island, and is divided into the Sultanate of Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia.  We flew to Kuching. A new airport in a city of 300,000. Just on the verge of an economic burst, I think.
Our first hotel was at the beach an hour out of the city, and very weird. We checked in , and saw NO ONE in the hotel. Dining room empty, shops closed, pool empty. I think they were all Muslim and at prayer. Because an hour later the pool was filled with families, swimming in their clothes. I felt very naked in my swimsuit, and was stared at. Actually clothes were allowed in another "family" pool, but not where I was swimming.Very weird. Our room was weird too and too expensive so we headed back to Kuching for 4 nights.
Went to a cultural museum. Interesting. Houses where we would see weaving, carving, how they lived, and then a show of dancing and music. It was very well done. In the trees and the jungle!
We had a car and driver, and did a tour of Kuching. Went to an orang utan rehabilitation centre. It is a terrible practice here of giving baby orang utans as pets. They are adorable. But they grow bigger and no longer wanted as pets. This center takes them and rehabilitates them to return to the jungle. Snow bears are another animal that they give as wee cubs, and then darn it, they grow in to big strong bears. So they take them and rehabilitate them to the wild. They also had crocodiles. No they are not given as pets. But they are studying them.
I did a cooking class which I loved. A trip to the market to suss out fruit, jungle food, identify all sorts of weird and wonderful items, then a class to cook Curry Chickrn, Midin (jungle fiddleheads, and a dessert with sweet corn. I did love the class.
Kuching was very interesting. I am hoping Elizabeth might like to go with me back to Borneo to a different area. You can do home stays, treks into the jungle by boats, hike into the hills to stay with tribal family. We'll see.
So I am beside myself with excitement, the kid are coming. (I think I have mentioned that). Alex and Heidi arrive the 29th. Elizabeth Jan 2. We have planned a trip to Georgetown Malaysia, and to Railay Beach, Krabi, Thailand.  Other than that, what unfolds remains to be seen.
Merry Christmas to all my friends reading this. You are steeped in snow, cold, and surrounded by things familiar. I envy you. I think of you all. And send you wished for love, health, and happiness.
Our Christmas will be very different. I think of it as a busy time, but to actually think of it as Christmas is a stretch. I'll see how I am as the day approaches.

Susan and David , two in my cooking class, from NZ, who taught at Vaughan Collegiate, and Forest Hill Collegiate, two high schools nearest in TO that Alex went to!! Then they moved to Muskoka and taught in Gravenhurst and Bracebridge!!! Did I hear 6' os separation? HA Then we met them on the boat river cruise we took that evening!

 My new best friend, a Borneo tribal dancer
Heinz and Sylvie Boshart, our good friends visiting from Canada.
Sorry for the photos interrupting my flow of writing HA.
I hope to keep track of the next few weeks and keep in touch. I see with company, I don't get to write my posts. Hope you are all being busy with family and friends.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A quick visit, and a very long trip home.

Am sitting in YVR airport waiting for my flight to Narita. Then I hope to catch one of three possibilities to Singapore. But it probably entails an overnight in the airport. Yuck, and cuching cuching. and it will be three days Friday morning out of Kelowna and Singapore Sunday evening. Bleck!
I came back to Canada for an AGM meeting with the strata. My friend Rae picked me up, and I had a great visit with her. And Jean who is renting our place there, had a pot luck evening. It was wonderful to see my ski buddies.What a wonderful group of lively spirits they are. I so look forward to when we are back and are doing the original retirement plan, of 6 months in Muskoka and 6 months skiing in BC.
A friend asked why not do a Skype for the meeting. We are a strata of three. I am president. To Skype 12 hours difference we could have skyped, but to run the meeting would have been tricky. And we already had one member of the three sending a proxy. So it is a helluva long way for a 2 hour meeting, but because it does not break the bank for me to do it, I chose to do the trip.
I have to say hearing Christmas Carols is starting to get to me. Verging on weepy. I had thought I would ignore Christmas and when the kids get to SG celebrate. But there will be nothing left in the stores January to do with Christmas, and the decorations now are all over. I think I am going to find it  harder and harder. Might cave.
Have been cold since Tokyo on the way over to here. I guess there is something to the blood thinning. Now I will go back and have to get used to the heat.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Before I go...

