Hong Kong Adventure

This trip marks the first adventure since we’ve arrived to Singapore. Yay! Finally!

I say “we” suggesting that Cody actually went to Hong Kong, but unfortunately he could not make it due to work. Never the less, I had two really great and super fun friends that made up for Cody’s absence. As much fun as we had on our short 3.5 day adventure, there was so much more we could not do or see because of the rain. So, I certainly do not mind going again (but only if Cody can come).

Goofing-off at the airport, since we arrived there SUPER early!
Goofing-off at the airport, since we arrived there SUPER early!

Jetstar was our airline of choice for this flight, and the check-in kiosks could not have been easier and very quick. We had a 10am flight and arrived at the airport around 8am.  Immigration checkpoint was super easy for us, too. (FYI – when Cody and I applied for our Employee and Dependent Passes, we had to have our thumb prints scanned into Singapore’s “system”) Since we are now “locals”, we got to go through these corral-like checkpoints with much shorter queues (“lines” for my North American friends). We first had to scan our passports, then a gate opened for us to pass through, once we passed that gate, it closed and there was another gate in front of us that was closed, as well. There we had to scan our thumb print, and then the final gate opened and then we were off to the races. That whole process I described, because there was no line, took MAYBE one minute to pass through (I wish the U.S. had those easy checkpoints for native citizens). Something to remember for next time we fly with Jetstar – their security check point occurs RIGHT before you enter the gate area at Changi Airport.

ON BOARD! with the funky fog machines clouding the pic
ON BOARD! with the funky fog machines clouding the pic

This plane humidified the already humid environment we were departing from. Oh well! I always think planes have super dry recycled air anyways. Another interesting thing about this airline is that the staff wanted the passengers to open the windows to prepare for take-off AND landing (something that I’ve never heard of before, living in a home with a parent who worked in the U.S. airline business and we flew domestically A LOT). I’m curious as to why they wanted us to do that. :/

Learned these words as I
Learned these words as I “crammed” on the plane… All to learn that most people spoke English where we were… LOL!
Not really sure where I was taking a picture of...
Not really sure where I was taking a picture of…

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But still pretty cool! :)
But still pretty cool! 🙂

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After the almost 4-hour flight, we safely landed in Hong Kong with so much excitement.

Finally arrived in HONG KONG. And where did we have our first meal?? A pizza/Italian bar. Haha! :P
Finally arrived in HONG KONG. And where did we have our first meal?? A pizza/Italian bar. Haha! 😛
I know this picture sucks. Oh well. We had such a fun night of dancing to the 80's!!!
I know this picture sucks. Oh well. We had such a fun night of dancing to the 80’s!!!
... And then the fishbowl happened. Oh boy!
… And then the fishbowl happened
We did a little shopping and found so many yummy candies!!!......
We did a little shopping the first night and found so many yummy candies!!!…… WTH?

The next day, we headed up to The Peak for some shopping and to catch the amazing view. (When it stopped raining, of course) We had great sushi and a nice Cantonese lesson from the friendly staff at Kyo Hachi Japanese Restaurant. We dined with an amazing view (too bad it was too cloudy to see in our picture). After the rain cleared, we had to check out the view at the Sky Terrace.

Late lunch at the Peak! SUSHI! :D
Late lunch at the Peak! SUSHI! 😀
Once the rain cleared up, we were able to visit the Sky Terrace
Once the rain cleared up, we were able to visit the Sky Terrace

After looking at the view for as long as we could stand, we went back into the mall and did a bit more shopping. We found some interesting things…

Now, who doesn't want to rub that all over their face?!?...
Now, who doesn’t want to rub that all over their face?!?…
Riding the Tram back down the hill. I tried to capture how STEEP the hill was! Didn't do it justice.
Riding the Tram back down the hill. I tried to capture how STEEP the hill was! Didn’t do it justice. They kept the lights on the whole way down…

Once we got off the tram, we sort of got lost and stumbled upon a building just having its own light show.

This building was flashing its lights as we passed by.
This building was flashing its lights as we passed by.

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So RANDOM...
So RANDOM…

The next morning, we decided to breakfast with Snoopy and the gang at the Charlie Brown Cafe. This place was beyond adorable with so many memorabilia and cutsie coffees. It definitely helped us start the day off right.

Us with Snoopy and the Gang!
Us with Snoopy and the Gang!
We just had to snap a pic of these adorable coffees with our cute tables.
We just had to snap a pic of these adorable coffees with our cute tables.

