Today is the first day of my backpacking trip, and I… overslept. I’ve actually been in Singapore since Saturday, and I’ve been going around the city reacquainting myself with old favorites (the Esplanade, China Square Central) and discovering new ones (the National Museum of Singapore). I had grand plans of going on several walking trails today, but after the weekend’s activities, I decided to just to it when I come back at the end of the month and just spend the day at home.
Like my previous trips here, I’m staying with my brother and his family. What’s different this time though, is their new place. My brother has lived in his previous flat for almost 10 years. It was just last year that they finally decided to get a place of their own and moved farther from their previous flat. Since this is Singapore, taking the public transportation is a breeze, and in no time, I’m going out on my own.
Saturday night, we had dinner at the much touted Makansutra’s Glutton Bay. This is an open air dining place right beside the Esplanade and like most kopitiam, you can order any of Singapore’s signature dishes. We feasted on char kway teow, cereal prawns, yang chow fried rice and chicken and beef satay. YUM! Definitely a great way to start any trip. To burn off the calories, we took a walk along the river, and crossed over to the Merlion side, where there’s a performance right at the riverside.
Sunday I went off on my own to take advantage of the International Museum Day. In celebration of this day, museums in Singapore have free admission. Despite coming here for several times in the past, I’ve never been to ANY of Singapore’s museums, and was glad to have the opportunity to visit them for free. I went to the Peranakan Museum, which showcases the history and culture of the Peranakans in Singapore, and to the National Museum, where the Verner Panton and the Christian Lacroix exhibit is on display. Admission to the National Museum costs $10 for adults, while admission to the Peranakan Museum costs $6. The SG$16 I saved though went to the toys I bought from China Square Central (CSC). *^*
I was so exhausted when I came home Sunday evening. I walked a lot that afternoon, and it felt good to just lie down in bed and read my latest Peter Moore book (Swahili for the Broken Hearted — the last book missing from my collection). I enjoyed my rest a little too much, because the next thing I know, it was already 10am! Much lollygagging and Plurking was done until 3pm, when I decided to go out and check out the nearby mall. However, just as the bus pulled out of the bus stop, I receive a text from my brother asking me to buy him the iPod Touch being offered at a special price for the Great Singapore Sale. This is a promo limited to tourists at the Epicentre in Wheelock Place. Since I knew it was limited, I asked him to call the store to ask if they still have it in stock. I didn’t want to go all the way to Orchard for something that might not be available anymore! He said he couldn’t get through the phone, so I made my way to Orchard Road.
Construction never stops in Singapore. Everytime I visit, there’s always some road improvements going on or another skyscraper being built. There were some construction at the corner of Orchard and Cross street, which led to the closure of the underground passage from Orchard road station to Wistma Atria (which resulted to me taking the wrong exit the day before, ending up ACROSS Wistma Atria). The exit took me to the surface, right at the corner of the two streets, facing Tangs and the Marriot hotel. Wheelock Place was just across the road. I went inside the mall, not knowing where Epicentre was. Somehow, I made it there on the first try, but unfortunately, they were already out of the SG$194 8GB iPod Touch. Dejectedly, I wandered around the mall, wondering where Dollz Inc was. I was told of this dolls store inside Wheelock place, and I’m excited about it, since it’s so much easier to get to than CSC. It turns out that the store was in the same corridor that I passed through going to Epicentre, and I missed it because I was so engrossed in one of the stores (there was a t-shirt that says “I Roti Prata”!)
It was a store specializing in Blythe dolls and accessories, but there are plenty of other cute stuff you can buy for Pullips and Pinkies. Like Re-ment! Evil, evil super cute Re-ment miniature toys. I couldn’t resist, and ended up buying another box. I stopped myself from buying more stuff, so I went outside to head back home. I decided to take the long way home, since it was rush hour and the trains would probably be full. I took the bus from Scott road that passes through my brother’s old place. I felt nostalgic taking that bus, even though it’s a fairly new route. I got off at Junction 8, a mall that I frequented since it was so near my brother’s place. The mall is also where the Bishan MRT station was. During my last visit here in March 2007, they were constructing the Circle line of the Singapore MRT system. A portion of the line is already finished, and just last week, it has started operations. Bishan Station is now Bishan Interchange, serving both the North-South line and the new Circle Line. I took the Circle line to Serangoon, where I changed to the North East line to Seng Kang. From Seng Kang, it was another LRT ride to my brother’s apartment block. It was a pretty long ride — took me about an hour and a half.
Now, I’m packing yet again, because backpacking officially begins tomorrow. I’m leaving my comfort zone, and I feel rather unprepared. I can’t wait
Photos that didn’t make it to this entry can be viewd at my flickr.
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