Saturday, 14 April 2012

crossing the street..

in singapore, even the simplest thing can turn out to be complicated and - first and foremost - regulated. like crossing the street.. to start with, there are of course restrictions as to where you are allowed to cross. if you see this sign, you are not in a good place to make your way across the street.
then there is the sign that tells you to use the crossing. as well as the other sign, this one means you are not allowed to cross (except for when using a crossing).
once you find a crossing, there are some other rules to adhere to. there are the general ones..
note how this tells you to 'press for green man'. you would have thought this was simple, but it can of course not be done in any careless way. there are also some specific rules on how to press. or how not to press.
i'm not sure if there is a fine for pressing the button the wrong way, but if you are caught crossing the street somewhere where it's not allowed, i've heard the fine is SGD 500 (which is about £250 or 2,500 kr). worth it?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


a couple of weeks ago, takenori and i went to tokyo on a business trip. i still can't really understand that i get to go on business trips. guess it has something to do with not realising how old i am either.. hmmm..

anyway. i really liked tokyo. the people were very friendly, the city clean, modern and relatively easy to get around. i had to take a picture of the very comprehensive underground map. what complicates things slightly is the fact that there is the underground and then there are several different train services, who apparently have the same colours as the underground lines.
i also really like the japanese language. only managed to learn a few sentences and words, such as 'i'm elin', 'nice to meet you', 'thank you', 'hello'.. the usual, but what i really liked was the fact that in japanese the consonants are important, just like in most european languages and as opposed to for example chinese and vietnamese where the vowels and tonation matter more.

one thing that i had really hoped to see was the sakura - cherry blossom. mid to end of march is normally the perfect time, but due to an unusually long and cold winter, the trees looked like this. everyone told us they would bloom any day..
this street is called something like 'cherry blossom lane' and is apparently incredibly beautiful when the trees are in bloom..

since we were there for work, we didn't have that much time to do all the touristic things, but thankfully takenori knows tokyo quite well and knew what to see and how to get around. so we..
pretended to be adults and dressed up in business clothes. funnily enough, i think we managed to pull it off, at least with some people..

went to a shrine - a japanese temple. before entering you had to wash your hands and mouth

vistited shibuya and shinjuku

ate shabu-shabu, a local dish where you boil meat and vegetables in a pot of broth, similar to the chinese hot pot

strolled around at ginza

had sushi at the fish market near by

went to akihabara, aka geek town, where i bought a portable/mobile battery for my phone
- best buy ever!

saw the buddhist temple in asakusa

and the asahi brewery

went on a river cruise

had some okonomiyaki, a japanese pancake with cabbage, ham, cheese, prawns - a bit of everything. if i remember correctly, okonomiyaki means something like a bit of everything fried and the idea is similar to the swedish pyttipanna
(shoko, this one is for you, but your okonomiyaki is miles better)

after getting off the boat, we went to a park where i could finally see some blossoms. they weren't sakura, but i'm not a botanist either so as long as they are beautiful, i'm happy..

also love the contrast between the nature and the buildings

japan is a high tech country and i just had to take a picture of the advanced toilet options. i especially like the the flushing sound button. i think they are on to something here - having a button making a flushing sound prevents people from flushing the toilet excessively trying to disguise other noices, which in turn helps saving the environment - klockrent, as we say in swedish

there are also stands where you can leave your umbrella - free locks are provided!

Monday, 2 April 2012


just have to start this blog post with fantastic news - today, 1st april 2012, amie's and arnold's little baby girl alice was born. congratulations to all three of them!

a couple of weeks ago, i went to vietnam over the weekend to meet my brother and his family. just the thing going to vietnam over the weekend is quite amazing to me. to be able to meet calle, phuong, nhu and ludvig in a small village in vietnam is incredible.

the village is where phuong grew up (and nhu spent her first four years) and i was really thrilled to be able to go there. phuong wanted to show me paradise islands and other more touristic things and couldn't really understand why i wanted to come to the village. i, on the other hand, think it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to see vietnam from a more local perspective and not just as a tourist and am really pleased to have seen it and met all her relatives. and believe me, there are a lot of relatives!

wise people say a picture is worth a thousand words so i'll let the them speak for themselves:
to keep all the mosquitos and other bugs out, i had this lovely mosquito net. we stayed in a very nice guest house, where they had lovely wooden furniture, just as they did in every household we went to

nhu and her cousin bin having breakfast at the breakfast café

breakfast day 1: noodle soup with beef, really nice!

ludvig, phuong and phuong's grandmother. a funny thing was that whenever phuong was carrying ludvig, people came up to touch him and look at him. as he was a caucasian baby in their eyes, they were amazed by how phuong could be his mother. at one point, some people thought that ludvig was mine and calle's baby and that phuong was our maid - quite understandably, that really pissed her off!

"vi har det bra, vi har bak i bilen, och vill ej va med om nån krock.."


breakfast day 2: another type of noodle soup with beef - again, really nice! i actually liked the noodle soups with beef so much that i am currently looking for a place in singapore who serves vietnamese food so that i can have it again

ludvig and i

the breakfast café

calle, ludvig, phuong and phuong's grandmother at the breakfast café

grandmother lent me her rice hat - "dep" (not sure about the spelling, but it means nice)

i decided to do a permanent hair straightening. a little bit worried considering my hair is thin, fine and blond and these people are used to thick, black, good quality hair, but it turned out great, it doesn't even curl up in the extreme humidity in singapore. and it costed me about £10 or 100kr

ludvig thought the whole hair dresser business was tiring and fell asleep

bin and nhu

ludvig, phuong, me, ludvig's cousin (can't remember her name), phuong's sister thao and their friend alex

in vietnam, there are motorbikes everywhere and the traffic is absolutely mad. there is only one word to describe it - chaos! i tried to capture it in a photo, but this does not in any way illustrate what it's like

local beer - ba, ba, ba. one thing i learned in vietnamese: mopp, haj, ba - yo! (means one, two, three - cheers! and i do not take responsibility for the awful spelling)