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  1. #226
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    Mar 2017
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    love these pics, ott - sorry the surfing wasn't that great. the views, however, are pretty hard to beat.

    did that coffee i sent you ever make it thru customs??

    Sent from my Pixel 6 Pro using Tapatalk

  2. #227
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    Perhaps the best part of driving so many miles on motorbike was the opportunity to drive through the country side. Lombok is so much less developed than Bali, and on these trips you pass through many small villages. On the rough road out of Mawi, a woman shepherds here cows back to their night pens.


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    These carnivals are not so different then county fairs back in the US. They travel around to different villages, and have rides, snacks and serve as a gathering for the locals. I chatted with one villager with better English than my Indonesian, and he said they show up about once a year for a few nights and travel around the island. Bigger communities, like Kuta, typically have many of these groups pass through several times a year. But most villagers wait until the carnival comes to them.


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    Are Going at sunset, from Sunset Point. This evening ride back was pretty cool. Folks were out and about. With the sun low, or down, I biked past two different football games, saw couples walking together (not hand in hand), kids playing in the street (you had to be careful, they were not), and people bringing their animals home to rest. There was more activity this time of evening than I ever say in morning or mid day.



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    Sunset from Sunset Point.


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    Black Sand makes a decent west coast style IPA. Not overly bitter. I ordered this as I was waiting for the NEIPA to chill in the cooler. They did not have it the night prior, but it came in this day, and I for sure wanted to try it, as its one of my favorite types of beer. And so hard to find around these parts.


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    Island of Imagination Tropical NEIPA. True to its name, this brew was very tropical. Tasted almost like juice: pineapple, mango, papaya. I actually like the Island Brewing Small Hazy a bit better. This one had a more robust flavor, but maybe just a too much tropical. Its also a fairly light beer for a NEIPA. Although, it does pair well with the heat.


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    Warung Fish Bones was my call for my last night in Kuta. I also ate at Mia Mia earlier in the week, and would recommend that place for decent Indo fare. Fish Bones is all about the freshly grilled fish. Being solo, I chose the smallest parrot fish they had out on the ice. It cost 150k, and came with the array of Water Spinach (Kang Kong or Morning Glory if you know it by these names), Long Beans, Rice and a variety of sambal and sauces. I paired it with a Pineapple Juice for 20K. It was a feast on my last night.

    I got up pre dawn the next day. Easy enough as the first call to prayer was at 4:58AM, and I did not even need to set the alram, and got over to Tanjung A'an at 6am. Rented a long board, grabbed a boat out to the reef, and surfed with two other people for a half hour before to boats of surf camp dropped of 20 or so on the right. I shifted over to the left and it was quite there for a while, until a group of 10 woman showed up. They were nice enough, so we shared waves. Grabbed 12 super long waves - on the long board you can just cut back and catch the reform three or four times and ride well over a minute. Grabbed a boat in at 8:10AM and called it a trip. Flew out at 11:05AM. One thing that is for sure nice about South Lombok is the airport is only about 20 minutes from Kuta.

    Got to say here, I was stoked on being bale to rent the longboard. It for sure made this portion the trip way more fun. And it was bright pink to boot. I was asked by two different locals - why that color? Cause pink is beautiful lah! And it was the biggest, nicest board I could find.
    Last edited by Ottime; 05-20-2023 at 03:07 AM.

  3. #228
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgapp View Post
    love these pics, ott - sorry the surfing wasn't that great. the views, however, are pretty hard to beat.

    did that coffee i sent you ever make it thru customs??

    Sent from my Pixel 6 Pro using Tapatalk
    Fuck yeah. That coffee was a godsend mid year. We've been drinking mostly Vietnamese coffee otherwise, which is pretty damn good stuff. But those three you sent were off the hook. Nicely balanced flavors for sure. Thank you for that very kind gift.

    And I'm not done writing yet. My three days over in Ekas were pretty damn fun. Made the surfing part of the trip. And helped me settle into a new mid set of surf whatever, chill, surf whatever, grab a beer(s) and enjoy dinner for the rest of the trip.

  4. #229
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    North Vancouver/Whistler
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    13,600
    Terima Kasih. Finally caught up with all you've written

  5. #230
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    Oct 2003
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    closer
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    5,214
    Great Lombok impressions.
    We weren't super stoked for Lombok back then because in the dry season there were ( are...maybe..sigh.. it's been a while) better spots.

    I would have loved to see ekas work, but it didn't. And we had lost our Boards ( different Story...). And there were no real other options to stay than the heaven on the Planet hotel.
    It's a war of the mind and we're armed to the teeth.

  6. #231
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    Heaven on the Planet is $$$$$. Ekas Surf Resort was just $$.

    Yeah, pretty stoked on my sessions. Especially Saturday evening and Monday morning. Combo of the swell working and my tired old body working.

  7. #232
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    Back at home. 11:05 flight lands in Changi at 1:30. Like touches tarmac. I'm in my home by 2:20. Love this efficiency. That includes grabby my surfboards. Quickly out the door on the bike to stock up on produce (my family does little cooking with gone). Stop at AMK Central to fuel up. Ate some prata and followed it with soya bean curd (chilled) with hot ginkgo and a sugarcane juice. This is health food. Sugarcane juice has many beneficial qualities (it improves your skin) but the gingko fights senility and apparently, gonorrhea, among other things. Regardless, its a delicious treat.


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    Back out on my mission to hit up all 118 hawker centers in Singapore. I thought I was trying to get to 137, but now realize 118 is the actual number. I was super stoked on this stall at Telok Blangah Crescent, Blk 11. Its a noodle stall, but they literally press your noodles to order. Notice the paper clips - this is how the front of house communicates with the auntie preparing the food. Clip informs her which combo of ingredients you want and if your order is soup or dry. Ingenious.



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    I ordered the #1. Signature with Mee Hoon Kway. Mee means "noodles". Hoon Kway or Hoon Kueh are hand torn noodles. Kueh means "cake". Basically they press a sheet of the dough and then hand tear them into the broth to cook.



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    This dish is simple and delicious. I prefer getting my noodles dry usually, with the broth the side. Although, sometimes a soup works best. This signature bowl includes a pork meatballs and a prawn ball. The broth has (very) soft boiled egg dropped into it. Highly suggest trying this stall if you ever happen to be in this neighborhood. Seeing I was the only westerner here, I doubt most will find themselves here.



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    I took my day to knock off visiting a few different centers. At Bukit Merah Central, I opted for just a sugarcane juice and a butterfly bun. These are basically sesame buns. My next stop was Bukit Merry View, where I grabbed some black dry carrot cake from Unforgettable Carrot Cake (#01-30). For the uninitiated, to use someone else phrase, there is no carrot or cake in carrot cake. Chai Tow Kway is made from daikon cake, eggs, chili sauce and in the case of the dark version, dry soy sauce. Fried into a comet type thing. Again, a wonderful treat. Often eaten as a breakfast food, I enjoy the for an afternoon snack.


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    And, of course, a stop at Tap, along the river for a Beerfarm Royal Haze. They a currently out of my favorite SG brewery, Brewlander, but this Aussie company makes a nice beer as well.

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    My family finally got over to Chomp Chomp. Its a little over 4 miles from our place. A nice ride. We start along side the jungle, traverse through a lovely linear park, follow a wide sidewalk PCN through the city a bit, cross over a highway, and meander through a land home development to get there. The hawker center and neighborhood was hopping. We had a wonderful meal, where we shared different dishes. Rojak (basically pineapple, mango, jicama, cucumber and you tiao tossed in palm sugar and chili sauce and topped with peanuts), Kueh Pie Tee (little pastry cups filled with steamed turnip, peanuts, carrots and crushed hard boiled egg), Chicken Wings ( I think you know what those are), Hainese Beef Noodles (pickled vegetables, beef, noodles, dark soya broth) and Sotong Goreng (fried calamari). It was really a lovely evening. We grabbed some ice cream nearby, enjoyed the nightlife on the streets and biked home on a different route (we love making loops). All along it is just so nice out at night. Pleasantly warm, but not brutally hot, and not cold like Santa Cruz.
    Last edited by Ottime; 05-22-2023 at 04:07 AM.

  8. #233
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    After eating at Chomp Chomp I was down to 7 or 8 or 9 hawker centers left on my list. Depending on how you count. So I took a nice ride up and around Punggol (it's really a lovely track up that way) and back into the city to Hougang to visit the Hainese Village Center. This area is primarily Teochew, but it was built up around an older Hainese settlement from a century ago. Wet market and flower shops downstairs, the cooked food is served upstairs. Enjoyed a Kopi and a small dish of Bee Hoon, Eggplant and some sort of fish sausage wrapped in bean curd skin



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    My route brought me down to East Coast Park. Always a great stretch to bike. Sitting here, writing this up, I am beginning to feel my impending departure in a few weeks. When we embarked on this adventure, I was really not 100% sure we were doing the right thing. I love living in Santa Cruz. When we first arrived, the transition was really quite hard. The housing market was insane (it still kind of is) and every thing felt so transactional. I found myself frustrated more often than not. Then things began to change. I found people. I learned how to talk with the locals. And I biked several thousands miles around this island, exploring many many neighborhoods and eating my way through a culinary blend of cultures. I am not nearly ready to move leave and move on. I've found a home here, and feel so fortunate to have had this experience. I came thinking that Singapore was a place of rules and bankers and will leave understanding it is one of the most amazing blended culture anywhere in the world.




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    One of the best parts about my goal of eating at each of the hawker centers is really getting to know a place geographically. I've been down this street before. I find it lovely. But I had know idea there was a Food Centre just around the corner. Nor did I realize how close I was to one of my favorite places to grab an ice cream cone. If forces you to explore a little bit, and really put the pieces al together and learn you way around the city and country.




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    Tanjong Pagar. After this center I have 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 food centers left to visit. Depending on how you count. This neighborhood abuts Chinatown and Duxton Hill, and all three are this wonderful mix of shop houses and modern towers. One moment you can be tucked into a narrow ally way lined with three story old school shop houses and transported back a century. Next block over you can be surrounded by glorious beautiful high rise hotels that feel like a city of the future. And always you are surrounded by wonderful food, from the high end restaurants of Duxton Hill to the small hole in the walls of Chinatown. But the hawker center ahead is my goal for today.





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    Lei Cha or Thunder Tea. You know you are getting the good stuff when the stall only announces Hakka Lei Cha - Hakka is a group of Southern Chinese, for example from Canton, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. This dish is of their cuisine. I had mine served with a bitter gourd onset on top. The The Tarik I requested iced. I so wished I had my camera out as it was prepared. Tarik means "to pull" and the hawker will pour the tea back and forth from one container to another to aerate it and create a bubble froth. This hawker uses a pitcher and what was basically a small metal cup just large enough to hold the quantity of tea. It was a tiny target and he would pour from above his head and hit the target at his waist. Insane. As the tea frothed up, the bubbles would form on top of this cup. Such crazy skill and not a drop was wasted.




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    Back at Tap for an Imperial Pale Lager from Beerfarm.



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    I'm trying to get out to MTB as much as possible my last few weeks. Not that I will really miss these trails terribly, but I do actually really enjoy biking through the jungle. I think back to the Sambar deer I saw a few months back. I learned the estimated current population on the island is between 16 and 22 deer. You only get to see something like that when you get away from he noise of the city. Here I am along one for my favorite trail, Centipede that goes right along the Upper Seletar Reservoir for a good stretch. This is one of the dryer days.




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    Bee Hoon Satay at Bukit Timah. This stall is known for a quality version of this dish. I can say the cuttlefish was the best I've had yet while in SG. I've had this dish once before and can attest, this was the superior version. Pork, prawns, cuttlefish, cockles and Kang kong tossed with a sweet spicy peanut sauce and Bee Hoon rice noodles. Followed by a Chendol, because ice and sugar are good to have on a hot day biking.
    Last edited by Ottime; 05-24-2023 at 06:20 PM.

