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Day Trips in the City Living in Singapore

Shopping in Singapore

One of the things you might often here myself or my wife saying as we walk along the aisles in a store or supermarket is “It costs how much?!” One of the hardest things for me to get used to is the difference in the value of the currency. So, costs initially seem high to me on first glance. Often, after I take the time to pull out my phone and check the conversion rate, it’s not as bad as I had thought. Sometimes it’s still priced higher than what I’m used to, but you also have to consider import fees. On top of that, there’s a 7% GST (goods and services tax).

Sometimes though, I just can’t figure out where the difference in cost is going. Sometimes I think it’s just a matter of merchants overcharging because they can. It’s as if anything that even hints of luxury here, whether it be a pair of Asics (225 SGD?) or a pair of jeans (120 SGD?), gets a hefty price tag put on it.

One way to get around this is to keep an eye out for sales. This is also one way I’ve determined that ‘normal’ prices are often too high. The sales will often price items at 50% or more below the normal price. Now, you know that even if there is a sale, the company still wants to make a profit, and if they can make a profit at 50 – 60% off, then the ‘normal’ price is a bit steep. That’s fine. That’s just how it is here. It just teaches you something, and that’s to keep an eye on flyers and make sure you know when there’s going to be a sale on an item you’ve had your eye on.

So, when you’re walking around in Singapore, don’t go nuts when you see the prices. Remember the conversion rates, remember the import fees, and remember to wait for the sales.

Despite knowing all that, sometimes I’m still shocked, like when I saw these cereal prices:

And it’s not just the Cheerios. Have a look at some of the other items along the shelves in this photo:

As much as I love them, I’m not going to pay over 10 bucks for a box of plain Cheerios. I mean, they weren’t even Honey Nut Cheerios. Don’t these go for about 3.50 or 4 dollars a box in the US? I decided to be reasonable and I got the 5 dollar box of Capt’n Crunch instead. That’s a decent price, and the stuff is good!

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Day Trips in the City

Kipling Bags

While my wife and I were out today, we had to pass through Vivocity Mall. The monorail going to Sentosa Island departs from there. Since we were there anyway, we decided to stop by the Kipling store to have a look at the bags. My wife has been talking about wanting a new Kipling bag for almost a year. The last one she had was ruined when battery acid got on it.

So, we took a look inside, and, thankfully, almost everything was on sale. It’s the Great Singapore Sale right now! So, she found a bag she liked and while she was posing in the mirror I went ahead and browsed around a bit myself. I saw the one on the right and liked it and decided I should get one as well.

In the end, my wife wound up paying for both of the bags, as a gift, since I was covering the costs of our outing to Sentosa.

If you’re not familiar with Kipling, they’re a really good brand. Also, each bag comes with a monkey attached to it, like you can see in the photo. Each monkey has a tag on it with a name. My wife’s bag, on the left, has a monkey named Lorena (scary right?). My bag has a monkey named Clotilde on it. Sounds like some sort of heavily muscled Norse woman to me.

Regardless, the bags are nice. They’re made of a good quality and should last us for quite a few years. I want more!

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Day Trips in the City

Moleskine Notebooks

The first time I’d ever heard of a moleskine notebook was when I was reading a blog about a woman’s trip to Vietnam. She had taken a lot of notes in a moleskine and had scanned and embedded them as a slideshow into a blog post. I thought it was a really interesting idea, and a great way to record thoughts about a trip you take when you might not have a laptop handy. For example, if you’re on a hike through the hills you might not have time to whip out your laptop and jot down a few things. Despite the proliferation of digital media, there are still a lot of times when old fashioned notebooks are just the most practical and sensible thing to use.

Moleskines are appealing because they have an interesting name and an interesting history. I know it’s silly to feel more prestigious just based on an item you might have, but moleskines are just that sort of thing. They even advertise it and market it that way. The cover wrapper (seen in green and orange on the ones in the photo) say: “The legendary notebook of Hemingway, Picasso, Chatwin.” I suppose it’s something like how Apple promotes their products.

When you break open the plastic and flip it open, the first thing you’ll probably notice is a leaflet inside that details the history of moleskine notebooks. Apparently they fell out of production for a while, but some authors ordered a bulk of them because they were sad to see them go. Later, another manufacturer, in Milan I believe, picked up the production and they’re marketed world-wide again.

Typically I wouldn’t fall for something like that, but I really enjoy writing, and writing is all about frame of mind. If you’re in the right frame of mind, you’ll write well. If not, what you produce is at best bland. So, having something that’s touted as a notebook used by famous figures is just the thing to set the mood, and it also pushes you to only write things in it that are meaningful.

So, yesterday, my wife and I bought each other one each, as gifts. The one I got for my wife is an “Info Book” style Moleskine, with tabbed, labeled sections. She’s a fanatic for organizers and loved it. I got the plain, ruled paper moleskine. That’s appropriate for what I want to do with it, which is record thoughts that I have that I can later use for blog articles. I’m sure everyone has had a great thought or idea, only to realize later when they sit down they can’t quite grasp it again. This is my solution.

We picked the pocket sized versions because that makes for easy portability. It’ll slip easily into a bag or pocket. The quality is really nice. Each one is hand made, and comes with a defect-free guarantee that’s easy to cash in on. If you find a defect, all you have to do is take a digital image and e-mail it to a provided address. They’ll ship you a new notebook right away. Quality and service are important to this company.

So, if you’re looking for a quality notebook that you can shelf and cherish later on, this might be something you’ll want to look into. Just keep in mind that they’re a bit pricey since they’re premium items.