Thursday, July 30, 2009

No Cough Drops or Candy on the MRT

It's official. I have the head cold from hell. My sinuses are at the brink of exploding and my voice is turning rather man-ish. Hot, right?

It's been six days of sniffles and coughing and I finally went to the doctor and got some meds today. They made me wear a mask before the let me in. Karma sucks.

So anyways, I'm fairly sure I'm going to end up with a wicked persistent cough after all of this is said and done. Swollen sinuses and coughing kind of go together like douche bags and popped collars. It's inevitable.

What does that mean? It means I'm going to be sucking my weight in cough drops for the next week. Friggin' sweet. I hate cough drops. I also hate that they actually suppress my cough and justify my need for them.

But after what my friend said to me at work today, I'm a little concerned.

I guess the MRT officials are fining people for eating any kind of candy or lozenge on the trains now.

Here's the video from RazorTV of the Straits Times to prove it.







I'm at a loss here. If I can't have a cough drop, am I supposed to hack my lungs up in the train?

Great idea. Let's get everyone sick. Let them vomit from motion sickness and cough clouds of infectious disease into the air.

But please don't eat that mint or lozenge!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

McDelivery

It's days like today (i.e. days where I don't want to cook or leave my house) that I just love these guys:

McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut, and many many other really delicious, but bad for you restaurants deliver right to your door.

Now I just gotta find someone to get the door for me so I don't have to get off the couch. Then I can be the ultimate lazy American.

And I don't feel bad about it one bit.

(On a side note, I'm recovering from a head cold. That's my excuse today. I'll have a new one for you tomorrow.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dunkin Donuts, where's my glazed?!

Sunday afternoon, Aaron and I took a ride on the MRT down to the newest mall on Orchard Road.

This is Ion Orchard.

This is by far my favorite building in Singapore right now. At night, it has LED lights all over it. It's just so pretty. But that's not the reason we went there.

This is.
We heard a rumor that they put one of these in there and we were very excited. Perhaps a lil' too excited. We always build things up in our heads too much.

Notice the selection here.
People, there were no glazed donuts.

No. Glazed. Donuts.

That's the equivalent of finding a Coldstone Creamery and realizing that they don't make cake batter flavored ice cream. Or like going to McDonald's and having them tell you they're out of fries.

It was so anti-climatic. The donuts we did buy tasted like they were made the day before. They were stale and hard and needed the sweetness of a sugar glaze.

At least the coffee was good. It's hard to mess the awesomeness of DD's coffee.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Follow up: My obsession with bananas

My non-Singaporean buddy at work told me something interesting regarding my previous post on my sudden obsession with bananas.

Did you know that in the States it's not uncommon for grocers and shippers to use ethylene gas to ripen green bananas?

I'm serious here.

The shippers will ship in very very green bananas from tropical lands far far away. Then, when it's time to put them on the shelves, they gas 'em. As in, they load them on grates, shut them in a chamber and pump ethylene gas into the room to make the bananas turn from green to yellow.

According to the guys on the internet and a website about ethylene gas, they use this stuff on numerous produce such as tomatoes and avocados too.

These fruits naturally produce ethylene gas in small quantities and over a longer period of time, ripen by themselves. (Anyone, please correct me if I'm wrong.) So I guess these guys could argue that they're merely speeding up a natural process.

I'm not convinced. The bananas that ripen on their own taste a lot better to me. Perhaps, we should let them be ready in their own time. I know I don't like to be rushed.

And bananas that are rushed to be ready will behave just as I do when I'm rushed.

Not sweet or pleasant.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Since It's Still Wedding Season

I love weddings. I particularly love weddings that break the rules. I think the best way to really personalize your big day is to defy tradition and really put your signature on one or many aspects of the day.

For those of you that came to Aaron and my wedding, we did this in a few areas. My favorite part though, was our first dance. It was totally Aaron's idea. We spent several days in our Singapore living room perfecting this. On the big day, it was a complete surprise to everyone. No one had any idea it was coming (that's also why the lighting isn't so great, my apologies.)



So of course I love what these people did at their wedding here in the video below. I think these kids take the cake. (No pun intended.)



Best wedding entrance ever. If you're getting married in the near future, expect me to throw this video in front of you.

