Friday, September 24, 2010

rrrrrRRRRRRrrrrrr

I had my first racing experience tonight and boy was it LOUD! :)  I got a late start, but that turned out to be a good thing.  I didn't wear quite the right shoes, ended up walking quite a bit and under-estimated the noise from the cars.  I did find my margarita stand :).  I didn't get super good pics, but here are a couple.




Tomorrow I will be wearing better shoes; take my better camera; buy ear plugs; wear suncreen; take something to read; bring a better bag/purse; take some wet naps. 

Entertainment tomorrow will include Daughtry, Ojos de Brujo (maybe my new favorite spanish band) and Adam Lambert.

video
video

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Moon-what? Mooncakes!

I love cake - and the moon is nice too.  So how could I not love mooncakes? I'm not sure of the significance or history around mooncakes - you'll have to wikipedia-it yourself.  What I do know is that they come out this time of year for Autumn Festival. 

In the shopping centers there are lots of temporary stands set-up in the middle of the mall with various vendors selling mooncakes.  Last year I didn't try any.  The lines were too long, I had no idea what I was buying and I had heard they were expensive.

This year I got a mini-mooncake at work, someone brought in a bunch.  And, I got the one pictured above from someone else at work.  I have gotten a lot of little gifts while working here in Singapore.  Everyone seems to like to give them out at any occasion - I'm leaving work, I had a baby, or just because.





There are all different sorts.  The one above of course is chocoloate (chocolate almond butterscotch).  The mini one I had at work was....I'm not sure, but it was white with a nuttish center.  It was okay - not my favorite flavor.  And the center was cremier - like a ball of creamy white chocolate, rather than the one above.  However, I think these are the western flavors :).  In my box above came a listing of other varieties.  Here are some:
-Pure Lotus Single Yolk (yeah, I think they might mean actual egg yolk)
-Red Bean
-Green Tea
-Pandan Lotus (pandan is like a green bread from what I can figure)
-Pandan Pumpkin
-No Sugar Added White Lotus
-Grand Ruby

For my nutrition friends out there - the ingredients are lotus seeds, sugar, refined vegetable oil, maltose, wheat flour and melon kernel seeds (plus all the chocolate & butterscotch).  It is about 180 grams, think the diameter of a donut, but densely packed filling about an inch or so high (giant cupcake stump??).  It is meant to provide 8 pieces/servings.  Here's some nutrition info per serving (whole).
-calories 97kcal (776 kcal) - not sure if kcal is same as calories
-fat 4.5g (36g)
-carbs 12.3g (98.4g) - assume this is sugar
-protein 1.4g (11.2g)
-fiber 1.1g (8.8g)

I almost forgot - these are like $10 a piece!  Well, I finally went looking over the weekend and the ones of equivalent size that I saw started at $8 - and they weren't the fun chocolate flavors either.  The high end ones, go for like $88 for a box of 4 - or maybe more than that. 

While they don't taste too bad, I'll stick with my $1.20 donuts for my sugar fix :).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Another New Toy

Saturday was a wonderful day!  I caught up on some much needed sleep and when I awoke, the mail fairy left me a present.  My new Kindle!!  It was in a small little box with only a power cord, which nicely doubles as USB and wall plug-in.  It had some plastic protector sheets on the front and back and I figured the message on them was pre-printed to provide a "fake" screen.  Nope! The instructions for installation were on the screen as soon as I took it out to plug it in.  The instruction manual immediately popped up and took me through the quick start guide.  I was pretty impressed with the easy set up. And it only took an hour or two for the initial charge.  Which was perfect to allow me to take it for spin out by the pool in the afternoon.

...charging up.....

I sprung for the handy cover.  It's an orange leather with dark grey felt on the inside.  There are hooks in the crease to keep the Kindle in place and they power a light that pops out of the back upper right corner.  You need it to read in the dark.  The Kindle uses a different kind of screen/ink than a normal computer/phone with no backlight. So, you can read it in the sunshine with no glare.  But, you can't read it in the dark without a light.  The cover has an elastic band to keep it in place.  It's perfect, like a little notebook or journal.  My work purse is a little small, so I'm in the market for a new one now. 

I had already accumulated a few books on my wish list knowing that the Kindle was coming.  First up is a $0.99-er that I found in the spanish section, El secreto del tio Oscar.  I like to read a spanish book every now and then to try and keep my language skills up to date.  The other few include Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation; Brain Candy: Science, Paradoxes, Puzzles, Logic and Illogic to Nourish Your Neurons; Generation Kill; and Wanderlust and Lipstick: For Women Travelling to India.

I have more on my list but decided to hold off on buying them for now.  I think this will keep me plenty occupied.  Quite a variety of topics, I know. 

So far, it is weird to get use to not having a paper copy with a cover and picture, but I'm slowly adjusting.  One thing I already love is that there are no pages! Out at the pool with a slight breeze - no worries about holding down fly-away pages.  And reading in bed at night, I don't have to flip side to side to read each page, there's only one :).  It's pretty light weight and easy to use.  I have really just used it to read and haven't tried some of the other features.  I did try to look up some spanish words, but the dictionary is english only. 

Books tend to be pretty expensive here in Singapore, however the Kindle version ones seem to be $10 or less.  That was my main reasoning in getting one since I've found myself reading a lot more.  It's working out great thus far! Looking forward to having it on vacation.

A final pic to demonstrate the true size (and show off my new manicure ;) ).



Thursday, September 2, 2010

Our One-Year Anniversary

The "our" I'm referring to is me and Singapore.  Yep, it quietly snuck by last week...1 year since I arrived in Singapore.  It has definitely gone by too quickly.  I am finding it is so true that if I don't plan, time will pass me by and I won't get anything done.  I'm in the Asia travel hub and I went to only Bali for my personal travel fun.  My travel report card is currently F-.  Hope to add some more destination(s) here in October. 

Still no visitors (hint, hint), but the tickets are booked for the family (Mom, sister, sister's bf, brother) to visit over Christmas.  My poor brother and sister - I think my mom is so excited she's driving them nuts about it.  But I'm SUPER excited too.  I can't wait for them to come!!  Hopefully we all survive almost 2 weeks of family bonding ;). 

Recently a couple things have made me realise just how much I've settled in here.
  • I just typed "realise" instead of "realize".  I'm using British English by habit now - well at least spelling with an 's' instead of 'z'. 
  • I was in India this week and walked from my hotel to work in beautiful, sunny, mild, breezy weather.  Not too hot.  I wasn't sweating after 2 minutes.  AND there was no humidity.  I think I had actually forgotten what no humidity felt like.
  • With the Olympics in town, I was reminded how nice and outgoing Americans are.  At two of the four events I attended, a random American spoke to strangers.  In Singapore, no one - and I mean no one - talks to strangers.  I've gotten use to it.  Then I have an American comment to me and a couple other randoms on what a nice day it is.  Of course none of us respond, because we don't talk to strangers.  Then I was debating on what drink to order and the kind teenager offered me his unsolicited thoughts.  I have forgotten how nice it can be to talk to strangers. (fyi - nonalcoholic drink)
  • I find myself naturally walking to the left, expecting cars to drive on the left, etc.  I don't even drive here!
So I am definitely getting settled in, but I don't know that I would ever call Singapore home.  It's a nice place to live for a few years :).  It has to be the easiest place to live if you're moving out of your home country.  Goal for year 2 - focus on incorporating more non-work activities :).  Very much looking forward to year 2 now that I have one under my belt and happy that I'm only a third of the way through and not half!

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!!