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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Singapore is the closest I’ve ever lived to Australia. And it’s a good thing we’re here since a few good friends moved to Melbourne about 3 years ago. That and well, who doesn’t love Melbourne?

left bank

The left bank.

southgate

Blue sky day.

public transport

Public transport.

graffitti

Street art outside tapas restaurant.

Sunshine, good food, art. But let’s be honest what it was really all about. Getting these two their presents.

presents.

presents.

The simple and versatile ribbon on string wins the day.

ribbon

Ribbon on string.

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You may remember that last year I was a little clueless when it came to Chinese New Year. I ended up ringing in the year of the snake with a last minute trip to Kuala Lumpur. My friend, Giselle, was barely more than a stranger to me at the time yet invited me along with her and her husband anyway.

Doesn’t that seem the nature of life here in Singapore? You meet someone and a week later you are hauling your bag on to a bus and settling down next to them for an adventure. Sometimes you part ways at the end and keep in touch as a formality on Facebook. In other cases, as is the case of Giselle, I was happy to make a friend to keep.

Our agenda was relaxed with a few things in mind, including Thean Hou Temple in its full New Year glory.

Thean Hou Temple

Thean Hou Temple

Thean Hou Temple

Heh, this sign made me laugh. By the end of day 1 we had made a game out of trying to get a taxi that would use it’s meter. We took turns approaching taxis and the one who got a driver that would use the meter won the round. Generally one out of every 4 taxi drivers would oblige.

taxi

Giselle studied art, so a trip to the Islamic Arts Museum was in order. The architecture of the building was a highlight.

Islamic Arts Museum

Onto the charming and chaotic Batu caves!

Batu Caves

atbatucaves

inbatucaves

And of course, a trip to KL would not be complete without a view of the Petronas Towers.

petronastowers

Although there are quite a few sights to see in KL, one draw of the city is their affordable 4 and 5 star hotels. Might as well spend some time enjoying the facilities and take things slow. My travelling companions booked early and were able to get a deal at a top hotel. I, on the other hand, was last minute and had to go a bit more budget. With a pool like this, I didn’t feel a bit bad about the extra money saved.

Hotel

Impiana KLCC rooftop pool

2014 introduces the year of the horse. Once again, I found myself without plans. This time due to tentative work-related commitments. While husband and myself contemplated last minute bookings, we opted in the end for a staycation spent with new and old friends in similar situations. Sometimes its just nice to not rush around.

One thing remains the same between CNY of the snake and the horse: so.many.mandarins.

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I was in the US recently taking on some new work. Two things really struck me about being back in the US. The first was ERMAHGAWD, WINTER. Apparently I forgot what that felt like. The second thing was how the political atmosphere had changed. Marriage equality, healthcare, guns. It’s all happening. I submit this picture I took while entering the office as evidence.

Dear America, don't bring your guns to work

Dear America, don’t bring your guns to work

So strange to see these signs around, and even stranger that other people didn’t think they were strange. Or maybe 3+ years abroad has made me the strange one. Now there’s a philosophical question for you.

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I am practicing yoga in one of the gazebos at the Singapore Botanical Gardens with Monique in the morning. We are just transitioning into cobra pose when I hear her say “Is that a… monkey?”

I quickly become alert to my surroundings. “WHERE?” It took me several months to spot my first monkey in Singapore, but since then they seem to pop up more frequently.

Monkey versus swans at the Singapore Botanical Gardens

Monkey versus swan at the Singapore Botanical Gardens

This one was trudging it’s hand through the sand and muck looking for food. Obviously, the swans did not approve. I felt honored to witness such a show down and was fascinated, alongside many others.

Monique didn’t share my sentiment. “It’s scary to me that they are so happy to encroach upon human space,” she said.

Monique had previously lived near Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, where they are known to be a problem. They steal food, break things and even sneak into people’s homes. Being fed by curious humans only serves to exacerbate the problem as they get used to human food and start to associate things like plastic bags with food sources.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore is carrying out what they call “monkey control operations.” Monkeys that encroach on land occupied by humans are relocated or euthanized. Sadly, euthanization is more  common due to the tribal nature of monkeys. Tribes are usually wary of strangers and not likely to accept newcomers.

Animal rights groups are making a case for electric fencing to keep the monkeys at bay, but I wonder if Singaporeans are willing to accept this extra cost and responsibility, unless of course it’s instated by the government.

But to someone who isn’t from an area with these creatures roaming freely, the sight of a monkey is quite exciting and new. I see it on my friend’s faces and remember it in myself when I saw my first monkey on a trip to India five years ago. To someone who has seen monkeys before, seeing them interact with other animals like this is still quite cool. Um, that is unless you’ve had them go through your trash, like Monique.

My life has become The Nature Channel.

Editor’s note: read more about monkey problems in Singapore here and here.

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A cure for what ails you

Photo taken at a Chinese Medicine Shop near Ghim Moh Market, Singapore.

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Ran across this item while browsing at Dean and Deluca in Orchard Central. Ever tried one of these Green Musk Melons? At 100 SGD (that’s 80 USD or 50 GBP) a piece I hope they are absolutely fantastic! That’s one food item you don’t let rot in your refrigerator.

image

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One thing about living in hot climates is that you often see people napping out in public. And why not? With all the heat, you are bound to get a little tired – especially if you work as hard as some of the foreign workers in Singapore.  I’m just not sure you should do it so close to equipment marked as dangerous. Or perhaps he’s guarding it?

 

Singapore foreign worker on lunch break

Singapore foreign worker enjoying a snooze on his lunch break.

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