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The crew loves baseball, too! ;)
The crew loves baseball, too! 😉

After the great start to our day, we toured around Hong Kong some more, dodged a few rain drops and arrived just in time to beat the crowds for Dim Sum at Treasure Lake Seafood Restaurant. With TVs on all walls, it reminded me of a banquet hall in a hotel or event center. The food was great and after staring at the Chinese writing with NO PICTURES on the menu for a few seconds, the staff noticed our slight panic and handed us an English-written version (much smaller selection, I might add) that had pictures, too. Since Chinese food is not my favorite to begin with, I am not the critic to follow on the quality of food. All in all, the atmosphere was interesting, the staff were very kind, and we were just happy to beat the crowd as we left.

Dim Sum! YUM!
Dim Sum! YUM!

We stumbled upon a parade, too. We have no idea what they were marching for (Falun Dafa?), but a neat thing to catch.

Stopped for a little music/dance break with the marching band
Stopped for a little music/dance break with the marching band

After a fun filled weekend, it was time to head back to SG. One SUPER convenient mode of transportation in Hong Kong was the Airport Express (AE). There was also a shuttle bus that picked us up from our hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui (pronounced kind of like “Chim Sa Choi”) and other various nearby locations and took us straight to the closest Airport Express station. The AE has (I think) 5 stops, and takes you to the airport within 30-minutes. It was super convenient.

Flight back home
Flight back home

What a fun adventure!

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Two WHOLE Months!

“We have been in Singapore for two whole months.”

After our first 3 weeks, we became super busy moving into our new condo (BTW — locals use the term “shifting” when referring to someone “moving in”… IDK). And we love it! It’s in a large high-rise complex. We have wonderful views, several pools for lounging or laps, a gym, party houses, billiard and golf simulator rooms, and soon to have a mini-mart inside the complex. I cannot wait for people to come visit us, because pictures just do not do it justice.

SO HIGH UP!
Ahhh!!! SO HIGH UP!

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Comfy in her new home! 🙂

First Family Meal at our Neighborhood Hawker... LOL! And it's food from the
First Family Meal at our Neighborhood Hawker… LOL! And it’s food from the “Western food” stall.

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This
This “toy” lasted all of 5 minutes. Baylie really loved it…
In the first few weeks in our new condo, I tried to make our space more “homie”. Here are a few things I’ve done.

Puppy Potty Area with my new Hibiscus :D
Self-made Puppy Potty Area with fake grass and my pretty Hibiscus 😀 LOL! I wish I caught the look on Baylie’s face when she first saw the Bully Puppy on her grass (didn’t have my phone on me).

Outdoor lounge space (work in progress)
Outdoor lounge space (work in progress)

3 tall plants for privacy from neighbors' balcony
3 tall plants for privacy from neighbors’ balcony
I really love our outdoor space so far. It’s one of my favorite places in our new home.

View from foyer. Free table/chairs in Dining Room, all other furniture are 2nd hand from savvy/obsessive shopping on Gumtree :) 2 Rugs are from iRugs
View from foyer. Free table/chairs in Dining Room, all other furniture are 2nd hand from (obsessive) shopping on Gumtree 🙂 2 Rugs are from iRugs

Baylie loves the new Dining Room rug :)
Baylie loves the new Dining Room rug 🙂

Baylie loves the new sofa.
Baylie loves the new sofa, too. (the previous one, I sold using Gumtree!)

Don't love the coffee table, but love my new rug, sofa, and matching ottoman.
Love my new rug, sofa, and matching ottoman.

Our first few weeks in Singapore (weeks 1-3)

Looking back on our first few weeks in Singapore, I cannot believe all that we have accomplished and seen in such a short time. We had some incredible foods, found our condo, and met some wonderful new friends.

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LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN! The “Three Amigos” and me. 🙂
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Almost to Singapore, had a layover in Tokyo Narita Airport. Cody and me, and then the “tres amigos!”

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When we landed in Singapore we found this puppy! I love him! Can I keep him?! (Changi Airport)

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And we found these booze! All duty free at Changi Airport!

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But they do not seem to have Diet Coke, it’s Coke Light… NOT the same…

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Just to show all of you the price difference for alcohol… Here is a 6 pack example…

After landing in Singapore at around 2am local time on Feb 22 and a few hours of sleep we went to Holland Village and Orchard Road area for a little site-seeing before the boys had to work Monday morning.

