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  1. #151
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    Jun 2007
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    We were in Saigon for only two nights. It was the end of two weeks of travel. I was tired. And the district we were staying in seemed pricey. I did like our hotel - The Hammock. But other than that, I was finding I preferred all the other places we visited. Then, on our last night we took a walking food tour, and my perspective changed. Immensely. We took a Grab over to District 3 and began to walk around streets that felt so much different than District 1. It was buzzing with life. It is a locals district, and they were out in hordes as it was New Years Eve (The Vietnamese celebrate both Western and Lunar New Years)


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    Our first stop was a wrap your own rice skins type of place. Bo La Lat are minced beef wrapped in betel leaf and then grilled. Served with rice noodles, lettuce, cilantro, basil, mint, limes and rice skins. Oh, and fish sauce for dipping. So good they were gone before I even thought to take a picture. To be fair, we were hungry with it being our first stop. From there we began to walk several blocks and then dipped down into so side streets.


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    Once off the main streets, it was really quiet. There was still the occasional motorbike, but we were for sure inside the local's area. Eating street food can be a bit intimidating in a place like Saigon. The water is not clean from the tap, and even lettuce washed with tap water can cause problems, even for those with less sensitive stomachs. The advantage of going with a guide, is they frequent these places, and have contracts with the vendors, and have a track record of people not getting sick. Another advantage is to boldly wander around parts of town I might otherwise second guess with my kid in tow. Not so much because I thought it might be dangerous, but rather getting lost in the maze of alleyways. Still, this walk was my favorite of our time in Ho Chi Minh City.


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    Melons, Coconuts and Motorbikes. All neatly lined up.

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    Our second stop was for Banh Xeo at Banh Xeo Mien Tay 335 Dien Bien Chu, Q3. I tell you this, because the pancakes were superb and you should find your way here if ever in Saigon. This place makes their own fish sauce, and it is not weak sauce. Again, a dish to be wrapped up, but these you wrap up in leaves. Either lettuce or a type of spinach. The rice pancakes have prawns cooked into them, so this if for sure a seafood dish.

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    They also make a second type of rice pancake, Smaller, thicker and served with either a prawn or ground pork inside the cup shaped cake. Pour some coconut cream over the top and pop them into your mouth.


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    Soon, we were out walking again, and eventually ended up near 27 C Ban Co - P3 - Q3. This lady and her husband have had their cart at this corner for over thirty years making Banh Bot Chien - Fried Rice Cakes with Egg. And these guys are known for their homemade say sauce. All these things I thought one just purchased at the corner market.


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    This is Saigon street food. We are sitting on short plastic stools and using metal stools as a table, and still the dish is served up in a porcelain bowl and with metal utensils. Of course, if you asked for "take away" it would be in styrofoam. But this was the most elegant bowl I've ever eaten from while sitting on a street corner. Oh, and the sugar cane juice was pretty good as well.

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    Maybe this will help you find this spot if ever in Saigon. Next we were off to a seafood place. For sure not a spot I would pick out on my own. The shell fish was sitting in bowls, out on a table for display. HCMC is not a chilly place, but our guide assured us - this is how we do it. He order us some scallops, clams and snails. All good, all with a good dash of fish sauce. And he grabbed us some beer and served us some rice wine (that hit like booze) from a flask in his jacket. All in all, a super fun experience.


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    Then we were off to the night market for dessert. First we walked through the flower market. Rows and rows of flower stalls. On the way in, we passed a table with about 20 men sitting at it, eating, drinking and singing karaoke. They waves and hollered. I asked out guide if he knew the group, and he did not. Rather, he was pretty sure they were interested in us - seeing westerners in this part of town attracts attentions, and as I looked around, I noticed we were a rare sight. Our guide explained that most Saigon residents are just very friendly people and always want to talk to strangers.

    The lotus flower is very important in Viet Nam. The flower is cut when still closed into a bud, and it will not open on its own. The florist will pry each petal open, and tuck the down to make an open display of the flower. The white lotus represents spirituality and is often gifted at funerals. The pink lotus is for new beginnings and represents the Buddha, and is gifted at New Years and birthdays.


    Avocado and Coconut Ice Cream for the win.


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    HCMC from above. The sprawl is huge. You can see District 1 near the top right corner, and is where the tall buildings are. From there, the city spreads out in every directions for miles and miles. Flying away, soon after you are above the Mekong Delta and then open ocean.


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    Coming back home. Plenty of container ships, the CBD, Marina Bay Sands, and Gardens by the Bay through the haze.
    Last edited by Ottime; 01-26-2023 at 04:02 AM.

  2. #152
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Tahoe-ish
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    2,585
    Man, it looks like the Vietnamese have really upped their coffee and beer game in the (....checks calendar, recoils....) 13 years since I was there.

    Thanks for reminding us that there's more out there than powder!
    ride bikes, climb, ski, travel, cook, work to fund former, repeat.

  3. #153
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Cruzing
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    Man, the beer in Saigon was some of the best beer I’ve had since moving out here. Brewlander in SG also does a decent job. But the Loose Stivers NEIPA has been my favorite.

    Have not yet put into words, but the egg coffee was pretty delicious. Will get back in and write up about it soon. Still in process of posting up pics.

    Truth be told, I’m very much missing that powder. But what can ya do. Looks like the best start of a season in my memory. Hope it continues for y’all.

  4. #154
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    Jun 2007
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    Again, biking in SG is some of the best and some of the worst. Here is a pic of the stairway ramps for getting you bike up or down over passes. When these are utilized on dedicated bike lanes, it feels like a kick in the face. OTOH, if you find yourself on a roadway, or sidewalk, and a need to get over a divided four lane road, and the over pass is the only option within a mile, having these ramps installed feels pretty damn nice. SG is slowly building its infrastructure to make the bike experience more pleasant.

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    We've been trying to stop in to Hup Kee Fishball for several months now. We had expected my in-laws to come visit, but a positive Covid inspection cancelled their trip - so we had about a week left of winter break from school, with no plans. We took advantage of this time to get over to Hup Kee mid week and before noon. They close each day when they sell out, and that can be as early as 11:30AM on a busy day. A bit pricey for Fishball Noodles (S$5) but a damn good bowl. I prefer mine dry, and my wife ordered the soup.



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    Hup Kee s located on Ang Mo Kio Ave 4, near the Mayflower MRT on the Thomson-East Coast Line. An easy enough place to get to from a Chinatown or Duxton Hill hotel. And well worth the trip. If you get up this way, I'd highly suggest a visit, and then either a stroll through AMK Town Center Garden (the park directly behind the adjacent Mayflower Food Centre) and over to AMK Central Food Centre and market area. It is so different than the typical tourist districts, and gives a good sense of the local life in SG. Another option would be to get down to Bishan - And Mo Kid Park. One of my favorite spots to stroll or bike through. Or do both. There are no shortages of Food Centre in the area, so you can always find cheap eats.

