Vistors from afar

We have now officially had our first visitors!  Ken’s dad and stepmom made the crazy long journey to come bring us a little bit of home for Thanksgiving.

There is so much to see and do here that we, on purpose, left a few things for when people came to visit.  Site seeing is a bit difficult this time of year because it is the rainy season.  This means it’s almost as hot as the non rainy season but it now rains every single day.  If the sun is shining in the morning it will rain in the afternoon and vice versa.  Then there are the all day rain days.

This makes planning site seeing a true adventure.  For example, we wanted to go have dinner and see all of the amazing lights on Orchard Rd. for Christmas.  It’s famous around the island for having the best Christmas decorations and one of the malls even makes snow.  This was altered to just dinner because of a crazy rain storm.

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We went on an open-top Hippo bus tour. The name hippo was very funny because it rained there too.

IMG_0781We went to see the amazing Gardens by the Bay.

IMG_0763 IMG_0765 IMG_0728 IMG_0738 IMG_0697 photo 5 photo 2 photo 3 IMG_0778This was a place I had been wanting to see but had no idea how truly awesome it was.  I couldn’t believe the scale and scope of all the different types of plants and flowers.  The pictures don’t do it justice.

There was a visit to the Merlion.

photo 2Lots of yummy food was ate and we finally did what the girls have been wanting to do since we moved here, took the cable car over to Sentosa.

IMG_0841 IMG_0858 IMG_0857 singapore_cable_car(1)Everything we did was so much fun and the best part was being able to share our new home with family.  It makes us feel not so far away to know when we talk of Ellie’s school or some place we are going folks from home will be able to picture it.

Thank you to John and Judy for traveling so long and so far to visit and spend time with us it meant so much.

 

Tea Chapter

A few weeks ago we finally made it to Chinatown to have a proper Chinese tea.  We were informed THE place to go was where Queen Elizabeth went when she visited Tea Chapter.

 

IMG_0664IMG_0665 IMG_0666We toured through the connecting store and saw all kinds of beautiful tea pots.  Who knew you need certain pots for black tea, oolong tea and green tea.

We met a co worker and friend of Ken’s, Darwin, and his family and he schooled us in the fine art of tea drinking at a Chinese Tea Room.

There is  a whole process.  You are shown to your table and are given a book of tea from which to choose.  When I say book I mean BOOK.  Pages and pages of teas to choose from all with decriptions of color and strength and flavor tones. Luckily we left the choosing to Darwin, I wouldn’t have known where to start.

Next the whole process began.  There are burners at the tables that keep the water hot at all times.  The tea leaves you ordered are brought to the tables and the true ceremony begins.  You pour the leaves and the hot water into the pot and then dump the first pot of made tea, this is to clean the leaves.  Next you pour more water over the tea leaves again and let it brew.  There is a smaller “justice pot” that you pour the tea into after it has sat and brewed.  If you were to serve from the brewing pot, people would get different concentrations of tea as the water level changed.  By serving the cups of tea to everyone from the justice pot, everyone gets uniform strength tea. Voilà – justice!  Each person then smells the tea, rotates the cups in their hands a few times and then smells it again.  Finally you drink the tea.  It was very interesting how the smell of some of the varieties of tea changed with the rotation.

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After our tea adventure we did a stroll through Chinatown where you can buy anything and everything from roasted chestnuts to smelly durian to snake oil.  It is always fun to see what is there.

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I hope I learned enough that when I go back I can be as good as Darwin at the tea ceremony.