Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Exploring Singapore

After a delicious breakfast, Kim and I were off - suited up for a day of walking through some of the best Singapore has to offer.

Our first stop on the bus was Orchard road. Kim had mentioned that this street was full of high end shopping but I wasn't quite picturing it like this. I expected a street lined with the little chops of Chanel, Prada, etc. but instead it contained these large shopping centers that had huge stores full of Chanel, Prada, etc. In one section, the Prada's were less than 2 blocks apart! We wandered through, drooled a little - or a lot - took pictures  and then moved along our merry way.

Hopping on the bus we headed over to Arab street. I should give a bit more context to Arab street - when Kim had first moved to Singapore we knew back then that I would visit; it was just a matter of determining the when. One night shortly after the move I received a text from her telling me how much I was going to love Arab street when I came over. Every time we have chatted since then, Arab street has come into the conversation. So of course I was super excited to see it.

We walked past shop upon shop with beautiful fabric. We wandered through crowds of people and skimmed under the awnings to hide from the heat. Both of us were getting hungry by this point and so we headed to Kim's favorite restaurant for lunch - closed - rats. Oh well - surely we can find another one almost as good. We came upon a lovely little Turkish restaurant and settled in for a salad and dip medley to share - delicious! Now off to do shopping - we wandered through some stops looking at this and that and then went to the perfume shop! Kim has told me about this little place where you can mix your own blend or choose one of their custom blends. I wasn't too sure what I was doing so decided not to mix my own this time but picked out some lovely scents. Next up, a lovely little silk and cotton shop. The shop tender recognized Kim and was quick to bring us a few lovely items. The last of the shops that we 'had' to visit was Kim's that had the most beautiful Singapore art and treasures. He is commissioned by the Singapore government to create custom pieces for visiting dignitaries and you can quickly see why. His work is incredible! It helps when he comes rushing over for the hug and is a wealth of knowledge around Singapore and all it has to offer.

Once we had done Arab street right (including a sketchy little cafe with a Hello Kitty pink sundae that was so artificial tasting - it was crazy) we jetted off to little India. Instantly the feel of the streets changed - the smell of jasmine was heavy in the air, there were more people and the walkways smaller, every other store had incredible gold jewelry on display and the stores in between were selling jeans, bangles or saris. Kim took me into the local department store - Mustafa. It was the most surreal experience I have ever had - 4 or 5 floors of everything you could ever need - make up, clothing, electronics, jewelry, etc. The shelves were really high so you couldn't see around them at all. At one time I wandered away from Kim and quickly realized that it would not be easy to find each other so I better stay close. I tried to take some pictures but it just wasn't doing it justice! Finally it was time for dinner. We wandered to a little restaurant that has come highly recommended.

Oh my mercies our dinner was incredible - pakoras, papadums, mint chutney, palak paneer and more. Sooo delicious. The masala tea was also a tasty treat. Just as we were finishing up, another family came upstairs to eat. The lady looked familiar but really - I am in Singapore - who am I going to know. Then I spotted her son and knew that I recognized them. It was a mom with her son and daughter (daughter is about 30 maybe and the son is maybe 14?) that we had met on our Ubud bicycle tour. Random enough, they had arrived back in Singapore that day and were getting one last dinner in before the mom and son needed to head home to England. It really is a small world everywhere!

Once dinner was over, Kim and I rushed out to catch the subway down to Marina Bay sands. I had wanted to see this light show that had received incredible praise from other travelers to Singapore. We were almost there when we checked the time once more - oops - we were off by half an hour. LOL - of course we were. We carried our packages over and decided what to do. Sit down and wait - that sounds like a great idea as it is beautiful night out, the light show is over the water in the middle of downtown Singapore so we could gaze over the city lights and watch their reflection dance on the canal and it wasn't busy at all down there - very few people in fact.

We were all settled in to what we thought was the perfect spot to watch the lights. As they started - we quickly realized we were not at the right spot at all - Kim and I ran over to where the lights appeared to be to find a small crowd gathered - no wonder it seemed really quiet. Not to worry though - the show was not at all how we imagined. Pretty funny actually with people projected into the mist singing. As Kim has been saying all week - it isn't wrong (how they sing our music or answer our questions or make our western style food) but it isn't really right either.

All to soon, the show was over, Kim and I packed up and walked past the Louis Vuitton store on our way through another high end shopping mall. We stopped at the Ferrari store to check our their gorgeous car on display and then called it a night.

What a wonderful side of Singapore I was able to experience. Thanks Kim for being a great travel guide!

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