Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Kopi At Changi Airport T3 (Before Incarceration At Bates Motel)

It is near midnight and yet Pan Island Expressway (PIE) leading to Changi Airport is anything but desolate!

You would think creepers it is near midnight so where is everyone off to?!

On reaching T3, it is abuzz with young and old, families in tow. Not tourists mind you, nor people flying out but locals queueing for a cuppa coffee.

Singaporeans are devoid of night spots to chill. The foodcourt at B2 is crowded and so is Louisana Popeyes.

As for Yakun, the snaking Q told me it was best I sat down at Kopi Tiam instead.

The infamous bak cho mee was crowded too. Anytime is a good time for Singaporeans to eat. Eating is our passion it seems. Eat to live is not our motto but live to eat is, it seems!

To me, I wanted an excuse to run my car and take it for a long drive. I was also curious to know what happens on a Saturday night at T3.

I did not venture beyond T3. I usually would take the inter terminal driverless bus to T2 but it was late and I was tired.

East to West I went. I did my car a favour and enjoyed the drive!

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Ocean, Sea and Rivers – They All Amaze

I love the wide open sea as it gives a sense of pleasant calm looking at the calm waters.

I have seen the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, English Channel and the Dead Sea. I believe I saw another Ocean at Adelaide too but I forget.

The blue waters tend to be different at different depths. Underneath the waters hold a bed of exciting marine life.

I know the tiny Portuguese of War swimming about can send shivers to swimmers. Puffers or blowies as called are plentiful in Perth waters and they have become pests.

Marrons, I was told started out as a pest. Now it is a shellfish that is enjoyed after boiling.

Ken, Roger’s dad, is most adept at cleaning Marrons. I saw him deftly snapping off its head, avoiding its menancing claws

I learnt about pippees being used as bait for breams. I must have shelled 100 pippees to catch fishes off the Murray River off KI.

Nothing beats waking up in the morning…jumping out of bed and gulping down water before cleaning teeth and heading out to the jetty in a hop skip and jump.

Fishes await my humble handline!

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Wine 101 – Reminiscing My Days In Land Down Under

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This was taken at Langhorne Creek’s cellar door. I was told it had an awful autumn last year when its vineyard was flooded and vines were submerged.

To me I thought oops! There goes the entire crop for harvest!

Surprisingly I learnt that the vines were safe and that the waters would be absorbed in the soil for the dry summers ahead.

Amazing! How nature can unleash its wrath yet leaving innocent crops very safe.

I had the opportunity to harvest a couple of bunches of wine grapes to eat. They certainly did not taste like table grapes as globes were smaller, more tannic in taste and chewier skins! Of course be it shiraz or cabernet sauvignon, the species and tastes differed.

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Sanya – Hainan Island

I was posted to work in Sanya, Hainan island for three months once. Sanya was often used as a venue for the Miss World Or Miss Universe titles (I forget which) and I wondered why. So, when I was posted there, I was keen to know more about Hainan and in particular, Sanya given its glamour status portrayed in these beauty pageants.

Gloria was the name of the resort that I lived in. It was opulent and magnificent – just as all the holiday villas that surround the area. I saw the holiday resort villas and wondered if I was in a country other than China.

The architectural designs were amazing as it was exciting, quite unlike a typical Chinese village type atmosphere. White color was universally used for the walls and ornate iron works adorn the gates, grilles and lovely gilded knockers on doors that made me feel as if I was in California.

Being a typical Singaporean, I was eager to taste Hainan Chicken Rice! I assumed the infamous dish that sells loads of plates a day in Singapore Hawker Centers or in hotels originated from Hainan. I was sorely disappointed when I tasted it. The chicken looked really yellow and tasted far from what we have in Singapore. It was immersed in a Chinese wine and I am not sure if it was steamed or boiled. It looked “dead” not juicy nor plump like what I can get in Singapore. As for the chilli – this is what makes the chicken great I thought was a let down.

Mutton, lamb and beef were meats that favoured the people of Hainan and I could not get used to the food there as it was meat that smelt gamey and it came oily, salty and a tad not what I liked. I ended up eating western meals most times.

I wandered off to the other resorts; Cactus (3 stars), Holiday Inn (6 stars) which was at that time, managed by a Singaporean GM. I was happy eating in this restaurant as a lot of Singaporean tastes and flavors were reflected in the cooking style.

The people of Hainan were very friendly and polite. I could not speak Hainanese and their tone of Mandarin was different in a lyrical sounding sense. Still, we got by chatting.

Hainan is picturesque and I was told Hainan is the Hawaii of the East. True to it, plentiful blue seas and beaches, lots of coconut trees. The coconuts there were delicious and cheap but I prefer the ones I tried when staying in Sri Lanka before.

I saw a Merlion statute when driven around in Hainan. I do not know how it got there, but it stood tall on a hill, faraway.

Whilst Sanya has overtaken Haikou, the other major port as a tourist spot whilst Haikou remains largely an oil and gas drilling hub.

