Final Days in Singapore

I woke up yesterday in Singapore. I had an errand for Cousin Ate D that I was grumpy about doing but it seemed easy enough; she wanted some vitamins from a specific store, which was at a mall near my hotel. When I got to the mall, I asked around for the store, and finally I found out that the store had moved to a different mall.  Forget it, I said!  This mission for vitamins is over! But then I realized the store’s new location was on my way back to the hotel, so I begrudgingly decided to continue.  The information lady told me to take a bus, which was silly because it was so close.  But I took the bus anyway, just as part of the advenutre.  Of course taking the bus in Singapore is clean, beautiful, easy, and rule-driven. I took some mall photos along the way.  Here’s dtf, which is bs. And here’s a 肉骨茶 place. For some reason the word “bakuteh” does not stay in my head, so I’m always asking people what they’re talking about.  Then they try to explain it, and I say oh, you mean 肉骨茶, why didn’t you just say so!  It’s kind of a difficult concept to explain succinctly.  Well, “pork rib broth” would do it. My first lunch was a boneless chicken rice, and it was delicious. My second lunch was an oyster fry, which put me over the edge.  It was oily and I had to take a nap afterward.        fruit stand! Apparently the hotel has a 4th floor terrace as well.     After my nap, I decided to subway to Little India for 3rd lunch, but at the last moment I took the train to Harbourfront Centre instead. There in a food court I found some crazy brown rice set meal which was too big, but still cheap.  The best part was the stuffed tofu in broth.  Later when I passed the stall, the owner asked me very sincerely if I had enjoyed it.     After that I saw signs that said “cable car” so I followed them and rode it.  If there are cable cars to ride, I ride them. It’s a rule.          Later that night I met up with JJ again, also MS, 明 , and French J.  We went to the opening of Red Banks, then to a  62nd floor rooftop bar with a spectacular view but they couldn’t make me a martini.  Finally we went to a hawker centre downtown, the Telok Ayer Market, known as Lau Pa Sat.  We got satays from stall #6.  It was amazing and my hands were too dirty for photos. Also, I want you all to know, there’s a point when the weather is so hot and humid that it’s gross to touch the screen of your phone.  The phone itself feels hot and sticky and it just goes back into my pocket, and forget looking things up or communicating.

Anyway, after Lao Pa Sat JJ and I got some drinks on a rooftop on Club Street.  There should be more rooftop bars in Seattle.  And in my life.

The next morning I saw Cousin D off in a cab and then planned the rest of my morning in Singapore.  I actually found myself buying a duffel bag for the flight home.  It made packing and flying a little easier, but I was annoyed at having to check a bag still.  Jetstar Asia has a ceiling of 7kg for a carry on, which is the weight of one of my shoes.  Guh. I managed the duffel bag situation, and then met JJ for lunch.  We got the “carrot cake” which is a daikon fry/omelette, some of that pansit that everyone talks about, some veggies and some spinach mee.  Afterward, we had some coffee and said goodbye, and JJ was kind enough to pose for a selfie, even choosing the background ! Then I got in a cab to the airport and was out of there.      

Woke up in Singapore (Day 1)

 I just realized my time in Singapore is 4 days, three nights.  Since today is Day 1, it’s almost time to go!  After that it’s a day in Manila and then back to Seattle.  

I woke up at sunrise again, and went to the rooftop.  My mama is worried about the dark circles under my eyes (I had just woke up!).  Also, there is a glass-walled rooftop infinity pool, if you want to watch a dude swim.  

  
    

Cousin D said I was going to hate the food at the breakfast buffet, and I didn’t.  However I will acknowledge that hotel breakfast buffet in SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE is a mistake, and I won’t be repeating this mistake.  I’d rather walk a block and eat 生煎包 or something.  Maybe I’ll just get coffee and dragon fruit at the buffet tomorrow.     

So after breakfast I walked down Mosque Street and Temple Street.  I had a goal to get to the Maxwell Food Centre, but didn’t make it.  English J texted that he wanted to meet me for pho, and I don’t turn down pho.   
   

I decided to walk back to the hotel and freshen up before lunch, and then cabbed over to the pho restaurant on Amoy Street.  I am not used to the right-sidee driving culture.  The right-side cars are blowing my mind.  Every time I cross the street on foot, I catch myself looking left instead of right.  I’m a mess.   
    
    

 After Amoy Street, I had a 30 minute cool out time in the hotel, and then it was back out to Little India.  I took the subway.      
    

  

Clarke Quay.     
 

 Later on I met up with M and N, and Cousin D; the four of us went to Old Airport Road Food Centre and had white pepper crab, among other things.  It was spectacular.    
    

 

Travel day to Singapore

So I woke up this morning, got my breakfast buffet, and then went to pack my clothes.  To my surprise, my clean clothes, which I had had laundered the day brefore, were packaged, complete with plastic, cardboard band, cardboard collar, cardboard stiff back, and those white plastic clippies.  Do not even ask me how much I paid for laundry.  Also, Asian people love packaging, they love it like they love their mamas.    

