Jurong Bird Park

Off we go on another adventure

Off we go on another adventure

Yesterday we had another adventure – the Jurong Bird Park.

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There are lots of wild life attractions to see here in Singapore and since it is warm year round they can really make them amazing – once again lets make a bird park and take it to the Singapore level of awesome.

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting but it sure wasn’t what we saw.  It really was amazing.  First the whole park is beautiful.  Flowers and greenery everywhere.

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Bottle tree - no lie that's it's name

Bottle tree – no lie that’s it’s name

Orcids

Orcids

I saw these near the Toucans they kind of look like Toucans

I saw these near the Toucans they kind of look like Toucans

Waterfall in the bathroom

Waterfall in the bathroom

Apparently when I say smile Sadie now poses and hangs loose

Apparently when I say smile Sadie now poses and hangs loose

The world's largest man-made waterfall in a bird aviary. Who knew such a thing existed

The world’s largest man-made waterfall in a bird aviary. Who knew such a thing existed

 

Of course it was really all about the birds, through out the day  I actually even learned a few things.

Flamingos are very funny and will flock and move in a pack.

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Check them out in action:

http://youtu.be/oqDDKX2ILAg

Pelicans vibrate their pouches to cool themselves off and feeding pelicans can be loads of fun and laughs.

Australian Pelicans,my favorite

Australian Pelicans,my favorite

IMG_0216 IMG_0223 IMG_0221 IMG_0225There are actually pigeons that are very pretty.

Wasn't expecting a facts of life lesson from a Victorian Crowned Pigeon

Wasn’t expecting a facts of life lesson from a Victorian Crowned Pigeon

IMG_0203We saw a very cool bird show and we were able to see the birds close us as they flew right over our heads.  After which the girls got to have a picture with the baby flamingos.

DSCN1084 DSCN1067 DSCN1069IMG_0235Of course no Singapore park is complete without a splash area.  This time I came prepared with swim suits.

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Before

Before

After

After

Finally, we actually found swings, not a single park we have been to as of yet has had swings.  This has been a been deal to Sadie who could spend hours swinging.  When we spotted this play area at the back of the splash pad we knew our day couldn’t get any better.

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New arrival

Since Sadie isn’t in school right now I have been trying to do things to get her mind going. She’s been wanting a pet and in her words “doggies are too barky for an apartment, Mommy is allergic to kittys, so I think I want a fishy.”

This week we went out and got a gold fish.  Easy and fun and hers to care for.  It’s been good so far except for that one little bump when Sadie felt like Poppy the fish needed a bath, but we wont talk about that.

At the bus stop

At the bus stop

Gold fish riding a bus

Gold fish riding a bus

Checking out the view

Checking out the view

Poppy in her new home

Poppy in her new home

West Coast Park

Ken took the girls down to West Coast Park last weekend but Sadie and I decided to go explore it a little more this morning.

It’s only about a 20 min walk / scooter ride away and what awaits there is simply awesome.

The pathway down to the park. Perfect for scooter riding

The pathway down to the park. Perfect for scooter riding

Loads of pretty flowers on the way down to the park

West Coast Park

West Coast Park

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We zip-lined

We zip-lined

drove fire trucks

drove fire trucks

loads of things to climb

went climbing

loads of things to play on

played

We saw:

Crazy campers camping in the heat and humdity

crazy campers camping in the heat and humidity

more crazy campers

more crazy campers

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Yachts

Yachts

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fishing boats and yachts

fishing boats and yachts

It rained really hard for about 20 min. Sadie started under the tree then moved under the shelter with me

It rained really hard for about 20 min. Sadie started under the tree then moved under the shelter with me

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Sadie wants to know if there isn't an autumn and it doesn't get cold how come the leaves turn and fall off the trees and why is it happening in August.

Sadie wants to know if there isn’t an autumn and it doesn’t get cold how come the leaves turn and fall off the trees and why is it happening in August.

The water was just pouring into the canal on the way home from all the rain

The water was just pouring into the canal on the way home from all the rain

Cooking and food

Let me start by explaining that going to the grocery store is an experience.  The rice aisle is out of this world and the fresh fish section is over whelming to say the least.  The selection is amazing but I’m still not 100% sure what to do with a whole live fish…

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crabs, the big one on the end is the one that scared the daylights out of Sadie when she first saw it, now she calls him Mr. Orange not sure what will happen when Mr. Orange is no longer with us

crabs, the big one on the end is the one that scared the daylights out of Sadie when she first saw it, now she calls him Mr. Orange not sure what will happen when Mr. Orange is no longer with us

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crabs

crabs

live frogs

live frogs

Fresh Fish

Fresh Fish

Live eels

Live eels

In the stores that don’t sell the fish live most of the fish is sold whole – with heads, tails, and scales.  Like I said not sure about that yet.

