snippets of blackwings life

Little India

Tekka Market After waking up pretty late, I decided to hit MRT in order to rush over to Little India. Timing was good – cause when I jumped out of the MRT station, the thunderstorm just started. So I had no choice to get into a nearby, pretty rundown place – But this turned out to be nice. I accidently found Tekka Market, one of Little Indias unique places. There are many many food stands selling almost any (not only Indian) food – Curries in any Indian or Pakistani style… It smells like heaven :) Besides that there is a market selling fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meat (including lamb – this you can easily smell!). So I decided to sit down, get me some Chicken Masala on a banana leaf and a comlementary Mango lassi (of course made with fresh, fully ripe Mango – with incredible taste!). All that for just 4 S$!

Shops in Little IndiaWhen I was finished eating, the thunderstorm was over, so I got out to Senrangoon Road with all its shops. They sell almost anything – Beginning from Hindu-temple-equipment, ending somewhere at freshly ground spices or fully-automatic-massage-chairs… It’s quite interesting just passing by, seeing all these people shopping…

Srinivasa Perumal TempleI finally got to the most important Hindu temple in Singapore – The Srinivasa Perumal Temple with its 12m high entrance. After taking off my shoes, I had a brief view inside. There of course Vishnu, as we know from the Simpsons! Altogether this temple is in a very nice shape and a “must-visit” for any interested traveller getting to Singapore!

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Myanmar food

Saturday. Probably the best day of the week! I woke up quite early feeling really relaxed although I got home late from the movies. I had an appointment with to co-workers at city hall in order to get some food from their homecountry: Myanmar (former Burma or Birma). I never heard of this cuisine before and because I like strange food, this was a must-go!

Myanmar foodWe met at City Hall station and headed for a mall nearby, whose stores are mainly owned by Myanmar people (Peninsula Plaza). Of course I have absolute no clue about the Burmese alphabet and their language, so Thura, one of my co-workers handled all the ordering. They got a large variety of specialties of Myanmar. I cannot pronouce or even clearly identify the names of what it was, but it was really nice. Very different to most of the other stuff I had before! The Burmese cuisine is definitively worth trying!

Unlike most other asian food, they serve a lot of salad! We got some cabbage-tomato salad with a mango-lemon dressing and a topping with peanuts. As appaetize there was also deep-fried burmese tofu, which is not made from soybeans but from chickpeas – and this gives a really unique taste! It was served with a tamarind-lemon-chili sauce which made a very nice combination. As main dishes they ordered a kind of fish-soup with noodles – interestingly seasoned and very thick, then one of the national dishes, a kind of bean relish. Besides that we had king prawns with a light chili sauce. The most special dish was the stewed pork with a kind of bean paste – This taste was 100% new to me. This bean paste is usually mixed with rice, beacuse the flavor is too strong. As dessert we had a coconut jelly with mago topping.

I don’t have photos yet, because my Laptop is in repair, but I will add them later.

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Casino Royale

Today at work some of my co-workers decided to get to the movies after work. The headed for the new James Bond 007 – Casino Royale. Actually I was wanna to see it anyway, so I decided to join them.

We got to the Cathay Cineleisure Multiplex right at Orchard road. Whats quite amazing: Quite often you get a shopping center that has a cinema… But how often do you get a huge Cineplex (or better: Ultraplex) with some shops in it (namely: Merchandising, Books, Food, …)? Cause the movie started as late as 2100, we decided to get some Food first: I had a pretty enjoyable Chicken Rice Curry with a Pineapple-Papaya Juice. Food at Orchard is way more expensive than in other parts of Singapore – But about 4S$ (~2 euro) for the food and 2S$ for the drink is ok anyway.

The movie was… Let’s say it this way: Not as bad as expected! The new actor that incorporates James Bond was O.K., but for me the movie contained to much of a Love-Story…  The movie was of course in original language, but it contained subtitles in chinese. Anyway: 8S$ for a friday peaktime movie in a nice theatre with ultracomfortable seats is a price at which even I say: fair.

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Laptop broken

IBM x40 with white line... Yesterday was quite shocking – When I got home from from I switched on my Laptop as usual. But, there was a big vertical white line in the middle of the display. Sometimes its smaller, sometimes its broader….This really annoyed me, so I checked for the IBM support via their Electronic Service Calls Webinterface. Luckily I got an IBM Laptop having 3 years of worldwide warranty! This is quite good, cause without a Laptop… Uh, I’m trapped. Cause telephone, chat, E-Mail… It all relays on this thing.Actually this morning the IBM support of Singapore called me back, instructing me what to do: It’s really easy, cause I just have to drop off the Laptop in an Singapore Post-Office! And after 2-3 workings days it will be back, they said. Usually even faster. So on Monday I’ll drop off my Laptop at an SingPost point and see how fast they can fix it.

Update: It took them just less than 4 days. I collected the Laptop at lunch break at Thursday after handing it in at Monday at 18:00. Thumbs up!

