Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Back on the air! (so to speak)

We’re back! For the first few days without internet, I felt a bit twitchy. Not checking email or blogging was hard! But as with any habit, the desperation subsided after the first week or so, and my time was full of all the things I should be doing, like playing with the kiddos, cleaning up the messes, and discovering our new home. Oh, and going to bed at a reasonable time. That is always good. But now we’re connected again! It was no small feat (why haven’t companies figured out how to connect new customers?!), but here we are. Miss us?

Before I launch into the latest happenings, I realize I owe you a Singapore post. As one of my girlfriends reminded me, a lot of people don’t know much about Singapore beyond the caning that happened back when we were in high school to the guy who got caught breaking their laws (wasn’t that over something major like illegal drugs?) or the law they have against chewing gum. I didn’t know much about Singapore myself, so it made a great stopover for us on our way to Perth. The tropical climate was a nice change after Europe, and the humidity reminded us of home in the Southern US. Singapore is a huge port and petroleum city, with one of the world’s largest shipping ports as well as one of the world’s largest oil refineries. It is also a shopper’s paradise with more malls and shops than you can possibly visit. It is highly regulated with strict laws, which make everyday life fairly straightforward. No police were visible most of the time because punishments are strict and swiftly enforced, meaning most people just won’t risk being naughty in the first place. Public transport was efficient and clean, and the station announcements were broadcast in four languages, including English. My favorite was the one that sounded like “Make happy happy on the platform.” Singlish is widely spoken, and you’ll sometimes run across treasures in translation. Other times, the English will be spot-on, but the sign is a treasure anyway. Since I’m so mature (ha-ha), this was my favorite:

I feel the same way about Speedos.

We were primarily in Singapore as a stopover/jetlag killer for the kids, so we did kid-things. The Singapore Zoo is AWESOME. Built into the tropical forest, it is hands-down the prettiest zoo we’ve seen. The vegetation is amazing, and the layout is beautiful.

The stroll through the flora was worth the price of admission, but the animals are pretty great too! Native monkeys roam free, though they tend to stick to certain areas. We met our first local as we entered the zoo, where a little monkey was watching us carefully from a low branch.

We also visited the aquarium and rode their famous “travelator”, a moving walkway that takes you in a tunnel through the big tanks. After being on such a long flight, the travelator made us feel a bit like luggage, but the idea was unique.

Our aquarium admission included a pink dolphin show. Have you ever heard of pink dolphins? We hadn’t! Apparently, they are born grey and turn pink over time. The dolphins we saw were mottled, which tells us they are still young. After the show, you could pay to have a picture taken with one. To our surprise, Ellie was wild to do it, so we got in line. She kept shouting excitedly, “We’re going to touch a dolphin!” over and over. By we, she meant me, as she clung like Velcro to my torso while I waded in and bent down to pet the dolphin. She was rather satisfied with the whole experience, though, so that’s what we were after.

On our last day, we took a boat tour, giving us our first and only view of the downtown area.

We mostly stuck to our hotel, playing in the pool and eating most of our meals there as well to maximize the downtime and adjustment to the time zones we’d crossed. Thankfully, the girls are both great travelers! It wasn’t long before we were back at the airport, bound for Perth! By the way, the Singapore airport is awesome too! I spent our wait for the flight lounging like a cat in the “rest area”, a quiet, secluded space filled with long leather lounge chairs and surrounded by natural stone, plants and a water feature. Gorgeous.


CnSBlahs said...

Welcome back!!
You're right about Singapore's zoo, clean, well maintained with happy animals! They have another one which only opens at night but I can't recall what is the name, another excellent spot for kiddos. In the mean time, enjoy Perth! Sally

Karly said...

We're so glad you're back online!!! Thanks for the Singapore post and pictures...sounds like it was the perfect stopover on your trip and a good way to kind of even back out the kiddos during such a long time zone adjustment. We got the Singapore postcard and Sam loved it! We did look up pink dolphins online, and how cool are they?! Thanks so much for sharing with us! Can't wait to hear all about Perth and the latest goings on, and to see some pictures of the new house!!!

the dipe squad said...

Hi Sally! Nice to see you here again? How goes the belly these days? I bet you are getting ready! :)

Karly, I'm glad Sam enjoyed his postcard. Ellie had so much fun with the pink dolphins! There are lots of dolphins around here too. Want to come visit? ;)