Juliet Sinclair's Trips

Joined November 2016
  • Day3

    Day 3: Singapore

    May 29 in Singapore

    Day 3: Singapore

    We met with Anna again today, to check out more unique places and neighborhoods.

    We started our day with an amazing tour of a unique museum called Intan. Alvin, the owner of the museum also lives here with his family. Started at the age of 7, Alvin became passionate about leaning his Peranakan (this unique culture started about 200 years ago when the Chinese men married Malay women) heritage, and he found he could do so by collecting antique pieces. The Peranakan families speak English at home, follow Chinese traditions for holidays, weddings and funerals, but follow Malay culture for food and clothing. The fusion of different cultures created some very interesting antique pieces that combined all 3 cultures. From our conversations with Alvin, you can tell he is very proud of his heritage, and very passionate about preserving it, which displayed in every corner of his house. After some traditional home made tea and treats, we left the museum/house with big smiles on our faces.

    We then visited Little India, the Bugis Street and the Malay center. It’s so strange to step into The Little India, it transported us back to India! The smell, the color and the people, were exactly same as what we saw when we visited India. Same can be said about the Bugis Street too. I thought I was back to China already! Right next to the Malay center is Arab Street with a masque, and the very next street over is one of the most trendy places in Singapore with bars and live music.

    Only in Singapore where you could be placed in a different cultures just a few blocks away!

    However, the absolute favorite thing for today is our dinner. The restaurant is called Nox - Dine in the dark. What an unique experience we had at this restaurant! Everything about it is top notch with attention to detail. The food is amazing, the service is full of caring and gentleness, a truly must do experience if visiting Singapore.

    We were greeted by our downstairs server with a warm smile, and he took a note of any dietary restrictions from us and served us drinks. We then put our phones and watches into a locker so nothing would create any light on our body.

    A blind waiter then slowly lead us to upstairs, which is completely pitch black! You truly can’t see anything! There were 3 course meals, each meal comes with 4 dishes. You supposed to eat from the 6 clock position, then move to 9 clock, 12 clock and 3 clock positions, to consume all dishes. The challenge was actually when I need to pour water out of a bottle into my glass.

    When we were not able to see what we were eating, our sense for tasting has heightened a lot. Everything tasted so much more intense and delicious. I especially loved the steak and fish dishes.

    Through out our dinner, we were guessing what we were eating. After the meal, they gave us a sheet of paper to test how much we could taste. Believe or not, we got more then 80% correctly. The waiter then displayed all the photos of our dishes, and explained every ingredient in the dishes. It’s so much fun!

    Another interesting day in Singapore!
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  • Day2

    Day 2: Singapore

    May 28 in Singapore

    Day 2: Singapore

    We met with our tour guide Anna this morning. She is a proud Chinese Singaporean, who has vast knowledge of the history and architecture of this amazing city.

    We started our tour with a Temple in Chinatown, where seamen preyed for safe passage when crossing the ocean to reach Singapore for the past hundred years. There is one very unique thing in this temple that you won’t find it anywhere else in the world. There is a figure on the beam that’s holding up the roof, it supposed to be a British person. Because when the British East India company colonized this city in 1800s, they were the much hated overlords of the common people. Having this British guy holding up the roof in a very uncomfortable position was a subtle way for the people to show their hatred.

    Food is super important for this city. Due to its diversity of different cultures, the food here are a wonderful fusion of many flavors. The best places to experience this are the many hawker centers in the city. We visited 4 of them today and tried 8 very different dishes. Oh my goodness, everything we ate tasted amazing!! I was so full at the end of the tour I had to cancel our dinner reservation for tonight.

    I don’t know if you have heard of a fruit call Durian. People call it the King of Fruit here. It’s famous for its bad smell when opened and unique tasty flavor. Under Anna’s guidance, we had the chance to try it out. We had to hold our noses before we put it in our mouths, and try eating it without smelling it first. Only after we took the first bit were we allowed to use our noses again. Well, I have to say the taste is indeed very interesting, I cannot even describe it because it tastes like nothing I had ever eating before. After I took the first bit, I didn’t experience any bad smell. I guess Anna’s advice really worked! Will I eat this fruit again? Maybe.

