Versailles was humongous, and so was the crowd.
We were literally packed like sardines along the whole stretch of the state apartments, king and queens bedrooms. I hardly had a good view of any of the rooms. The photos are deceiving, it was really crowded. And we were all clamoring to get out because getting stuck within a crowd isn’t exactly the most pleasant thing I want to do on a holiday.
We cut short the palace visit and went for lunch. After that, we returned to the Gardens and explored it in foot – something that isn’t too popular with tourists. The afternoon was definitely so much more enjoyable.
And tourists do not walking on foot because the Garden is sprawling! We had to walk 2km just to get from the main palace to the Marie Antoinette estate, and then another 2km back. And finally 1km more to the train station. The boys were exhausted when we reached the station!
The Louvre was fun!
Once we arrived, we started jostling with the crowd to get to Mona Lisa. She was tiny and it almost felt like Asia with the number of black-haired people in the room trying to take a selfie with her. Mona Lisa was clustered together with the Wedding at Cana, Four Seasons, and Liberty Leading the People. So tourists who are pressed for time only needed to visit this part of the museum and they would have ticked off most of the must-see items in their Louvre checklist. This was therefore the most crowded section of the museum.
After the jostling, we went for lunch at a mall right next to the Louvre. So convenient that the buildings were connected via an underpass so we didn’t even have to wear our coats to get there. After lunch it was to explore the galleries that were not as popular with tourists – the sculptures in the garden, the decorative arts gallery with all the paraphernalia that I like, and the Flemish gallery with so many Rembrandts.
Boys had their audio guides to amuse themselves. We tasked them to match the pieces of art with their audio guides. It was actually just an easy peasy task of keying in a matching digit to the guide to search for the particular piece, but the boys made it so complicated because they needed to find it game-style by zooming in and out, navigating the galleries, checking all the clickable things along the way. Oh well, they can do what makes them happy as long as we all enjoy the museum visit! Which we did.
It was freezing the day we visited the Eiffel Tower. Zero degrees in fact, and the Tower was closed in the morning because it was too icey. The top of the tower was shrouded in mist. No choice, we walked around the area and returned in the afternoon to try our luck again. Although it was still freezing, at least we finally got to climb it!
We walked all 669 steps up! Boys were complaining about the cold, about the walk, about the climb … about everything in fact. We refused to let them go back to the hotel because hey, we’ve come all the way to Paris, how could we not climb up the Eiffel Tower? T was even upset about how he could fall off the structure. But the view was totally worth it once we got to the second floor! And we let them cheat by taking the lift down since it was already turning dark by the time we finished the climb up. Almost forgot how early it turns dark in winter.
In the end, the boys agreed that they enjoyed the day despite all their complaints about the cold, about the walk, about the climb. Grrrrrrr…. And the tower was definitely prettier with all the lights after it turned dark.
KL plans all our overseas trips and he loves learning about wars. So on our first day of sightseeing, he took us to the Army Museum in Paris (Musée de l’Armée).
Lots of weapons and lots of arms. The medieval section was interesting; I’ve never seen child-sized armour before. Other than that, the rest of the museum was so-so. There are only so many weapons and arms I can tolerate seeing in a day…
We’re in Paris for our year end holiday! Why Paris? Because I’ve never been to France before and I want to visit a friend in London this time round. So Paris will be super convenient for us to pop over to London via the Eurostar.
Boys had a swell time flying to Paris. We picked two day flights on Emirates (transited in Dubai) and they were chirpy throughout both flights. T didn’t puke. First time he’s responding well to his anti motion sickness pills. He really enjoyed his kid’s meals, really enjoyed watching movies and playing games non stop. Entertainment choices were so much better than SQ! Taking a nice plane ride is definitely like a good holiday in itself for the boys!
Made sushi rice a few times this month with rice vinegar, salt, sugar. Sushi rice tastes good with either salmon or unagi (store bought of course)!
T has been working hard on his piano pieces recently. His new ambition is to be a famous piano player.
I cut my own hair last week! Only the bangs.
K has a new tuition Chinese tutor who uses games to teach the language. Don’t know how Chinese bingo is played, but it sure beats doing 习字！
My first time checking out Upper Pierce Reservoir! Gosh, there were so many monkeys there. I wouldn’t dare to jog there alone.
Boys had a lot of fun at the reservoir. L was thrilled to race all of us (he won many times). K and T like playing with branches and they found many long ones to play with.
Hello Luke, the littlest one in our family now! Luke arrived on 15 November 2017 and he weighed 3.25kg at birth. Big brother Lucian is so proud of his 弟弟！
K can make his eyeballs white!!! The rest of us mere mortals can’t. But Leticia wins the scariest look. Who needs costumes to be scary?
