Singapore

<Updated after the 2017 visit>

Six degrees of separation. Flat world. Blah blah. World’s become a small place you say? I think its become a difficult place. Close ones don’t just move to different cities, but move to different countries altogether. Its not easy keeping in touch anymore. More the means of communication, lesser we communicate. Stupid ironies of life. So, a get together with some of these friends is so rare. And so awesome. 🙂

A long weekend in Singapore with Sri, Dips and Sam. The planning was watertight. Almost military-like. Excels were printed. There were schedules to be followed. And instructions to keep in mind. The Whatsapp thread was bordering on frenzy. Now, I am going to keep this post simple. Singapore is a small place. Yet, we didn’t quite see/do everything. Way too much time was spent catching up over glasses of beer and scotch.

Quick list of the places we visited –

  • The Flyer – Time really stands still in the flyer! Possibly, the slowest way to see a city skyline. Way better idea to probably just go to the Marina Bay Sands rooftop and take in the view in a jiffy. And the only good way to see the flyer is from a distance when it lights up in the evening. The high point of the visit to the flyer was the gelato that we had after the ride (if you can call it a ride).

  • Gardens by the Bay – Plants and trees grown in a controlled environment. That’s the best I can describe it. Brilliant place for the ones who like all things plant related. Lost cause for us. We didn’t get the beauty of the bonsai. There is a big man-made waterfall too. Well, there is only that much patience I have with fake things. In short, not my kind of a place.
  • Sound & Light & Water Show – So, there are two ways of seeing this show. One where you sit on the steps and enjoy the sights and the music is in sync and there are bubbles around you. And then, the one where you are not aligned correctly to the show. Lights are in one direction and you can barely see the fountains do their tricks. And you are wondering what in god’s name did you just see. We saw the show both ways, and I kid you not, the latter turned out to be more fun. By the end of it, my only memory was the stomach ache inducing laughter.

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  • China Town – I love local markets. And though it isn’t quite local, it is excellent for picking knick-knacks and well, it isn’t mundane like the dime-a-dozen malls. There was a Tintin exclusive shop there which was just awesome. Expensive stuff, but anything Tintin related gives me an ear to ear grin. There was an open area there where a big group of people were dancing. Yes, a big speaker churning good music and people were happily dancing in sync. Such a warm sight. I think dancing is the simplest way to get your happy on. Lunch was excellent and the post lunch drinks were even better. We sneaked in some alcohol in our fresh coconut water and it just tasted divine!

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  • Club Street – Loved it even when almost everything was closed! Quaint street lined with bars where people can sit out and listen to good live music. Could only imagine how awesome it would be in the evenings. We had other plans, so had to leave (quite reluctantly). This has been duly put in the next visit itinerary.

    Update – Sangria at Club Street has been checked! 🙂

  • Clarke Quay – Absolute must visit. This place has has an infectious happy vibe. Our night started with a couple of beers by the river side. And went on to be one of those legendary nights where memories are stitched together by talking to each other the morning after. There was dancing involved at various places. I definitely remember that bit. 🙂

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  • Botanical Garden – Heed my word on this. Pack a brunch and a book and just spend half a day there. That’s what everyone seemed to be doing there. We just kept running short of time. You know the cycle – sleep late, wake up late and so on. So we just walked around the place. Beautifully landscaped. I thought the orchid garden could be missed. As you can see, I am not big on appreciating flowers and trees. All I wanted to do there was while away time with a book and a drink.

  • Bugis Street – Another local market, this one for cheap (well, kinda) clothes. I thought it was just about okay.

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  • Arab Street – This is right next to the Sultan Mosque. Excellent street food options. You should go if you are a meat eater.

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Sultan Mosque
  • The Chili Crab experience in Long Beach Restaurant – Had to add this after polishing off a significant amount of food at this place (twice!). Must eats are chili crab and the black pepper crab. The thought of it makes me drool. 🙂

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  • The Peking Duck experience @Tunglok Xihe – A three course delicacy that I highly highly recommend! The three courses consist of the duck skin, duck breast and duck thigh; served with delectable sauces.

Yes, we didn’t go to Sentosa Island. And we skipped shopping, which the place is pretty famous for. Must have also skipped a hundred other things. Time has a habit of running out unbelievably faster in good company. From a traveler’s point of view, there is a not a lot that Singapore offers. But this is an extremely well planned city. Absolutely safe, excellent infrastructure and everything runs on time! People get restless if trains are a minute late. A great place to live in and a bit of a cultural shock when compared to India. That place is the opposite of the chaos I live in. But, somehow I find sanity in this chaos. Order unsettles me. 🙂

Those were three very happy days. As we grow older, we tend to forget the easy laughter that comes with doing absolutely nothing with old friends. Maybe it is a good thing that emails and texts are never going to be enough. Because nothing really comes close to meeting up and laughing over old times.

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