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Chloe and I spent a couple of days in Madrid, essentially eating our way through the city: tapas, paella, churros con chocolate, sangria, manchego… mmm! Madrid also happens to have 3 world-class art museums all on one street (hola Picasso, hola Goya, hola Velasquez!) and beautiful gardens where one can basque in the sol and the calor. Viva Espana!

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’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…

 
Clockwise from top left: (1) Street lamp, (2) Galleries, (3) with M in front of the Opera, (4) blanquette de veau, (5) Hotel de Ville, (6) cafe au lait, chocolate and croissants, (7) bonbons, (8) with C at Le Pain Quotidien, (9) Notre Dame.

Somebody let me into a kitchen today. Obviously they had never heard about my butter chicken fiasco (a year ago, to the date). Nor about the time I called my mother screaming while I gutted a chicken (poor George). Nope, if they knew, they never would have given me this sweet hat.

We did the group cooking class/bonding experience at Coriander Leaf, which happens to be one of my favorite restaurants in Singapore. Fortunately no one asked me to use an open flame. I did however roll a mean rice paper spring roll (aka Vietnamese burrito).

Crystal and I decided to make a video to share our underwhelming culinary prowess with the world (aka Mom and Dad). We also wanted to share Assad’s creative vision, as he felt it was “misunderstood.” [A’s peanut sauce not pictured]

We may not be excellent chefs, but it turns out we can mash peanuts and fold a damn good spring roll. I expect the food network to call any day now.

Sometimes living in Singapore can feel like a vacation. My job is great, I meet friendly people from all over the world, I spend January afternoons at the pool, and take fabulous $50 weekend trips to Malaysian beaches.

One downside however, and something no one warns you about, is that the international community here is highly transitive. People come in and out of your life at warp speed, and your social circle one month is liable to look quite different the next. Developing close relationships here is a risky venture, as you can never be sure how much time you’ll have with friends, lovers, coworkers, etc.

So truth be told, I’ve been bummed since one half of my favorite French duo returned home for good last week. But Frenchy #2 whirled in the door this morning, returning from her 7-year vacation at home (ok it was only 3 weeks), and bringing with her a lot of sunshine!

Green sunshine, that is! In a Laduree box! Mmmm hamburger cookies…just the thing to cheer a girl up!

S, my future dentist thanks you for the business.

On a separate note, have you ever met a girl crazy enough to pack an ENTIRE suitcase full of breakfast cookies? I have………

I’ve decided that being high is the best way to enjoy Singapore.

Noooo… not that kind of high! (What, you’re trying to get me killed? That’s strictly off-limits here…come on!)

I mean, my favorite way to enjoy Singapore is on a rooftop! Last night we tried out 1-Altitude on the top of the OUB building. Honestly, each time I see the skyline I fall in love! This bar has a 360 view of the city and, according to this article, is technically the highest al-fresco bar in the world.

I’m now on a mission to try them all out. So far we’ve hit up the following (in the order of my preference):

  1. Sky Park @ Marina Bay Sands
  2. Lantern @ the Fullerton Bay Hotel
  3. Loof (top of Odeon Towers)
  4. [pre . lude] & Boathouse @ Fullerton Hotel
  5. New Asia Bar @ Swisshotel
  6. 1-Altitidue (top of OUB)
  7. Orgo @ the Esplanade
  8. Helipad Lounge @ the Central
  9. Ying Yang

And still on the Bucket List: Breeze, Mr. Punch Restaurant, and fabrika. Does anyone else have any suggestions for great views of the city with some breezy relief from the heat and humidity?

A lot of local drinks are…well…they’re interesting.

That’s my culturally sensitive way of saying that I think they’re gross.

I don’t know, there’s just something about the combination of jiggle and jello and soy and milk and green tea and sugar that doesn’t exactly inspire my taste buds to water.

So when Crystal decided we had to try “Jelly Drink,” I knew that our Ang-Mo reactions needed to be captured on film:

Jacob: “This must be the worst place in the world.  Except for the lactose-intolerant and those with bad allergies.”

Lost in translation – a conversation between two office girlfriends:

Me: Man it’s late – we should go home soon.

RR: Yah lah, yah lah!

Me: Haha! Yalla? What? You speak Arabic now?

RR: Arabic, lah? No silly…I said “yeah, lah.” Singlish, lah! It means, “Yeah I know.”

Me: Ohh, because in Arabic, “yalla” means, “let’s go.”

RR: Really? Is that what they speak in Egypt? Arabic?

Me: Yeah, I’m pretty sure…

RR: Ohhhhh that explains a lot!!

Me: Why?

RR: Well, when I went to Egypt for my honeymoon, I don’t understand why everyone speaking so good Singlish! Everyone telling me “Yah lah habibi!”  I thought, wahlau these guys really speak Singlish everywhere in the world!    …Wait, what does habibi mean?

June 2017
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