Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ever Forward

So tonight is our last night in Singapore. I can't say I'm sorry to go. It has been a nice place to spend a month, but I can't say it has won a special place in my heart.

In fact, I have been extremely unmotivated here. Maybe it's the heat. Maybe it's the monsoon rain. Maybe it's that Chase is getting heavier and I don't have a stroller so going anywhere is difficult.

What did I like most? The fact one can find so many Western brands in the grocery store. The people are all extremely kind. The city is so clean. I felt very safe.

Could I imagine living her at some point? Maybe.

I will miss the two ladies I met here; they have been wonderful friends.

I know Chase will miss Erin and Ed. Erin inspired her to crawl and pull up; Ed was her first little boyfriend (he even gave her a goodbye kiss).

Goodbye Singapore ... Hello Thailand ...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Things I Just Don't "Get" About Singapore

State Land "Enter at own risk"signs ... Are there land mines there or what?

A new washer/dryer with a "short cycle" of 2 hrs and a long cycle of 9 hours - neither includes dry time.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Photo Opp

I forgot to mention that a strange thing happened yesterday. We were at the mall (very exciting, I know) and a woman with her son approached Brian, who was holding Chase, and asked if her they could have their picture taken with Chase.

I'm telling you, this little girl gets a lot of attention.

I'm starting to get a little afraid that she's going to grow up expecting that every time she enters a room, people will want to talk to her, touch her, exchange smiles and take her picture.

But who knows, maybe they will!

I Love Sushi

Friday, November 24, 2006

Learning A Little More About Chase

Yesterday afternoon, Chase and I went over to visit her new friend, Erin.

Erin was kind enough to share her toys, many of which had flashing lights, made noises and had the ability to play songs.

Watching Chase with Erin provided me with insight into Chase's character. As I'm with her all the time and have no one to compare her to, I found watching these two kiddos interact with each other to be fascinating.

Erin, it turns out, is much more of a go-go girl than Chase - she has to be upright and moving at all times. While Erin can't crawl or walk yet, she had great control when it came to pulling up, and used everything she could to support herself in her quest to conquer the living room.

Chase, on the other hand, was content sitting, spending time on her belly or standing, but she didn't have the same level of desire to be everywhere at one time. (Maybe it's because she has already been so many places? Or maybe because she's spent so much time in my lap or in my arms?)

Chase strikes me as a thinker, a flirt, and communicator (she obviously got the flirt and communicator part from me and the thinking part from hubs). Everywhere we go she has to interact with someone new (it doesn't help that people are constantly cooing over her - they are only fueling the fire). She was outright flirting with an older guy earlier in the day and I could tell his girlfriend was a little jealous she wasn't getting the same kind of attention. When he looked away, she would grunt loudly (think Incredible Hulk when he splits his clothes), until he looked and smiled at her again.

At Erin's, she thought about each new toy and would, at times, crack herself up. She was also content just looking at the new books. She did get very excited when she realized Erin had a tambourine, too. She shook it with all her might (she was so focused she was actually holding her breath).

It will be so interesting when she starts to talk ...

Update: December Travel Plans

Once again our travel schedule is "hotting up" (admittedly hubby's never really settled down). The good news is that this should be the last of living out of suitcases for at least a year.

So starting 1 Dec, Chase and I will fly to Thailand to spend a couple days in Phuket. From there, we will move to Hong Kong to await our Chinese visas - while hubs returns to Dalian, China. Once we get our visas, we will join him. And then we return to the US for Christmas.

Bad news: Blogger doesn't work in China.
Good news: I'm working on a new Web site (stay tuned for URL details).

Not sure when/how I will be updating in the weeks to come...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Picking Up More Than Groceries

So I picked up a friend for Chase at the grocery store. Really, I did.

I was lucky enough to see a mom with a girl about the same age as Chase, so I asked her a couple questions about Singapore and the next thing you know, we're having coffee and talking about life as we know it.

Here are the little ladies, munching away on teething biscuits (mmmm, yummy) ...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Chase's Boyfriend

So I met a lovely woman, who has a darling little boy. They just moved to Singapore last week.

I think this woman might just be about the coolest mom ever. Why? Because her little boy wanted a pink stroller to push around. So she bought him one.

On our walk, we saw this Santa.
He was just hangin' out with his pants down.
He was the strangest (and most inappropriate) Santa I've ever seen.

