Youth Olympics- Clappers

Thanks to my friend Sharon I finally got my clappers for the Youth Olympics games. I got them just in time for the ping pong (table tennis) finals.

Can you see the pride in my eyes? I love those things!

I even took some time out of playing with my clappers to watch some serious ping pong. The players were amazing and received many enthusiastic claps from me and my clappers!

Youth Olympics- Badminton and Tennis

Singapore is currently hosting the inaugural Youth Olympics games. Over the next 3 weeks about 5000 athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 are competing in 26 different sporting events.

The two mascots for the Youth Olympics Singapore are:

Lyo- a lion cub with a mane as fiery as his passion for life. His paw is shaped like the island of Singapore. Symbolism: legend tells us that a prince upon visiting a tropical island spotted a beautiful lion and named it 'Singapura' which means 'Lion city'.

Merly- a merlion cub who got her name from 'Mer' meaning sea and 'ly' for liveliness and youth. Symbolism: the merlon is a mythical sea creature that is part lion and part fish, inspired by Singaporean folklore and Singapore's fishing village origins.

We bought tickets for badminton, tennis, gymnastics and ping pong.

Our friends Sharon and Dave (from Seattle) met up with us to watch the Badminton. Kingsley and Dave were pretty excited to watch the game but Sharon and I were more interested in getting our hands on the "clappers" which were these inflatable sticks that you bang together when someone scores a point. They were sold out when we arrived so we spent hours trying to devise a plan to get our hands on our own set, I'm sad to say we were not successful.

These kids had the coveted "clappers", but had no interest in sharing with us.

Tennis was pretty amazing to watch, even though the players are young they are incredibly talented and very competitive. We watched a Finnish guy play a Hungarian, neither were prepared for the humidity and heat of Singapore. They were constantly taking breaks to wipe the sweat off their hands and rackets.

Cool as cucumbers, we are use to the humidity now...for the most part!

Pneumonia vs Lynn

Exactly a week after returning from Bali I started to feel terribly ill. I had a temp of 103-104, headache, cough, body aches, fatigue and pretty much felt awful. After a day and a half of watching my misery Kingsley took me to the ER where they were sure that I had dengue fever but the lab tests for both dengue and malaria came back negative. The doctor sent me home saying it must just be a virus but if I was not better in a few days to return to the ER. Four days of absolute misery later and my fever was the same (104), same headache, body aches and body wracking cough. I was pretty out of it by the time Kingsley brought me back to the hospital again. This time they said "we are very confident this is dengue fever" but again the lab tests came back negative. When I arrived in the ER my temp was 104 which had them very worried (tell me about it, I had been that way for a week!!). Once they decided it certainly wasn't dengue fever the doctor honed in on my cough and said "I've heard that cough before, thats a pneumonia cough". He then listened to my lungs and decided to put me on a course of antibiotics. He explained that they don't usually see fevers so high with pneumonia but everything else made sense. And if the antibiotics didn't help in a few days to return to the hospital and they would have a tropical disease specialist try to figure out what was going on.
When we checked out of the hospital I was pretty sure we would be back in a few days, I just couldn't believe it was pneumonia.
It has been 2 days since I started the antibiotics and I am happy to report I have made a major turn-around. No more fever, headache and body aches are gone. The only thing left is the fatigue and the terrible cough, which is manageable with a little help from my friend codeine. I haven't been that sick in such a long time it really made me take a step back and appreciate my health...and my husband. Thanks for taking such good care of me Kingsley, and for forcing me to go to the hospital even though I kept telling you I was fine! (I wonder where I learned that from? Mom?!!)

Happy 45th Birthday Singapore

A few days ago Singapore celebrated its 45th year of independence. In the typical Singaporean way, the planning and practice sessions for the big day began a month prior to the big day. There were dress rehearsals and dress rehearsals for the dress rehearsals. By the time the actual day rolled around everyone had already seen the entire show several times. But that didn't stop Kingsley and I from joining the masses on the actual day.

First part of the festivities was a military parade. It was kind of strange watching miles of guns, tanks and other military equipment drive by. This was also the first parade I've been to where the people in the parade don't smile and wave. I even tried waving first, sadly no one waved back but I did manage to get a few half smiles.

Next came the Singaporean "Blue Angels" performance. Kind of ironic that the actual Blue Angels were in Seattle for Seafair the very same weekend.

The National Day celebrations ended with a grand fireworks display. My favorite was one with stars and the crescent shape to represent the Singapore flag, pretty impressive.

Botanical Gardens

Had a wonderful time at the Botanical Gardens in Singapore with my friend Sharon yesterday. We had a great time walking, talking and taking LOTS of photos of the beautiful gardens and flowers.
Two hungry swans and a turtle

Entrance to the Orchid Garden, my favorite

Sharon and I are both from Seattle and couldn't stop laughing when we caught ourselves commenting on how nice it was that it was a cloudy day and not so hot.

Another funny thing was the "photo spot" signs strategically placed around the gardens. Only in Singapore would they feel the need to tell people where to take the best photos and only in Singapore would we see people waiting in line to take their photo in these designated spots!

Such gorgeous flowers with unique colors and designs.

Something new at the grocery store

Went grocery shopping today and saw this...

and then this...

I was initially horrified but am now strangely curious. I think I may have to buy some as a special treat for our next visitors from the States!!

Bali Good Times

Temple Pilots crew
Lots of new friends

Amazing dinner at Ku De Ta restaurant in Seminyak

Favorite quotes from the trip:

"where's Zaid"
"you can check in...but you can never check out"

Our last night in Bali we all went on a dinner cruise. It was a great evening with lots of laughs, and even an impromptu karaoke song by Suhas (see video below).

Bali Seaweed farms

Below Timbis, the flying site, were hundreds of seaweed farms.

Harvest time

Everyone helps with the harvest

They use bamboo frames with strings criss-crossing it to hold the seaweed shoots. These are harvested after 45 days. The farmers make RP 4000 (apx 40 cents) per kilo on the seaweed they sell.

Bali Ubud

In northern Bali there is a place called Kintamani where they have an active volcano with a beautiful lake. Our driver explained that we must be very lucky as there were no clouds or fog around the volcano when we arrived. The view was stunning.

Mount Batur (volcano) is on the left with lake Batur below

From there we headed south to the terraced rice patties in Tegalalang which is just north of Ubud.

Our last stop, Ubud, is known as the cultural center of Bali. It is a small town 1000 feet above sea level surrounded by rice patties. The villages surrounding Ubud are well known for their ice bamboo crafts and furniture as well as amazing wood and stone carvings.

In the main town of Ubud there are tons of yoga studios, art studios, cafes and coffee shops. It is an amazing place, I only wish we were able to spend more time there.

After walking around Ubud for a few hours we stopped for drinks and a snack at Cafe Lotus which I think has one of the best views in Ubud. The restaurant has two dinning areas: the main area up front with normal chairs and an long raised platform with low tables on bamboo mats that runs along a large lotus pond. This is where we sat and ate Lumpia (Indonesian spring rolls).
A large temple beside the pond was the backdrop for a live Balinese traditional dance performed by 20 girls between the ages of 5 and 15.