maandag 23 juni 2014

Plaatjespost & Picture post: Desaru, again

So we thought of going to Melaka again, and ended up going to Desaru, again. This time, we didn't even rent a car, we decided to take the ferry. This is actually much more convenient, especially since nobody else does it, so there are no queues, no waiting time and lots of immigration officers to coo over hyperactive blond toddlers.

We knew Lotus Beach Resort Desaru (or LBRD, for short) is huge, caters to Malaysian and Singaporean families, has three pools and imported sand on the beach. We were expecting crowds and laughter and huge buffets filled with nasi lemak, prata and noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were looking forward to pool time, beach time and general child time on the huge lawn in front of the buffet restaurant with endless views of the ocean, soft breezes and the quiet murmurs of the sea.

We hadn't expected that on that big lawn, there is now a games arcade, a trampoline trapeze thing and two extra restaurants, one of which features a live band. On the beach itself, the resort has built a cocktail bar.

"All new", the management gushed. Indeed.

The wonderful thing about children is that they have no sense of how things ought to be. Both of our toddlers adored riding around the resort in the golf buggies and running around the reception area with the luggage carts. Elsemieke fed rabbits at the petting zoo and Julius poked a rooster. Elsemieke tried to take a small Chinese child home from the swimming pool ("But she likes me too!"). Both blondies decided to drink fresh coconut water and eat huge helpings of fried rice and prawn omelet. Julius adored the live band and dragged us over to dance to their songs every night. (The band adored us too.)

They had a fantastic time. We had a great time. Who knows - we might even go back. Again.

woensdag 18 juni 2014

Singaporeans do things differently: dressing for rain

Last Thursday I realized I had not brought a jacket.

Last Thursday I realized I do not actually own a jacket, by which I mean a functional one, not a decorative one. (I own three decorative jackets.)

Which in Singapore does not really matter. However, in the Netherlands when it starts to rain, it does and I happened to be in the Netherlands at the onset of an icy drizzle.

A functional jacket will keep you warm in chilly breezes, will protect you from the onset of a rain shower and sometimes (depending on the quality of the jacket and the density of the shower) also from the shower itself. You can shove your hands in the pockets, pull up the collar and stride to wherever it is you're heading.

There is no such thing as a functional jacket in Singapore, because there is no use for such a thing.
Firstly, all breezes are warm.
Secondly, when it rains, it pours, so unless you're wearing the kind of protection those guys on the Deadliest Catch are wearing, you'll be soaking wet. 
And lastly, it is not actually cold during a rainstorm in Singapore. Basically, the weather changes from hot and humid to hot and wet.

Still, wet clothes and aircon are a recipe for disaster, so people do prefer not to get wet.

The answer is to always (ALWAYS) carry an umbrella. And by umbrella I mean a foldable rain shield, not my cute flowery black&white Hema contraption which did not even last one proper Singapore shower without wilting away. The cutesy ones are generally used to shield the carrier from the sun. 

Also, always carry flipflops, as you do not want your fancy shoes to get soaked in the overflow from the drains. No need to worry about your clothes: you were wearing shorts, a skirt or a dress anyway. And if you do wear anything longer, you weren't planning to go outside.

So there I was, last Thursday in the Netherlands when it started to drizzle.

My first instinct was to run for cover, then I searched in vain for my trusted Singapore rain shield.

Looking outside, I saw people in jeans zipping up their jackets, a few dainty ladies unfolding their cute umbrellas, everybody walking briskly onward to their destination. 

And I knew, as I sat shivering at the busstop in my T-shirt and flipflops while the drizzle went on and on and on: my instinct has adapted to Singapore.