Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nanner and Popsy

Translation:  Grandma and Grandpa.  

I have just returned from taking my parents to the airport to return to their home in Idaho.   Sniff, sniff.   That's right, we have had visitors.  We haven't seen my parents in almost a year, and for 12 glorious days, my parents stayed and played with us.  The house feels very empty now that they're gone.   I seriously contemplated faking a flat tire, so they would have to miss their flight, though I don't suppose that would be fair to my sister-in-law, Emily, who is 9 months pregnant.  My mother is flying to Ohio to help her as soon as she gets home.  (Busy woman!) 

In the Tambourine mountain rainforest skywalk.  

We had so much fun while they were here.  I have forgotten how nice it is to do the dishes with my mom, or have a profound conversation over dinner with my Dad.  

We played tourist for a few days, and even pulled the kids out of school so we could run up to the Sunshine coast (Coolum).  (Hey!  It was educational. . . ) 

Exploring the tidal pools in Coolum.

While we stopped at the Glasshouse mountains, the rain rolled in.  
Riding the City Cat on the river.  
Even the bugs in Australia are pretty!
We love the ocean.

Playing around at Underwater World.
We miss them.  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


We went to Singapore over Easter to visit family - the Zufelts.  We had a great time!  There was so much to see/smell/hear - I could never describe it all, but I'll try!


Singapore is colorful and clean.  It is red.

 It is green.

It is tall buildings, smiling and helpful people, signs in four languages, and clean streets.  Chewing gum is against the law.  Smoking is punishable with a $1000 fine, as is littering, and dealing drugs is punishable by death.  Trespassing is apparently taken seriously too. The street signs said it all.
I think this gets the point across, no matter what language you speak.
We went to a market near little India, where people were literally selling garbage.
That's where that remote control went!
Cell phone, anyone?


The first thing we noticed about Singapore was the humidity!  I have never experienced anything like it, and this coming from someone who has lived in Houston, New Orleans, and Queensland - all considered very humid places.  Going outside from an air conditioned room meant being covered instantly in condensation.  I didn't know it was possible to get so wet so fast - even without sweating.  And sweat we did.


Singapore is the bell of the taxi, ringing to say the driver was breaking the speed limit.  It is the whirr of dare-devil motorcyclists, darting through traffic and creating their own "lane" on the dotted line; a dozen languages spoken on a train, none of which I recognized; and cicadas constant buzzing, like a broken car alarm.

It was the bells on the door of the Indian temple,

the mosque calling to prayer,

and monks chanting in the Buddha temple.
Buddha Tooth temple.
It was also primary children singing the same songs we sing in our primary.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building, Singapore.
  One of the highlights of our trip was taking the elevator up to the fourth floor for sacrament meeting in a very beautiful, very tall, chapel.


Singapore smells like incense, curry, sweating plants, beef bacon and turkey ham (muslims don't eat pork), bus exhaust, and elephants.


Singapore tastes like curry, coconut, rice noodles, sugar cane juice, dim sum (eaten with orangutans) and fruits I have never heard of, but love.
Breakfast with orangutans at the Singapore zoo.  Please remember it is REALLY humid before you judge my hair!

We bought 2 kilos of mangosteens.  I love them.  They taste a bit like a cross between a sweet plumb and rhubarb - tangy sour/sweet.  You peel off the purple shell and eat the white flesh.  We saw plenty of durian too.  Durian are banned on public transport because of their foul smell, but they are still a favorite of many locals.  People either love them or hate them.  It smelled a bit like an outhouse to me, so we passed on that one.  We did however try dragon fruit, and some strange thai fruit.  It's strange to think there are so many delicious fruits out there that I have never even heard of, better yet tasted.  I'm going to keep my eye out for mangosteens.  Yum.

One of my favorite meals was in little India. Our meal came served on a banana leaf.
Bryce and Emily, eating off of banana leaves.

I couldn't help noticing that we were the only ones using utensils.  It was a familiar sight, workers squating in circles near the back of a shop, eating with their hands red rice on banana leaves, in a surprisingly tidy way.

The sixth sense:

Walking along the nature reserve, we got the feeling that someone was watching us.  It was the monkeys.  They were more intimidating than a gang of thugs.  We walked quickly and tried not to look them in the eye.
Monkeys waiting to ambush us.  There are more hiding on the wall.  

The monkeys at the zoo weren't quite so scary.  We love the Singapore Zoo.  It has a very Disneyland-esque feel about it - friendly, clean, entertaining, delicious.   The Zoo also offers a night safari.  It was awesome!  An entirely different section of the zoo comes alive at night.  The kids fell asleep when our tram broke down, but we definitely did not sleep through the fire-breathing show.  It was amazing!

Bintan Lagoon

We took a ferry over to a resort on Bintan Island in Indonesia.  The beaches were beautiful.

Hermit crabs were everywhere, and sand dollars were popular collectibles.

Finding hermit crabs.

But the kids spent most of their time in the pool, playing on the slide.  When we ask them what their favorite part of the trip was, they all say "laser tag!"  It was an amazing hotel, all open to the ocean breeze.

Shon was in heaven in Singapore, eating the food he ate on his mission, and speaking with the locals.

Shon in China town. 
I enjoyed eating American food!  You want it, they got it.  Angie and I had lunch at Chili's.  In Singapore.  I love their chips and salsa.  Yum.  It's been a long time. . . (We don't get much Mexican food in Australia.)

We all had a great time!
Feeding the "Gold fish" at the hotel.
The very best part of our trip was being with the Zufelts.  We already miss them.  It's always hard to leave, though it's nice to be home again.