Category Archives: Friends

Update time

Standard

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything! It’s been a turbulent time over the last few months. I got made redundant from my job, which was a horrible experience, back at the beginning of November. I’ve also had some health issues – a trapped nerve – which has caused me a lot of pain and I’ve been spending time trying to resolve. Plus the usual end of year madness – preparing for and celebrating Christmas and the New Year with the in-laws. And now I find myself already a month into 2015 and trying to find some purpose.

I’ve been filling a lot of my time with trying to get fit. I’ve been doing a load of Pilates, plus my physiotherapist is a bit more like a personal trainer, and has me doing weights and lunges in the gym. I’m also trying to fit in some cardio and swimming as well, so it’s been a busy time. I’ve been making time to catch up with old friends, as well as exploring the island a bit more with my friend Crystal. I’ve also been advising a friend on a new business idea which she’s launching.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll be able to find a bit more time to get back into blogging again and share my latest adventures again.

Advertisements

Back to the drawing board

Standard

So, after much silence I decided to start writing in this thing again. The main reason, if I’m honest about it, is that I’m unemployed again so have much more free time to write and explore again.

So what happened with the job? A lot of you know the story but in a nutshell my employer ran out of money. After a year working there and 3 weeks to go before the conference I’d spent all that time organising, I found myself in a meeting with my ex-boss telling me there was no more money and they had to let us (myself and my colleagues) go, as well as cancelling the conference. Needless to say, this was a bit of a bombshell. A month on and there are still a lot of things to be resolved – my tax clearance still hasn’t been done, outstanding salary (of 2 months) is still to be paid.

However, every cloud has a silver lining. In my case, the conference being cancelled meant I could go to one of my best friend’s weddings. In fact, she is maid of honour at my wedding next year. So you can imagine, we were both thrilled! So I’ve spent the past week in a rather mild England, celebrating with some of my best friends. I also got the chance to see my family which I was especially delighted about.

Congratulations again, Mr and Mrs Hayward!

the girls

A big fat Gujarati wedding

Standard

In between Christmas in England and New Years in Singapore, Will & I flew to Ahmedabad in India to celebrate our friends wedding. They had already had a ceremony in England, but now it was time for the Indian side! Having never been to an Indian wedding, we were really looking forward to it but without any idea of what to expect.

Before we left Singapore we bought our outfits – a beautiful beaded sari for me and a kurta pajama (complete with matching shoes!) for Will. We picked up the outfits in Little India. Will’s was ready to take home, but I had to have my blouse made to measure. They were super sweet and turned it around really quickly for me (a couple of days) but I’d recommend leaving at least a week. I also got the skirt part of the sari with a lining stitched in and a wrap around hook-and-eye set up, making it really easy for me to put it on myself! Rather than having to have one of the couple’s aunties wrap me up!

Weddings are a massive event in India – the WHOLE family comes out for them and I think there were over 400 guests at this one. Vik’s family are Hindu, so what I’m going to describe is what we experienced – no doubt there are many variations on what happens and rituals that we didn’t get to see, as we weren’t part of the ‘wedding party’.

We started off with the Sangeet. The sangeet party is usually the most elaborate and grand part of the wedding and this one was no exception. We all got on a coach out to a country club about 30 minutes out of central Ahmedabad. The venue was beautifully decorated with huge flower displays and loads of amazingly colourful lighting.

Arriving at the sangeet

There was a huge buffet meal available, with everyone milling around eating and drinking fruit juices and lassi (being a Hindu wedding and Hindu state there was no alcohol available – kind of a relief after the boozy Christmas time we’d just had in England). The food was amazing with lots of different stations offering different vegetable curries, dhal, and roti. We sampled loads of different things – some were absolutely delicious, others blew my mind with the spiciness! We finished up our meal with condensed milk ice creams on sticks (not dissimilar to a Mini Milk…) which were flavoured with cardamom – delicious!