Should go back and pull his pants up?
Would you have pulled his pants up?


Singapore on a melt-your-face-off sunny day:

And Singapore on a monsoon-style rainy day:

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Going Shopping ...

So I thought I'd post a couple pics from the local grocery store.

Mmmm, sushi (you can't see the prices, but you can get 16 small pieces for just over Sing$2.00, which is about US$1.oo).

And if you can't find anything that suits in the prepared sushi section, you can buy fresh fish that is ready to be made into sushi ...

And of course, no meal is complete without ooodles of noodles...

Tons of tofu ...

And this is by far my favorite ... the tofu fountain! You can't really see it, but cool water is pumped into the top of this tofu holding tank (below). After the water fills the top shelf, it spills over into the next shelf, and so on, and so on. I wonder if they light it at night?

In Other News ...

From Associated Press (November 21, 2006 6:07 PM EST) - LOS ANGELES - There is no Kevin Federline-Britney Spears sex tape, Federline's lawyer said Tuesday. Attorney Mark Vincent Kaplan issued the statement in response to "reports rampant in the press and media regarding rumors of alleged attempts by Kevin Federline" to sell a purported sex video.

What did Britney see in this guy anyway?

And ...

Is it just me, or this there something really strange about this wedding photo?

My Thoughts On Avian Flu

For those concerned about us after reading about the avian flu, I thank you.

But I also want to raise a question for you to ponder, as this one impacts everyone around the world, not at some unknown time in the future, but today.

What happens to people after they eat the meat and eggs from chickens who have been vaccinated against the avian flu? Don't know? Well neither does anyone else.

Now that's scary.


Sun Nov 19, 2006 4:58 pm (PST)
Avian Influenza
How to Prepare for "Sheltering-In-Place"

Health professionals are concerned that the continued spread of a highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) virus among animals in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe has the potential to significantly threaten human health. If a virus such as H5N1 mutates and spreads easily from one person to another, avian influenza may break out globally. While there are no reports of sustained human-to-human transmission of avian influenza, the U.S. government and international health agencies are preparing for a possible pandemic.

Depending on the severity of a pandemic, commercial airlines might drastically curtail or even cease operations. Travel restrictions could also impede people from returning to the United States or fleeing to other countries. For these reasons, it may make more sense to "shelter-in-place" (i.e., stay home and practice "social distancing" to avoid contagion) for an appropriate period of time.

United States Residents: The Department of Health and Human Services suggests that US residents prepare two weeks of emergency supplies (food, water, medicines, etc.) in order to shelter-in-place during an influenza pandemic.

American Citizens Abroad: Due to varying conditions overseas,
Americans abroad should evaluate their situation and prepare emergency supplies accordingly (non-perishable food, potable water, medicines, etc.) for the possibility of sheltering-in-place for at least two and up to twelve weeks. Water purification techniques such as boiling, filtering and/or adding chlorine to locally available rainwater, swimming pools, lakes, rivers and wells may replace the need to store large quantities of water.

What can you do on a daily basis? Cover your cough. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to eradicate viruses and bacteria or apply a hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol content when soap and water are not available. Stay home if you are sick. Vaccinate yourself against seasonal flu.

Travel: American citizens living in or traveling to countries with human or animal cases of H5N1 virus should consider the potential risks. Keep informed of the latest medical guidance and practical information and plan accordingly. Consult for the latest tips on international travel.

On-Line Resources: Detailed information about suggested preparations, as well as planning checklists, are available on the U.S. government's one-stop web site on pandemic influenza
(, also the World Health Organization
( and the Centers for Disease Control ( websites.

American Citizen Services
1038 West Nanjing Road, 8th Floor
Tel: (86-21) 3217-4650
Fax: (86-21) 6217-2071
After Hours Emergencies: (86-21) 6433-3936
Open 8:00am - 11:30am and 1:30pm - 3:30pm Monday to Friday.
*Closed on Tuesday afternoons, weekends and holidays.

Rally Scheduled at Delta Counters

Rally Scheduled at Delta Counters to Protest Treatment of Nursing Mother

Nursing mothers and their supporters will be gathering on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 10 AM, local time, at Delta airport counters across the country to protest the treatment a nursing mother endured at the hands of a Freedom Airlines flight attendant. Freedom Airlines is owned and operated by Mesa Airlines who is a contractor for Delta in some regional markets.