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    Back at the Night Safari. We skipped the tram ride this time and just walked around on the dark trails. It is really quite cool to see all these natural animals.

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    The antelope were pretty easy to take pictures of, as they were barely moving around. Very still creatures.

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    The Hyena offered a different challenge, as they barely stopped pacing around. This guy almost stood still for me for a few seconds. This would be another place I'd suggest visiting while in SG as there are, to my knowledge, not common zoo features. It opens up after dark only and is open until midnight. Not easy to get to from the hotel district, but worth the trek. They even have decent food at the Night Safari. A bit more expensive than a market, but not really any more expensive than a counter service restaurant.


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    Finally got my kid out for a MTB. We took a van service over to Chestnut Nature Park and biked home from there. About 6.5 miles on dirt and 5.5 on PCN. Pretty stoked on their riding for their first time out in this heat. They have not been trail riding since Santa Cruz, so over 6 months, and they killed it out on the trails. We started with a few laps in the pump track. I tried to get a pic of them cruising by a band of monkeys, but all you can see is the creatures retreating into the bush as my kid cruised by.

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    No trail pics, as they had my phone in their pack recording their ride and top speed. Just as we got out of the bush, the sky opened up and we found a bus stop to hang out at for the thirty minutes of downpour. The rained stopped and and we continued home. On days like this, the rain feels so manageable. Now we are in a run were rain returned on Friday and an rained all day Friday, Sunday, Monday and now Tuesday looks the same. At least on Saturday we were lucky enough to have mostly dry weather through the day.
    Last edited by Ottime; 01-23-2023 at 06:39 PM.

  5. #155
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    Jun 2007
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    Finally came across a monitor lizard who was not skittish. This guy was hunting worms along the side of the Railway Corridor. He was also smaller, so maybe not old enough to fear humans. Or maybe it was because it lived closer to them.

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    Often this place feels like the future, with automation and apps for every thing in your life. And then, at times, it feels like the past. My kid had to ask me, what are CDs, and I began explaining by asking if they recalled the music devices I have in the garage back at home.

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    The jungle is hard to take pictures of. Sure, with a decent telephoto, you can get great shots of colorful birds with a backdrop of greens and browns. But I mean capturing the majestic trees ad vines and lush life. Across the street from our place is the Thomson Nature Park. It is an interesting place, as recently as the 1950s there was a thriving kampong (village) in this area. The main trails are the old paved roads, and occasionally you come across concrete ruins and foundations. Otherwise, the jungle has grown back over everything here.



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    These palms date back hundred of millions of years. They grow in bushy clusters and are found all over the island.


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    With the early January being fairly dry, I began to explore more MTB tracks and finally found the entrance to Centipede. This long XC track is pretty fun and rather organic. It is not maintained by any official group, and sections of it are super Rooty. The locals MTB crew mostly enjoys a more natural trail, and this one fits the bill.


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    Parts of it are fast and flows, and others are amazing feats of root crossings. It travels along the western shore of Upper Seletar. There ae limited miles (or kilometers) of trails here, and this one links up nicely with the Chestnut area, so a good find and alternative to traveling on fire road.



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    A few days later, I took my first bike ride out to the Kranji area. Kranji is home to Sungei Boluh Wetlands Preserve, as well as the only "rural" area of Singapore. We stopped and spent some time in the wetlands park. It has never been developed or logged, and truly feels like a preserve. I knew right away I would need to return to this place with my family. Being a 18 mile ride from home, it was clear we would need to take transit to get here. Luckily, it is a short bus ride from the Kranji MRT. So while a long trip from the hotel district, certainly reasonable. Jump on the North South lIne and ride for a little over an hour and transfer to the 925 Bus at Kranji.


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    One of the standouts about Sungei Buloh is that there are crocodiles in this region. the phone camera is not the tool for this shot, but this guy is pretty damn big. I've seen alligator in the wild, but never crocs. The only time I've been in croc territory has been while I was surfing and really had no desire to see one.


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    The monitor lizards in this area were also pretty majestic. This guy was about a meter long head to tail. And those claws were no joke.


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    The wetlands were covered with mangrove forest which are always cool. Even cooler were these jumping fish everywhere that turned out to be impossible for me to catch in a photograph. Also, birds galore, and they had bird viewing shields set up all over the place so you could hide and watch without disturbing the animals. More pics later from when I returned with my family the following day. It was that cool of a place.


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    At mile 50, I stopped at Tap on the Singapore River, for a beer (or two). Tap has decent prices, and no happy hour - just reasonable 9by SG standards) pieces all day. This is Brewlander Love IPA again. They carry a bunch of SG beers, as well as a few Assie, US and Canadian beers. This is what fueled me up for my final 12 miles home.
    Last edited by Ottime; 01-23-2023 at 07:04 PM.

  6. #156
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Breakfast at home starts with a smoothie. Mango w coconut water for my kid. I add some dragon fruit and banana to that to make mine. Will totally miss this daly ritual when we return. I'm finding the mangos for $.50 to a dollar, and the dragon fruit fro $.50 to $2. Bananas are about $1 for a large bunch. And the bananas are a variety I can't find back home - super flavorful.

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    Sungei Bulah Wetlands Preserve is in the northwest of Singapore. You need to pass through Woodlands, and also Kanji. Woodlands is where the Singapore American School is located, so lots of expats to have their kids near school. They have 4000 students. Woodlands also houses plenty of Singaporeans. It has malls, markets, parks, and otherwise feels like many parts of the country being generally urban. Once you pass further west into Kranji it becomes quite a bit more industrial, with little housing, and certainly no malls (or parks for that matter). Once you head west past the Kranji Reservoir, you enter on the eastern front of the preserve. And suddenly, you are in crocodile territory. Sungei is not the only area that crocs have been reordered (they've been seen downtown in the Singapore River, as well as other waterways and estuaries), but they are common up here.

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    Not a croc. This is a monitor lizard, and these guys are also quite adapt in the water, As well as much less dangerous. They tend to not attack humans. Crocs can.

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    The boardwalk at Sungei is quite cool. Here we are descending from a bird watch. It was a perch, high above the water, that you can hide behind, so as not to disturb the wild life. No picture, but they were like flower bulbs you climbed inside of. Soon after this pic, we spotted a large crocodile, approximately 6 meters long. It was huge, floating on the water surface about 10 meters from us. It was only a glimpse, as soon after we spied it, it sank below, and would from then on only occasionally show its tail.

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    Earlier, we saw a much smaller specimen, maybe 1.5 meters in length, that also seemed to be playing in the water. It was quite close, maybe 2 meters away, but was mostly obscured through the bush. Also in the water, it kept surfacing, rolling its body, and snapping its jaw. Based on its size, we assumed it was a juvenile juts trying to make the most of a day in the swamp.