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On to our first adventure in SG! First Uber driver gave us a crash course in “Singlish.” Probably understood 70% of what she was saying during the 7min trip to Holland Village.

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IMG_5624 Cody’s reaction before his first experience with Ramen (in Holland Village). He really loved it after all was said and done.

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And then we found these… at Cold Storage in Holland Village. Yep 10 strawberries for S$28.95…

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I found a 2nd puppy! YAY! (Orchard Road)

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And we caught some Chinese New Year celebration dances (outside of Sephora in the Ion Orchard)

MORE PUPPIES!!! (I really need to find out who this artist is and get me one of these). I love these puppies! They are everywhere! (Orchard)

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After our initial site seeing adventure on Sunday the first week, for me, was a bit strange. Since I did not have a working cell phone outside our complex, I felt a bit trapped here. I learned that getting out of my “comfort zone” would require the use of technology and wifi. Each day, I became more and more brave and ventured further and further away from the temporary apartment we were staying in. During that time, I enjoyed the pool, went down the street to nearby shops and a 7 eleven, where I found a SIM card to help with communications and navigations away from the complex. For most Americans, changing out SIM cards on our cell phones is unheard of and a very foreign concept. But for those who travel frequently to nearby countries (each having their own cell phone companies), a SIM card proves to be very handy. At first, I chose a SIM card provided by a local cell phone company called Singtel. It worked great and served its purpose to get me comfortably and confidently out of the temporary apartment when I went out alone.

Cody, on the other hand, was busy at work learning the ins and outs of his new office. He was provided a cell phone by his company, so communications and navigation in our usual “tech savvy” way came easily for him. He and his two SS (the company he works for will be abbreviated “SS” from now on; in support of the local traditions of acronyms for everything) colleagues (together they shall be referred to as the “three amigos”

At the end of week one, we met up with our real estate agent and viewed many properties. We settled on and fell in love with one property. After settling on the specific area, we viewed many condos within the facility. So many spectacular options were presented to us. Which one to choose!?!?

In between and after condo viewings, ET (our amazing real estate agent) and her husband, RT, took us to some amazing places for breakfast/brunch, lunch, and dinners. They were beyond generous, kind, and amazing. We truly loved spending time with them. They are fabulous people. We really like our adopted Singapore parents. Did I mention how cool they are, too?? 🙂

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The best sushi… ever! Japanese food at Watami (Raffles City Shopping Centre).

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First day I could see our girl! Baylie at Sembawang Animal Quarantine during visiting hours.

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Bars/Restaurants at Boat Quay (pronounced “Key”). We met a lot of new friends at The Red Dot Brewhouse bar after work.

First Hawker Experience. Adam Road Outlet. Introduction to Nasi Lemak courtesy of SG parents R&E.
First Hawker Experience. Adam Road Outlet. Introduction to Nasi Lemak courtesy of SG parents R&E.

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Cody = Sold when he found the Golf Simulator RoomS (there are two!)
Cody = Sold when he found the Golf Simulator RoomS (there are two!)

Contemplating living among the clouds... :)
Contemplating living among the clouds… 🙂

New Years Celebration at The Star Vista (we will be very lucky after eating this meal)
New Years Celebration at The Star Vista (we will be very lucky after eating this meal)

Moo Ka Ta Pre-Cookin' Photo
Moo Ka Ta Pre-Cookin’ Photo

A family that cooks together, stays together! :)
A family that cooks together, stays together! 🙂

Brunching it at The Missing Pan
Brunching it at The Missing Pan
The second week was a week where we ate out and ventured on our own a lot. By the end of week 2, the “three amigos” and I had tried many variations of wonderful cuisines (in the varieties of Singaporean, Indian, Indonesian, Malay, Muslim, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisines). To find those types of foods, we visited some local hawkers (AKA:  “food courts” to my American friends), tried some restaurants, and honestly have not had a bad meal since we arrived. Although, we have not tried very hard to venture out of our comfort zones of variations of chicken, fish/seafood, pork, and beef (no fish heads or huge prawns, yet). :/ After a stop to have Singapore Slings with friends at the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel (home of the original Singapore Slings), we visited The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, ate at their food court, and then ventured to the Gardens by the Bay. Literally, the coolest garden I have ever been to. Especially, since the Gardens were right next to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, you could get some amazing pictures there (especially during the times of the light show at the hotel). The Supertree Grove was by far my favorite during this quick trip to the Gardens by the Bay. I loved the movie Avatar, and being in the Garden at night definitely made me feel like I had entered the world of Pandora. Truly amazing!

