Sunday, December 19, 2010

Taste of My Old Life

Ahhhhh, luxury again! :-)

Only a few hours on a bus and I was over the border into sparkling clean, orderly Singapore staying at Natalie's lovely apartment with my very own bedroom AND bathroom. Oh, so nice!!!!!!!!

Natalie and Rob totally spoiled me with all the yummy food (and drinks) that Singapore has to offer.

Yes, I had my obligatory Singapore Sling at Raffles (built in 1887 and lovely!), but there was so much more!!!

Chili Crab- chili, black pepper or white pepper- which is your favorite? I was quite fond of the black pepper. The best was the (parking lot) decor and the middle aged waitresses in the cheap, satin Tiger beer uniforms. So good!

Satay outside the hawker centre-- prawn, chicken, mutton---- all delish, albeit a little smokey.

Crab and prawn dumplings, sushi, chicken rice, lime juice, chicken fingers & creamed spinach (okay, maybe not them- a weak substitute for sold-out Thanksgiving dinner!)- yum, yum and more yum!

Sure, I never got to see that rooftop view since they wouldn't let me in the "club" with "slippers" (aka flip flops), but all was good! ;-)

And Nat wasn't the only one to spoil me, Freida (who I met in Nepal) showed me around Robertson Quay where we even had chips and salsa (do you know how long it's been???)

I again walked all over the city to get a feel for life here. And life seems pretty nice!

Like KL it has a lot of malls, but unlike KL I didn't almost get killed trying to cross their super clean streets. Sure, there were times I couldn't quite figure out how to cross, and jaywalking didn't seem acceptable in Singapore, but eventually I figured out where the underpass was located (after walking in circles and eventually asking ;-)

Okay, there may be issues with the government being overly controlling, but I've got to say it was quite nice as a visitor. Maybe you deserve a caning for chewing gum? ;-) For example, they seemed to have mandated a blue and white Christmas theme--- all the decorations (and EVERYTHING was decorated) were bling-a-rific. I loved it!

I did a very quick run through of the Asian Civilizations Museum when I first arrived, which was really just a well done overview of all the countries I had visited over the last few months, so I didn't feel too terrible about my brief visit.

The next morning I started with the walking tour of Chinatown and a visit to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Buddha Museum. The Temple is pretty much brand new, completed in 2007, but was pretty and had a very interesting museum that explained the life of Buddha in the 1st person--- I kinda loved it! The shrine with the tooth was very impressive, but sadly you couldn't get all that close to see much and I am always sceptical of relics of any faith.

A quick metro ride and I was transported to Little India, followed by a walk along Arab Street, with all its colorful fabric shops, before making my way to the waterfront. On the way I passed the world's largest fountain which I didn't get because I didn't know it wasn't really turned on. It made more sense when I passed by in a taxi a second time.

The Esplanade Theaters on the Bay, nicknamed "the durians" since they look like the spiky fruit, were my first stop. From there I could see the famous Merlion fountain- the half lion, half fish symbol of Singapore. But the real standout was the newly built Marina Bay Sands "integrated resort" (aka casino). The design is odd- it is reportedly supposed to be a fishing boat with it's nets cast (perhaps to scoop up all the people's money in the casino, upscale mall, theaters and celerity chef restaurants?) Not sure about this one!

Like all the others, my last day in Singapore was delightful. First stop was the Tanjong Beach Club on Sentosa Island where, despite a brief rain shower, we had a lovely time drinking our White Rabbits on lounge chairs with views of the tanker ships in the distance and a dog in a life preserver swimming just offshore (Singaporeans can be a little wacky it seems).

As if that wasn't good enough, we ended the day at Natalie's friends who hosted a real American Thanks- giving. They did an AMAZING job replicating home! Sure the sweet potatoes were purple and the peanut butter pie was melting in the Singapore humidity, but they tasted just right!

The Vandervorsts really know how to treat a girl!!! Thanks again!!!!

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