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Showing posts from February, 2012

Little India

My flight itinerary from Siem Reap to Manila required an overnight stopover in Singapore. I had only enough time to explore one area of the city so I decided to check out Little India because I can still remember a temple we visited several years ago that had hundreds of figures covering its façade and I wanted to see more. Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
Sri Veeramakaliamman is a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Kali. It's on Serangoon Road, a main thoroughfare lined with shops and a few flower stalls.Bright orange and yellow leis hang from one of the stalls across from the temple.

Worshippers wash their feet first before they enter the temple. Although I did see a couple of men who washed their feet after they came out of the temple. Could it be because they had to walk on bare feet inside the temple?
Here's where you wash your feet
I arrived in Singapore days after the Diwali Festival or the Festival of Lights so many of the streets in Little India still ported festive décorat…

I didn't do my homework

It was late evening when I arrived at ChangiAirport in Singapore and all I wanted to do was go to the hotel and rest, rest, rest. I found the taxi line and waited for my turn to hail one. A young woman behind me asked me if I wanted to take the waiting black car on the parking lot and I told her I couldn’t because there were two people ahead of me. She argued with me that those people didn’t want the taxi so if I wasn’t interested, she would take it. That got me going to the waving and liveried driver.
Sanctuary area at Changi Airport
I had earlier asked the tourist information office what it would cost to travel by taxi from the airport to my hotel and they told me that it would be around $20 (Singapore dollars). When we got to the hotel, I checked the meter and it was around $21.00. But to my surprise the driver charged me $34 which is $13 over the metered price. I asked him why and he showed me the chart for the surcharge. I was anticipating a surcharge for arrival after midnight bu…

It's Merienda Time!

Palitaw
How I miss merienda time in the Philippines! For me merienda starts at breakfast with puto from Goldilocks. After lunch I eat a pulvoron or one of those sweets wrapped in colorful cellophane. At 4 p.m. the entire household stops for afternoon break with boiled saba (plantains) or fried bananas dipped in sugar. Sometimes we're lucky to pick our bananas from one of our own trees. 

There's an incredible array of tempting desserts to choose from in the Philippines and I have a few favorites. One is palitaw which is a flat rice cake coated with sesame seeds, sugar and shredded coconut. I usually order this when I'm meeting with friends at Via Mare in Makati.  Here's the link to the recipe for palitaw:
http://panlasangpinoy.com/2010/01/24/flat-rice-cake-palitaw-recipe/

Turon/Fried Banana Rolls
Turon is a deep fried banana roll. It's best eaten fresh off the pan, otherwise the wrap gets soggy and spoils the taste. It's perfect when it's crunchy. If you woul…

Getting Around in Asia

Cinderella went to the ball in a pumpkin coach. Laurence of Arabia rode across the desert in a camel. Mushers and their teams race from Anchorage to Nome with sled dogs. Getting there is surely more than half the fun?
In Siem Reap you have the option to ride an elephant around the Angkor complex for what could be an elevated experience. I also love the orange throw over the back of the elephant for that royal touch!

The procession of tuk tuks above bodes well for independent travelers to Cambodia who wish to move about without the restraining expense of a chauffeur driven limo.


The jeepney was fabricated from used jeeps left by the Americans in the Philippines at the end of World War II.  The most colorful and extravagantly decorated jeepneys ply the roads in Metro Manila. What I like about riding the jeepney is the flexibility of getting off where I please by just asking the driver, "mama, para po dito" (Mister, please stop here).


The tricycle is what I call the transport of…

How do I love thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning





Happy Valentine's Day!

The Kindness of a Stranger

Vanna was my tuk tuk driver in Siem Reap. Some days he was also my guide.I met him at the hotel where I was staying which employs him to stand by and be available for the hotel’s guests for a minimum wage. He speaks some English. I thought we understood each other well. He drove me all over Siem Reap and all the way to the port at Chong Kneas. There had been heavy flooding in the villages and rice paddies near Tonlé SapLake and the roads were washed out in many places. Our tuk tuk was jumping up and down as it crossed potholes along the way. At one point we got stuck in the red mud. Vanna had to wade in the mud to free the tuk tuk. On our way back to town it rained heavily. The driver’s seat is up front and it has no overhead cover so Vanna was drenched but for the raincoat he had thoughtfully bought from one of the stalls at the foot of Phnom Krohm.

Vanna and his tuk tuk
One day I asked him to come and pick me up before dawn so I could see the famous sunrise at Angkor Wat. We were on …