After the meal, we moved to the seating area. By now, the sun had gone down so the weather was actually chilly, so we were grateful for the big gas heaters that were strategically placed! What I didn’t realise was we were now in for 3 or 4hours of Indian dancing and singing! The sangeet was hosted by a famous singer who I think had appeared on Indian Idol (or a similar reality TV show). The best bits were when big groups of the groom’s family appeared on stage to perform set dance routines. The guys amazed me with their dancing – especially when it included some Gangnam style moves!

The guys dancing

It was incredibly energetic to watch. Then the ladies all performed some routines as well – a beautiful mixture of elegant arm movements and swirling skirts.

Ladies dancing at the sangeet

After the formal programme – lots more singing and dancing (!) – we all got up to dance in front of the stage with the whole wedding party. Pretty soon this was one big undulating mass of people moving in time to the music. Quite an amazing spectacle and I felt really English, with my inability to do some of the same moves in the same way as the impossibly elegant Indian ladies!

Dancing at the sangeet – sorry for the slight blurriness, everyone was dancing!

Then people started getting onto the stage and dancing. Aunties pulled Will & I up there to join in. But before too long we were all being asked to leave the stage as they were worried it was going to collapse! I guess several hundred people dancing will do that! So we carried on dancing on the grass, until my poor little feet were too tired to do any more and we joined other guests back on the coach to the hotel.

The bride – Catherine – in the midst of all the dancing

The next day, we slept in late, before having a short walk up the road from the hotel, in search of an ATM and water. We didn’t have much luck on either front but we did get to see lots of market stalls, motorbike repair shops and kids playing cricket. Back at the hotel we donned our Indian outfits (we’d worn more ‘Western’ outfits to the sangeet so we could dance more easily) and got into a tuk-tuk to take us to the wedding venue. Speeding through the Ahmedabad streets with my sari on, I felt impossibly glamorous!

In all our Indian finery

We arrived at the wedding venue and met up with some of the other guests. As we were waiting, the bride arrived. She had to wait with her family whilst we all took part in the groom’s procession.

Catherine arrives at the wedding venue

There was a band lounging around in the shade who seemed pleased to see us and kept waving over! The guys got taken off to have turbans made for them. After that we had time for a few quick photos before exciting news that an elephant had arrived! We’d been hearing rumours about this, but it was still unexpected. We all trundled out into the street to find a big group of family waiting and there was indeed an elephant!

The arrival of the elephant

Vik, the groom, soon arrived in a car covered in flowers. The band started playing – lots of trumpets and drums – creating an infectious beat. It was time for Vik to climb aboard the elephant.

Vik getting ready to climb onto the elephant

All aboard!

Will kept commenting that it reminded him of something out of Aladdin – the bit where Aladdin arrives amidst great ceremony to meet Princess Jasmine! I think it was the little parasol…

The procession of the groom is known as the baraat. The music was going and soon everyone was walking in front of the elephant, leading him towards the wedding venue and his bride. Every now and then the band would stop walking, and this was an opportunity for the processional to dance and give the band money to continue. We would only walk a few metres before stopping again and dancing some more!

Dancing in the baraat

The groom’s mother in beautiful orange

There seemed to be some set dances that went on as well as lots of clapping. It was a great opportunity to learn some dance moves, and to admire the wedding outfits of the guests. Everyone was wearing rich, vivid colours and the women looked beautiful in their heavily beaded and embroidered saris.

Eventually we arrived at the wedding venue (it probably took us 45 minutes to cover about 100 yards!). Here there was more dancing – this time with lots of scarves being swirled around. Then the groom got down off the elephant and was taken to meet the bride and her family. I couldn’t see a lot of this – we were towards the back and there were loads of people. Apparently, the bride’s mother has to keep pinching the nose of the groom to put him off taking her daughter away. The bride then has to ‘catch’ the groom by putting a garland of flowers around his neck. This is greeted with lots of cheering and clapping from the wedding guests. We then filed into the wedding venue.

