So we went to Alaska. And Seattle. And then South Padre Island. And you thought we were done taking trips. But surprise – we’ve also been in Singapore!
A few things you should know about Singapore... Our dear friends Kristen and Dan (our DC-and-Virginia trip buddies) moved there in January, which is why we went. We had to wait until after my graduation and the Bar exam, and I can’t take enough vacation to get there once I’m working, so just like our graduation trip (the Alaskan cruise) and our annual South Padre trip, our visit to Singapore got scheduled for August/September 2013!
Anyway, Singapore! It’s super hot and humid (and this is coming from us, residents of the hot-and-humid capital of the U.S. aka Houston). It does really weird things to my hair (so if you could do me a favor and disregard how crazy I look in most of the photos we took there, that would be great). People there really like Taylor Swift and 90’s pop (we once heard “Wasn’t Me,” "Waterfalls," and "Teenage Dirtbag" at dinner in a fancy restaurant). Sometimes you have to use toilets that look like this. The food is sometimes weird, but almost always delicious (exceptions = chicken flossy and durian fruit). Also the architecture there is amazing. Oh, and we had an absolute blast visiting!
We were really sad when Kristen and Dan left Houston, but it gave us a great excuse to go to Singapore, and we had a free place to stay! We spent five days there, but thanks to the 24 hours of plane rides it takes to get there, it was a 7-day trip.
Gorgeous views from Dan and Kristen's 25th story condo!
I love the signs for pedestrians in Singapore - "Press for green man!"
We arrived on a Saturday morning and hit the ground running (somewhat literally… we did a lot of walking). Kristen and Dan took us to their favorite coffee shop, and then we went to the Thai Embassy because they were having a big festival. We ate Thai food for lunch and then we went and walked around Orchard Road, Singapore’s big shopping area. There are about a million shopping malls in Singapore.
Mall by Kristen & Dan's condo
On Saturday night we went to Din Tai Fung for dinner (dim sum!), and it was sooo delicious. It was in the Marina Bay Sands shopping mall, so we walked around the bay after dinner. Then we went to Club Street for drinks at a rooftop bar!
On Sunday, we went to Mass at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. We rode the MRT (subway) and walked the rest of the way, and it was so fun to walk through a residential area to church. We got to see schools, condos, grocery markets, etc. At church, they had a big gong that they used instead of bells for the consecration of the Eucharist. SO fun. Oh, and instead of shaking hands while saying “peace be with you,” everyone bowed to each other. Also so fun. We left feeling a little more like locals. :)
We went to brunch at eM by the River and then spent the day walking around various areas of Singpore. We started with Robertson Quay, then went to Fort Canning Park, where there are lots of trails and pretty overlooks.
We stopped by the Raffles Hotel (the fancy historic hotel in Singapore) and strolled around the grounds for a bit.
Singapore has “hawker centers,” which are basically like giant flea markets except they sell food. There are lots and lots of little stalls, all with various things to eat and drink. Kristen and Dan took us to one for dinner, and we dined on chilli crab, grilled stingray, chicken satay, fish otah, an oyster omelet, and bean curd for desert! It was a pretty adventurous meal, but so delicious! Who knew stingray tasted so good?
Stingray! It tasted kind of like chewy tilapia.
On Sunday night Jeff and I went to the “Night Safari,” which is basically a zoo with nocturnal animals that’s only open at night. It was so, so cool. I somehow managed to leave my memory card at home accidentally, so I was without a camera, but just trust me – it was awesome. There’s a tram that takes you around to the main things, and then there are various walking trails that go to various other animals. They also have enclosed habits for things like birds and bats where you can walk in and be right with the animals. I ran through the bat one. Haha.
They have lions, tigers, leopards, giraffes, elephants, etc., but our favorites were some of the more obscure animals. I thought the pangolin was really funny but cute, as well as the mousedeer.
The slow loris was definitely the most adorable animal, but the most exciting was the giant flying squirrel! The flying squirrels had an enclosed habit to walk into, and as soon as we walked in, one of them came swooping down from a tree to our left, right across our path! It almost hit me in the head, but it was so neat! They were about the size of a pillowcase when “flying,” and they kept going from tree to tree, almost hitting people’s heads each time. Crazy!
On Monday Kristen had to work, but Dan played tour guide and took us all around! We started the day at the Chinese Gardens.
We met Kristen for lunch at a pho place, and then we went to the Botanic Gardens.
Singapore’s Botanic Gardens are amazing. There are about six different sub-gardens, including a Rainforest Garden and an Evolution Garden (you walk on a pathway where you’re first surrounded by the most ancient plants, and then as you go on the landscape looks more and more like modern-day plant life).
Even the restroom is pretty!
There’s also Singapore’s National Orchid Garden, which was incredible. I had no idea there were so many types of orchids! It was so beautiful.
Dan and I made stir-fry for dinner on Monday (and Dan says I can put his recipe on the blog, so that’s coming up!).
After dinner we all went to Chinatown for drinks, and we browsed all the shops. There’s some sort of “Mid-Autumn Festival” going on right now, so the streets were full of pretty lanterns.
Buddha Tooth Temple (apparently they actually have Buddha's tooth?)
So that's Saturday through Monday! Since this post is the longest blog post in the history of blog posts already, I'll save the rest for a Part II. :)