Hitchin' a ride

In Kansas, and I'm pretty sure in every other state, riding in the back of a truck is illegal. I learned this very early on because I was a dare devil child that was always begging to ride in a truck bed. The answer was always no, followed by all of the ways I could die if the truck got into an accident.

Pish posh. My seven-year-old self was invincible.

I should have came to Singapore back then.

Not only is it A-Ok to do this here, the government even regulates it (just as they with do other usually illegal activities such as prostitution, but I won't get into that.)

Many many foreign workers travel to work everyday by this method of transport. You'll see them riding in big shipping trucks, small pickups and even dump trucks.

All of those vehicles have these stickers on the back. The round sticker on the right means that this truck is allowed to carry 13 people in the truck bed. The round sticker on the left means that this particular vehicle is not allowed to travel at speeds exceeding 60km/hr. (That's 37 mph.)

The vehicles that carry passengers this way usually (I think always) have a speed limitation posted on them. I guess they consider that since the vehicle is moving that slow, no one will get seriously injured.

There are other reasons I think this is allowed, but I'm not going to get into that while I live in a country that canes people and throws bloggers in jail.

Nope. I'm not gonna say it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Will Not Eat Fuzzy Things

The other day, the Singaporean girls were trying to get me to eat things at work that looked like this:


I told them no because they looked like these things:



For clarification purposes, the top picture is a rice cracker with pork floss. Pork floss is dried shredded pork. It tastes a lot better than it looks, I promise.

However, I just can't eat something that looks like an owl pellet. I dissected one in Science class and I remember what was hidden under the fuzzy stuff.

No thanks.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Like a Moth to a Flame

I know I already have like a million pictures and videos of monkeys, but I really can't help myself.

They are just the cutest friggin' things on this side of the pond.

Tell me you wouldn't get out of the car and risk a bite or two to see this.

video

Friday, July 17, 2009

Phuket

This was the number one "digged" item on Digg.com for today.

Coincidentally, Phuket, Thailand is the number one place we've been dying to go to since we moved here.

Apparently it's a really awesome beach and a cheap trip.

It looks like this.
Photo from Yourperfecthoneymoon.com

I know, right? It looks amazing.

Phuket, let's go.

(By the way, it's not quite pronounced that way. At least that's not how I've heard people say it over here.)

For those of you that have been, I welcome tips/info/things-to-know-before-ya-go.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

She's Gone Bananas

I'm having a mild obsession with bananas. I've been on this banana kick ever since I moved to Singapore. I could eat them everyday and never get tired of them. I even get banana juice from the fresh fruit juice stands when we're out and about. It's so weird and I don't know why I'm always eating them. I never even gave much thought to bananas when I was back home.

Someone told me it's because they're fresher here than the ones I get in Kansas. I don't know about all that. I just know that they're delicious. And somehow I only noticed it in Singapore.

But apparently, I don't know how to properly peel one.



That looks way easier than mashing the top fifth of the banana trying to get it to open.

I did that this morning. :(

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Singapore, I don't get your bathrooms

Bathrooms in Singapore confuse me. There are several reasons why this is, but I'm only listing a few here. It would take far too long to list all of the reasons.

My biggest issue is this: unisex bathrooms. Several bars and restaurants on this island have these and it never ceases to freak me the hell out. One bathroom for everyone.

I noticed this for the first time at a club in Clarke Quay. I walked into the bathroom and noticed a man urinating in one stall (with the door wide open) and a woman washing her hands at the adjacent sink. I thought I must have had way more to drink than I remembered. I even left the bathroom to check the sign to see just who was allowed to be in there and who wasn't. I saw a man picture and a woman picture, separated by a slash. Turns out, everyone is allowed.

Me no likey. Even after a few beverages.

It's not that I have an issue sharing a bathroom with a boy. I've done it my whole life. My issue is that I don't want to share a bathroom with every man in Singapore—especially if I need to scoop eyeliner goop out of my eye or have to pick a wedgie. That's secret girl behavior. I can't do that in front of a strange man.

Ok. Now that I've laid that out there, let's move on.

To continue the topic of confusing things about bathrooms in Singapore, I have a specific bathroom to analyze.

Yes. I took my camera in here. And I took pictures. And people saw me do it.

But it's ok cuz I kept saying "I'm sorry, I'm a tourist! I'm sorry, I'm a tourist!"

We all know I'm not, but they don't know that. And in my mind, it's ok to lie if it gets you out of looking like a crazy person.

