Blessed New Year

New Year's Day, Sydney  [2014]

May we all have a blast in 2014!

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My First Catch

Georges River, Sydney  [2013]

Took a boat out on the Georges River this morning for a half-day fishing trip and managed to catch my first fish ever. It was the only one I caught for the trip but definitely better than nothing. Time to put it on the barbie (Australian slang for BBQ) with some home-made sambal belacan.

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Slovenia Photo Albums

I just added “Ljubljana” and “Postojna & Environs” albums under Slovenia (in the menu bar). My commentary on the Postojna and Škocjan Caves can be found in the post I wrote last year.

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Teppei Japanese Restaurant

Went for lunch at 1.45pm but still had to queue for about half an hour before getting a seat at this 21-counter-seater open-kitchen restaurant at Orchid Hotel in Tanjong Pagar. But it was well worth the wait. Check out the generous portion of raw fish in the Barachirashi shown below. Even the wasabi was noteworthy as it was grated and not like a paste. The Barachirashi Set at S$14.95++ comes with soup, iced green tea, and free-flow side dishes that are good enough to be eaten as mains. No reservations are allowed for lunch (hence the queueing), but dinner (omakase sets starting from S$50++) is by reservation only. This place is currently popular enough that you have to book several months in advance.

Barachirashi, Teppei Japanese Restaurant  [2013]

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Diving in Maldives on a Budget

You don’t need to break the bank to go diving in Maldives. Here’s an estimated cost breakdown for a short dive trip from Singapore:

Return flight from Singapore to Malé – S$463 on Malaysia Airlines (full service, stopover in KL) / S$334 on Tigerair (budget, direct)
Accommodation – S$70 a night for a room in Hulhumalé (double occupancy, air-con, private bath, breakfast)
Diving – S$250 for 4 dives including equipment rental (2 dives a day for 2 days)
Food and public transport – S$20 a day

Total cost for 4D/3N dive trip: Less than S$1000 nett a person

S$20 a day for food and transport is possible because there are many teashops in Malé and Hulhumalé, where you can get hedhikaa, which is a selection of finger foods, also known as “short eats”, for about S$0.20 a piece. They are like samosas, in many different forms and shapes, but commonly stuffed with spicy fish filling. There’s a picture of “short eats” in the photo album. For those who get tired quickly of “short eats”, you can get “long eats” like curry chicken and rice at the teashops for about S$5.

Three things I liked about my recent trip: Manta Ray, Short Eats, Milk Coffee ‘Dinosaur’

Three things I disliked about my recent trip: Google Map for Hulhumalé, Dive Boat Seasickness, Deleted Dive Photos (mostly recovered)

Photos and videos are available for viewing under “Malé & Environs” in “Maldives”. Enjoy!

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S.E.A. Aquarium

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Fat Burritos Aren’t Necessarily Good Burritos

Muchachos recently opened in Singapore and describes itself as a “Mission-Style Burrito Bar”. Good Mexican/Spanish food is generally scarce and expensive in Singapore, so I decided to give this place a try, given the raving online reviews and the promise of a large-sized Mission Burrito going for a reasonable (in Singapore standards) price of S$12 nett. Unfortunately, I was highly disappointed by the burrito.

Burrito, Muchachos  [2013]

It could have just been the food servers on duty that day, but they really need training on how to wrap a burrito. The burrito ended up short and fat (like a rugby ball) instead of long and cylindrical, resulting in three distinct layers of meat, carbs, and salsa (imagine Neapolitan ice cream). So unless one has an extremely huge mouth, one has to take three separate adjacent small bites in order to get a mixture of the contents. I’m okay with a short and fat burrito if each individual bite can hold on its own, but clearly this wasn’t the case. In one mouthful I could only taste the strong flavour of the lamb, in another I could only feel the plain texture of the refried beans. The salsa didn’t quite have enough of a zesty kick either. It was a chore to finish the burrito even though I was hungry.

And how can a burrito bar run out of guacamole (additional S$2 nett)? It wasn’t anywhere near closing time yet! It’s back to searching for that elusive value-for-money burrito in Singapore. Perhaps I will try Baja Fresh Mexican Grill again. While the one I ate there previously wasn’t spectacular, at least it wasn’t disappointing. I think I will keep my expectations of Mexican/Spanish food in Singapore at rock bottom next time.

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Austria Photo Albums

Finally finished with 5 photo albums for Austria, which brings closure to my Eastern & Central Europe trip made in Sep/Oct 2012:

– Grossglockner High Alpine Road
– Innsbruck & Environs
– Melk & Environs
– Salzburg & Environs
– Vienna

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Marina Bay at Night

Marina Bay, Singapore  [2013]

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore  [2013]

Singapore Flyer, Singapore  [2013]

Merlion Park, Singapore  [2013]

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Moonfest 2013

Free Mid-Autumn Festival performance at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre:

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