Monday, March 4, 2013

Our Asian Adventure!

We are HOME..and sunburnt!

I think one of the strangest things about traveling here is that when we return "home"..we are really, technically, still traveling.  I like it!  Anyways, it was a great trip, definitely an eye opener to how different the rest of Asia is from Korea..and really very different from one country to the next.  If you're wondering "How so?", well, Koreans hawk loogies like 324 times per day and the other Asian countries..while I'm sure they might need to, don't do it at RESTAURANTS.  Yea, so, that's a brief example :o)

I was thinking...after this vacation, while in Korea, we will have gone to:

Korea (obviously..for TOO long)   :P

Plus Mike has been to a TON of Middle Eastern countries while being deployed.  Crazy to even think about that!  And surprised some moments and places haven't actually made us crazy :)  Or has it?  Ha.  There is one thing that I always, always think after each trip and that is how happy and thankful I am to be AMERICAN.  I can't really explain why it's just something that you feel when you observe how other places and people work.

We actually were able to get a quick glance at Indonesia on the way into Singapore.  We had no idea how close they really were..turns out we were only a short hop away from Australia.  That is like Mike's DREAM.  But we'd literally have to win the twice before we could go.

Our first bit and I say bit because...Singapore is expensive!  But it's pretty cool because they  have plastic money.  And here I thought Korean money was like monopoly money!  But the Singapore dollar is about $1.20 something so the U.S. dollar is stronger, however, the price of everything totally makes up for the gain in currency.  Like....a pair of Gap jeans was like $200 US.  HOLY MOLY, they weren't $200 worth of cute!

Some fun facts about Singapore (these are credible because it came from a weird does that sound...Singapor-EAN.)  Which brings me to my next point, Singapore is like an Asian bag of nuts.  Ok, I just made myself laugh..they are pretty nutty but what I really mean is that Singapore is no one nationality.  They are a mixture of Chinese, Malaysian, Indian..and so on.  EVERYONE and I mean everyone speaks English but at some point in their schooling, they choose an additional language.  So for example, if your family is primarily Indian, you'd choose to speak a dialect of India (which there are 27 dialects of Indian, not sure if you knew that) or you could choose Mandarin (Chinese) and so on.  So it's pretty neat because I feel Singapore embraces all cultures and no one seems so different unlike here, where everyones eyes squint the same!  I always say we'd be better off if they put us in the local zoo.  Hey, that's an idea!  

Anyways, I'm getting distracted...

Average cost to purchase an average car:  $150,000
Cost per week to park in the city:  $500
Estimate for a government owned 2 B/1 B condo:  $500,000
Estimate for a private owned 3 B/2 B condo:  $1,000,000 +++

In other words. O-U-T-R-A-G-E-O-U-S

In case you can't read the signs below:

No smoking:  Fine $1000
No eating/drinking:  Fine $500
No Flammable Liquid/Gas:  Fine $5,000

YOWWW-E!  No wonder the city is like, perfect!

Amazing...I feel like I should change my favorite color from red to green so I seem to have an obsession with green after not seeing it for like half a year here!  Those Floridians reading this are probably like...ok..yep..that's a tree.  But it is sooo much more than that to me :P

Can you spot the Buddhist monk?  Hmmm wonder if you're supposed to take their picture?

A fun cool place to visit at night!  Lots of neat restaurants and just a great atmosphere.

So this nifty little hotel, well not little, is called the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.  Not sure if you'd heard of it or if they advertise it at all during the states but it is COOL.  The top of it, that boat looking thing, is actually a bar, infinity pool, and so on.  This is actually a view from our hotel we stayed it on the 38th floor.  Shew!  Definitely the highest up I've ever stayed...Ha!  But the hotel is really neat, we didn't stay there because the hotel is a bit out of the way from the center of the city, not to mention, it's a small fortune to stay there.  When I say small fortune, our hotel was $300 something per night and that was fairly REASONABLE!  

Singapore is so, so beautiful.  I could literally brag about it for hours.  It is so quaint, yet so big and busy.  You never feel overcrowded or smothered.  You are never pushed, stared at, or..I don't know I'm out of things LOL but anyhow, it is so much better than Seoul.  The only downside?  The HEAT, holy taleedo--it was like mid 90s but with 70% + humidity.  Yowww it was incentive to go indoors and enjoy the b-e-a-utiful AC that they had.  

The greenery was like this all over!  Couldn't get enough, especially coming from the beautiful brown and sticks of Korea.