Malacca – First visit to Malaysia

As I got a free Friday, I decided to use this “long weekend” accordingly – So I chose to go to Malacca (or Melaka, as Malaians say), the actually oldest town in entire Malaysia.

I took an Express-Bus from Lavender Bus Terminal to Meleka Sentral (this is not mispelled!) for just 16S$ – There were some for 10S$, but I got this one, cause it was a VIP Bus. This means: Just 22 Seats in a Bus that has regularly 55 seats. So quite more relaxing for this 4 hour ride.

Bus in Malacca We hit Malacca by about 15:00, so I took a Bus (Line 17 in case you get to Malacca) to the “Red Place”. The bus was probably older than me, but it seemed to be safe. At least the tires were no slicks! So I had to choose a guesthouse for the weekend. After some reading in my travelbook, I walked around and finally got a single room at “Shirah’s Guesthouse” for just 12RMB (about 4 euro) per night. The place seemed clean and pretty centrally located.

Capitol Satay After a refreshing shower I just sat down at the living room to have a relaxing tea (from the Cameron Highlands!) – mainly beacuse the daily thunderstorm was on. After some hour or it was over, so I walked down to the City centre, to be more precise, to Chinatown. Cause it was quite late now, I searched for something to eat. I pretty much like Satay, so I got to “Capitol Satay”. This place is quite nice: You just take whatever you want to eat from a freezer and cook it yourself. Every table contains a stove with a pot of Satay Sauce. Pretty enjoyable and cheap – I was really packed and paid just 8 RMB (2 euro) – including a coconut as drink.
After this I just walked around the night market, but I was pretty tired so I got to bed really early.

Some old houses in MalaccaWaking up at Saturday was like a dream: Beautiful weather (blue sky) and low humidity. I slept good, but got attacked by some insects… So I started my sightseeing tour. I started at the Stadthuys of the former Dutch colonial rulers and climbed up the Church Hill to the historic (guess what) St. Pauls church (or better: The ruins of this former church). From there you actually get a nice view of the whole city – But the light was so bright that even at 1/2000s and minimum aperture it was hard to get nice photos.

Mosque in Malacca Chinese QuarterAfter this I choose to have lunch: Banana leaf rice at a place called “Salvem”. Nice quality for a low price (just 4 RMB for the whole set). So I walked over to chinatown. In Malacca this is pretty special, cause most of the tow-storied buildings are way more than 100 years of age. In the middle of Chinatown there is also a nice Mosque. This is quite uncommon, but in Malaysia most of the people are muslims so here most of the Chinese are too.
Dragons in the Sky But the classical Chinese dragons are quite everywhere – Some little temple here, a shrine there. Very impressive! It was already 15:00 and more clouds arised so I got to some shopping mall in order to have a coffee. I just sat down when it started thundering and raining. Ever seen a tropical thunderstorm? See the picture!

Summer Rain

Again after about an hour it was over and I got back to the nearby guesthouse to change my truely sweated clothes… There I met some backpacker from the Netherlands and we agreed to search dinner together – I got a suggestion from one co-worker to get to a Hainanese restaurant in order to get Chicken Rice Balls. Actually Malacca is famous for this dish – And this place was marvellous. Unlike the tourist places this one was cheap and really good.

Gigantic Banana Ah! I forgot something interesting: By walking through the more muslim area I spotted a fruit shop – And it had GIGANTIC bananas! The one I got was about 850g! I hardly could eat a quarter of this fantasticly tasting fruit…

This was Malacca – A very nice weekend. Really cheap and a lot to see. If you come to Malaysia: Go Meleka! LAH!

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Trying out tropical fruits

Dragonfruit and Jumbu The last few days I was quite busy at work – so there were no postings. But after work I managed to get to some fruit market in order to have some tropical fruits that are not really available in Germany. So lets make a list of what I already got – I will start with the more “known” ones at get to the really unusual ones… And give brief explanation and rating (Maybe I get some more photos ready the other day):

  • Young Sweet Coconut – With a very thin shell and thin layer of quite fatty flesh these mini coconuts taste amazingly sweet and intense. Unlike the Coconuts you can get in Europe, coconuts are here completely full of coconut water (actually the amount of water in a coconut is a measure for its freshness! Most surprising: There are reports, that you can use the coconut water as in intravenous fluid in case of blood-loss!)
  • Belimbing (Starfruit) – In Germany all the Starfruits I had were green and quite sour. More like a lemon than some sweet fruit. But here you can get them completely ripe: Yellow, tasteful and really sweet!
  • Pitaya (Dragonfruit) – This is one of the most amazing fruits I ever had: A dark red sheel and white flesh with little black seeds in it. The flesh tastes a little bit like Kiwi. Depending on ripeness it can be juicy and sweet or more balanced.
  • Nangka (Jackfruit) – In the first moment you think of a taste like caramel and pineapple. Very unusual!
  • Durian – In Singapore they call it “King of fruits” cause of its taste. Yeah, it tastes quite nice: A little bit like almonds with some caramel-vanilla-custard taste. The odor of this fruit is annoying. Probably you can compare this fruit to cheese: Smells bad, tastes good. But I think this is a must-have for Singapore visitors!
  • Mangosteen – This unusual fruit with a hard shell covers a white juicy flesh with a taste of sweet-lemon with a touch of peach. Quite hard to get around here, but worth trying it!
  • Red Jumbu (a kind of Persimmon) – When I first looked out at Wikipedia I did not find any information… By more distinct searching I finally found out that this fruit is related to the orange persimmon (Kaki or Sharon) that you can get in Germany. The taste although is quite different… Way more sweet and a little more bitter. Very refreshing when served cold!