Would I return to Sanya again? Yes, why not. I could at least return and buy their locally cultured pearls and abalones. The dried abalones took a lot of stewing before it became tasty and yummy. So, if it is to stock up on abalones and pearls as well as admiring the architectures, I would.

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CM’s Food Porn #90 – Tokyo

CM has been sending me a ton of photos from his trip with his wife and daughter in Tokyo.

I am, honestly, not interested to see what he does every minute of the trip and wished he could be more discerning when shooting off photos to me on Whats App messaging service.

But this is typical of CM, ignorant of other’s need to have work peace instead of phone buzzing when he sends me the load of photos.

I tried explaining to him that I have to attend meetings and do stuff. I cannot shut off phone as I am on 24/7 standby call for my parents. He cannot be bothered! Sigh!

I only like his food photos as Japanese plating of food is indeed pretty and worth sharing.

As to when he has beer with his wife or snacking, I am disinterested really and I marvel at the data plan he must have bought as the data he sent to me is not in small amounts.

Anyway, it is good he is on holiday and pigging out to the maximum.

I will share only these food photos that I felt was quite pretty. As usual, be brags that this meal cost 8,000 yen per person which is about SGD101 per pax.

Humility is unfortunately not his greatest strengths!

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Australian Woody Pears

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Living in lil red dot as a city girl, I am floored whenever I see fruits of any sort on my travels and will want to know if it is poisonous, edible or most importantly, tasty.

I chanced upon this tree laden with pears looking like Chinese Pears whilst on the property of Lavender Farm. This is in Perth, Australia when I visited it for the second time that year.

It bit off very hard and did not taste like a Packham or Anjou pear. Instead it tasted a bit like Chinese fragrant pear but woody in flavorings.

I have come to learn a lot of fruit origins for e.g. kiwi fruits originated from China when I thought all the while it was a native fruit of New Zealand.

Today, Macadamia nuts are farmed in Australia alongside fruits like Lychees and Durians. This is cultivation for the Asian market for trade.

Rich Aussie soil and climate give farmers a choice of crops to grow.

Phil who owns a smallish plantation of avocados for export did let us have a taste of the fruits of his labor.

Dipped in soy sauce, avocado tasted good as a snack fruit.

I usually dislike avocadoes as it is squishy and too rich for my liking.

Surprising when it was dipped in soya sauce and paired with some wasabi, it was delightfully refreshing and biting with the spicy wasabi sauce.

Italian by descent, Phil had successfully made Perth his home.

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A Nostalgic Time In Old Marco Polo Hotel, Singapore

Marco Polo Hotel used to be at the junction where it faced Tanglin Post Office and Tanglin Mall.

I remember this hotel as it was my favourite jaunt for good coffee shop food and where Clark Hatch Fitness Club was.

I found myself there almost every night. I ate my meals there as I enjoyed the excellent service of the service staff and the good food menu served.

Their laksa and ice kachang were a delight! Heaps of volume and I could always trust the same standard in fried noodles, Fish Bi Hoon noodles or Fried Noodle sticks!

Merry May (Truly her name and I found out she and Ani have now moved to Raffles Town Club to work) and Ani were always on duty to serve me my meal.

I am not a snob but I abhor crowds.

I avoid hawker centers not because the food is not good but it is crowded and I fear crowds.

Also, I cannot stand having someone breathe down my neck waiting for my table and it forces me to quickly down a slithery hot bowl of noodles to avoid having the person from waiting too long. I hate this, eating in a rushed manner!

Hence, I do not visit hawker centers but do “da pao” food home or have friends doggy bag me food! The best of both worlds!

I digress…back to Marco Polo Hotel….

Portions at Marco Polo and soon I nicknamed it “Marco P” and even got my parents into eating there with me. My dad loved the laska there had it had large helpings of prawns with thick bi hoon noodles and generous portions of cockles amidst slices of fish cake. Smothered with laksa leaves and a generous dollop of chilli spices to go with it.

Marco P designed the scoop of ice cream on top of the ice kachang peak and it was a good call on their part.

I have many fond and pleasant memories at Marco P. I met good friends there – I fell in love there and I also fell out of love there.

I was the only patron of that hotel that could be served like royalty despite my grunge outfits.  I was made to feel welcome always!

I felt lost when Marco P fell into the condominium craze and it was demolised to make way for a huge apartment block.

Soon hotels in that area all fell like dominoes. Lady Hill Hotel disappeared and so did many others.

The warmth and hospitality of most new hotels these days do not go beyond that plastic smile.

I can feel the sterility of the eating atmosphere and this is why I avoid the restaurants at Marina Bay Sands as they face hard core gamblers everyday.

I do not feel their warmth as the service staff knows that these are single timers who would pop in to eat for the experience and never come back. Or they see the same gaunt looking unhappy gambling addict there to sup and go back to the tables or slot machines.

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Kangaroo Island, Adelaide _ Re-Living Travels Since I Have No Time Now

Kangaroo Island, Adelaide

This is the view I saw when looking out of Kangaroo IslandĀ  (KI) , Adelaide on arrival.

