Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We're Back in Singapore

Just a quick note to let you all know that we're back from India. We did not get sick! Chances were 50/50 per the Lonely Planet's Guide to India.

We flew from India and made a stopover in Bangkok. The landing was a little rough. Some people got off and new people got on. As we pulled away from the gate the was a big crash and bang sounding as if we'd been in a fender bender. After about 15 minutes we were asked to get off the plane. There was a big crowd of airport personnel looking at the airplane checking out the problem - the landing gear had broken. Fortunately while we were moving slowly on the ground and not while we were making our second landing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

To India

Went to the India High Commission today at 10am as was suggested by JP Singh. He was not there. They wanted me to wait for four hours but I began to tear at the thought of not picking up the girls when they expect me. So they said fine, go and come back later at 4pm. At 4pm they ushered me into JP Singh's office who only scowled at me, not remembering me at all and told me to wait outside with the masses. They could not find my paperwork, it had been returned because something was missing...nevertheless they issued me a visa anyway! So we go tomorrow to India. I'm worried about getting sick and managing the travel with the kids but we go and hope for the best.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Festival of Dolls

In the morning I had appam at Ananda Bhavan with Chandrika who presented me with a beatiful white Indian suit to wear to the temples. She got it in Mumbai. I saw Chandrika at this restaurant twice before we traded numbers. She is a flight attendant supervisor and travels world-wide every week.

In the afternoon I went to see a display of dolls in honor of festival of dolls at the home of Ranjani's. I met her through the internet. She lived in Dallas for many years, her daughters were born there but she moved back to Singapore because of her family and the ease of raising children here. Her two daughters are very close in age to ours.

Monday, October 15, 2007


With all my paperwork in hand I went to the Visa office and asked them to process my visa in four days instead of the five days required. I told them I had purchased a non-refundable ticket for Friday. They said it was not possible. They had asked the India High Commission many times to make this exception but they could not. I was sad but polite and thanked them anyway. Just then my cell phone rang. It was JP Singh from India's High Commission saying that he had received my e-mail and that he would like to try to help me. The Visa staff heard me talking and saying JP Singh's name. So when I got off the phone they blinked in disbelief and then spoke Indian with one another "bla bla bla JP Singh bla bla bla JP Singh" Then they called him up immediately and he confirmed that they should help me get my Visa in 4 days instead of 5! I almost cried right then and there. The tears welled up in my eyes. I couldn't believe what had happened! The timing was perfect! We get to go to the wedding!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

And a few more

More photos of the Princess' Palace

The Princess was very gracious. She said the food was too spicy for the children so she had the servants make fish sticks. Meanwhile Lula & Maya filled up on desserts. Then she went a got a bunch of toys for them to play with. Later, Lula lost a rabbitt she had been playing with and she had a servant find that for her too. She had five boys and one girl (I think) There were lots of toy cars and also plenty of real cars in the Prince's collection. In addition there was a sort of zoo on the grounds. A bear, a monkey, many cats, ducks, chickens, gooses, marmosets, and a few other animals that I couldn't identify.

Selamat Hari Raya

We were invited to a meal celebrating the end of Ramadan at the Princess' Palace in Malaysia. Here is part of the details on the invitation.

Selamat Hari Raya!

Attached below is an email excerpt from the princess.

"Dress code is smart.
no jeans, or flip-flops, etc.

Proper shirts either short or long sleeves are fine.

Cameras and film cameras are welcome"

The address is
Istana Pasir Pelangi
Jalan Pasir Pelangi, JB.

I expected to be among thousands but it wasn't quite like that which may be because there was celebrations over a couple of days and Ramadan was already over. There were several hundred people seated in tents outside and perhaps 30 inside. We ate dinner at the table with the Princess. I was afraid to eat at first because I didn't understand what was happening or why were at the table with her. It was somewhat more casual than I thought but not entirely. Some people would kiss her hand. I hoped that I hadn't committed a huge faux pas by not kissing her hand. I tried to convince Lula that Princess' don't whine and that it wasn't a good idea to whine there but she wasn't quite buying it.

Photos here are the palace, the room we ate dinner in, the guard, the princess and Lula.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More School

My magic carpet is running on empty. Or so it began to feel when I was faced with many obstacles on trying to get a visa to India. Things I didn't know are that 1. with an American passport it takes 5 days to get a visa. No exceptions. Finally someone said perhaps I could call the Indian Consulate (Indian High Commission) which I did but couldn't get through to a person. I did e-mail them however so hopefully that will help. And 2.I am technically a tourist here since my dependent pass isn't yet fully processed - approved just not finalized.A tourist has to get a visa to India from the U.S. not in Singapore. I tried to get help at Mustafa travel, the place most people recommended to me. However they clearly don't need my business. UK at Jet Choice was really committed to trying to help get me a visa. He is going to take my visa in personally and also call the consulate on our behalf and try to get it in less than the required 5 days for a tourist rather than resident.

