I guess this title is a little deceiving, as we didn’t really get to see too much of Puno at all.  By the next afternoon the sickness had dissipated enough to warrant heading outside in search of snacks, and to also catch a glimpse of Lake Titicaca.

Most of the tourists depart early in the morning to see the lake tribes and return late in the evening.  This means that most of the shops nearby are closed the rest of the day.  We took a  couple photos, grabbed some bananas and dinner rolls, and headed back to the hotel.  On the way we caught an example of globalization initiatives by one of Canada’s finest brands:

After our tour mates returned to the hotel, we got together to head out for a traditional Peruvian dinner: Guinea Pig!   It seems so interesting to me that these little fellows are kept around the house as pets, until one night you can’t decide what you’d like for dinner, and your pet’s cute furriness suddenly begins to look…delicious!

Here is a photo of one of our friends demonstrating the typical spread – the guinea pig is flayed out on a plate – claws covered delicately in tinfoil.  This restaurant was first class, and they gutted the beast for you – covering its empty body with a fresh and tasty salad.  Also notice the side serving of Peruvian tater tots with cheese sauce?!  SO GOOD!

Notice the head and teeth are intact.  Our guide Alim showed us the traditional way of eating this part of the head, and the neat crafts you can do with it afterward:

Notice it is in the shape of a condor, the sacred bird of the Incas!  Guinea pig looks very unappetizing, but its really just like dark meat with a fried skin.  Not quite like chicken, but not really unlike it either.

In the last 2 weeks our friendly neighbourhood Starbucks just got a lot more neighbourhoodier. This outlet just opened last week! They must have known we were coming!

So in our attempt to locate the best pizza in Singapore, we came across this:  Canadian 2 for 1.

How could we NOT order from a place with a name like that???  What they don’t tell you is one pizza is 34.00.  Worth every penny.
And it was pretty good actually (though Mike
would say it was too chunky).  I thought it was so far the best pizza Ive had here.
Check it out:

For the first time since our arrival in Singapore we ordered pizza!
Mike and I might be two of the biggest pizza monsters in existence. We know pizza. We love pizza. So it’s really quite amazing that this is the first time we’ve had it since arriving. We ordered from a nearby Pizza Hut. We thought we would get a little slice of home by ordering the same pizza we get from our friendly neighbourhood Pizza Hut. They had combos here. A regular sized pizza, with wings and garlic bread. Oh yah. Feeds 3 people. We were going all out. We should have read the fine print.

THIS is what passes for a REGULAR pizza in Singapore:

And the wings – there were 4.

I can’t tell you the shock and disappointment we felt when the delivery guy pulled this teensy box out of his insulated bag.

It did taste good, I admit. But food enough for 3? Which 3 people? Toddlers?

This is the face of ONE SAD MAN.

Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday in the Chinese calendar, as well as the time of year that provides people with the most time off. It is traditionally a time to reunite with family, and share wishes for prosperity in the coming year. Red and gold are everywhere. On New Year’s eve I went down to the park to take in the lights and fireworks. – And though the picture doesn’t do it justice, it was really amazing.

A few days later I was invited to spend a traditional New Year celebration with a Chinese family here in Singapore. As it turns out, a former Laurier student and friend-of-a-friend is a native of Singapore, and upon hearing of my arrival in the country, immediately invited me over to her grandma’s to celebrate the New Year! It was a really great time, and I learned a lot. The family was so kind and generous and welcoming, it was an experience I will remember forever. And the food was so good I was full for days!

So in my spare time here I decided to take a cooking class! I signed up for a Singaporean class at a well known local culinary school. The class started off with a tour of the spice garden guided by Thai Chef “A”. He explained the uses for herbs and spices both in food as well as in natural remedies. Growing up in a small village in Thailand Chef A explained that the people rely on the properties of herbs and spices to both nourish and heal. One remedy I will likely not use is to place an onion on my pillow if I get a stuffy nose.

What was really interesting about the spice tour was seeing the natural environments of the common spices we use. Sure we’ve bought cinnamon, ginger, pepper and vanilla…but rarely do we see how these things grow and where they come from! Neat-o!

On the menu for today was a traditional Singaporean Spice Paste, Chicken Satay, Fried Beancurd Sheet Roll, Char Kway Teow (Fried Noodles in Dark Soy Sauce), Black Pepper Prawns and Palm Sugar-stuffed Glutinous Balls for dessert!

And voila!

Our Seattle friends will be horrified at this state of affairs for SO many reasons…
Here is what passes for a large black coffee in Singapore:

And for the record, this is how they gave us the coffee….half empty! And, I will also tell you this has happened a number of times from a number of different establishments. How is one to survive on this level of caffeine I ask you!?

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