Emily Gillette was flying with her husband and 22 month-old daughter on October 13, 2006 out of Burlington, Vermont. Their flight had been delayed by several hours and when it appeared they were ready to take off, Ms. Gillette began to nurse her daughter. It was then that a flight attendant approached her and asked her to cover up with a blanket. Ms. Gillette declined and told the flight attendant that she was within her legal rights to nurse where she was without any covering. Ms. Gillette was sitting near the rear of the plane in a window seat with her husband next to her, nearest the aisle when she began nursing.

After Ms. Gillette refused to cover up, the flight attendant then allegedly told Ms. Gillette that Ms. Gillette was offending her. The family was then approached by a Delta gate agent and told that they were being removed by the flight attendant from the flight. Ms. Gillette and her family complied and although a conversation with a co-pilot did take place off the plane and the family requested to be re-boarded, they were not and instead were rescheduled on a different flight the following day.

Ms. Gillette has filed a complaint with the Vermont Human Right Commission regarding the incident. A woman’s right to breastfeed wherever she is legally allowed to be is protected in Vermont under the Public Accommodations Act.

Freedom Airlines has issued several statements, although they give contradictory information. In one statement, Paul Skellon, a spokesperson for Phoenix-based Freedom Airlines, said that they were aware of the incident and that Freedom expects mothers to nurse in a “discreet” manner (which is assumed under a blanket). In a second statement, he recanted and said that Freedom welcomes all nursing mothers and would not expect them to use a blanket in the future.

As well, the second statement issued by Mr. Skellon is full of inaccuracies, including the statement that the family refused to re-board, when they were in fact asking to re-board and were denied that request. Ms. Gillette and her supporters are very upset that Mr. Skellon and Freedom Airlines are both trying to minimize a very grave situation where a woman’s basic civil rights were violated and are attempting to shift the blame from themselves to Ms. Gillette, who did nothing wrong and was perfectly within her rights.

It is well known that nursing infants need to eat at very frequent intervals and traveling with them can provide many challenges for mothers, especially in the current fear-filled travel atmosphere where any passenger fears being removed from a flight for any reason. As well, toddlers and babies are especially susceptible to the cabin pressure changes during take-off and landing and nursing them is a natural and convenient way to help them continually equalize that pressure in their ears.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that “pediatricians and parents should be aware that exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life and provides continuing protection against diarrhea and respiratory tract infection. 30,34,128,178–184 Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child.185“ The World Health Organization recommends nursing for at least the first two years of a child’s life.

The Nurse-Ins have been coordinated completely by volunteers.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Passport Please ...

For nearly 8 years, I have lived with an amended passport; my married name typed neatly inside the back cover.

This has caused countless headaches whenever and wherever we travel. Even though the US government made the amendment, it looks like I did it myself.

Supervisors have to be called over. Extra time is spent verifying it - I'm the one that tries to check in for her flight and suddenly stops the line from moving for the next half hour. Sometimes people say they understand, but it turns out they don't, and then they tell me with grave certainty that they can't find any reservation under Downing (my maiden name). And then the process begins again.

So today marks the day that all the confusion and uncertainty all comes to an end. Today I have a new passport. The picture is hilarious. I was wearing a tube top on the day it was taken, so it looks like I'm wearing, well, nothing (a little eye candy for passport control).

But I also find myself a little sad. My old passport now has holes punched through it, making the UK resident permit and Swiss resident permit inside no longer valid (it's not like I'm going back to either place anytime soon, but it was sure nice to have them in there - you know, just in case). My old passport will now sit and collect dust, while the new, shiny passport awaits a Chinese resident stamp. I won't forget the times we had, old passport.

(Whoa, I need some sleep, I just realized I'm talking to my passports)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Schedule? What Schedule?

With all the moving about, scheduling Chase's naps, meal times, bottles, etc. has been literally impossible. I've been forced to trade in my highlighters and Franklin Covey for what I like to call, a relaxed parenting style (I can hear all those who know me laughing - because my relaxed style of parenting is anything but relaxed).

Today, I dug out Ruth Yaron's "Super Baby Food" book - one might call it a little tradition. At the beginning of each new month, I open it up and read a couple pages to get a sense of where I'm succeeding and where I'm failing miserably.

Okay, so what am I, the relaxed parent, focusing on this month?

