Ice Cream Bread

On the corner of nearly every busy street in Singapore is an ice cream stand.

However, these are no ordinary ice cream stands. Instead of scooping ice cream into a cone, you are given a block of ice cream wrapped in a slice of multicolored bread.

Also the ice cream flavors are a little different. Don't expect to find rocky road or cookies and cream on the menu. Instead feel free to enjoy:
Sweet Corn
Red bean
To be honest I haven't actually tried the ice cream here. I have never really been a big fan of ice cream, in fact as a child I remember ordering lollypops at the ice cream shop instead of an ice cream cone. Crazy, I know...I am reminded of this often by my husband and my best friend who are both quite the ice cream connoisseurs.

Deepavali- Festival of lights

This month the Indian population in Singapore are celebrating Deepavali which translates to mean row of lights but is better known as the festival of lights.

Rows of oil lanterns are lit to welcome the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi

This festival celebrates the victory of good over evil and it also celebrates the Hindu New Year. Little India is the place to go to see all the lights and action. People celebrating Deepavali wear new clothes (the brighter the color the better) and will share sweets and snacks with family and friends.

Murukku a special treat served during Deepavali

Singapore Haze

Over the last few days there has been a smoky haze covering the city. Evidently, every year around this time the island of Sumatra (Indonesia) sets huge fires to clear large areas of land for farming. The smoke from these fires usually ends up blanketing Singapore and Malaysia for several days to even weeks.

Sumatra fires

Singapore blanketed in "the haze"

Both Singapore and Malaysia have complained bitterly about "the haze" since 2006, but Indonesia doesn't seem to take any action stating that they lack the money and ability to stop the illegal process of setting fires.

Looking at back at the city from the footbridge near our place

So during "the haze" Singaporeans watch the PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) report vigilantly. In fact as I was in a taxi this morning the driver shushed me and cranked up the volume on the radio when the PSI report for the hour was being announced! If the PSI numbers start to head in the wrong direction, out come the masks. I have to admit although "the haze" is annoying, a secret part of me is hoping that the air quality gets to a level where I can see these masks on the street!

Botanical gardens - Picnic in the park

Last night we went to the Botanical Gardens with some friends for a picnic. We all brought food to share and just sat around talking about all sorts of things ranging from parenting to politics. It was such a great evening. Kingsley and I feel very fortunate to have met some amazing couples since moving to Singapore.

Sharon and Dave (they arrived in Singapore the same week we did and were in the same hotel as us for the first 6 weeks we were in Singapore but we didn't meet till months later!)

Dave and Bret and our picnic feast

One of the things I love about Singapore is that I don't have to worry about being cold after the sun goes down!
Bonnie and Bret with Aspen in the background

Foster Kitten - Charlotte

There is a new addition to the Wood household! Kingsley and I went to the SPCA last night to pick up a new foster kitten and she was almost instantly given her "Kingsley name" - Charlotte. Charlotte is 4 weeks old and is a bundle of energy, we are going to have our hands full with her! I have found its actually harder to foster a single kitten because you have to be their playmate.

She already has Kingsley wrapped around her little paw!

Arab Street

There is a great little spot in Singapore called Arab Street. Its not just Arab street but more like the Arab Quarter. There are several blocks of beautiful old shophouses that line the streets housing Middle Eastern restaurants offering authentic food and sheeshas (water pipes). There are also lots of shops selling beautiful carpets, silks, baskets and perfumes.

One of the many stores selling beautiful silks and fabrics

Jamal Kazura Aromatics- here you can buy custom made perfumes

A small bottle of custom perfume is $10. I bought a perfume called White Amber which smells amazing.

Sultan Mosque

Perfect match

Have I mentioned lately how crazy I am about this guy?

Nail clipping on the MRT

How could anyone think clipping their nails on public transportation is okay? You do something crazy and I'm going to have to video it!

Cambodia - Royal Palace

The Royal palace was built in 1866. It has housed the Royal family since it was built, except for time of the Khmer Rouge in the mid 1970's.
Monk walking through the royal palace
Lynn's attempt at an artistic photo

Monks enjoying the Royal gardens

Cambodia - Killing Fields

Our of a population of 7 million, the Khmer Rouge killed around 2 million Cambodians from 1975-1979. The leader Pot Pol tried to make Cambodia into a purely agricultural classless communist society. To accomplish this he abolished money, schooling, hospitals, the free market, private property and religion. In 1975 when they took power they evacuated the capital city and sent everyone to live and work in the villages. He set a goal to triple the rice production in the next 3 years which was impossible without the manpower or the tools available for that kind of production. People were forced to work long hours in the rice fields and were given very little food, many died of starvation or easily treatable illnesses. The Khmer Rouge also set out to purge society of anyone who had an education, owned a business, or spoke another language. They even killed anyone wearing glasses as this was seen as a sign that they could read. The educated and upper class of Cambodian society was basically wiped out within a few years.

The Killing Field is a mass grave where thousands of people were killed by the Khmer Rouge.

This seven story monument holds all the skulls and bones from the victims. Inside there are rows and rows of glass enclosed shelves packed with skulls. It is a very sobering site.

After heavy rains, bones and clothing are still surfacing
Khmer Rouge mandatory clothing, shoes were made from tires

Cambodia - Blazing Trails

Day 2 in Phnom Penh we spent the morning exploring some Cambodian villages and the countryside on quad bikes. The company we rented the quads from is called Blazing Trails, for $20 you are taken on a very cool 3 hour tour of the countryside.

The best part of the trip was the fact that all the village children came running to the side of the road when they heard us coming and would jump and wave and smile and yell "hello" at the top of their voice as we drove by.

Cambodia - Phnom Penh

Instead of flying, we took a bus (5hrs) from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh ($11), I thought it would be a great way to see more of Cambodia on our trip and it was! The bus was wonderful with comfy seats, the road was well paved and mostly straight, and the scenery was beautiful. Only downside was the large TV up front that played Cambodian Karaoke music videos the entire way. I now know every popular Cambodian song and dance move!

Scenery along the way included a beautiful rainbow!

Many of the homes are on stilts, this is to improve ventilation thus cooling everything down.

Interesting item on the lunch menu

While in Phnom Penh, we stayed at (yet) another amazing hotel called Villa Paradiso. I would highly recommend this place, the staff are wonderful the food is excellent and the location is perfect.
Each room has a different design, we were in the China room. There is a Balinese style room, a French room ect.
For dinner Kingsley and I went to a very nice Khmer restaurant called Malis where we had an amazing multi-course dinner. The food was excellent, one of the top 10 meals we have ever had!