Friday, February 12, 2010

Singapore is Synonymous with Shopping

Hey all,

Just a heads up before I go on to my blog. I'm using Jonathon's computer because mine is having some issues with the monitor or something. I can't see to get into my accounts and such. So, please be aware I'm not ignoring any of you if you've tried to contact me. I'm just unable to get into my computer to do anything.

It's too techno boring and makes no sense since I JUST had the thing serviced. But I wanted to let everyone know what is going on...

Now on to bigger and better things...


Shopping in Singapore.

Now one of the other techs who live in the apartment with us said something interesting the other day. He said there is nothing to do in Singapore but shop and eat. Since those are a couple of my favorite things to do, I am in heaven!!!

Now on Sunday, my first real day here, Jonathon had to work for a while so he went in and I unpacked and got my bearings. I then met him for lunch and he showed me around a bit more. Someday I'm going to blog on their rail system. It's amazing.

After lunch, he had to go back to work so I jumped on the MRT which stands for Mass Rapid Transit (and boy is it) and just took a tour of a part of the city. I got off in Woodland at an outdoor market and had my first taste of shopping in Singapore.

WOW!

Because it's the Chinese New Year, they have all these great decorations for the celebration. And lots of them. Reds and Golds of all hues. I bought a few for the hotel room because they were so pretty and very cheap.

The next day Jonathon told me I had to go to Chinatown and I was so glad I did. A bargain hunters delight, I can't tell you the cool shops I saw. But first, on the way I couldn't help but gape at the regular stores that line the streets. They have malls here that make The Mall of America look like a corner market in Mayberry. (Just how many Armani and Cartier stores do you need in a five block area???) These people live for malls. Most of their malls stretch forever underground and can be 10 stories high NOT counting the basement levels. It's like shopping in a bloody rabbit warren.

Can you say HUGE????

Chinatown may not have the glitzy malls, but it is a delight all by itself. Corner stands with great bargains. Hawkers who will pull you into their stores for a look (you do learn to stand up for yourself) and food kiosks everywhere. OMG... the food is wonderful. I discovered a dish called Pad Thai. Rice noodles, chicken, peanuts, bean sprouts and spices. Delicious.

Also found a number of herbal shops where you can buy just about an herb under the sun and then some. LOL Can't wait to try some of those. The descriptions are quite interesting.

For use in calming the mind and breaking of the wind.

Ummm...what??? LOL It's a hoot reading some of them, but as a closet herbalist, I can't wait to give some of them a shot.

I bought a few things including a red and gold Chinese tunic and skirt set. I plan to wear it for the new year. Once I've looked around a bit more, I'll be back. I can see myself spending LOTS of money here. *grin*

The next day Little India was the same yet different. Same type of vendors, but the feel of the area was unique to their own culture. Not quite as well kept as Chinatown, but once you ignore that, the people are great. The hardest thing for me to get past was the way the men looked at me. A blond woman, dressed American and by herself--it was like I was a target for some reason. It kinda creeped me out for awhile.

But, I met some fantastic people once I opened myself up to the experience. An Indian chef named Berita Haran who introduced me to a delicious meal called a Prata. It's basically like a crepe made with wheat flour and water. You roll it out and then break an egg in the middle of it. Add cheese and or whatever else you want. (after smelling the meat market, I stayed with cheese) Then you fold it like an envelope is folded. Cook on a flat grill.

You dip it in curry sauce. I'm not fond of the stuff, but this was good. I bought some for Jonathon since he's a curry fanatic.

I also found this delicious tea called Masala tea. It's like a ginger chai mix and is yummy either cold or hot. The guy who turned me on to it, I think his name is pronounced Alern, showed me how to make it. If you google it, it has all the ingredients and directions. If you like chai tea, you'll love this stuff. It's my new favorite tea.

And the shopping here was great too. I bought a tube sarong, which I love wearing. Only 3.50 American. I also got a tunic, pant and scarf set for less than 30.00 American. The clothing is so light and breezy it's very comfortable and the colors are flattering for anyone.