  9. #234
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    I remember the first time I saw and crossed this bridge. Now I've been over it innumerable times and today it is a meet up spot for a ride with a friend. Sitting under a banyan tree with a bunch of aunties out on a lovely cool morning. I do love how active the pedestrian areas are in the morning and evenings. People tend to head indoors for the middle day. Unless work requires them to be outside. Props to all the co structuring and landscaping workers. The only other thing that really brings the masses outside during the middle of the day is lunch at the hawker centres. I really can't express enough the pride in food here. And how much at the center of life it is. Most families rarely bother to cook at home because of access to great inexpensive food all over the country. I have not even really begun to explore what must be thousand plus coffee shops tucked in various corners all over the island.


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    I finally got myself some chicken feet. I opted for the Reunion Noodle with chicken feet, ground pork, wanton, prawn dumpling and gai lan. Just in case that foot did not please. It was amazing and really do not know why I waited so long. I should have just trusted the culture and how often I saw people queued up for them. The collagen is very good for you and really not that chewy. And the meat is super tender and falls right off the talon bones. Paired with a Kueh Huat (muffin) of the yam variety.

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    Our route brought us down to East Coast Park. We stopped for a water break and to take a dip in the sea. The water here is surprisingly clear and blue considering all the tankers just off the coast.


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    Bike leaning against the palm shot. It is really quite picturesque, especially after biking some thirty odd miles through an urban landscape.



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    After getting out we did notice the box jellyfish warnings. But it is still so nice to float in the water here. It almost cools you off. Actually, it does, Your body just creates so much heat while biking, and at a certain point in the day, it just feels warm. This water is likely over 85F, but is still takes the edge off just a bit.
    Last edited by Ottime; 05-25-2023 at 07:02 AM.

  10. #235
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    10 Months in Equatorial Singapore

    Iím late to the travelogue, have you reviewed 4 floors of whores yet??? I recall so good street nearby for those that need to refuel

  11. #236
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    When I first moved here, we were housed at LaGrove. I walked by Orchard Tower nearly every day, whether headed to the grocery store or the MRT. I did use an ATM nearly every day and twice ate in the coffee shop in the basement, but never ventured upstairs. While I'm game for all types of food, I'm a bit to timid to even venture up there. Let alone properly review.

  12. #237
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    Lol

  13. #238
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    I bike by this scene a lot. It is often the most challenging part of the ride, with hordes of tourist lining up their perfect instagram shot. I've had dudes walking backwards without losing, or telling their subjects to move one way or another. So many folks looking at the screen, you need to be on top of your roll. So today, I stopped my roll, and grabbed my shot quickly. And oddly enough, there were very few people out here today. Maybe it was hot.

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    Redhill Market was on my list of places to visit. Checked it off yesterday. I was planning on a MTB ride, but when I went to grab my bike I noticed a little play in the rear wheel. So took off the wheel, hopped on public transit and visited the middle school library maker space and used their tools to tighten the cone. That took much of my morning, so opted for running some errands and a late lunch. This curry rice was decent, but not top of my list. The center itself was actually located in a neighborhood I used to exchange busses in when I was making trips back and forth to IKEA in Alexandra when we were first seeing up our home. It is adjacent to a large wet market and shopping zone.

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    I opted for a dessert. Tau Suan is a warm sweet green mung bean soup with pieces of you tiao floating in it. Mung beans are believed to add cooling to the body. Very different than an American dessert, but, like many things here, pretty tasty. The you tiao absorb the sweet broth, and when timed just right offer a crispy and soaked bite.

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    Glorious Tiong Bahru. This is one of my favorite centers for lunch. So many delicious stalls. The curry rice here is die die must try and the low mee with shark nugget is truly shiok. Shiok is not a word anywhere outside of Singapore. It is not from any of the four official languages but homegrown to SG. It simply mean fabulous tasting. So shiok so many stalls at Tiong Bahru. This part of town is hip and hoping, but was once considered a shady part of SG. These days it is pretty high end, but the market and surrounding HDB still have some old school character. This location was one of the first official sanctioned wet markets on the island. The OG structure was builtin 1951, and was renovated to the current two story structure in 2004. Wet market downstairs, Food Centre upstairs. It is a nice division, as the wet markets can have a strong odor or fish and fresh meat. There are also a lot of flower stalls at Tiong Bahru. I was passing by, as my meat and cheese importer is in the neighborhood, and I need some more mozzarella for a few last pizzas.

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    Okay, so I'm also using my time to visit one of my old haunts, if you can call them that, seeing I've only been here 9 plus months. Zion Market was a regular lunch place for me for a period. Right on the river front. Good selection, Great setting options. I swung in for a sugarcane juice, as Redhill really did not have any beverage stalls open (I did find myself a The Iced) and needed hydration. I finally tried the Sugarcane with Lemon. First, Lemon is just Lime, and Lime is Calmansi (super awesome small limes grown regionally). So I had sugarcane juice with limes added. Holy cow. Life changing. The limes take a little bit of that intense sweetness off, and provide an insane balance. I can't believe I've been saving myself twenty cents all this time and not been experiencing this ingenious beverage.



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    And finally, back at Tap to try the Beerfram IPA. I would say I think the Royal Haze is the best option on offer, then the IPL (lager). The IPL had more light clean happiness, and the IPA felt a little bit more west coast style than I prefer. Not bad, but just not as good. Still trying to decide if I prereleases the Pale Ale or the IPA. Also tried the Jing-a-Ling Flying Fist IPA. Not a bad option. Clean, crisp, mildly hoppy. I'm just hoping the Brewlander Love IPA returns to tap before I leave in 10 days. I have two more beer vouchers to utilize.
    Last edited by Ottime; 05-25-2023 at 05:55 PM.

  14. #239
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    This remains one of my favorite threads. Thanks for keeping it going!
    ride bikes, climb, ski, travel, cook, work to fund former, repeat.

