Chinese Garden at Jurong Lake

My husband and I went to visit the Chinese Garden.

The place looked a little worn, which in a way was refreshing since much of Singapore is shiny and new and lacks that friendly patina old places have.

As the sun went down, there were a lot of people out jogging in the relative cool. We strolled around and I took a few photos before the sun disappeared and the park was filled with shadows from streetlights.

This is a pretty good map of the place.

Fifteen more photos below. Continue reading Chinese Garden at Jurong Lake

Vietnamese books

In Hanoi in stores and stalls selling Vietnamese books, there were a lot of familiar titles…

books-in-vietnamese-2
Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Vietnamese
books-in-vietnamese-4
children’s books including The Little Prince, If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, something by Dr. Seuss and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
books-in-vietnamese-5
P.D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother?
books-in-vietnamese-6
The cover illustration of the Disney/Andersen mashup on the left is clearly just a bad redrawing of the cover illustration on the right.

They don’t just translate kids’ books, though.

books-in-vietnamese-3
Beauty and the Beast, Heidi, The Little Match Girl and Other Stories, The Jungle Book, and The Arabian Nights. Below: Sherlock Holmes, Anna Karenina, and Dracula.
books-in-vietnamese-1
George Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books in Vietnamese

I was impressed with the selection, which was better than what I’ve seen in other places in Southeast Asia.

Phnom Penh (September 2016)

My husband Aquinas and I went to Phnom Penh, Cambodia during his break week.

While there, I drank a Kingdom Pilsener. The label says:

Cambodia’s lush, mysterious jungles hide more than the splendours of Angkorian majesty. Deep in these green bastions rare beasts roam wild. The elusive clouded leopard, the strange plated pangolin, the stalwart kouprey—if not mythical, at least immensely difficult to find. Kingdom Pilsener, Cambodia’s first truly premium beer, celebrates this enigmatic empire. Singular in flavor and a little hard to track down, Kingdom’s rare quality is well worth the adventure.

On this trip to Cambodia, we forwent the Angkorian splendours. We did not see any clouded leopards, plated pangolins, or koupreys, stalwart or otherwise. I don’t even know what a kouprey is! (Google says it’s a forest-dwelling bovine—you’re welcome.)

We visited the royal palace, the national museum, a Buddhist temple, and the Art Deco market; we patronized a spa and a couple of handicraft shops; we relaxed in the hotel cafe and ate at two of the best restaurants in the country (one French and one Cambodian). That’s it!

Below are 25 photos, mostly from the palace grounds.

Continue reading Phnom Penh (September 2016)

Singapore Changi Airport T1 Cactus Garden

When you think of Singapore, you don’t think of cacti, and an airport is pretty much the opposite of a garden, right? Yet Changi Airport boasts a cactus garden.

How do cacti even survive outdoors in Singapore? My guess is they’ve worked out the right kind of soil to drain water away from the plants, but what do I know. My thumbs are about as green as a fire engine.

Below are 10 photos I took of the cactus garden at Changi Terminal 1 while waiting for the gate to open for our flight to Phnom Penh.

Don’t make fun of the “wildlife” tag on this post. Obviously, this garden is the opposite of wild. I guess I’m just using the tag as shorthand for “plants and animals (and mushrooms, which aren’t even plants)”.

Continue reading Singapore Changi Airport T1 Cactus Garden