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    We hiked for a few kilometers, and were headed t the western side of the park when the sky just opened up on us. We tried to call a Grab, but had no luck convincing someone to come so far away from the city to pick us up, so hiked back tot he bus station near the reservoir in the down pour. We opted for some Tau Foo Young soup for dinner. This stuff is so good. Rich clear broth and stuffed goodness, with a side of noodles. Another hawker center worth visiting is Kampong Admiralty on the border of Yishun and Woodlands. Right at the Admiralty MRT.
    Last edited by Ottime; 01-26-2023 at 04:07 PM.

  7. #157
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    I decided to finally go hit up Ketam Bike Park on Palau Ubin. Its about 20 miles to the docks from my house, but a decent ride mostly along PCN. This particular stretch has that middle of no where feel, but its nice fresh asphalt, with lights for night time riding and lined with these giant leaf plants.


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    To get to Palau Ubin (Palau means "island") you need to board a ferry near Changi Village on the north east shore of Singapore. Ubin is across a narrow straight and it is about a ten minute ride. The island is a great destination, with a small, but decent MTB loop, miles of paved and dirt fire roads with very little to no traffic, several natural sites and just a little bit of Kampung life still out on the island.
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    The ferry is just what is referred to as a bumboat that takes twelve passengers and has a small ledge to leave you bike. $4 each way per person, and $2 for a bike. Looking back toward the docks.

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    There is no ferry schedule. The bumboat will only leave once there are twelve passengers in the queue. This was not much of an issue on a Monday leaving Changi around 10:30am. I waited for about 10 minutes for the boat to fill. On my return, it was a different story. I arrived at the dock around 1:30, as the fifth person in line, hoping to get back to Changi Village to hit the lunch special at Little Island Brewing ($5 beer when you buy a stupid expensive western BBQ lunch). Alas, I was still waiting on the dock at 2:30 with only 8 people yet. We ended up board the boat to the mainland at about 3pm. So be prepared to wait, or bring a good sized group.

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    Ketam Bike Park is about a 4-5 mile loop built around an abandoned granite quarry that has filled into a lake. When I arrived, the NationalParks Board had just finished reworking the 3 plus mile section of black track, which makes up most of the loop. The blue section is now closed off for work, and not expected to open until March. Luckily, there is a fire road that connects both ends of the blue portion the track (for intermediate riders who want to make that a loop).



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    Singapore is a bit different. There are some 20 odd trails in Ketum, but they are really just named sections of what is otherwise pretty much one loop trails. In the black sections of the loop, there are two places where you can choose an alternate let, but really, it is just a loop. Most of the black trail is pretty benign, or at least it is with all the recent work that has been completed. There are a few mandatory rock gardens and root crossings, but for the most part this trail was pretty smooth and flows.

    The main trail here can be seen to the right, but the A Line - GraveDrop - comes in from the left. I attempted this section on my second lap, and chickened out. It had a few switchbacks setting up the otherwise easy enough rock garden. OTOH, you can see how little this section is ridden with all the moss on these rock.


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    The trail is primarily smooth right now, although I got out here before any heavy rain fell. It will be interesting to see how the improved drainage holds up. Even with the smooth track, there are a number of challenging climbs and rock garden sections, both up and down. Just after this tree starts another rock garden up and over. But without a doubt, you feel like you are out there and in the jungle. Lots of wildlife, and very few people. I understand it gets busier on the weekends, but on this Monday, I passed one group of two as I entered the park, passed a group of three at the top of one of the climbs and chatted briefly with a woman who was checking out the map as I went for my second lap.


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    Black Cobra was perhaps my favorite challenge. Was stoked to ride this section on my POS bike I have with me. Had to stop at the top to manually lower my seat, but just the right amount of challenge for the Northrock XC27. The alternate route through this section is also pretty fun - though much more of a fast and flows section.


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    After Ketam, I crossed the island and headed for Chek Jawa Wetlands. It was a few miles of hills on pavement and then a few more on dirt fire road. A pleasant enough drive. While I had seen a few rather large boar in Ketam, the guys on this side of the island were way less bothered by human presence, and allowed me to snap a few pictures. This guy was typical for the larger boars I've seen in SG, and perhaps about 30 kilo and the size of a moderate dog.



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    The bigger boar were pretty huge and large enough that I would not want anything to do with them. Guessing about 70 kilo. They were bigger than a large dog, and more like the size of a huge dog. There were maybe 3 of the big guys in this area, and perhaps 7 of the smaller ones.
    Last edited by Ottime; 01-23-2023 at 10:44 PM.

  8. #158
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    Chek Jawa is a series of trails, docks, and boardwalks on the eastern fringe of Ubin. Looking back toward Singapore and Changi.


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    There was a line of six or more of these barges, importing more land for Singapore.


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    One of the boardwalks is just off shore, and gives great view back to the island. The Nibong Palms in this picture are used by the villagers. The trucks are strong for building and the fronds used for thatching. The villagers of today are more likely to use corrugated metal for roofing though. The Nibong thrives in hot and humid climates and traditional people found uses for all parts of this tree - from blow pipes, to fish traps to food. The Nibong was an essential part of Malay life for centuries.

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    Palau Tekong is used primarily by the military and is a great example of "reclamation". Originally it was about 25 square kilometers, but is in the process of building and connecting to smaller nearby islands, and is planned to finish at around 75 square kilometers. Seen from the air it is a great view of how this process works. Huge jetties have defined the out reaches of the future island, and sand is being filled and compacted in the resulting lagoons. It is a patchwork form the air.

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    This boar was foraging at the water line. I was in Chek Jawa at mid tide. This sand flat will extend out several hundred meters at low tide and is home to many wetland creatures.

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    The sun is always hot here, but along the boardwalk over the mud flats, it felt quite a bit cooler than the typical concrete jungle of most of the country. These palms were bunched and growing directly of the mud.



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    Just across the boardwalk, in the opposite direction, the mangroves were the dominate species. If I had more time to kill (which I guess I did, seeing I waited on the docks for well over an hour) it would fun to watch the tide fill in through this area.


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    The boardwalk juts cuts through the mud flats and mangroves, and I was told it was just a few centimeters above the highest high tide line. When I asked about global warming, and rising waters, I was met with a blank stare. I know for sure this is a topic of discussion in some parts of SG (like the zoo) but not sure it has made its way to the ranger at this park. He just told me the boardwalk is above the highest level the tide would ever be. Guess they are just planning for few centimeter of rise here. That would explain the careless use of plastic bags and the AC pouring out onto the street in the CBD...


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    Mud homes for crabs dot the landscape. The mud crab is a delicacy in SG, and they are harvested from places outside the country, but it was suggested that some of the local villagers will harvest in this area from time to time, even though it is not permitted. The kampongs on Ubin are several of the remaining kampong in Singapore. The vast majority of people are involved with urban life, but there are still a few places in the country where a village lifestyle still exists. I would have taken pictures of the homes here, but felt it was a bit of an invasion of privacy - they are built like compounds, with a larger central home, surrounded by gardens and smaller structures. The kitchen is often in its own structure, and the entire compound enclosed by a wall or fence.