I have found these great pastes.  You add your own meat, ginger, garlic, cream, yogurt, coconut milk and water to the pastes and serve it with rice. A yummy fast and easy meal that EVERYONE in my family enjoys. food 1 food 3 food 2 food 4

Even eating out we are getting more comfortable.  While Ken and I try new and different things the girls- after a few epic fails- are sticking to chicken and rice and a few bites of ours here and there.  That’s ok as long as we have something we know they will eat and enjoy. Of course, they know where all the yummy sweets are in the market already too.

Iced coffee to go? Here's your bag of coffee.

Iced coffee to go? Here’s your bag of coffee.

Donuts

Donuts

Waffle

Waffle

I have even gotten them to try new fruit.  Don’t ask me the name.  I know it is from Thailand and it tastes like sweat pink grapefruit.  Everyone local knows what it is but doesn’t know/remember the name.  The girls weren’t so keen on it but they did try it.

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The one thing we have all enjoyed is the fruit juices.  Lime is especially the favorite right now but the mango is also good.  The juices are real and cheap and you can get them everywhere even at the Hawker Stalls.

So I am slowly finding my way with cooking and shopping and eating out and even cooking on a stove that is barbie size (Hey, I’m not complaining.  At least I have an oven.  Loads of people over here don’t.)

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A walk around the hood

We are actually located between two areas of Singapore, Clementi and West Coast.  I like to think we have the best of both worlds because neither is very far away.  It does make it hard to tell people where we we are because we aren’t really in West Coast and we aren’t really in Clementi.

I took some pictures of our hood and thought I would share them with you all so you  can picture what I am talking about.

Clementi

NUS Cultural center

NUS Cultural center

NUS Cultural center http://www.nus.edu.sg/cfa/about_us/getting_to_us.php

NUS Cultural center
http://www.nus.edu.sg/cfa/about_us/getting_to_us.php

NUS Cultural Center

NUS Cultural Center

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Clementi Rd

Clementi Rd

Tree on Clementi Road

Tree on Clementi Road

West Coast Market Center Area

Laundry Day

Laundry Day

Laundry Day

Laundry Day

Stairs back home from the  West Coast Market

Stairs back home from the West Coast Market

Roots

Roots

Cross Walk and the little green man

Cross Walk and the little green man

Canal that leads to West Coast Park

Canal that leads to West Coast Park

The canal down the hill

The canal down the hill

West Coast Market

West Coast Market

West Coast Market

Just hanging out at West Coast Market Center

Just hanging out at West Coast Market Center

The shoe repair man.  Sits there and fixes shoes all day long every day of the week.

The shoe repair man. Sits there and fixes shoes all day long every day of the week.

A local temple

A local Temple

West Coast Park

West Coast Park

West Coast Park

Awesome climber with an attached slide in West Coast Park

Awesome climber with an attached slide in West Coast Park

West Coast Park

West Coast Park

West Coast Park

West Coast Park

Our complex

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The building across from us Block F

The building across from us Block F

Our building. Block E

Our building. Block E

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The common area that is under our building. Great place to scooter ride or chat with the gentleman who it’s Block E clean and tidy.

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This is right beside our building. Most of the walkways around our complex are covered to protect you from the blazing sun and the rain.

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This is the other side of our building Block E

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That's our complex- Kent Vale- from down the hill

That’s our complex- Kent Vale- from down the hill

 

 

 

Turtle hunting

Since Sadie isn’t in school right now I am trying to come up with things to do everyday that will keep our bodies and minds active.

Today’s adventure was to The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum in the Singapore Chinese Gardens- http://www.turtle-tortoise.com/template.jsp?pg=home.

We headed out into the heat and thanks to my handy apps on my phone took the bus and the MRT to the Chinese Garden stop.

After we got there it was just a wonder around the garden to the actual museum.  It was so cool.  Loads of different turtles that I have seen on t.v. but we got to see them in real life.  Sadie’s favorite part was being able to feed the turtles.  She even made a turtle friend that followed her around after she fed him.

We had a quick snack and saw a monitor lizard on the way out of the garden.DSCN0935 DSCN0932 DSCN0940

It was really easy to find and actually a great morning adventure.

Sentosa

Ken likes to say that Singapore decided to build a _____ and then took it to the level of awesome.  It’s really true.  They don’t just build a mall they build a mall with an amazing food court that makes you think you are at a village market with outside fountains and a amazing view, Vivo City – http://www.vivocity.com.sg/.

They did it again with Sentosa- http://www.sentosa.com.sg/en/.  They took a little island right off the coast which happens to be continental Asia’s most southern point and raised it to the level of awesome.  There is a bridge, a tram, and sky lift to get you over the island.  Once you are there, name it, you can probably do it. There are fun shows to see, an aquarium, luge ride, sky lift, water park and of course a very nice beach area.  It’s all just so well done and planned out.