Onward we go.

Ok, ignore the reflection of me taking the picture. It was unavoidable.

Do you see where the stalls are in this bathroom?

Well I didn't. I had to stand there like an idiot and wait until someone left one of the stalls to figure it out. To me, those looked like janitors' closets.

Now, do you see the sprayer thingy next to the toilet?
I've heard they use this in lieu of TP. I'm not quite sure how this is done without drenching your whole body. Then again, I'm not very graceful at much of anything.

So I get to the sink of this bathroom and lather up to wash my hands. I wave my hands under the faucet to turn on the auto sink. Nothing happens. I wave them under the other faucet. Nothing. So then I quietly step back, soapy hands and all, and wait. Again. Then a guy comes up to the sink and steps on this thing.
It magically turns on.

Then he notices me taking a picture. I loudly ramble "I'm sorry! I'm a tourist!"

Then the guy rolls his eyes, gives a chuckle and steps off the thing so I can take a photograph of the contraption.
He's a nice guy. I'm a psycho "tourist" who likes to take pictures of bathrooms.

Sadly, I'm ok with that.

Seriously though, I thought going to the bathroom was a second nature kind of thing. It's something that should require no thought, no confusion and no questions.

And yet, I'm so confused.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Plague on the House of Spreer

A plague has descended upon our home. It's ugly.

It's gross.

It involves horrific sounds coming from the bathroom at least 20 times a day.

Paint a pretty picture for you? Sorry for sharing.

Anyways, Aaron came down with what we thought was food poisoning on Saturday. We'd had some chicken the night before that we thought might have accidentally cross contaminated with our salad. My symptoms were very mild to non-existent so I just ignored them. Aaron wasn't so lucky.

He slept most of Sunday and rarely left the porcelain throne when we wasn't sleeping. When he woke up with the same symptoms this morning (Monday), we decided we better get him to a doctor.

We walked over to our military medical aid station bright and early at 7:30 am. As soon as we walked in, we were informed that there were no doctors there. Nor would they be available to see him all week. The only person that was there could not see patients. Our only option was to travel all the way downtown to the hospital and visit the Emergency room. This is the second time this has happened to us. It is also yet another lovely reason why I love the military.

Because I was very afraid of Aaron being severely dehydrated, I made him go. Actually, he wasn't too difficult to convince. He felt just plain awful.

So we went.

Now, do you remember what I told you about Singapore and their concerns over H1N1? In case you don't, the posts are here and here.

Imagine going to a hospital with all of the doors either locked or guarded by men in masks with infrared thermometers. Now, also imagine going to that hospital with a husband who is running a fever and has symptoms of a flu.

Sound fun, right?

Yeah, no.

We were stopped outside and were asked to fill out paperwork. Then we were both taken into a side room and both had our temperatures taken. Then they asked Aaron about the symptoms he was experiencing. With each answer, the look of fear in their eyes grew. I'm not even kidding. When they finished the interrogation, they slapped this on his face. Ok. Maybe not slapped, but they made him put it on.

Finally, they said we could see a doctor. A guy escorted us to the ER entrance and unlocked the doors and allowed us to enter. I told you they were hardcore.

To wrap this up, Aaron finally saw a doctor. He does not have H1N1. He just has a rather nasty case of a stomach virus. They sent him home with four different kinds of medication.

He's already feeling a little better.

But now, I'm not feeling so hot. I think karma is teaching me a lesson for laughing at Aaron in his surgical mask.

I just cannot resist laughing at the mask.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Usually, they just check my ID

Last night was "Girls Night Out". We ended up in the Clarke Quay area which looks like this in the daylight.

Clarke Quay is mall-esque type place that is plum full of restaurants, bars and little shops. It's all outdoor, but those umbrella-looking things keep the place surprisingly cool. This is a major hot spot for Singapore's night scene. It's also an expat haven.

We decided to check out a club called China One. I think everyone else in Clarke Quay did too. The place was shoulder to shoulder.

This place isn't easy to find. I've never even seen it until last night. It's a bit out of my line of tunnel vision since it's on the second floor. I tend to only look in straight lines that extend straight in front of my face. I have no idea why my peripheral vision is broken.

Anyways, back to the story.

