Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Exploring new things to do in Singapore

We think Singapore must be the world’s cleanest country.  It is against the law to sell chewing gum or to
bring it into the country.  That’s because people were sticking it in the subway doors and spitting it on the sidewalks. They really enforce the laws prohibiting littering, graffiti and drugs.  They want to keep the country beautiful. There are so many trees and flowers it is called “The Garden Country.” We think they are very clever.  Instead of a sign saying “Do not jaywalk” the sides of the streets are lined with shrubs so the only place to cross the street is at the legal crosswalk.

We visited the newest attractions, Gardens by the Bay.  It is amazing and concerned about the environment.  They have what they call Supertrees.  Some are 150-feet tall and are connect by a garden walkway.  The Supertrees serve several purposes. Singapore is hot and sunny so they provide shade and also as a structure for plant life. They are designed to store solar energy and rain water that they use in the gardens. Inside the Flower Dome was just as impressive with plants, flowers, and trees from around the world. 

From the Gardens by the Bay we had a great view of Marina Bay Sands Hotel which is very unique looking
with three tall pillars of rooms with a flat top. We went to visit because we had heard about their swimming pool. The swimming pool is on the roof 52 floors above the ground. It has incredible, heart-stopping views of Singapore. It looks like people could swim over the edge but they can’t.

There is an ArtScience Museum as part of the hotel.  Do you have LEGOS?  They had an exhibit, The Art of the Brick, with all the sculptures made of LEGOS. The artist, Nathan Sayawa, was a lawyer but he found enjoyment sitting on the floor creating artwork from LEGOs. When he found he could make a living by creating with his LEGOS so left his law practice and now does what he loves to do. We loved that story and were amazed by his creations. 

Singapore was a trading port – and still is.  Over the years traders from
the countries of Malaysia, India and China settled there.  When the Chinese traders married the Malaysian ladies there cultures mixed creating a new culture called Peranakan. We went to the Peranakan Museum to learn more about their ways. Mostly, there were hard working and successful.  They use to live in places called shophouses.  Their shops would be on the ground floor and they would live on the top floor.  Like their clothing and dishes the shophouses were brightly decorated.

We went to a shophouse which today has a store on the ground floor but the floor above is now a cooking school.  We learned to make three Peranakan recipes.  One was chicken satays – chicken on a stick which is served with a spicy peanut sauce.  It is very popular in Singapore and very good. We also learned to make another popular local noodle dish called Fried Kway Teow. And for dessert we made Kueh Dadar which are thin pancakes with coconut filling.  We really liked them.  Making the pancakes can be a bit tricky. Our teacher, Lena Tan said, “The first one is a test. Experiment to get it right. It you get it wrong you can just eat it!”