Tag Archives: adventure

Uncle Nate Visits Singapore

I’ve contemplated how to write this post since a month ago. I’ve gone through the pictures multiple times trying to figure out how to piece it together in a concise manner. And I’ve had the beginnings of the post written for several days. I have come to this conclusion:
We had too much fun with Uncle Nate to be able to share it all with you!

Maybe, some day I’ll get around to putting pictures together in a booklet like we did for our last visitors. One can hope, right? But I digress. I am going to try to pick my favorite snippets from his stay. Here goes:

Meeting Uncle Nate

For someone that has quite a few uncles, Gideon had to wait a while before he actually met one of them in person. Actually, he had waited his whole life, until finally at the beginning of last month, he met one!

It was Gidoen’s mommy who first spotted him at the airport.

Spotted (only in the number one airport in the world)!

Spotted (only in the number one airport in the world)!

The wary traveler looked great for having just completed his first flight(s) (except for one when he was Gideon’s age)! Since it was in the wee hours of the morning when he arrived, we went straight home and to bed. Consequently, Gideon was actually asleep for his arrival. But he was more than happy to meet him the next morning.

Happy to meet his Uncle Nate!

Happy to meet his Uncle Nate!

It didn’t take long for the little guy to warm up to his cool uncle.

Ice Cream Sandwich

Most of the ice cream cart vendors will sell ice cream sandwiches served two ways: in between two wafer biscuits or using real bread for the sandwich part! I’ve tried a lot of things here in Singapore, a lot of ice cream too… but I haven’t had a ice cream sandwich that way. Well, it wasn’t long (second day of his visit) before we were out and about and stopped to offer him an ice cream sandwich. The adventuresome traveler readily tried the “Singapore” way.

Trying the Singapore Ice Cream Sandwich

Trying the Singapore Ice Cream Sandwich

I have to say that I really enjoyed the bit he shared with me. I would even order it again, this time without being so skeptical. But, the Randles played it safe and shared a cone from McD’s.

Playing it safe (if all be it messy)

Playing it safe (if all be it messy)

Boggle – Phlegm

There is a long standing tradition in the Czebotar household of playing boggle against each other. Unfortunately, the tradition doesn’t work so well in the Randles household. (Let’s just say, the brainy PhD guy doesn’t find Boggle quite the right application for his mad skills 😉 ). In any case, I jumped at the opportunity to play with someone who would enjoy the game.

On night during his visit, my brother accepted my invitation and we started playing with rigor right away. A few games in we were going over our word list and my brother calls out “Flem.”

I responded, “Ummm, I think Phlegm has a G in it.” (There wasn’t a G on the board that round.)

To which he outrageously shouted, “WHAT!? HOW IN THE WORLD DOES “FLEM” HAVE A G IN IT?”

We proceeded to use the dictionary to find out two things:

  1. Phlegm (the meaning he was thinking of) does in fact have a G in it.
  2. Flem (what he spelt) does have the same meanings as Flemish.

After several rounds, it was getting late, so I said we should call it a night. My brother was dismayed that he hadn’t won a round. I was shocked, sure that he had won a round. We went through and double checked the scores. His hunch was right – he hadn’t. I felt bad, especially since I had been thoroughly enjoying his company and had thought he was doing quite well. (This is why people give up playing Boggle with me… <sigh>)

Bro and Sis (picture from another night)

Bro and Sis (picture from another night)

A treasured memory with my bro nonetheless.

The Iconic Sights

You can not have a brother who has a Masters in architecture who visits you in Singapore and not visit the awesome architectural sites that have become so iconic! It’s like the fourth law of physics … or something.

Anyways, among the many cool places we took him to see we saw the Marina Bay Sands and the Gardens by the Bay – both next to each other – on separate days.

I think his shirt was an accurate statement.x

On the Sky Walk on the trees of the Gardens By the Bay in front of the Marina Bay Sands building… I think his shirt was an accurate statement.

We had to take a group shot!

We had to take a group shot!

GIdeon enjoying crawling around with the magnificent tree sculptures overhead.

GIdeon enjoying crawling around with the magnificent tree sculptures overhead.

Looking up at the biggest cantilever building in the world. (Correct me if I'm wrong, bro!)

Looking up at the biggest cantilever building in the world. (Correct me if I’m wrong, bro!)

At the top of Marina Bay Sands on the cantilever.

At the top of Marina Bay Sands on the cantilever.

MacRitchie Reservoir

While I prepared cakes for a baby shower, the guys all went to MacRitchie Reservoir for a hike. I was a bit jealous as we hadn’t gone since right after moving to Singapore, and I had been hoping to see it again. But I was grateful they went together and had fun. It was one of the highlights for Andrew of the visit with his brother-in-law.