So since it's on the second floor, we had to ascend some metal stairs to reach the entrance. I also do not look up while climbing stairs. So you can imagine my surprise when I reach the top and have this device thrust to my temple by a burly bouncer man. (By the way, the picture is not of said burly bouncer man. He was waaaay burly-er.)

Photo from Reuters
The following conversation ensued:

Me: Woah! Whatcha doin' with that there buddy?

Bouncer man: Just take temperature for H1N1 check.

Me: You guys are hardcore. Usually they just check my ID, but whatever.

The bouncer man then makes a face at my temp reading and says "Eh. Ok, you can go."

Really reassuring, huh? He then stamped my arm with a seal of some sort and let me in the door.


I don't know if you notice, but look at my wrist. I have small patch of hives from where the guy touched me to put the stamp on my arm.

I must be allergic to H1N1 test administrators.

I think that's sufficient grounds for disqualifying me for all future testing.

Write that down, Singapore.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yay Bacon!

Apparently, my brain is incapable of thinking of anything but yummy, delicious, "fat kid" foods.



Yay bacon!

Sorry, I had bacon for breakfast. I was very excited about it too. I'm also thinking about having bacon for lunch. If you don't see me in a couple of days, send someone over with a fork lift to get me out of the house. And away from the bacon.

Thanks.

Pizza as a Cone. Is this really a good idea?

Ok. I was going to try this.

Picture is from the Cone Pizza's web site.

I mean, technically, it's just a pizza that's rolled up into a conical shape, right? It should be no big deal.

Then they featured it on Thisiswhyyourefat.com. After that, I lost my steam. I couldn't do it anymore.

However, it's gaining popularity and now I'm reconsidering my decision. Even though I'm not crazy about Singaporean pizza, I'm thinking plain cheese is a safe bet. You don't think they can mess up cheese, do you?

I bet I have to bring my own ranch dressing to dip it in too.

Oh wait. This is turning into the makings of a Thisiswhyyourefat.com post again.

I really need to quit thinking like a fat kid.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'm confused. This is a coffee shop, right?

These signs were planted on every table at the nearest Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Aren't coffee shops the #2 place to study with the library being #1?

I might just take back yesterday's post about cheap college in Singapore. What's college without coffee?

Tsk tsk. Get your act together Singapore Coffee Bean.

P.S. I love your Iced Mocha Lattes. No whip.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I hate to tell you this, especially if you have student loans out the wahzoo

Did you know that a Singaporean citizen can obtain a college education for......

......you may want to sit down for this one....


I'm not kidding.....




about
$3,000.


And no, I didn't leave out any zeros. A local that I work with told me that and I think my ears started to bleed.

It hurts a little doesn't it, Americans?

I (meaning my parents and I) spent over that much in books alone at a university in Kansas, for crying out loud.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Happy Journey

Everyone and their mother rides the MRT in Singapore. You'll probably see everyone and their mother if you ride it everyday like I do too. It's the cheapest way to get around on this island. Each ride costs only like $1.50 US and that's if you travel a ways. Yet, it's definitely not the quickest mode of transport. For example, it takes me an hour and a half to travel twenty miles to work every morning (and then again in the afternoon).

So many ask us, why don't you just get a car? Well, there are many expensive reasons. Owning a car is very much a luxury that two twenty something newlyweds cannot easily afford. An inexpensive car in the States (such as a Kia Picanto is about S$32,000 used and that's before you pay very expensive taxes, registration-esque fees, ERP tolls and for parking (which costs EVERYWHERE you go). I know a Singaporean who bought a car that has a smaller engine than the Smart car. He paid an insane S$50,000.

So that's why many many many Singaporeans and foreigners (like me!) take the MRT everyday to get to work, the store and anywhere else we need to go.

Because of this, it can get crowded. During "rush hour", you will be so packed in that train you'll feel like a sardine. If your nose itches, tough. You aren't going to be able to raise your arm without feeling up someone's butt.

With that nice mental image, can you also imagine the issues there are with getting off a train when the crowds are roaring?

It's ugly.

It seems that the people who ride these things do not understand the concept of waiting until people get off the friggin' thing before they barrel into it. I've been shoved so many times as I try to get off at my stop that I used to close my eyes and pray I make it out.

That lasted about two weeks. Then I got pissed.