  15. #240
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    Thanks man. Just keeping my visual diary going. It really does help me consider my experiences here, and I've actually gone back a few times to check things out to provide friends with recommendation on similar travel. We have just under two weeks left here in SG. Some of that time will be packing and dealing with shipping. Then off to Cambodia, Thailand and Japan enroute to Santa Cruz.

    Just got word this morning that our renters found a new place to move into, and we will be able to move into our home on arrival. Super cool. We were thinking we had 17 days to figure out lodging.

  16. #241
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    10 Months in Equatorial Singapore

    Amazing how quickly 10 months goes by sometimes. Cambodia and Thailand will be great even tho not optimal season

  17. #242
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    I kind of disagree. At least on Cambodia. It's the wet season. Fewer tourist in Angkor Wat and floating villages to visit. We are pretty used to rain at this point.

    Thailand is a mix depending on where you are. Wet and dry options.

    The bonus of rain is it cools the air a few degrees. I'm on lunch break from an MTB ride right now and it drizzled this morning and there has cloud cover all day. You still sweat a ton, but it is less humid and less hot.


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    Fish Porridge and Carrot Cake. I've hit all the stalls I want to try here at Bukit Timah food center except a Laksa stall that has been closed for weeks. Heard it's the bomb Laksa.



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    I might miss Centipede. Full of challenges. I've successfully traverse every root cluster, made it up every climb and crossed every bridge and challenge. I've never done it all in one ride. It is a XC run for sure. Maybe you climb and descend a total of maybe 150' over two miles, but it is a super fun and challenging trail.

    Today I got tripped up by a vine laying across the trail. It got snagged around my right pedal and almost took me down. Today was a dryer day, but it is almost always wet and slick. This is for sure my last day on this trail. I'll get over this side this weekend with my kid and friend of theirs, but won't get back out onto Centipede. Next week I head to Palua Ubin and the Ketam track. Mostly because they have a bike wash stand over there and I can detail clean the bike before packing it home.



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    There is a four mile loop around Bukit Timah, which is the highest peak in Singapore, at 538' above sea level. Unfortunately, the trail circumnavigates the Bukit, so it, like all trails, is very much a cross country trail. Still, it climbs and descends over 800' during that loop. It is fairly well maintained, except for the final mile which has been closed since November, when a couple hundred meters of trail became flooded under a meter plus of water. Every time I ride, there is a new obstacle. I was here just three days prior, but this tree snapped and fell over during that time. When I say well maintained, I assume this will be cleared by my family ride in two days time.

    Did I mention how dry the track was? That puddle is barely there.



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    This is a stop after the final climb of the loop on the north side. I typically enter from the north when riding from home, and only ride the east and north sides with my kid. So the final climb. It can be scorching here, as you pop our of the jungle canopy and are in an open field. Today was pleasant. Barely 34C, and plenty of cloud cover. Even a light breeze. Only sweated a few gallons. I am so looking forward to redwoods and duff, but a part of me will miss these trails, and for sure they have made me a better rider. So has riding the Northrock XC27 and Trek Marlin 5. Can't wait to get back on my proper bike waiting for me in Santa Cruz.
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    Last edited by Ottime; 05-27-2023 at 01:53 AM.

  18. #243
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    From a tourist hoard and heat perspective I agree. It doesnít bother me. It makes the island waters (esp on the west) more choppy so itís not as pristine but still all good

  19. #244
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    On our last weekend of not packing, we decided to go walk around a neighborhood I had only biked through before. Too Chiat is known for its Paranakan history and culture. Paranakan basically means "mixed offspring" and is the result of centuries of intermarriage between the first wave of Souther Chinese, the Nanyang (or Nyonya), and Nusatarans (the blend of people from the Indonesian and nearby archipelagos - which include Arabs, Indians, and indigenous people). The result is a rich blend of culture and it really comes out in the food, architecture and clothing. Bright colors are the name of the game.




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    After alighting our bus that came directly from in front of our condo half an island away - did I mention I love the public transit in SG? - we stopped in at Geylang Serai Food Centre to get ourselves a cold beverage. It was hot out. As it always is. My kid loves the Bandung - basically rose water and condensed milk blended with ice. It looks like medicine, but goes down like sugared flowers. The center was hoping at noon time. This center has primarily Malay and Indonesian food stalls, almost all Halal.



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    The center is a huge complex. The second story houses the cooked food market and dry market. You can buy clothes, electronics, and house goods, as well as receive service, such as laundering, tailoring and cobbling. Down stairs is the expansive wet market, with one side dedicated to produce and groceries, with the chicken and fish on the opposite side. There is literally only one pork stall in this complex (that I saw), as the majority of the residence in this area are non pork eaters.




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    From there we headed south into Joo Chiat proper. It is one of the older parts of town, predating independence. Because of that, the building height is typically two stories and rarely exceeds three. Here is one of the major intersections as Joo Chiat Road crosses Dunman Road.


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    What really sticks out in this neighborhood are the many murals. This is atypical in Singapore, as most of the time, you see just white washed walls. I would not quite call this street art, as it is not painted by graffiti artist. More specifically, it is commissioned by the owners of the buildings, often with permission and permitting by the local and or federal government. Regardless, it really livens up the area.



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    Dragons and flowers?


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    Rumah Bebe is know for their confections. You need to reserve a place before hand. No walk ins. So we just passed by. You can see this structure was built in 1928, and while that is only 95 years ago, this place is in amazing condition for a structure this old at the equator. I've seen concrete and mason ruins that were left to the jungle only 40 years ago - crumpled to knee height by moisture, heat, vines and other flora. The shop also really captures the flavor of Joo Chiat.

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    Art is pervasive. This a detail of Paranakan Tiles along the sides of Medley Alley. Food is also pervasive. We opted to eat at Old Bibik's and it was a treat. More expensive than hawker fare, we spent less than $40 on lunch for three. We enjoyed a Nasi Lemak like set plate with an oil fried pomfret. The fish was plump and delicious. We also part took Ayam Buah Keluak. Ayam is chicken. Buah Keluak is a nut filled with cyanide. To clean if of the poison, it is boiled and then buried in volcanic sash for forty days for the cyanide to leach out. Then the seed is mixed with tamarind, shrimp paste, lemongrass, chilis, galangal and candlenuts to make a curry like sauce. I've had this dish a few times, and really is a try try must die dish for any visit to this corner of the world.