We were all seated around a big raised area in the centre, where the ceremony would be performed. At this point, I found the divide between Indian and Christian weddings greatest. Usually, the actual ‘marriage’ is very solemn and everyone pays attention at every wedding I’ve been to. At an Indian wedding, it is a lengthy process, heavy with ritual and tradition. It goes on a long time, so everyone wanders around, chats, and eats! Waiters kept bringing us drinks and snacks to keep us going! I found out later that the bride and groom aren’t allowed to eat anything until the wedding is over!

The groom arrives first and there seemed to be a long blessing and prayers. Then the bride arrived, accompanied by all her female family members, who tightly surround her, carrying candles. There is also a sheet carried over her head, so you can hardly see her.

The bridal procession

A brief glimpse of Catherine!

I didn’t know what was happening most of the time after that but there is a really good guide to Indian weddings here. I know there was a fire, and they had their feet touched a lot. They also seemed to be given a lot of gifts.

Finally married!

After the ceremony is over, all the guests lined up to have their photo taken with the bride and groom. This went on for AGES! Apparently the line is formed by family hierarchy – with immediate family going first, aunts, uncles and cousins next, then more further removed family, and finally friends. After this, the bride and groom are finally allowed to eat! We expected more dancing, but there wasn’t any – apparently the sangeet is where the big ‘party’ takes place. The bride and groom then went off for further blessings and rituals at the family home.

The next day, Vik’s cousin got married so we were all invited along for that. It was a completely different wedding – the groom arrived on a horse and everything was done outside. It was nice as we got to spend time Vik & Catherine, rather than mostly watching them!

Will & I with Vik & Catherine

It was a fantastic experience – one I’ll never forget. It was wonderful to be back in India, celebrating such a happy occasion and getting an insight into a huge part of Indian culture. Thanks so much for inviting us you guys – we had a blast!

Candles and petals outside the wedding venue

As usual, there are more photos over on Flickr.

A trip home: London 2012

Standard

Unless you’ve been literally living under a rock the past month, it won’t have escaped your attention that my fabulous home city of London just played host to the 2012 Olympic games. Having been excited about it since it was announced 7 years ago that London would be the host city, there was no way Will & I would be missing out on being part of it. After a  bit of drama actually getting our hot little hands on our tickets (combination of moving abroad and the fact that Locog would not let us change our delivery address months in advance of delivery), we managed to pick them up from the post office when we popped back in June.

We were still in Singapore for the opening ceremony but we managed to watch quite a few events before we left, such as seeing Bradley Wiggins win gold in the road race time trial. There was something magical about seeing a British athlete winning gold, cycling through areas that I’d grown up in, around Hampton Court and Bushy Park. It actually got me a little choked up and definitely pining for the UK.

Before long though, we were back in London and, despite having landed at 5am, were heading up to Wembley arena to watch Mexico play Senegal in the football. We met up with our friends Adrian & Camilla, who also had tickets to the same game.

Inside Wembley Stadium

Will it be a goal?!

Our stylish tickets

After watching Mexico beat Senegal in a surprisingly action-packed match, we headed down to Hyde Park to experience one of the free to enter Fan Zones. The Fan Zones were spread over London and allowed people to come together to watch the different events. Well, we picked a great evening to go down! It was the evening that saw Mo Farah win the 10,000 metres, as well as Jessica Ennis scoop gold in the heptathlon, finally proving to all her critics that she was indeed worth all the hype. The atmosphere in Hyde Park was incredible – the crowd roaring and cheering, the tension watching Mo Farah creep up to the front of the pack, the sudden rush of adrenaline when we realised he was going to win – amazing!

The next few days passed in a blur of seeing friends and family, and soaking up everything London and the UK has to offer. It was so wonderful to be back on familiar territory. Will managed to go to Hyde Park with his sister, to watch some of the triathlon (she competes in triathlons herself), but I was up in Yorkshire seeing my Granny!

