Category Archives: Travel News

Itchy Feed keeps a Wandering …

Visiting Singapore?

I received a post-link from a visitor to Singapore with a very usual itinerary. It is the 1st time I’m reading of such an arrangement. Is it a new form of vacation or am I simply out of touch? Note that Johor Baru is in the state of Johor, Malaysia – a different country – north of Singapore, so this calls for passport entry processing, bag-check, etc. each time you enter/exit.

I can’t comment on why specifically this kind of vacation is sold but I am sharing this just to make readers aware of what’s in store IF you are offered a so-called “better” deal with your nightly stay in a hotel located across the border.

Read on …

One thing Definitely “NOT” to do while Planning for Singapore & Malaysia Vacations !

Leaving on a Jet Plane …

“… I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
I Don’t know when I’ll be back again.” ~ Peter, Paul & Mary 1967

I have come to prefer long, non-stop flights instead of transiting in Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong … wherever. It takes less (precious) time, cuts all the unnecessary getting off & on, lugging hand-carried items & at times extra screening, etc.

It takes an average of 16 hours on the long cross-Pacific sector but United Airlines has such good videos/movies that I have watched, on average, 6-7 of them each time.  No boredom and usually don’t even get into sleep mode.

Just cross the International Date Line and the Pacific Ocean to get directly to my destination ~ is that cool or what?!

The above pics were taken on a return flight to the US.
Once on US soil, leg stretching can be attained with a fast long walk from gate to gate (international to local terminals). The transit wait followed by a 5-hr flight to Orlando, Florida, is when the eyelids will feel like gym dumbbells! Cross continent flight is nap-time.

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On This Little Street in Singapore …

The street where I lived … during my childhood… East Coast Road.It’s an old street with many old buildings retained but with new shops and businesses. It actually made me wonder what became of the old shops ~ books & comic stores, ice cream parlors & bakeries, laundries, mom&pop sundry stores, medical clinics …

As I walked on … “Aargh! It’s still there!” though closed for that day. Mum once told me that I got my 1st shot of cocktail here ~ BCG & 4-in-1 (whatever made up the ‘4‘ during that era is anyone’s guess) ~ yes, I survived.

Now run by Junior Kai

Each time I got sick, this is where I would end up and everytime I was here on that dreaded green flatbed, I would see Doc with a syringe in hand. I simply didn’t want to remember his name so I just called him Dr. Needle till I was 10 years old.

A more pleasant sight is the ever famous Red-House. For many years, it stood vacant, boarded up, sadly on a wavering status of whether to be conserved or not. Thankfully, it’s been restored but is now a bakery-nouveau of sort. I used to ride my bicycle here to get mum her bread & cakes and, yes, the aroma could actually trigger hunger so I learned to run this errand, twice a week, after lunch.

The old “Red House” Katong Bakery.

The Katong Red House Bakery has a fascinating history – it began with the 1925 ownership by a wealthy Muslim tradeswoman Hajjah Fatimah (Hajjah indicates completion of pilgrimage to Mecca). In 1931, a Jewish man named Jim Baker, started a Bakery (see the pun? 😀 ). Then came a Hainanese man, Mr Tan Siang Fuan, who took over, paying $600 as “coffee money”.  The Hainanese are famous in Singapore  for literally being Bartender, Baker & Chicken Rice Maker (see earlier post with Chicken Rice mentioned).

Every child had a hideaway then (not sure about now) and mine was right here in the back alley of the next street. Hey! we were cellphone-less & escaping from chores was considered cool.

Where I rode bicycles & played with dogs and chickens.

We attached nets wall-to-wall and played badminton and volleyball. I collected stale bread from Red House Bakery and would feed & talk to the roaming chickens and dogs. Yes, life was good living in harmony with different beings.

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Built by a Jewish Merchant in 1928

I walk the streets of Singapore, each time when I’m back, with a different feel these days. I try not to take anything for granted. So when I saw the David Elias Building, I stopped, I observed, I approached…

David Elias Building

Note the significant Star of David at the top and along its sides. Built by Mr Elias, a Jewish merchant, in 1928 to house his trading company it just emits vibes of history.  It stands at the the junction of 2 main roads indicating a prime location.

The tallest point of its façade.

With the intermingling of races & religions over the years, I think ownership and tenancy has played a significant role in little addition(s) to this conserved historical building. From my brief observation, it shows ~ very subtly. I wish I had a reason/excuse to explore its interior but alas … 😦

Little mirrors attached.

Mirrors outside a building, placed in strategic locations, are used to deflect “poison arrows” in Feng Shui… other buildings’ pointed corners, roof edges, broken walls, etc., so this indicates a Chinese Feng Shui believer owns/rents some or all of this building now.

Down on the ground level, what else can there be but a food shop/eatery for us Singaporean food lovers.

Dual purpose blinds – block sun’s rays & advertise.

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Walk All Over … From Different Perspectives

Sometimes people are just so rushed that they do not stop to take a 2nd look and appreciate things literally starring at them face on. Yes, I’m guilty of that when I’m rushing through, on errands.

In the past I would not have noticed but this time I stopped and I looked … busy people, wide pacing, street crossing …

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♫ Food, Glorious Food … minus little Oliver

“Oh how I do miss thee, when I am far away …
can never be substituted,
no matter what others say.” ~
Me, the food lover

It may look simply strange and “foreign” to many but being back in my gastronomical heaven, calories and dieting can wait.

Growing (Edible) Greens on No One’s Land

During a casual stroll around a friend’s neighbourhood in Penang, Malaysia, from a distance I spotted someone kneeling amongst weeds, in absolute concentration of sort. Plain curiosity got the better of me so I walked up and said hello. Then I realised the green growth were not invasive weeds but actually edible plants which I grow in my backyard!

The kind lady told me “No land is wasted here. All neighbours seed sow or plant cuttings where empty land is ignored by government and we all simply pick what is available and just what we need for a meal-dish”.  Then she insisted that I take a bag of young sweet potato leaves so that my friend can taste what is freely available and join in the anonymous food growing group in the area.

Should I also start planting edibles in/on vacant lots in my neighbourhood? Food for thought ~ pun intended. 😀

Singapore’s Thieves’ Market

Soon to disappear, Singapore’s “Thieves’ Market” was a place I decided to visit, not having been there for at least 20 years. It has since shrunk to a fraction of its original size with parts fenced off and shipping container type of offices, usually set up by construction companies, next to the roads.

Not all items are thieves’ haul, this whole “mart” is more like a Rag-&-Bone (wo)mens’ meeting ground. What is sold simply does not involve inventory or stock taking, I’m sure.

1 of the entrances

No window dressing – WYSIWYG…

Goodluck kitties, cooking pot, electric cord, garments …

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

These 1851 US Dollar coins are actually “fantasy coins” – did not exist in that era, is of no monetary value and Made in China – I kid you not.

Packed up to go. Whether this vendor will return to set up store tomorrow is anyone’s guess.

Another local feature is disappearing… is this because of progress? I don’t know, but it just saddens me that each time I’m back, I learn that change is occurring at a faster pace than the last visit.