And Then and Then and Then…

So let’s see if I can remember everything that I want to preserve. This one is going to be long, so only open up if you’re interested in one of those kiddie “And then we did this and then we did that and then and then and then…”-stories about my Thursday and Friday. Yeah, I know, it’s Monday already. But if you have the patience to read about how busy I was doing all kinds of fun things, you’ll know why I am late recording them.

Thursday, Nov. 10: I handed in my last NUS law essay at noon. Go me. Then Matt, Alison and I headed to Chinatown to get our Vietnam visas in order. We ended up getting a chatty taxi driver who “forgot” to put on the metre because he was so amazed by our multinational crew. At least he only charged us $5. Since I was being a classic PMS-y psycho hose beast, Matt and I got into some ridiculous debate that later turned into a bitter e-mail fight. Lameness supreme. But really, the fight happened more on Friday and Saturday, so I’m getting way ahead of myself.

Before I even knew that Matt and I were fighting, I had to rush off to meet Albert, an acquaintance from high school at Wisma Atria on Orchard. There was a bit of a mix-up with meeting; but in the end we found each other. I hadn’t seen Albert in years; but we easily recognized each other and got on smashingly. Fun fact: Albert was my co-worker at our high school when I worked my first legitimate summer job. I was making under-18 minimum wage. That’s $6.40 an hour.

Since Albert was famished and wanted to try some local food, I took him to the food court in the basement of Takashimaya. Albert thought about trying Hainan chicken rice, nasi lemak and sausage wrapped in roti prata, but he finally settled on fried carrot cake with black sauce. It’s really made out of daikon or lo bok; but they like to call it carrot here. Typical Singlish for ya. Makes sense if you consider the Chinese entymology.

That’s actually one Singaporean hawker dish I still have tried. Sometimes, I just can’t bring myself to eat all that grease. And if I’m in the mood for grease, the char kway teow calls. Raw cockles and all.

Albert was on a mission to find our mutual friend some hair accessories, so we wandered around various Orchard malls without much luck. I decided to take that we might be more successful in Chinatown so we ended up walking around People’s Park Complex and the main touristy drag. I think I ended up buying more souvenirs/gifts than Albert!

We parted at 6 so Albert could head to Changi to catch his flight. I had plans to meet my Uncle Terry who was in S’pore on business at that colonial relic, the Tanglin Club. We were to dine with our other relatives in the Wheelhouse, the most casual restaurant at the club. We had to eat there since the kids aren’t allowed in the other restaurants (the Tavern and the ahem, Winston Churchill room.) Yeah, it’s one of those clubs.

While most people ate more Chinese things like kway teow and chicken rice, on QY’s urging, I went for the Indian selection. I had some excellent “chicken vindaloo” that actually wasn’t vindaloo at all, but taste like tame butter chicken. This was accompanied by a dish of saag paneer that barely resembled the real thing. I don’t have a stomach of steel or anything; but I don’t like when food is toned down so much that it is no longer anywhere near the real thing.

Aside from the company, the best part of the meal had to be the gula melaka my uncle and I shared for dessert. Mmmm…tapioca, brown coconut syrup and creamy coconut milk. Miam.

Friday, Nov 11: For obvious historical reasons, they don’t celebrate Remembrance Day in S’pore so I observed a moment of silence alone and read about some of the ceremonies back home. I also realised that I can no longer recite all of In Flanders Fields.

That afternoon my uncle and I dined at The Blue Ginger which didn’t live up to the hype. The food wasn’t awful, but it was definitely disappointing. We had the Ngo Heong, Otak Otak, Ayam Buah Keluak and Chap Chye Masak Titek. Admittedly, the Otak Otak was the best I’ve had but I’m not sure that is saying much.

Still, I was happy to eat on Tanjong Pagar as I wanted to snap some pictures of the colourful shophouses. My father would love that street. We wandered into Chinatown, poking our heads into Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, the Sri Mariamman Temple.

We browsed through some of the touristy stalls in the market and then headed over to Raffles City to pick up some Ya Kun Kaya jam for the extended family in Canada. Since my uncle is heading to Toronto for a visit soon, he was kind enough to lug some Singaporean gifts back for me.

Now I can say I’ve sampled both Ya Kun and Killiney Kopitiam’s kaya toast. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the massive slabs of butter and prefer a thin layer of kaya on its own.

Then we headed back to the Tanglin Club and chatted in the lobby till my uncle had to get back to official business on Sentosa. We hugged and said a quick goodbye till December and I popped over to meet Robert at Kinokuniya as we were heading to the symphony together later that evening.

I had been dying to go to the Project Shop Cafe (click and scroll down for a good review) so we enjoyed the most delightful dinner and coffee there before rushing to the Esplanade. We literally had to sprint from the MRT station but made it to our seats before the doors closed.

The concert was mind-blowingly good. I hadn’t gone to the symphony since my days in Montreal as my friends tend to like opera instead so it was nice to hit the jackpot with a good show. Even though we had to sit in the first row, the acoustics were still excellent thanks to the venue’s newness. The J.C. Bach piece was marvelous and what I called the “Brahms remix” was my definite favourites. Actually, since Schoenberg orchestrated the Brahms Piano Concerto, it should really be called the Schoenberg Remix. Some of my German companions thought that Brahms would be rolling around in his grave; but maybe he’d be grinning like I did all throughout.

I now have a massive crush on Lan Shui, the cutest conductor I’ve ever seen at work.

We hit Thai Express for some dessert with some additional company and then parted ways after singing “Happy Birthday” to Robert who turned 22 at the stroke of midnight. I stuck around with the four German boys and headed to the “Rest Room” bar behind Boat Quay.

A great start to my weekend. There are more tales, but I suspect you are bored to death and I have some studying to do. I’ll post pictures from these nights after I get all my Taiwan pics up. In the meantime, check out the current Taiwan pics in my flickr sidebar.

2 Responses:

  1. red wings Says:

    it wasn’t that long and half of it i was like, “huh?!”

    I didn’t realize there were so many Japanese stores in Singapore.

    But, sounds like an awesome weekend full of good food and good company!


  2. iris Says:

    hiya! many thanks for helping albert help me get the hair chopstick! :) very very much appreciated. :) wow i’m impressed that you’re enjoying s’pore so much. i’ve been there a couple times but never really managed to really lose myself in the city. you must tell me your secret when you get to hk. we’ll hang out (shop and eat)… if you want to go to disney, i’m sure joseph (UTSer, my grade) will hook you up gladly! he works there and can get ppl in free-of-charge. whoopwhoop! you have my email? send me a msg so i can have yours and also send you my cell number. ok ciao!

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