IT'S LYNNY KANSAS
DON'T LET THE RUBY SLIPPERS,
OR THE DOROTHY INSPIRED NICKNAME
FOOL YOU., THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME,
BUT TRAVELING IS FUN.
Chinese New Year is always a fun and busy time in Singapore. Chinatown is bustling with people, and always festively decorated. Lots of traditions are observed, some old, some a little bit newer. Case in point is the Yusheng, or Prosperity Salad Toss. Typically only found in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia at CNY, this salad toss was contemporized in the 1960's by four Singapore Master Chefs, known as the "Four Heavenly Kings", and is intended to symbolize health and prosperity. In the weeks leading up to Chinese New Year, Yusheng will be offered at restaurants throughout Singapore. You can even buy Yusheng "kits" in the supermarkets. The salad mainly consists of raw fish, usually salmon, pomelo or lime, shredded vegetables such as carrot, radish and daikon, with a dressing made up of plum sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil. All this is topped off with crackers of some kind. Each ingredient symbolizes different things. For example, the fish is abundance, Pomelo or Lime is auspicious value, the vegetables for luck, eternal youth, prosperity in business. The oil is poured around the salad to encourage "money to flow in all directions", the plum sauce is to give you sweet life, the golden crackers symbolize "gold and wealth". The server will add each ingredient to the salad at the table, along with new year greetings and wishes. The fun part is the "toss". Participants stand up and with super long chopsticks will toss the salad high into the air, whilst reciting their wishes for the coming year or shouting "Lo Hei", tossing up good fortune.
During my time in Singapore it has become a little bit of a tradition for myself and a small group of dear friends to get together to toss a Yusheng. I love it, it really is a lot of fun and I look forward to and value this time spent with friends. This year, our group went to Peach Blossoms at The Marina Mandarin Hotel, and I made a little video to document the occasion. As we go into the year of the dog, I wish you Gong Xi Fa Cai.
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For the last 6 years in Singapore, I have been fortunate to be a member of the American Women's Association. It's a great group of women from all over the World, and there are many great activities, volunteer opportunities and social events to take part in. Today, was the first of the monthly Dish and Dine events for 2018. Every month we experience a different venue. Today, we enjoyed a fantastic lunch at Meta on Keong Saik Road. It was a lot of fun to sit at the counter and see the Chefs preparing the dishes.
Check out this short video below.
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My first tip if you want to experience Singapore's newest Greek eatery - make a reservation!! We finally scored a Saturday night table, by booking ahead. Yes, this place is popular. Only open for around a month, they have clearly hit the spot. We sat down to dine at 8pm and enjoyed a leisurely dinner - love not being rushed. By the time we left around 11pm or so, the place was still bustling with lots of people and atmosphere.
Western Australia and it's famed Margaret River wine region, sits a mere three and a half hour drive South West of it's capital Perth. Of course the wineries are the main focus of the area, where you can find some major players, big names like Leeuwin, Voyager and Cape Mantelle to name a few. There are also some lovely boutique wineries here as well. The Peninsula from Busselton in the North to Augusta in the South can be driven in just over an hour if you stick to the main highway, or take your time and drive leisurely down Caves Road. To add to the draw of this lovely neck of the woods is the coastline. It is a surfers paradise, with lovely beaches and coves which are also ideal for the less energetic to laze on. The rocky coastlines are fun to explore, throw in some caves, a couple of lighthouses and gourmet food shops - you will have much to see and do.
The tiny Island of Malta, just 316 km2 (122 sq mi) sits in the Mediterranean sea, like an exclamation mark thrown from Sicily, which is itself an afterthought tossed from the toe of Italy. In fact Sicily is a mere two and a half hour ferry ride from this archipelago. For a tiny island, Malta has experienced much in the way of history, fought over many times resulting in differing cultures leaving their mark on the Island.
Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians and Spanish all conquered here. By far the biggest impact though must be The Knights of St. John who ruled from 1530 to 1798, and of course The British, from whom Malta gained Independence in 1964, and whose King, George V awarded the Island The George Cross in recognition of their amazing bravery whilst under siege during World War II. The Grand Harbour of Valetta, a large natural harbour, has many historic tales to tell and the area surrounding it is the most highly populated area on the island.
If you are looking for lush green sweeping vistas and beautiful landscapes, Malta may not be for you. Although beauty is of course in the eye of the beholder. The landscape is usually dry and arid with more stone walls and accompanying cacti than you can shake a stick at. There are rocky outcrops, cliffs, the odd green patch of grape vines and olive tree groves to break the fairly flat brown vistas. Contrast this though with amazing blue skies and azure blue waters that will provide jaw dropping backdrops to your photos, it's hard not to fall in love with Malta. If you are interested in ancient walled cities with quaint narrow streets, underground burial sights, beautiful churches and squares, tranquil fishing villages with colourful boats, a craft village, the odd secluded beach, a Grand Harbour and amazing capital City, then Malta is most definitely for you. The people are the friendliest too! Of course there are also lively towns with bars, great restaurants and nightlife as well. Something for everyone.