Today its time to head home.
Now when I say heading home, well, we will be home in a few days and I didn’t want to tell you that we also have a few days in Singapore as well, because I always seem to be in Singapore and I didn’t want to bore you before I started. But I always try to do new things when I get here for my own interest anyway and its one of those places in the world where I feel at home so I want to know everything about it. Someday I’ll be able to say I’ve seen and done it all – surely?
So first up, we are staying in a different location, booking four nights at the Grand Park Orchard on Orchard Road. I’ve never stayed on Orchard Road before. I’m expecting, nay hoping, that it will have an electric buzz, that continues long after the shoppers have hauled their treasures home.
I was hoping to get to a few places that have been ‘on my list’ for some time now, plus showing Mum a couple of the new places I’ve found on the last few trips, but given we aren’t well, we’ll just see how we go.
Anyway, our hotel room is not quite ready so we pop out for some shopping and a bite to eat. The first shop we come across is The Soup Spoon, and its menu board shows a chunky mushroom soup that looks purpose made for people with bad colds. Its so thick and full of mushrooms and good for the soul.
Afterwards, I spy a Ya Kun Kaya Toast stall. Here goes the first of one of those ‘on the list’ things. Kaya toast is a popular breakfast item in Singapore. It consists of toast spread with a kind of jam made of coconut and eggs, called kaya, and either peanut spread or thick slabs of butter. I know it ain’t breakfast time, but if I don’t grab some now, I fear I’ll never try it. So here goes.
I’ve gone for the peanut spread and its actually really tasty – very sweet, but definitely tasty. Don’t know why I waited so long to try it.
With still more time to fill in, the next stop is across the road at Japanese department store, Takashimaya – more specifically – Kinokuniya, my favourite bookshop. I was introduced to Kinokuniya by my friend Emma when I visited her in KL last year, and now I am hooked. Upon entering I feel giddy with the prospect of so much choice. I don’t know where the start and I can’t seem to focus, my eyes darting from book to book as each cover catches my eyes. It’s a wonderland of words. I leave with five books, spying another on the way out – which I’ll just have to come back for tomorrow. The thing about Kinokuniya is there is so much range and the prices are better than what you can buy books for at home. The other thing, is that the topics of a lot of the books interest me far more – tales of Malaya past and modern day Japan and gritty KL. Book subjects we don’t get at home. Mum is wondering how the heck I’m going to get all these books in my luggage – she doesn’t know that I pack an extra bag for the way home – just for such bounties!
Now it’s time to check in. The hotel is fairly new and our rooms looks out over the shopping metropolis of Orchard Road, lights blinking with the promise of new and exciting purchases. We are feeling quite revived after our mushroom soup. Or am I still high from my book shopping? I’m not sure. So we get dressed and head on out into the evening.
So we head down to the Esplanade to see a small, but free, exhibition called Rotations – The Art of Tim Yip. Tim (Timmy) Yip is foremost a renowned costume designer. Winning the Oscar for Best Art Direction and Costume Design in 2001 for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, he has also collaborated with other prominent film directors such as John Woo (Red Cliff), Feng Xiangang (The Banquet) and Chen Kaige (Farewell, My Concubine).
Outside of film, he has also created stage and costume designs for dance and theatre. This exhibition pays tribute to his works of art with photographs, prints and a collage of videos, showcasing his visually arresting costume and set designs and his other works in fashion and theatre.
After the exhibition, we stop by Makansutra Glutton’s Bay for dinner – yet another place I haven’t made it to yet. Funnily enough, Makansutra was on tv in Langkawi last night and we watched him eat his way through the backstreets of Penang. I guess it made me more determined to try this place, this time around. People jostle each other and shuffle from signboard to signboard selecting their fare for the night. I decided on Roti John, a dish I have never had before, washed down with a big Tiger beer. It was kind of a like a big bun filled with a fried egg and accompanied with a spicy chili sauce. Pretty good!
Whilst I was lucky enough to see the Gardens by the Bay light show on my last trip, Mum hasn’t been to Singapore since the new garden was up and running, so that’s where we are heading. Plus, given I was on a tour last time, I didn’t get to wander around as freely as I would have liked. Given the youth of the gardens, the night air provides perfect cover to explore, safe from the burning sun. The gardens don’t disappoint – and its still wondrous the second time around. Catching the MRT back to Orchard Road, I’m glad that we have managed to fit in these few things this afternoon and can only hope we’ll feel better tomorrow.