Catch A Chili Crab Hon

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Catchachilicrab is catchingthelastbus, hon

Filed under: singapore — Shirley @ 9:45 pm

It’s hard to imagine how quickly these two years have passed. Some days a little quicker than others but that’s just life. I hope you enjoyed our journey as much as we have, we had. It’s harder even to say good-bye to friends we’ve made and now leave behind; to all the things we’ve loved about living in Singapore.

Our bus stop, the bus stop that took us to work, to eat, to shop, to all of our wanderings . . .

our bus stop

Right behind the bus on the right is Stevens Drive, just follow it down and around the bend to Parc Stevens . . .

the 190

Hang on! We’re riding off to new adventures . . .

hang on!

Til we meet again, Majulah Singapura!

National Day flags

This is the last Singapore post. There were too many experiences and not enough time to post them all. I hope you were able to get a good glimpse of Southeast Asia and other countries on this side of the world.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Koh Kret

Filed under: Thailand, travels — Shirley @ 9:29 pm

Of all of our trips to Bangkok, we never before got over to visit to Koh Kret, an island in the Chao Phraya River, 20 km north of Bangkok. One of the ways to the island is by ferry, which costs .06 cents U.S.  We were at the wrong dock so we ended up grabbing a water “taxi” for a lot more – $4.00 U.S. When we saw one of the ferries we decided that it was worth the extra money; by the looks of it, when you hear of ferry accidents due to over crowding . . . that ferry was right out of the headlines!

The island dates only to 1722, when a canal was constructed as a shortcut to bypass a bend in the Om Kret branch of the Chao Phraya river. As the canal was widened several times, the section cut off eventually became a separate island. The island continues to serve as a refuge to the Mon tribes who dominated central Thailand between the 6th and 10th centuries and have retained a distinct identity in their flavor of Buddhism and, particularly, their pottery; renowned above all as a center for kwan aman, a style of Mon pottery, which is fundamentally just baked unglazed red clay carved with intricate patterns.

Koh Kret Pottery Koh Kret Pottery

The one with the white sticker in the right picture is the one we purchased. We decided on one that wasn’t cut through.

There are no cars on this little island. The locals may have a motorbike; otherwise it’s walking or bicycling. And if you want an adventure, you can rent a bike to circumvent the island. We just walked; and we were only interested in checking out the pottery and the fish cakes that the island is noted for.

This kiln was reminiscent of the dragon kiln here in Singapore. This one is called Turtle Back Kiln.

Koh Kret Pottery Koh Kret Pottery

These look like pie plates featured in cooking catalogues but I doubt it unless these are for export. There were few people around and it probably wouldn’t have mattered since little English was spoken here.

Koh Kret Pottery Koh Kret Pottery

Snacking on the island:

The island is famous for the fried fish “cakes”. They’re really more like big popcorn fish. That’s all I can say; they’re a little chewy, not fishy . . . but not yummy.

Famous Koh Kret fried fish cakes

At first I could not tell if these were sweets or savories but they were pretty. I don’t know what is under the white topping but it’s red capsicum and basil on top. Someone left their sausage cart out drying in the sun. I didn’t see brakes on the wheels; luckily it didn’t roll off the dock into the river but that may be where it gets its unique flavor?!

Koh Kret Sweets sausages drying on a dock

These siblings were manning a little stand cooking and selling fried quail eggs. The cooking vessel looks like one of those dishes they serve escargot in. They were so cute but I’m not sure they wanted to be on the other side of the lens.

little vendors

We didn’t snack on alot but I did have to try these – very lightly tempura battered fried flowers.  I got a bag of mixed flowers. I don’t know the name of the purples ones, but the magenta colored ones (on right in left picture) are orchids. In the right picture, the reddish flowers on the very left were actually a little spicy.

purple flower and magenta orchids mix and match

The island population seems like one large colony of artists. Here are some sweets for sale: so simple and so beautiful – coconut candies with little handles, and beautiful sugar roses too pretty to eat.

Koh Kret Sweets Koh Kret Sweets

This gal was creating these flowers from a ball of “dough”. Sorry I don’t have any info on the dough that she’s working with. It looked like a marshmallow to me.

Koh Kret Sweets

She used an instrument much like a pair of tweezers to pinch the leaves of the flower and did it quickly.

Koh Kret Sweets

I wish now I bought some to try. Next time.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pimp My Ride

Filed under: Thailand — Shirley @ 7:58 pm

Back in the days before MP3s and iPod, when you lived on the island of Koh Kret, just north of Bangkok, which has no cars, it must have been a bit boring and none-to-easy to listen music while tootling around on your bicycle. So, in a “necessity is the mother of invention” aha! moment, an ingenious soul came up with this idea!

pimp my ride

The island isn’t that big so I imagine you could ride all around and pick up a signal!

music maestro

This was sitting atop an overhang of a building that was below the path we were walking on. Very strange indeed but always something interesting to find when poking around in these little lanes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A World of Color

Filed under: singapore — Shirley @ 7:26 pm

Sorry to be so behind in my posting. Between my “boo” and our pack-out it’s been hectic over here. My boo is that I thought making albums of pictures I want to use for the blog was putting them out as copies. So when I moved all the pictures from iPhoto to my external hard drive (incase of a computer crash), I thought the “copies” would be there in the albums; but unfortunately it’s not the case and my albums are empty! Now I have to go back to the hard drive and find the pictures. I didn’t take the time to put them into folders – UGH! Live and learn.