Tonight I am headed to Canada. I have to go to Vernon for the AGM of our condo. I am president, and we are only three units so one of us has to go, and Tim is busy flying.
I am going to leave at 1 a.m. tonight, and get into Tokyo around 9 tomorrow morning. I will have TWELVE hours to kill in the Narita airport - oh joy - and then get on AC to Vancouver and will arrive before I leave. Because of the dateline. Then I overnight in Vancouver and take a positive space seat to Kelowna the next morning. Because ski season is here, I can not rely on standby. My friend Rae will pick me up, and I will stay with her. She is in another unit of our condo. The meeting is Thursday morning, and Thursday night, Jean, who is renting our place is having a pot luck gathering for me so I can see the ski buddies who are out there already. Friday morning I head back to Singapore. Kelowna/Vancouver/Tokyo /Singapore. I will get back Sunday night.
Our friends Heinz and Sylvie will have arrived Saturday to an empty apartment. Both Tim and I will get back Sunday night. Of course I have to add I HOPE I get back because it is all standby. So many connections to make standby. The price is right but the comfort level suffers.
Medically I have had a good week. I have been told fibromyalgia dips and crests. I want to work very hard and prove their diagnosis wrong. But I had a dip a few weeks ago. Incredible fatigue just hit in a huge wave and I had to go to bed. Then the fascia all stiffened up again. But a week later I am better. Of course what I don't need is days in an airplane. But with lots of yoga, stretching, osteo treatments, massage, I get to feel human. I am determined to get rid of this. By working hard on stretching the fascia. In so many ways I am healthier than ever. Down 30  lbs, and when in a crest, very flexible. I am working out either yoga, stretching/cardio or swimming every day. So it  isn't all bad.
Had a workshop on meditation at my yoga studio. It was great. I love my yoga studio. It has saved my sanity and my body. I am lucky to have it. Both my sanity and the yoga studio!
I went on a tour to Bukit Brown "Brown Hill" A Mr John Brown bought an estate on a hill and when he died it eventually became a cemetery for Singapore. Volunteers, "Brownies", are busy giving tours of the cemetery to raise people's awareness of this incredible jungle in the middle of Singapore. A vast green space with monkeys, lizards, hundreds of century old trees and thousands of birds. The city is taking over a part of it (for now- soon all of it) to put through an expressway. The bodies buried in the cemetery, if not claimed by descendants, will be exhumed, cremated and ashes to the sea. To claim an ancestor, you then have the expense of exhuming them and doing what you wish for them. Very expensive. It is a tragedy.
But you don't speak directly against the government. This is a police state. So they hope enough people will do something (like write in TripAdvisor about this gem of jungle in the center of Singapore), that the government might change their plans. Good luck, but it does make them feel better. (I don't know if it made the news back home but Singapore Transit bus drivers, immigrants , who live in abominable conditions in government housing have gone on strike. 4 have been jailed for speaking out against the government.)
I learned so much about the history of Singapore. The graves were of settlers to the original port of the silk and spice trade, those who fought the Japanese occupation of 1942, those that built up Singapore in it's early days. My iphoto is misbehaving so I can't show you photos  but when it has finished it's detention, I will show you some pics and tell you ALL about it.
I also went to see joss sticks, paper figurines and traditional Chinese crafts. Amazing this: Only the Chinese diaspora has the true traditions of China. Mainland lost all traditions as a result of the Cultural Revolution. Singaporean Chinese are very proud of their practicing ancient Chinese customs. Joss sticks are incense sticks and part of the very important burial rites. Also the paper figurines. You burn effigies of things (a paper car, a paper  iPad. a paper house) and the smoke goes to your dead ancestor. You are wishing that he gets to upgrade in afterlife. So you send him a BIG house, or a BMW, or concubines or.... I saw a 5 story at least 30' high and 15' long being made for somebody who wants to really upgrade his ancestor.
It was lovely happenstance to learn about the cemetery and burial customs, and then see how they make what is part of the rituals.
Christmas is larger than life here. I think I am going to have to do something Christmassy. I wasn't going to. And I have to say when I hear some of the more poignant carols in the malls, I get a little mushy and I think it is going to get harder and harder. The kids don't come til after Christmas so I was going to basically ignore Christmas. In this equatorial Asian culture. But they are doing it up big, so I might relent.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's been two weeks! Remember me?

It seems like ages and it is.
We had company for 4 days. John and Dixie, ski buddies from Silver Star, who live in Brockville, retired teacher and retired nurse. Every two years they take a big trip. To SE Asia. This year Vietnam and Bali . They factored in a visit to us in between. They had been to Singapore before and had seen a lot of the sights.

So I took them to the recently opened Garden By The Bay. It really is phenomenal. The government wanted to have, available to anyone, an oasis of green in the heart of the city. So free to all, an amazing garden; plants, trees, outdoor art from all over the world. Then you pay to go in two greenhouses- HUGE greenhouses- one plants and flowers from countries with similar climate; Mexico, Africa, Central America. Beautiful specimens. And a cloud garden, misted, with a 5 story waterfall, and plants that grow in heavy jungle environment. It is breathtaking. Singapore really does "big" well. It is wonderful.

We went to The Affordable Art Fair. Artists, and art galleries, from around the world, come and show art between $100 and $10,000. A huge pavilion showed thousands of pieces of  just amazing art. So varied, so creative, so good, and so many. I wish that I were rich so I could buy some of the incredible art. But then we would have to buy some empty walls to display it. Hmmm......

Tim and I then went to Nikoi for 5 days. Nikoi Island is in the South China Sea, off the east coast of Bintam, which is an island just east of Singapore. By the way, I thought Singapore was the tip of the Malaysian Peninsula, but it is an island at the tip of the Malaysian peninsula. OOPS. I just learned that.

Gordie Wade recommended we look into Nikoi. He had heard about it when he was travelling to Singapore on business. It is only 5 years old. Some business men bought this island and built a weekend getaway from Singapore. It has morphed in to a very select hotel resort.

A small island, surrounded by fine white coral powder sand. A hill in the middle that is heavy jungle, and little villas dotted along the shore. It is like very fancy camping. Your own "cabin" in the woods, down a sand path in the jungle. A house, with a ground floor open living space, open walls to the views, and upstairs a bedroom with open walls. A mosquito net keeps you from being eaten alive. Actually I didn't get one bite the 4 days there. They are very careful about the mosquitoes, but not with fogging. They plant lemon grass along all the paths, light coils under our beds at night. We used bug juice in the evening for dinner.

They offer prescribed meals at prescribed times. They post the menu the day before, and ask if any problems with what is being served. Prawns, red snapper, tenderloin, chicken. Not fine dining, but good food, fresh, and determined by what is fresh and available at the market. We were very happy with the food. Nice small servings, and a delicious dessert with lunch and dinner. They have a dining area for adults, and a dining area for families with kids. And that is a good thing!

They are making the smallest footprint possible. The buildings are built of wood washed up on the shore. They collect their rain water, compost waste, no AC but ceiling fans, torches to light the paths at night, no tv or phones.

But this  makes no sense to me. We were 1' from the equator and yet the sea water was cooler, and the air temp more moderate than here in Singapore. Go figure! I was lucky, it was overcast ( we are in monsoon season) because I forgot my sunglasses. And we had a ripper of a storm go through as we were packing out of our cabin. It passed through and that is a good thing because we had a boat ride to get home just hours later.

