On Thursday, Mary and I ventured on the MRT to Chinatown. We spent the morning and early afternoon walking the streets of Chinatown. For lunch we went to Maxwell Food Center. This is a large open air hawker center with stands serving different types of local food. We ordered chicken and rice and carrot cake. This isn’t the carrot cake we like to enjoy in the states, but a dish made with radishes and eggs. One dish is more savory (black carrot cake) and one is more sweet (white carrot cake). I liked the savory one and Mary liked the sweet one better, a perfect match! We ended the meal with awesome fresh squeezed pineapple and strawberry juice. After lunch, we walked though a Buddhist Temple and shopped the streets of Chinatown. Like Chinatown neighborhoods in other cities, it is full of cheap souvenirs.
Friday, Mary and I had a great breakfast a a local restaurant, where we split two really good dishes. After, we had to run some errands and then headed back home. We were able to spend a good chunk of the afternoon at the pool, getting some sun, swimming and reading. After lunch at a favorite sandwich spot of Mary and Taylor’s, Mary and I headed out for our big adventure of the day.
We rode the MRT to Marina Bay, my favorite part of the city! We had already been to this area on the river cruise last weekend, but wanted to spend more time here. We started off taking pictures of Marina Bay Sands and the Merlion. Then we walked the perimeter of Marina Bay. It was a great way to see the bay and buildings from all angles. After the 4k walk, we waited a bit for the sun to set, and then took some great pictures of Marina Bay Sands at sunset. It was a perfect temperature as the sun was setting, and we loved spending time in that area. This was one of my favorite things that Mary and I did while I was here.
On Saturday, Mary and I ran some errands in the morning. We met Taylor for lunch and relaxed for the afternoon. We headed back to Marina Bay, and went to Ku De Ta for a drink before dinner. This is a restaurant on the top of Marina Bay Sands (my favorite building), that has great views of the bay and surrounding area. Although we missed the F-16 flyover by 15 minutes, it was a great place to see the city from a different view.
We headed to dinner at Level 33, an upscale brewery on the bay. Before dinner we were able to be outside, and see a few of the fireworks from the practice of the National Day show happening across the bay. Colin, a family friend Taylor grew up with who also lives in Singapore met us for dinner. The food and beer here was excellent! Colin teaches in Singapore, so I enjoyed talking education and getting and insight into Singapore education form him.
Sunday was our most relaxing day yet. Besides watching the CrossFit games on TV and going to the pool, we didn’t do a whole lot more. I think everyone enjoyed the break and relaxing day!
My time in Singapore is ending Monday. I will be flying to Australia and then New Zealand for the next 10 days. Although I am sad to leave my friends, I am excited to get a few more stamps on my passport!
Like my questions in my first guest blog post, here are some new ones after being here for 10 days! (Taylor even helped write some of these)
1) When you first hear M&T were moving to Singapore, where did you think it was?
Honestly, I had to google it. I have no shame in admitting this!
2) How was the jet lag? Is it as bad as its cracked up to be? What’s the best way to deal with it?
The jet lag hit me pretty hard. Mary will say that she has never seen me hit the wall quite like I did when we were shopping the day after I arrived. Mary was smart and didn’t let me take a nap that day, so it was early to bed that night. I woke up at 4 am the next day, but felt more rested. It took a few days to get on a normal sleep schedule, but after the first night of good sleep I was better. My advice… do all you can to sleep on the flight! I think getting little sleep on my flights did me in. Other than that, you just have to fight being tired for a few days.
3) What climate in the USA would you most compare Singapore too? Why?
Central Florida in the summer. From my first few minutes in the country, this is all I could think of. The weather is hot and humid, all the time. I felt like I was in Disney World in the middle of July.
4) What’s the deal with driving on the wrong side of the road? (Seriously, whose the better driver?)
Driving on the opposite side of the road only freaked me out when crossing the street (my neck would get a work out looking both directions many times!) I was usually in the back seat of the car, so I didn’t pay close enough attention while in the car to get freaked out. As for who is the better driver, I am going to go with no comment on this one to keep the peace. Mary and Taylor are both good drivers!
5) What’s been the coolest thing you’ve seen in Singapore? Most surprising?
I love Marina Bay area and the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. I liked looking at it from the outside as well as walking through the hotel area.
The most surprising thing is the insane number of malls this city has! Most MRT station has a huge mall associated with it, with the majority of it underground. Mary and I were always trying to figure out how all of these stores stay in business, especially with everything being so expensive!
6) If you could change one thing about your Singapore experience so far, what would it be?
This is going to sound like a cop out of an answer, but I wouldn’t change a thing! Mary did an amazing job planning fun and interesting things for us to do everyday. She was such a trooper in walking so much and going to places with me she had already seen before. She is a great tour guide!
8) What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen/experienced so far?
Although I haven’t actually experienced (eaten) this yet, the durian fruit is the strangest thing. This is a VERY fragrant fruit sold in Singapore. The smell from this fruit is not good, AT ALL! It smells so bad, that there are laws in the country that you can’t open them in certain enclosed areas. You will get a whiff of them from time to time, and I never enjoyed it. Mary and Taylor tried to get me to try it, but I refused!
9) What’s been the best “asian” food you’ve had?
Lunch on day one was really good. This was dumplings and rice we ate at one of the malls. I love rice and really enjoyed the fried rice we had at Dim Thai Fung was great!
This trip has been in the works for a long time (from the day they told me they were moving, I have been planning to come and visit) and it didn’t disappoint. I had a great 10 days in Singapore. I have loved being able to experience the culture of Singapore and live the life of an ex-pat for a while. Also, it has been so fun to spend so much time with Mary and Taylor in this unique part of their life. We usually end up reminiscing about previous vacations when we are together, so this will be a great set of memories for us to have and then tell Baby B and and any other children in the years to come!