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.

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Below are 25 photos.

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Tropical fruit sidewalk plaques

I walked down Orchard Road and took photos when I got to a bit of sidewalk that featured matching repeating pairs of these seven tropical fruits.

Did you think that first one was a durian because of the texture and because durians are so famous in Singapore? That bean shape seems wrong for a durian, though, as do the attached leaves. I’m betting it’s actually a mango.

The pineapple has leaves on both ends, even though canonical representations only have leaves at the top, but let’s assume this is realistic. In fact, some pineapples are reddish on the outside like the paper ones people hang up during Chinese New Year!

I have eaten all of these, though I may never have peeled a rambutan myself. (I like to think of rambutans as velcro fruit.) They are internally similar to lychees and longans, which I also like.

I think the mangosteens are the strangest of these seven.

Bangkok (March 2016)

Below are two dozen photos of a weekend trip to Bangkok. We stayed in Chinatown, tolerated the inevitable traffic, ate good Chinese and Thai food, visited the Suan Pakkad Palace Museum and window-shopped.

Out the window, I glimpsed a Ronald McDonald statue making the traditional Thai greeting (pressing his hands together); a business sign saying “Creative Accounting” that my husband finds particularly amusing; and a mural depicting two aliens in a lotus pond, one of whom looks like a wookie and is holding a popscicle (?!).

Fortunately, I spotted the alien mural while we were at a stoplight and took a photo, so you can see it, too. (The longer you look at it, the weirder it gets.)

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Chasing JM Ice

I admit to a level of interest in the vehicles of Singapore that I cannot easily explain. Arguably the focus of this strange fascination is the fleet of about forty numbered ice trucks belonging to JM Ice, I suppose because the trucks are very distinctive and colorful.

I kind of assume that each JM Ice truck has its own territory (truck 37 seems to hang out in Chinatown). The ones I haven’t seen are probably ones that go to parts of Singapore I’m not usually in. The highest number I’ve seen is 38. Sometimes I get photos, but it’s hard when the trucks are on the move!

Below is a record of the ice trucks I’ve seen (including a couple of trucks belonging to JM Ice’s competitors).

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