Thursday saw our next dose of Olympic excitement, with a visit to the Olympic Park over in Stratford. We took one of the high-speed Javelin trains from St Pancras to Stratford which was great fun. Luckily the sun had come out, so the whole park was bathed in glorious sunshine.

Welcome!

Anish Kapoor’s striking ‘Orbit’ tower

I really loved the Olympic Park. It’s vast with the aquatics centre, velodrome and the main athletics stadium. The landscaping was really pretty, with lots of green spaces filled with wild flowers. There was something really ‘British’ about the whole place. We had a good wander around, as we’d arrived super early to soak up some atmosphere. This included eating a traditional British curry (!) down by the riverside, as well as enjoying some English cider in the sunshine. We met some terrific people, who we just got chatting to, who were incredibly friendly – they even bought us drinks … this NEVER usually happens in London! I think one of the things I loved most about the Olympics was how happy and friendly everyone was. The volunteers did a superb job of being really cheery but hugely helpful, and all of the members of public that we met were so excited and happy to be a part of it. It was like all the cynicism and British whining had been sucked away! The patriotism blew me away as well – there was barely a single person who wasn’t wearing some kind of team GB t-shirt or who didn’t have a Union Jack transfer stuck to their cheek!

Union Jack trainers!

Will gets his paws on some Team GB merchandise

Before too long, the sun had started to lower in the sky and it was time for us to head into the Olympic stadium for some athletics action! We got really lucky with the session we went to, as we got to see Usain Bolt compete, and take gold, in the 200m final. We also saw some of the closing events in the decathlon – javelin and 1500m. We also got to see a World Record be broken by David Rudisha of Kenya, in the men’s 800m.

The stadium was full of noise the whole time we were there – everyone was cheering on all the athletes, regardless of what country they were representing. During the track events, there was a ‘wall of noise’ that followed them around the stadium. I can’t imagine what it felt like competing there, but I got some serious goosebumps at times! I don’t think I’ve ever felt so proud of where I come from. Can you imagine what I would’ve been like if we’d won a gold that evening?!

Inside the Olympic stadium

That’s Usain Bolt in lane 7!

Jamaica take gold, silver, and bronze in the 200m

The Olympic flame

Being a part of London 2012 was one of those ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ moments for me. Congratulations to all the athletes who competed, in particular to Team GB of course! Best medal haul yet!

I’ve never felt so proud to be British, and a Londoner, and I really want to say thank you to everyone who made it a reality – you did an incredible job and these memories will stay with me forever.

Policemen and kids doing the ‘Bolt’

Thank you London

You can see more photos from London 2012 over on my Flickr set by clicking here

24 hours in London & a Tuscan wedding

Standard

Back at the end of June we took a trip back home, and then to Italy to see our gorgeous friend’s Tony and Jacquie get married. I had been looking forward to this trip so much – I was going back to England! Only for 24 hours but still… better than nothing.

After touching down at Heathrow at 5am (ouch) we were suddenly sitting in a taxi going down the M4, towards Will’s parent’s house. All around me was the beautiful English dawn, fields either side of the motorway, and SHEEP (how long has it been since I saw a sheep?!). I just couldn’t help the tears that sprang to my eyes – all of this was so beautifully familiar – it was totally overwhelming. I found myself with such an ache in my stomach as I realised just how much I had missed my green and pleasant land. We spent the next 24 hours in the company of family – talking, laughing, catching up on news. We also went to visit the money pit flat, which actually was starting to look like it could be a home again, rather than just a pit of money with damp, crumbling walls.

I can’t tell you how much of a delight it was to see my Mum – to sit and eat lunch in one of Brixton’s gorgeous little eateries, and chat away like no time at all had passed. We then went back to Will’s parent’s place to sit and talk some more. Then my little brother arrived! I will embarrass him now but I have missed him very much indeed. We sat and ate proper English sausages, gorgeous English strawberries and drank cider. It was probably the most blissful afternoon I had spent in a long time. But all too soon it was time for them to leave, and for us to go to bed. My familiarity tank (thanks KJ!) had a much-needed emergency top-up.