Now, I body check anyone that tries to push me out of the way. It's like I'm a line backer and these "shovers" are the other team at my line of scrimmage. I don't even feel bad about it either. You shove me, I shove you back. But harder. And I'm bigger. Ha.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the MRT people (I'm sorry, but I don't know the official name) have launched a much better way to educate my fellow countrymen on MRT etiquette.

They've posted these signs on all of the MRT stations, MRT trains and I think the buses too.




The images were borrowed from madaboutasia's Flikr page since I cannot carry a camera with me to work.


They also made a "rap" video that plays on the TV screens in the station. It features Gurmit Singh, a popular Singaporean TV actor. (He's actually the only SG actor I like, but definitely not because of the rap video.)



So today I only saw one teenage girl pretending to sleep as a poor 70-year-old woman stood and held on to the poles for dear life. But they still tried to shove me.

I think we need t-shirts. That should drive the point home.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sibu Island...Pretty!

There are many times my life when I must say to myself, "Yeah, this kind of sucks, but look how pretty!"

4th of July at Sibu Island, Malaysia was one of those times. I mean that in a good way too. I swear. It was the kind of "sucks" that means "I'm a spoiled brat and have only visited places with air conditioning and all other amenities". This was my lesson in how to suck it up and enjoy nature. Surprisingly, I loved it.

To start, we traveled four hours by bus. Then traveled 30 minutes by boat. Then we arrived at the very rustic resort.

And I mean rustic.



These were our digs for the three day, two night excursion. Notice the absence of an actual door and window. This also meant there was an absence of air conditioning. BUT...Look how pretty!



So yeah. The walkways were made of sand. Sand covered the beach. Actually, sand covered every inch of the resort. Kind of charming until we discovered that we didn't have running water between the hours of 10AM and 5PM. You know what I want after walking around in a virtual human-sized sand castle? A shower. But, I couldn't have one because it's been a dry season and the resort had to ration our water in order to avoid completely drying out the well. BUT, look how pretty!



After spending the days snorkeling, finding "Nemo", eating delicious food and drinking a devilish concoction called "Jolly Juice", we mostly sat around in our sandy, wet clothes. And talked about how friggin' pretty it was.



In all seriousness though, we had a blast. The indoor kids conquered a lot of fears with this trip. I was quite impressed with what we made due without. We didn't have air conditioning, toilet seats without ants, running water (most of the time), a hair dryer or a television.

Did I also mention that I forgot to pack shorts or pants? That was a fun realization.



BUT....look how friggin' pretty!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Yummy. Delicious. Pot pie.



You are looking at the world's best chicken pot pie and corn muffin combo.

One of my good friends at work made it. She has officially been deemed the sweetest Singaporean I know. She brought Aaron and me this amazing dinner on Monday. Why did she do this? Because she just thought she'd make some extra and bring it in. That's the only reason. Just because.

It made me very aware of just how lazy and selfish I am with my food.

Crap.

(Note to self: Bring food to work and not be a selfish fatty.)

What makes it worse is that this saint of a woman made all of this deliciousness from scratch. SCRATCH. Do you know how much more work is involved in a chicken pot pie from scratch than a frozen one you plop in the oven? That's a lot of chopping, filling and folding. I wouldn't know much about all that. I'm American. I've been known to have a personal relationship with the Swanson's brand of frozen pot pies.

Yummy. Fatty. Pies. They require no effort. Yet, somehow after too many, my butt appears very large. And by large, I mean huge.

Oh and this dear lady even made the corn muffins from scratch. It's kind of like she's showing off now isn't it? It made me very embarrassed to know that I have about ten packages of cornbread mix sitting in my pantry right now mocking me.

I am also ashamed to admit that it was the best dinner we've had in weeks.

This chick just raised the bar to a level I can't even see.

(Thank you Sandra!)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Say it in Singlish

Here are some of the latest gems I've heard in the world of Singaporean language:

Singlish:
Luncheon Meat

American English:
SPAM


Singlish: Can you borrow me a pen, lah?

American English: Can you lend me a pen?


Singlish: Can repeat again lah? I catch no ball leh.

American English: Repeat what you just said. I can't understand you.


Singlish: (I saw this on a sign) Saturday store will be close.

American English: The store will be closed on Saturday.
(The Singaporeans commonly drop off past tenses and plurals on words. It really drives me crazy and makes me wish I carried around a Sharpie marker to make corrections for them. Yes, I'm the annoying grammar girl.)