Weekly Travel Theme- Ripples

Posted in Travel Asia, Travel Europe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

Here you go! Another installment of Weekly Travel Theme (as inspired by Where’s My Backpack)– Ripples.

A ripply self-portrait at the Dali exhibit at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore

Ripples of fire in Boracay, Philippines

Undulating Rice Paddies at Long Shi, China

Artistic metal ripples- The Sibelius Monument by Eila Hiltunen in Helsinki, Finland

Architectural Ripples at the University Library in Zurich, Switzerland

Peacock ripples at Lazienski Park in Warsaw, Poland

Sara ponders the glassy waves in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Thus completes my non-water collection of ripples.

See my other contributions to Weekly Travel Themes here.


What We Do at Work- 10th Edition- Haze Special

Posted in Esplanade, Life in Singapore, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

When the PSI crossed 400 yesterday, our employer issued every worker with a 3M N95 safety mask to wear whenever we went outdoors.

Silliness ensued…

Nurse Cindy assists Ailing Annabelle with her safety mask

I made sure that Hello Kitty avoided any airborne ailments

It’s Getting Worse

Posted in Life in Singapore with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the air pollution here in Singapore. At the time, a 16 year record had been broken with a PSI level of 321. Since writing that post, the PSI has climbed over 400!

Here is a map from the NEA.

Singapore is a tiny island at the tip of the Malaysian Pennisula, right in the middle of the red zone.

Yesterday, I posted a hazy photo of the Marina Bay Sands hotel. Here is today’s.

Here is that same view again.  PSI level about 360.

Here is that same view again. PSI level about 360.

Here is a slightly different view, slightly earlier in the day. PSI reading 401.  You can't really see it, but trust me the hotel is there.

Here is a slightly different view, slightly earlier in the day. PSI reading 401. You can’t really see it, but trust me the hotel is there.



Let’s all hide indoors, crank up our air conditioning and wait for this to blow over. Surely, it will only take a week or two…


The Sky is a Hazy Shade of

Posted in Life in Singapore with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

Well, it’s international news now.  Controlled (intentional) farm burns in Sumatra are causing a massive blanket of polluted smoky air to cover the tiny island nation of Singapore (and much of Malaysia as well).

The Guardian

The Financial Times


Wall Street Journal

Just google search “Pollution in Singapore,” you’ll see it’s big news.

The biggest news (covered here in Today and reported by the National Environment Agency) is that last night the PSI (Pollution Standards Index) reached a record high of 321.  Which is deemed to be “hazardous” and can lead to “early onset of certain diseases in addition to significant aggravation of symptoms in susceptible persons; and decreased exercise tolerance in healthy persons.” (with prolonged exposure)

Basically, the air is really hazy and it smells like a charcoal grill (with no tasty meal to follow).  I have a sore throat, cough and burning eyes.  I lost  my voice for a few days.  It feels like I have a cold, but I don’t.

Allow me to present you with some visual aids.

View from my patio this morning (20 June 2013)

The same view last year (with me modeling my new knit sweater)

Marina Bay Sands Hotel shot across the bay from the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre– last night 19 June 2013

The same view on a beautiful day last year

At night last November

Singapore’s government has asked Indonesia to “do something” about the smoke.  We’ll see what happens.  Meanwhile, pharmacies island-wide have sold out of face masks.



Weekly Travel Theme: Light

Posted in Life in Singapore, new york, Travel Asia, Travel Europe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

Another version of Where’s My Backpack‘s Weekly Travel ThemesLIGHT.  I could not resist such an awesome theme.

Boston, USA


Paris, France



Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei


Hangzhou, China


Larnaka, Cyprus

Amsterdam, Netherlands


Kathmandu, Nepal

Try Taipei

Posted in Asian Winter Odyssey 2010-11, Travel Asia with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

My first solo expedition of my Asian Winter Odyssey was my brief stay in Taipei, Taiwan.  Now, let me tell you, I LOVED Taipei.  It is clean and efficient.  Even though it’s crowded, the people are orderly and polite.  Honestly, before moving to Asia I had an image in my mind of “what Japan would be like.”  Now having visited Japan and Taiwan, I can tell you that Taiwan is what I thought Japan would be like and Japan is ten million times MORE than what I thought.

Harvey Milk

I am not ashamed to admit that my first destination in Taipei was the Hello Kitty Cafe.  It’s so very Hello Kitty.  Everything is pink and adorned with bows.  It was so kitsch, I could not resist.