The next morning left no time for wistfulness – we were straight back to Heathrow, this time to fly off to Rome. After security we went to find our friends Phil and Sat. Boy can those two give good hugs! It was so great to be back with people you’ve known for years – chatting and bantering away like we’d been away for no time at all. Phil used to live in Australia so he totally gets the expat weird thing which I love. After a short but bumpy flight we landed in Rome. I had forgotten how much I love Italy – the last time I was here was when Will took me for my birthday after I’d finished my finals, so some time ago.

We were in Rome just for a day – time spend eating and wandering around the city, before bumping into more of our friends by the Trevi Foundation (so strange to just be walking in a foreign city and then spot familiar faces).

Will & Phil enjoying a cold beverage in Rome

Trevi Fountain

That evening saw us meeting up with the bridal party, and enjoying some delicious Italian food, before watching Italy make it to the final of Euro 2012! This was followed up by much singing and dancing in some of Rome’s bars.

The next morning, a bit sleep deprived and hungover, we took the train down towards Pienza, where the wedding was going to be held. We were staying in a little agroturismo nearby to the wedding venue. It was a great option for our large group, as we all had our own rooms with en suite, and many of the units had kitchen/living rooms as well.

What a view!

That evening we went out into Pienza town, which is really picturesque. It kind of clings to the side of a hill, meaning you get the most spectacular views from the town wall. There are lots of twisty little paved streets, and apparently a great cheese shop (although I didn’t make it there myself). It was great just hanging out with friends, enjoying the view and a glass of perfectly chilled white wine.

View from Pienza

The next morning we headed over to La Bandita (the wedding venue) early, as Will was doing a reading and they needed him for a run through. I had a great afternoon getting ready with the bride and bridesmaids.

The wedding itself was gorgeous. La Bandita is set up on a hillside, with a big infinity pool – you can see more photos on their website here. They had set up the aisle outside, with a beautiful covered area next to the house where we ate dinner. We had a fantastic time, listening to all the readings and seeing our friend’s pledge to be with each other forever. There were definitely tears (I always cry at weddings!). I will leave you with some photos.

The bride and groom

Will & I all scrubbed up

A date to remember

Beerfest 2012

Standard

First of all – an apology. I went to Beerfest way back on the 9th June, but then due to my camera having suffered at the hands of a foam finger, requiring a brand new lens, I am only posting this now. Anyway, back to Beerfest.

Beerfest Asia is now in its 4th year, and is held at the Marina Promenade (near the Singapore Flyer), which is also part of the F1 track. It plays host to a huge variety of beers, but also includes ciders, wines and spirits. So there really is something for everyone. But of course, the main event is definitely the beer. There were 350 different beers from around the world on offer! Although we couldn’t possibly sample all of them (I think that would have involved an ambulance if we’d even tried) we certainly had a lot of fun trying out lots of the ones that were on offer.

View of the Singapore Flyer

I was lucky enough to receive a pair of VIP tickets, and we had also won a pair of complimentary tickets at a pub quiz a couple of weeks previous, so it meant a few of us were able to go along and get beer sampling! Being a VIP meant we had our own dedicated bar, free-flow of beer, and a VIP goody bag to take home.

VIP Beerfest cup

We tried a whole host of different beers that were on offer. I opted to try some of the fruit beers that were available, having enjoyed some in London in the past. I found the strawberry beer a bit too sweet for my liking, but there was a grapefruit beer that I loved – not too sweet or too sharp, just nice and refreshing. We also tried a couple of different types of Pilsner and the Kirin beer.

We then settled in to enjoy the Beerfest atmosphere – it was probably one of the most raucous evenings I’ve had in Singapore! Everybody seemed to be in a good mood and we really enjoyed the live music that was going on. It was great to be with friends, drink good beer, and let it rip on the dancefloor!

Check out the hair!

