Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bollywood Bling 2

As promised, here are some more pictures of the ANZA Bollywood Bling night.

If we're all looking a bit red in the face it's due to the combination of tropical heat, extremely spicy Sambal Fish and Chicken Masala, and a healthy dose of alcoholic lubrication!

Leon, the guy with the turban, won the prize (a bottle of wine, appropriately enough) for the Best Dressed Man. A woman whose husband had hand-painted her arms won Best Dressed Woman - the rest of us just bought the $3 stick on decorations found in Little India.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Getting FAB wtih ANZA

Last night hubby and I joined in an ANZA (Australian & New Zealand Association) event, organised by the volunteers in the FAB (food and beverages) committee. The evening was a ‘Bollywood Bling’ night hosted in the gardens of The Shophouse up in Gillman Village.
Naturally, it was expected that we would do our utmost to get into the spirit of things and dress the part. It’s quite easy and lots of fun to pop into Little India or the Arab Quarter to pick up a sari for just a few dollars here. I headed in with a few girlfriends and we picked out our favourite swatches of brilliantly coloured cloth, took a quick lesson in how to tie them on, and then shopped for the stick on body-art that the Indian women adorn their bodies with. Some glittery sandals and a cheap pair of glitzy earrings completed the look – the men are easier to dress in their long flowing shirts.
It was a great night, with a yummy Indian buffet, a demonstration of Bollywood dancing by a professional dancer who was in stitches at our attempts to copy him and good company with the Aussies and Kiwis present, each with their obligatory chilly bin (or eski if your from Oz) by their feet to keep the drinks cool. There were a lot more photos taken so when I get some I'll post them - the girls looked great in their outfits and some of the men were pretty spectacular too. Can’t wait until the next FAB night!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

See...She Really Is Mine

This is a photo which I just received from Liesbeth and I simply have to share it with you all. For those of you who are thinking there are too many blog entries about rabbits: REALITY CHECK! There is no such thing.

It's sunny yet chilly in Holland at the moment and Ashley and Rocco are enjoying this perfect bunny weather. Dosn't it just make you feel all smoochy-woochy?

Friday, November 16, 2007

She's Mine!

I defy any of you to look at these pictures and not say “aaaaaahhhhhh”. Here you can see my bunnies, Rocco and Ashley (the blue/grey female in the background), who are currently living it up large with their professional bunny-sitter Liesbeth in Eindhoven, Holland. They are in the pen on the right – on the left is one of Liesbeth’s own bunny kids saying hi. Or more likely: “I’d bite your face off and take your woman if this stupid fence wasn’t in the way”.

All bunnies tend to think they have the build of a rottweiller, the speed of a cheetah, and the jaws of a lion when it comes to defending their territory. In reality, when challenged by another bunny they stomp around uttering piggish grunts, flicking their big floppy ears and generally looking like a very angry piece of shagpile carpet.

As you can see these are outdoor bunnies. I know there is some debate about whether rabbits should be kept outdoors but it comes down to common sense. If you are going to leave your rabbit locked up in a hutch in the back garden to swelter in the sun and freeze in the cold and lead an isolated life, that’s a cruel and stupid thing to do. Bring it inside and enjoy a fascinating friendship with these active and highly sociable little guys. However if you’re going to construct a large, safe enclosure with shelter and room to run and leap and dig and socialise with their mate, let your bunnies live outside! (Obviously this is climate dependent: here in Singapore the heat and humidity make it unsuitable to keep rabbits outside. There are no naturally wild rabbits here, only dumped ex-pets who soon die from dehydration, starvation, or being eaten by snakes if they aren’t rescued in time. Again, common sense should prevail.)

Rocco and Ashley love to get their paws dirty by digging holes, moving them around the pen day by day just for the fun of it. They jump on haybales, leap in and out of their sleeping quarters, or just lounge in the sun or shade as the mood takes them. What a life. Just when you think it can’t get any better… Liesbeth comes along and gives them a piece of toast for breakfast. Bunny bliss.

If you live in Holland or Belgium and would like to consider adopting one or a pair of rabbits who need a good home, check out the website for Liesbeths rabbit rescue centre at this link: http://www.opvangfranky.nl/, or just check it out for lots of really useful bunny info.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mandai Orchid Garden

One thing that can be said about living in Singapore: your social calendar quickly fills up! We’ve been lucky enough to have a few great outings with hubby’s work in recent weeks, including a very memorable Beer Fest night complete with oom-pah-pah band and Bavarian white beer (Erdinger for you aficionados out there).

We also got together with the team from the Kuala Lumpar office for a company dinner at the lovely Mandai Orchid Gardens, situated next to the Singapore Zoo (http://www.mandai.com.sg/).

Attracting some 200,000 visitors per year, the ten hectare garden was started in 1951 by the late John Laycock for his ever-expanding orchid collection. A few years ago the place was further developed with the addition of the Vanilla Pod restaurant, featuring “orchid cuisine” which includes the use of orchids in many of the signature dishes. How many of you knew that the vanilla plant is in fact an orchid?