And, do you know all these? I definitively did not, but at least I tried them all…. So, if you run across some of those fruits – Go ahead and get them! You will survive it!

But actually I got more targets on my list: Langsat and at least Lychee. But probably I will find some others too :)

Beach chillout day at Sentosa

Palm Tree at Sentosa Beach Hooray, its Sunday – and actually when I woke up this morning the bright tropical sun was shining. So I got me towel and bathing suit ready to hit Sentosa at noon. In order to get there I used MRT to Harbour Front and took the Bus Shuttle to Sentosa Island. Entrance Fee is just 3S$ (additional stuff like underwater oceanarium and so on costs extra) – But for getting to the beach, 3S$ is just alright. At Sentosa there are various bus shuttles. The one to the beach is the Blue Line.

Sentosa Beach - Siloso LagoonI spent the whole day at the beach. Of course in the shade! Getting into the sun is making you dizzy within seconds, cause its so hot. Yesterday when I got sunblocker, I was wondering, why the lowest protection factor was 20 – Now I know! The sea at Siloso Beach (where I actually was), is quite nice. Flat, warm (at bathing temperature) and quite clean. For late lunch I decided to get some Sushi. A place called Sakae Sushi offered it at a good price (6 Maki-Mono or 2 Inside-out Makis for 1,90S$) – So I took a seat at the revolving bar and enjoyed the great sea-view while munching… Quality of the Sushi was quite surprising for a beach place.

This was probably not the last time at Sentosa, cause it has much more to offer than just a plain beach!

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Orchard Road – Lucky Plaza

Lucky Plaza Today I got to Orchard Road in order to look around a little – Actually I was wanna to get some CompactFlash card for my camera. So I entered Lucky Plaza which is supposed to be the “Mekka” of cheap electronics… After some checking I finally ended up getting what I was wanna… The initial price for the 1GB CF card was 69S$ and I got it for 33S$. All these shopping malls start to bore me – No more mall for me unless it is really needed!

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Singapore Chilli Crab & Nightly Downtown tour

Today at work I met one of the other interns I was told about earlier… Actually she is also from Germany. So I met Nina, who is studying industrial engineering and managment at TU Kaiserslautern.

Nina had been asked by a Senior Engineer of Sulzer Chemtech wether she would like to join him for a dinner, but when he found out, that I was also a foreign intern, he invited me also.

Nina with Giant Chilli Crab So we got to the Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant right next to the Fullerton Hotel at Marina Bay. We sit outside and Gilbert placed a nice order: Some fried rice with seafood and Satay as appetizer. For the main dish he ordered a pretty Singaporian specialty: Chilli Crab. Its a Giant crab (which could easily feed the three of us) in a tasty sauce of chilli, lemon juice etc. A Photo of Nina with this nice dish is on the ride side… The whole was marvellous! The satay was probably the best I ever had and the Chilli Crab – I can easily suggest you to try it… Just great! Gilbert said that this restaurant is supposed to be the best place to get this dish.
IMerlion at NightIn front of the restaurant there is a gigantic statue of the Merlion, a mixture of fish and lion. It was a pretty impressive scene as you can probably imagine from the photo… We continued to walk along the Singapore River towards Boat Quay and finally got to the Clarke Quay… From there we headed Raffles’ Landing Site (with the with statue of Sir Stamford Raffles) and then walk along to the Raffles Hotel.

Downtown Singapore at Night Back to the car, which was actually parked at Fullerton Road, we also hit the Esplanade, which is the concert and culture center of Singapore. With its impressive design of a Durian fruit it hosts several concert halls, theaters and even one of Singapores countless shopping malls. On this quite long walk we saw a lot of nice buildings – but there were so many that I skipped most of them in the list here… Maybe some other time. It’s 2am already so I will get to bed.

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NTU Canteen vs. FAU Mensa

Within 5minutes of walking I have access to 3 canteens: The one between Hall 12 and Hall 13 is next to me, the Canteen 16 is right across the road and Canteen A at the main campus is just a short walk. Each of these canteens have several food-stands: Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Western, … So there everytime you have the food of choice. The food is pretty good and really cheap, even cheaper than most of the hawker places in the city. But the best part here is: Get some freshly squeezed juice after your meal – Todays selection: Aloe Vera with Mango and Papaya.

This match is definitively won by the NTU canteens. Man, this fried junk at home really sucks!

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