1) Food: I can introduce tofu, watermelon, apricot, okra, tahini, bewer's yeast, powdered kelp, natural cheeses, dessicated liver (yuck!). It is also recommended to start introducing meat, but Ruth doesn't believe in that, so she poo-poos it and gives vegetarian options to create complete proteins (given we're moving to China, I'm thinking that's not such a bad idea). Ruth also tells me it's time to print out the food worksheet (oh great, something else to become obsessive about). I'm also supposed to start offering dairy (yogurt or cottage cheese). And I'm supposed to start weaning Chase to a cup. Okay, I reassure myself, all of that is totally doable.

2) A schedule: It would be great to put Chase on a schedule (so she naps, eats and plays at the same time each day). All the books tell you to do this from the start. But the books also tell you that each child is different, and Chase never really liked the whole schedule-thing, and unfortunately our lifestyle hasn't really allowed for her to ever get into schedule. Which brings me to have a "my daughter is going to need therapy when she is older" moment.

3) Brushing teeth: I went out and bought a baby tooth brush and baby tooth paste. Should be a piece of cake, right?

4) Teething: This is so hard. It is way harder than people make it out to be. Chase wakes up all the time, in the middle of the night. She used to be able to fall back to sleep, but now she needs to be cradled and rocked and loved. And she's getting heavier. She needs to be able to put herself to sleep by herself, but I can't leave her there screaming in pain. I'm at a loss. I'm going to keep rocking her to bed. I'll probably pay for it dearly - but I'll worry about that later.

5) Crawling: She's almost there. She is SO close.

6) Walking: She loves it. She is also getting good at kicking an tiny, soccer ball I bought her.

7) Talking: I predict she will start talking in sentences this month :)

8) Swimming: She loves this too. Gotta keep it up.

9) Socializing: I've got to find some kids for her to play with!

I'm pretty close to stopping moms on the streets of Singapore ... "you don't know me, but..."

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Two Bottom Teeth Coming In At The Same Time

Now hold still, Chase...

Eight Months

Eight months old.
You've been outside almost as long as inside.
Oh my darling, you are growing up so fast!
You are so close to crawling. To walking. To talking.
It will be interesting to see what this next month brings.
Hang on tight, my dear - you will soon see Thailand, Hong Kong and China.

Confession: I Have A Little, Brown Problem

So I have a problem.
A little, brown, chocolate craving problem.
I really miss it.
I might actually need it to live.
I bought Oreos thinking that would do the trick.
I bought non-fat chocolate milk, thinking surely that will do it.
I've got to go find some Swiss chocolate.

Swim Baby, Swim!

"I have a crazy travel schedule," my husband announced when he returned home. He then listed his trips (Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok, Phuket, Hong Kong, Dalian); I took note in my calendar. Hmmm, okay, so he'll basically be in Singapore for about three days over the next three weeks (maybe I should make more of an effort to make friends here).

As for Chase and I, we will meet him for a few days in Phuket, then most likely move to Hong Kong until our visas clear. (Pinch: Is this really my life?) The move to Hong Kong makes a lot of sense. It's closer to Dalian. There's no reason to be in Singapore. The lease here will be finished. Then, when our visas clear, we will move to Dalian, and our lives should settle down a bit more after Christmas.

As we discussed more moves, I had an "our poor, darling baby, she's going to need a lot of therapy when she gets older" moment and then I realized that this is what she knows. This is normal. The more I get to know her, the more I see that she really does prefer to be out and about to sitting and quietly playing in the apartment.

So hubs and I had a day together before his crazy travel started.

We went to an oh-so-sketchy baby store, as we heard it was a good place to find deals. It looked more like a collection of goods that fell off the back of the baby truck. Next door, however, there was a better store, where we found a great car seat for Chase (for our car in China).

As it was super hot, we decided to go swimming. It was Chase's first time in a pool. She loved it. She kicked and splashed about. She got a couple huge gulps of pool water (poor darling). My plan is to take her swimming at least 3x a week. When we get to Dalian we can enroll her in a proper swim class.

Loving it ...

Then.... not so happy here, as she had inhaled a little too much water ...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Let's Get Physical ...

We spent yesterday morning at Singapore General Hospital, where we were poked and prodded for two hours (apparently, potential employees have to take the same health screen before they are hired). We had a chest xray (to look for heart, chest and lung abnormalities). We were hooked up to computers (to monitor our heart). We didn't have to do any cardio tests (thank goodness as I would have failed miserably). We had blood taken, which I always hate because the nurse can never seem to "find the vein." They always giggle about it, "don't worry," they repeat over and over. But I do worry. The inside of my arm is now black and blue. Brian's arm is also black and blue, but for another reason. The Band-Aid.

