Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kwentong Kaladkarin #12: Summer Sojourn in Singapura – A Day with Friends in a Foreign Land

Da Where: Singapore City, Singapore
Da When: March 26-28, 2011
Da Who: Larry and me! :)
Da Trivia: This is my second international travel and Larry's first! I had to renew my passport for this trip and luckily got the new one only 2 days before our scheduled flight. Whew, close call! :D
Da Words for the Day: "Walking distance lang, neng." ;D

Larry and I promised we’d wake up early and take a dip in the inviting, huge, blue swimming pool of Changi Green but failed. After only about 5 hours of sleep and the major walkathon we had the day before, it felt like we had a full gym workout and was sore all over!

So we slept in for a bit until 0800 and while Larry was still dozing off, I accompanied Luigi at Geylang Serai Market to pick up some items that Jam (Luigi’s younger brother) will need for his catering gig that day. Geylang Serai is known as a wet and dry market and is often frequented by Malays. I had fun roaming around and seeing the usual meat and seafood fare. I found out that Luigi had suki stalls and they’ve even learned to speak a few Filipino words because a lot of our kababayans also do their food shopping there.

There was one whole section of spices sold in open bags, ready for weighing. I had to stop myself from sneezing after inhaling some of what must be the biggest bag of curry powder I have ever seen in my life. :D An elderly Muslim woman even chatted up with me, asking if I wanted to live in Singapore. Hmm… Good question! :P

One of the stalls in Geylang Serai Market
After a quick breakfast and a shower, Larry and I finally left for our Day 2 adventures. Our first stop for the day was supposed to be the Botanical Gardens but we didn't actually know how to get there. We ended up walking up a storm in Orchard Road, looking for Bus 77 that will take us to Holland Avenue but for some reason, we couldn't find the right stop where Bus 77 stops to pick passengers up.

Pagod na. Where the eff does Bus 77 stop?

Giving up, we just decided to take the SMRT back to City Hall from Orchard and go see the Esplanade Theater. Again, we pounded the pavement as soon as we got off the train until we saw the familiar durian-shaped domes. We stepped inside the cool, underground walkway to the theater, where balloons were artfully tacked to the walls for some eye treat. The main lobby was very beautiful, with a visual art assembly depicting the Earth’s layers.

Balloon wall art
Esplanade Theater lobby

We just started following signs and got on several escalators until we got to the Esplanade Mall and the roof deck terrace, where we were treated to an awesome view of Singapore bay, across the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the famous merlion statue, which was not visible because it was currently built as a hotel. Weird, right? How can a national landmark be hidden from public view and turned into a hotel? Hmm

Yes, in SG for the Earth Hour, baby! :)

Larry and the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in the background

Enjoying the shade from the sweltering heat, the durian Esplanade Theater dome in the background

And the Singapore skyline by day

It was already noon and sweltering hot so we decided to find a place to have lunch. We crossed the street to the Marina Square Mall (yes, there must be hundreds of malls in the city) and found a place that serves dumplings.

Bao Today Cafe had a unique way of ordering food, which involved self-service menu pads and table numbers. Larry and I were dumbfounded! :P They served the best siomai I ever had (Pork and Fish Roe Shao Mai) and delicious Cheese-Baked Rice with Seafood. Thinking about it now makes me my stomach grumble. I hope they open a Philippine branch soon. :)

Yummy Cheese-Baked Rice with Seafood

Larry and the Pork and Fish Roe Shao Mai
After having our fill, we met Larry’s college friends, Eli and Fiolo, both based in Singapore. Since they haven’t had lunch yet, we headed back to the Esplanade Mall and right across the baywalk is a row of stalls that sell different Asian cuisines, called Makansutra Gluttons Bay.

