maandag 23 juni 2014

Plaatjespost & Picture post: Desaru, again

So we thought of going to Melaka again, and ended up going to Desaru, again. This time, we didn't even rent a car, we decided to take the ferry. This is actually much more convenient, especially since nobody else does it, so there are no queues, no waiting time and lots of immigration officers to coo over hyperactive blond toddlers.

We knew Lotus Beach Resort Desaru (or LBRD, for short) is huge, caters to Malaysian and Singaporean families, has three pools and imported sand on the beach. We were expecting crowds and laughter and huge buffets filled with nasi lemak, prata and noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were looking forward to pool time, beach time and general child time on the huge lawn in front of the buffet restaurant with endless views of the ocean, soft breezes and the quiet murmurs of the sea.

We hadn't expected that on that big lawn, there is now a games arcade, a trampoline trapeze thing and two extra restaurants, one of which features a live band. On the beach itself, the resort has built a cocktail bar.

"All new", the management gushed. Indeed.

The wonderful thing about children is that they have no sense of how things ought to be. Both of our toddlers adored riding around the resort in the golf buggies and running around the reception area with the luggage carts. Elsemieke fed rabbits at the petting zoo and Julius poked a rooster. Elsemieke tried to take a small Chinese child home from the swimming pool ("But she likes me too!"). Both blondies decided to drink fresh coconut water and eat huge helpings of fried rice and prawn omelet. Julius adored the live band and dragged us over to dance to their songs every night. (The band adored us too.)

They had a fantastic time. We had a great time. Who knows - we might even go back. Again.

woensdag 18 juni 2014

Singaporeans do things differently: dressing for rain

Last Thursday I realized I had not brought a jacket.

Last Thursday I realized I do not actually own a jacket, by which I mean a functional one, not a decorative one. (I own three decorative jackets.)

Which in Singapore does not really matter. However, in the Netherlands when it starts to rain, it does and I happened to be in the Netherlands at the onset of an icy drizzle.

A functional jacket will keep you warm in chilly breezes, will protect you from the onset of a rain shower and sometimes (depending on the quality of the jacket and the density of the shower) also from the shower itself. You can shove your hands in the pockets, pull up the collar and stride to wherever it is you're heading.

There is no such thing as a functional jacket in Singapore, because there is no use for such a thing.
Firstly, all breezes are warm.
Secondly, when it rains, it pours, so unless you're wearing the kind of protection those guys on the Deadliest Catch are wearing, you'll be soaking wet. 
And lastly, it is not actually cold during a rainstorm in Singapore. Basically, the weather changes from hot and humid to hot and wet.

Still, wet clothes and aircon are a recipe for disaster, so people do prefer not to get wet.

The answer is to always (ALWAYS) carry an umbrella. And by umbrella I mean a foldable rain shield, not my cute flowery black&white Hema contraption which did not even last one proper Singapore shower without wilting away. The cutesy ones are generally used to shield the carrier from the sun. 

Also, always carry flipflops, as you do not want your fancy shoes to get soaked in the overflow from the drains. No need to worry about your clothes: you were wearing shorts, a skirt or a dress anyway. And if you do wear anything longer, you weren't planning to go outside.

So there I was, last Thursday in the Netherlands when it started to drizzle.

My first instinct was to run for cover, then I searched in vain for my trusted Singapore rain shield.

Looking outside, I saw people in jeans zipping up their jackets, a few dainty ladies unfolding their cute umbrellas, everybody walking briskly onward to their destination. 

And I knew, as I sat shivering at the busstop in my T-shirt and flipflops while the drizzle went on and on and on: my instinct has adapted to Singapore.

maandag 26 mei 2014

All the small things

I have a tablet now (S. has this weird ability to read my mind when it comes to giving me presents).

I love my tablet, lying on the couch in the evening, checking facebook, reading my blogs, idly clicking through the world wide wonder of the web.

I hate writing on it though. Also, I am lazy. So I don't want to get up, connect the laptop, wait until it powers up and Write Stuff. Before I had a tablet (or a job) I would spend lots of time idling on my beloved laptop (I still love you, big black beautiful beast, but I'm not IN love with you anymore). Writing stuff then followed quite naturally, and didn't require much will power. Now Writing Stuff is an actual decision, not something that I accidentally fall into.

I have the same with running. I have a hard time getting prepared and clothed and all and then leave the house to go running. So much easier to lay on the couch with my shiny tablet friend. But if I bring my running stuff to work and then run home, it's not such a hardship to get ready. I love going home. In fact, once I get up to my old self (i.e. the one before Blondie, which is about 45 months ago) I should in fact be faster on foot than on any other form of transport (thank you traffic jams!).

But I miss writing, like I missed running during the past 45 months.

Last week, I finally reached that zone again, the one where my body carries me so naturally I forgot I was running and I was aimlessly wandering around my own mind, thinking leisurely thoughts. If you combine that with a bit of green on the side and a slight breeze while soaking in the view of the sky and the setting sun, it's just pure bliss. It only lasted a couple of seconds, but the next time I ran, it was there again.

So, I'm going to keep on running.

And I'm going to get back into writing. I know that same zone is hiding in between the letters on my screen. I found it again recently, when I sat in a coffeeshop with my notebook (it took me three hours to actually sit my ass down and open that notebook, mind, so after I had joyously scribbled for ten minutes the phone rang, and the small people on the other side of the line enquired if mama was planning on coming home for dinner?) 

So many excuses not to run, not to write. But none of it matters.

As Yoda says: "Do or do not. There is no try."

donderdag 21 november 2013

Interlude: Singapore in videos

Today, random video's on Singapore that I've discovered over the last two years and fallen in love with. Please add you favourites in the comments!

Here is Singapore in all its splendour. Yes, this is really what it looks like. Now go and be jealous.

This video still cracks me up every time I watch it. I discovered it through Singaporean blogs (hello bookjunkie!) but when I show it to expats they can't believe Singaporeans could possible think this is funny as it pokes so much fun at them. I suppose they never read Mr Brown either.

The first time I went into this bookshop I slunk out again, so intimidated by the sheer volume of high browness inside. Then I watched this documentary. Now I'm one of the financial pillars propping them up (and so will you be, if you let me take you to Tiong Bahru).\

This is an addiction that S. is quietly indulging: the Singapore-based sort of sixties detective show Serangoon Road on HBO. Handsome rogue, historical Singapore, sassy women, Chinese gambling gangsters.

And one for the home team: here's TU Eindhoven gold medal winning solar car driving around Singapore!

NaBloPoMo November 2013

dinsdag 19 november 2013

Picture Post & Plaatjespost: Singapore Highlights

A quick and completely inaccurate view of life in Singapore - which in all its wrongness actually achieves more truth than a carefully curated picture gallery would. Or so I tell myself.

zondag 17 november 2013

Plaatjespost & Picture Post: On the move

I apologize for the blurriness - but really, baby J. is just fast.

The day is dawning that he won't be baby J. anymore. I'm not exactly nostalgic (memories are too fresh) but still... A two toddler household! It's a whole new world.

NaBloPoMo November 2013