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    Behind Rumah Bebe, you can find woman hard at work in traditional Peranakan dress - nonya kebaya. These wonderfully ornate dresses have a Javanese origin, and incorporate details from so many cultures. There is a great display in the Paranakan Museum over in the monuments district near Fort Canning Park. Another place worth visiting on any trip to Singapore - as you really get to delve into the rich cultural history of this place.

    When we were planing on moving here for the year, I thought I was moving to the land of bankers. It did not sound all that appealing on a cultural level. I knew the food was wot be interesting, but it was not until I was here that I began to slowly see the deep cultural blending of this place that I have grown quite found of. There is so much to SG beyond the glimmering monuments to capitalism that is Marina Bay and the CBD. I feel lucky to have experienced this side of this country.


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    More ladies hard at work. Notice the actual half bowl blended into the mural. Love the mixed media.

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    Joo Chiat is also a shopping district. It is loaded with boutiques of all sorts. My wife and I are not cat people, but she found our way into the Cat Shop. It was a cute boutique, and despite its cat theme, was loaded with interesting wares. Oddly enough, the prices were not crazy high, but rather quite reasonable. We are still doing a little 11th hour souvenir shopping for friends back home, and this neighborhood was the perfect place to complete that task.



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    More murals. It seems in this area there is not a a major exterior wall left clear of color. This one is know as Peranakan Phoenix.


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    These shop houses are well maintained, and for sure it takes some wealth in order to do so. Still, this area seems like light, color and expression are just as important as capital gain. It just feels a bit different than many other parts of the country that has works so hard since independence toward fiscal growth. It often feels like the singular goal here, but Joo Chiat offers something a little bit more nuianced.

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    Of course, and self respecting person would match their car to their home.

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    Well worth a day in the heat, poking around this lovely neighborhood. Notice the wood work and the tiles.
    Last edited by Ottime; 05-31-2023 at 08:07 AM.

  20. #245
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    Got out for one last MTB ride with my kid and we dragged a friend along. It was her first time in Bukit Timah. Glad to be able to show some other riders a route for them to explore once we are gone. This is our rest area on the Bukit Timah part of the ride. It is about a mile in, and after the initial climb. You do not gain much elevation, but it is a workout. Nothing like rocky, uneven, wet, rooty, slippery, loose climbing in 30C heat with 120% humidity. At least there is the old quarry to visit and chill at while watching birds.

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    There is one part of the ride where you pop out of the jungle and are suddenly in a field. It is a slight climb, and it can be hot. This day it was cool out, due to some early morning rain and cloud cover. The sky was clearing and a bet and hour after we biked through here, it was scorching.



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    We took different route home after lunch. My kid and I went back into the jungle and did a loop around Chestnut before aiming toward home. Chestnut Nature Park has a bunch of dedicated bike trails. Its nice because hikers are not allowed on them. Its not so nice because the are not built well. Or rather, the jungle reclaims them so quickly. Pango was in good shape this day, and basically dry, which is rare. Its hard to get a picture here, because the trails are fairly narrow and the jungle so thick.



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    After Chestnut we climbed up and out toward T15 or Trail 15. It is listed as a PCN, but is is basically an old road that is mostly gone. Parts of it still have some asphalt, but it is mostly dirt, rock and broken ceramics. The trail space is pretty wide, but it is basically single track and sometimes double track.

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    You do need to stay on the trail. It is lined with these signs suggesting you will be held at gun point if you go exploring.


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    My kid loves this area, because it is fast. Slightly down hill most of the way. No real burns, but you can find a little bank in some of the turns.

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    T15 runs for a few miles, but it goes by a lot quicker than the tighter trails where you are graving by trees and vines.

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    Stoked to get out one last day with my kid. Next ride together will be in the redwoods and duff.


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    A day is not complete with a 15 mile jungle ride, so we headed out that evening to see a show. Shakespeare in the Park at Fort Canning. You can bring a picnic, but that seemed a bit insurmountable with our impending move, so we headed over to the nearby Albert Food Centre for dinner. I opted for some Indonesian food. Tempeh stir fried with cabbage and bean sprouts, eggplant and samba cuttlefish. Before moving here, I never really thought of cuttlefish as a food, but most of the Southeast Asian foods we eat back in the US that is served with calamari, would normally be served with cuttlefish.



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    A Midsummer Night's Dream was shoik (if you can use that word about a perforce instead of food). One of the best Shakespeare productions I have ever seen, and being married to an English teacher who loves the bard, I have seen many. Well over 40. Super high production quality. Amazing stage design. Great performances. And a fun twist, with the fairies being ravers. It felt pretty refreshing in this otherwise fairly conservative state, to see a show that may no longer be performed in many of the US States. If you know the play - there is a play within the play. All the actors in the play with in the play are male, but one plays the part of a woman, so it is essentially a drag show. They went all in on that part and did a wonderfully entertaining job of it. And further to the chagrin of the anti wokes, Puck is quite gender fluid, Oberon's and Tatiana's roles are reversed, and Oberon is quite the queen. If that makes you feel squeamish, I apologize, but really it was beyond fun. My family really enjoyed the performance. The venue in Fort Canning is a perfectly sloped hill and I highly suggest attending if you ever find yourself in Singapore in May.



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    Two days later I was riding over to Palau Ubin (a few posts down) and was pretty sure I saw the inspiration for the set. When I walked into the venue, I wondered how ever were they going to make these smoke stacks feel like a forest. Lighting, wind effects, water and sound were all utilize to pull it off with aplomb. Like I said, and amazing show. I somehow felt like it took place in a modern day Singapore and yet was true to the author's intent.
    Last edited by Ottime; 05-31-2023 at 04:58 PM.

