Category Archives: Uncategorized

Singapore Has a Peculiar Way of Saying Things

There are billboards and advertisements on all the bus stops in Singapore and being the avid bus riders we are, we are always excited to see what the new advertisement is.  For a long time they were all about dengue.  They were frightening ads about dengue and supersonic mosquitos who were on a mission to kill. Lately, they’ve been a bit more… how can I say this.. well, just see below, I don’t think they need any explanation.  I will continue to post as I see them.

molested

This one is about not being molested and protecting yourself, my question is “why is she smiling?”….

pap

This one is about getting your routine pap smear done… a bit personal no? But cheeky way of saying it, nonetheless.

 

This seems like miracle work to me.

This seems like miracle work to me.

 

Do You Have a Sumo Baby?

This one I just had to blog about.  I was at the mall today…yes looking at shoes (don’t judge)… anyhow, I was at the mall and I noticed these signs everywhere.  So, being the easily distracted adult that I am, I stopped to read one of them.  Here’s what it said:

sumo 1 sumo 2

Not sure if you can totally read it, but it is advertising for you to bring in your chubby sumo looking baby to wrestle with another chubby sumo looking baby.  I’m not sure if this is a compliment to the chubby sumo looking baby or it this is a mockery of the chubby sumo looking baby.  Either way, I thought it would be worth a post! Ah, Singapore!

 

Singapore Highlights

No, it’s not what you’re thinking… this post is not about where to go in Singapore or what to see, but rather, this post is truly about having highlights done in Singapore and why I won’t be having them done here ever again.  I knew that this day would come sooner or later, but I was not prepared for what the outcome would be.

I typically do my hair every 3 months.  Finding a reliable hair dresser is never a fun feat.  So when it came time to do my hair in Singapore, I knew that some research would need to be done… and that’s what I did.  I searched high and low all throughout this tiny island, simply looking for someone who would specialize in doing “Expat’s hair”, as that’s what having light hair is referred to here.  After about a week of researching on the internet, I narrowed it down to 3 salons based on the following few things: 1) they have a decent looking website that is in English, 2) have writing somewhere that says “specializing in Expat hair”, 3) 1 or 2 reviews from fellow Expats.  Finally, I decided on one.

I made an appointment and then trekked over to them.  The place was about an hour and a half from my house on the bus… but hey, not to worry, I will be leaving there with beautiful hair! (sure)

Once I got off the bus, I began my additional 25 minute walking trek to the place, as they are at the end of the hill… mind you, this must have been one of the hottest days in Singapore.  Drenched in sweat, I arrived at the main gate.

At first glance, it did not look like a hair salon… mainly because it wasn’t. As it turns out, the salon shares the lot with one of the International schools.  So, you literally have to walk through the school, see all the kids, and then get to the very end of the school yard to where the cafeteria is, pass that, and then you see a tiny little building.  That’s the salon! This should have been my first indication that this was not going to end up with a happy ending.

Greeting me at the door were two cats (yes random, but apparently the salon has 2 cats).  I walked in and there were about 5 salon chairs and not one Expat or local there! I was the only one in this salon with the 5 hair dressers.  Again, this should have been a sign. But, I was so excited to do my hair, I was so in need of doing my hair, and I had just spent about 2 hours getting there, so doing my hair was what I was determined to do!

Soon, one of the hairdressers came over.  He looked at my hair, made some comments, and asked me what I wanted to do to it.  I told him, “please make my hair lighter, it’s the summer, so I’d like to go as light as possible”.  He then quoted me an outrageous price (like double what I pay in the states).  I argued a bit and he lowered it, but just by a tiny bit. (I guess I was having to pay for the other 4 hairdresser’s salaries that day).  Then, he got started.

I grabbed a few magazines and tried to relax.  As he was going through the process of highlighting my hair, I noticed a few things that did not seem right… like, the fact that he was only putting tinfoil on the top of my hair.  I started to freak out a little bit, but I told myself to relax and get out of my head.  “This must be the way they do it in Singapore”, I thought.

After about 3 hours of this process, he was finally finished.  He washed my hair and that’s when I first noticed! My hair was the weirdest color I have ever seen… like you know the color that cockroaches have…like a brownish/yellowish.. that was my hair color!! Not to mention, only the top portion of my hair that had this color! My hair was like a flag.. it started out one color on the top, then it was another color in the middle, and lastly another color at the tips! Unhappily, I paid and tried to hold back my tears.  He then proceeded to ask me “so do you like it”. “Oh buddy, you should not have asked”, I thought to myself.  “actually it is not what I asked for”, I told him.  “what do you mean”, he asked with a very dumbfounded face. “well, I asked to make my hair lighter and it’s actually darker than it was when I came in”, I told him.