As far as the pack out – everything is gone. The packers were efficient and hard working. I was so surprised when two of them were fasting for Ramadan so they couldn’t even have water. But I keep this apt like a meat locker so they were working cool conditions. We are now rambling around in the near-empty apt, it actually echoes. The Embassy provided us with a welcome kit so we do have the essentials and our luggage.

But lets get on with the post. One of Mick’s birthday presents was his very own point-and-shoot Canon digital camera. He had a fun time with Erin’s on one of her trips here he really needed to have his own. He has a good eye for color and composition and this is a great outlet for his talent when we’re out doing our last spin around Singapore. So let me show you his “world of color”! Enjoy . . .

One of his first pictures was this stand of umbrellas; on one of our forays into Chinatown this display very pink display of Hello Kitty hair clips caught his eye!

umbrellas Hello Kitty

When we’re in Chinatown we always stop for a fresh lime juice from this one stand. In fact we go so often that the proprietress recognizes us as we come to her stand. While we were sitting, getting out of the sun, Mick captured these coconuts. They are fresh coconuts that they open and stick a straw in for drinking. It’s not the coconut milk you actually drink, it’s the coconut water. Not a favorite of ours. Across from us was a stand selling Chinese calligraphy brushes, brightly lit from the sun we were trying to avoid!

Fresh coconut drinks brushes

Imported bowls and cups from a shop featuring kitchen items from Denmark. And a fabric/clothing shop in Arab Street. I was shopping for a sarong. I didn’t find anything here. The shop I was in didn’t have a sarong in the color I’m looking for that was long enough to wrap around my fat body 🙂 Who knew a long piece of fabric for a sarong would be “sized”!

bowls and cups Arab Street fabrics

I love Mentos, and now they have all sorts of flavors. I spotted cola and tropical fruits as I was passing this stand; I had to stop and pick some up. Lion puppets. We just had the annual Lion Dance Competition. You may remember my postings last year (click here to see).

sweets Lion puppets

I hope you enjoyed this cross section of some of the colors of Singapore. Not only is it the greenest place with trees, shrubs, and flowers all year round, it seems there’s just color everywhere you turn around.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Happy belated birthday . . .

Filed under: food, friends, Thailand — Shirley @ 6:45 pm

Well, not really, just a belated post. Wanted to post Mick’s big 6-0 birthday in the month of August but we’ve been so busy – awww just missed it by one day (it’s Sept 1 here as I write). We weren’t late on the celebration, in fact, we were early. We celebrated Mick’s birthday with our friends while we were in Bangkok.

We already knew that we would be in Thailand around Mick’ birthday and thought about taking a weekend trip out of Bangkok but, since Bruce and Leslie live there and Rachel was going to be there also, we decided to stay in town and celebrate. I asked Leslie to make reservations at the Blue Elephant. You may recognize the restaurant from our trip back in November when we traveled there with Linda and Alex.

The Blue Elephant Rest a cup of tea

Here is the gang, on our side of the table is our new friend Yeon-Jung, who joined up with us for the weekend from Singapore. On the right from the back to front: Bruce, Leslie, and Rachel (you should recognize everyone from other posts!)

the gang's all here

We decided that since no one could decide on just one entree, everyone would order something different and we would eat “Chinese style”. The chef sent an amuse bouche (on the left) to get whet our appetites; and we ordered a slew of starters, one of these being black pepper scallops.

amuse bouche black pepper scallops

The presentation was as pretty as the food was good.

My selection for dinner was a fillet of sea bass baked in bamboo on the left, and Rachel’s choice was Thai spiced spareribs on the right. I can’t remember all of the choices, there were lamb chops too (weird coming from a Thai restaurant!).

sea bass in bamboo ribs

During dinner a lightning/thunderstorm rolled in. While perusing the dessert menu the lights started to go out first in our area where we were seated, and then our whole room. But we noticed that the next room was still lit. Still not suspecting anything but the storm, we were puzzled until we heard the waitstaff coming in singing “Happy Birthday”. A surprise was being cooked up back in the kitchen to bring out Mick’s candle-lit cake. Rachel and Yeon-Jung bought Mick a cake and the restaurant was kind enough to serve it for our dessert. The restaurant also brought out a candle-lit ice cream sundae!

The birthday boy

Happy Birthday Mick, may you have many more and they are celebrated with friends on trips around Europe!

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