爷爷 passed away on 17 October 2017 after a three year battle with colon cancer. He was surrounded by loved ones when he drew his last breath at home.
When the boys read back on this post, they ought to remember how happy 爷爷 was whenever he met us and ate with us on weekends. These smiley pictures were taken on 10 June 2017. It was the last time that he was fit enough to travel on his own to meet us outside for a meal. Fittingly, the meal was at Golden Mile. 爷爷 absolutely loved eating steamboat there.
爷爷 was a fiercely independent individual, and seeing him gradually lose the ability to cycle, walk, dress, and even feed himself in the last few months of his life was sad. Thankful that he doesn’t have to be in pain anymore and thankful for the memories he left in our lives …
Another week, another family gathering to celebrate the birthday of a niece. Xuan Xuan turned 5! And she’s super hyper and talkative at her own party!
Cousins gathered for a steamboat party yesterday to celebrate an auntie’s 69th birthday.
Younger ones went downstairs to play with sparklers and lanterns after dinner. So fun!
We arrived bright and early at Kidzania Singapore at 10.15am! That was the day before T turned 8. The queue was so short because the early birds already made their way in at 10am sharp. Yeah, we took less than 5 minutes to check in!
Consistent with their character, K went to check his bank account ever so often. He also found delivering money so fun that he did it twice. And T picked many many many jobs from the food industry. So predictable!
This was the most boring station ever. The station is meant for really young kids (the cars crawl along like snails) but because T really wanted to drive, so they went to do so many things before actually driving – got their eyes checked, queued to get a license, queued to drive. So much time waiting around for the slow car ride to happen, yawnz.
Ooooo I loved this station! So many challenging obstacles to go through! And it’s designed in a way that the child can only go forward and up. No chance to chicken out. K was just rushing through the whole thing because he wanted to challenge himself. He was happy that he took 6 min to complete it. As for T, he was moving really cautiously by the time he got to the top tier, so I think all the tight rope walking must have been quite scary for him. He took 14 min plus to complete it.
Birthday boy’s favourite job of the day was to be a fire fighter! That was a popular job – there were always so many people queuing up at the fire station to get in throughout the day. And that was also T’s last job for the day before we said bye to Kidzania Singapore at 6pm!
T turned 8 today! For his birthday activity, he chose to go to Kidzania Singapore. That was mighty fun – he rated it 10 out of 10. Problem was that Kidzania was one day before his actual birthday, and the things he did on his actual birthday weren’t as terrific as he imagined. He bawled at bedtime when he realized that the day has come to an end, he didn’t do anything much, and he’ll have to wait for another year before the birthday comes around again.
It actually wasn’t that bad a birthday, but this boy had high expectations. He received many gifts in the morning from his family – vouchers, ang pow, magnets, pencil case, sparkles, paper toy, chocolates. He also got to choose where the whole family ate over the weekend (a lot of pasta of course). He didn’t want to do ANY work that required thinking so we allowed him to skip all of that over the weekend. He watched two movies and had some game time. But he disliked the first movie (cried after the movie). And he also disliked the fact that his brother kept disturbing him even though it was his special day. Anyway, these two things made him grouchy at bedtime … oh well, I can only say that some birthdays are better than others and its not possible to always have “the best birthday” every year.
The Singapore Science Centre recently revamped it’s exhibits. It was so fun that we went TWICE in September. The second time was with cousins and they enjoyed the visit very much too. When you enter the Centre now, you will encounter many exhibits that try to trick your perception.
Quite near the entrance there’s also a really cool mirror maze that tricks you to go round and round in circles. And wires aren’t from the maze. They’re from an activity booth manned by really enthusiastic volunteers.
Highlight for the boys and their cousins was definitely trying out all the virtual reality rides. For some reason, everyone was not good at flying a plane. They did much better pretending to fly like a bird. And the younger boys enjoyed the roller coaster rides very much.
Boys attended a holiday art camp in September. It was organized by the CC downstairs. Although it was a really short camp (2 half days), they came back with lots of things – batik tees, lanterns, photo frames, fancy colour pencils etc. Both said the camp was fun!
Trip was good. Although I think I ate too much! We’ll definitely be back again!
Our second time staying at Golden Sands Resort in Batu Feringgi, and boys don’t remember their previous stay here. Then, they were too young to try the fast slides at Adventure Zone. Now that they’re so big, they had a really good time zooming down non stop! 15 minutes before they were at Adventure Zone, they caught American Ninja on TV and T was trying pretend he was a ninja going through all the obstacle courses at the indoor playground. His antics were hilarious! They had a good 2.5 hours workout at the Adventure Zone!
