Singapore Revisited and Current Life in NC

So right now, I am sitting in an apartment in Chapel Hill, NC, and we are getting ready to close on our own place a week from today.  I can’t believe how much has changed in the last few months.  We got to the States back in early May, visited Jen and Paul in San Francisco, went over to visit Wendi and Ryan a few hours away, traveled through Tahoe, Reno, and then on to Utah and Yellowstone, and then on to Colorado.  We got to see Dan’s Aunt Linda and Uncle Gray, also caught up with his cousins Zach and Chris and their wives, and almost moved to Fort Collins!  We decided to move back to (a different part of) North Carolina to be close to family, close to old friends, closer to the sea, and to be back in an area where it is less expensive to live.  Of course, as it turns out, we did choose one of the most expensive NC towns–but it’s all relative, right?  So what if our Carrboro/Chapel Hill property tax rate is 1.67%!  (At least the public schools are good!)

Anyway, after Colorado, we decided to go see Mount Rushmore up in S.D. before heading backwards to visit the Moseleys (on SV Widago) in Driggs, Idaho.  After that, we did another quick trip through Yellowstone, and headed east.  We stopped in St. Louis and a quick trip to Nashville (really seeing nothing), but mostly it was hightailing it to NC.

Try picking a place to live out of the blue!  Most people don’t have that opportunity (or curse, depending on how you look at it).  If you have the choice of anywhere, you want anywhere to be perfect.  Not perfect, but perfect for you.  That was a hard decision.  It came down to reassessing what we were looking for and we ended up in our current area.  We almost considered moving to Charlottesville, but I’m glad we opted to stay in NC given the recent events there.  We wouldn’t have much in the way of patience for hate groups and whatnot.

So here we are.  The kids start a brick and mortar school in less than two weeks.  I will be back to work soon, with jury selections scheduled.  Despite what you might think, I am actually looking forward to it!  Dan has applied for a half-time contractual position.  We are getting sucked back in to land life and the tentacles are not stopping anytime soon!  😉  Just so everyone knows, you spend a lot less money living out in the world compared to here in the U.S.  We had no cars, no car insurance, no pay cell phones, no power bills, no use for furniture, and no brainwashing to buy, buy, buy material goods (e.g, fidget spinners?  Is it just me or are those the stupidest things ever?).  Being back is bittersweet.  Poor Dan is ready to head back out.

I need to update our time in SE Asia.  We had some great and strange experiences, and two months living like true vagabonds with just a backpack, really did get tiring.  I think all of us were done with SE Asia, but, I have to say, I wouldn’t have necessarily been done with traveling.  South America?  Sure!  Europe?  Absolutely up for it!  Africa?  Bring it on!  But, we decided after selling the boat that we would give the kids a more traditional life until they get through with high school.  For all of you wondering, that’s six more years.  Six more years.  In the grand scheme of things, that’s not that long, right?  Here is the first post about Asia. I really hope I can remember some of the details!  I guess the details don’t matter much anyway.  It really is more important to have an overall impression of a place, or the human interest stories that stay with you for a lifetime–those are what matters.  I will have those tidbits in here, although those won’t be in this post because Singapore really wasn’t that kind of place.  It was city-like and not too different from a city in the U.S. in many ways.  The next post about Malaysia will be more unique.  We had the most eye-opening experience there, one that made me realize that the vast majority of places in the world contain generally good people.  We also were able to visit Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, and again, we had some stories…stay tuned!

Finally, Singapore…

We spent only four nights in Singapore, which was such an organized, fairly clean city.  It was a bit surreal taking the subway so much.  Looking around, EVERYONE was on a cell phone, mindlessly searching and searching, and it reminded me of a bunch of robots going about their same routine day in and day out.  After so much travel to remote places and to wide-open, outdoorsy New Zealand, this was so very depressing.  It was like living in the Lego Movie.  Eye-opening, and not much different from the States, sadly.

Other than that, Singapore had some very beautiful places!  Marina Bay Sands Towers, beautiful Chinatown, temples, and double-decker buses (Ryan really liked these.)  Oh, and there was also a crazy, floating baby.

We took a tour with a tour guide, walked through gardens, went to Universal Studios Singapore, and generally enjoyed being in a crazy city for a few days.  What we didn’t realize at the time was that Singapore was like “Asia light.”  It was more metropolitan, more wealthy, less dirty, and the least shocking way to enter SE Asia after being in the beauty of New Zealand for 3.5 months.

Riding the Subway.  At least we had seats on this ride…

The Towers–Very unique buildings!  There is a big greenway at the top.  

The park near the Towers

Beautiful fake tree art in the park

He’s a beauty, isn’t he?

We went all the way up…sort of.

Our tour guide through Singapore

He said the government actually contacted single men within a certain age range to encourage them to go to these dating events.  Apparently, the marriage rate among young men is decreasing rapidly, and the government is worried…

A temple

Another temple

Raffles–Singapore Slings

Front seat of the second floor, double decker bus

Very strange floating baby statue.

Many of the residences in Singapore are government-subsidized.  They are not like in the States though, because these are very desirable communities in Singapore.  Each large building must contain a certain portion of each ethnicity, and there are tons of food stalls in the bottom floors of these buildings.  Most people don’t bother to cook at all, because you can eat for so little money.  In fact, one of the food stalls actually received a Michelin Star!  We didn’t eat at that particular one because the line is always out of control, but we did manage to have Chef Gordon Ramsey’s recommendation of “Hainanese Chicken Rice” from this one particular place.  The kids really liked it; Dan and I added a lot of spice.

Gordon Ramsey’s recommendation.  This place has a lot of people in line most of the time.  It was quite tender chicken.  Ariana looks enthralled, doesn’t see?

Smaller than our theme park, but still pretty good after being off the grid for so long!  The kids didn’t even know it was there.  Actually, neither did I, but our good friend Steve on S/V “Nina” told us the park was in Singapore.  We surprised the kids, telling them the day before that we were going.

Okay, I promise Malaysia will include more thoughtful posting!  Malaysia was QUITE different from Singapore, that’s for sure!