At mealtime, they have swept the dining room floor (beautiful white sand) into gorgeous designs. The toilet is in the middle of the bathroom, and the tp hangs by chains from the ceiling! In front of our cabin, we had a giant sand lawn with a bed on a swing, a big lounger under a shade grass roof, and steps to the ocean. It really was lovely. Very different to any other paradise we have visited here. We are collecting paradises like hockey cards!?

We took a hike to the back of the island (to another bar and several pools) and took a path over the hill. Very steep, wet and slippery in sandals. But I felt like Jane looking for my Tarzan. HA There are resident lizards. I think they are called monitor lizards. We had sightings of some about 12-18" long. And then one day I stepped out of our cabin to be staring at the big daddy. I do not exaggerate- 6 feet long. He kindly posed for a picture, (I had to run back for my phone) and then he slithered off in to the jungle. Whooppee.

Tim was fascinated talking to two fellows who work there. One guy is studying the mosquitoes, tracking what genus, where they feed, where their habitat, to deal with them naturally. He puts empty coconut with some water in them to collect larvae to study them. The another guy, the handyman, who has to fix things that need fixing without the support of the DIY store down the road.

 Garden By The Bay in the greenhouse. Singapore does a lot of interactive stuff with kids- a tree filled with colourful birds
Outdoor "living trees" These will eventually be filled with vines, they are just beginning to be covered. They are huge - 50' high?
The Affordable Art Fair. Dixie and I being framed.
A notice on the ferry to Bintam. NO JOSTLING!!!!
 Our bathroom - note the tp on a chain, and buddha watching over you when you are in the bathroom!
 Our bed, with a ceiling fan inside our net. Just perfect. Who needs AC?
 One of the pools.The islands are made up of very recent, soft round rocks. Tim says they are recent, not ice age like our Canadian rocks.
Big Daddy Monitor Lizard, impatient with my scurrying to get the camera, and took off a second too soon.

I am going on, and not beginning to do justice to this holiday. It was a wonderful experience, and I hope to talk the kids into a few days there when they come in January. It is truly unique. Thank you Gordie for the great recommendation.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

photos first- oops!

Well, I put the photos in first and now I can't write anything above here, to explain them. So here goes
Singapore has many delights. One is that we need no screens. Our sliding door open 7 feet each, and it is like an arch between rooms, the LR and the deck, the DR and the deck. It really is lovely. One thing is though, that when you travel you have to remember bug juice. We are in the tropics, but in Singapore they fog for mosquitoes. Every Tuesday! No bugs. Rarely frogs, crickets, worms, butterflies, moths, and of course mosquitoes. They fog to prevent dengue fever, but unfortunately much else is fogged too.
But the little geckos survive. That is a gecko on our LR wall. We live on the 23rd floor! I can hope he is here because the fog does not come up this high. Adventurous little geckos! He is about 6" tip to tail. I always jump, but it is because they are unexpected, and they dart. Like seeing mice.

Five photos of Little India. It is Diwali now. (Also called DeePAvali) Eight days of celebration. It is a Hindu and Jain Festival. Kind of like New Years. Festival of Lights. They celebrate their rich culture and history, of the stories of Ramayana, Lord Rahmen, Lord Krishna, Lukshima, Good over Evil, Light over Darkness, Wisdom over Ignorance. They have many traditions: a ritual bath before sunrise, families together, exchanging sweets, decorating their house with light, candles, mandalas of coloured rice. The one time of the year that firecrackers are allowed in Singapore. Those yellow bottles
are cow's urine! You buy it (?) and sprinkle it around your house(!?). Remember cows are holy. (I do not have India on the top of my list of places to visit. I just can't get my head around cow paddies everywhere, in the Indian heat!)

We have company coming this week. John and Dixie Logie. They are ski buddies that we met at Silver Star. They live in Brockville. They come next Thursday, having been in Vietnam for two weeks. After four days with us, they are going to Bali for two weeks. It is exciting.

We leave (a day before the Logies leave- they will have to find their way around for their last day) Monday for Nikoi, Indonesia. Gordie Wade said a buddy of his who travelled here a lot, said it was super. It sure looks great. A private island!!  We take a one hour ferry from Sg to Batam, Indonesia, then they pick you up and we go another hour in their boat to get to the island. It is monsoon season and windy. I hope I remember to take along my Gravol!

Time is flying. It is November, and Sg is hyping up for Christmas. It just doesn't make sense in this heat, to see Christmas trees, and hear Christmas music. OMG The arrangements of the old favourites! Where did they find them. There sure is no Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It is all electric and kitchy.

I went to hear Handel's Messiah last week. It was wonderful The orchestra is good, the soloists were good ( they had a counter-tenor singing the alto solos). I have played it at least a million times (?!) and recorded it many times, but had never gone. I just loved it. Some (not many) stood for the Hallelulia
Chorus. How British! I wonder if they do Messiah every year. It is almost cult in TO. The TSO plays it 5 times a week, with sing along performances. The people in the audience brings their score, and sing along with the choruses. I saw a few scores in the audience. We stood for the chorus, and didn't Tim start to singalong !!!! OMG. I just about croaked. Him singing anything is VERY sketchy, but in the concert hall? alone? I died.

From the grave, I sign off.

Monday, November 5, 2012

sweet nothings

Well, I just downloaded some photos so I will tack them on.
I said sweet nothings because I have not flown off to any paradise.

We just had 5 days off. We. HA. Tim! But we didn't go anywhere. Tim was to go diving and get his certificate (a certification for life, no more renewing) It didn't work out. I was planning on going  somewhere myself. But I took my passport in to get a new one. No passport- no out of the country! I am going through pages like you wouldn't believe. Most trips take a visa and they take a page. Although my passport does not expire til June 2015, I will run out of pages within months. So I went down, turned in my passport and will get a 48 page one.

The number of times I have had to give out my passport number, I wonder how I will handle that. Of course I am also identified everywhere with my dependant's pass, and with my thumb prints. Big brother SG has you coming and going. Literally!

