I elected to stay for a week in the “Land of the Clean”….. or the “Artificial Island” as some of my friends called it to make sure I got the full Chinese New Year experience in a city/state that was predominantly ethnic Chinese; 75% to be a nerd. Since there are a few pictures to share, I decided to make Singapore into 2 parts. Here’s part 1. Once again I board a sleeper train.
Hearing about Singapore from the exchange students in KL really got me excited and pumped for the next destination where I was planning to for the first time celebrate the new year on my own. The fact that they offered to meet up in Singapore gave me a chance to get to know them better. Even prior to leaving Canada, Robin was nice enough to reach out and contact his cousin in Singapore to possibly show me around like a local! Extended thank you’s to Robin and Jolyn! I automatically felt like I had a bunch of people to meet up and chill with even before arriving. It was a nice feeling.
Shophouse – The Social Hostel
Free 24 hour basic breakfast. If you feel for a nutella toast at 1am, no problem.
Rooftop patio in the rain.
I was told in advance to expect rain in Singapore, but to rain every day for most of the day? Not cool S’pore….not cool. Luckily, for the times that I needed to be outside, the weather pulled through and I didn’t have too much trouble getting from A to B.
Poster in the hostel showing what the variations of local coffee there was. Pretty cool. I think you can make it bigger if you click it. That’s what she said.
Market like stalls. Several Floors. Souvenirs a plenty.
Clean, wide and full of character near Little India area in Singapore.
The force is strong in this one.
Met up with Jolyn on my 2nd day there and planned to visit Marine Life Park @ Sentosa. There is an acronym the locals use for Sentosa, “So Expensive Nothing TO See Also” as a joke. A tourist attraction island, made for tourists. During the whole time there, Jolyn had commented on the tackiness of the things you see on Sentosa. I had to agree with her as most things appeared too fake and just too perfect. However as a tourist, I was happy to observe and to an extent be appreciative of how professionally touristy it is! Haha.
This huge shark had the smallest eyes ever. Just WHAT are they thinking about. Life as a fish.
Touted as the world’s largest Aquarium. Or SEAsia, one of the other.
Funny jellyfish, always amusing.
There was a school field trip happening. Photo-op for me. Hope it wasn’t too embarrassing to the photog. LOL.
Sentosa also included their very own artificial beaches (3) with sands imported from Malaysia. Yep.
Unfortunately did not make it to Universal Studios to get on the Transformers Ride. Looked forward to it too. -_-
A really..really baller temple. Sound systems and LCD TV’s and museum grade displays on 4 floors of Buddhism goodness.
Did you know that the Ritz-Carlton offered a museum quality tour of their art pieces in their hotel? Definitely an experience I’ll never forget and thanks to Jolyn for letting me drag you to this awkward tour. Imagine yourself walking through a hotel and stopping to admire a painting in the middle of a walkway. Tip: Avoiding eye contact with the guests and their general existence is a must. Awk.
Singapore kids, aww.
Hawker Stalls. Heaven.
Rojak round 2.
Popiah. Non-deep fried spring roll with egg but not with the same rice paper as Vietnamese cuisine. Quite refreshing and healthy.
First diamond shaped egg tart that I ever sawed. Luv, gramar; n Speling!
Ya Kun Kaya Toast.
No pictures allowed?
Runny eggs, kaya toast, and coffee. A part of the Singaporean brekkie.
Finishing off the day with a soup dish. MMm, Chinese food.
The next day I was invited out by Emily for lunch and to watch a movie with her friends, 6 of them.
Directed by Wong Kar Wai and fights by Yuen Woo Ping is a no brainer. The ending impression… it was good, especially the Zhang Ziyi scenes. But Wong Kar Wai movies often leaves you hanging to question the “point” the movie is trying to achieve, and this movie does just that. Solid B.
I met Taiwanese students Billy, Johnny, Ellie, Carol, Hakuna, and Ai-ling (again!). The moment Hakuna introduced himself, I immediately thought of ‘matata’. I later found that he did name himself after Hakuna Matata from The Lion King… interesting. As many Taiwanese are not given an English name at birth, they often can give themselves one. Hakuna Matata, it means no worries!
After chilling with them for a couple hours, Hakuna and Carol asked if I was doing anything for New Years Eve, in which I had planned to go to Chinatown to witness the craziness and festivities but nothing else. They went right into inviting me to one of their dorms to have dinner as most of the exchange students did not go home to Taiwan to celebrate CNY, so they planned to cook a simple reunion dinner. I happily accepted. Even knowing them for such a short amount of time, the exchange students just treated me with such hospitality, I was so grateful for their invitation. 100% feel lucky to have met such nice people!
The next day, I met with Hakuna and Carol at their dorm and I helped cook reunion dinner. Furthermore, they invited 4 Japanese exchange students as well. I met Yusaku, Tempei, Noriko, and Chiko. Now I have contacts in Japan! It was funny when teaching them certain English words that they have a lot of difficulty pronouncing. The word was: “really”. If anyone has a basic understanding of Japanese, the language lacks several key pronunciations of letters in the English language, so it was amusing to hear them try to speak. This was my first Chinese New Year away from family and it was definitely a warm one.
First homecooked dinner in over a month. So good!
These guys are awesome and so fun to talk to.
Plum juice that was rather high in alcohol content. I think it was something around 20-30%, but had not the slightest hint of alcohol taste. I was so good, the Japanese know how to do it right!
Chinatown had so many people, they closed down the streets to blockade people inside the streets to prevent them from moving elsewhere. We thought it was too hectic and after the exchange students bumping into several more exchange students, we decided to switch over to Merlion Park where we can watch the fireworks. This is the first time I’ve experienced CNY celebrations being so grand and it was with people I met no longer than 2 days!
I attempted to call some people back home while I was walking to Merlion Park. Some picked up and some didn’t. Skype does a funny thing and sometimes show a scrambled number or a local number or even my caller id. For those that picked up, it was good to hear your voices. I am glad to get a chance to get a hold of you just for a minute or two.
Wishing all my family and friends the best luck and health for the new year. **(Belated)
Happy (Belated) Chinese New Year!! What did you do for CNY?