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    Thee is a viewing tower along the mangrove boardwalk. It is six stories high, or a total of 120 steps, and gets you above the canopy. Views are across the tree tops, and out over the strait. There are still a pair of White Bellied Eagles living in this area, and I was lucky enough to spy one circling above searching for its lunch. By this time I was already hungry and fantasizing about food and beer, so worked my way back to the docks.



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    As I was headed back to my bike, I came across a sign for the Muslim Cemetery, which consisted of these few stones. There is a Chinese Cemetery else where on the island, as the two use different burial spaces. There is one huge cemetery complex on the west side of the island, and then only a few older, smaller resting sites else where. Visiting the different cemetery may become a goal of mine. Some of them are reported to be haunted.



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    With missing the lunch special at the brewery, I decided to not get a $18 beer, and went looking for food. Changi Village was closed for spring cleaning (even though it just opened up in December from 3 months closure due to renovations), so I started my ride home and stopped at Pasir Ris Food Centre. I really like this place, and they have a lot of good options, including delicious Tau Foo Young.
    Last edited by Ottime; 01-23-2023 at 11:11 PM.

  9. #159
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    I headed out for another big road loop, hoping to find some alternate routes. I tried for a landmark called the Rainbow Bridge, but you can no longer cross it as a member of the public. The is an Islamic housing unit called Kranji One on the far side, and you are not permitted to pass through unless you live there. This is too bad, as it would be a bit more scenic, as well as more direct. Years ago, the train tracks ran across this bridge and the Railway Corridor passed through here. Oh, well. As I left that area, and headed toward my main route through the area, I noticed the tremendous amount of litter along the sidewalk. As you get further out of the center city, the idea that there is no litter in Singapore juts falls to pieces. As an older uncle once told me, the cops don't bother with patrolling the poorer areas, and the people don't bother following the rules. No consequence, and it starts to look as littered as anywhere else. Its too bad, as it is quite pleasant being in a place like SG that is mostly quite clean.


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    Once out of Kranji, west of Sungei Boluh, and into Lim Chu Kang, you suddenly feel like you are biking on rural roads. Get of the main artery, and there are literally no vehicles around. Just need to keep your eye peeled for feral dogs, and not so feral guard dogs. I literally got ran off the road and through I was going to get bit by this one furious dog that came charging out of his compound.

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    the area is dotted with cars, and small kampong style homes. Fish farms, flower farms, veggie farms and this frog farm. My route took me almost to the northwest corner of the island, and that will be a goal for next time out. I was actually considering turning around, to head further north, when the dog scarred the hell out of me, and I decided I was not turning around at the point. I just kept heading east and out of there. Next time though, I will turn north before the home of the scary dog. Bet I find other scary dogs anyway.


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    Eventually you hit Lim Chu Kang Road and head south, which starts off pleasant enough, and slowly becomes busier, with cars, buses and construction vehicles. Then, suddenly, you are out of the trees and it becomes a six lane road, with a military installation to your left and right. I tried to find a route juts west of here, and one used to exist, but it has all become forbidden military training zones. After a few miles of this rather desolate feeling landscape, you have an opportunity to turn into the huge cemetery complex where most people in Singapore are buried today. There are two separate Muslim Cemeteries, this being the first one that I passed through.


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    Separated by two roads (one for Muslims and the other for Chinese) is a section of one of the even larger Chinese Cemeteries. Some areas are fairly fresh and new. Others are basically in ruins. It makes me want to learn more about these areas. Are the bodies removed, or still underground? Have their descendants forgotten them and allowed the cemetery to fall apart? How old are these older sections? Is it normal to allow grave markers to fall into ruin? So many questions. This section was well kept, and in several areas, I could see people paying their respects to a lost loved one.


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    This place is huge, and the only place you can currently bury a body in SG. My ride through the cemeteries was several miles long, and I was making the straightest shot possible. This is still a Chinese zone. There is also a Christian cemetery, although I have yet to come across a Jewish, Buddhist or other area. I understand that Hindu tend to cremate their dead, and would assume that is the practice here as well. There were for sure several different crematoriums in this complex.


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    After the cemeteries, it is several miles of city riding. A combination of sidewalks roads and roadside PCN. Eventually I pick up the Ula Pandan PCN, and this is what I think of when I think of the great tarmac biking here in SG. A few miles, with only occasionally crossing a road. Along a river, with plenty of shade, and few people out on the track allows for some fast, cruising style cycling.


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    Eventually, you need to cross highway, but they have built this amazing structure to have the freeway not intcruot your ride. Cruise up the twirly ramps, across the road and back down.


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    I had to take several pictures of this bike path to really appreciate the time, money and effort put into making this a pleasurable bike route. Besides not needing to deal with cars, it was quite fun climbing, and depending these loops.


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    Looking south along the PCN. Like I've said several times, biking here is very much a mixed bag. When you hit crossings like this, you can imagine what it might be like in a decade if they continue along this trajectory. Sometimes it is hard to imagine, because so many areas are closed or cut off, due to all the construction going on. And others get shut down due to wear and tear, or nature disasters, like mud slides.But when the network is completed, it should be quite nice.

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    After a kilometer of bliss riding, the PCN suddenly becomes a sidewalk. Not even a wide sidewalk, but just a side walk. And eventually, a broken sidewalk, when I gave myself a pinch flat, trying to ollie my bike up and over a 4" chuck on broken concrete. A quick lunch a t a - new to me - food centre, and a tube change, I found my self in West Coast Park. A bit of a misnomer. It is on the south coast, but west of downtown. It was nice stretch to ride.

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    While technically on the coast, it is basically a marina. And most of the park is actually behind the shipping docks, so not even coastal.


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    Tree lined lanes. This view is pretty common on my different biking routes.


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    And more and more, so is this one, toward the end of the day. All routes lead to Tap.
    Last edited by Ottime; 01-26-2023 at 04:14 PM.

  10. #160
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    A $10 feast at Golden Mile. From Flavorful Delights - Xia Long Boa and Zhi Jiang Noodle. And Lime Juice from around the corner. So delicious. The noodles are basically in a sauce of ground pork and onions cooked with a puree of fermented soy beans. It is on the salty side from the soy beans, but oh so good. Topped with fresh carrots and cucumbers. The steamed dumplings were super delicate and filled with pork, scallion and garlic. The lime juice, well, was lime juice with a touch of palm sugar.

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    Preparing for CNY. Stock up on fruits, because the markets are going to be closed for about a week, and the grocery sores will be expensive mad houses when opened. A lot of things completely close down during Lunar New Year (to be ore PC). Pretty much every Chinese ethnic run hawker stall, market and store. So do most of the stores in malls, some restaurants, banks and more. Some juts for the long weekend, others for the entire two week long period. It is not like New Years in the US, where everything happens on one night. The celebration continues for two weeks. In part this is from the tradition of traveling back to the home town for celebrations. It allows for time to travel long distances. Some people here in SG travel to visit family over seas, but most stick around. Trail is expensive this time of year, and why we stayed in SG. But you do need to plan ahead. Markets are beginning to open back up a week later, but stock is limited and still pricey. As more markets open back up, prices will drop. So the moral is, plan ahead, and get plenty of produce before everyone closes down.
    Last edited by Ottime; 01-27-2023 at 09:02 PM.

