Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Follow the Redins

This isn't exactly about Singapore, but it isn't exactly not about Singapore, either. One of the things we want to do with this blog is encourage families with small children to be adventurous. For us, that meant an international move and lots of travel. Here is a video of last year's summer vacation. We hope this inspires you to go on your own adventure. . . if not to Iceland, then at least get out and explore a nearby park =)

Follow the Redins - Europe 2009 from Joshua Redin on Vimeo.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cheap Eats

I think I may have mentioned this before, but some things are worth repeating. . .

For delicious and affordable food, you've gotta check out Al Azhar's on Upper Bukit Timah Road (opposite Beauty World).

If you're a bit intimidated by the extensive menu, here are a few of our very favorites: plain naan, chicken satay, butter chicken, and ice blended mango lassi. =)

Okay, that ought to keep your taste buds busy for now.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Being Pregnant in Singapore

I already posted a series about healthcare (Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV). The series isn't a scientific and comprehensive look at the medical care available here, but it is true to MY experience, which has been great.

Since I've continued to get questions regarding being pregnant, giving birth, and caring for an infant, I thought I'd do another series of posts to answer some of these FAQ's. If you're new to Singapore, planning to move here soon, or just plain curious about what life is like here, I hope you find this helpful!

Q: What is the bathroom situation like in Singapore (since we pregnant women are CONSTANTLY needing to use the restroom)?

A: Overall, great! There are tons of public restrooms available, and for the most part, they are very clean and accessible. That's not to say you won't find some nasty ones, but I would say 8 out of 10 are "good," and 5 out of 10 are "great." There are malls everywhere, and the restroom facilities in the malls are generally excellent. The one thing you will find is that not all restaurants have public restrooms. And, unless it's a nice quality restaurant or chain (like McDonalds, Coffee Bean, etc), the facilities can be a bit questionable. Chances are, if you're in need of a public toilet (as they call them here), you'll be able to find a clean one nearby.

Q: Will I be able to find maternity clothes?

A: The answer to that question is tricky. Yes and No. You can find maternity clothes, but they are (in my opinion) either unstylish or outrageously priced. I opted to bring most of my maternity clothes from the US and I am glad I did. If money is no obstacle, then you can definitely find very attractive maternity clothes here. However, if $100 for a maternity shirt sounds a bit pricey, you may want to consider bringing clothes with you (or having a good friend ship them to you).

Q: Can I get quality prenatal vitamins in Singapore, or should I bring them with me from my home country?

A: When I moved here with an nursing infant (and was still taking prenatal vitamins), I brought a supply of my favorite prenatal vitamins. I ran out just about the time I found out I was pregnant with our second child. We found out she was coming while we in the US, but I opted not to bring back vitamins. Instead, my doctor here gave me prescription vitamins. For me, that was a good option because our medical insurance covers all prescriptions, including vitamins. If you don't have a medical plan that covers vitamins, you can find OTC vitamins here that are excellent. I asked my doctor about some recommended OTC brands and she suggested either Blackmore's (available at almost any Watson's or Guardian--two of the largest drugstore chains here) or GNC (they have numerous outlets here).

Q: What if I am a high risk pregnancy?

A: Not being a high risk pregnancy, I wasn't sure about the answer to this question, so I talked with my OB at my last appointment and asked her what options are available for women in this situation. This was her answer:

Most private doctors and hospitals will handle high risks pregnancies. If, for instance, you are diabetic, you would see your OBGYN as well as an endocrinologist at whatever hospital you choose. They would work together to manage your care and, assuming you were relatively healthy, you could deliver at the private hospital. Private hospitals are equipped to handle emergency C-sections and newborns/pre-term babies requiring extra care.

For extreme or unmanageable cases, the private doctor my refer you to a OB specialist at another hospital, perhaps private or public. In cases where the complication will result in a premature delivery, you would definitely be sent to one here with Level 3 NICUs (there are several). The most well-equipped hospital for handling extreme cases is KK Women's and Children's Hospital. It is a publicly funded hospital (though as an expat, you would not receive the subsidized pricing scheme). You may not get the doctor of your choice or the luxurious surroundings of some of the private hospitals, but you could expect to receive excellent care.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave a comment. I'd be happy to try to answer whatever questions arise. I am in the process of researching some answers to questions I've received regarding caring for your baby once it arrives. Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Garam Masala: A review

Yesterday was my best friend's last day of a two-week visit. We wanted to take her somewhere nice for her last dinner here in Singapore. We had planned a trip to Lau Pasat, but a heavy rain forced us to change our plans at the last minute. Since we were already headed into the City, we thought we'd check out a stretch of restaurants at Boat Quay. We've walked by them several times and admired the beautiful view of the city lights reflected on the peaceful water of the Singapore River. We finally settled on a nice looking Indian restaurant toward the end of the strip.

Unfortunately, the river view was the ONLY thing Garam Masala had going for it. We ordered Butter Chicken and Naan, our favorite Northern Indian dish. What we got were a few chunks of chicken smothered in what seemed to be a cross between tomato soup and ketchup and a stack of dry, thin bread discs. And, all for about 4 times as much as we pay at the Indian restaurant down the road from our house.

The madness didn't end there. . . we also ordered Chicken Fried Rice for the kids and a bowl of Hot and Sour Soup (they had a Chinese menu as well as an Indian). For $18, we got a small plate of absolutely flavorless fried rice swimming in oil. The peas were hard little pellets and the chicken was so fatty I couldn't find any decent pieces to give the kids. The soup was equally horrible. . . so much so that we sent it back and refused to pay for it.

If you're ever in Singapore, I'd encourage you to enjoy a nice evening overlooking the City skyline and sparkling river at Boat Quay. Just don't plan on eating!

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Dozen Eggs (minus 2)

I've lived here for TWO YEARS and I just realized that the "dozen eggs" I've been buying is actually not a dozen. It's ten. All the eggs here are sold in 10-packs. And, the worst part is that I wasn't even the one that realized it. . . Josh told me.

Pretty lame, huh (me, not the fact that the eggs are sold in 10's)!?!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Street Names

If you were to go to maps.google.com and type in "Toh Tuck, Singapore" you would find you have a lot of options. There is Toh Tuck Ave, Toh Tuck Close, Toh Tuck Crecent, Toh Tuck Drive, Toh Tuck Link, Toh Tuck Place, Toh Tuck Rise, Toh Tuck Road, Toh Tuck Terrace and Toh Tuck Walk. That's pretty confusing if you ask me. Doubly confusing is that all these streets are in the same neighborhood. Doubly, doubly confusing is that right next to all these Toh Tucks are all the Old Toh Tucks. Extra doubly, doubly confusing is that some of the names are used for multiple streets that are near each other but not touching. So you might take a left on Toh Tuck Rise, turn right on Toh Tuck Place, curve around onto Toh Tuck Terrace and then take a right onto Toh Tuck Rise (not the Toh Tuck Rise you were originally on, though).

And, the Toh Tucks aren't the only ones. It's a trend in Singaporean street naming. There are all the West Coasts and the Thomsons and the Tai Huans and the Tai Sengs and the Sunsets and the. . . you get the idea.

I'm sure there is some reason they chose to do it this way. I'm still trying to figure out what that might be. So far, I haven't come up with much.