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Tag Archives: Singapore

A Visit to River Safari

River Safari is this sort of zoo-aquarium hybrid. It’s mostly outdoors, a smallish animal park with displays of the animals that live in some of the world’s great rivers. It’s right next to the Singapore Zoo, and it’s fairly compact and makes for a nice three-hour visit. One day during Nyan’s spring break in March, we grabbed Nyan’s friend Edris and headed out. 

There was lots to see – and yes, there are exhibits that include birds and monkeys (which technically live alongside some of these great rivers, I guess that’s why they are included?)

Did Nyan and Edris enjoy themselve? They did! Check out the excitement in these pics:

One of the main attractions of River Safari is the Panda House, which is home to two Great Pandas. (As far as we can tell, there is zero connection to any river here — we imagine that China offered Singapore a coupe of pandas for the Singapore Zoo, which would be the natural place for them; probably some internal politics among the local wildlife conservation scene led to the pandas going next door to River Safari instead. But anyway…)  

The boys were excited:

We had some great views of the big fellas:

The pandas themselves were either napping or chewing on giant piles of bamboo. Living the panda life, basically.

(Added in August 2021: It was just announced that, back in about April of this year, these two lovebirds, er, love pandas became in a family way, and gave birth to a bouncing baby panda in August! How cool is that!)

Back to River Safari. There’s also a brief boat ride that took you through the Amazon river.

And of course a stop for lunch.

It was a really fun day!

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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A Post-Christmas Staycation

Thanks to the pandemic, we couldn’t travel anywhere over the Christmas holidays. So instead we booked two nights at a local hotel called the Andaz. It’s fairly new, and pretty close to our home, on the edge of downtown. It was a nice little break. 

Here’s the outside of the building, and the lobby:

Here’s our boy and Slothie, relaxing by the windows and commenting, “I’m like a Roman emperor! Except with an apple instead of grapes.”

It’s a high-rise hotel; our room was on the 28th floor, the pool was on the 25th, and there’s a bar and open-air viewing platform up on the roof, at the 40th floor. So the views are pretty awesome.

And the infinity pool on the 25th floor was pretty nice too. Small, but nice.

We didn’t really do all that much on this staycation, since the whole point was to just relax. But we went to a few nearby restaurants, and had a walkabout through what’s called the Arab Quarter, the traditional Muslim neighborhood that the hotel is located right next to. The quarter is home to a beautiful mosque, so of course we posed for a goofy family pic.

We can’t wait til we are allowed to travel internationally again, but until then, little breaks like this help keep us sane!

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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A Visit to Tiong Bahru

Tiong Bahru is the name of a neighborhood not far from downtown Singapore. It’s known for its food shops, its cafes and its 1930s art deco architecture. One Sunday morning, Nyan and Daddy headed there for a casual stroll. It wasn’t all that exciting, but it was a nice change of pace.

We walked down the sidewalks and checked out the old wooden doors…

We admired a bright Vespa parked on the road:

Fun fact: Tiong Bahru is close to Singapore General Hospital, and back in WW2, the Japanese made a habit of trying to drop bombs on the hospital. Sometimes they would miss and hit Tiong Bahru, so the government built air raid shelters there, which you can still see the outside of. There’s a little display of old photos from inside, and an old advertisement from someone offering to build air raid shelters, I guess?

And finally: Tiong Bahru is kind of an artistic area, so we stumbled upon a mural of a giant goat. Not sure why, but we had to take photos, of course.

That’s it. Like we said, not the most exciting trip ever. But still nice!

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Family Hikes in the Singapore Jungle

Singapore is a pretty urbanized, built-out, concrete jungle, but there are a few places where the natural, leafy jungle still rules. The local government has done a good job of protecting these places and putting in well-maintained trails for residents to get back to nature. On two Sundays in October, that’s exactly what we did.