I set myself up on the patio to write this blog. A storm is coming in. Thunder that rolls for 7 seconds (I'm counting) and lightening reflecting off all the high rise buildings. But I chickened out. My computer was wiggling in the wind. I decided to set up back in the LR and just watch it from inside. This seems to be one of those storms that is always on our weather forecast for Singapore. WoW here comes the rain.

I have started some tomato plants. And basil. I tried cilantro but it didn't take. Nor did my datura seeds. I really wanted datura. My friend Sylvie had some at her poolside. The flower comes out at night and is very perfumed. On our balcony they would be gorgeous. But I will have to settle for gardenias and jasmine. IF I can get them to keep flowering.

I have waxed on about the BBC. I love the world news. Hearing about the Middle East, Africa, Europe. Not all USA. A documentary on "hair" How important the dead cells we call hair are. To lose it is immense- chemo, slavery, adulterers, collaborators in the War. The US Air Force shaves the heads of their recruits, to make them all equal, to shed their individuality, - what they call "Break and Build". Yuck! I heard a one hour tale with Thomas Kinneally and Michael Igniateff on "guilt". Humans are unique in feeling guilt. How the American Political System is stripped of guilt, because there is no direct contact, and so you can say anything, true or not, and not feel guilt. I listen to their foreign correspondents give a 2 minute little documentary. I read a book of a collection of these reports. Now I listen to some in real time. I love it! Well these days it is all US election. Very interesting coverage, but it makes me realize how the US directly affects the rest of the world.

We went to the Botanic Gardens on the weekend. 97 acres in the heard of Singapore, beautifully landscaped with trees, plants, butterflies (I guess they don't fog there). Orchids, orchids orchids.

 Chopin playing at the top of the hill. At the bottom you see the outdoor concert hall for the SSO.

 My tomato plants- I have three pots like this. Maybe some will make it through. They sure got a drenching in this rain.
Probably the last we see of the basil. They are floating in water and have been hammered by the rain., and are lying limp against the pot's edge.
Singapore tv news had footage of drivers receiving speeding tickets! Can you imagine that at home? You'd run out of time and tape. Right up there with the signs posted in the community to report a stolen bicycle- any witnesses?  We have a sign in our lobby reporting vandalism, and people with information are encouraged to report to the office, and their identity will be held confidential. Rats, come forward! A penalty for someone was 12 years in jail and 12 stokes of the cane!

Ah Singapore!

Monday, October 29, 2012

thousands of words

The very crowded beach we had to contend with.
The infinity pool, the pavilion "living room" and to the left the dining room.
Jane thinking she is a pretzel. The face is a grimace, not a smile. HA NO, it was great and hilarious fun. Honestly!

Speaks for itself.

Such lovely happenstance

I mentioned that when we were in Bangkok, we saw traditional Thai dancing. In fact there was a photo of the dancers in my last post. It was lovely. Not touristy, but very fine dancing. What it meant I did not know.

This morning I went to my Monday morning lecture put on by FOM (Friends of the Museum) and it was about Shadow Theater.

What is the connection? Well!! The Thai dancing was telling the same stories that Shadow Theater does! So this morning's lecture was absolutely fascinating to me. She was explaining what I had seen last weekend!

The speaker was excellent. I can not believe the calibre of these lectures. (sometimes too good and I get lost in the details, and the facts and figures) But today!

Waylang Theater (waylang means ghost) is common to many cultures in Asia. It dates back to 1200 AD! In Thailand, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the oldest from India. In different forms: puppets,and dancing, for example. And the stories are variations of each other.

The Shadow Puppets are beautifully constructed. Made out of buffalo or goat hide, beautifully intricate designs are tooled in the leather. They are held up to the stage with sticks of buffalo horn. The segmented limbs have sticks of buffalo horn.The face is always in silhouette. The profile tells whether the good guy (small nose), the bad guy (hooked nose), the hero, the clown (big round bulbous nose), body hair, colours (black=bad guy, red= passion, gold= beauty, royalty, white=noble, youth). In the Islam faith they could not resemble humans, so they are more symbolic.

Each puppet is unique, and the puppeteer might have hundreds to use in his performance. He lines them all up before the performance starts, so he has easy access to the characters. There might be many puppets of the same character, telling different things at different points in the story.

The puppeteer not only amasses all the puppets, sits cross-legged for the duration of the performance, (8        hours, YES 8 hours) he memorizes all the stories, has to be coordinated with the musicians. He is a sacred story teller, but as well, a philosopher, giving social and political critique, teaching about hygiene, even birth control, rituals and traditions. After all this was 1200 AD. He is the local newspaper, school, and entertainment.

He would prepare for this marathon performance, by meditating and chanting a mantra, because he would need incredible strength and control. The lecturer mentioned that one Indian story was as long as 4 times "The Iliad AND "The Oddesy" together!

I wish I had a photo of the shadow dancers. It is very iconic. And if you are curious I am sure you could google "shadow dancers". I think you can tell I loved the talk. I loved the syncronicity of having seen the Thai dancers just last weekend. It explained for me their very unusual dance style, very contrived articulation of their arms, wrists, hands, and fingers. Why just like puppets!

I realize how lucky I am to have these amazing opportunities. To go to Bangkok, see Thai dancers, then go to a lecture and see what it was all about.