We checked the stalls (one of them even served Mang Kiko’s lechon manok!) and settled for some noodles (I forgot the name but it tasted close to our pancit canton) and roti pratta, which was very, very spicy but delish. To tone down the heat in my tongue, I bought a bowl of raspberry ice kachang, a Malaysian version of halo-halo. Uhm, I think our halo-halo was still better. :D

Larry and Eli making the rounds of the stalls

A dish similar to our pancit canton - forgot its name

Very spicy roti pratta

Raspberry Ice Kachang
After enjoying our food, we then walked to Suntec City Mall (yes, another one!) to see the Fountain of Wealth. This fountain is recognized as the world’s biggest fountain and had laser shows in the evening. Larry and I followed the instructions for good wealth which is to put your right hand in, circle the fountain three times while praying for your dearest wish, touching the water the whole time. Don’t know if that was indeed true but no harm in trying. :)

Jaywaking in Singapore, haha! - crossing to get to Suntec City Mall

Wishing for good fortune at Fountain of Wealth

Eli and Larry

At Suntec City's Fountain of Wealth, with my Chinese birthyear sign, proud Tiger. :)

The Bombastar!

Too tired to walk, we hailed a cab to get to Clarke Quay, which is known as the happening night spot in the city. My camera batteries were drained and I had to go get some new ones from 7-Eleven. I think I'm getting the hang of using SG dollars and not converting the amount to peso in my head (damn expensive! :D).

Back to the Clarke Quay bridge, we were greeted by a beautiful rainbow across the darkening sky. It was almost 1900 but the sun was still a glowing yellow ball of light in the sky. Days are sure long here. :)

A rainbow over Clarke Quay

We checked out the rest of the places along the river where we can hang out and have a beer. We decided on Fremantle Port Seafood Market after a Filipina attendant greeted us and welcomed us in. Hehe. We toasted to some Tiger beer (Singapore's best beer, apparently but I'm still an SMB Light fan) and a Seafood Bucket.

We also took the time to see the rest of Clarke Quay and watch people get thrown into the air in the GMax Reverse Bungy ride. Larry and I wanted to try it but it was effin' expensive at SG$45.00 for a 15-second adrenaline rush so we just decided not to and spend our money on something else.

Larry at Clarke Quay

Am a Hooters gal! ;D

Yes, dahil wala kaming pera, nagpa-picture na lang instead of ride. :D

Singapore's Tiger Beer. Di marunong magbuhos sa mug, puro bubbles. Haha!
And our Safood Bucket @ Fremantle

Our last stop for the day where Fiolo and Eli left us was the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. It's one of the swankier places in S'pore and is actually a famous landmark, with its 3 skyscrapers holding up a huge ship-like structure that has the infinity pool and the Skypark. 

Larry and I paid SG$20.00 each for the entrance and took the Express elevator right to the 56th floor, in less than 10 seconds. I could feel my ears popping! :D

56th floor Express!

It was a good idea that we decided to get to the Skypark at night. As soon as we got off the elevator, we were greeted with a breath-taking nighttime view of the city. The wide expanse of lighted buildings and the Singapore Flyer off in the distance was a sight to behold. Too bad my lowly P&S camera couldn't capture perfectly the scenic feast.

Night-time view of Singapore from 56 floors up - Singapore Flyer visible in the distance

Blurry photo but still an amazing view
The twin durian-domes of Esplanade Theater lights up

We thought that was the best part but when we started strolling the Skypark, we got the hotel's infinity pool, which is in the 57th level of the hotel. Wow! I would save up and blow it all off to check in for even just a day in the hotel just so I can take a dip in that infinity pool! You'd have the best view of the city while lounging in your bikini! Epic! :D

Now how's that for a view while in your bikini? :)

Tired and spent, Larry and I couldn't muster enough strength to walk to the nearest bus or SMRT station so we just decided to hop on a cab and shelled out about SG$14.00 to get to Changi. So that's roughly x34 in peso. Ouch for a taxi ride, yes. But if only our weary feet could get up and kiss us, they would. :D

Now, we need some serious Zzzzzzs for our last day. *Lights out*

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