    Another very unique thing about Singapore is their public housing. 80% of people lives in public housing here, and they are the nicest apartment buildings in the city! Rich, Middle income and Poor people all living together at the same space. The only difference is that the rich people can afford to buy the unit and the poor people need to rent it. But the living conditions are exactly the same!! What a truly innovative way to offer equality among everyone!! Anna said we are going to learn more about the process more in our tomorrow’s tour. Can’t wait!

    By the way, the public housing apartment building picture I showed in the post has the 2 levels of outdoor gardens (one at middle and one on the top) in the building. They are the largest in-building gardens in the world!

    The more I learned about Singapore, the more I fell in love with it!

    The day ends with a wonderful music and light show at the Garden by the Bay Supertree Grove.
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  • Day1

    Day 1: Singapore

    May 27 in Singapore

    Day 1: Singapore

    After a very nice breakfast buffet at the hotel (the pancakes they served were all precisely same size and really yummy), we walked to the beautiful Garden by the Bay park.

    The Flower Dome in the garden is a lovely botanic garden that has unique flowers from all over the world, and the Cloud Forest features a very tall indoor waterfall and a winding walkway through the vertical rain forest.

    We then crossed the river on the pedestrian bridge that double helix shaped, towards Singapore Flyer, the massive ferries wheel (one of the biggest in the world!). From the bridge, you can also see our hotel and the art museum at a nice angle.

    The view from the Singapore Flyer is very similar to the view from our hotel room.

    Steve and I then visited a Fish Spa, where you put your feet in the pool, allowing the fish to eat the dead skin off your feet. At the beginning I screamed a bit because it’s so ticklish when the fish were nibbling my feet. But after a while, I got used to it, and started to feel very relaxing. My feet feel so smooth afterwards!

    After a longer than intended nap time at our hotel room, we went to Candlenut, a restaurant specializing Strait-Chinese cuisine, very unique Singapore food. The food was very good and the deserts (all 5 of them when eating their tasting menu) were even better! Check out the gold on top of my tiny bit size cake!

    The plan of visit the rooftop infinity pool was canceled after realizing how tired we all were. Heading straight to bed after an amazing day!
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  • Day0

    Arrival Singapore

    May 26 in Singapore

    After 16 hrs of surprisingly pleasant flight (Singapore Airline is truly the best!), we arrived at our hotel: Marina Bay Sands.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Bay_Sands

    This hotel is legendary and massive! With hundreds of shops, restaurants, theaters and rooftop infinity swimming pool! We actually saw a show about this hotel at the Travel channel once, never thought we would actually stay here one day.

    Hotel room is big, the bathroom is really nice, love the balcony overlooking the bay as well.

    This is our home for the next 5 days. Can’t wait to jump into the famous pool, and explore the city tomorrow.
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  • Day3

    Day 3: Boulder, CO

    November 24, 2017 in the United States

    Today’s main mission was climbing a mountain! The Flatiron Mountain to be exact.

    After about 45 minuets of driving from Denver, we arrived at Chautauqua Park, where the trail starts. Looking at the mountain from distance, its imposing formations didn’t seem very friendly. We eagerly started walking toward it, couldn’t wait to conquer it!

    The first part of the trail is paved, weaving through the meadows going upward. The dirt trail was followed by rocky road and lovely trees. As we climbed higher and higher, the trail became increasingly more difficult. Some parts required us to climb with our hands on the ground.

    We were surprised at how many people brought their dogs with them, and that those obedient animals were all really well behaved and had no problem climbing the large rocks.

    After more than one hour of climbing, we finally reached the top of one of the peaks. We were met by a very strong and cold wind. That didn’t deter Evan from climbing to a notch at the edge of the cliff, telling me to take a photo of him. My body was swaying in the wind, my hat was about to be blown off the mountain top, and I was having trouble holding my phone to take a photo. So Steve climbed to the edge of the cliff and took a photo of Evan. I told them to come back from the edge. I only dared a couple of peeks of the lovely valley 1,400 feet below us, trying not to imagine Evan slipping and falling. I couldn’t even look at him as he made his way back from the notch, climbing at the very edge of the cliff against the strong wind.

