I love pronouncing Singapore’s name in Mandarin, Xin Jia Po, probably because it was the first word in Mandarin I successfully uttered without making my laoshi (teacher) cringed. My Batam-residing cousin used to laugh and told me to “call it Singapore like any normal people” and she spoke fluent Mandarin! I don’t get it.
Last November, I got a chance to visit home of the Merlions with that one person who walks in a starlight in a different world. It was a weekend trip, a much needed short getaway. Xin Jia Po was as busy as I remembered, and also as posh as it always has been. Whenever I am in Singapore, there is always a little something that surprises me about this city-state.
This time, it was Changi. Honestly, I have never really fancied Changi Airport, probably because the only time I visited the airport was for either a very short transit or a very long one, both always in random middle of the night, and I have always felt I was trapped with nothing to do except buying Burger King’s Hershey Sundae Pie in terminal 2. The pie was awesome, but the wait has always been horrible. The last time I was there for a transit was with Rini, and it was such a painful experience both with immigration and finding a nice place to wait that Rini and I vowed to avoid a layover in Changi whenever possible in the future.
Last November however, I landed in Changi Airport at normal business hour, during the day that is. I was amazed by how different and friendly it was. For starter, there was this guy.
Found you, Snorlax! I immediately sent this picture to Aloy, since she was so into PokemonGo and somehow Snorlax is considered as a rare find. Apparently he was busy hanging out at Changi.
Kitty chan was also there.
The simplicity and efficiency of Changi Airport delighted me. I think Changi is very “Singaporean” in terms of practicality and high appreciation of other people’s time. In Changi they had an automated tray collector so the airport staff did not have to collect trays manually after people used it to scan their bags and luggages.
On to the travel bits! At night that one person who walks in a starlight in a different world was sitting by the balcony. His back was on the cold window (totally because of the AC) and he asked me about our itinerary.
I suggested this itinerary:
Start the morning fresh! Let’s Hike treetop walk in MacRitchie Reservoir!
Explore the city by doing 7 Merlion Hunt. They are scattered all over Singapore. Hunt them down in the following order: Ang Mo Kio, Merlion Park, Tourism Court, Mount Faber Park and Sentosa island
Grab the $1 ice cream sandwich at Orchard
Hike Mount Faber and take a cable car to Sentosa Island.
Ambitious, I know. That one person who walks in a starlight in a different world just looked at me and quietly put all the destination I mentioned in GoogleMap so we can see how our route look like.
This is mission impossible, but I am pretty pleased HAHA
I was most excited to hike the treetop walk because will you just look at it
but of course, it’s Monday and of course, national parks are closed. Along with libraries, museums and everything I defined as cool in life. Why MacRitchie, why??
We moved forward with the next item in our itinerary. Explore Singapore by looking for the 7 merlions! Due to the limited time we had that day, we could only visit the one on Fullerton Park and its cub.
I was a bit bummed but that one person who walks in a starlight in another world took me to Orchard Road. I love people watching at Orchard Road, there is always something interesting and something to contemplate about.
That one person insisted there was an uncle here who sold the best ice cream sandwich. After a short walk, we finally found the above mentioned uncle and bought two ice cream sandwiches. Who is the genius behind putting ice cream in between a slice of bread? I want to thank him.
By the time we had finished our ice cream, people watching project and our lunches, it was too late to climb Mount Faber. We decided to visit Sentosa Island and it was the best decision of the day. Instead of arriving with the fancy cable car from Mount Faber, we arrived at Sentosa Boardwalk. It was sunset and the boardwalk was wearing its best dress.
I walked the boardwalk with that one person, and it was a long, quiet, calming walk. It was pretty amazing to see how the sunset played beautiful colors on the water, the bridges and the boardwalk itself. I realized it is rare for me to be this quiet. I always feel that conversation is the best thing that can happen between humans. That day though, I got a glimpse of the beauty of silence. So there’s a promise then: when words fail, listen to the silence.
Aside of that, spotted another Merlion. The biggest one in Singapore.
At night, I got a chance to visit Singapore’s famous Gardens by the Bay. I was ecstatic! It feels as if I was transported to Avatar’s Pandora (I need to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom soon!) The trees and the walkway looked magical! This time, I did not have the chance to actually climb it and see Cloud Forest or the beautiful flowers, so that’s the more reason to visit again.
One more thing that was special about Singapore is kaya toast! For years my mom made the complete breakfast of kaya toast and coffee for my dad, and for years I believed it was our family’s tradition. Then I grew a little bit older, a little bit wiser to know that my dad must have enjoyed this breakfast during many of his business trips to Singapore and told my mom about it.
Here’s a simple kaya toast recipe for you. The ingredients are easy to get and it is very simple to make.
Two slices of wheat bread
Salt, pepper and soy sauce
How to make it:
- Toast your wheat bread. If you don’t have a toaster, worry not, you can pan-toast them. I tried it recently and the breads turned out crispy and nice too. Pan-toast them in small heat and do not add anything to the pan
- Remove the bread from heat, and while it is still hot, spread butter. The butter will melt nicely and gives the bread nice yellowish color with awesome smell
- Spread the kaya spread generously on top of the butter
- Boil your egg. This one is really up to you, some people find soft boiled egg yucky. I LOVE them. Put the egg in boiling water for 5 minutes
- Brew your coffee or tea. Crack the top of the egg, sprinkle it with salt, pepper and soy sauce. Enjoy!
Oh, and one more special thing in Singapore! My trip was concluded by going to the famous Mastercard Theatre at Marina Bay Sands. The Sound of Music was showing that time and we decided to see it. I have always enjoyed watching plays and live performances. The Sound of Music was nice and the story was a classic. I shared a warm jacket and some laughters with that one person who walks in starlight in another world. I have to say though, that so far, nothing beat Takarazuka, Japanese all-female musical theatre troupe yet.
That’s all from me for now. Hug your loved ones today. Kisses from the stars!