Andrew enjoying the hike (and Gideon zonked out)

Andrew (and Gideon zonked out) at the Tree Top Bridge

And Nathan was glad that he got to see wild monkeys during their walk in the jungle.

Monkey spotted! (There were more too!)

Monkey spotted! (There were more too!)

Durian

I’m ashamed to say it, but we had lived in Singapore for over 2 years and never tried “Singapore’s National Fruit.” In our defense, every time someone would offer it we would ask if they liked it. Maybe just the wrong people were offering, but they would always demonstrate a face of disgust and say, “No.” So, we were intimidated, even by the people who said we should try it. And then there’s the smell – which is a bit indescribable but oh, so potent!

In any case, we figured we should do it while we had a visitor. We also figured it would be safer to try a cream puff with durian flavored cream inside.

It looks unassuming.

It looks unassuming.

Oh. My.

One of the worst things I have ever tasted in my life. And I am not trying to be dramatic. It was just that bad. I normally try to finish what I put in my mouth, but I could not. The trash received what we had put in our mouths. Even Gideon the Garbage Disposal wouldn’t eat it.

And his reaction wasn't as bad as his parents'!

And his reaction wasn’t as bad as his parents’!

To Nathan’s credit, he willingly tried it, and didn’t have the same visceral reaction that we did!

A friend later informed me that she thought there were two styles of durian, sweet and bitter. If that information is indeed true, there is no doubt we had the bitter kind. Perhaps there is a better variety out there? But I am unsure if we would have the courage to try it again.

But don’t worry. That was the only “sour” point during our visit together. We really had a blast with my brother and are so glad the Lord made it possible for him to visit. If anyone else comes to visit, we’ll try to make their visit half as fun (trying Durian is optional). 🙂

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Telunas, Indonesia – Taking the Plunge

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But I suppose some fun pictures with a few captions makes for a great story.

The morning of our last day in Indonesia dawned clear and calm.

"He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. " Psalm 23:3

“He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. ” Psalm 23:3

But our nerves weren’t quite as calm as our surroundings.

You see, Telunas has this dock of sorts that the call the high jump.

The High Jump

The High Jump

With the height of the tide taken into account, the platform was approximately 5 meters (that’s 18 feet in American) above the water.

It was the last “activity” on our list of things to do before we left. I mean, where else do you get to jump 18 feet into the calm open water? Tam stayed with the napping boy so that Andrew and I could take the plunge.

Andrew was the first to go up.

The long climb before the high jump

The long climb before the high jump

After he did the jump, I did it. Finally, Andrew switched out with Tam for Gideon duty so that she was able to come give it a go. (I should give Tam credit, she did the jump 3 times! Andrew and I only did it once each.)

I think it best that I give you a play by play comparison of our jumps.

The Preparation

The Preparation

  • Andrew: “Why am I doing this?”
  • Adrielle: nervous excitement
  • Tam: peaceful resignation
The Launch

The Launch

  • Andrew: oh boy
  • Adrielle: yippeee
  • Tam: Ms. Proper, “Mustn’t get water in my nose!”
The Descent

The Descent

  • Andrew: brace for impact! “Am I there yet?”
  • Adrielle: “Ooo, this is actually pretty fun.”
  • Tam: still holding that nose!
Prepare for Entry

Prepare for Entry

  • Andrew: “This is gonna hurt”
  • Adrielle: gracefully turns towards the camera
  • Tam: points her toes, and yes, still holding onto her nose
The Splash

The Splash

  • Andrew: As you’d expect
  • Adrielle:  the splash matched the graceful descent
  • Tam: happily average 🙂

Here are some of our favorite shots:

Andrew's huge splash (almost as high as the jump itself!)

Andrew’s huge splash (almost as high as the jump itself!)

Andrew’s advice to those considering the high jump is to try to minimize your surface area impact. This is not so much to minimize your splash as it is to minimize the later pain in your rump from the landing.

Unintentionally picture perfect

Unintentionally picture perfect

Andrew pointed out that the water was so calm that you could even see my reflection right before I entered!

 

"The Getting Closer" Approach

“The Getting Closer” Approach

I’m not sure that her approach actually accomplished anything compared to Andrew and my more care-free approaches, but she had fun nonetheless.

It was a great way to make memories on our last morning right before we finished packing to leave. Wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

All four of us

Thank you Telunas for a wonderful memory-filled vacation!

