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Well Singapore, I guess this is goodbye for now.

I meant to write a really thoughtful post to sum up my experience in these last 2 years, but in typical kiki-style I saved all my packing until the last minute and now I’m pressed for time!

In summation: this has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll already know that I’ve met some of the most amazing people, had loads of adventures, and traveled to corners of the world I never dreamed I’d ever see (let alone be able to find on a map).

Now it’s on to a new chapter of my life as a nerdy, impoverished grad student, and I’m quite excited about it. In the meantime I’ll be traveling a bit over the next few weeks, visiting ze bf in London, visiting chlochlo in Madrid, going home to my family in the States, and popping around the east coast for some weddings before heading off to grad school.

My dear friends and family: I miss you so much and I can’t wait to squeeze you!!!!! I’ll try to post pictures and update the blog as much as possible over the next few weeks.

For now, I’m Suddenly on a New Adventure ;-)

Love, Kiersten

Recipe for a great weekend in Bintan

Ingredients:

  • 7 girlfriends (preferably 3 parts American, 3 parts French, 1 part English)
  • 1 super-sized villa 50 meters from the ocean
  • 1 stretch golf cart
  • sun, sand, surf
  • fruity drinks to taste

Directions:

Have 1 lovely friend arrive in Singapore from Paris at 4pm. Board boat to Bintan from Tanamera Ferry Terminal at 8pm. Arrive 8:30pm. Clear immigration 9pm. Combine all remaining ingredients. Yields: 1 serving of weekend full of fun!

***

I’ll take a crappuccino please.  No no, actually make that a caffe laxte. And an iced crappe for the gentleman.

No scratch that. I’ll order the civet poop coffee.

taking a whiff

For real. I drank the civet poop coffee.

I’ll repeat: I drank coffee made from the beans that wild cat pooped.

Don’t judge. It was a damn good cup of coffee! The official beverage is called kopi luwak. You might have already heard of it if you watched The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.  It is the rarest, most expensive cup of coffee in the world.

Essentially a civet eats a coffee cherry, the coffee cherry spends a day and a half in the civet’s digestive track, and then the civet defecates a string of coffee beans. Some poor farmer then sorts through the poop (can you imagine that Monday morning back at work??), cleans the coffee beans, dries them in the sun, and then gives them a light roast.

At a whopping $27 SGD, this particular cup of kopi luwak was amazing.  It’s served black, and is actually the least bitter cup of black coffee I’ve ever tasted. I bet with a little cream and a hot, buttery croissant… yummm

***

You can find Kopi Luwak in Singapore at:

Blue Mountain Cafe.
313 Orchard Road,
#03-23/24
313 @ Somerset, Singapore

I’ve had my fair share of whose-life-is-this? moments in Singapore, but this weekend was particularly bougie.

Saturday night S and I went to the Ford Supermodel of the World competition at the Ritz to support a Brazilian girlfriend of ours (2nd photo below in stripes) who fitted all the models for the swimsuit competition.  All week, S and I had been affectionately referring to the event as the “skinny bitches” party, but it turns out it didn’t feel much different from my daily life in Asia, except the girls were taller.

On Sunday a British girlfriend of mine (above in red) chartered a yacht for her 30th birthday party. Actually, I was shocked by how ridiculously affordable it was relative for what one would pay to do the same in the States.

It was all a ton of fun! We sailed out to some small islands, swam to the beach, and had a BBQ on board to celebrate A’s 30th.

It’s all a bit surreal for this nerdy research assistant from the South, who spends most of her days wearing heavy reading glasses in front of spreadsheets of obesity data.

Somebody remind me again why I decided it was a good idea to leave all this and become an impoverished graduate student…

While in Malaysia last week, I decided to try Ipoh White Coffee.

I know what you’re probably thinking as you look at the picture, and I will tell you that I too was  surprised (and slightly bummed) that the coffee was not actually white.

According to my source of knowledge for all things in the world everywhere (wikipedia), “white coffee” is a literal translation from its Chinese name, 怡保白咖啡. I have NO idea what that means.

Essentially the beans are roasted with palm-oil margarine (don’t tell Green Peace) and the resulting coffee is mixed with condensed milk.

Verdict: Way too sweet for my taste buds, although the kaya toast I ate with it was dee-licious!

Basically all you need to know is (1) that I went to an art exhibit of a bomb, shaped like a boob, and (2) I have the maturity of an 8-year-old…on a good day.