  21. #246
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    Things move quickly here in SG. Our time for one. But this building was nearly a hole in the ground when I first biked past it 9 months ago. You can not even get a full sense of the sale from this angle, as the second and third towers are blocked from view. It is a private construction, but still am very impressed at the speed it has been erected.

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    Finally got my camera out when ordering a The Tarik and found a guy who would performa. proper pull. I score this a 8/10. Some folks just pour back and forth from the counter. Others go full stretch and are proud of their skills. Honestly, the further the length of the pour, the better the frothing and mixing of ingredients.

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    Telok Blangah Food Centre is one of the furthest south in the country. It is a smaller center, feeding the local residents and workers. It is a bit further from the professional offices than Pasir Panjang, so tends more toward blue collar. Its a pretty spot, located adjacent to a small green space and just south of the Southern Ridges. What I noticed about Pasir Panjang last time I was there were the vast numbers of Google employees. I worked for Google, running their food service program in Mountain View many years ago. Almost no one there leaves the quality free food we served on campus. I hear the food at Google SG is also free and quite good, but the culture here is different. Leave the office, go out to lunch and stay for a while. As focused on work as many Singaporeans are, they do take the time to enjoy a meal, take a break from the grind and have a conversation with friends. I appreciate this.

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    At this point I have been to 117 out of 118 hawker centers. So I biked north and under the Henderson Waves to make my final stop.

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    Depot Road. I took this shot because there is a Hindu Temple, next to a Confucian Tele, next to a Buddhist Temple. And just out of view, tucked behind the two Chinese temples is a Christian Church. So SG.



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    Mei Ling Market. My final food destination. Well, I'll eat at more places, but they will be return visits. You may notice the BMW and the Mercedes parked. A Lexus was just behind me. These centers are not just for the poor, even though a meal may cost as little as $3. They are the democratization of food in SG. People of all walks of life come to these centers to enjoy their meals. Mei Ling is a destination due to two Fishball Noodles stalls. There is other good food here, but these two stalls get the bulk of the customers.

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    It is a blast watching this dude prepare meals. Such flow such speed, such grace. It is clearly hot back there with a steady view of stem coming off the boiling pots of stock. Xin Lu Two Chew Fishball, and has been in business for over 50 years. The other famous stall is Hup Kee Teochew, and offers up a slightly different twist on this classic dish. Wish I had a bigger stomach to try both. Or more time to get back.


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    Centers like these are utilitarian. No frills Fans, but no AirCon. There are a ton of food courts in the many malls across the country. If being outside, In the heat and humidity is not your thing, you can still get wonderful food in literally any mall. Just go down and underground and look for the food court. You will pay a few dollars more, but still get lovingly prepared food for under $8. So different than hotdog on a stick for $12.

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    Fishball Noodle is a breakfast food. So after another fifteen miles of riding, I swung into Tiong Bahru. This is one of my favorite food centers, and a must visit for anyone looking to experience the food centre culture in Singapore. So may good stalls, wells spaced tabes, open air, big fans and murals. The food here is quite good, with excellent representations of Lor Mee, Chicken Rice, Popiah, Rojak, Char Kway Teow, Sotong Prawn Mee, Curry Rice, Duck Rice, Wanton Mee, Young Tau Foo, Tow, Kwar, Pop, Fishball Noddle, Shui Kueh, a variety of Kueh and Bay, Yin Yuan, Sugarcane Juice, Calamansi and a really good Kopi stall. You can not go wrong here.


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    My stead. Can not complain much about this bike. Paid $220 USD, and it has taken me over 4000 miles to every corner of Singapore. Cheap bikes will always have their issues, and this one for sure does, but it gets the job done. The Infinity Boss3 is for sure worth a few hundred dollars as a general get around ride. I'm going to miss this ride when I leave it behind. It is now one with this country.
    Last edited by Ottime; 05-31-2023 at 05:37 PM.

  22. #247
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    Headed off to Palau Ubin for one last ride, I noticed this group of photographers. They were out the previous morning when I rode past this way en-route to seeing my Northrock XC27. The group has grown much larger in a day. I spoke with one photographer, who spoke little English, although, more than my Chinese. I thought he said it was a white dove they were taking pictures of, but I figure it was lost in translation. A little research and learned it was a Pin-Tailed Whydah. It is a dramatic looking bird for sure. I'm going to try to link here to a FB page with a shot for one of these local enthusiast. These guys are hard core. I see them in several spots around the island, just waiting for the perfect shot. This guy grabbed a few.

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    I got pretty lucky. Rode 16 plus miles to Changi Village. Ate a Nasi Lemak (coconut rice, ikan bills, sambal, cucumber and chicken wing) for second breakfast and got in line for the bum boat. I was number 9. Two Australians got in line behind me and as soon as we started to chat, the twelfth person arrived and we loaded the boat. I arrived on the island in no time. You need to wait for a full ferry before they load you, and that can sometimes take a bit of time on a weekday. I was stoked to not spend a lot of my time sitting and waiting.


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    Ketam is a fun track. Its odd, as it is basically a single loop, with the first mile being rated blue and the last three miles rated black. You can circle back on a fire road to avoid the more chilling ride. The blues are basically greens. I think what might make them blue is at time you are just riding across mowed grass and there is no real trail. The blacks are basically blues, with a few features to make them black. But you can easily ride around most, and walk over the few that you can not. I think the biggest challenge of all are the several steep climbs. A few with tight cutbacks and ill placed rocks.

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    Black Widow is perhaps the biggest feature of the track. It is a semi steep rock garden with a little drop at the bottom. All is easily rolled over with even a medium frame 27.5 bike. Its fun though. If you hit it with a little speed, you can launch off that rock ledge at the bottom. There is still another five feet of vert int he rock guarding below but it is not too hard to clear it and the run out is nice an easy.

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    I mostly like riding Ketam for the wonderful views. I lapped the park three times, just to be sure to make my trip out here worth the time. I also came out this way for the $3 bike wash available. Washing my bike in our carpark is not easy, but the set up out here sure works well. Just remember to pack a brush and some biodegradable soap.

