Friday, March 27, 2009


This is Celia's friend Chantal. Chantal comes over after school quite regularly. The girls play games, draw, swim, and build things - like the space ship they are in for this photo!

Street cleaning

These are how the streets are kept tidy - by cleaners working away methodically with a good old-fashioned broom for the leaves.
I'm still surprised at how much litter there is at times - guess you would need an awful lot of these cleaners to keep up with 4 million people!

Underwater photos

Not bad for a disposable Kodak underwater camera!
In the 'all-blue' photo you can see the shark well down below... it is actually about 6 feet long.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Photos en route to Mersing, Malaysia

Tioman Island, Malaysia

After much anticipation, our 3-day holiday to Malaysia's Tioman Island finally arrived, and what an amazing experience it has been. We left Singapore by bus at 6.30 am on Wednesday 18th March for a 3-hour trip to Mersing. After a hot and chaotic wait at the wharf, we boarded the ferry to Tioman Island for a 2-hour boat ride. My fears of seasickness were unfounded as the ocean (South China Sea) was very very still - nothing like the Foveaux Strait trip to Stewart Island! 
Tioman Island was great - good accommodation, meals all included (no cooking yay!), and awesome beaches. It is a popular holiday destination for local people, so it was refreshing that it wasn't at all touristy - as the photos show, this was the real thing!
Adam was amazing, sleeping his way through all the tough bits like winding roads, hot boat rides, etc... and no-one got mosquito bites (a miracle).

Steve's Birthday

Our only full day on the island was Thursday 19th March, conveniently coinciding with Steve's birthday. The event of the day was the snorkelling trip - something I have wanted to introduce the kids to for a long time. Steve enjoyed it a lot - especially when the guide took him and the older 3 kids about another 50 metres out to view some 5-6 foot long sharks which were a bit further down in the murky depths!
Otherwise it was mostly coral and fishes - but lots of them.
We had the best of weather during the 3 days - hot but not always too sunny, no rain and no storms (apart from some rain overnight at times). 

Friday, March 13, 2009

End of Term 1

Term 1 ends today (January 12th till March 13th) and the NJC team have one week's break. Steve has to work 2 of the days, so after that (on Wednesday) we are going into Malaysia for 2 nights, to Tioman Island. That coincides with Steve's birthday on Thursday 19th - so on that day we are hoping to be doing a snorkelling day trip which should be pretty cool. 
Rhian has homework up to his ears to also tackle during his week off - the science and maths really is tough, and all the assignments and tests pile up relentlessly. He is doing very well to stay so positive.
Jess is having some tough days, and missing you lot at home. 
Deanie and Celia are settling in to life at home-school, and of course Adam is happy anywhere so long as he is being fed and cuddled.
So here we are at the 3 month mark - into a routine and doing as well as can be expected  :)

Dinner options

Still constantly amazed at the meal options. The 'Curry Fish Head' must be very popular because you always see whole bins of fish heads in ice at the supermarkets!

Toilet stop

Option B in most public toilets for the ladies is the 'hole in the ground' type. Hmmmm....

Cars and taxis

There are no 'dud' cars on the roads in Singapore. The line-up in the photo shows the typical kinds of vehicles everywhere - they are always immaculate and clean. Cars are a status symbol, and people will have big mortgages to own one - even the young people. Because apartments are small, people are more likely to be 'seen' in their car than in their home - hence the importance of their vehicle.
Taxis, on the other hand, are much more 'typical-looking' as in the photo, and of course there are thousands of these. 
You do see open-back trucks carrying workers to and from work - usually without seatbelts. But you have to look pretty hard to see a plain old private vehicle anywhere - they all seem very swish!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


The thunder and lightning sessions are under way at the moment, with most days succumbing to rain for 1-3 hours in the afternoon or early evening. Apart from the scary bits it is a refreshing cool-down, as the humidity is climbing each day and the heat is definitely becoming more oppressive.
Amazingly, it is common for people here to wear dark denim jeans or black pants - very much the fashion - despite the heat.
We are getting weather reports from Alexandra and Invercargill, and it seems no-one is very impressed with the summer so far. Wouldn't it be great to have a happy medium?!

Celia's violin

Celia was very excited to start violin lessons last Wednesday. The first lesson was 'how to hold the violin' and 'exercises for holding the bow' so unfortunately actually playing the thing had to wait until she got home!

Singapore Science Centre

The Singapore Science Centre was a really good choice. We could have spent hours more there. The photo (where the kids are lying back) is of the Omni Theatre where we watched a documentary about prehistoric sea creatures. It was played onto the whole of the ceiling, which was circular, so the movie showed all around and above you. This made it all the more fascinating and scary... the massive creatures shooting up out of the water at the camera! It was super cool.
The other photos are a few of the 'illusions'. There were tons of other things to see and do.. mostly technology and science, plus a magic show.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Adam crawling

Any excuse for pictures of such cuteness!

Rhian's 13th birthday

Rhian turned 13 on Saturday 28th February. He was happy with his main present which is 12 weeks worth of formal drums tuition, starting this week. He has some good mates and they went out for his birthday - and on Sunday we ate out as a family. His big weekend ended with study for a science test on Monday!

Cross Country

The highlight of Rhian's birthday was winning his age group in the Cross Country Road Race. What a run!