The rest of Golden Sands Resort was nice too, but now that the boys are older, they seem to be less interested in swimming. There was even once that KL went swimming himself without them!
Made in Penang is a newish 3D interactive museum. Again it’s one of the many attractions in Penang that is styled as a musuem, but it’s really not quite.
Like Dark Mansion, there were plenty of good photo opportunities here. The place was cheerier and boys had more fun here than at Dark Mansion.
Tickets were bundled together with Dark Mansion, so it was a buy-1-get-1-free deal. Good, because this one was also quite low in its educational value. A pity, because there were so many visuals on Penang’s culture and history but museum didn’t go the extra effort to organize and explain these visuals.
Oh well, at least visitors get to learn quite a bit about perspectives and perception. And all my photos turned out cute too!
Penang is home to a number of small eclectic attractions scattered around the UNESCO World Heritage Buffer Zone. They’ve all called themselves museums but they’re really not quite.
We went to the 3D glow-in-the-dark museum that has zero educational value. Plenty of photo opp in the place. So photos were nice! It’s a fun 45 minutes respite from the scorching sun! But still, zero educational value.
To survive the scorching day, we ate ice cream and drank plenty of cold drinks on our way to and from the museum!
Singapore and Malaysia are both having a really loooong weekend now. There’s Merdeka Day, Teacher’s Day, Hari Raya Haji, Sep School Hols, ASEAN games hol … perfect time to visit Penang to meet up with cousins whom I’ve not seen in a long while. Between me and my cousins, we have EIGHT boys from 2 – 10 years old! So many, lol!
Dinner was awesome local food – hokkien mee, curry mee, wanton mee, kway teow tng, char keow teow, satay! So oily and so yummy!
BONUS! On our 2nd day in Penang, we were walking along a random small street past a random small shop when I met my 2nd auntie (dad’s older sis). OMG, what are the chances of that happening?! She just happened to be at that shop, happened to be looking outside the shop, just as we happened to be walking past it! My 2nd uncle (dad’s older brother) said we’re lucky enough to strike lottery. I think so too!
And T bought a little toy camera on the trip. He was happy to “snap” pics of people and food!
K learnt to cook alphabet pasta with Campbell’s soup today. Result was good, but T didn’t like all the veg. He made a ham and cheese sandwich after that for his own lunch.
We went to catch the National Day fireworks today. We jogged a bit at Gardens by the Bay before parking ourselves in front of Marina Bay Sands to catch the fireworks. T was upset because he didn’t think the fireworks was worth the crowd, waiting time, parking fee, jam on the way home. We were not in a good spot because part of the fireworks was blocked by the Art Science Museum. But we were near enough to hear the National Anthem from the crowd at the parade.
Looking through my photos, T even looked upset when he was eating potato chips, lol!
Brayven turned 9 this week! Last weekend’s gathering at Pasir Ris was partly to celebrate his birthday. So many big cousins and so many small cousins at the party! Grandparents were all stowed away at the mahjong room and only appeared at mealtimes when they were in between games. Good that everyone had their own fun at the gathering =)
Extended family gathered for 2 nights at a chalet in Pasir Ris. Cousins had fun chasing each other around the huge chalet, hanging out together to play their mobile phones, and sweating it out at Pasir Ris Park. They especially loved this spinning thing at the Park and would not get off to play other things. Except for T, who would get off for a rest every few minutes or so because spinning too much gives him a tummy ache, i.e. motion sickness, or so he says.
可可 turns 2 in July! We met at a Teochew Porridge buffet place for lunch to celebrate her turning two. She’s learning how to pose for the camera these days. Cute!
Us after playing frisbee at Fort Canning Park. I have not laid on grass for a long time. Nice grass.
Visited a girlfriend in Shanghai last month. Lots of eating. I love their dumplings!
Shanghai is such an eclectic city. Between the foreigners’ enclave that we were mostly in, and the surburb that my girlfriend stayed – it feels like we’re in different countries. Air quality was okay, above hazardous levels for half of the trip. Which is normal for a big Chinese city, I guess.
Friday evening trip to Cremier! So yummy! I had yoghurt pomegranate, KL had hazelnut milk chocolate, K had mango passionfruit sorbet, and T had raspberry lover. Plus, I love their waffles too!
We checked out the new Learning Forest within the Singapore Botanic Gardens! I thought it’ll be huge, but it’s actually small enough to finish on foot within an hour. It’s nice though, so we might just come back another weekend!