  11. #161
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    There is still plenty to do here during CNY. We headed down to the Tekka Food Cnetre in Little India, ate curry and naan, and then went out for a walk in a colorful neighborhood. I've eaten at Tekka before, and have biked through the area to buy a pair of surf booties (they were used once when the guy bought them in California and were super cheap - S$10) that I picked up for my kid as reef booties. But I never really stopped to walk around. It really does feel like a place outside of SG. Bright and low rise.


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    Oddly enough, this building was the home of a wealthy Chinese merchant, Tan Teng Niah. The area that Little India now occupies was previously a factory neighborhood. The home was funded by the creation of candies. Indians were (and still are to a degree) the working class of Singapore during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But it was not the factories bought Indians to this area. The British established a prison just up Serangoon Road near Bras Basah Road. In fact, Serangoon transformed from a dirt path to a proper road from convict labor in the early to mid 1800s. After serving their sentences, the Indian men settled nearby. Other Indians who emigrated to Singapore, would move to the same area, with to be near kin and because it was a growing trades district. This then induced wealthy Chinese to build factories nearby the burgeoning labor market.


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    Little India is a colorful district. Great food, strong smells, bold colors. It is really the first district I've visited in Singapore that really has a fully authentic cultural heritage feel. Cheesy election of words, but it was really fun to walk around this area and juts take in the sights.


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    Singapore is known for being expensive. And a lot of places and restaurants are pricey, especially those that cater to expats and western tourist. We were looking for a snack, and we stopped at two places. First stop was for Tea Tarik along Dunlop lane. Cost per cup of tea was $1 SGD. Not really all that expensive. Then we stopped for some Chaat and a Mango Lassi and spent another whopping $7. You for sure can eat for cheap here, even outside the hawker centers, if you go a little off the beaten western paths.


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    Like all things SG, it is a mixed district. The history of the area is varied. Before it was Little India, the neighborhood had a large Malay population. Constructed in 1881 and completed in 1907 Abdul Gafoor served the local Muslims.


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    The streets of Little India are an extension of the markets. Flowers, spices, murti (religious idols) and snacks are abundant.



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    This is a pocket shot - unintended. Loved the colors, and it demonstrates just how nice this district is - that a chance pic can capture so much.



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    There are a ton of Hindu temples in the area. Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, was built in 1860 and was a refuge for locals during the invasion by the Japanese during WWII. The gopuram, pictured here, was built in 1975 to serve as an entrance tower. The temple is used daily today.
    Last edited by Ottime; 02-05-2023 at 06:56 PM.

  12. #162
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    We were enjoying our staycation during Chinese New Year, so we hoped on a train and headed over to Chinatown. It was decorated for the holiday, and thousands (and thousands) of people descended into the neighborhood to celebrate.



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    Smith Street, and the surrounding side streets were packed with throngs of pedestrians. Restaurants were bustling and the waits were long. So we headed to the Chinatown Complex Food Centre and enjoyed some Taiwan Steamed Fish and Gai Lan w Oyster Sauce. Of the 250 plus stalls, only about 30 or so were open. It actually made the selection a lot easier, having it narrowed down for us.


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    The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple was all lit up.


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    Red is a lucky color, associated with the fire element it represents life, vitality, and light.


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    It is hard to express how Chinese New Year has effected me, seeing the locals here celebrate not for a single night, but for days, and weeks on end. It is not just about having a party, and brining in the new year. It is not juts about a night, or a commercial venture. It is a celebration of family, of life, and of new beginnings in a way I have never before experienced. If ever you have a chance to be in east Asia during the Lunar New Year, grab that and make it happen. You will not be disappointed.
    Last edited by Ottime; 02-05-2023 at 07:07 PM.

  13. #163
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    Great family experience living in SG. Yeah the snow in Tahoe has been big this year but nothing will replace the experiences you've gained. If you make it back to Bali, the Mount Agung early morning hike was one of the best experiences of my life with my two boys and wife. We did it in 2017 so boys were 12 and 10. If you have experiences to share from Borneo, let me know. We are headed there for 2.5 weeks in late May for family vacation.

  14. #164
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    Have not yet been to Borneo. We might get there when we leave here in June. If that otherwise changes, I will for sure post up and share. As well as PM you.

    Are you headed to Malaysia or Indo? If I go, likely will be Malaysia as it is easier and cheaper to travel from SG to Malaysia than to Indo. Also there are a few places in Malaysia I’ve pinned my interest. Seems like a pretty cool place to spend a few weeks.

  15. #165
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    Our view from dinner, in a quiet hawker center, looking at the load and busy intersection of Smith and an unnamed side street.

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    Year fo the Rabbit. My kid is a Rabbit, so this is a very auspicious year for them. Interesting how the Chinese calendar works. I think kids need some food luck the year they turn 12.

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    It is mid winter, so what else to do during my break than to go out for a skate. This is the closest I will get to snow this year, and my child was excited. They have skated a few times down by the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, but this was their first time on a full size rink.

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    The first few laps were a bit tentative, but by lap five, they were having fun and playing around. The skates were a challenge for sure. Ratchet straps and hard plastic with no foot beds. They did a job on our feet. The blades were pretty rocketed, and allowed us to work on our spinning. Kid was not elegantly graceful, but they had some moves.

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    We enjoyed ourselves.


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    Oh, Pokemon is a thing here. Not sure if its big again in the west, but there are a bunch of stuff going on here. AMK Hub is near our home, and one of my stops on my errand run.
    Last edited by Ottime; 02-05-2023 at 07:16 PM.

  16. #166
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    Out on the bike again, running errands and putting in a few miles. I've started to explore a little abreast of my main routes. I was trying to find an entrance to the west end of Any Mo Kid Linear Park, and ended up in the Stratton neighborhood of Seletor. There is some money in this area.


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    There are a lot of thing I come across while biking that lead me to questioning. Like this section of PCN along the north coast of Punggol. It was in perfectly great state; 3m wide, smooth fresh asphalt and along the water. And now the government is ripping that out, and re sub surfacing this stretch of trail. I' sure there is some good reason, but I can't figure it out. I asked one of the construction foreman about it, and he basically said, "beats me, I just do what I'm told." It is astounding how much construction is going on around this country.



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    Kaya Toast Set at Pasir Ris Food Centre. Kaya is a sweet coconut custard. Speed it on toast, and served with two soft boiled eggs. Served with Tea orKopi. I choose Kopi-C. The condensed milk takes the edge off the robusta. It is actually quite good.




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    Lunch at Bedok Food Centre. Nasi Amberg. I honestly do not know what a lot of these pastes, curries, and side dishes are. But they were all delicious.