There must be a different kind of adhesive used on Band-Aids here, something with extra stickiness, designed to withstand the high humidity. The Band-Aids literally fused with our skin. Brian still has welts and tenderness - he pulled his off last night.

Famished (because we were supposed to arrive for our physical with an empty stomach), we decided to hit the hospital cafeteria. I wasn't sure about this, as I still have nightmares about the food NHS tried to serve me while I was in the hospital. But the food at Singapore General was actually pretty good! I wouldn't take a first date there, but .... there were noodles (thin and wide), fish (some made into cakes, some fried, some in a light soy sauce), chicken (with breading and without), rice (fried, plain, with veggies) - YUM.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, although I did see President Bush's motorcade. It drove right past our apartment. Pretty cool, actually. It made me feel like singing the National Anthem. I didn't actually sing it, but for a moment I must admit, I wanted to.

What Do The Chinese Say?

"You know what the Chinese say?" The security guard at the US Embassy asked me. He had been watching me help Chase walk from one end of the waiting room to the other.

"No. What do the Chinese say?" I asked. It seemed a strange coincidence that we were applying for a Chinese visa (and no, the security guard didn't know).

"The Chinese say, little ones that walk fast are slow to talk, and little ones that are slow to walk talk fast."

He then proceeded to play peek-a-boo with Chase, and make faces at her - making Chase burst out in laughter. Eventually, he decided to go back to guard the embassy. But before he left, he told me that my daughter had a sharp tongue.

I was afraid to ask what the Chinese say about little ones with sharp tongues.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Today I went to a temple (I'm always game to visit a great temple), an art gallery (a piece in the window caught my attention), the grocery store (to buy groceries for huevos rancheros - nothing says lovin' like cookin' up a good Mexican dish in Asia), the US embassy (to renew my passport - I'll have it by 5 December) and two hospitals (the first one was the wrong hospital and the second one wouldn't accept any new appointments so we have to get back tomorrow) to get a 3-hour full medical exam in order to get our resident visas for China.

Can you believe we have to go through a 3-hour intensive medical exam (including x-rays, blood tests and probably cardiovascular excercize) to get a resident permit for China? Seriously.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

And We're Off!

This time to Dalian, China.

Today, we begin the process of applying for visas. No telling how long it will take (we think the move will actually happen in early/mid December). In the meantime, my darling husband will have to commute there every week (10 hours each way).

I Just Need Some Sleep

When I woke up today I felt like my head was stapled to the bed and my eyelids had fused shut. It was all I could do to get Chase out of bed and send my husband off to work.

I was really looking forward to her first nap (usually around 10 a.m. she goes down for about an hour). Getting her to sleep lately has been really tough, due to her teeth. So I end up rocking her back and forth until she falls asleep.

9:45 a.m. - Just as I had hoped her eyelids started to flutter
9:50 a.m. - Five minutes of rocking, fighting to keep my eyes open
10 a.m. - Her eyes closed and I could feel myself drifting off

then... knock knock knock at the door

(Huh? What's that? I don't know anyone here. Who's knocking?)

Then it came again, but louder. Loud enough to jolt Chase out of her sleepy time train seat.

I picked her up gently and ran for the door, knowing full well that there is a window between the time she *sort of wakes up* and the time she *really wakes up.*

At the door stood five men. Four workers. And the building manager. All wanting to come in to our *not so clean apartment due to my husband getting home late and me not having time or energy to clean.* They had a massive vacuum and looked like they meant business. I wasn't sure what kind of business, or why they needed a vacuum, but it didn't seem appropriate to say, "can you come back in two hours?" Plus, by this time, Chase was wide awake. Coyly smiling at the workers.

And so they came in. Stayed for an hour. Cleaned our AC vents. Don't get me wrong, I am really happy to have improved air quality, but I was basically sleep walking at this point. I couldn't understand a word they were saying. Still not sure why (did I just need coffee or were they really slurring their words together?). And then they left. And Chase was wide awake.

So I decided it was time to go outside. If there's one thing to do with a tired baby, it's distract, distract, distract. So we went to the mall. Not because I like to shop. But because it is a large building, with AC, that offers a lot of stimulation (nothing like a little stimulation to wear out a baby. Chase needs more than most. Her stimulation tolerance level is pretty high at this point).