We then had even more hilarity as the competitions started on stage. My friend Mark won the competition for doing the loudest and longest ‘Beerfeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssssttttttttttttt’ (Go Mark – woohoo!) and Nav managed to win ‘Hairiest Chest’, which I think he clinched by doing some topless Bollywood dancing! I won’t shame them by putting photos up…instead, here’s me in my Fruli hard-hat!

Fruli hard hat

Watch out! Camera killers!

I think without a doubt, our evening at Beerfest was one of the best evenings I’ve had in Singapore. If you get the chance to go next year, I would thoroughly recommend it as it really is a good night out, and I’m sure if you are more of beer connoisseur than I am you will appreciate all the choice on offer.

The Beerfest 2012 gang

Thanks to notatourist and SingTel for the invitation and our VIP passes. 

6 months in

Standard

Today is our six-month anniversary of arriving in Singapore. I cannot believe we have been here 6 months already! This is officially the longest either of us has ever been away from the UK so it feels fairly momentous.

I wanted this post to be a bit reflective, so I’ve been reading back on my old posts and I’ve realised what a journey I’ve travelled on. Before we left I was super anxious – I was nervous about what living in this new country would mean, and how it would impact my old life. I worried about everything – all the tiny details like where would we buy furniture or who would supply our mobile phones. I also worried about the big stuff like how I would cope with not working, the homesickness and how moving here might affect my relationship with Will. Man, I really worried a lot!

I think the one big thing I’ve learnt about living here for 6 months is that it is a real rollercoaster of an experience. You have days where everything is wonderful – the sun shines, it isn’t as humid, you go out exploring and see some wonderful thing, talk to some amazing people and eat delicious food. But you also have days where things are tough – everything reminds you of what you left behind, whether its people or cultural differences. Everything can feel like you are battling against the tide even to do the simplest of tasks. Those difficult days are now less frequent, and the happy days are more and more common. I have been fortunate to meet some wonderful people who have become my new social and support network. And I have my old friends who continue to send me long newsy emails to keep me up to date.

Life is richer I think. I experience something new almost every day, and that is something I will always be truly grateful for. I have had my eyes opened by the people I’ve met, the places I’ve visited, and the things I’ve seen. I have learnt huge amounts about myself, and realised that I am perhaps stronger than I sometimes give myself credit for. I have realised that its ok to miss people – it just means you know some great people who are worth missing!

I think most importantly, I don’t regret coming here. I am hugely fortunate to be able to be here, and see the world. I am also super excited about the next 6 months. Thanks to everyone who got me there, but the biggest thanks has to go to Will. I couldn’t have done any of this without him.

Beaching it in Bintan

Standard

Over the Easter bank holiday, we went to Bintan with our friends Fi & Nav for a little bit of beach hut action. Bintan is a firm favourite amongst Singapore residents, as it’s the perfect beach side getaway, but only an hour ferry ride from Singapore. It is part of the Riau archipelago in Indonesia, so you get all the flavour of being in a different country, without travelling very far. To Will’s delight, the time difference between Bintan and Singapore, means that you arrive at the same time that you depart!

On the recommendation of a friend (cheers Adam!), we stayed on Trikora Beach in a lovely little place called the Shady Shacks. Basic but lovely huts right by the beach, with a little restaurant/bar to provide sustenance and refreshment. With some good friends and a pack of cards, what more do you need?! Trikora Beach is on the other side of the island to Bintan Resorts, which is the part of the island that most people visit. We had an hour drive in a car to arrive, but it was nice to really escape all the hustle and bustle.

View from our ‘Shady Shack’

Part of the beach

The accommodation is basic – take a sarong or something similar to sleep under, and some toilet paper! However, the host, Lobo, is super friendly and very helpful. The menu in the restaurant is centered around fish and chicken, and while we didn’t get bored with the small selection during the time we spent there, I think any more than a few days and you’d be craving something else to eat.