Ok, yes, I am in 7-11.  They have those here (BTW no 7-11s in Asia sell gas it is just meant to be a grab and go snack store).  The thing you should focus on is what I am holding...a SLURPEE.  I cannot describe how incredible this is.  I actually want one now, despite it still being in the 30s outside.  It was over 2 years and 4 months before I could even THINK about having one.  Korea doesn't see it fit to have slurpees here. I enjoyed every sip of that by the way :)

Singapore by night from our hotel the night before the cruise!  So awesome!

This statue was in Malaysia.  The guy who constructed the Iwo Jima monument that is now in Washington D.C. made this same structure.  This was made to represent the Malayan victories during WW1 and WW2 and their Revolutionary war.  The reason I'm really posting this picture is not because of the history..because that is fairly boring...but you can't see it but it refers to Allah on the engravings.  Most of Malaysia is Muslim & the remaining religions are amongst Hindu and Buddhism.  I know that the Muslim faith seems to be expanding but it's one thing to read about it but another to actually see it being practiced..but that goes with Hinduism and Buddhism as well.  It's pretty neat though!

This is Malaysian food that we ate at in the Patroneus towers (pictured below).  It was good...but let's just say it wasn't fun the entire next day in Thailand.  Okay not fun doesn't even encompass it.  There are no words!  I guess that just makes me more "cultured" or that's what I tell myself at least ;)

If you're wondering what it is..the rice is like a coconut rice with chicken curry a slice of cucumber and half a hard-boiled egg.  I know, weird.  What is slightly more disturbing was what LOOKED like a spicy cabbage side dish (on the very left of the place) which I totally would've been okay with..was definitely not a spicy cabbage side dish.  It was, however, a stinkin' dried like sardine nastiness.  OMG just typing this makes me cringe.  EW.  Ugh, I can't even explain how I felt when I first tasted it.  It literally was like they took like a million fish, drained their fish juice (if that even makes sense) and then made it like a broth they soaked this in..AND to boot?  I noticed a little silver thing after I had tried it..yep..a fish.  Ok, gross, done talking about it..I am reliving it more than I ever wanted to!

There are the beauties!  Fun fact, one of these towers is KOREAN owned as well as the bridge and the other is Japanese.  We had no idea before visiting.  We just figured it was Malaysia or something like that.  You know, something Asian :)  We were able to go on the first 4 floors of it which were just shopping...yes both outrageous and reasonable.  We ate at ice cream...haha!  You could pay like $80/person to go up to the top floor but I guess the tickets book out like 6 months in advance.  For one, I wouldn't care to do that and second, who the heck would pay 80 bucks a person!  Not this gal :)

The most holy Buddhist temple in all of Thailand.  Absolutely beautiful buildings and architecture.  Thai things seems to be loaded with color...kind of obnoxious but for some reason it looks great.

As we were touring the temple, some locals were actually practicing the religion.  I was trying not to stare (like a Korean would LOL) but what little I caught they were taking a piece of paper or whatever it was and rubbing it on the gold statues or Buddhas...ha.  Anyways, whatever they were doing, it was pretty cool.  

Thai monkeys looking for some fruit purchased by their visitors.  And yes, they are free-roaming!

Well, this is another funny story.  We got a traditional Thai massage while we were there and man was that HILARIOUS.  First, they had us get in these genie-like clothes which, I'm honestly laughing out loud just typing this because they were just ridiculous.  So when I thought "Wow, a 2 hour massage" thinking it would be fancy.  Yea.  Wrong.  That little 57 year old mattress on the ground was the greatest "luxury" we had.  What was more funny was watching this 4'11-80 lb. woman try to massage Mike.  I happened to glance over and see this poor women practically using Mike has a human trampoline to try and crack his..entire spine HAHA.  Oh my gosh, it took everything I had to not laugh.  Another great memory to that day :)

Everyone in Singapore talks with a British accent, along with British slang.  Too hilarious "Rubbish"!

Now that's something you'll never see in the states :P

Well, anyways, I could go on and on.  We had a great time.  It was too short obviously, but it was very interesting and allowed us to gain a great respect for other countries as well as see how different Asian countries really are from one another.

Hope you enjoyed the post!  I might put in pictures that I come across here and there on the next couple of blog posts.

We hope everyone is great!!

And sending a big CONGRATULATIONS to the Gent clan on the new family addition :o)

<3 Mike & Britt