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    East Coast Park was on the agenda. Always enjoy a bike through this stretch, when you get to cruise several miles unobstructed. Especially nice, mid day mid-week.


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    A little later, I was cruising through Chinatown/ Duxton Hill area on my way to the meat market. While road riding through the downtown area is always exhilarating, the architecture on these streets is fun to bike past.
    Last edited by Ottime; 02-05-2023 at 07:34 PM.

  17. #167
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    Back out on a similar loop the next day. I took a lap around the Bedok Reservoir. Stopped to check out the ropes course my kid wants partake in. Looked decent enough.

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    Bedok has a gravel path that wraps around it. Makes a good running path for the who run. Or biking, on either gravel or wider tires. Road tires are a bit the, but just a bit further out is a paved path that works much better for the slicks. The reservoir has four PCN spokes leaving from it, which makes it a pretty central spot on a number of biking loops.


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    Kacang Pool. Or Kacang Phool. A dish that made its way to Malaysia via the Middle East and migration. Fava beans, garlic, onion, fennel, coriander, cumin and chilis. Served with a poached egg, bread, lime and some salt taste. The women working the stall where I got this at Eunos Hawker Center were a blast. Super chatty, and making sure I ate the dish as intended.


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    After a 55 mile loop during the day, goy home and we decided to bike over to Melben Seafood. It is a Michelin Star pace a 12 minute bike ride form our home. Unassuming place, built into a HDB. So we gave it a try. Our kid was excited to wear their newly Vietnamese tailored ($5) Balinese Batik fabric ($12) shirt and Vietnamese silk tie (I think that was like $8). The seafood dinner was quite a bit pricier than the fashion.


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    Crispy Fish with Mango Sauce. Our kid is not a big fan of shellfish, so we ordered some of this. Super tasty, and paired well with the Gai Lan w Oyster Sauce.

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    Black Chili Crab. We are in fact a fan of shellfish, so we went all in. Pretty damn good meal for celebrating the holiday week, still in full swing. I was chatting with our real estate agent today. She said her daughter took her to Melbins once and it was great. After seeing the bill, she now goes to her market vendor and has him order her four Sri Lankan crabs to cook at home for the price of one eating out. She pointed out that crab is easy t cook. And I agreed. I pointed out it is a pain to clean up. And she agreed. As for the agent thing, it is pretty much how things work here. You don't go out looking for rentals and signing leases without one. Basically, cause you can't really trust the landlords. It is almost like hiring a lawyer to protect your interests.


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    Saturday morning we had Lion Dancers come to bless our apartment complex. There is a long history of Lion Dances in Chinese New Year. The story begins that there was once a village that would prosper all year, but during the second full moon after the winter solstice a beast would emerge from he forest and destroy all the crops in the field. Its name was "Nian"


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    Nian, also the word for "year" was afraid of loud noises the villagers soon learned, so they were prepared in the future with drums, gongs and symbols. When Nian approached the villages, the people would play loud music and banish it back into the wild for another year. Today, performers in troupes play the part of the beast and the villagers. They are paid to visit different locations, and perform a blessing through their dance.
    Last edited by Ottime; 02-07-2023 at 04:02 AM.

  18. #168
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    Remember that Tesla remake of the Five Man Electric Band? Signs. When, there are signs everywhere around here. Some saying: Don't do This, Do That. Many warnings, lots of advise, plenty of directions.


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    Entry point from the bridge from Malaysia. Crazy looking structure, but it serves as immigration and customs for every vehicle arriving each day. This day was the first time that I saw that the border was not backed up clear across the straight.




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    Some are actually really helpful. Much of Singapore is no longer wild, but Sungei Bulah is as about as wild as it gets.






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    Bird watching capsule. There are about six of these built around the preserve as perches to view from.



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    Lim Chu Kang is mostly rural and farm lands. It is really a odd relief forms he endless city. All sorts of farms. Flowers, produce, frog, goats, shrubs - pretty much covers what I have seen so far.



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    I decided to loop the west side once again, checking out ways to get tot he coast. This is the northwestern most point along the west coast. There is a huge police station here, and views across to Malaysia near Jahor.

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    Most northern accessible point along the west coast. Just south of here, it becomes all military land until you reach the Tuas Checkpoint and Raffles Marina. At this point there are a several camps for corporate team building and a one for Boy Scouts. Fairly remote area accessed after two kilometers of dirt road.



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    Back at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery in one of the older Chinese areas. This section opened up sometime around 1950.



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    This Christian section is a bit newer. The grounds are fairly tightly packed, but there is still land to bury. There are new plots in both the Chinese and Muslim areas. Not sure about Christian. There are also Hindu, Jewish and Ahmadiyya Jama'at areas. There is even a Parsi section, although they do not allow Sky Burials, where vultures consume the body. They have a more sanitary way to dispose of bodies now. From what I've read, even though the cemetery is huge (over 35,000 Chinese tombs so far), there is till limited space and many bodies are exhumed and created after a period in the ground.



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    Large portions of the PCN are built under the elevated MRT tracks. The North South (Red) and East West (Green) Lines were the first two lines built. All of the EWL is above ground, and the north and western portion of the NSL is above ground. Not all of the elevated track has PCN underneath it, put the portions that do, it provides shade and rain cover.




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    Finishing off this ride by cruising by the Marina Bay Sands. Such a different view than the ones in the north west corner of the country.



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    Gardens By The Bay. These domes are actually a blast to cruise by at high speeds. Hit it during the right time of the day, and there is no one around. Mid week, just after a rain. And you can have it mostly to yourself.
    Last edited by Ottime; 02-06-2023 at 08:21 PM.

  19. #169
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    Biking and eating is what takes up 90% of my time here. Passed through Sarrangoon Gardens on my way to Kovan to check out a new to me food Centre And market. Not everyone here lives in a high rise. This district is the second largest area of landed homes I've come across on my adventures thus far. The landed homes are often large and impressive. Some are mansions, and a few even have property. There are also districts that have more run down looking homes, and tend to be areas that have had locals living in the homes for generations. This area looked to have mostly freshly painted and renovated properties still in more classic architectural style.


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    The next day I went out for a loop route variation that first hits the Punggol Ravines Loop. There is no ravine on the Ravines Loop, and it is not a loop. So not sure yet where the name comes from. I've been out this way a lot, as there is a good 5 mile stretch of nearly un interrupted PCN along waterfront and is really crowded mid week. This trip was the first time I noticed the kampong off to the ride side near where I pick up the PCN. There are only a few of these villages left in Singapore, and this one is neatly tucked behind some high rise complexes, almost like it should not be there. One of these days, I'm going to find the from entrance to this area and see if I can meet any of the locals.


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    Just across the river from the kampong are these huge single family homes. The juxtaposition is crazy. One thing the government has work for is having mixed incomes, ethnicities and races in all of their neighborhoods. Almost by law. Here you have a lot of wealth and near poverty within a stones throw of each other.