Alright, fine. So it’s not called the Boobbomb. It’s called the Lovebomb. The artist’s (Iskander Walen) intention is that you reflect on “the increasingly graphic depiction of violence in the news media and entertainment, versus the continued taboo of nudity.”

The Singaporean gallery advises visitors that the exhibit is “not suitable for children.”

Ironic? I think so.

     

Man vs. Orangutan? My money’s on the orangutan. Here’s why…

You can’t see Orangutans in the wild anywhere in the world except in Borneo and Sumatra (Indonesia) so J and I took advantage of our location and went to the Semengoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre right outside of Kuching, where you can see orangutans rehabilitated back into the wild. Outside of the centre they’re facing extinction due to habitat destruction and “human disruption.”

While I appreciated the unique opportunity to see the orangutans – I must admit I spend the better part of my morning observing the far less intelligent species: the homo sapien. No, I’ll reclassify: the homo stultus (subspecies: touristus).

Folks – when the park guide stops you before you enter the sanctuary (read: not a zoo, there are NO fences here) and gives you the following information:

  • Remain quiet at all times.
  • The orangutans like bags because they know they carry food.
  • Do NOT eat or drink in front of the orangutans.
  • A man went to the hospital on Friday because he tried to fight an orangutan for his bag.
  • If your baby starts to cry – “run” it out of the feeding area.
  • If an orangutan is chasing you, run into an open area.
  • Do not back into a corner. Also – do not freeze. They know you are not a statue.

take heed. J and I were properly scared, but it seemed the park ranger failed to effectively communicate his message to the 30 other fools in the group.

Exhibit A: Observe the homo stultus touristus in his natural habitat – communicating to his mate via mobile phone (ringtone: horrific) while his offspring clanks around the wooden planks in her turquoise kitten heels. To his left, a female homo stultus touristus feeds her offspring apple juice from her Louis Vuitton purse while behind him an asinine woman weakly pleads with her screaming infant homo stultus to “shhh.”

I was half hoping the Orangutans would sweep up some children and take them back into the wild. They probably have better parenting skills…

J and I high-tailed it out of the park before something crazy went down.

Bottom line: Don’t bring your baby to see WILD APES.

Alternatively titled, “It’s like the zoo, except for real.”

J and I took a trip to Sarawak, Malaysia (aka Borneo) over the long holiday weekend and found ourselves in the middle of Bako National Park. Ok, so we didn’t exactly “find” ourselves there – it was 90 minutes of driving, 30 minutes in a junk boat, and another 2 hours to the park center complete with midday sun, salty sweat and some true grit!

Basically it was amazing and just as exotic as Borneo sounds. While we didn’t see a lot of animals (I’m sure they all saw us), we did see some beautiful forests, beautiful jungles, beautiful beaches, and a whole lotta bugs!

***

Above: The Tajor Waterfall; Below: Taking the junk boat the park

Below: Arriving on the beach at low tide

Below: Preparing for the Telok Tajor hike. Heads up – 4 km takes 2 hours.

Below: Still relatively dry

Below: shrooms, man

Below: On the “trail”

Below: Leaving the protective shade of the forest

Below: Spiky Palm Trees

More posts and pictures from our Borneo adventure to follow! Stay tuned…

I don’t listen to a lot of Chinese music, unless it happens to be when I’m in the backseat of a smelly taxi during rush hour, jolting back and forth because Uncle decided to alternately slam the break and gas peddle in 2 second intervals. Combine that situation with the crooning voice of a Chinese woman set to cheesy, high-pitched keyboards, and you have a recipe for distaste.

I decided to ask a sweet colleague of mine for some Chinese music – good Chinese music. Surely she can’t listen to the same stuff my 70 year old cab driver is cranking out?

Well, she gave me a gem: a local artist named JJ Lim whose poppy/jazzy/acoustic melodies appeal to me. I’d thought I’d share the love with everyone else.  Happy Monday!

It’s winding down time (T-39) and there are a few items on my “Singapore Bucket List” including:

  • Go on the Night Safari
  • Visit the Red Dot Museum and Chinese Heritage Center
  • A final bike ride along East Coast Park
  • One last 3am dance party at Attica
  • Sail around the little islands of Singapore
  • Relax for a weekend in Bintan (technically the Indonesian bucket list)
  • Try Laksa – preferably at Katong Laksa
  • BONUS: Taking my picture in the infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands

Am I missing anything crucial here? Anyone interested in making these things happen?

August 2017
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