Furthermore, I have been sick for too many days now. Each night I get woken either by a child or my own coughing and therefore haven't gotten the rest I need.

We met with Jane Wu, friend of Rob's aunt's and uncles. She was quite lovely. We had lunch. Lula held her hand as we walked through the mall.

Tomorrow we will make a pilgrimage to Malaysia for the day with thousands of others celebrating Hari Raya. We've been invited to the Princess' Palace to dinner with 5,000 people. The drive on the causeway will likely go slowly but we plan to load up on snacks, water, and children's dvds for the ride. It seems like an opportunity that we shouldn't pass up.

Tonight was the closing celebration held at Bar Cocoon at Indochine Restaurant featuring a room chilled to winter temps serving vodka shots. There were coats at the door to put on. Singaporeans love the novelty of a cold place I suppose. There is also "Snow City" here with fake snow.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Maya ripped out this page of the gal wearing the shirt of the same pattern.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Lula has fish. They are at boarding school.
She has named them Sophia, Raphael, Francis and Susan.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Jackie Chan

I was very excited to be at this event with Jackie Chan. Last night I went to see Rush Hour 3 by myself! Hopefully that gives you some idea of how much of a fan I am.

Here we are sharing a quiet moment together.

The NYU Tisch Asia Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

We dressed up to go to the ribbon cutting ceremony for NYU Tisch Asia. Rob wore the suit I got him for his birthday based on a suit worn by Brian Ferry. I knew what I wanted and I just had to find a photo of someone wearing something similar. Brian Ferry tipped us off to appropriate shoes and tie. The suit doesn't match exactly but I still think it looks great.

Also, there is a photo of Rob & Jay.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Very Pretty Rice Patties

I think these rice patties are very pretty. They are filled with different things like peanut butter, red bean paste or fish something. Perhaps they're called Rice balls?

Singapore knows best

There is no shortage of advice and cautionary tale signage in Singapore.

Ranging from a giant billboard on Orchard Road of a jay-walking accident in full view of everyone children included, to a sign on the amount of fruits and vegetables to eat each day, to the various things you can buy with the money you save from not buying cigarettes to mandatory shocking images on every cigarette box.

Friday, October 5, 2007

It's Hot

I realize it's perfectly reasonable to take two showers a day.

Today and yesterday were the first days where the heat really bothered me. It had been in the 80's partly cloudy which provides heat relief and today it was 93 degrees fahrenheit with no rain. Fortunately the pools are very cooling. Everyone warned me it would be hot and I think that helped to prepare me and made me expect it to be worse. Usually it feels like a hot muggy NY summer day.
I heard that in order to get what you want you simply have to state it. I don't really believe it entirely but figured it can't hurt. I have done it twice with the idea of putting the request to the universe. Once to have our old nanny call us since her number was disconnected - she called that day, and today I said in my head "I want to go to an Indian wedding in India" and three hours passed and the invitation came! I'm pretty excited. I hope we actually get to go. Miss Geetha, the principal of our school, invited us to our niece's wedding because we said we wanted to go to India. She's going to India on the 18th, the wedding is on the 21st. She also invited us to stay at her brothers house. I hope its also OK with him.

My next request is for Maya's lead levels to go down to less than 3 rather than rising. I don't want anymore trouble with that.


Thursday, October 4, 2007


Thailand was very nice. Very inexpensive as well. I was surprised that Krabi was a lot more crowded than I thought it would be. The hotel was nice but the staff notified everyone that they we're having a staff party all of Saturday. So services weren't available on Saturday and Sunday everyone was hung-over and generally ineffective. We decided instead of complaining about it we would go on an adventure to find a different place to stay. I had heard about a beach accessible only by boat that was very beautiful. It was Railey Beach. There were no cars and the peninsula was very narrow. It was quite pristine and quaint as I wanted it to be. We looked at all the hotels and settled on the Railey Bay Resort. It was one of the most beautiful hotels I've ever stayed at. The room was so beautiful that to look at the decor made me happy. It rained for a good part of our time there but nothing could squelch the beauty. If anything, it was just more beautiful. All the food served was beautiful too. Every dish was served with a flower either an actual flower or one carved out of a root of some sort. This must be a very specialized skill - the art of flower carving.