Ciao for now

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


We had a great time in Bangkok. Flew Friday morning, back Sunday, put it together in hours, on Trip Advisor. We flew on Tiger pass $25 there, more back, but positive space, which is so nice to KNOW you are getting on. Surprisingly good food. I am not going to break my neck to have leftovers for Tim to take to work. The pilots get hot water free, Tim takes his own tea bag, and a meal of leftovers in a glass dish, and they heat it for him. The food was so good served on the flight, he would do better buying a meal.
Bangkok is known for its sleazy taxi drivers. So we went to the airport taxi stand, and got into a cab, with the unhappiest driver I have ever seen. First, he did not know the hotel, not a good sign. Then he didn't know the street it was on. hmmm.... Finally found out on his radio, so then I wonder about the hotel I have chosen. I went to Trip Advisor, and picked Bangkok's 2nd best hotel. #1 was $400/night  and #2 was $123. So I picked #2. Turns out the cabbie didn't know it because it is pretty new. It was on Embassy Row, very quiet area, and the hotel itself was wonderful. I love when as soon as you check in they all call you by name very time you come through the lobby. I have said before I am being completely spoiled by the caliber of hotel we are staying in. The hotel had offered a ride in to the city in a Jaguar XKE for $400. Tim put his foot down. pout pout... a chance of a lifetime! So a cab cost $4. But in unbelievable traffic. We noted the smoke coming out the ears of our already grumpy cabbie. The traffic in Bangkok is unbelievable. No big registration fee for a car like in Singapore. The fee neatly keeps the number of cars down.
We went out for dinner Friday night to a hotel downtown that I had heard had the best Thai food. The Shangri-la. Our hotel took us by shuttle to the BTS (Bangkok Transit System). He let us out, and we had no idea where the actual station was. Everything is in that funny Thai alphabet. After much wandering we realized we had to take a pedestrian overpass to the station. (would have been nice to get a clue of that before being dropped off!).
We meandered our way around the station and got on the train. At rush hour. Crowded. Like we hear of Japan, but no white glove pushers. But it was wild. Manoeuvred a transfer and got off down town  with an hour to spare, so we took a free shuttle boat to a shopping area Asiatique. Many many stores of souvenirs and eating places. Getting off the ferry boat I missed the dock, because my stupid knees don't bend as much as needed sometimes. So my other shin hit the metal edge of the wharf. And I am in long white pants. hmmm......
A wonderful meal at Shangri-la, with Thai entertainment, dancers with elaborate costumes. Touristy but classy. I was told at our hotel that they had a dress code. Long pants, and shoes not sandals. I didn't bring shoes, only had sandals. But I had my pretty jewelled (Jill) sandals, and they passed muster. In fact there were flip flops at the next table. I didn't think to put on bug juice, or to bring bug juice to a city. A jungle yes, a big (7 mill) city no. Big mistake. They found one leg under the table. One leg about 20 bites, Other leg 1 bite!
The next day we did a tour with a guide and driver. More expensive than we would have like ($300) but we had so little time. It was good. But I came down to the lobby, and our guide said "you can't wear that. It is inappropriate". Yikes. Leggings, a white long top and a scarf to cover my sleeves. No leggings. So I put on my bloody white pants from the night before, and off we went. The Emerald Buddha. The Reclining Buddha. The Golden Buddha.  Then a riverboat ride (like a long boat in Pukhet, or a bum boat in Singapore- a beautifully designed boat to cut the waves of the ocean or busy river.
Getting in to the boat, Tim got in to take my hand, and the boat guy took my other. I stepped in to the boat and he did not let go of my hand, so my compromised ROM shoulder was pulled way back further than it should or could go. I yelled "Let go" about 5 times before he did. Ouch. I had like whip lash pain in my shoulder girdle and neck for days after. I wasn't called Jane for nothing. Calamity Jane.
The level of the water had many homes and docks under water. You can only imagine in rain storms, and that terrible flooding of last year. Catastrophic.
The water is sludge brown. But many out fishing. At one point we were taken to a dock to get some bread to feed the fish, and the catfish  swarmed the boat. Yuck.
We read the Saturday  Globe and Mail. The hotel offered over 70 newspapers. They must print it off the internet. So we lolled in bed Sunday morning feasting on the G&M Saturday paper. It was sumptuous. I do miss my G&M.
We came home at night to treats in our room. One night, a little snack of sweet mango rice in banana  leaves, the next night, a gorgeous fresh mango. You don't get that at Holiday Inn.
It was a lovely weekend. Bangkok is big, old, dirty, and a city of contrasts.

 the river looks better at night
 my beautiful Saigon jacket
 traditional Thai dancers
 yet another gold temple
 the river in daylight, beautiful river boats, sludgy water
 Reclining Buddha, those are his toes to the right of the picture, his head way off in the background
the stairs of the overpass to the BTS. Am I drunk? Those stairs look slanted. Or the sidewalk does. Or.....

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

my computer is still sick

I will do a post quickly. My computer is tired, needs some attention.
But I have no time to take it to the dr. My life is so busy. HA
I  got back from Lombok Monday night and Friday morning we are going to Bangkok for the weekend. I tell you, it is exhausting.
Sepoi-Sepoi was superb. Flight to Lombok, 2 1/2 hrs from here, as far again south as Bali. It is a big island, with a mountain range ridge across the middle. Upon arriving, in the dark, we had a 1 1/2 hr drive in a 12 seater van (we were 11) over this mountain. I tell you the s curves- yikes. It was like a ride at the fair, thrown one way, then the other. 3 women were quite sick when we got there, and if it had been any longer, I might have joined them. Me, who had gravol in her bag- just forgot to take it, and pass it around.
The 5 days were glorious. There will be photos to follow. When my computer is feeling better, and when the woman who took 400 photos sends some around, I will pass some on.
We did meditation 7 a.m., yoga 7:30 to 9. Breakfast at 9. ( at a dining room outdoors, a marble floor and grass roof, just like in the travel brochures.) Lunch at 1:30, then yoga 5 -6:30, drinks at 7 and dinner 7:30.
It was an exhausting schedule. Lots of sitting around in an outdoor living room, covered from the sun, and huge ceiling fans. I had a massage every day, I would say the best I have had so far. ($40 for 1 1/2 hrs) and I have had a lot! They were outdoors, in a covered wall-less pavilion. So breezy with ocean winds, and the ceiling fans, that at one point my sarong covering me blew off!
There was an infinity pool, fresh water, temp between 75-80. You could stay in for ever. I finally am doing crawl!!! This is a big deal, given the range of motion needed in the shoulders to do crawl. A huge benchmark for me.
Some of us hired a boat to take us snorkelling to the Gilli Islands. Mind blowing colours Varieties of fish, blue and green coral, just breathtaking. And a benchmark for me, I could get in and out of the boat on those funny little ladders.
We did one session of team yoga. You are partnered  with another, and you support each other, winding in to positions you would not be able to do alone. Apparently there is a photo of me doing something that amazed my poor old body. I will send it along when I get it.
You don't forget you are in a Muslim country. Call to worship seemed to go on all day and night. Awakened at 3 a.m., but to such a beautiful sound. And during meditation and yoga, truly lovely.
The property was beautiful, landscaping wonderful blooming hibiscus, bougainvillaea, and many I can't identify. Staff everywhere, smiling, bowing, ready to be asked to help you.
The bed turned down every night with a chocolate and a note from the yoga teacher who put it together. I had a good roommate, just met her there. A very interesting group of woman. All younger than me, most could be the age of my children, all with fascinating stories as to why they are in Singapore.
Well I'm off for a massage.
We head off to Bangkok tomorrow morning, back Sunday.
Be in touch soon.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I wrote a post and just erased it.