My Hello Kitty iced coffee with Hello Kitty coffee ice cubes, Hello Kitty tiramisu with macaroon and white chocolate cone with Hello Kitty sticker.
And for dessert…

Seriously, I didn’t order the Hello Kitty jello.  They simply brought it to me after I had finished the coffee and the dessert with two sides of dessert that I had ordered.  Actually I only ordered the tiramisu and the coffee, the macaroon and chocolate cone were complimentary side dishes.

After my sugar-overloaded lunch, I wandered through the artist district enjoying parks and galleries.

And a weird yellow cow
At the AIR (Artist in Residence)

If I were an actual artist, I would SO apply for a residency at this place.  AIR Taiwan.

I was fortunate enough to be visiting during the Taipei Flora Expo.  It a huge international event featuring beautiful flowers from around the world as well as eco-friendly innovations and fashion.

A cactus for La Femme Cactus

Nifty wall planter things

My favorite part was the EcoArk, a huge building made entirely of recycled water bottles!

I also did the super-cheesy-but-totally-worth-it visit to the top of Taipei 101.  No, it’s not the world’s tallest building anymore but it’s still pretty cool.

First off, it’s shaped like BAMBOO!
The view
Fun facts
The world’s only visible damper
What could be cuter? Damper Baby

My final tourist destination was Maokong via the Maokong Gondola.

View of Taipei 101 from Maokong

See more photos of Taipei here.

Rocks and Fire in Thailand

Posted in Asian Winter Odyssey 2010-11, Travel Asia with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2013 by Yarn Over New York

As part of my Asian Winter Odyssey in 2010 and 2011, I went to Thailand with my then-boyfriend Rowan and our friends Timmy and Jo.  I had been traveling with my co-worker Kevin and his boyfriend Matt, and after India they headed back to Macau and I connected with Rowan and company in Hong Kong.  Our Thailand adventure was mainly spent in Ton Sai (amazing) which was bookended by a day in Ao Nang (due to boat schedule), which in turn was bookended by a day in Bangkok (due to flight schedule).  Hey, at least it was symmetrical.  🙂

Ton Sai 3 thru 6 December

I’m skipping our first stint in Bangkok because I got a migraine and spent most of the time asleep and also skipping our first stint in Ao Nang because I spent most of that time in Krabi hospital (due to the rabies incident).

When we boarded our little boat from the beach of Ao Nang to the beach of Ton Sai, the awesomeness of our trip truly began.

Wikitravel labels Ton Sai as “rough around the edges,” which, honestly is perfect for our group.  It is quite jungly (with MONKEYS) and much less built up than neighboring Rai Leh.

Wikitravel also says that Ton Sai is more of a “doing” destination than a “seeing” destination.  And this is quite true.  Even the things “to see” involve quite an amount of “doing” to get there.

Day One

Our first day, we walked across the beach in low tide to visit Rai Leh beach (less rocky).  I was very excited to try out my new waterproof camera.


As you can see, the photo is less than impressive.  Bummer.  Shortly after this photo, the camera stopped working.  Double bummer.  Waterproof? I guess not.

That night we tried out slack-wire walking (think tight-wire, but not, you know, tight) and fire twirling.

Jo does pretty well

Ro does OK.

But how does the cat do?

Oooooh fire… (luckily my “waterproof” camera was not my only camera)

I took many many more fire twirling photos but for the sake of browser loading time, I will move on.

Day Two

The next day we took a boat trip to Phra Nang Beach and also did a rather adventurous hike to the lagoon.

You can see the Phra Nang Princess in the rock (She’s ORANGE)

We geared ourselves up for our pending climbs by watching this guy.

Fisherman plant these phalluses as a shrine for Phra Nang.

After lunch, we trekked to the lagoon.

The trail was clearly marked as dangerous and slippery.

That small sign did little to prepare us for the sheer difficulty of the hike.  The trail was quite muddy and slippery and some of it was essentially vertical and required climbing up or down ropes that have been strategically placed along more challenging areas.  I spent a good bit of the trail scooting up and down on my bum or crawling on all fours.  It was a robust workout.

A view of Rai Leh from the trail to the lagoon.

I have no pictures of the lagoon, unfortunately.  I was way too covered in mud to attempt to touch my camera.  However, the lagoon was pretty much a gigantic swamp of mud due to low rainfall.  We tromped around in the knee high mud for a while and then clambered our way through the trail back to our bungalow.

Day Three

The next day we played monkey and went climbing.

Up up I go!

All the way to the top!

So strong!

Soon it was time to say good-bye to Ton Sai and return to Ao Nang then Bangkok then on to a new adventure.

Good-bye Thailand, it’s been swell.

See more photos of our trip to Thailand here.