He then smiled and told me, “It looks great… it’s actually a new style called Hombre.  I did Hombre on you without even meaning to.  It was a mistake but it looks great! Next time I can use bleach if you like to go lighter”.

I seriously was lost for comments… hombre? next time? mistake? looks great?

I literally wanted to run out of that place, as fast as I could, and that’s what I did.  Then, I had to think about the 2 hours trek it would take me to get back home…no way! I called a taxi, which made this hair experience even more expensive and I went home to cry.

Lesson learned: do not trust a hair dresser in Singapore.

Now, after this experience, the more I look around, the more I notice that blonde hair is really an anomaly here. Living in LA, San Diego, and Miami made me take for granted what having blonde hair is really all about.  Now, I will have to wait until I go back to the USA to have someone fix this Hombre mess that I have on my head!

 

Ang Mohs We Are

So today some of our American friends who live in Singapore informed us that in Singapore we are considered Ang Mohs… what this means and where it comes from, I really don’t know.  All I know is that in Miami, I am Hispanic. In California, I am Latina. But, in Singapore, I am classified under every white person with blonde hair and that classification is called Ang Moh.  Basically it means I am a gringa! (but with a bit more of a negative connotation)

Thought it would be worth sharing…  🙂

Happy Vesak Day to You!

Today is Vesak Day!! What is Vesak Day?? Vesak Day is a national holiday in Singapore, which means everyone gets the day off to celebrate Buddha’s birthday.  Since, I have a fondness for Buddha, I wanted to do something special on this day.  So, we went to one of the Buddhist temples for their candlelight procession.  All of the temples around the city had different celebrations going on.  Some of the temples were serving a vegetarian lunch to anyone who showed up, others had chanting and praying, and most had a candlelight procession.  Vesak Day is also a day where Buddhists try to bring happiness to those less fortunate. All in all, it is a wonderful holiday.  Here are some pictures of the candlelight ceremony in a temple by our house. IMG_00000182IMG_00000170 IMG_00000166_hdr IMG_00000177 IMG_00000175 IMG_00000173IMG_00000181 IMG_00000179

Dengue Paranoia

Beware!!! There’s a Dengue scare!!! So, Dengue, for those of you who are not aware of what it is, is a virus that can be contracted from a mosquito bite.  Some of the symptoms are  feverheadachemuscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles.  In some cases, it can cause complications and in some cases, it can even cause death.  Unfortunately, there is no vaccine, you just have to be careful that a mosquito doesn’t bite you.  Well, I wasn’t too worried about it, as mosquitoes have never really liked me all that much.  But, my anxiety is slowly rising, as we get pamphlets, such as this one in our mailbox, every single day!! They are scary and gory little flyers, with comments such as: “If they breed, YOU WILL BLEED!” Can you imagine? In my mind this type of flyer would cause hysteria or paranoia, but I guess this is the most effective way to make people aware of these dangerous insects.  Anyhow, so far, luckily (knock on wood), we have not encountered any mosquitoes but I thought the pamphlet was worth an entry.

Notice the mosquitoes in their helicopter gear! dengue

 

Shoe Obsession = Get a Job

So, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged.  I have to apologize but I will share my reason.  One of the greatest things about Singapore is their national pastime, which is SHOPPING!! Now, I myself, have never been a great shopper.  Actually, I have always dreaded shopping (I know, not typical behavior for a girl).  I have always been more of a sports enthusiast.  But, since Singapore does not provide me with the ease of watching my favorite sports teams, not to mention that I would have to be up in the middle of the night to catch a Yankees or Marlins game, I have been left with no other option but to watch my games after they occurred (which is absolutely no fun) or surrender to the Singaporean sport.  So, I have surrendered to embracing more of my Singapore self, which means when there’s nothing to do, go shop!

The malls, just to give you an idea, are about 10 floors high (and that’s not a huge one) and there is one on every corner.  And the shoes!!! Oh, the shoes!!!! Now, shoes, I have realized, are my weakness! Every mall has hundreds of shoe stores.  You can find so many different types of shoes.    All colors, all shapes, all sizes, and all styles are at your fingertips, which leads me to the title of this blog… shoe obsession=get a job!

I realized that shoes and shopping had not been factored into our Singapore budget, so I decided to go out and get a small job to help fund this type of pastime.  I’ve been working for the past month as a Clinical Psychologist (yes, very exciting.. here I am considered a Psychologist due to my experience) for an agency that provides counselling to children, adults, and couples.  It has been quite the experience to work in another country and even more to learn to provide mental health services in another country.  I will post some more about this later.  So, all in all, to loop back to where I started from, my blogging is taking a back seat, as the job and the shopping have taken a front seat.  This does not mean that I will not touch base, but I will apologize in advance, if my entries are more spread out.