Telunas, Indonesia – Going on a Hike

We came to Telunas prepared. Prepared to go on a hike. We brought tennis shoes, a cammelback, swimsuits, and mosquito spray.

  • Tennis shoes: while my companions (namely, Andrew and Tam) might use their shoes more often than me, I hadn’t worn my tennis shoes in over a year!
  • A cammelback: It is much easier to carry your water on your back than lug water bottles around. In addition, a cammelback doubles as a hiking diaper bag! 🙂
  • Swimsuits: We knew that the hike would bring us to a waterfall.
  • Mosquito Repellent: While we have often forgotten this vital ingredient, we thankful remembered it this time.

When we told the resort staff we’d like to go on a hike, we were briefed. She made sure we had appropriate footwear (she said it might be muddy), and bug spray. She also made sure we were able to leave by 9:30am because of the tide. At first I thought the start time would be too early because of Gideon’s nap, but Andrew reminded me that Indonesian time is an hour different making it more like 10:30 our time. Gideon ended up waking up early – before 9, so we were ready with time to spare. Between waiting for guys from the men’s group and waiting for the guide we didn’t leave till close to 10. This should’ve been our first clue that the hike would run on Indonesian time.

The trip started out with all of us headed out in a “local boat” to get to our destination. (I imagine it is this way with most of Indonesia, that the waterways are the real roads and passages.) The boat traveled along the open water and then traveled on a meandering river for quite a ways.

Getting closer (picture courtesy of Ross)

Getting closer (picture courtesy of Ross)

(Thanks to the friend we met on the trip, Ross, who shared some of his pictures with us!)

Finally the boat slowed and pulled up to a smaller boat. The smaller and shallower boat would take us up the rest of the river to our hike start spot. The catch was that the boat was smaller and could only take a few at us in it at a time. So we had to split up into two shifts. We got placed into the first shift and were dropped off on land. Next thing we knew we were waiting in the middle of Indonesia without anyone who knew the area or the language while the small boat went back for the rest of the crew. We joked that now would not be a good time to be lost!

We took the few minutes to gather ourselves and prepare for the hike. This included applying bug spray and putting Gideon into his carrier. Normally we put Gideon on the front. Actually, ’til this point he had only been put on the front. But as he is near the 20lb. point, the carrier is able to be reversed so that he sits on the back. Andrew rightly figured that this would be a more comfortable way to do a long hike. Gideon agreed.

Gideon LOVED riding on Daddy's back

Gideon LOVED riding on Daddy’s back

After a few more minutes the rest of our motley crew joined us. Good thing they did forget about us 😉

Our other half arrives

Our other half arrives

We set out with our guide (also named Gideon!) and a few men from the men’s retreat staying at the resort.

We set off into the Indonesian jungle in search of a waterfall. Except for a small portion of cement, the walk was a glorified dirt path used be the locals and their mopeds.

The simple path

The simple path

We traversed over (and through) puddles in the trail resultant of yesterday’s rain with an attempt to keep our shoes relatively mud free. Often this was accomplished by skipping on miscellaneous boards and planks that had been haphazardly scattered along the path. But inevitably, more than once, all of the shoes in the group ended up with mud sprinkled, splashed, or sloshed on them. Only Gideon who was shoeless to begin with and up high remained free of muddy footwear. I think he had the right idea, sleep on someone’s back while that someone does the hard work of trying to keep their own shoes clean.

In the pursuit of maintaining footing on dry land and following out leader, it was easy to forget to look up.

Psalm 96:12b - "... let all the trees of the forest sing for joy."

Psalm 96:12b – “… let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.”

Thankfully Tamarah (who had the camera for a while) remembered to look up and snap some shots!

A palm tree enjoying the sun

A palm tree enjoying the sun

But even without looking up very often, there were plenty of sights to enjoy on eye level.

A rubber tree being tapped by the locals for its latex (picture from Ross)

A rubber tree being tapped by the locals for its latex (picture from Ross)

As we continued throughout the jungle it became apparent that if we stopped to reapply mosquito repellent, that they mosquitos would take the pause as an excuse to bite. So we kept up quite the pass being mindful of the mosquitos hot on our heels. For a while I followed Gideon (riding asleep on his daddy’s back) and watched to make sure none were biting him, but the mosquitos didn’t seem like they were willing to land on him.

The pace was going well until we were halted by our guide. We had heard the noise of chain saws in the distance. Our guide asked us to stop while he scouted ahead. He came back with bad news: the path was blocked by felled trees and the activity of locals cutting trees down.

