Local Heart, Global Soul

October 18, 2012

The Best Laid Schemes o’ Mice an’ Men…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You are leafing through the pages of my travel diary of earlier this year. We are in Singapore and had grand plans for today,  but as Robert Burns well knew,  the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft agley    (often go awry)**.

We should have been going off to Indonesia later today on an extended side trip, and  to this end our Singaporean friend “Velvetine” had been busy finding out about all the best possible places to see, what to do, where to stay etc.

All was well until she was confronted with the problem of visas. Indonesia is a ex-Dutch colony and it’s made fairly easy for most nationalities to visit, but apparently not if you are Dutch.

They are perfectly free to enter the country of course but first they are made to jump through hoops, their visa process is longer, costlier and more complicated.

There’s no problem for me or the kids because our dual nationality means we can park our Dutch passports in our pockets and switch to our  New Zealand Passports to enter Indonesia  and Velvetine has of course a Singaporean passport, but Himself has the Dutch nationality only and getting him into Indonesia today looks neigh on impossible.

Of course this is supposed to be totally unrelated to the fact that Indonesia is an ex-Dutch colony and of course there is no bias  “officially”. We try to make some phone calls and see what’s possible, and everything is possible, just not very easily in the time frame we need.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are fully prepared though to do a little running around when Kiwi Daughter comes back from  a walk outside complaining of a stomach ache.

This is a common complaint for her and usually means she’s overtired and hasn’t been drinking enough water.

My foot swelled up rather dramatically on the flight (simply because I couldn’t elevate whilst we were in transit) and the swelling hasn’t reduced much yet so I’m laying on the bed with the phone,  trying to sort things with my foot in the air via almost every pillow available.

We take stock of the situation and decide that trying to rush around getting Himself’s visa in order  is only going to get stressful and we can’t ignore the physical signs that we probably haven’t done enough to shake off the jet-lag.

We are on the phone to Velvetine and jointly decide that a change of plan is needed.  No far flung adventures today. Instead, more rest is required and we can look for something different for tomorrow. Indonesia is better planned for another time when Himself can come fully prepared for the visa drama and when I’m back walking normally again.

Instead, Kiwi Daughter drinks a lot of water and then curls up next to me and we both sleep soundly for a few hours whilst the boys go swim in the  pool and play sandcastles further down the beach.  Kiwi Daughter wakes up later feeling totally refreshed and  the swelling in my foot is even a bit less.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We spend the day lazing around and the whole family feels better for it.

We voted earlier in the day to return to our favourite restaurant  “Trapizza”just down the beach and Velvetine will join us after she finishes work.

The kids start a small argument about who gets to sit on my knee  if we get to take the beach wheelchair again… they both plead exhaustion and say they really can’t walk there. The beach wheelchair was brilliant within the grounds of the hotel, but the car park at the bottom of the hill has some tall curbs which are difficult to negotiate so  I have a better idea.

There’s a large golf-cart like vehicle parked outside the hotel, I ask at reception if  it’s possible to be given a lift to the restaurant and back, no problem at all… our carriage awaits. After our meal all we need to do is to give an indication when we need transport back and they will send someone down again to collect us.

I order Pizza to share with the kids, Velvetine orders the Ravioli al Salsa di Noci (mushroom ravioli and sage tossed with walnut butter sauce) and Himself goes for the Spaghetti (I think it was “Aglio Olio”, a spaghetti with garlic, basil, olive oil, chilli and parmesan cheese).

For both the verdict was the same, very tasty but miniscule portions. Even in this heat Himself wants more than the tiny amount of pasts that barely cover the bottom of the plate. Oh well… it’s a definite “yes” for dessert then.

After dinner our “taxi” comes to  retrieve us and once the kids are in bed and sleeping, with the assistance of some helpful staff at Reception and some telephone calls we plot revised adventures for tomorrow.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

** From Robert Burns’ poem To a Mouse, 1786. It tells of how he, while ploughing a field, upturned a mouse’s nest. The resulting poem is an apology to the mouse: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_a_Mouse. The saying has now come to mean that even the most carefully prepared plans can go wrong.

January 27, 2012

Trapizza and the History that Brings Me Back Here…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Pizza and I have never been best of friends. I remember only too well my mother’s home-made efforts.. the toppings were ok enough but the pizza bottoms were thick and doughy.

Everyone else in the family seemed to love it like that and I was the only one sitting glumly at the table trying to think of ways to get out of the labourous task of wading though a pizza base twice as thick as  the thumbs that held the pieces.

From then on I avoided pizza whenever possible, and considered myself a confirmed non-pizza eater. If there had been a club with a life membership to not eat pizza I would have signed up.

Then, whilst touring “small town America” with Himself before the kids were born, we arrived late in a small place called Belle in Missouri and the one and only place open so late in the evening was a small pizza place.

I frowned and wasn’t extatic about the idea but it was the only place open for miles and we were really hungry so I steeled myself for the first pizza experience of my adult life and took a table with no enthusiasm whatsoever.

Himself made the order at the desk and I contemplated just eating garlic bread and nothing else. To my disappointment garlic bread wasn’t on their menu, or they were sold out of it, so pizza it was going to have to be.

Our pizza’s were duely delivered to us and my eyes opened in wonder… a thin crust, a wonderfully thin crust and topping to die for… bad pizza memories were being extinguished with every mouthful.

The lady who ran the pizzeria was called Arlene W. and she collected Coca Cola memerobilia. Himself had some coasters back home in the Netherlands that he’d found in a box load of stuff he’s been given from someone and he asked for Arlene’s address so that he could send them to her.

We duely sent them once we were home and she replied to say Thank You and thus began a tradition where we wrote once a year exchanging Christmas Cards. Arline’s handwriting was always a challenge to read and over the years it got less steady and even harder to read but we kept up with news and looked forward to the card that bore the USA stamp and Missouri postcode each Christmas.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We learned over the years that her smiling husband had passed away, that she left the pizzeria business and her health was deteriating. Two years ago, after some 15 Christmase’s we received no reply to the card and letter we sent out, and we are now left wondering if she is just no longer capable of writing or of she too has passed away.

Either way we have very fond memories of Arlene and wish her rest and peace. I’ve tried pizza here in NL since that trip but not one of them have come even close to exciting my tastebuds as Arlene’s did so my pizza experiences remain few and far between.

Since Arlene W.  is the one who made me brave enough to order a pizza here at Siloso beach, I owe her too for the discovery of my second favoutite pizza place (considering how rarely I eat pizza, looking forward to one somewhere is saying something).

Here at Trapizza Restaurant on Sentosa’s Siloso beach I have again found a pizza that turned all my misconceptions about pizza on their head. Wafer thin crusts cooked in a piping hot pizza oven has left me with a new appreciation of how brilliant pizza can be, even enough to turn the head of a seemingly confirmed pizza hater.

Our trips to Singapore would no longer be complete without a meal here at Trapizza.

I’ve made blog posts on this place before and no doubt will again in the future… and why not, when this place cooks a pizza that I adore and nowhere at home in the Netherlands even comes close? .. but love as I do their Pizza’s, all kudos goes to Arlene in Belle Missouri for changing my relationship with Pizza forever.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I even get to try and take photos whilst being wheeled home by Himself. What more does a girl need? (answer: lessons in how to take night photos if you saw all the out of focus ones I deleted)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Blog at WordPress.com.