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

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

Maine (July 2016)

My husband Aquinas and I flew to the US together for his brother’s wedding in Maine. We stopped overnight in Beijing on the way there and the way back to avoid the utter misery of traveling for more than twenty-four hours in a row. The weather for the wedding was amazing, and I enjoyed meeting and talking with the new in-laws of my in-laws. While in the US, Aquinas and I also visited some friends in New York, had a couple of nice dinners in Portland, and walked part of the Freedom Trail in Boston.

See below for a selection of 100 photos from the trip, including snapshots of NYC skyscrapers, empty Maine landscapes, and a spectacular sunset.

Continue reading Maine (July 2016)

National Orchid Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

The National Orchid Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens is my favorite local tourist attraction. It’s centrally located but feels like a universe apart from the skyscrapers and shopping malls.

Below are 23 photos from my latest visit.

Continue reading National Orchid Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

Haw Par Villa

Since moving to Singapore and reading about Haw Par Villa in the Singapore Lonely Planet Guide, we’ve always been intending to go. It took us more than seven years, but we finally paid it a visit.

It’s known for the Ten Courts of Hell attraction, a graphic depiction of a quasi-Buddhist Chinese afterlife of judgment, punishment and subsequent reincarnation.

The park, whose attractions are in states of repair that vary from recently repainted to cordoned off, has itself died and been reborn several times. It was fairly quiet but not completely empty when we went.

The park parts of the park are kinda nice if you can get over the creepy didactic sculptures, but I’m not eager to go back anytime soon.

Learn More about Haw Par Villa

Below are 25 photos.

Continue reading Haw Par Villa