Physical evidence of the locals wood harvesting

Physical evidence of the locals wood harvesting

He searched through the woods for a while and eventually found an alternate path that we had to push our way through the light brush to get to. This added a bit of extra time onto our trip, but we had come to far to turn back when we were so close. The younger kids (pre-teens?) in our group were increasing in antsiness and saying, “it’s too far,” and, “are we almost there?”

But eventually we heard someone from the front of the group say, “Finally!” To which Andrew happily muttered his reply, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” We had reached our destination:

The cool water was in sight.

The cool water was in sight

It didn’t take long for people to divest of their sweaty shirts down to their swimsuits and slip into the cool water. This is when we discovered what Tamarah had already ascertained during our walk: Mosquitos do not consider spandex a proper barrier or repellent. Poor Tam had been eaten alive. We had not applied bug spray where her exercise capris had been, and the mossies had attacked her through the insufficient barrier. Her legs must’ve had 50 (easy) welts on them. We were filled with regret for her painful situation. She mustered up a cheerful, “oh well,” response to the nasty sight and found a bit of relieve in the cold water!

While people were cooling off, Gideon, who had woken a little while before we reached our destination, was refueling.

You can see G and I cooling and refueling in the shade

You can see G and I cooling and refueling in the shade (picture from Ross)

But don’t worry, once that was accomplished, we went in the water too. Gideon was not happy when his mom jumped into the water (I think he was a bit startled by my impulsive jump), but he seemed to enjoy cooling off in the cold water well enough.

For fun, Tamarah and Andrew (along with others from the group) jumped off the rocks into the pool. But Gideon and I (aside from my initial jump) were content to enjoy the simplicity of sitting in the water.

The waterfall that fed the cold pool

The waterfall that fed the cold pool

Once we were all sufficiently cooled off, it was time to head back. Refreshed and with better idea of how long the trip back would take, it was more enjoyable to head back. It was nice to have landmarks along the way that we recognized to signal, “oh yes, we will get back.”

The hike didn't wear down our spirits or smiles!

The hike didn’t wear down our spirits or smiles!

While on our way back we could hear a mechanical noise, but not quite the same as the chainsaws we had heard earlier. But this time the noise got closer and closer until we realized what was behind us:

The local way of transporting the harvested wood!

The local way of transporting the harvested wood! (picture from Ross)

We were impressed with his set up and method of “carrying” his load of lumber through the jungle path.

Despite the trip back going [mentally] quicker, our trip had still taken a while. When we arrived back at the waterway by which we arrived, it was obvious that the tide had gone out by a bit. It was even too shallow for the small boat that had been used that morning to use its motor.

Consequently part of group pulled the boat filled with priority people (aka Gideon and the younger hikers) along until it could reach deeper water.

Manual Towing: the downsides of low tide!

Manual Towing: the downsides of low tide! (picture from Ross)

You can see how many stashed their shoes in the boat to keep them dry (even if they were already muddy). Once they had pulled the boat to deeper water they were able to get the people that pulled the boat into the boat and motor the boat away to the large boat that could hold all the people.

The first crew to leave

The first crew to leave

The rest of our group didn’t want to stand waiting for the group to tote the boat all the way back to us, so we walked through the river until the boat could return for the last load of people.

"Waiting" and "wading" in the river (Picture from Ross)

“Waiting” and “wading” in the river (Picture from Ross)

I felt like part of the scene in Swiss Family Robinson where they are wading in the river.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that traumatic! It was actually a low-key and fun adventure to wade in the water. Also, despite the unconventional method of wading through the river, it was quite refreshing! After walking a bit through the water feeling our way through the murkiness, we met up with the boat that had come back to pick us up. Finally, the whole group was re-united and we could use the deeper water and the larger boat to get back to Telunas.

Out on the water we realized how gorgeous the weather was. We had been trapped in the jungle enjoying the scenery of vegetation, but being out in the open water was a nice change of pace!

Being able to look at the greenery from afar was just as enjoyable as the up close experience

Being able to look at the greenery from afar was just as enjoyable as the up close experience

By the time we got out of the meandering river and back to the open seas we were really able to cruise along!

The faster pace to usher us back to Telunas

The faster pace to usher us back to Telunas

We did arrive back at Telunas, at least an hour later than planned. Between the detour in the woods, the Indonesians’ relaxed sense of time, and the issues with low tide, we were a bit delayed. The good news though is that the staff had prepared a hearty lunch for our arrival. Besides, the outing was a great way to enjoy nature and  get away from city life and city pace. We did learn a few things though:

  • Indonesian time has two meanings: 1 hour different than Singapore, AND it is a relaxed pace
  • Tennis shoes would get muddy
  • A cammelback worked well as a water supply and diaper bag
  • The waterfall and natural pool were worth the hike
  • Mosquito repellent was a must, but next time we will spray clothing especially any spandex material!