They have tailors on every corner and you can get stuff hemmed and worked on for pennies. Amazing. And the work is great.

Now, a note about their markets. Both in Chinatown and Little Indian. You really have to toss away a lot of American ideas. For example, their meat markets are really difficult to get used to. As Americans we are used to absolute cleanliness and little if any smell when it comes to shopping for our food.

Not so here. Walking into a Singaporean meat market is very different. The smells, the way things are stored or lack thereof, the types of food available...it's enough to make the strongest stomach do loop-de-loops. I'm not sure I'll ever feel comfortable about buying something from one of those stalls. I saw one too many dead, naked chickens laying around for hours in the heat.

Now the fresh produce is another story all together. Fruits, veggies, spices of all kinds--many I have never seen and couldn't even try to pronounce. Making stir fry with fresh ingredients like these would be wonderful and I'd love to try it some time. The selection is outstanding and the prices are good.

Much better than a regular supermarket. Those are an effort in futility! But I'll save that post for another time! *smile* Let's just say most shopping here is a dream come true. Bargain hunters and cheapskates like me feel like we've died and gone to heaven. Once my computer is working again, I'll put out some actual pics of what I bought and saw!

Hugs to all of you!

CJ England
http://www.cjengland.com/home/Do%20Me%20A%20Favor100x154.jpg
Follow Your Dreams


14 comments:

Tess MacKall said...

Thanks for the glimpse into another culture, CJ. I so envy your trip. So glad you're having a great time. What woman wouldn't? lol Shopping is shopping, and at bargain prices even better.

Take care and have fun. Can't wait for more pics.

CJ England said...

Hey Tess,

I wish I could put all my friends in my pocket and have you over here with me. It's so very cool!

CJ

N.J.Walters said...

Sounds absolutely amazing.

Meandi's corner said...

thats amazing. I hope were going to do the tourist thing with muesums, I say we cause 'm traveling through you lol

Julie said...

You making shopping sound fun. LOL Mom would love it she's always looking for a bargin.

Kathy said...

It sounds like you're having a wonderful time and the place sounds sooooo interesting. Maybe someday I'll get to visit there, have my doubts but I enjoy seeing things and experiencing things that are new and different.

sjrlive said...

Lordy CJ ~ Food everywhere and "sale" prices too! Don't forget to come home now, you hear? LOL.
Does the train have a 'local' name? I ask because I was surprised to read the very English sounding MRT/MassRapidTransit - sort of like New York's very own MTA/Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
I love your pictures and can't wait to see what you "bought and saw"!
Vicariously yours, Sara J.

sjrlive said...

I just noticed that it's after 12 here on the East Coast so I want to wish you and Jonathon a very

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!

Hugs, Sara J.

CJ England said...

Hey N.J.

It's beyond amazing. I'm so glad I've been able to come and visit.

CJ

CJ England said...

Meandi,

I'm hoping to do some museums. They have several in the city, including the National Museum. Jonathon isn't as into that stuff, so I'm planing to go on a day he's working.

CJ

CJ England said...

Julie,

I'm not a crazy shopaholic like some women, but this type of bargain hunting is right up my alley!

CJ

CJ England said...

Kathy,

I find that there is so much to see and do I get overwhelmed. Today I'm taking it easy since Jonathon and I are going to be out late tonight celebrating Valentine's Day.

CJ

CJ England said...

Sara J,

LOL. Jury's still out on when we are coming back. I wouldn't mind some extra time. I'm really loving it here.

And thanks for the V-day wishes. I bought some fun stuff to give Jonathon.

CJ

Phylis said...

Playing catch up with your fun time in Singapore. I got myself an Ipod the other day and it has this neat little ap were you can put a city's time on it. I put Singapore on there. lol Sounds like you are having a wonderful time! Look forward to more pics and more descriptions. Hope your computer get's fixed.