One last shot of Hong Kong from my 40th floor window.   

Here’s me on the airport express train.  When I walked out of the hotel, the staff all asked if I wanted a cab, and I said, no way, are you nuts?  I gotta take the subway.  

Here’s what I learned:  it is obnoxious to drag around a carry on, neck pillow, and brown bear hoodie sweatshirt on the Hong Kong MRT on a Tuesday during the morning commute.  Next time, I will take a cab to Hong Kong Station, and then train the rest of the way.  

Hong Kong is really amazing as a city, because every place I saw was all dense, with high rise apartments.  The result is that 75% of the territory is undeveloped.  They actually have a wild boar problem.  Such a delicious problem ! 

There may be sprawl in the places I didn’t see, but the places I saw, even on the train to the airport, were vertical cities, served by services on the ground floor.  Down on the road, the streets are narrow and human scale.  It’s really spectacular.    

I flew Jetstar Asia to Singapore, and my experience at the Hong Kong airport was annoying.  I was annoyed.  Nobody wants to read about how I was annoyed, but listen, if you’re flying Jetstar Asia, preorder your meal online and be prepared to check your carry on if it’s over 7 kilos.  Obnoxious.    

When I got to Singapore, all the Singapore stuff started.  I got cash, I got a SIM card.  I only needed to find the $9 Airport Hotel Shuttle and get something to eat.  I asked the SIM card lady where the $9 Airport Hotel Shuttle, and she laughed broadly, and said, “There is no aiport shuttle for $9.”  Luckily I had my email confirmation on my phone, and she read it and said, “ohh, you want the shuttle BUS, ok, yes, there’s a shuttle BUS.”  Obviously.  She pointed me in the right direction.  

Here’s what happened as I was buying my ticket for the shuttle BUS.  First, I watched a mom and a daughter go behind the transport desk and do their daily prayers toward Mecca.  Doesn’t a big international airport have a place where Muslims can pray?  I know they can pray anywhere, but it seems they would have planned a sacred space.  

Second, I bought the ticket to the Airport Shuttle, and the two ladies behind the desk (one Indian, the other Chinese, both great English speakers) gave very clear instructions:  put this sticker on your shirt.  Sit in this chair and go NOWHERE.  The driver will come for you.  

So I was waiting for the driver, as was a young mother with a 9 year old by who was quietly eating his sandwitch.  It was 3pm and I hadn’t had lunch and I wanted to eat a sandwich quietly like that boy.  

Of course it turns out that the boy, once the sandwich is finished, is a little emperor.  He talked super loud and was crawling all over the place.  Finally the bus driver came, and he said to the kid, you’ll have to finish that and recycle the can.  Of course little emperor ignored him, and while getting onto the bus, the driver said, you can’t drink that on the bus.  Little emperor said “why?” and Singapore driver was amazing, “DON’T ASK WHY, THAT’S THE WAY IT IS, IF YOU WANT TO RIDE THE BUS YOU CAN’T HAVE FOOD OR DRINKS, YOU CAN STAY HERE IF YOU WANT.”  It was breathtaking.  Little emperor was stunned because no one had ever not indulged his spoiled ass before.  

The ride into Singapore was quiet and clean, and the road is lined with fuchsias in bloom.  I may have seen 20 miles of fuchsia-lined road.  It’s a little striking how clean and well organized Singapore is, and it’s not the same vertical plan, but narrow human-scale at street level.  Singapore is built on a grand scale for cars.  

My cousin had warned me about the small hotel room we were sharing, but it turns out it has a sexy bathroom, just like in Hong Kong, PLUS a butt-hose bidet.  It’s a win in my book.    

    

Although, the view is not quite as grand…    
 
   

The lady at the desk suggested Subway when I told her I was dying of hunger, but when I rejected the Subway idea, she said, “Walk 5 minutes until you see Chinatown Point, then you’ll know what to do.”  She was right.  I found a street-side buffet and spent 4 dollars on rice, two veggies, and a scoop of chicken.  I took a picture of the hotel on the walk back, because the light was nice.      
   

   
  

Later, Cousin D showed up and we went to Bak Kut Teh for some 肉骨茶.  We also met his friends, D and T, who were charming.    
    
    

We had a couple of beers at Clarke Quay, and then I went to the roof of the hotel, and it’s quite beautiful.  Makes me wish I could smoke cigarettes up there and hang out, but I don’t smoke cigarettes, and knowing the Singaporeans It’s probably punishable by death.  

  

Finally, I found a Sol with limón at the bar.  Dont’ ask how much it cost, but the bartender answered me in Spanish.  Tomorrow, lunch in Chinatown with JJ, and then black pepper crab, no matter what Cousin D says or does, I’m eating crab tomorrow.  Sige!