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    Atfer Ketam, I headed east around the island a bit. There is a fair amount of tarmac with only authorized vehicles on them, so it is pretty nice riding. There is even more fire road riding through the jungle. You can head out to a bunch of different wetlands and mangrove areas. Watching my time, I only went as far as the Sensory Trail. It is picturesque for sure. Easy green riding on a fire road style surface. This lily pond is pretty gorgeous when in full bloom.

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    I took this shot to get a sense of scale. These trees are big.

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    I got even luckier for the ferry back to the mainland. Took off my knee pads, hung my helmet on the handlebars and suddenly there were twelve and we were loading the boat. I was stoked. I have waited for over 90 minutes before to return. My beer place in Changi Village is called Charlie's Corner and it opens at 2:30. It was 2:10 when I grabbed this shot. Perfect timing. Charlie's corner has some Archipelago Brewing on tap/. The Summer IPA is decent and at $12.10 nett, it is a much better price than the beer at Island Brewing around the corner. And IMO, a bit better tasting.

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    This part of SG feels so different than many other areas. I think it is the green space, the ocean and nature. But I also think it is the sail boats and fishermen. My first time through it reminding me of a blend of Cape Cod and some tropical island paradise.


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    Headed back into the harbor. The bridge ahead is one of the icons of the area.

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    On my way home I lopped around the north shore of Punggol, just because it is one of my favorite trim rides on the island. And I felt the need to say goodbye. I've taken pictures of this PCN being torn up. Perfectly good asphalt being reworked. This is the ned result. I still find it a bit of a waste of materials, money and carbon, but this fresh asphalt as wide as a road, sure was fun to ride along.
    Last edited by Ottime; 05-31-2023 at 06:02 PM.

  23. #248
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    Jun 2007
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    Cruzing
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    11,817
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    I had some errands around Little India and Bencoolen. After buying my JR Pass, I found this little pedestrian way I had before not noticed. It was bustling. This Hindu temple was busy.

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    As was the Confucian temple next door. Vesak is just a few days away, which is a big Buddhist holiday. With all the blended beliefs here in Singapore, I wonder if any of these folks are here in preparation for Vesak. There is still much for me to learn about this culture.

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    I was delivering and item I sold over by Old Airport Road Food Centre. There are a bunch of good stalls over here as well and it is a historic site, so I stopped for an early lunch. Lor Mee is one of my favorite dishes. Partly because it is so different than anything I had before coming to Singapore. Thick dark soya gravy, noodles, and stuffed with things like century egg, pork belly, fish (sometimes fried, but this version had grilled) chilis, cilantro, garlic, sambal and friend pork lad goodness. Paired well with a Yin Yaun.

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    Dou Gan Bao. Grilled firm tofu, stuffed with cucumber and bean sprouts and served with a palm sugar chili dipping sauce. Along with a popiah. I had no idea how big the Dou Gan Bao would be. Lunch lasted for quite some time and I had no room left over to get myself a Munchi pancake.

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    My Lor Mee place, and where I got my Yin Yuan. Also grabbed a Sugarcane for takeaway. What big plus of the saddlebags and the local method of sealing your plastic cups shut with plastic, is I can easily grabbed an iced drink and throw it in the bag to enjoy a bit down the road.

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    Got back to my bike after lunch and realized I left the key in my lock. Also notice how tiny this cable is. Really going to miss the security of this place. Sure, bikes get stolen. If you leave your $12K bike at the MRT station everyday with a cheap or no lock on it, it will disappear. But it is not common. And cheap bikes like mine, parked at the market, never get taken. So different from Santa Cruz.

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    I had to get to the CBD to exchange some money, but having eaten way to much, I took the long route, up over the Bedok Reservoir and to the far side of East Coast Park. I just enjoyed how the small single person sailboats we back dropped by the giant tankers.

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    These folks really looked like they were enjoying themselves. And I was enjoying my refreshing sugarcane juice.


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    Singapore really is a garden city. The JP Morgan building is not unique in having a, or several, garden floors, where nature is incorporated back into the tower.

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    One last time at Tap. 3.5% Beerfarm Standard Hazy. Best tasting beer under 6% I have ever had.
    Last edited by Ottime; 05-31-2023 at 06:32 PM.

  24. #249
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Cruzing
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    11,817
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    There were two food centers in Toa Payoh I had eaten adjacent to, but never made purchases inside, because they are morning markets and I never made it over early enough. Despite the rainy Thursday morning, I took advantages of my last few hours while the family was a away at school to head down that way. Toa Payoh Vista Market I enjoyed some Kopi and Prata. I think this came to a total of $3. Vista is a small market of maybe 10 stalls. It is connected to a decent sized wet market and surrounded by a large market center. It only has a few food stalls, as there are several food centers in the neighborhood, with Lorong 5 just a few hundred meters away.


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    Toa Payoh Lorong 4 has 25 stalls, and while also small, seems huge in comparison. You know you did well when you ordered the Hor Fun at 11am, and while you waited for your noodles, saw the line at the stall grow to 25 people deep. Beat the crowd and chose a popular place. Nice wok hei on this dish. Another die die must try at an out of the way taker centre. Glad I made the effort.



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    Just another temple. Toa Payoh is a great neighborhood to bike around once you get your bearings. Six varied and great food centers and markets to choose from. Nice bike lanes, and this big temple in its midst.



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    We ponied up to give our kid a nice little party at Bounce to help with saying goodbye. We have found a life here, and it is feeling harder to leave than any of us expected. It is a bitter sweet feeling. And also nice to know we can pull up our roots, move halfway around the world, and create a life for ourselves. I hope our child can carry this with them through their life. It is a great learned lesson.



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    I wonder what the new curriculum includes. Just another example of SG feeling a little ESL, or maybe just some cheeky fellow having some fun.