Cody becoming more and more brave! YAY!
Cody becoming more and more brave! YAY!

Cody and Kristen
Cody and Kristen

Chili Crab Family Night!
Chilli Crab Family Night!

Crabs three ways + more food! :) So yummy!
Crabs three ways + more food! 🙂 So yummy!

Me and food!
Me and food!

G and food!
G and food!

SG Mom taking a picture of me taking a picture of her! LOL! Gotcha!
SG Mom taking a picture of me taking a picture of her! LOL! Gotcha!

CRABBIES!!!
CRABBIES!!!

Sooooooo many crabs on the wall.
Sooooooo many crabs on the wall.

Twinning!
Twinning!

On to the Korean BBQ! WHAAAAAA????
On to the Korean BBQ! WHAAAAAA????
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Delicious Desert!
Delicious Desert!

Original Singapore Slings at Long Bar at Raffles Hotel
Original Singapore Slings at Long Bar at Raffles Hotel

Yummy Original Singapore Sling
Yummy Original Singapore Sling

Mmmmm! Hotdog Juices! LOL!
Mmmmm! Hotdog Juices! LOL!

Downtown Singapore Skyline
Downtown Singapore Skyline

The crew at the Merlion and Marina Bay Sands Hotel
The crew at the Merlion and Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Cody and Kristen
Cody and Kristen
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Pano Shot
Pano Shot

Thank goodness for the overcast making the outside tour tolerable
Thank goodness for the overcast making the outside tour tolerable

Singapore Flyer in the background
Singapore Flyer in the background

Light show
Light show

Supertree Grove and Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Supertree Grove and Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Supertree Grove
Supertree Grove

Marina Bay Sands Hotel behind us
Marina Bay Sands Hotel behind us
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The third week we soaked up as much of SG as we could, because we were losing one of the “three amigos” at the end of the third week. 😦 We checked out the shopping a lot of people told us about, at a place called Mustafa. I could describe it as a HUGE department store that literally has EVERYTHING, and for reasonable prices. We visited at one of the busiest times (Saturday afternoon), and the boys did not have much patience for this, but they did come away with new clothing for decent prices. So, “YAY!” for them!

Just to show that I WILL BE OKAY here in an Asian country. LOL! I sure do love my Oreos!
Just to show that KRISTEN WILL BE OKAY here in an Asian country. LOL! I sure do love my Oreos!

WHAAAA?!?!??!!
WHAAAA?!?!??!!

LOL!
LOL!

At the 1-Altitude Rooftop Bar
At the 1-Altitude Rooftop Bar

I think this lighting is magical for us.
I think this lighting is magical for us.

At 1-Altitude
At 1-Altitude

Swagger at its finest
Swagger at its finest

Catching the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Light Show
Catching the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Light Show

Cody and Kristen
Cody and Kristen

What's a girl at the top of the world to do?! :P
What’s a girl at the top of the world to do?! 😛
For our final night before we lost one of the guys (he was traveling back to the states after only staying out here for 3 weeks), we went to 1-Altitude. Wow! Is all I can say about that place. There was a great band playing that night and we took in the rooftop 360-degree views. Luckily we got there as the sun was setting (highly recommended), and was able to get some amazing pictures.

These first three weeks have been eye-opening and I plan to share more with you real soon. 🙂

Hello all!

1st Leg of 27hr Travel Day
1st Leg of 27hr Travel Day

Here we go… I wanted to start this blog to easily share with family and friends our adventures as we travel, but it definitely could evolve into more than that as time passes. We will just wait and see. I believe I (Kristen) will be doing most of the major posts onto this blog, but I wanted to include my husband (Cody) in the blog website, because, luckily, I’m not experiencing this journey alone. 🙂

It has been 2 weeks since we left the US to come to Singapore. We left February 20, 2015, and embarked on a 27 hour grueling travel day to Singapore. From Singapore, we plan to visit many different countries nearby and share those experiences with you. I also would like to use this blog to chronicle parts of our life in a new country. In addition, I do not mean for this blog to be critical, offensive, or mean-spirited, by any means. It is just my intension to share my honest perspective of our experiences.

Hopefully, my horrible story-telling/writing “skills” will evolve and better as time passes, as well. As much as I’d like Cody (the better writer of the two of us) to review all of my blogs prior to posting, I doubt he will have the time/want to do so with all of them.

Please enjoy! 🙂

“Steady as we go…”