    We met a very nice lady from CA, about 60 years old. I was very impressed she made this far all by herself. She took some photos of us and I took some of her. Believe or not, she was brave enough to also climb to the notch so Steve could take photos of her sitting there, inches away from more than 1,000 feet drop. Good for her!

    We continued our climb towards the peak next to us but we had almost run out of water. Not knowing exactly how far away the next peak was, we turned back.

    Climbing down was a lot easier than going up! Although many times I had to use my hands to hold the rocks behind me, and place my feet at the tiny holes, so I didn’t slip too far down. Unfortunately, this was also the moment when I realized that my walking shoes have lost most of the traction, placing me in more danger of slipping. Fortunately, when I did slip, it happened at less dangerous places. Well, god reason from me to get new shoes! YAY!

    Once we got back down from the mountain, we drove to Downtown Boulder, took a well deserved break at a local coffee shop called Laughing Goat.

    Our next destination is Estes Park, which is located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountain National Park. We started our one hour drive in the lovely mountain roads. By the time we arrived at the Estes Park, we noticed a lot of police cars around and many families with kids walking on the road. We didn’t think much about it and went to a nice restaurant, and had a great dinner.

    However, after dinner, as we were trying to leave the town, we realized that the whole town was blocked off for their Thanksgiving parade! We drove around and around, couldn’t pass the police barricades. Finally we had to stop the car and asked a policeman for directions to our hotel. He was nice enough to point a way out of town for us.

    After much twists and turns, we finally arrived at our hotel called Della Terra Mountain Chateau, and checked into our mountain cabin. After we turned on the cozy fireplace, everything was all good!
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  • Day2

    Day 2: Nature Parks

    November 23, 2017 in the United States

    Since it’s Thanksgiving Day today, most of museums, restaurants and shops are closed, thankfully, not the National Parks!

    Our breakfast was unusual: the restaurant we were trying to go was closed but failed to inform the Internet , so we arrived there facing the closed doors. Steve wanted to go to IHOP, I said absolutely not! I am not coming to a different city to eat at IHOP! After a quick search on Google map, I was was happy to discover a Mideastern restaurant called Jerusalem (voted as one of the best Mideastern restaurants in Denver, a business operated by the same family for the last 35 years!) was just down the block. Beef Shawarma and lamb Gyros were very tasty breakfast food! LOL!

    Red Rock Park is only about 30 minuets away from Denver, and the dramatic red rock formations were visible to us from miles away due to their sizes. The Red Rock Amphitheatre locates at the center of this park is actually a famous concert venue. We loved the fact that 2 huge rock formations are its backdrop! The 3 mile hiking in the park was very lovely too.

    After some quick snacks in the car, we headed to Colorado Springs, which is only 1 hour away.

    Once again, we were greeted by even more dramatic rock formations from far away as we entering The Garden of Gods National Park.

    The main difference between these 2 parks is that Garden of Gods allows you to climb the rocks. Check out the amazing pictures of a couple scaling a vertical rock called Cathedral Pillar. They climbed higher than the birds!

    Evan loved, loved doing some free climbing as well. Don’t worry, he was never in mortal danger... although I was a bit regretting not to bring any bandaids.

    Few restaurants opened today, fortunately I’ve done my research weeks ago and booked a wonderful restaurant called Till Kitchen (voted as one of the best restaurants in Colorado Springs 3 years in the row). The restaurant indeed delivered some wonderful dishes. Evan and Steve inhaled their steak and pork chop dishes, my smoke trout salad was just ok though.

    Spending a Thanksgiving Day in the National parks is a great idea!
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  • Day1

    Day 1 - Night time

    November 22, 2017 in the United States

    Dinner tonight was at one of the best restaurants in Denver, called Acorn. Every dish was fantastic from beginning to finish! No wonder it was ranked as #1 in some best restaurants lists.

    The restaurant is located inside a very cool and hip small shopping center. The most unique store front has a flower shop and a butcher shop sharing the same space.

    Once we are back to our hotel, we had the chance to admire the art work displays. One noticeable piece is a Fish Lamp creates by Frank Gehry!Read more

  • Day1

    Day 1 - Denver

    November 22, 2017 in the United States

    Our move to Kansas has made Colorado closer to us. Flying to Denver took less than 2 hours.

