We just got back in from Bali and I have over 400 photos to sort through, and Jess will need to edit his video. So for the time being, here is a collection of photos from the last two weeks that didn't make it into the blog yet. The weather was so incredibly hot it makes Singapore's weather seem mild. We are thankful to be back to 96, feels like 99 with overcast skies.
First... a montage of motor bikes on sidewalks. I think we've already said that's a thing here. On our way back into the apartment just now we were met by a Harley coming toward us on the sidewalk to make a left turn while avoiding traffic. I'm not sure if there are any rules to how long or how far you're allowed to ride your bike on the sidewalks, or if you're actually allowed to do it at all, but it happens. Frequently.
And then just some photos from around our neighborhood at night... most of these are just across the street in the Arab Quarter, and a couple are a few blocks down.
Though unapproved graffiti is very illegal here, there is a lot of wall art all around Singapore.
And this is where I typically do my morning reading and sunning, before it gets hot and I meet Jess for lunch. A storm was brewing this day, obviously. It looked like it was coming much sooner than it did. If I'm remembering correctly, I made it upstairs, showered and dressed, and walked 15 minutes to meet Jess, waited probably 5-10 for him to come downstairs, then went to lunch before it started. Wherever we went to lunch that day didn't have a view to outside, and by the time we were finished with lunch the rain had stopped. They come and go pretty quickly (usually), a lot like Florida storms. But on days that it rains the dark clouds tend to stick around, like today.
And an assortment of food and restaurant photos. The first four are from NamNam Noodle Bar in Suntec. My food was delicious, but it ended up being too spicy for me to even eat half of it. I needed about three more egg yolks to cool it down! The tea is lychee, which is common in this area and I love it. In tea form. I don't like to eat the lychee though. The texture is kind of like a weird tough soggy grape. The last photo is fried bananas with coconut cream. Yum!
Another night we went to Eighteen Chefs in Bugis. They really advertise their "heart attack fried rice" but I was kind of underwhelmed by my regular fried rice. Jess got his smothered in cheese with beef. Again... I could have used more egg! And the Batman display was set up in the middle of the mall, two floors under the movie theatre, to promote the new Batman movie.
I had been on a streak of underwhelming food choices when we came across Kko Kko Chicken. We had been searching for Thai across the street, but this drew our interest when we walked by. What a great choice! I had claypot bi bim bap and it was perfect. I took a picture of the bottom of my rice because the bits touching the claypot got crunchy... and I love a crunch! It also had egg, seaweed, some vegetables, and beef. I've been craving it again ever since and Jess gets annoyed every time I suggest bi bim bap... even though he really enjoyed his food, too! He had Korean fried chicken with a sweet and sour sauce. It wasn't as crispy as Bon Chon (at home, since we determined we don't like the one here), but the sauce was incredibly delicious. And everything in the restaurant lights up... what's not to like??
Then some desserts... One night I decided we should just have ice cream for dinner. Jess didn't say no... so that's what we did. We went to Swenson's, which is basically an Asian Friendly's (western food) but the food looked worse than Friendly's food, so glad we chose to just have ice cream (which was delicious!). The cream puff is from a place in Bugis, I don't remember the name. We had 3... I might just not love cream puffs, or again, they don't make anything sweet enough here. The cream inside should have been sweeter, and the outside needed a crunch or crispiness to satisfy me. And the beehive looking thing is a chocolate banana tart with meringue on top. It had a nice sweetness, and the meringue was a little crunchy. Good for me!
On our way out to Mustafa center and City Square one day we stopped at the Ramen Stall for lunch. Food was fine, nothing particularly good or bad about it. But they had a large menu including ramen, some sushi, yakitori and some other things. Jess had ramen, I had a California roll (overpriced like they all are here... for some reason California rolls are always around $10-14). When we got to City Square we went to a grocery store. I had been craving beanies and weenies...we were unaware it would be such a difficult thing to acquire. We found Heinz English style beans and chicken hot dogs (absolutely no beef or pork dogs anywhere!). We did manage to find hot dog buns though, which I thought was going to be the most difficult find. This store did not have brown sugar for my beans, but I made do with just some additional ketchup. We've since found brown sugar though!
Okay, my apologies because this is a very cut up post. But I had an array of things that hadn't been posted before we left for Bali. I wanted to get the random one-shots out of the way first... now I think we're going backwards and forwards again in time for the next sets of photos.
One evening last week or the week before (it's been a while) we met up with Jess' friend Jayson in Chinatown. Never let boys do the planning. Unknown to me, they planned to meet at "the famous food center." Clearly they both had a different food center in mind. So Jess and I had our Uber driver drop us off at Maxwell Food Center, famous for the Tian Tian chicken rice. We waited around for a response from Jayson, since he doesn't have cell service here he was contacting us during wifi connection or when he had a minute to stop and connect the data service on his iPad.
Unfortunately Tian Tian chicken was closed, so we didn't get to experience it. However, we found these amazing little fried donuts. A little old Asian woman was working at this stall, stirring fried dough in a giant vat of oil. I ordered sweet potato, pandan coconut, and peanut. Each was a fried ball of dough with a surprise in the center, and they were all amazing. I'm glad Tian Tian was closed, because that means I can talk Jess into going for more donuts at some point. No pictures of them because I ate them so quickly. But I will take pictures next time!
This is when we learned that Jayson was at Food Street. Thankfully it was only a block away, so we met him over there for dinner. This is where we ate last time we were in Chinatown, but there are a ton of food stalls, and we tried new things like fried carrot cake (hint, it's not carrot cake).
After dinner we walked around for a while. We had to pay to use a bathroom (this was a first, but not a last). There was a man sitting at a children's school desk outside the bathrooms, and he handed me a folded up section of toilet paper on my way in. Thankfully I carry my own tissues, and have made a specific point since then to continue carrying them (especially in Bali!!).
We walked around the shops for a bit and found some amazing souvenirs... I won't be posting spoilers here, but we're probably going back for more. I also found a great rainbow dress for $10SGD, so more clothes shopping might be necessary too.
And if I haven't said so already, yes, there is durian everywhere. Stalls of it. But there are signs asking you not to bring it on public transit because its smell is so strong. Though we thought there was a lot of durian here, there's even more in Bali. You become immune to the smell because it's seriously everywhere, but we still haven't tried it. One of our drivers in Bali told us it's better and sweeter in Bali, but we never made time to try it.
Before leaving Chinatown I made another attempt at using a bathroom. This time in the train station. I walked out faster than I walked in. No locks, no toilet paper, and the grossest place I have seen in all of Singapore.
I mentioned above that we went out to Mustafa Center and City Square Mall. Mustafa center is a huge 24 hour department store. I really should have taken pictures, but I think we're going again tomorrow so I will take some then. I don't know how many floors... maybe 4 or 6? But one entire floor is electronics, one entire floor is gold jewelry, one entire floor is bath and pharmacy products, one is groceries, etc etc. I'm pretty sure there were at least one or two more levels.
On our way we came across the two oldest cemeteries in Singapore, which were also the first cemeteries we've seen here. I had been curious about this since the city is so congested and everything is built so high, I was wondering what they did with all the deceased (or maybe people just don't die here??). I'm still not sure, because it looks like this cemetery hasn't been in use in quite some time, and apparently there is talk of it being removed.
These pictures are from the Old Malay Cemetery, next to the Muslim Cemetery (both the oldest). This is an interesting article about the cemeteries and future plans.
And much like the rest of Singapore, there is fantastic architecture everywhere.