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    The Tampines Round Market is, well, round. I stopped in here, as I was a few minutes early for a purchase via Carousell. It was not yet lunch time, but I ordered a snack. The prices here were some of the lowest I've seen in SG. Nasi Lemak for $2.20. For those just catching up, that is a pile of coconut rice, a fried chicken wing, fried egg, peanuts, ikan billis (tiny fried anchovies) and sambal. I got myself ten friend wontons for $2. And was then on my way.


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    It is in these neighborhoods that you come across stuff you see more regularly in other SE Asian countries. Food items drying out in the sun.



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    Geylang is known for its old Peranakan shop houses and culture. The PCN I followed from the north coast wraps through Pasir Tis, Tampines, around the Bedok Reservoir and eventually leads you into Geylang. It is a mix of urban (wide sidewalk), park style and under MRT tracks PCN. While it is not quite as nice as the stretch through Punggol, it is a pretty decent ride and has access to multiple neighborhoods. It also has a bunch of branch lines, but I had a food goal in mind this day.


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    One of the parkway stretches near Geylang. Following a "river" that feeds into Marina Bay.


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    Old Airport Road food centre is one of the older and ore storied food centers in Singapore. It is three stories, with cooked food on the first floor and market on the second and third. There are well over 200 food stalls at this center, so it is good to have a bit of a game plan before entering. I grab a Popiah from Homemade Springroll. I swear this is the same operation as Fortune at Bandemeer, as the signage, price and popiah are all the same. It was delicious. I wanted to try the hotate from I then grab my lunch from Unkai (yeah, you can get pretty good sushi from this stall from what I've heard) but they don't open until 6PM. So I ended up with my second choice from OAR Seafood - a rich soup with crayfish, prawn, dory and the best broth I've had in SG. The depth of flavor was amazing. I'll be back to this food centre as there are still like ten more stalls I want to try.


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    And, like most days, it rained. But I I just popped into Taps for a pint Brewlander and watch the torrents from under the protection of a table umbrella. The manager here now knows I prefer to stay outside, even during the rain. I just get too cod with AirCon running. The air outside feels perfect during a rain storm.
    Last edited by Ottime; 02-09-2023 at 04:53 AM.

  20. #170
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    MTB here is sure different from Santa Cruz. No duff. Way more roots. Some of what I like best about it is being in the jungle and finding myself in places far from anyone. That is a rare treat on this island. Some where near the west coast of the Upper Seletar. Muddy, Rooty, slippery and wet, with almost no flow. Been loving this trail.


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    Beauty World is still where I stop for lunch most days. February 4th, and the New Year celebrations continue. Stall owners will pay Lion Dancers to come and bless their stalls. It is great show for us patrons while we enjoy our lunch. Perhaps it is bit loud. And maybe fortune will come for this stall, as I've been meaning to try her Kway Teow.


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    It is a good ten minute dance before the blessing is provided. Here the lions bless the stall owner.


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    Back on the trail. I've been nothing these guts recently. They are pretty fast, and typically duck into the forest floor before I can get a picture. This is actually a rock garden you need to climb at the start of the Bukit Timah Loop. I did not make it up this day, and actually was having a hard time on my climbs. At first I thought it was a combination of fatigue and slippery while wet issues. Soon I learned my axle was broken. Been spending the last week trying to either find a bottom bracket part, spare cheap wheel or spare almost cheap wheel. Turn out repairing things is tough here, and makes me wish I spoke better Chinese. Pretty much the only shops that deal with these cheaper bikes are what are referred to as Market Bike Shops - built into the HDB. The main bike shops really only deal in expensive bikes (ones that start at about $4k USD) as their main customers are the wealthy, and they are looking to sell $12k road bikes. All the MBS are run by old Chinese men, and while communication is easy enough in person, it is nearly impossible over the phone, and I've been traveling around SG talking to people looking for a replacement shaft and someone who stocks metal ball bearings. Might just end up getting a decent wheel added to this bike just so I can get it back out on the trails quicker.
    Last edited by Ottime; 02-09-2023 at 05:06 AM.

  21. #171
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    My kid had wanted to check out the Avatar installation at the Cloud Forest Dome, so we headed that way on a Sunday (two full weeks after Lunar New Year) and stopped at Tiong Bahru Market for lunch on the way. Love this food centre as thee are several great stalls. Best Lor Mee (178) and Curry Rice (Loo's) I've had in SG are from this market. Great Rojak (Tow Kwar Pop), and the Hokkien Mee from Hong Heng Friend Sotong Prawn Mee is off the hook. Anyway, these flag dancers are in celebration of a new year ahead. Notice the height of the flag pole. A dance will balance this on their knee, hand, torso, head and any other body part they wish, while dancing and throwing it back and forth.



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    After the Cloud Forest, we popped over tho the Flower Dome to see what the CNY decor was like. Our Rabbit with the Rabbit.




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    This central flower display changes with the season. It was a Mexican theme when we first arrived, coordinating with Dia de los Muertos. In December it was wintery, snowy, Christmas. January and February it is time for Lunar New Year. Again, this time of year is so special here. It is not just the time people take off from work and return home to see their families. The spirit seems to last for weeks. People are generally in better, more hopeful, more helpful and spirited moods. Living here, emotions, can at times, feel dead, or at least buried. I've seen more smiles the past few weeks than in the months prior. People seem more open to sharing and in general talkative. It has really lightened the mood of the place and I love it.



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    I rather liked this display with captures many of the icons of Chinese New Year. As well as my family.
    Last edited by Ottime; 02-11-2023 at 08:51 PM.

  22. #172
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    Back out on the bike again, hitting up the Western Loop. I had an item to pick up near Alexandra, and instead of going direct, I made a 66 mile loop. Here at the Woodlands Waterfront Park watching the coast guard patrol the border. Johor Bahru, Malaysia in the background. I hit this stretch of bike path at least once every two weeks. First time I've seen a patrol boat. And traffic on the causeway was backed up in both directions as usual. The man who manages the place I stop for beers lives in Johor and travels across the causeway 6 days a week to work in SG. He leaves early in the morning before the sun comes up to avoid traffic. He starts his shift at 11am, but says it is better to cross at 6am than to try any time later in the day, as the back up can be several hours long waiting to get through immigration controls. He returns home every night at midnight. When I mention how crazy this sounds, he points out he makes about eight times the salary in SG as he would in Malaysia, and it is worth it to him. He tries to spend no money here and usually brings his own lunch from home.



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    My route takes me through Marsling Park in Woodlands. It was closed in 2016 due to what is referred to as "vice activities" in the local parlance. I have yet been unable to determine what those activities might have been. It was revamped and opened back up in 2018. It is a decent place to bike through, and much more enjoyable than the adjacent streets. It connects from the Woodlands Checkpoint to Woodlands Ave 3 which the North-South Line runs along in an East-West direction. It may be a good time to note the street names here in SG. Almost every street in the Woodlands district has the name Woodlands in it. Avenues, Street, Circle, Link, Way, Road, etc. And it is not like the Avenues run parallel to each other. Ave 3 and Ave 1 intersect, and then run parallel. Ave 5 makes a U-turn and then intersects Ave 2, but the north section of Ave 5 becomes Ave 9 as it crosses Ave 2..... It is befuddling. The only sense is that Avenues are the major thoroughfares. The first name tells you the district (most of the roads near me start with Ang Mo Kio) and second tells you the size of the road. Needless to say, everyone here uses a mapping app to get around.



