Aug 18, 2014

Singapore

i've visited our neighbour down south exactly thrice. 

twice for band exchange tours and concerts (lots of memories but the itinerary consists of seeing high school  & junior college bands as well as, Orchard Road), and once to visit NTU after my graduation prom night, under the pretence of checking out options to further my studies. 

however, i forgot my glasses during that trip! so i stayed in NTU most of the time, lolling in the dorm, checking out its various libraries and cafeterias (both highly impressive), and generally enjoying a post-uec time, seeing singapore through very bad eyesight. HAHAHA. 

that was five years ago! (huhu time flies)

so now it's definitely high time to update my impression of singaaapuraa! after four days, here's what i think:

Day 1: food & volleyball

1. their food is actually quite good.
rex had a few makan suggestions, and we ended up going to this. it's some sort of fish head broth served steamboat style with charcoal fire! those fried chicken on the left is yummeh. i also approve of my kopi ais. 
2. interesting new desserts must queue up for it one. keyword: new
bun says: "this shop just opened shop yesterday! singaporeans are like that one. everything also must queue up."

*then goes to queue up* HAHAHAHA
3. they have a pretty cool volleyball culture!
we were supposed to have a few volleyball games during the trip, but our visit coincided with the Singapore Volleyball Open, which rex took part in. so we spent a few hours for two days watching different volleyball matches. i also kinda miss the feeling of cheering for teams and watching hot guys (and girls!) deliver impressive spikes.

even when we visited a mall in sentosa, you'll see some guys and girls all dressed up in sports gear, holding on to a volleyball or two. rex says there's nothing much to do on the weekends, so a lot of them head to the beach volleyball courts. 

i think the posters for INTI Volleyball Open looks better. teehee. 
from left: liz's, bun's, mine. nikes are best for travelling lah!
4. their buses. their trains. their taxis. their transport system. hands down. amazing. 
compulsory touristy bus shot!
5. they have gigantic portions at surprisingly cheap prices.
we visited holland village for dinner during the first night. everyone randomly choses a restaurant and begin scissors-paper-stone-ing. naturally, liz won. she always wins one. so she chose breko cafe. the portions turned out gigantic and the beer was crazy cheap too! basically i don't understand how singapore is always featured in those "most expensive cities to live in" surveys. if you're earning SGD, you can lead a pretty good life.
rex ordered some ribs that turned out to be so huge. we couldn't finish everything.

we spent the first night catching up on everything (the last time we met was during his convo! that's two years ago!) and contemplated watching the argentina match. but weirdly, for a nightlife area, breko is only open until 12am, (and i remembered that we haven't checked in yet (!) so we called it a night and rushed back. luckily the very awesome backpackers' hotel is still open for us hehehe)


Day 2: postcards & food!
1. Haji Lane has lots of rubbish bins. 
most of the shops weren't open yet, so finally we settled on CAD cafe (Coffee Art Design) for breakfast! 
pleasantly cool little space. there's a little shelf of design books, free art event booklets lying around, wafts of coffee scents, and the crew is really friendly. points for that! 
2. they have some cool free postcards! 
i picked up some free postcards around haji lane, so we took the time waiting for our orders to write a postcard to chiuling (she's the one who initiated the trip but at the end she couldn't make it :'( ).
we ordered cream cheese and salmon bagel, banh mi, and eggs florentine to share. what can i say? big portions, great flavours. this is really good stuff.  
this is rex! he hasn't appeared here in quite a long time (since the pangkor trip post, i should think). after breakfast at CAD, we continued food hunting, basically. 
3. Singapore is insanely hot.
the heat is unforgiving. no wonder mall hopping is the number one activity here (not much difference with kl, actually). we mostly spent our time hopping from one mall to the other, or escaping into air-conditioned restaurants for some rest from the relentless sun. the tong sui above is quite nice!

-more volleyball action & dinner at Clarke Quay-

(same pose)

(sisters!)
Day 3: street food & the zoo!
1. SINGAPORE ZOO. we haf much to learn from them. 

inuka the sleeping polar bear. for more details on this mossy fur mountain, go here
it was raining, so we bought Singapore Zoo ponchos for SGD5 each! pretty good souvenirs, eh? 
this is called wolverine. at least, that's what the information card says. 
kids ran into the igloo for photo ops with liz! here's the cute dad crawling in to stop his son. hahaha. 
fluffy bunches of lemurs.
read this in a high school English literature book. let's frame this up and mail it to every evil boss in the world. 
exhibit 1: this is how bats pee. you think they pee on their faces while they were hanging upside down right? riiiight? 
glittering copper lizards are beautiful! (liz: "ugh.")
(timer mode)
this is a white faced saki monkey.
i just think that its face and dexterous little hands are very adorable (and yong sui). 

after the zoo session in the morning with liz, we headed back into town to meet up with bun, and liz has to catch a bus to kl for an important event at work. so we had a rather rushed lunch, then sent her off to catch the bus. 
(i also realized that i left my phone back in the restaurant HAHAHA and thank God we got it back safely!)

we went to bun's house to dump my luggage and then proceeded to visit more iconic locations -- Marina Bay Sands! 
on this gigantic bridge (linking Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay), we saw a little girl accidentally drop her mom's iphone through the slats of the wooden boards, where it plopped into the river below. oops. so if you guys wanna take any photos here, hold on to your phones yo.  

2. Singapore has street food! and pretty good ones too!
me and bun tried shopping at the Marina Bay Sands Mall (it's like an unbelievably posh and huge The Mines) but luckily rex turned up in time to stop us. so we went for pretty awesome frog leg porridge and o chean (oyster omelette) on the street! street food weh. it's one of the best o chean i've tried, and the lime chili sauce that came with it is better than the ones i've had in Penang. most of the customers were Malaysians though.

basically, one of the reasons i held so much contempt for Singapore street food is this post by buzzfeed. they can be entertaining, sure, but it's painful to see buzzfeed staff (it's not even random user content) lump 100 Plus, Mamee and White Rabbit candy just to create some listicle without any fact-checking. uuuugh. 

but that night's dinner proved me wrong! there is some great street food in town. after that impressive o chean, we had some tau foo fah and egg tarts at a 24-hour shop (they also have deep-fried durian but i was too stuffed by then). 

Day 4: books & farewells
forty hands coffee! 
eggs benedict, siauli's birthday treat for me! (sorry for being so damn late)
siauli left for work, while i browsed a bit more. finally gave up and went next door to this quirky little shop called strangelets. they stock sandqvist backpacks! those bags are insanely gorgeous, but i'm insanely broke. next time, then. 
after strangelets i took the mrt back to meet up with bun at orchard road, where we went backpack hunting (got one from lacoste) and we visited the takashimaya food fair. after that, we went home to pick up my luggage, nom some delicious durians from bun's dad, and finally left for the airport.

apparently if you have fat bags, you're not supposed to take the mrt because that's really annoying to the other mrt users. some guys brought gigantic suitcases. my carry on was quite fat too, but bun chose to tell me when we got on the train -.-

tadah. so that wraps up my whirlwind four day trip to the land down south. go buy Time Out Singapore! they have loads of good stuff. 

a few regrets:
1. i didn't get to try the famous steamed chicken rice.
2. i didn't get to see the merlion.
3. i didn't buy a book from BooksActually

oh well, means another trip is in order. heh. thank you so much to rex and bun for the hospitality! i miss you guys already :(