Our hero, ready for some outdoor action

First up was a family outing to a place called Dairy Farm Nature Park. It was, in fact, the site of a dairy farm at one point; the first in the tropics, I’m told. Now it’s hilly paved trails leading to an old quarry. It’s quite popular; too much so, I would argue, but that’s life on a densely populated island during a pandemic when no one can fly away!

We digress. Check out these pics from the hike. There were monkeys:

And there was that quarry:

And some family pics and family selfies:

It was a short walk, and very crowded, but still nice.

The following weekend, Nyan and Daddy set off for a more private hike, this time at a place called Thomson Nature Park. They carved it out of the jungle just a couple years ago, and it’s obviously not too popular yet. That was fine by us! We had the hills and trails mostly to ourselves. 

The jungle here was thick:

Some of the leaves grew quite large. Yes, that’s actually a Nyan-sized leaf; it’s not a trick of perspective.

A lovely little stream:

Both hikes were, of course, hot and sweaty, but well worth it. Always nice to get out into wild nature.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Back to School (and the Art Science Museum)

School resumed in August 2020: Year 5! 

He loves to put on a grumpy face for the camera, eh?

Nyan takes the bus to school this year, as does Ellie, the younger girl who lives in our building. They always have a lot of goofy fun on the walk back to the apartment from the bus stop.

Yeah, they held hands briefly one day. When both sets of parents casually mentioned it… well, they both got embarrassed and stopped. Ah well. 

Also in August, we made a Sunday afternoon visit to the Art Science Museum to see the futuristic exhibit we’d been to before. It’s kinda a hodge-podge of visual exhibits, and kinda cool.

One bit has you coloring in a fish or a UFO or the like and inserting it into a computer; a few seconds later, your drawing is making its way across a big screen with everyone else’s. Kinda cool.

The highlight is the exhibit featuring tens of thousands of LED lights arranged in a sort of maze; they flash and change color and it’s all quite cool.

Bonus: we went to the beach one day. Because of the summertime prevailing winds and currents, in August the southern-facing beaches are just covered in flotsam, jetsam, and other garbage thrown overboard by ships (thanks) or washed away from coastal villages that have no waste management to speak of (thanks to you too). It’s nasty, but this day some volunteers were clearing the beach of the debris. Nyan saw and wanted to help! Quite proud of him. 

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Celebrating Mommy’s Birthday in Style

There was no traveling for Mommy’s birthday in August, so we made do with what we could and booked a night at the Four Seasons hotel. Fancy! Even fancier when they upgraded us to a one-bedroom suite.

Pretty nice! Nyan did what he likes to do at hotels: eat fruit and proclaim he’s a Roman emperor.

The hotel had a small pool up on the roof. We swam, we lounged, we read.

And we just generally chillaxed in the hotel.

Daddy had mentioned Mommy’s birthday to the hotel, so they sent up a huge cart filled with a full tea set — sweets, fruit, drinks, and of course a birthday cake. Very nice!

On one ride down the hotel elevator, Mommy and Our Hero decided to have a quick dance party.

It was so much fun that when we were in another mirrored elevator at a nearby mall for dinner, they did it again!

And back at the hotel…again!

Pretty good dancers, we gotta say!

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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A Slow Return to Normalcy

We started to slowly come out of coronavirus lockdown in June 2020, but in a very restrained way. 

Nyan started to go back to school, in proper protective garb:

But it wasn’t full-time in-class learning. Here he is in mid-June, excitedly playing some sort of on-line quiz in Mandarin class from home:

Toward the end of the month we were allowed to socially mix again, so we quickly put together a sleepover with Jayden. The boys had a blast of course, playing and watching a movie and reading.

We also took a quick trip one Saturday afternoon to Gardens by the Bay. All the indoor gardens were closed, but we could walk around the jungle-park areas outside. Had it almost entirely to ourselves, and it was a great little trip to get some fresh air and exercise.

How empty was it? This is the passageway from the subway to the park. Usually heaving with people.