But I do want to touch base before my yoga retreat. I am ready and waiting for my limo to the airport. Tim got this credit card that gives free limo to the airport. He uses it for work! And he is going to take me in a bit.
My yoga studio has a 5 day retreat at a private villa "Sepoi-Sepoi" Lombok, Indonesia. Google it if you want to eat you heart out. I will report back next week if I have found yet another paradise. It looks likely.
We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with the Canadian Association Singapore. They hold it at the American Club, (they do turkey best in Singapore). It was lovely. Tim was working and got there for pumpkin pie. I sat with two Singaporean families. One was Tim's emergency dentist. Actually had gone to UWO for his degree, then taught at UofT and moved back to Singapore. The other guy was born in Vancouver but his business moved him  back to Singapore! His son is at UBC Kelowna, and he was in the Okanagan this summer taking his son to school. It was lovely to be with Singaporeans, and their very well behaved children, girls 6-9. Sweet.
They do a turkey for each table. We had a 20 lb turkey for the 10 of us. They then package up the leftovers turkey for us to take home!
I am having fun with plants. I have a lovely gardenia (about 4' tall) in fragrant bloom. I have several jasmine. And I have started tomatoes. I have no idea if it will work, in this climate and with the winds we have on the balcony, but we will see. I have planted Datura seeds but no sign of them yet. I bought these seeds in TO and brought them over.
So think of me lolling on the beach and poolside at this private villa, doing yoga to stretch out the tense muscles of having to bear such stress! HA
Photos next time. My computer is misbehaving. Badly.

Friday, October 5, 2012

It's almost a year

It is almost a year since we came first to see Singapore to see if we wanted to do this whole adventure. OMG How life has changed since then.

We came, and stayed with our friend Norm, who lived in this very building. Tim and Rod (Rod and Nancy stayed in a hotel downtown) wrote some tests for Tiger, I was to find an apartment. I didn't look far. I saw three apartments in this complex, two 2 bedroom, and this 4 bedroom. Wanting a big balcony, this was the only choice. Tim came home, and I reported to him, that already I had already blown the budget. He saw the place and agreed.

The day I got back to Canada, my Mom died. Then after the funeral week later, the mad packing up of the family home of 30 years. A lot has happened in a year.

When we were first here there was a very distinctive bird call. Not sure the bird, black with yellow on the wings. The call, first thing in the morning is kind of "oh no, oh no" It disappeared around March, and I thought the sprayers for mosquitoes has done them in. But they are back. And dumb me, I think, why would they migrate? It's the same all year, they don't have to leave. Well bright light that I am, I finally figured they have come from somewhere! So they are back for the "winter" from where I do not know. They could save themselves a lot of trouble. If they like it here for the winter someone should tell then it stays like this for the summer too. Oh, well. You know we say "bird-brain"!

Have been busy this week. A lecture Monday morning with my FOM group, at the Asian Civilization Museum. A lecture on Assam, a province in the very extreme north east corner of India. Quite special, filled with many many varied tribes. It is surrounded by Himalayas on the north, mountains on the south, and a river to the west that flows to the Ganges. It is a little pocket of India. Filled with the diversity of many tribes. The lecture got a little detailed and more than I need. But even taking away a smidgen of what was presented, is wonderful.

Then a group of us went for lunch. That's what I love.Love school for the recess! Such an interesting group of women, coincidentally all from Canada. But all here for different reasons, and living at very different life styles.. And all here by contract. I was the only woman here by choice. I came by choice, and more importantly, will leave by choice. All the others move when their company tells them to. Regardless of if their kids are in high school, and they don't want to move. Or they are sending them to Fort MacMurray. From Singapore to Fort MacMurray? Yikes! Talk about feeling you are on the moon. The saving grace they will probably meet up with others they have met before  on this ongoing chessboard called expat living.

I have started with an osteopath. He is working on loosening the muscles around my rib cage, to help me breathe more deeply, hence sleep better. The sleep seems to be the thing to fix, to fix everything else. I have done sleep studies, and tried the machine, which made no difference. I guess there is a new exciting field about pain and nerves and the brain. Why folks, I'm on the cutting edge. Last night I took the full meds allowed (I keep taking less hoping to wean off0 and I slept til 9:30 a.m. Not since teen years!!!

We had a friend of Tim's for dinner this week. Olga is a Russian, beautiful lady, with a law degree, and worked corporate, then realized she wanted to fly. She now trained for Tiger with a new born! When I saw how hard it was for Tim, a very experienced airline pilot, I do not know how she could have done it. She is wonderful and hilarious. She got her miles flying in Africa, and brought photos of Botswana and Namibia. We now know where we will go on our slow trip home in Jan 2014. South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. It looks spectacular.