Weekend in Sentosa

Me at the Sentosa Hawker

Me at the Sentosa Hawker

 

Me and the dogs

Me and the dogs

 

The doggies having fun!

The doggies having fun!

 

One of the food stalls at the Hawker

One of the food stalls at the Hawker

 

Two of the dogs.. the other was asleep

Two of the dogs.. the other was asleep

 

Harassing poor Kramer as he eats

Harassing poor Kramer as he eats

 

Tariq playing "Cesar"

Tariq playing “Cesar”

This weekend we spent the weekend dog sitting in Sentosa.  In my opinion, Sentosa is similar to Key Biscayne in Miami.  It is a little island off the mainland and you have to cross a small bridge to get there.  Once there, you’ll find Universal Studios, upscale condos, hotels, and beaches.  To live there is the same as living in Key Biscayne… It’s expensive but worth it because you have everything you need and it’s really pretty.  We love going to Sentosa because it feels like a mini vacation for us.  So, Tom and Maryanne went on a mini vacation themselves and we agreed to watch their two dogs at their house in Sentosa.  We brought Lobo over and spent a weekend with the DOGS!

We ate at a “Cuban” place for lunch.  It’s called Paradiso… Cuban it’s not.  The only Cuban thing on the menu is their Cuban sandwich, which sounds like a media noche.  I don’t know if it’s good.  I didn’t try it, but I may have to come back just to find out.

We also went to the only Hawker in Sentosa.  Hawkers are typically these open-aired food markets all around the city where you can get really cheap local food (an entire meal will cost you max $3.00).  It’s kind of like a food court, but outside.  There are a bunch of stalls with different food options.  Some are yummy, some are scary.  The smells when you walk by can sometimes make you nauseated because it’s so many smells under one roof (you have fish, pork, smelly fruit) and you’re outside, so it’s also super hot.  Rather than open up your appetite, some of the smells combined with the heat makes you forget you were hungry.

Luckily, they post restaurant ratings on the outside of each stall.  I have tried to make it a point to not eat at anything that does not have an “A” rating.  There’s just something about an open aired restaurant, with bad smells, and with a “B” or “C” rating that makes me go HMMMM.

Anyhow, the hawker in Sentosa is a bit different.  This Hawker is air conditioned, for starters.  It’s right across from Universal Studios  so it is catered to a more tourist crowd.  The menus and the description of food are in English (which in the neighborhood ones, you are stuck playing a guessing game, if they don’t have pictures).  We decided to give it a try since we were there.  All I can say is that I want to go back every weekend.  We ate something called Prawn Mee.  It’s basically a soup, with veggies, shrimps, noodles, a hard boiled egg, and a curry like paste.  It was so delicious!

For dessert, we got really adventurous!! We ate this thing called Penang Chendol.  It is the weirdest thing I have ever seen or eaten, but surprisingly it was really good!  It is super sweet and it had coconut sugar, coconut milk, worm like jellies, and ready for this….. Red kidney beans on the top!! Like I said, it sounds and looks super weird but it was actually really really good.  IMG_00000026Here’s a few pictures.

The Life of a Dog in Singapore

lobo in laplobo lap 2 lobo lap 3I have written a lot of posts on Lobo’s experience in Singapore and how different this country feels for all of us, but I think the most confusing thing for the Lobo has to be that he now has to ride in taxis!!

In order to get a dog anywhere in Singapore, you either have to own a car (which costs $100,000 to just get a permit to buy one) or take a taxi.

Taxi drivers are not very keen on taking a dog in their car, so it is always an adventure to find a taxi driver who will be willing to transport our large wolf.  When you call ahead to order a cab, you have to tell them in advance that you have a large dog on a leash and many times it will take up to 45 minutes for the dispatch lady to find you a taxi who is willing to come, as a result of this.  I have found ways to beat the system and usually tell the dispatch lady that I have a medium-to-large dog (hey it’s up to interpretation whether he is large, x-large, or medium).  This little tactic usually cuts our waiting time in half.

Since this is such a difficult process, we have gotten Lobo trained to sit still between Tariq’s lap, so that he is quiet and non threatening to the taxi driver, as the primary reason why they don’t like to transport large dogs is because they are afraid of large dogs.  So, Lobo, being the great dog that he is, has learned his taxi stance.  Here’s a few pictures.  In addition, I take a lint brush with me everywhere to make sure that I can wipe off all of his hairs that he loses while he’s in the taxi, so that the taxi driver’s experience with a large dog is a positive one. 🙂