We were a very large group and so enjoyed a buffet style dinner which was tasty but sadly didn’t feature any of the signature orchid-based dishes. However it was a great night, not least when live entertainment in the form of the ‘Good Old Boys’, featuring the company’s very own Barry, kicked off with their own brand of rock ‘n roll. A great night and another lovely venue to visit if you are looking for something original in Singapore.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Carl's Throne

While prowling through Kampong Glam – also known as the Arab Quarter – a couple of weeks ago I spotted this beautiful little rattan chair at the basket shop on the corner of Arab Street. It was the only one there, dwarfed by stacks of brightly coloured woven baskets, trays and platters, and looked absolutely perfect for Carl. The dusty price tag said $75 which I thought was a bit steep so I went up to the shop owner and above the din of passing traffic and pedestrians asked him if he would take $65 for it. “Last one left lah – $60 ok” he said. Wow! That’s the only time I’ve had a price haggled down by a shop owner!

Upon returning home I presented it to Carl and with a slightly doubtful look on his face he lowered his butt into it. It rocked backwards and he jumped in fright, thinking he was going to tip out. However within half a day he was hooked, and now he won’t sit anywhere else. When visitors arrive he even lifts it up, drags it to his favourite spot and announces “this is MY chair!” to make sure no grown up tries to pinch his throne. As if we could fit even half a bum into it!

So this is a typical picture of Carl these days. As he munches away on an ice cream, doesn’t he just seem to be saying “life's not to bad here in the tropics”

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Deepavali 2

Today hubby came home with some great photos of our Deepavali dinner with his colleagues and friends which I thought you'd enjoy too.

It was a great night for all the families who attended and we were grateful for the opportunity to share the occasion.

The pictures show us arriving...

Carl playing...

Niels drawing...

and Niels showing the project manager exactly how he thinks the ship should be completed...on time and on budget!

Monday, November 05, 2007


A large part of Singapore’s population is in the throes of celebrating Deepavali. This is a major annual Indian Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist festival/celebration. Known as the "Festival of Lights," it symbolises the victory of good over evil, light over dark, and lamps are lit as a sign of celebration and hope for mankind. We were honoured to be invited to share in the celebrations with lots of hubby’s colleagues at the invitation of some of their work contacts who hosted a large buffet dinner at the Banana Leaf Apollo restaurant in Little India.
This part of the city is busy on any Saturday night, but during Deepavali it is absolutely packed. The atmosphere is great – everybody is cheerful and excited, and as we arrived just before 7pm crowds were lining the streets to watch the annual parade go past.
Night comes suddenly in the topics: by 7.30 it’s completely dark, and the brief dusk brings little relief from the heat. Standing four or five deep along the street the crowd was a hot, noisy, constantly moving mass and we struggled to keep the kids high enough to watch what was happening. The banging of drums and gongs signalled the start of the brightly lit parade as musicians and performers slowly moved along the street beneath the brightly coloured lighting displays hung overhead.
After a short while we gave up and joined our friends in the restaurant, although I did get a few photos. Singapore is a safe place but the fear of losing one of the kids in the crowd always niggles in the back of our minds as they would be quickly lost amidst the forest of legs, and even Carl’s blond hair soon disappears in the dark.
Dinner was a tasty buffet of Indian food. I wish I could describe what we ate with any detail or give you the names of the dishes but unfortunately my knowledge of this type of food is very limited. There was a heavenly dish of creamed spinach with cubes of a type of curd, tandoori chicken, chilli-spiked fried cabbage, seared fish and plump prawns coated with a spicy red paste. All was washed down with large cups of fresh chilled lime juice, and topped of with platters of fresh tropical fruits.
Afterwards we walked slowly through the crowds enjoying the lights until we managed to flag down a taxi and headed home, with the boys exhausted, heads hanging, yet too wound up to fall straight asleep when they finally got to bed.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Boys, Boys, Boys

OK I know it’s been a while, but we’ve had a house full of visitors again and it’s just hard to find the time or inspiration to write anything interesting on a blog in times like that. It’s a poor excuse I know, but have pity…we’ve had our first kids coming to stay with us and we have had 4 – yes that’s FOUR – boys in the house for the past fortnight. In addition to my two little terrors, their cousins from Sweden have been staying with their Mum. Now fortunately these kids are older, 11 and 13 respectively, so quite independent. And Niels and Carl absolutely hero worship them. Followed them around, wanted to swim with them every day, completely ignored me when they got home from school, rushing in and demanding “where are Anders and Pieter?”
For hubby and me it’s also been a glimpse into our own future. Who knew that teenage boys could eat so much? Read non-stop for hours on end or indeed sleep in a virtual state of hibernation for more than 14 hours at a stretch? Growing up in a house full of girls I have no experience of boys apart from the crash course I’m currently enduring, but I can see that males are a very, very different species. At least they don’t giggle I won’t have to learn to braid anyone’s hair.

It was lovely to have them all stay and despite the reticent mono-syllabic grunts which seem to make up the vocabulary of teenage boys we think they had fun too.