En route, I decided to take a look at the Singapore underground. I had heard it was clean - and it boy-oh-boy, it sure was. So I took some photos, which are actually pretty blurry, but then again, it's only fitting, as it helps illustrate how I saw the world today.

Apparently they've decided to generate revenue according to height, which struck me as odd - why not by age? Good thing we're leaving Singapore, otherwise we'd have to start paying for Chase next week!

I also stopped into the supermarket - and this weird promotion caught my attention. I mean why would you want to associate a large, plastic toe with breakfast cereal? Is it just me or is that really wacky?

And then I went to Marks & Spencers - for no good reason. I thought this was funny.

And then we headed back to the apartment. Chase was exhausted. It was time for sleep. But by now I was awake. Well, wired actually. I've found I hit a wall sometimes - I just get so tired I can't sleep.

Anyway, long story, short - the rest of the afternoon consisted of me trying to put Chase down for sleep, thinking it was a done deal, and then some interruption would wake her up. So no real nap today - for her or for me. Boo hoo.

A Tall Half-Caff, No Fat, Soy, Eggnog, Mocha, Latte, please...

Brian returned from Dalian, China, last night.

If all goes well, we will be packing our bags and heading to China in the next couple weeks.

Very exciting - not only to be moving - but the concept of staying somewhere for at least a year thrills me to no end.

So life is about to get even more interesting. Apparently very few people speak English there, so I'm sure my Swiss German, French and Italian will come in handy (not!).

I must say, I was happy when Brian reported that Starbucks has invested in Dalian - I trust Starbuck's ability to research and accurately identify emerging markets. It's also nice to know there's a place to go if I just get fed up with being in China and want to *pretend* like I'm in the US.

As an aside: I wonder what Chinese characters are used in translation ... I would use the characters for fame and fortune .

But enough about Starbucks, here is a picture of Dalian...

The Yellow Sea ...

Brian even found an apartment for us. We originally wanted an unfurnished apartment, but unfortunately it is not really an option at the moment. After viewing several apartments, Brian was overwhelmed by how China-rificly they were decorated. Understandably, the apartment below caught his attention immediately.

It comes with a pool and gym (no excuses now, it really is time to get back in shape) ...

And this is our guest bedroom - mmm, comfy - it's waiting for you ...

And in case I start missing the castles in Europe, I can just visit Dalian's castle ... Brian said it is supposed to be 100 years old, but he's pretty sure it was built yesterday.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

President Bush To Visit Singapore This Week

I received this news from my cab driver, along with the fact he will be staying at the Shangri-La. Should people really know this? I mean, isn't this a matter of national security? Maybe Bush is really staying at Raffles Hotel (that's where I would stay).

The cab driver continued, "do you like your President?"

Singapore: Out And About

When I awoke this morning, it wasn't raining. Recognizing we had to act fast, we quickly had some breakfast (fresh papaya) ... Chase wasn't a fan.

So I froze the rest ...

We got dressed ...

Took a look at the map ...

I grabbed my umbrella, camera and diaper bag - and we were off!

Our first stop was Raffles Hotel (it was so fabulous), which opened in 1887 and was named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore. The Singapore Sling was invented at the Raffles Hotel Long Bar. Elizabeth Taylor, Charlie Chaplin, Michael Jackson and the Queen have stayed there (all enjoying Singapore Slings I'm sure).

Just outside Raffles Hotel, we saw the Civilian War Memorial, a 67-metre high landmark, built in remembrance of some 40,000 to 50,000 lives lost during the Japanese Occupation. Built in 1964, the locals call it the 'Chopsticks Memorial.' The four tapered columns symbolize the four main races - Malay, Chinese, Tamil and 'Others' (including Eurasian and European).

We also walked by the Singapore Art Museum, but we didn't go in because we thought Brian would want to come, too.

We also passed the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Singapore.

Saw a strange statue (how I love those Orchids) ...

A building with colorful shutters caught our attention ...

And I came across one of the most gorgeous, graceful flowers I've ever seen...

As we were in a full sweat (even after stopping in two hotel lobbies and two gift shops for a little AC), we decided to call it a day.

On the way back to our apartment, I stopped at the grocery store and bought Brian some lovely, traditional desserts to welcome him back.