Saturday, 31 March 2012

Primavera

When Mormor and Morfar got home the other day, their crocus had nearly finished blossoming already. I've been reading about the arrival of spring in Sweden in my blog roll the past week, and it's been making me homesick. It's such a lovely time of the year, when the flowers break through the ground, the shops start selling soft ice and you can start wearing your fabric shoes again!


(Photo borrowed from fotoakuten.se)

Today they've had snow in the most part of Sweden, even the south, and have had to dig out hats and mittens again.

Oh, how it's so much easier living in a country where the temperature is constant, and warm!

Fun to be a Watson!

I have been writing this blog now for 4 1/2 years. Having a blog normally means lots of "one-way-communication". Friends and family can follow our life and see what we are up to, but unfortunately they often forget to keep in touch themselves... While they know how we are doing thanks to the blog - we have no idea how they are!

Having this blog also means I get quite a few emails by people interested in Brunei, as there is not much other information to find out there on the internet. Very often I get contacted by people about to relocate here, and I always try my best to answer all their questions and queries. Some of these email conversations have even led to friendships!

My blog has also received some internet awards, it has been listed on expat blog rolls, I've been asked if I would mind getting quoted and I've been contacted to do little interviews about things related to blogs/traveling/Brunei etc.

Of course I've also had my share of odd and rude comments - but that comes with having a public blog I guess.

This week though, I got this really nice email that really made me smile, from a reader in Indonesia. This is what she wrote me:

"I just want to tell you that your blog is amazing and I love your family, it seems really fun to be a Watson :D I've never been at Brunei, and neither leave Java Island (except on school trips to Bali, of course) and I found that Brunei is a really cool place. Even though it's small, but very well-organized and fun. I'd like to visit Brunei one day."

Well Chelle, while I'm dreaming of someday going to Bali, I hope you make it to Brunei one day - I'm sure you'll love it here!

Relaxed last day

Mormor and Morfar left Singapore Wednesday night (we left the hotel 24 hrs later than they did, but still they only got into their door at home an hour before we got into ours... It's a long trip!) and we met up with the Foxes for dinner.
I managed not to take one single photo though! Shame on me! They took us to a great Italian restaurant for a scrumptious pizza and wine evening. Yum. We had such a nice time, good to see them!

As I said we had an extra day in Singapore as Nathan was off anyway so we were in no rush to get home. We took our time at breakfast:



Piggy-pig-pig:



Then we met up with the Roses for lunch and some (more) shopping, had to do a quick stint back to Orchard Road for some specific purchases. Finally we chilled out at their apartment before going to the airport.



They live on the 23rd floor and have a great view out over the coast line:





It really is quite high...





Also a nice view over town, especially at sunset and when all the lights come on:



Kids got to have their dinner outside on the balcony. How nice?

Shopping time

Wednesday was a bit of an open day. We decided it was time for some last-minute shopping, as Mormor and Morfar was leaving that night. You can't go to Singapore without going shopping, really!



Nathan and Lucas took Morfar back to Sim Lim while the girls got a head start in town; then we met up for some lunch before we continued to walk and shop all the way up to the top of Orchard Road.



Outside Ion Orchard:





Wheelock place:











Result of the day: a handbag each for Mormor and me; 3 pairs of trousers, a skirt, one pair of ballerinas and one pair of wedges plus 4 tops for me; some books for Lucas, some Moshi Monster cards for both of them, a USB stick for Morfar, some H&M clothes and Lego for Linnea and no new bike for Nathan.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Chicken rice

Tuesday night got finished off just around the corner from the hotel, at a busy local food court. Some of us went for "western" food (steak and chips), some of us chose the more authentic Asian "chicken rice" for only a few dollar!
Our kids sure prefer their Asian food, rice and noodles over potatoes, pasta and fries any day! "Chicken rice" is always a winner.

And in another part of town...

Mormor and Morfar enjoyed the Singapore Botanical Gardens for about four hours on Tuesday, and then they took on Chinatown too before calling it a day!
I guess we all had a very good day!













A day at Universal Studios

On our second day in Singapore we decided to split up and do different things. Mormor and Morfar had their aim set on the Singapore Botanical Gardens, and the rest of us had decided to spend the day on Sentosa, at Universal Studios!

We had such a fun day, complete with lots of rides, dinosaur lunch, souvenir shopping, a Waterworld show and other cool stuff!

Universal Studios Singapore consists of seven different zones, 'The Lost World' (dinosaur themed), 'Madagascar', 'Far Far Away' (Shrek themed), 'New York', 'Ancient Egypt', 'Sci-Fi City' and 'Hollywood'.
It's not a very, very big theme park; or maybe it was because it wasn't peak season and not many people in the park - but we managed to cover it all in about half a day.
We did all the rides we wanted to go on, some even twice and no queues were longer than 15 minutes! Mostly thanks to the very very efficient staff I would say. There was just no mucking about, people on the ride - people off the ride - people on the ride - people off the ride. Everything done with clear instructions and order.