    We arrived late last night, staying at a very beautiful hotel called the Art hotel. The whole place is decorated with modern art pieces, even the TV screens in the elevators are showing modern art video exhibits instead of boring info like other hotels. The fact all the drinks and snacks in the room are free made us love this hotel even more!

    The downtown Denver is very walkable. Our hotel is right in the middle of the Denver Art Museum Complex. In fact, we can see the amazing intricate design of the roof of the Denver Art Museum (by the famous architect Daniel Libeskind) right from our hotel room window. Very cool!

    Starting from our hotel, we walked by the golden roof of Denver Capital Building, and then to the famous 16th Street Mall, a pedestrian outdoor space designed by another famous architect I.M. Pei. With so many interesting restaurants and street food stalls lining up the entire 1 mile of pedestrian street, we wished we hadn’t had so a big breakfast!

    We took a left turn to visit an awesome art work called “I see what you mean!”, it’s a huge bear statue peeking into a building windows. Super fun!

    We then walked all the way to Union Station before turning back. Had a very small lunch at a restaurant called Duck Soup. Delicious and healthy soups made from scratch every day. Yummy!

    We are starting to fall in love with this city!
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  • Day7

    Day 8: Flying to KC from LA - 7/30/17

    July 31, 2017 in the United States

    The landscape from LA to KC is very interesting! It's clear how unique the land formations are from the air. Since Evan was busy reading his book on the flight, I was able to sit by the window. I realized that I haven't had the chance for a window seat for years since Evan always gets the best seat on the plane. Well, sacrifice of a mother.

    Las Vegas looked amazing from the air. It's truly in the middle of the desert. After many miles of yellow and red sand landscape, suddenly a sprawling city came to view. Everything looked so organized from the air with straight streets and perfectly spaced houses.

    Grand Canyon looked amazing from the air as well! This is one nature wonder we have yet to visit. Definitely will do so soon.

    After traveling for 30 + hours, we are finally home!
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  • Day6

    Day 7: Jiuzhaigou to LA: 7/30/17

    July 30, 2017 in the United States

    Back to USA! I can finally post freely on Facebook again! I was able to post directly to Facebook once and then not able to pass the Great Digital Wall of China since. I had to use my FindPenguins account to post my travel journal.

    I have to say the most surprising thing about this trip is the fact the bathrooms in China have improved a lot. Our guide said the government had launched a movement called "bathroom revolution", so agencies in China have invested lots of money to build better bathrooms. Even though they are still not as good as the Western ones, at least we saw a lot less horrifying things in them now. Some of them even have toilet papers! Unthinkable in the past.

    Also, Chinese tourists litter less now too. There are garbage cans every few hundred meters, so they are really good at putting their trash in the cans. Some even recycle! Although some people still spit on the floor. I think there are too many smokers in China, and many of them have lung issues, therefore need to spit a lot. At least the government has banned smoking indoors. I only saw one person smoked inside, and I told him to get lost. He walked away with his young son unashamed. Horrible person!

    With so many changes (many more high rises and highways), what hasn't changed is the kindness of the people. Everyone we met has gone out of their ways to make our travel easier. When I forgot my shoes, the hotel sent someone to bring them to me to the airport; the wife and father of our guide in Chengdu, escorted my parents from airport to train station in our absence; our VIP minibus guide in Jiuzhaigou made herself the guidance angel of my parents, always made sure they were safe and sound at every site.

    Sichuan is known for its amazing cuisine, and we had so much amazing food! From the best mapo tofu, to very authentic street food; from extremely tender yak meat, to Tibetan stuffed pancake made with local corps in the mountains. Every where we went, people were shocked how much Evan could handle the spicy food. He even challenged a chef in a little family restaurant to make the dishes as spicy as he could, and the food was spicy and wonderful!

    Saying goodbye to my parents was hard. They had turned 80 years old this year, and my mother has terrible knee problems that she can't walk very well anymore. She told me this may be her last trip, and she had a really good time. She then thanked me for enabling her to see how much of the world in the past 10 plus years. I of course told her this would not be her last trip, and I would bring her to see as much World as she wants!

    We will go back to China in 2 years!
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