This past weekend we decided to go explore a little.  Ken and Ellie did the luge ride – http://www.sentosa.com.sg/en/attractions/imbiah-lookout/sentosa-luge-skyride/

photo-1 photo 2 photoWhile Sadie and I hung at the beach

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sentosa8 photo 20 0photo30 sentosa7 Once Ellie and Ken made it back we all went over the swinging bridge to the southern most point of continental Asia.  It was an amazing view from the towers there of the whole island.

sentosa1 photo 9 photo 4 p 1 p 4 sentosa 3 photo 8The whole island and beach areas are great.  Family friendly with little water play areas, places to eat and really nice bathrooms.

sentosa13 sentosa6We got a yearly pass to take the tram out to the island that was really fairly priced and since it only takes around 40 min on public transportation from our apartment to Sentosa I foresee a lot of time spent out on the island.  Just beware if you decide to drive out to the island and park in the car parks because:

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Things I’ve learned- fun facts and a little Singlish

A few fun facts:

The population of Singapore is around 5.3 million and it is a city and a country that is only around 247 square miles -which is a little smaller than New York City.

That 247 square miles consists of the major island -the city of Singapore-and 59 smaller islands.

It’s only 85 miles north of the equator so that means is hot- every- single-day-of-the-year. Crazy humid and hot. In fact it is a joke here. No need to check the weather everyday because its one of three things- hot and sunny, hot and cloudy or hot and rainy. It’s always around 32 degrees Celsius – 90 degrees Fahrenheit give or take a degree.

Of that 5.3 million people, 2/5 are ex-pats, those from other countries all over the world. My taxi driver last week informed me there are over 90 nationalities represented here in Singapore. Now that’s what you call multi-national.

The best places to eat at the Hawker stalls will be ones with the longest lines. No brainier right? Well not exactly, if you just walk into the market and think ” that looks good” and stop at that stall you might be doing yourself a miss service. Keep walking. You will see that there are probably at least three stalls that serve the same food and it all costs the exact same. The one with the longest line is always your best bet. The difference could mean a 15 min wait compared to a no wait but the difference in taste is totally worth it.

Back to taxi drivers, want to know something get a taxi driver talking. You might only actually understand ever third word because many have very strong accents and speak a lot of Singlish- the Singapore version of English- but they can tell you about anything and are extremely nice.

Speaking of Singlish I have begun to pick a few things here and there:

Can-can (almost sounds like ken-ken) means they can do whatever you are asking. Ask a cab driver to take you somewhere you will hear can-can.

Auntie/Uncle is a sign of respect to someone who is older than you, think of when you would use Mrs or Mr. For example our neighbor is Auntie Monica to the girls. You can also use it for the cab driver or a person out and about that is older than you as a way to be respectful.

Brother/Sister/my friend traditionally someone who is your age would be called brother or sister – like a person you work with or a neighbor- but I’ve been told that many people use my friend now more often in the work place.

I’m still feeling my way through the Singlish but as anywhere I’ve ever been I find that if you ask people with a pure heart and only good intentions they will tell you what something means and even explain.

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Ah Ha

Even before we got here everyone kept saying Singapore is a great place to raise children.  You will love having children there.  It’s a safe place with low crime and it’s clean.  I don’t think I truly understood what they were saying but I think I am beginning to understand it now.

In the States, because of all we see and know, people are nervous.  If someone looks or talks to, or touches your child’s hair or face parents get very upset.  It feels creepy and wrong and you smile and shift your child away as fast as you can.

In Singapore, there is a sense of community.  A it takes a village type of feeling especially with young children.  For example, if your child is moving to another bench at the bus stop while you are looking for a bus and aren’t looking at them, someone will tell them to come back and sit with their Mommy.  If your hands are full and you are trying to get on a bus or escalator they will gladly lend a free hand to help your little one get on that bus or escalator.  They will chat and smile with your child in line and touch their curly hair.  None of this creepy or weird it clearly comes from a good place and is usually one of the older generation.  The younger ones will gladly give up their seat on the bus or lend a helping hand with a scooter without batting an eye but don’t like to chat or tell them what to do.

As a parent we want our children to be safe and we are always aware of possible danger be it walking on a curb you know they will fall off of or talking or going somewhere with someone they shouldn’t.  In Singapore, I’m always aware but there is a sense that there is another hand, smile and eye to help if you need it.   It’s a very small town type feeling in such a big city – over 5 million people live in Singapore- especially in the neighborhoods near us away from the tourist areas.  A comforting and very nice feeling knowing that my children for at least the next few years will know the kindness of strangers.