Post fish – with Fi & Nav

Mostly we spent our time relaxing on the beach; reading books, swimming and chatting away. We also played lots of cards! On the second day we were there, we arranged a boat to take us to one of the little island we could see from the beach, that had the most gorgeous pale sand, and beautiful turquoise water. It was actually a nicer beach than the one just by the Shady Shacks, and was nice to have a little change of scene. After whiling away a few hours there, we came back and had a massage on the beach – bliss!

Island hopping

The boys relax on the boat over

What a beach!

That evening there was the most gorgeous full moon, and I had a bit of fun trying to spell out letters by moving my camera around to catch the light – what do you think?!

Moon ‘W’

Moon ‘C’

We had a fantastic time on Bintan – it was great going to sleep to the sound of the waves crashing outside, and waking up to see the sun rise over the South China Sea (still sounds impossibly exotic to me!). I can’t speak for the other parts of the islands, but I’d recommend hanging out at Trikora beach if it’s just for a few days, and you don’t mind getting back to basics, whilst soaking up the sunshine and the views.

Fantastic friends

Standard

Yikes, I am very behind on my blogging! My lovely friend Liz and her boyfriend Andy came to visit nearly a month ago, and I’m only just getting around to blogging about it!

I’ve said before that one of the greatest joys when you are an expat, is having friends and family coming to visit you. Liz is one of those rare and lovely friends who was so excited and supportive about our moving here, that she’d booked her flights out here to visit before we even had ours booked! At the time, I remember sitting at the office during my last few days at work thinking about how far away March was, and how it felt like an eternity was stretching out in front of me before I would see her. But, time does funny things to you when you move abroad and all your usual routines and markers are up in the air. Suddenly, March was here and Liz & Andy were waving at me from the baggage collection belt in Changi Airport!

We did lots of stuff while they were here, including visiting the Zoo, Botanic Gardens, Arab Street, and Chinatown. It was great to show them both some my favourite places in Singapore, and to eat lots of delicious food!

Beautiful white tiger

The lovely Liz & I

Beautiful orchid

Drinks in the Raffles courtyard (with Fi too)

The view from the 70th floor at New Asia Bar

But best of all, was spending time with one of my best friends, catching up on all the news from home and sharing all those silly jokes that come so naturally when you have known someone for years. I love all the friends I have made since I arrived, but I also appreciate how wonderful it is to have people in your life who have shared even more with you. Friends are awesome and I count myself very fortunate to have so many that I truly treasure.

Eating Chili Crab

Standard

We had a surprise flying visit from a friend of Will’s who came out to Singapore on a very last-minute business trip. Whilst he was here he wanted to do some ‘typical Singaporean’ things. This included sampling the famous Singapore Chili Crab. We ummed and ahhed about the different places we could take him to sample this classic Singaporean fare. In the end, we decided to play it safe and took him to Jumbos Seafood , by Clarke Quay. We munched our way through a starter of some prawns and tofu, before tucking into a huge chili crab and an equally huge black pepper crab.

Despite the name, chili crab is not generally that spicy. It is served in a thick sauce made with tomatoes. This sauce was slightly sweet, with a slight kick of chili.

Chili crab

Chili crab

The black pepper crab is dry, but with a big pepper kick. I’d say I definitely preferred the black pepper crab as you really got to taste the crab flavour; with the chili crab the flavour is masked and you may as well enjoy dunking bread into the sauce and gobbling that up instead!

Black pepper crab

Black pepper crab

Getting into the crab can be a messy business, so be prepared to get your fingers sticky. They helpfully provide you an apron/bib type thing to cover your top, so you don’t end up with sauce all over you. This is not true of the table unfortunately, which was covered with sauce by the time we left!

Will getting ready to crunch

Handy apron

Handy apron

Eating chili crab is a great fun thing to do in Singapore with friends. It is quite a sociable dish, with much hilarity as you try to dig out all that gorgeous crab meat. Whilst not a staple dish for us since we arrived, it definitely is a taste of Singapore.

Finger licking good