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    Sixth graders really do come in many different shapes and sizes. Feeling pretty stoked my kid found their people while here on the Red Dot. It took them sometime, but this is a good mix of kids. Most of whom they met out on their own, finding folks with similar interests and disposition. Proud of our kid.



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    Saying goodbye is hard to do. So why not extend the party. We headed down to Satay Street with one of our kid's close friend and family. They have been lovely to get to know, and this was an easy call. Its also fun to have met some people through our kid for one of the first times. And have them turn out to be good peeps. We arrived a few minutes before the street was transformed for dinner and the charcoal was still aflame. Just enough time to enjoy a cold beer before eating meat on a stick.



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    Hope to see these boys again somewhere in the world. One of the nice thing about meeting other kids of the expat community, is that these families do work their way around the world. Pretty sure we will cross paths in the future.




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    On Friday I got up early and started a 30 mile ride to the start of Jurassic Mile. I stopped for a water break in Pasir Rs Park. This was the first time I noticed the volcano mount in the distance, Once the sun is up high enough, it disappears in the glare. The SG parks are so alive at this hour. Martial arts, yoga, runners, walkers, bicyclist and folks just chilling on the benches. People here get up to beat the heat. And even more so on the national holidays.


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    I met up with my wife and kid at Jurassic Mile, and biked down toward East Coast Park. ECP is really such a lovely ride end to end. About 8 miles in length. From Jurassic Mile to the Calling MRT is about 12 miles and you literally cross two roads in total. We spent our morning stopping for sugarcane juice, bandung and coconut water at East Coast Lagoon Food Centre. And then another stop so our kid could hit up the swings. Weather was dry and there were tons of people out in the park. Such a fun way to say our goodbyes to this place.

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    We were at this location about 10 months ago, in late July, meeting a bunch of other new teachers and their families with kids in the 5th to 9th grade range. Felt like a fitting spot to take a family selfie. So much has happened and we have changed so much in the passing of that time. I really leave here feeling like every American should commit to spending some time living abroad, even if just as briefly as six months. It amazes me how much there is to take in while living somewhere else, even for such a short time.



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    We just loved these kites. The park on this Friday was so busy. People hanging and cooking at the bbq. Loads of folks out on bikes. People learning to ride on the beginner tracks. Road bikers whizzing by trying to make some speed. Beach goers playing in the sand and swimming in the water. The lagoon was busy with wakeboards. Even the skate park, which is usually dead until the sun gets low, was abuzz. And of course, kite flyers. These three rings were attached to a bigger kite that kept them aloft, while they spun in circles in the light breeze.


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    One of the last time, if not the last time, to catch Marina Bay from under the Nicoll Highway bridge. It still stuns, even though I am down this way several times a week for months on end.

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    Our route would take us around Marina Bay and up the Calling to Bishan - And Mo Kid Park. Just a hair over 20 miles. We took our time and stopped many times. Lunch was at Marine Terrace Food Centre, and the fountains in front of the National Stadium. Of course our kid found these to be perfect for cooling off in the tropical heat before hitting our final stretch home. Well, we did stop in at Geylang Bahru Food Centre for one beverages and a snack of Garlic Naan. Still, it was a great ride and felt the high from it as we packed up our home over the next two days preparing for our movers to arrive on Monday morning.
    Last edited by Ottime; 06-04-2023 at 04:08 AM.

  25. #250
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Cruzing
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    We were asked each other what we wanted to do in our last few days while in Singapore, my kid mentioned the Night Safari. We had already been twice, but it is such a novel experience for us - and I do think it is quite a cool way to see nocturnal animals. With our house ready for the shippers to arrive Monday morning, we took the bus north toward Mandai on Sunday evening, We grabbed dinner at Springleaf Prata and continued on to the zoo. These pictures really do no justice, as the iPhone 11 is not really equipped to take pictures of moving animals at night. This here is a young Indian Gharial. It was only about 3 plus meters long. The bigger two swimming around were much bigger.



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    I read about Pangolin in a book titles the Seven Moons Maali Almeida (really a worthy read) but had no idea what they were like. Turns out they are scaled mammals. This guy was running all over the place. The scales are soft, not like the armadillos tough armor.

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    The Malaysian Flying Fox is one of my kids favorites. Later we were inside an enclosure with them, and one fly right over my head after I tried to grab a picture. These guys were behind viewing glass, but were a blast to watch. They huge bats. I believe the largest in the world. Wingspans up to 1.7 meters. The dude who flew by my head was a good meter plus tip to tip.



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    The main goal of the night was an evening out and a break after organizing and cleaning and securing our items not to go in a shipping container. And to see the Slow Loris one more time. My kid learned about the only venomous primate a while back on a podcast. They lick their armpits to get the venom inter mouth (yes, its is creed from arm pit glands - good fodder for jokes) and then use their canines to inject it into your blood stream. We chatted with the zoologist here for a while, cause the Loris was tucked away out of sight. My kid charmed here with their knowledge of and interest in the loris. So she offered to go in for a feeding. The venom can be deadly, but she lured the loris out fo the shadows and feed her durian from her finger tips. Super kind of her to take her life in hands of this animal just so we could see the loris one more time. The animal is really a slow mover, and it was fun to watch her (it was a female) slowly come out of the shadows an to the front of the enclosure. We left a happy family on our last night out from our home for the past 9 months.



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    The next day, after the shippers packed all our stuff up in boxes, I had to bike over to WhizComm to close out internet account and return a borrowed modem. It just so happened it was a few blocks away from Circuit Road Blk 79 Food Centre and one of my top ten stalls. I can not tell you the stalls name, but it looks like this and is stall 01 - 74. I just found their food to be great, and their menu a whole lot of fun.


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    I ordered some Chee Cheong Fun with Egg and Chives along with Gai Tie (friend dumplings). The Cheong Fun is made fresh and is basically a very thin rice pancake rolled up with goodies inside, and topped with soya or other sauces. These guys do it right. This entire center is off the tourist track, but right along a central urban PCN, and so worth a stop. Glad I found a reason to stop back in one more time.
    Last edited by Ottime; 06-06-2023 at 11:08 PM.

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