Compared to Hong Kong Disneyland, there wasn't as many adults (...) taking up space on the rides and in the queues for taking pictures with the characters either. We met both the animals from 'Madagascar', a Transformer, Winnie Woodpecker and Kung Fu Panda. Pretty cool!

There was a few rides we didn't go on, one roller coaster that was all in the dark (wise after our experience with 'Space Mountain' in Hong Kong Disneyland), the new Transformers ride which unfortunately broke down just as we were queuing up and of course not the big roller coasters either! They looked cool though, but no.

Here's a slide show of our day at Universal Studios:

video

Ribs, we meet again!

Monday night we had actually planned to do the Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo; something I've been wanting to do for quite a while but the last few times we've been to Singapore it has never really suited.
We have visited quite a few different Zoological Parks with the kids, but this Night Safari is supposed to be really good, and a different kind of Zoo experience.
So now was the time, since the kids are finally big enough to be up late enough to enjoy it - but... it started to rain, so we thought... nah.

Already in the taxi when the drizzle started, we made a quick detour to Orchard Road, and went for dinner instead. Lucas' choice - Tony Romas; as soon as he heard Nathan mention that it existed in Singapore, there was nowhere else we could've gone... He still remembers our ribs dinners in Perth.



We brought some peace along:



But didn't need it for Lucas, he actually fell asleep in the middle of his dinner, bless him. Must have been a hard day...



Morfar was still kind of full from that "light" lunch, so he looked at the menu at picked something that "only had four pieces".
Well, turned out he had ordered four pieces of beef ribs... slightly bigger than normal ribs... Ha ha! But he finished, of course!



A Singapore conclusion

Just like last time they were here, Mormor and Morfar wanted to finish off their trip with a few days in Singapore. Breaking up the return trip made it a bit easier last time, "only" having two sectors to do in one go - but also there is so much to see and do in Singapore, they had more sights on their wish list for this time.



So, we went along too of course! We took the RBA flight over early Monday morning and had some excited little people waiting for us at the hotel - the Roses:





It was such a nice reunion, the kids were all electric!

We went for a quick lunch just across from the hotel, at Parkway Parade. There is this burger chain called Carl's Jr there, that I'd never tried before - mmm, that's what I call a burger!
Mormor and Morfar just wanted a little snack, so they asked for their smallest burger... Ha ha, well:



Then we took a quick little walk over to the shuttle bus to take us around to the Roses' condo (our final destination was the MRT station, but easier to go via their condo because none of us really know otherwise how to get there..!).



Mormor and Morfar really enjoyed the shuttle bus trip, they like getting out and about and get a look of things. Best $1,20 spent all day! :)



The bus stopped for 15 minutes at their condo, so we had time to look around for a little bit. No time to go up to the apartment, but at least we saw their playground, and their pool!





Since it was raining, Mormor had this idea that she wanted to do a long MRT trip. Again, to "have a look around"! So, we all got some tickets and jumped on the train.





You see, it mostly goes over ground in Singapore, so you do actually get a good view of the whole town. Even the kids thought it was pretty exciting! They spotted trucks and cranes and other things!





Mormor and Morfar took the green line from Bedok to City Hall - then traveled the whole of the red line, and back on the green line and out to the hotel again (nearly 2 hours later..)!



Misuzu, the kids and I only went along for about 15 minutes, then we turned around and went to... IKEA in Tampines! :) Yay!
I only came away with a small carrier bag (well, and a carpet!), but the kids got to play in the Småland Playland, and Misuzu and I got to have a good look of all the summer news. So a very good afternoon had by all!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Mission accomplished!

Yay - we did it! We've built (almost...) all of Lucas and Linnea's Lego City Lego! Mostly Mormor and I have been at it but it's truly been a family affair!
Morfar has helped finding pieces (yes, it really is a little bit more of a challenge when you don't get all the pieces needed presented in a nice box..!); Nathan has built a bit and even Linnea has helped very eagerly, and - she's pretty good at it too!
Lucas, not so much... He likes the playing more.



Looks pretty cool huh!





Last day excursion

Last time Mormor and Morfar were here, was the first time I went to Tasek Lama. I must say, I haven't really been back many times since then unfortunately. Every now and then there hash been a hash or a SSS that has been arranged there. It's just a bit off my usual routes, but it's such a lovely, green area, I should really go more.

Last time it was only Mormor that came along, so today we took them both, to finish off this visit to Brunei as it should be finished - in the jungle.









We walked down to the waterfall again, but since there hasn't been much rain the last few days, it a little bit less flowing than last time.



But we did see a turtle taking a little swim!










There is a couple of different playgrounds around for the kids:





They also have some equipment in the park, for those who want to do some extra exercising! the kids tried it all out of course:





Even Morfar had a go!



The reflexology walking track. Although neither Lucas nor Linnea were too impressed. "It just hurt!" they said.





The Tasek Lama Recreational Park is a really lush place, and it is very popular too. It's situated right in the middle of town, and lots of people use it for their daily exercise, mostly early in the morning or later in the afternoon.





Mormor and Morfar sure enjoyed their last little stroll through the jungle!