California wine drives

Wine. Don’t you just love it? That genius who found a way to make this beverage in northern Iran surely deserves to have a monument in our opinion. Now we are not advocating drinking, but neither are we probitionists. We believe a little moderation is key, like most things in life.

Some places in the world are blessed with the right combination of climate, soils and other geological attributes (water, landform etc) in which the fruit from which most wines are derived can flourish. Today we have wines from so many other fruits, but that is a story for another day.

You might have read in one of the back issues of our newsletter about where Shiraz wines hail from. Well, today we are sharing with you not that story, but one of our adventure into the famed California wine district of Napa. It has been unfortunate last year we saw so much damage in and around the area from the fires, and we hope it is recovering.

Responsible drinking.

That will be mentioned countless times and we are sure you agree with us. Do you need to go on a wine tour with some of the operators out there? Or can you craft out a DIY schedule for yourself? We did the latter and combined it with a dose of touristic activities. We really enjoyed the short road trip. Read the full transcript of our little drive here.

Have you wine toured Napa before?

The MRT series – Tampines (EW2)

How do you think you should pronounce it? Tam-pines? Tam-pee-nes? Now don’t get any ideas… for the second of the two pronunciation is the accurate one in local language. You are sure to be getting some chuckles if you chose the former.

Do you know what ironwood trees are? Because in the past this area was mostly forested and full of quarries. And specifically the tempinis tree was particularly abundant such that the colonials actually named the place after the tree in the 1820s.

Except that the spelling evolved to its current form. And the quarries are all gone too, in their place shining new apartment buildings and the lives of people moving to stay here in another vibrant sub-urban town…

Pasir Ris (EW1)

→Simei (EW3)

Part of the MRT series here.

A childhood dream

One of the things as children we were obsessed with was building stuff. And with what? Lego bricks and Play Mobil! We recall how costly it was to buy a set each time from the departmental store. And we saved our pennies in order to buy the coolest one. Do you remember constructing a jet out of these little bricks? Yeah, those were the days… today you might 3D print one. Heheh…

Over time Lego bricks had been “constructed” into various sculptures, some so elaborate that can only be said as works of art. When you trough the web you will discover it is a industry world in itself.

Today it appears Lego isn’t doing that well in terms of the sales of this traditional toy (they’ve been shedding jobs last year). And while they’ve been diversifying into other areas (parks, movies and cartoons for example), it seems like today’s children might not be as enamoured to this mode of play as we were. Yeah, sounds like we are dinosaurs huh? Did you enjoy playing with Lego bricks?

So we will watch closely and observe how this latest attraction (read here) will perform. Ok, so the house itself is not made of Lego bricks though it looks like it. There is actually a Legoland park in Johore Bahru across the causeway from our little red dot. We’ve not visited it yet before.

Did you collect lego play sets when you were growing up? Will you visit this new Lego house in Denmark?

What to see in SFO in 36 hours

Ah yes.

Walking the Golden gate bridge. One of the must dos when in San Francisco and the bay area right? You know the city was really windy to us. In fact, so much that even in the blazing sun of June we felt it could have been winter. Did you have that experience too?

And hilly. That was quite another thing. Because someone told us not to drive in the city. Why? Because it’s hard to find parking. Because it’s terrible traffic. Because there’s good public transport. So we took the well intentioned advise, parked the car in a garage downtown and walked, and took the tram where we could.

Well guess what?

After clocking nearly 20km (that’s ~12.5 miles), our legs were sore. Now they say something about Dutch ladies having really well toned ahem because they ride bicyles all the time. So what do San Franciscans have? Toned legs? You bet if you had to walk like that all the time since the trams don’t drop you right at the point you want to be all the time.

Our short story here tells you just a little of what you might consider if you only have a short time in the city while our journalog tells you what we did. What would be your choice of things to do?

The MRT series – Pasir Ris (EW1)

At the very eastern end of the island, literally at land’s end is the town of Pasir Ris. In the Malay language, “Pasir” means sand. Translated into English the town is also known as White sands, which might be a reference to the beach where Mel took an early morning walk to view the sunrise one Sunday morning.

And it was a fabulous morning walking along the park that lines the sea. Beyond all that water is actually Singapore’s largest offshore island – Pulau Ubin, or granite island. Though soon to be dwarfed by Pulau Tekong’s reclaimation.

For some reason Pasir Ris park has a lot of free ranging chicken foraging with little fear of people… some might suspect fowl play here as these birds appear to have staked out territories which they defend quite robustly…

←Marina South Pier (NS28)

→Tampines (EW2)

Part of the MRT series here.

Is this dangerous – swimming with sharks

You might recall this post we put up two years ago on funny animal selfies. Can you imagine taking a selfie with a Great white shark? Well some people do. Like getting into a cage with folks on the boat throwing heaps of fish offal and blood into the water to attract them.

Sometimes goes awry… yikes! The sort of thing movies are made of.

But today our post is not about that. It’s about our own experience of swimming with sharks. Yeah you read that right. We SWAM with them. Not protected in a cage, or a glass tube somewhere in an aquarium. Paddling in the water with them… yeah beat that.


You might recall that we swam with a few of them large ones out there here. Ok ok what’s in a name – them whale sharks… They came pretty close and good photos were taken… now we know some might not agree with doing what we did if you dig into the details but it was an experience we just wanted to share with you.

Then there were the days when Mel nearly bumped into one (here) for real. You see, the lagoon was a nursery where baby black tips (4-5 feet long yeah) lived in safety (from whom you ask?). From what we don’t know. And Mel wasn’t using his presciption mask those few days.

Did you read those links to our posts and page? Heheh.. Would this be on your bucket list?