Monday, December 27, 2010
I don’t often spend Christmas at home. This tradition started when I was eight years old and my grandmother began taking my entire extended family to Maui at Christmastime. Once that tradition expired, my immediate family spent Christmases in places like Costa Rica and Kona. But no matter where I spent Christmas, there was always one thing that every destination had in common: warm weather.
Since moving to London I have kept up the tradition of spending Christmas in a warm climate. Starting with Sydney four Christmases ago, I continued the trend with trips to Namibia and Madagascar. This year was no exception. After a grueling 12-hour Christmas Eve flight that British Airways managed to make the most miserable of my life, I found myself in Singapore on Christmas night.
In keeping with another of my recent trends, I also found myself in front of a seven-course Christmas tasting menu at my hotel, the St Regis Singapore. As I ate, a live choir sang carols in front of an enormous Christmas tree in the lobby. The singers were followed by a band that serenaded the dining room with music from the likes of Stan Getz and other famous artists.
The Christmas dinner in Singapore consisted of everything from tempura crab with sun dried tomatoes to homemade foie gras with artichoke and onion marmalade.
Also making an appearance were lobster consomme, monkfish with delicious Iberico ham, traditional Christmas turkey that was hand-carved at the table, and pan-roasted venison in a Port wine reduction. To finish it all off, dessert was a mix of cranberry biscuits and pears topped with a maple sugar star.
Speaking of stars, after dinner I was in need of some exercise to burn off a few calories and clear my head from the wine pairing. I walked down to Orchard Road, where a long stretch of the street was cleared off for the 27th annual Orchard Road Christmas Light Up in Singapore.
This year’s Orchard Road Christmas Light Up theme was ‘A Starlit Christmas’, and indeed the road was lit up with thousands of colored lights that looked like stars. They were in addition to the luxury goods stores with their evening light and window displays, and the larger-than-life nativity scenes propped up along the street.
I walked by Tiffany-sponsored Christmas trees with their signature teal boxes, giant star-shaped lanterns hanging from street lights, and enormous camels looking to their wise men for direction. After many starlit blocks of this Christmas splendor, it was time for me to turn around and head back to my hotel for the night.
The next morning I woke up in time for a big Boxing Day breakfast before catching my flight to Langkawi in Malaysia. Christmas may have been over for the year, but my annual warm weather adventure was just beginning…