Thursday I took a tour of a Buddhist Temple. I took the MRT to the end of the line, and I actually saw the edge of this concentrated living space. The "burb". There is a new temple built that is spectacular. It is very green, no gold Buddha, but much local stone and teaching rooms. Their thrust is to educate. They have an aging membership, and are looking for youth to join. They offer classes in violin, tai chi, languages, origami, calligraphy, you name it. I wish I lived closer. They served an excellent vegetarian meal, too.

So you can see my week has been busy. I am starting to cook a little more. The sun has changed with the season and my kitchen is not bathed in direct sunlight late afternoon, so it is a bit more inviting. Plus a friend gave me her slow cooker (she had had it in Scotland). I think of a slow cooker for cold evenings. But it is perfect. I get the meal in in the cool of the morning, and plug it in, no heat pouring out like at the uninsulated oven, and, voila, supper cooks in the heat of the sunny kitchen, but I'm not in it.

Ciao for now

Saturday, September 29, 2012

It's Sunday morning, I wait for a Skype

I can not believe the significance that Skype calls have for me.
My sister is supposed to call in a few minutes. When it happens, I am so happy, and if for some reason it doesn't I am like a shunned lover. I sit and mope, and wait, and mope. Like a high school girl!
To be connected by voice, but more importantly, visually, really helps to feel connected.

I did a yoga retreat for the day yesterday. It was delightful. At a spa right downtown off Orchard Road. It is a very fancy area, and prime real estate. Where all the pucci/gucci malls are. (There are 371 malls in Singapore!). Just a short block off this fancy street, is a home with a beautiful garden. In the garden they have built a huge platform, and it is covered, and has big ceiling fans. We did yoga from 9-5 (with breaks) outdoors in this outdoor room. The teacher said it is as close as you can get to what it is like in Bali doing yoga. It was wonderful. I did an awful lot to this complaining body. I was very smug, thinking I had finally remembered to buy epsom salts. I will have a tub when I get back, to stave off the inevitable stiffness next morning. So I draw a tub, and the plug does not work; I can not hold water in the tub. So no epsom salts soak. And so very stiff this morning. It no doubt will loosen up as I move around today, but at 6 a.m. I limped out of bed to take a Tylenol to start the day.

Went to my first symphony concert last week. I bought 4 tickets for each concert. I don't have that many friends, so it is taking a chance. Tim had the day off so he was coming. Until he saw that he went to work the next day, but at 1 a.m. So he reneged to nap in the evening before going to work at midnight. Rod was working, and Nancy was able to come. I asked a friend, whom I met at a CAS gathering. She is Chinese, from Beijing, studied at the Beijing Conservatory, and then moved to Toronto and studied music at U of T. To fill Tim's last minute change of plans, I called a friend Farzana, a young (28? year old) woman I have befriended in our complex. It was lovely. Such an eclectic gathering of women.
The concert was wonderful. J C Bach Sinfonietta, Mozart Piano Concerto, and Beethoven 4. It was a feast. The hall is beautiful. I would like to search out more about it- architect, acoustician. It is really wonderful. It is quite like Roy Thomson, in that it is round, a circular theatre within a larger circular lobby. But wood. Imagine that - wood, not poured concrete like RT. But wood, which vibrates. A gorgeous wood, the name of which I don't know. The audience is very well trained. They are silent. The magical silent bars in the music are gorgeous, because there is no coughing, rustling of programs or paper. Electric silences. The orchestra is very formal about bowing. No chatting amongst each other, but looking out at the audience and bowing.

We are almost a year from when we first came to Singapore. October 16th or so, 2011. We came for 10 days to check out whether we would move here. When we arrived there was this bird that called out "oh no, oh no". After about 6 months we didn't hear it any more. I wondered why, because I would think if they can live in the climate here in October they can live in this climate all year. Why would they migrate? But It is coming up October and the "oh no" bird is back.

Such mysteries I live with.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


My last post mentioned the hotel that we stayed at in Cebu. I had not been particularly complimentary, but mentioned Tim had a good dive. The day after my post, I got an email from the hotel, thanking me for mentioning our visit to their hotel, and looking forward to seeing photos of Tim's dive on my next post!!!! May I never forget that everything I say here is public domain. I guess either they do a search of every new customer or flag the name of their hotel (which I am not mentioning because I do not want them back reading here) . It REALLY spooked me.

Maybe next time photos of Cebu! Not today.

Well I am definitely feeling better. I got out for a bike ride! My knees are so limited in ROM that getting on the bike was the hardest part. The next hardest was getting it over to the beach. You have to walk it through an underground tunnel, under the highway. They have a ramp to the side of the steps for the bike. But the bike is heavy, and my arms are so darn weak that it was my limit to walk it up and down the ramp. But it was a good workout. The biking is wonderful. Tim goes with his buddies, and they bike hard, and go 35 k. up to the airport and then back. It is about 2-3 hours. They sweat a bucket and feel very deservedly smug. It is a workout. Tim took me over to the bike route. It is lovely. Flat and along the beach, and goes for k's. We did not go far, my first day in years, but as I work up my arm muscles up for the trek over, it will be great. In spite of the relentless heat and humidity, you make your own breeze, and as long as you are moving it is great. We came back hot and sweaty, and me flushed scarlet, and went swimming to cool off! Life is tough in the fast lane!

My activities have started up.

I went on a tour of the Black and Whites. And what are the black and whites you ask. There is a style of home here, very reminiscent of English homes, white stucco with  black timbers. Many think the B&W here are because of the British occupation of this colony. But it is a very practical way to build here in this climate. Often the houses are on stilts- to keep wild animals at bay (they had no glass in their windows, wanting to grasp any breezes). In the 1800's Singapore had tigers (and still have monkeys!). Also for floods. The tide here at the equator is 3 meters. In a storm, much of the city would flood. It was pretty swampy. The creosoat in the timbers is to keep the bugs out of the timbers. We saw homes of all state of repair. One we went in to, an exec with Shell Oil. Beautiful high ceilings (hot air rises away). Built in the shape of a cross, so each four rooms the arms of the cross, had ventilation on three sides. Saw an artist's home with wonderful artifacts from all over the world. The outdoor rooms, outdoor kitchen, all so practical for here. There are bamboo blinds to pull down for privacy or rain, shutters on all windows, and even sometimes the walls are louvered to be like shutters to let in the breeze. Each room would have a ceiling fan. It was an interesting tour. I love seeing in to people's homes.