We came by car driving from Adelaide, going onto to a ferry. The ferry ride was not a slow boat ride but a fast one. I remember the last time I had such a ride was when I was out on another ferry cruising the fjords in Norway.

I love the tranquil waters of the sea. It is a calming experience when I look out. The rippling effect and white tips of the water glistens against the sun rays.

I remember our host, Roger, who took us to a place for fish and chips. The gulls swooped down and stole fish and chips as diners ate out in the warm sun enjoying the sea breeze as the gulls call out to each other.

I saw an elderly couple eating out of their paper cartons when the gulls came and swiftly but deftly took their fish. As if to make fun of the whole incident, it gave loud calls from other on looking gulls!

KI is a beautiful island. By island size it is much much bigger than Singapore. My idea of KI was a tiny little one but I was wrong as it was huge with lots of flora, fauna and great food.

Views were always stunning and in a way it held its own quaintness.

KI remains very much a holiday spot and I could tell it was not heavily populated as no large chain of supermarkets were there and there was a lot of outback roads and trails.

KI is a nice place to go to and relax and especially fish. Loads of breams, marrons and sea life I might add!

I wish I could re-live the freedom to travel and fish again. But with 2 elderlies on call for my services, I find it a tad hard to pull self away and get onto a plane.

Still, it is good that I have photos to relive the good ol times.

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Cool Weather & Fungi Galore

Chicken sent me these photos of fungi or wild toadstools on the way to the wet market.

Her man pulled her back thinking his silly woman was so naive to be considering pulling these for food!

She laughed in her text messaging with me, with the laughing emoji and I told her that it does look good enough to eat and so fresh!

Fungi that Chicken Saw On Way To Wet Market

The weather last night was a wet one. It is damp and wet this weekend and I am not complaining as 35C was really too much to handle for me. Thankfully I was holed up in an office with air con temperatures set at 22C!

Don’t ask me why office temps are kept so low, but I ain’t complaining as Ms Feisty and I love the cold. I can see colleagues walking about with winter jackets!

Caucasians or foreigners who see us will always be amused as they live in a seasonal country and love our 365 days of summer heat, perennially!

So at 26C in the day out in the gloomy weather, I am not complaining.

We get to see a blossoming of fungi or toadstools.

Chicken remarked that my photos shown to her below looked like flowers, so pretty! I agree to, because when I was a distance away from this tree, I thought what a lovely floral bloom and thought that the Parks Board or someone had planted flowers around this big old tree. This tree is located on state land and is vacant with a lot of trees. I love this wooded area and would always pass by this place when I do my walks.

I am so proud of these pretty fungi and am showing them again! I hope you do not mind.

In comparing, I realise Chicken’s toadstool variety is a different from my 2 other species.

I am now intrigued to know just how many types of wild toadstools or mushrooms are there in my lil red dot!

I will now keep my eyes peeled whenever I walk to see the different types, photograph them and share with you all.

Happy Sunday folks!

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Spring In Eugene, Oregon

Daffodils reminds me of Spring in Eugene, Oregon as an undergraduate as my best friend Judy Hirotaka and I will take time to sit on the lawn and take in the sunshine.

During that time of the year, the sun is mild, quite unlike the summer heat which I call Indian Summer whereby without sunblocks of at least SPF50, one would end up with freckles or sun burns as the heat is piercing.

Tuesdays where Dairy Queen offers 99 cents cup or cone sundaes were a favourite stop for Judy.

Oregon retains a soft spot for me as I would go with classmates to Hinman Valley Vineyard for a sip of their infamous Zinfandel wine. Owned by a small family, this vineyard is not very big when compared to the sprawling acres of Australia’s vineyard sizes. Still, Hinman Valley Vineyard was picturesque in its own way as I remember walking through a winding narrow lane to get to its cellar door.

Florence Old Town was another nice place to visit, about 2 hours drive away for Salt Water Taffy wrapped in waxed paper foils. Mo’s clam chowder was to die for claimed my classmates as they would chow down a huge bowl followed by a large plate of baked oysters in sea salt.

My parents went there each summer and true to their taste buds, they would always clamour to go back each time.

As I was a non seafood lover and such dishes did not agree with me, I did not eat any of the dishes there except fish and chips.

I enjoyed the drives around Oregon as it is pleasant and quiet.

Lots to see in terms of scenery and a lot of conifers tower the roads as we whizz by.

I miss Eugene, Oregon and especially campus. My favourite past time was to sit and watch the world go by. There are interesting sights to see on campus as there may be buskers, someone setting up a bake sale or some local handicraft work somewhere.

Having visited campuses of local universities in Singapore, I find a stark difference. Our buildings where classes are held have no warmth nor historical feel. I call it sterile and cold as students waft in and out whereas in UO, I get individual wooden chairs with table with the options to select for right handers or southpaws like me.

I get to see squirrels jumping about from the giant oak trees that surround the courtyards on campus in UOregon as they gnaw on acorns that they pick off the ground. Reminds of Alvin and the Chipmunks except these do not sing and are not chipmunks!

In Singapore, I get ants, humidity, mosquitoes and poky grass!

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