To be honest, Nyan wasn’t especially thrilled to be there, as you can maybe see from his body language in these pictures. Oh well. It was a good thing to do.

Maybe best of all: our swimming pool reopened in June! We celebrated with a slow-motion jump:

Swimming lessons resumed soon thereafter, as did his usual goofing around with Pang, his instructor.

Nyan also showed off his somersault moves, after some prodding from Daddy: 

Yes, it was good to be back. Things started to really ramp up in July. More on that in upcoming posts!

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Lockdown: The Beach

During Singapore’s coronavirus lockdown in April and May, we could leave the house for “exercise in the neighborhood.” Lucky us: our neighborhood includes the seashore and a beach, so we made the most of it.

The beach was mostly empty, some of the time:

But we weren’t the only one with this bright idea. Plenty of other kids were there, including sometimes a schoolmate or two. We tried to keep the kids distanced, but kids will be kids.

We went to the beach several times a week — get some fresh air, tire Nyan out a bit. Sadly, the beach was getting too crowded, so after only about two weeks, we showed up one day to find this horror: 

The park’s walking paths stayed open so we could still go for walks, but the sand area and in fact all the grassy parts of the park were sealed off and closed. And lockdown got a little bit worse.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Lockdown!

In early April, what everyone had feared would happen, happened: the coronavirus started getting out of hand in Singapore, so the government put everyone on a sort of soft lockdown. They didn’t call it a lockdown, and we weren’t exactly restricted to our homes. But everyone was to work or learn from home, and leave home pretty much only to buy food or to exercise in their immediate neighborhood. No socializing, no movies, no bars, no school, no offices. Just… lockdown. (Or, to use the term employed by the local government: Circuit Breaker, or CB – i.e., breaking the circuit of the virus going from person to person.)

Not gonna lie: it wasn’t easy at first, as everyone around the world can relate to! Eventually we found somewhat of a rhythm. But for two long months, we didn’t do a whole lot! Let’s take a look at what litle we did manage to do in that time.

Nyan read! A lot. As always.

Nyan also started reading Game of Thrones on Daddy’s kindle. We indulged him, briefly, just to hear him read. But we didn’t let that continue. The boy is still just a little young for that one… 

There was plenty of time to play with toys too.

Screen time too: zoom calls with friends, watching youtube, even a little online chess. We tried to keep the screen time to a minimum.

We also got in the habit of watching a movie most evenings. Not every evening, but several times a week. We watched all of the cartoon series Avatar: the Last Airbender, and most of the Studio Ghibli films.

And yeah, we slept a lot. And Daddy took a lot of pictures of Nyan sleeping. Because there wasn’t much else to do!

In upcoming posts we’ll look at a few other things we did, like going to the park and getting exercise. Stay tuned.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Back to the Singapore Airshow 2020

The Singapore Airshow is held every two years. It’s mostly a way for airline manufacturers and (especially) defense contractors to get together and sell their stuff to companies and governments across Asia. But they also open it up to the public who can come tour some planes, see fighter jets doing acrobatic things, and the like. We went in 2016 and again in 2018 (see here). So of course we were gonna go in 2020.

Or would we? The coronavirus was spreading ahead of the show’s February date, and restrictions were being put in place. There was even talk about canceling the show, but they ended up going ahead but with fewer tickets sold to ensure smaller crowds. We debated whether it was safe to go but correctly decided it would be. So Daddy and Nyan headed there one Saturday afternoon.

It was fun! It definitely wasn’t as big as in past years — several airplane exhibitors pulled out — but we still had a good time.

The Chinese Air Force was on hand, showing off their skills and their fancy planes.

The US military was also there, of course — two superpowers fighting for military and commercial control of Southeast Asia! Or something like that. Here are some of the planes on display — most years this tarmac is packed with aircraft and heaving with people. This year, not so much.

So, a subdued airshow. But still a good time. We’ll surely be back in 2022.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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