I did a tour today of the port. It was not what I expected, but always interesting and with a wonderful group of people. (my FOM (Friends of the Museum) membership). We met downtown, were taken by bus, to the bum boat river tour. I had done this before, but interesting to see it again, having got to know some of what I was seeing. (The guide said the bum is bump, because of their big rubber bumpers.) We then took a bus to one of the ports where the big container ships unload. It is massive. Their are 6 of these ports in Singapore. One downtown on prime real estate is being moved outside the busy expensive downtown area. I had expected more touring of this area, and was a little disappointed. When we look out our balcony, each and every huge ship has a story, each sailor a story. I would have loved to get a bit of that. We then took a cable car ride that shows the port from the air. Again, I had done this before, but fun to do with these women. Saw the port by water, land and air!

Tomorrow I have my first Singapore Symphony concert. I got 4 seats hoping I'd find three people free to join me. Well, Tim is free. I rarely have gone to concerts with him. I am looking forward to that. Nancy is coming. Rod is working. So the fourth is a friend from CAS (Canadian Association Singapore) She is a pianist and studied at U of T and went to the TSO all the time. She was blown away to meet me! HA.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Getting back in the swing of things

September things start to roll again. The two organizations to which I belong start up their activities.
 I have signed my life away.
I went to a very interesting demonstration of classical Indian temple dance. She was beautiful, and the dance was beautiful. She danced to poetry of Gita love ballads. Beautiful movements and extraordinary facial expressions. There were musicians accompanying her. A flute, drum, violin, voice. The dance has a name I did not get but it include the syllables "pre" for facial expression, "raga" for melody, and "thala" for rhythm. These dances told love stories of Krishna. I found it a great deal of information, and a lot of dance, because it was all so new to me. A second time I would take in more and get more out of it. But to be exposed to these cultural forms is wonderful. (Also I was fairly new back in Sg and not fully copus mentis- or that's my excuse this time)

Yesterday I took a bus tour. I got an email telling me about this woman, whose business is organizing tours around Singapore. This tour was of shophouses. Shophouses are row housing, where the business is at the front of the house, and the family lives at the back and upstairs. These houses  are beautiful, practical, surprisingly spacious, and starting to be protected by historical preservation. The ceilings are very high (to take the hot air up), there are windows at the front and back, and a huge skylight in the middle. Often the skylight will be open to the sky, and the rain would fall into a pond on the first floor! We saw some old and preserved traditionally, some not renovated (yet?), and some with the exterior traditional, but the interior modern and out of this world. I don't know why I did not take photos of these modern interiors. They were spectacular. Minimalist, and art. Such amazing art. I know I was to be looking at the houses, but I was awestruck by the art. (As I post these photos I have no idea where they will appear on the blog!)
I am a member of a book club back in TO. I have been able to be a part of most meetings while I am here. I Skype them Friday morning to take part in their Thursday night meeting. It is wonderful to stay connected this way. But this past week I didn't make the connection. Not to press a point, girls, but we in the book club are all learning new skills on the computer, and learning Skype, finding our where our passwords are, etc etc. I so love these Skype connections to stay connected with my wonderful life back home.
I think I mentioned we were going to Cebu for the weekend. A long weekend. We flew out Friday morning and came back Monday evening. Cebu, as I learned, is in The Philippines. Tim had heard that there was really good diving in Cebu. We went to a hotel he picked on a website "Agoda", Plantation Bay Resort. A half hour drive from the airport, past very third world areas. Shacks made of tin and  blue plastic sheets, kids, goats, chickens sitting and wandering very close to the road. Then through very grand gates of "the plantation" to fantasy land. Man made all of it, well almost all of it. Their shore line was not glamourous but it was off this shore line that Tim had one of the best dives ever. There is a wall drop off, 100 meters down just 50 meters off the beach. He saw lots and was not disappointed. But the hotel grounds were not our usual style. Man made ponds, pools, "cliffs" to dive off, "waterfalls". (a little Disneyland, a little Club Med) The room was very nice, Philippine furniture, the food mediocre, but we had a nice time. Not a place I would die to go back to, but Tim would go back to dive again. I guess I would just have to go for more spa treatments. That's what I do when he goes snorkelling or diving. I will put pics on the next blog. Tim took lots of pics, I took none. I will get them from him, and share with you next entry.
I am back at yoga, as often as I can attend (3-4 times a week). I continue to stretch and work at yoga. At this wonderful studio "Yoga for Normal People- Calm and Bendy". I love it!
Went to an osteopath today and he mentioned an ugly word- fibromyalgia. He said I could have this for ever. Yuck yuck yuck. I really wish I could get a strong voice telling me what is going on, and what to do about it. One that tells me something I don't  mind hearing!
Kate and Will were here last week. I am so bad. I did not go downtown to see them. More accurately see the tops of their heads. They went to that wonderful Gardens by the Bay, amongst other places. I just see so many crowds all the time I didn't want to see more. Am I just getting old?
The grand prix is here this weekend- a huge event for Singapore. You can buy tickets to the stands, and watch the cars zip by, for $200, or really good seats for thousands $$$, or you can get a walkabout ticket for about $80. There is so much activity, and it is supposed to be quite exciting. But I think we will pass it by. They race at night. One reason being it uses streets in the downtown, but also, the sun is down , and it might be a degree or so cooler. It is raining today. It starts tonight. I would think wet roads are not good. hmmmm.
Ciao for now