Archive | January, 2010

Travelogue, Pt. 4: Auckland, New Zealand

19 Jan

Image 1: Downtown Auckland, Image 2: Downtown Auckland view from One Tree Hill, Image 3: Behind the stone wall, grazing sheep

Travelogue, Pt. 3: Singapore (B)

19 Jan

These are photos of a very small part of Singapore’s Chinatown. Below, a fruit stand gives a glimpse of some of the tropical fruit diversity I referred to below: rambutan, mangosteen, jackfruit, and so forth. The photos after that capture some people sitting by a durian stand, enjoying durian — and in the case of the second photo, mangosteen and coconut juice drinks, as well.

Unfortunately, I didn’t carry my camera with me when we went to Chatterbox. This is the takeout box. Not very exciting, but perhaps you can gather from this presentation what the restaurant might look like.

I’ll take more photos of Singapore when I head back later for my connecting flight to Los Angeles.

Travelogue, Pt. 3: Singapore (A)

17 Jan

I am currently in Singapore, on a hotel business center computer. As a result, I can’t upload any photos, which I think are infinitely more interesting — or at the very least necessary as a supplement — than my travel commentary. Once I have access to WiFi, I will upload some of the photos I’ve taken and merge this post with a new one.

I’ve had limited exposure to Singapore so far. Eighty percent of what I’ve seen here has been in the environ of Orchard Road. Without photos, the best I can do to approximate a description would be to ask you to imagine a very nice luxury goods shopping center, conceive of an even better and flashier design, increase the size of that by three, and then multiply it for blocks upon blocks. The enormity and the lights will boggle you. Further, most U.S. malls I know of are full of fake palm trees and artificial tropical fauna. Being on Orchard Road, which is like one Mega shopping plaza, surrounded by tropical Singapore’s lush vegetation is astounding; the street’s got the feeling of a swollen mall, turned inside out.

Last night, I went with some family and family friends to Singapore’s Chinatown where we had durian at a hawker stand called Liu Lian Wang, or Durian King. Interestingly enough, as if not to be outdone, its next door neighbor is Durian Sultan or something.

Having the opportunity to eat all these tropical fruits is giving me a profound disdain for American fruits. I fear that in the future I may not be able to eat an apple without feeling contempt.

I have also eaten at Chatterbox, which is supposed to have the best Hainan Ji Fan (Hainan chicken rice) in Singapore, which is notable as the food is practically the national dish. I am sorry to confess that the Hainan Ji Fan at Alhambra, California’s Savoy Kitchen stands taller in my mind. But, I will say that the coconut ice cream was by far the best ice cream I have ever eaten. Served inside a coconut shell lined with coconut meat for your scraping delight, the ice cream is topped with cocoa powder and garnished with walnuts. Additional decoration includes a marbled chocolate piece, and pineapple tucked into lychee on skewers.

Anyway, hopefully I can have some photos up in the next few days. I’m sort of a webby pauper; I don’t know when my next connection is coming.

Till then —

Travelogue, Pt. 2: Medan, Wedding Edition

15 Jan

I’m half-asleep, but I feel that since I’m one of the few folks from back home to attend the wedding, I have an obligation to post photos quickly.

The wedding ceremony itself was held at the Mawar Sharon Church, which is at the top floor of the Mata Hari mall, or Sun Plaza. I thought the ceremony was pretty moving. Words can’t begin to express how I feel … because I’m half-asleep and incoherent. Anyway, here’s a quick sampler:

Travelogue, Pt. 1: Medan (Updated)

14 Jan

Today marks my second day in Medan, the third largest city in Indonesia. Wikipedia can give a much better overview of Medan than I can, but for what it’s worth, here are some of what I think are the city’s salient points: lots of hustle and bustle, really great food, thriving Chinese community (Hokkien dialect spoken here), traffic congestion, many religious sites with a surprisingly large proportion belonging to Christian churches.

I am pretty shy with my camera, mainly because the DSLR attracts a lot of attention. Hopefully I will get over that and take photos of more people and make a more cohesive photo storyline. For one, I’ll try to record highlights of a very good family friend’s wedding tomorrow. Till then, enjoy the following —

Addendum: I should explain some things.

Photo 1 | I’m patting myself on the back for this one, just because the word “Medan” is in the shot. Anyway, you can see fruit stands like this everywhere, and this fruit (salak, or palm fruit) is particularly popular.

Photo 5 | Kari bihun, or 咖喱米粉 (gali mifen), or curry noodles. These were delicious to the highest power. As a memory note more for myself than anyone else, the guy who got our check was wearing red wooden platforms that clockclockclocked against the linoleum floor.

Photo 6 | This is an overview of the city from my hotel room.

Photo 7 | I don’t think there are many rickshaws, or becak, in my family’s hometown anymore. Nice to see their splash of color here.

Addendum 2: The following are some photos from this evening. I’ve also decided that I do not like it when Flickr sharpens my photos, so I’m wondering about other photo hosting options.

Photo 1A | Mie pangsit, or noodles with dumplings, with the soup stock in the back. Also delicious, but it’s still second place compared to the curry noodles pictured above.

Photo 2A | Young boy eating martabak, behind one of the many food stands on the street.

Photo 3A | Durian is the king of all fruits.

chili cheese fries

9 Jan

I, Paulina, am a chili cheese fry connoisseur. Yes, I fully recognize that this isn’t a food expertise I should vaunt. Believe me when I say I would rather have a discerning palate for cheese, be able to pick up subtle fruity notes in wine, or possess an exhaustive knowledge of espresso techniques.

But for better or for worse, I have fallen in love with an item rooted firmly in the carny food group, flanked by other standard American delicacies such as corn dogs, root beer floats, and deep-fried Oreos.

Anyway, this was all just a long way of introduction to my chili cheese fry document, which is hosted at Google Docs. Should you also have a penchant for the food, this should be a helpful resource to you as it includes prices and a brief review. It’s also color coded: black denotes acceptable; gray, unacceptable; red, good; blue, untried; green, pending.

The list is pretty near completion, though I leave out options that no longer exist (e.g., Jack in the Box, Burrito Kingdom). I omit cheddar bacon fries, poutine, carne asada fries, and other second cousins to the chili cheese fry.

I welcome comments, and especially welcome recommendations.

I leave you with a few CCF photos: