Saturday splurge

This time it wasn’t about shoes or the department store.

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Had this strong craving for beef. Kept thinking about it the whole morning. Survived on bread most of the day. Wanted something good for dinner. It was grocery day 🙂

Grilled zucchini, white, onions, bell peppers, and beef for dinner. Beef, a little alcohol, and movies make a pleasant evening.

Remind me to thank the mother for the hot plate slash grill 😀

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Destination: Singapore Day 4 of 4

It’s my last day in Singapore and as usual, the morning is spent here.

Even though the rooftop was not maintained and looked way different from what was posted in the hostel website, I still loved the rooftop because it had this secluded area. No one really stays in this part of the rooftop in the morning – except me.

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P1000568I needed to leave early for my flight at noon. Took a taxi. My three-day internet subscription expired last night so taking the bus was not an option. I arrived in Singapore with a backpack. Now there’s the backpack plus two bags 😐

It’s the eldest and the third sisters’ birthday. The second sister is in town. The family fetched me from the airport. It was a nice experience. Extremely grateful for that. Went straight to the mother’s place for the birthday dinner.

It was one long day. I’m just glad to survive the week with no episodes of regret. I’m looking forward to reuniting with my bed – tomorrow. Tonight, I’m to stay at the mother’s.

 

Destination: Singapore Day 3 of 4. Singapore Botanic Gardens and Singapore Zoo

Spent the entire morning at Singapore Botanic Gardens. By lunch time, the legs were weary from all that walk. No wonder very few locals are overweight. You just have no excuse for not getting enough physical activity. With the abundance of park grounds to cover and the beautiful view, the fault is yours for not using that space for a walk or a jog.

I’m not really a flower person but I did enjoy the flowers, benches, and trees – and yes, seeing a squirrel eat rambutan upside down. And more squirrels chasing one another across tree branches.

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It’s no wonder why this place is a popular venue for pre-wedding photos, dates, family picnics, and of course solitary walks 🙂 I now know why it was one of the highly recommended places in Singapore. I’d definitely bring my running shoes next time. That’d be one of my regrets for this trip.

Went to Singapore Zoo in the afternoon. At this point, I have full trust in the Google Maps app that I walked 30 minutes to the nearest bus stop. The past three days should make up for the month’s physical activities. I can feel blisters forming from all the walk. Should have brought more comfortable shoes. Something I could wear socks with 😐

I could go back to the hostel and rest. Then again, I need to see the panda 😀 Took the River Safari tour at Singapore zoo because it involved seeing two pandas. But before the panda, there were other attractions.

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It was early in the afternoon when I started the tour. The pandas were asleep for quite a while. I contented myself with photos of sleeping pandas. It just won’t do. Came all this way to see them at least move. And so despite the persistent attendant telling me to go watch the animal interaction with some bird, I stayed and waited for the pandas to wake up.  Come 4 pm and it was finally feeding time. That means we get to see them chew carrots and bamboo.P1000447 P1000479The wait was worth it. Lingered for another hour after they awoke. I tried to stay until I’d get sick of watching the pandas. It seems that you can never get sick of looking at pandas. I left because it was getting dark and I had the rest of the tour to experience before I could reach the exit.

And although it was really the pandas I was after, the tour did offer more than what I expected. Had three moments when the brain screamed Amazing! It’s nice to experience that child-like wonder, that slow intake of breath, and then you feel the warmth in your face. It takes a few seconds to get over that moment and then you hastily grab your camera to take a photo. For me, it was the pandas and these two scenes.P1000534

P1000560It felt like was inside a 3D film. The cold, the sound, and this view combined made me feel like a child again. I was never interested in aquariums but this one, it was huge!

For this day, two camera batteries were not enough. After this photo was taken, the second battery died on me.

There was a long wait for the bus back to the city.  Slept most of the way back to the hostel. Tomorrow, I’d head back home.

Destination: Singapore Day 2 of 4. Funan Digital Mall, IKEA, and Little India

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This breakfast was really the reason why I picked the hostel. It looked pretty in the website – plus they have great coffee 😀

Went back to the camera store to get another unit. They just had to tell me that they were doing me a favor by giving me a new unit in exchange for the malfunctioning one, adding that they won’t be responsible if the new unit malfunctions. Searched online for this store and I found they’re quite notorious for overpricing, among other complaints. I do feel stupid for not checking the store background first before making a purchase. One darn expensive lesson. One I doubt I’ll ever forget.

Thankfully, the new unit worked fine. If it had not, I believe I would be spending the next two days sulking in Singapore (or locating the Panasonic Service Center.)

Went to IKEA in the afternoon. Got lost because I went to Ikea, not IKEA. Stupidity at work, once more 😐 Well, at least I got to try Tsujiri green tea sundae. It reminded me of the trip at Daehan Green Tea Plantation. I missed that green tea treat. Would have wanted to try their cakes and the rest of the cold drinks. Unfortunately, I just had lunch. Stuffed myself full at Funan Digital Mall Foodcourt. Hopefully, Tsujiri Tea House would open a branch in the Philippines.

I later found that going to IKEA on a Sunday isn’t such a bright idea. The store’s packed with families doing the weekend shopping. It was no surprise that the restaurant was packed. So much for trying that meatballs dish. Was too tired from the anxiety over the camera, getting to the wrong address, and the almost two hours of travel back to the hostel to stand and wait for a space.

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It was overpriced. I realized that when I did a net research on the unit earlier today. Stupid move to buy before research. I’m just relieved it’s working fine. No more error prompts!

It was only in the evening that I got to enjoy the camera.

I made sure that I go back to Little India in the evening. The bus passed by the area earlier today and I saw the festive decorations. I just knew they’d be lovely in the evening.

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Intersection between Lavander St. and Serangoon Rd. just a few minutes away from the hostel.
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Wandered along the festively lit streets of Little India in search for dinner.
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Ceremonies were ongoing for the Depavaali.

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Dinner was a rice, ground pork, and a sauteed leafy dish at one of the Chinese stalls near the temple. Nearly ordered deep fried chicken heads. How was I to know chicken skulls were inside that delicious looking. Good thing the stall owner was kind enough to identify the main ingredient 😐

The best find for the evening was the iced coffee in the Indian restaurant across the street. They’re very generous with ice here. Also, tried a chrysanthemum flavored softdrink. It tasted. Still, it’s something new. It was better that the pine cone flavored softdrink from South Korea. But that iced coffee, incomparable to the what popular cafes offered. Served in a large beer mug filled with ice, sipping that coffee in one of the makeshift tables was the happiest I’ve been the past two days I’ve been here.

That mug of coffee made me look forward to more good things here in Singapore.

Destination: Singapore Day 1 of 4. Lavander Street and Funan Digital Mall

Arrived at about 2 am. Dealt with work and securing internet connection as I waited for the MRT to start its operation. I was one of the  roaming around Changi Airport choosing a good spot for a nap. I settled for a seat and a warm dish. Dealt with work once more. With internet subscription, time passed by quickly.

Locating the hostel from the MRT station was the first challenge. Took a while but I did manage to find the place through Google Maps. Cursed myself for not wearing more comfortable shoes. I’m starting to realize I’m gonna be walking a lot this weekend especially if I keep getting lost – which at this point should be no surprise for me. Well, I did get to familiarize myself with the locations of  24-hour convenience stores and the restaurants 😀

I’m a bit scared of busses. I’m relatively more confident using trains. That was until I discovered Google Maps provides an accurate bus commute guide. So it was decided, I’ll be taking the bus for the entire weekend. At least, I’ve secure the EZ Link card. It shouldn’t be that difficult.

Arrived at the hostel at around 6 am. They were let me use the facilities even though I haven’t checked in yet. Took a shower and dozed off in one of the benches at the hostel rooftop. One of the review online said that it was noisy at the rooftop from the construction work in the neighborhood. The noise from the construction didn’t really bother me at all. I needed that sleep badly.

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View from the Green Kiwi Hostel rooftop. You can see the three bus stops from here 😀 There a nearby food court and Little India is just less than a few minutes walk.

I should note, though, that the rooftop photos uploaded on the hostel website was taken years ago – when the herb garden was still well maintained.

At around 9 am, took the bus – my first bus ride 😀 – to the mall. Walked around Funan Digital Mall – four floors covered – as I waited for stores to open. Settled for breakfast as I recomputed the possibilities for purchase 😀

Found myself lost at Holland Drive 😐 Good thing they have great food in the food court near the bus stop.

Completed checking in to the hostel. The female dorm room can accommodate up to 12. Managed to get some sleep.P1000058

I realized I took home a malfunctioning unit so I had to return to the store to be scolded at by the older attendant for changing the camera settings. He said I should not be changing the camera settings and blamed me to the camera malfunction. Why would I buy a unit I can’t even set the time and date because it keeps displaying an error prompt?!

And there I was hoping I could spend the first night taking photos of the city from the “second floor” of a city bus 😦 Was sent back home with the unit that worked normally for a few minutes then returned to giving me that error prompt. Must have this unit replaced tomorrow.

Here’s to hoping the next three days will be better than this one.

Friday escape

Did manage to get something out of that rejection after all.

The eldest sister and the mother took pity on me and volunteered to take me to the airport. With just a backpack, it would have been an easy commute to the airport. Still, it was more convenient to have family drop me off.

It’s been one crazy day at the office. It didn’t help that I couldn’t focus on anything but this trip. It was one of those days when I was relieved to be out of the office.

It’s going to be a long wait at the airport. Something I’m looking forward to.

missing the oldies

It’s back to work Monday with this burning in my throat.

It’s gonna be one hell of a week with that long break I took. Nah, no time for regrets now. I needed that break to go back home and spend time with the family. I didn’t really think I’d miss the oldies but the mornings seemed too quiet without their bickering. They’d have the entire morning debating on how to best deal with this sore throat.

See, there’s four senior citizens living in one household back home. Add to that the fact that they’re siblings. Three of them are female (the aunts) and one is male (my father).

Expect an early start everyday. Before six am, they’re all out and about doing their own thing in the garden. Well, except when the father had an alcohol session the previous night and would spend most of the morning dealing with a hangover. We usually see him in the kitchen around 9 am snack time. That’d be the only time my plate’s not the last one on the table.

There’s a lot of fish served in that table. Fried dried fish, fish cooked in broth, fish in coconut milk and vegetables. It’s the healthy thing to eat, really. I just developed this dislike for fish dishes with broth because they’re a dishwasher’s horror. One has to wash the dishes especially the utensils twice to get the smell of them. I was the house dish washer for the longest time. My dislike for the fish and broth dish isn’t because of the taste. It’s about the unpleasant memories I’ve associated with having that dish in the table.

I do eat fish. It’s not the first thing on my preference list, though. If I can avoid it, I would.

So to get around the dried fish for breakfast, I made sure to drop by the grocery for hotdogs and bacon. For lunch and dinner fish dishes, I’d eat more of the vegetables. If I cannot avoid the fish broth dish. I help myself with the fish flakes. No broth.

During this break, there were two pork dishes 😀 I think the oldies knew I’ve been avoiding the fish, took pity on me and served pork. Pork! Never been so happy to see pork sinigang.

Found myself grinning stupid, lost in the past week. I’m looking forward to the Christmas break back with the oldies (– yeah, even though I don’t get gifts anymore.)