Thankfully though, although Tamarah had been devoured by mosquitos she was able to still enjoy the hike and she made a full recovery from her attack with the mossies so that she was able to enjoy her stay with us in Indonesia and back in Singapore.

Adventure, Anger, and Relief

I have posted before on how Singaporeans are not always direct and obvious when it comes to restrooms. Sometimes they are just downright obscure! Yesterday I had an unwelcome adventure with a bathroom, such that I thought it was worth sharing.

I know it was/is to be expected, but I am still surprised some days with how much my bladder control (or lack thereof!) and capacity has changed due to Little Randles. My new motto is that if there is a restroom nearby, use it! Even if you recently used one… because you don’t know when you’ll need it again. Probably soon.

Yesterday I had an OB appointment. Of course, due to the regularly required urine test, I emptied my bladder at the beginning of the appointment. As I left my OB’s office, I saw that the elevator was right at my level. A tiny thought somewhere in the back of my head said I should head for the bathroom instead of the convenient elevator. Since I didn’t want to stand waiting for the elevator, I decided to ignore my conscience and I rode the elevator down from the 14th floor. Bad choice.

By the time I was on the first floor, I realized that the bathroom need was becoming more imminent. No bathrooms were in sight. <sigh>

Good news: there was a mall right around the corner! (It’s hard to avoid malls when you’re on Orchard Road!)

Within two minutes I was out of the hospital, in the mall, and searching for a bathroom. I spotted a sign with the familiar man/woman symbol and a little arrow and set off on a mission. After walking several hundred yards I found another similar sign pointing me in another direction. I turned and followed that sign. Eventually I came to another corner with another sign. Keep going…

Finally after about 4 signs telling me to turn this way or that I came upon the bathroom. By now, I really was in need of the facility and “relieved” to find it!

My relief was quickly replaced with frustration and a little bit of anger.

Yup. Anger.

I don’t get angry that easily… But when a pregnant woman has been searching for your bathroom for several minutes and using up precious time walking in circles, the last thing she wants to find is that the bathroom is CLOSED!

I couldn’t believe it! Closed! After all that work!? Inconceivable! (I was too preoccupied with my emotions and physical needs to stop and take a picture.)

So, without a moment to lose, I did my best to overcome my disappointment and set off. I figured my best bet, since I had already explored virtually the entire floor of the mall, was to head for a different floor.

I made it to a different floor and headed in the general direction of where the bathroom had been on the other floor; all the while I was keeping my eye out for signs. A few hallways and turns later and I was at my destination.

Phew!

Then I realized that they had set up a desk with a person in the entrance to the bathroom. I also became aware of the fact that there was a sign indicating that you had to pay 20 cents.

Highway robbery.

I know that in this part of the world it is not unheard of to charge admission for bathrooms. That being said, the only bathrooms I have paid for in Singapore have been public bathrooms not associated with other buildings. This was in a mall for crying out loud!

Praise the Lord I had a few coins left in my wallet (I had recently been on a “use my coins up” vendetta, so I had been doing good in getting rid of most of my coins).

I paid the lady my dues and rushed off to a waiting stall.

It was an adventure that should never had occurred. But it did. And I hope it makes someone laugh. Even if it’s just myself looking back on the event that finds it all a bit humorous.

Of course, in the stall, what greets me but:

What not to do when using a toilet

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Apparently the people that designed this bathroom (and had the audacity to charge me for it) didn’t realize how when a woman wants to go, the last thing on her mind is whether or not she should climb up on top of the toilet. I guess I should remember that it is probably in the context of “squatties” in SE Asia. Maybe others don’t have the proper training to know not to squat if it isn’t a squatty potty!

To finish off my post, I will leave you with a anecdote from last night.

Yesterday evening, Andrew and I marooned ourselves on the bed with the aircon (A.C.) on and watched a movie on the laptop. Even though it was a good movie (Armageddon), I had to pause the movie about 3 times during the course of it to use the restroom. Now, maybe it was less of a physical need and more of a psychological affect of knowing that the bathroom was so close and I could use it… but for whatever reason I had to interrupt the movie at the most inopportune moments. Andrew made the playful comment, “I guess we shouldn’t go see a movie in the movie theater any time soon.” Thanks for understanding, Andrew 🙂

P.S. – In defense of the unpredictable bladder – I slept for 8+ hrs last night without getting up to use the bathroom once.