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    Back in Lim Chu Kang. py picture, but this is a local farm. Rows of pants that will eventually make it to a nursery. Chatted with the farmer and he sells nothing from the farm directly and has contracts with a few nurseries in town. They come up weekly to grab plants once they get past the starter stage. He says it is a good business, as he prefer to live away from the bust city core. In fact, he says I was the first person to ever stop by to ask to talk in his 30 years up there. It is for sure a different life style in this area. For sure there are larger, more corporate looking farms (mainly the aquaculture farms), but those too may be small business styles.



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    Choa Chu Kang cemetery. This is another section of the Muslim Cemetery, with much more humble stones. Previously, there were two stone to mark the head, as well as the foot of the buried deceased. Today, SG allows a single stone at the head. The stones are covered with a white cloth. It is unclear why, when asking several different people, other than it is something that is done among the Sunni Malay Muslims in SG. The Muslim body is first washed by relatives (often at home) of the same gender, and then buried with out a coffin. Current law requires bodies to be exhumed after 15 years and reburied in tighter plots, due to the lack of land in the country.


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    The ride brought me through Jurong Lake Park again. Well worth a visit. I did not ride the entire length of park, but it is really worth poking around. A lot of bird watchers were out this day. Once the Chinese and Japanese gardens re-open, this pace will be well worth a visit. Unfortunately, I think that happens in 2024, well after my departure.


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    After making my purchase of a cassette to repair my MTB wheel, I stopped in another new to me food centre - ABC Brickworks. This place it literally just across the street fro Alexandra Village, and yet fells so different. ABC Brickworks is way more local feeling, tucked into an HDB zone. Alexandra is as well, but seems to attract a much bigger expat and more professional class. Perhaps it is a little easier to get to. Perhaps it is the section of food. But are likely, it is how this place is juts a tad out of the way and connected directly to a wet market.


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    Plenty of good options here. I tried the local Popiah (Ong Khim) stall. A bit different than my fave, but this one is really good. My first choices for lunch were not available. Too early for Jason Penang Cuisine, too late for Nusa & Tara (Indo) and Boa Zai (steam buns and dumpling) was closed for holiday. I ended up at Fatty Cheong and enjoyed their Bu Jian Tian Char Siew and rice. Pork armpits basically. Roasted to perfection and melt in your mouth fatty goodness.
    Last edited by Ottime; 02-11-2023 at 09:44 PM.

  23. #173
    Join Date
    Dec 2022
    Location
    Los Angeles/Vancouver
    Posts
    10
    Just skimmed this - cool stuff. I lived there for 10 ish years went to the American School and then local. In uni now so wasnít too long ago. If you or the kids ever wanna hit some jumps there was a bike park somewhere on Gangsa trail near the new German school, rock climbing around there too. Would also recommend Sungei Buloh for mangroves and the occasional croc sighting if you havenít been yet. Covid still relevant? Went back last summer and it was classic singapore - had to download a location tracking app with my vax card to go anywhere. At least the nightlife was sorta back to normal.


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  24. #174
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cruzing
    Posts
    11,646
    I'm pretty sure it was that jump track that broke my back axle. Finally found myself a replacement wheel with out breaking the bank. I'm re routing my shifter cable today - the original one got rust inside the housing - everything rusts here, even if it does not get wet. Even stainless steel cables.

    Family has been to Sungei Buloh once, and I've waked around there three time. Seen crocs twice. Now I typically just refill my water bottles there when I'm making a western bike loop. It is about a 15 mile ride from where I stay near Ang Mo Kio. We live adhjacent to the Tagore neighborhood, just north of Upper Thomson on Upper Thomson Road.

    That area around Gangas is where I do most of my rising. Up to and across Mandai, down T15 to Gangas, all around Chestnut and then a loop through Bukit Timah (although a good stretch of that loop is a meter under water and has been since October).

    Life (I think) is pretty back to normal. I need to complete an electronic form saying I'm not sick when re entering SG from outside the country. If you were sick in the last week, you need to complete an antigen test when arriving and pay the Raffles Clinic doctor $28. That is about it. No tracking app, no vax card even. I believe it is the same for non-residents and tourist. Marina Bay and the Singapore River are packed with visitors, so there must be some normalcy. I even them spot the in Sungei Buloh and Pulua Ubin when I'm up in those spots.

    My neighborhood, tho, rarely, if ever sees tourist. I'm about a 5 minute ride down to Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park, which is an awesome little linear park. Packed with locals before 9am, and rarely, if ever, a tourist. One of the huge advantages of living here is experiencing all these places I would never find on even an extended visit. And a chance to talk with locals.

    I wonder if my wife works with any of your old teachers at SAS. That is where she and my kid spend their days.

    I am curious which school you preferred. SAS or local. We have a lot of thoughts about SAS, and a few of my local contacts who I see and talk with regularly have suggested our kid attend a local school. If we were here more than just the one school year, it is for sure something I would consider. SAS does a great job of making the place feel like it is in the US (but like in the idealized 50s) more than SG, which I guess is the point. Beside insulating kids from SG culture in general, it is also a pretty pricey school, so the demographic is not really representative of our finial strata, where a local school would be way more balanced. OTOH, this is the only year my kid will attend a school with three pools, a ropes course, a climbing wall and many other cool bits if infrastructure.

  25. #175
    Join Date
    Dec 2022
    Location
    Los Angeles/Vancouver
    Posts
    10
    Nice we lived around chestnut area. Now near the Swiss club.

    Iíd say younger years SAS is probably better. Local had much better academics - I went to ACS indep and one year we had half the worlds IB perfect scores. It definitely came with much more stress with the singapore culture more prevalent.

    Didnít actually mix much with local locals as itís more like a charter school and was mostly wealthy ethnic chinese. Lots of successful people and I still keep in touch with several of them - they ski niseko and have cabins there.

    If youíre not there long itíll definitely be a culture shock at a local school. Kids will definitely stand out, Iíd say our school was 1-2% white/half mix. Iíd say either works tbh, everyone I know that graduated SAS turned out fine, everyone I know from ACS probably turned out better. Probably better to stick with SAS tbh, easier culturally going back to the states. Iíd do local if you plan on staying til graduation and would probably only say a top school like ACS Raffles etc.

    If you wanna get your kids to experience the culture a bit, club sport is always an option. Rugby/football/swim are pretty big and all have a mix of locals and expats.

    SAS would be free though? Thatís what the gig was for faculty when I went there. Infrastructure is definitely better, but canít speak on school life there as I heard they did an overhaul since I left.


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